Monday, October 10, 2011

Race Report: Rev 3 Anderson Olympic

Standing by the lake at the Rev 3 Anderson swim felt really weird, but at first I couldn't place why. Then I realized; it's because Rachelle wasn't there with me. This is only the second race since we've been married that I've done without her. We may never see each other on the course, but I like knowing she's out there suffering along with me. This time, instead of racing she came to be my support crew and wound up volunteering so that she'd have something to do and give back a little.

Rev 3 Anderson Swim start the day before
The Swim: One of my fellow racers mentioned how odd it was to be starting a race at 9:25. I will say when you're used to getting up at 4 AM (or earlier) to get ready, getting up at 6:45 is welcome change. The swim itself wasn't too bad, other than I didn't sleep great the night before, so I was more tired that I'd have preferred even after drinking a 5 hour energy pre-race. I probably started out a little too fast and paid for it later in the swim. My sighting was better, but I was swimming a bit left as usual so I had to fight to keep my line. I was pretty happy with how I felt finishing up, was able to dig a little deeper than I expected.
The Goal: 40:00
The Result: 44:16
What to work on: I only got about a weeks worth of swims in for this race between Cedar Point recovery and getting signed up for the pool. In general more swimming, and more distance, but I was in the range of an aggressive goal, so I was pretty happy with that.

Transition 1: Why does this always suck? It doesn't take me that long to get my wetsuit off, quickly dry, throw on clothes and get on the bike. Or at least it shouldn't. But it did. I think it's got something to do with the fact that I'm basically going full gas in the water 100% of the race, and I need to get to a point where 90% will get me the times I want. I was tired in transition and it took me time to get myself recovered.
The Goal: 6:00
The Result: 8:16
What to work on: There are some minor equipment changes (like better bike shoes) that would make this faster, but it's mostly a factor of recovering enough from the swim to get ready and get on the bike. More swimming and some transition practice (something I've never down) will help.

The Bike:  Coming out on the bike, I knew I wasn't feeling quite right. The bike starts with a short descent followed by a short but pretty steep climb. About two-thirds of the way up, I had to stop to catch my breath. I was still a little winded from the swim. After that hill I got things back under control for a while. I did stop on hills two more times, and walked a very small section of the hardest hill. I was surprised by the fact that there was no aid station on the bike, as I thought I read there would be. About 10 miles in, my stomach got pretty upset, and I decided even if I wasn't going to have much to drink the rest of the way, I was at least going to try and eat my way through the stomach problems so I might feel better for the run.
Course marshall and photographer; my wife is one talented lady
A couple miles later just as I was starting to feel better, I saw Rachelle, got to talk to her for a few seconds as I cruised by. Seeing her was a real pickup, and started making up time from there on in. The last half of the bike seemed to go surprisingly fast, and I hit 40 MPH on one of the last downhills.

The Goal: 1:40
The Result: 1:50:21
What to improve on: I'm not kidding when I say I'm overall really happy with how this bike went. I missed my goal by 10 minutes, but on a course with 400 more feet of climbing than advertised on the elevation chart, I was pretty happy with my effort, especially considering how weak of a climber I am. Some of this was also the overhang from the swim. More swim to bike bricks next season for sure, but in general I was very happy 

Transition 2: Finally after a whole season of racing, I got a transition right. Off the bike, helmet and gloves off, shoes and race belt on, and head out.
The Goal: 4:00
The Result: 2:58
What to improve on: I should have bought some racing laces for my shoes to save maybe another minute of tying shoes.

The Run: This sucker was hilly. The first 3 miles felt like they were entirely uphill, but there were aid stations about every mile. I made sure to get and stay hydrated on the run after the bike. I was afraid if I ran I was going to make things harder on myself for the finish, so I just walked as fast as I could. The rest stops were well manned and well stocked.

So there I was walking as fast as I could, with about 1 1/2 miles left in the run portion of Rev 3 Anderson. I was finally headed back towards the finish line. I had 2 cups of Gatorade in one hand, and a cup of water and a cup of pretzels in the other hand as I left the last aid station. That's when I saw a Rev 3 golf cart headed up the hill on the path in my direction. I knew I was going to be close to the course cutoff, and for a second I panicked "Oh man, what do I say if they're coming for my chip", I thought. I wanted to start running to show them I was going as fast as I could, but my legs didn't have it in them, and I was doing my best to keep my breathing under control with all the hills. As the cart got closer, another, stronger voice in my head answered "Here's what you'll say: You can take my chip and my number, but you can't make me stop walking. I'm going to finish this race whether I get a shirt and medal or not."

As soon as that thought finished going through my head, the cart turned and headed towards one of the aid stations. I hurried as fast as I could, and while I worried they might pull my chip, they didn't.
The Goal: 1:30
The Result: 1:36:19
What to improve on: This should be obvious.

Total Time: 4:22:12

I can't tell you how much of a joy it was to actually finish this race, and how much I enjoyed competing again in a Rev 3 event. I'm really proud of how I've grown this season, tackling new distances and learning from my failures without getting discouraged (other than a couple hours at Cedar Point). I'm still looking for a local sprint triathlon to get in one more race before the end of the season so I can get my USAT rankings. Plans for next season and the fall road races will be forthcoming. But for now I'm savoring my efforts from yesterday.


  1. Congrats! Way to tackle another race this year!

  2. Congrats!! So glad you got that shirt you told me you were after! Finishing is such a great feeling, and you should enjoy the glow of the accomplishment!!!

  3. Ben,

    If you think I've overstepped my bounds as a fellow triathlete and friend, tell me so, but I feel I need to say this.

    You need to concentrate on the journey and not so much on the finish. When I did Patriot last year, I was expecting to finish after the race had closed. To me, it did not matter who was there except for Sue and Owen. Was it an added bonus to get a finishers medal, it sure was. But I did this race for ME and for others like me who have been told by non-supporters, that we can't do certain things. When I left for that run, I walked the first 4 to 5 miles and as I explained in my race report got some added motivation to finish running. The only person that would have been able to remove me from that course would have possibly been the police, and not some course volunteer.

    You don't need a medal and shirt to tell you you are doing more than most of the population. Keep plugging along and I can assure you, if you focus on the journey everything else will fall into place.

    Again, tell me if you think I've over-stepped my bounds. I'm saying all of this, because I've been there and know exactly how you feel.

  4. John,

    I definitely did this race for me. I just like being "official". I care less about the medal and the shirt than I do about having my name on the list. Its the sense of accomplishment. You're right on that it's important to finish the journey regardless of time. I really should have found a way to keep moving forward at Cedar Point

  5. Ben,

    I am not finding fault in your stopping at Cedar Point, that's not at all what I am saying. If your body is hurting and you are risking your own health by continuing, then of course you should stop. Don't beat yourself up about that. It's only a mistake if you are repeating what you know did not work the first time.

  6. John,

    I totally understood, and I learned a lot from stopping at Cedar Point and letting myself be stopped at Patriot. I guess I'm just saying I'm aspiring to more than just finishing now. My goals for next season are more than what I've let them be in the past and it's bleeding over into how I feel abvout this years races