Rev3 Williamsburg was incredible. Absolutely incredible. Rev3 puts on wonderful races, and I cannot think of a single thing I would change about this day.
This was my second year for this Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic course. (I did the race in 2015 as well, when it was taken over by Challenge, but the course was very different and really can’t be compared.) So of course, I had goals. Well, one goal. Do better than last year.
I knew this was going to be a challenge though. Last year’s race was incredibly fast partly due to some extreme currents in the water, so I figured this year’s swim would be slower. Also, just in general, it’s July. If the day ended up being extremely hot, all bets were off. But I still had goals. Last year, I raced an amazing 3:33:33 (best race time ever), so my goal was something around or under 3:30.
The great thing about this race is that it’s a big race with that big race feel, but because it’s only about 2.5 hours away, it also feels very local. I knew so many people racing this weekend, people both from Mid-Maryland Tri Club and the Coeur team. It’s always fun to see friendly faces on the course. This year, they also added a sprint on Saturday (as well as a kids race) which made for extra cheering fun.
Saturday morning, I got up bright and early (well, it wasn’t bright yet) and headed out to cheer on the sprint race. We got there in time for the swim start, and watched the swimmers enter and then finish. I’m definitely glad I got to watch. Not only was it awesome to cheer on friends and strangers, but it also gave me a look into what I was facing the next day. The water was clearly incredibly shallow, as people were able to stand fairly far out (of course, that’s not the best race plan, as you expend way too much energy walking through water). Once the swimmers were close to the shore and stood up, it was clear the mud was ridiculous. The water was also incredibly dirty, and by the time the last swimmers got out, it looked like they were swimming in chocolate milk. Yum. So we stayed and cheered and celebrated with our friends as they finished, and it was awesome.
Race morning, I followed my normal plan of getting to the race site stupid early. I like to get there as transition opens. Do I need to be there that early? Nope. Setting up transition takes maybe 10 minutes if I’m not moving particularly fast. But I like to be there and get mentally ready and also hang out with people. When people register for this race and list their tri club affiliation, if enough people from the club register, they rack you together, so you are near people you know. This is also nice because you can assume your teammates are friendly and won’t just throw their stuff down on your transition spot.
Finally, it was time for race start. We watched the 70.3 racers start, then it was our turn. There were two men’s waves and two women’s waves. I was in the first wave of women. I walked into the water with a friend and sort of slipped as the concrete dropped off. But since I was in the water, it wasn’t a big deal. Also, the water was warm. Disgustingly warm. The official temperature was over 85 degrees. So gross. It definitely felt like bath water. And unfortunately, while there was a current, it was nothing like the previous year.
The horn blew and I was off. I was generally pleased with how this swim went. Occasionally, I found myself in packs, but didn’t struggle too much to get around them. I also did a really good job sighting and felt like I swam a pretty straight path. The water was super warm though, and I definitely felt myself getting hot. And though I did my best to try to not get the water in my mouth, I definitely could feel the grit between my teeth. Disgusting. Also, my foot was starting to sting. That wasn’t a good sign.
The water was so shallow that I understood why people were walking. I wasn’t to the final turn and my hands were hitting the ground – and I don’t have long arms! So I did my best to keep moving forward without walking and risking sinking in the mud, and finally, I was out. And I was dirty. My poor beautiful Coeur kit. I hope it recovers.
Swim: 29:41 (2016: 25:47)
I glanced at my watch on the run in and knew that I was slower than last year, but thought I could pick up time on the bike. Of course, now my foot hurt. When I got to my bike, I paused and took a look at my foot. There was a chunk missing from the ball of my foot about a centimeter long. That’s good. But it wasn’t bleeding profus
ely, and since I knew it couldn’t be stitched, I just rinsed it out with water from the bottle I always bring to transition for rinsing my feet, and put my socks on and hoped for the best.
T1: 3:04 (2016: 3:03 – clearly I’m getting better, since this year I stopped to check my foot and wasn’t really slower.)
On to the bike. This is a fast and flat course. I was trying to do race math and figure out just how fast I could get off the bike and how much time I could leave myself for the run. I’m not great at math on a good day, so trying to do race math while biking… well, it keeps me occupied. This course is a bit long – 27.2 miles on the bike. I hadn’t actually looked at my splits from last year, since I knew the swim wouldn’t be comparable, so I didn’t have a set goal, but figured something under 1:40 would be good. My foot definitely hurt when I first started pedaling, but it sort of settled into a low ache, and I could mostly ignore it.
I do most of my training on hills, so I’m not really sure what a good flat course pace would be for me, so I just pushed. I was aiming for around 17mph or more. My plan was really to kill myself on the bike because I’m not a great runner, so this is where I can find the most improvement.
The course itself was awesome. Some of the roads were smoother than others, which makes for an interesting ride. For the most part, the other racers were friendly – most people calling out as they passed and encouraging each other, calling out friendly words, etc. This wasn’t a closed course (bike courses rarely are), and for the most part, cars were friendly, though there were definitely a few buzzing racers. I found out later that one cyclist even got hit, though I heard he or she was going to be okay.
I have my watch set to alert me at 5 mile intervals, and I kept ticking off the miles ahead of my goal pace, so I started to really think a PR was possible. I wanted to leave myself at least 1:20 on the run if not 1:30.
One thing I noticed on the bike was that my heart rate was pretty steady and I wasn’t pushing into too high of a zone. This tells me that I have room for improvement in my legs – and this is an awesome thing to discover. I know that when it comes to running, I might have a little bit of improvement left, but I’m near that sweet spot where my HR and my pace are pretty maxed, considering my HR issues. But on the bike, there’s room for so much more.
Bike: 1:34:16, 17.31mph (2016: 1:37:59, so I didn’t pick up as much time as I wanted, but still pretty darn good.)
In to T2 to check out my foot. It wasn’t too painful, and I hoped my sock wasn’t just completely bloody. Shoes off and my sock just had a little bit of blood showing. Of course, it’s important to note that I was wearing hot pink socks, so as I realized later, it might not show much at all. I didn’t take off my sock to check out my awesome wound though and just kept going.
T2: 1:52 (2016: 3:41. Clearly I got lost or something)
Time to run! My first steps while running were not awesome. The wound on my foot had been in my nice flat bike shoes and not forced to bend at all. Now, it hand to bend with every step. It didn’t feel great, but I hoped it would fade.
My goal was just to hold a sub-13 pace and try to move as fast as I could while the day was still cool. My first mile was comfortably 12:43, so I hoped things would hold. This course is an out and back on a paved trail, and I love that sort of course when I know people racing because it’s awesome to get to see my friends and also to cheer for strangers. I started leapfrogging with a couple of people and it was fun to chat with people.
I managed to keep my heart rate down while still managing to really power walk the walk intervals. I think that’s one huge reason my pace has improved so much – I’m really pushing my walk intervals. I also kept dumping water on me and packing my top with ice. It wasn’t terribly hot, but that sun does beat down on you.
I hit the halfway point and knew that things were looking great for a PR. As I ticked off the miles, I mentally calculated how much time I had left, and at one point, I had around a mile left and 20 minutes to do it in, and that was a great feeling.
Run: 1:17:38, 12:32 pace (2016: 1:23:02)
Total time: 3:26:32, a PR of 7:01
I was SO so so pleased with my finish. I felt awesome and even with the slower swim, I still nailed it.
After the race, I walked over to medical to have them take a look at my foot, just to see. My foot didn’t hurt, but I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to fall off or anything. I took off my sock and they irrigated the wound, poked at it a bit, and put some ointment and a bandage on it and told me I would probably live. Thankfully, my tetanus shot is up to date. While I was sitting there with my sock in my hand, I mindlessly squeezed the water out of it (from all the water I poured on myself) and well.. it wasn’t just water. So apparently that pink sock doesn’t show blood. Good to know. So gross. Stacey was lovely and waited for me at the finish and got to witness this all first hand. I have such great teammates!
Foot inspected, we headed to watch other racers and eat some delicious BBQ. I also met Mariah from InsideTracker who is as lovely as she seems online. It’s always awesome to put a face to a name.
This race remains one of my favorites. I had the best time and I really can’t think of a single thing that I would recommend the race change. (Except maybe clean up the water somehow.) I’m not sure what races I’m doing next year, but this one will absolutely be on the list. I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a great July race. And there’s all sorts of touristy things for your family to do as well.