Race Report – 2018 Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be writing a race report for my first race of the year.  I got to race Rev3 Williamsburg and it was absolutely, completely amazing.

Most importantly, I raced smart, and after the race, nothing hurt that shouldn’t hurt after racing (if you finish a race and absolutely nothing hurts, you’re doing it wrong – or very right).

Heading into the race, I wasn’t nervous, which surprised me.  I was excited and ready to go (and worried I would forget something) but in general, I was ready.  I think not having a real time goal for the race helped in that regard.  I was just trying to race smart and race healthy.  It probably also helped that the course was just enough changed from last year that the races wouldn’t be an exact comparison, so I didn’t feel that pressure.

Race morning dawned bright and early and I was ready.  This race had a half and an olympic distance racing at the same time, so the half racers set off first.  We watched them go, then lined up for our start, scheduled for 7:20.

And then we waited.

And waited.

Rumors started flying about what was going on.  The timing mats were under water (we had to jump off a doc and the water was high so the doc was partially submerged).  There were unauthorized people on the course.  The half swimmers were “enjoying the paddleboard support” and we needed to wait for them.

Whatever it was, our race started nearly an hour late.  And that set off a lot of people’s nerves.  I was lucky to be standing with some friends so we just had a good time talking and trying to keep stress levels down.  I was a bit worried about my nutrition, but I knew I had an extra fig cookie in my bike bag (they come in packages of two, I only eat one on an oly bike, but had shoved the second one in because I was too lazy to do anything else with it – good thinking self).

This year was the first year they had us jump off the dock and swim to the boat ramp.  Previously, the race was in the other direction.  The water was ridiculously warm (something like 84 degrees, so warmer than the air) which made the jump easy.  When it was my turn, I walked up, leapt in, and started swimming.  There was a definite current assist, but there were also some sizable waves due to the wind.  I wasn’t expecting the chop in the water.  I found it mostly annoying.  I tried to stay tight to the buoy line, which was easier said than done with the buoys moving all over the place.  I got clobbered by one at one point.  Maybe too close to the buoy line.  The race had one turn, and once I made it around that buoy, I couldn’t see the buoy line for anything.  I’m not sure if it was the sun, but it definitely made for a tough last length.  It felt like a long swim, but my time was excellent, so that current assist definitely helped.

Swim: 26:19

And here started the fun part.  There was a quarter mile run to transition.  I didn’t want to screw up my left side this early in the race, so I forced myself to power walk the majority of it.  I finally got fed up with walking and gently jogged it in once I got off the blacktop and onto the grass, but it still took forever.  FOREVER.

T1: 6:43

Onto the bike.  This course was the same as previous years, so I had goals.  I’m still not back to where I was this time last year FTP wise, but I knew I had a good shot at getting near last year’s time.  For the first time, I tried to pay attention to my power as I raced.  Of course, I forgot that while in aero, my watch sometimes drops my power meter, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.  (Should I get a dedicated bike computer? Probably.)  I set my watch to alert me when my goal power was low and this was a stupid idea.  I struggled to hold that power on the flats, so my watch was constantly yelling at me.  This did make me push harder, but maybe I should have set that alert a bit lower.

As with any race, there is a lot of passing early on in the bike leg.  And I started to notice a trend.   Women would call out when they passed.  Men would not.  So I started counting.  My final tally was that five men called out when they passed. The rest were silent.  Three women stayed silent and the rest called out.

Obviously, this isn’t an “all men” or “all women” thing, but come on, people.  Just a quick “Left!” is a huge help.

I called out every time I passed someone, and always thanked people who called out to me and told them they were doing great.

I felt like I was pushing way harder on the bike than I had in previous years, so I’m really pleased with my final time.  I was just over a minute slower than last year, and given all that has happened in the past year, that is amazing.  I put in the work and it’s showing.

Bike: 1:35:48

T2 was pretty cut and dry, one second faster than last year.

T2: 1:51

Onto the most mentally challenging part of my race, the run.  I needed to be smart here.  I hadn’t run much over 4 miles since November.  I had been keeping a 3 minute walk, 1 minute run pace in most of my training.  When I ran hills, I had a tiny bit of pain (as compared to the no pain on flats).  So there was a lot to consider.

I started out at my 3/1 pace, but quickly realized that wasn’t going to work.  Why?  I wanted to RUN!  So I decided to try out a 2 minute walk, 1 minute run, see how that felt.  And it felt good!  I basically walked all the uphills, just to be safe, but there weren’t that many.

I felt so freaking fast, compared to my recent run times. I held a sub-14 pace.  That’s huge, coming back from injury and surgery.  And the best part was that nothing hurt.  I did notice that immediately off the bike, my entire left side was tight and the first thing that popped into my head was “Oh, this is familiar.”  This was something I had been dealing with for a while, and it makes me wonder just when this labral tear really happened.  I did loosen up eventually, but it was slow going.

This wasn’t as mentally challenging as I thought.  Yes, I got passed constantly.  But I didn’t care, because I was out there getting it done.  Yes, it was slower than last year.  And the year before that.  But I was finally getting to race, and that was incredible.

Run: 1:25:31

Total time: 3:36:11, less than 10 minutes slower than last year.

I am so pleased with how this race went.  Immediately, I wanted to race again.  This has been my goal race for so many months, and my hard work has paid off.  I do still have a ways to go with my recovery, but I feel great!  And of course, it was amazing to be out there with my friends and my Coeur Sports teammates.  I am so lucky to be surrounded by such phenomenal people.

Race Preparations

qimono / Pixabay

Guys, I don’t know if I remember how to triathlete.

I was supposed to be starting my race season all the way back in April.  APRIL!  (I’m kind of glad I didn’t because that race looked cold and miserable, but I might also be saying that to make myself feel better about the fact that I was broken and couldn’t race.)

But Sunday, I’m showing up at the start line at Rev3 Williamsburg Olympic, so I’d better figure this out soon.

This race is going to be a huge mental game for me.  This is probably the “easiest” Olympic course I have raced, so naturally it’s my PR course.  But I’ve set course PRs each year I’ve raced it.  That’s not going to happen this year.  And no, I’m not just saying that.  I’m in a very different place physically.  I’m still in the recovery phase of my labral tear.  And I did have abdominal surgery four months ago, which set me back as well.

So while my race plan for this race is usually “KILL IT,” this time it has to be “race smart.”  Which really should always be my race plan, but triathletes are dumb.

Mental challenge 1: The course has changed a bit and the swim is reversing directions (to go with the current).  Awesome, I don’t like swimming against current.  But the downside is that there is now a quarter-mile trip between swim exit and transition.  It’s on paved road, but far enough that people can leave shoes at swim exit if they want.

I’m intentionally not leaving shoes, because I need to take this slow.  I wouldn’t want to leave my running shoes, for fear they would get stolen and then I would be without shoes.  And I don’t need to be running in flip flops or other shoes that I’d be okay with losing.  To make sure that I’m protecting my hip, I need to be taking this slow, and the easiest way to force that is going to be walking barefoot.

That obviously leads me to mental challenge 2: The run.  I haven’t run more than 4 miles since November.  I’ve walked much more than that, of course, but not on a dedicated run.  I’ve been slowly working to get back to my normal 1:1 run/walk, but right now, I’ve been doing a 3 minute walk 1 minute run pattern, occasionally a 2 minute walk 1 minute run.  I need to start out easy with the 3:1 pattern and only if I’m really feeling good after at least two miles should I start to think about stepping it up.

Yes, this means I will be passed constantly.  Which, let’s be honest, happens every race anyway.  But it’s going to be a huge mental challenge to have lost so much of my speed.  I’ll get it back eventually, I’m sure.  The point here is to run without pain and finish the race.  I expect to be sore afterwards, but I don’t want to do something that leaves me in enough pain that I set back the progress I’ve made.

It’s going to be a hot race.  The water temp was 88 degrees on Thursday which is disgustingly warm.  The bike will be hot.  The run will be hot.  So being slow won’t be such a bad thing.

Mostly though, I’m excited to get to race!  I’m excited to see my friends!  I’m excited to finally be back out there and I hope this isn’t my last triathlon of the year.

 

 

June Mileage Update

Another month of quality training down.  I definitely pushed this month and am feeling it in my body.  It’s a reminder that my hip is not and will never be healed, but I just have to keep going with my strength work and stretch and remember that I’m still in the recovery process, but I’m getting stronger every single day.

June Miles
Swim – 10.2 miles
Bike – 178 miles
Run – 34 miles

In all three sports, I had my highest monthly mileage all year.  Yes, much of that run mileage is actually walk during my run/walk workouts, but it’s miles on my feet and that counts.   I’m so excited to be at this point in my training.  I do have a long ways to go, but finally, FINALLY I’m really feeling like I’m seeing solid improvement.  I do have aches and pains, but nothing like what I was feeling back in December when I ran.

I still hate going to the pool.  I don’t hate swimming, I just hate the logistics.  But clearly, this month, I showed up anyway.  That’s what it’s about.  (Okay, so my training plan had at least another mile or two on it.  I got close.)

2018 Miles to Date
Swim – 29.4 miles
Bike – 974 miles
Run – 43 miles

 

Racing On My Mind

Okay, not this kind of racing, but don’t these dogs look super happy? violetta / Pixabay

I’m not even into taper week and already I’m starting to think a whole lot about my upcoming race.  You would think this was my first triathlon ever, not my first triathlon of the season.

No, that’s not quite the right way to explain my feelings.  I’m not nervous, at least no more than I am for any race (and let’s be honest, I’m mostly just worried about forgetting something important like my bike or sleeping through my alarm – everything after that is what I’ve trained for).  I think I’m mostly super excited.  Super SUPER excited.

Of course, there’s a lot to be excited for when it comes to this trip.  Rev3 puts on incredible races and the Williamsburg race is definitely one of my favorites.  It’s a fast course and has been my PR course for a few years running.  So it’s a great course to return to.

I also have so many friends racing, both local and from far, far away (guys, Florida is really far away when your running partner abandons you to move there), and I’m so excited to see everyone and get to hang out.  I’m excited to get to cheer at the sprint on Saturday.  I’m excited to eat at the delicious Cheese Shop.  There’s a lot to look forward to.

I’m also just really ready to be back to racing.  I’ve missed the adrenaline of race day.  I’m pretty sure every race morning, I utter the phrase “this sport is stupid,” and let’s be honest, it kind of is, but stupid things can be so much fun.  While I’m far from fully recovered, I’m able to run again and I’m excited to get out there and see what my body can do.

It’s definitely going to be a challenge, since I’m taking the labral tear rehab incredibly carefully.  So far, I’ve been able to run without pain while slowly increasing my distance and reducing my walk intervals, but I don’t want to overdo it.  Right now, my goal is to keep following my training plan, see how this week’s runs go and then decide what walk/run interval I want to set for race day.  And if on race day, my body says “Hey, this running thing hurts,” (and it’s in the bad hurt kind of way and not the “it is hot and running is hard” kind of way) then I will be walking.  And that’s okay.  It’s all about getting back out there.

But I really hope to be able to run at least some of the 10k.  And I fully expect I will be able to.

I’m making a point to not do too much race day visualization just yet.  I have to get through this last week of focused workouts and not think too far ahead.  Next week will be time for race obsessing.

And then figuring out what other races I want to do this season because I miss racing!

 

Cheering Recap – 70.3 Chattanooga

I am behind on my updates.  Two weeks ago, I went to Tennessee to cheer on my friends (and strangers) at 70.3 Chattanooga.  On some level, I was sad to not be racing, but I’m clearly still not back into shape thanks to this hip injury, so it was clear that I didn’t have any business being on the course.  I think that helped prevent any sadness in not being able to race.

But don’t get me wrong.  Cheering is hard work!

Since I was just tagging along and playing sherpa, I let the others kind of dictate the weekend – which was awesome.  It was nice to not have to make any decisions and just go with the flow.  I joined some of my awesome Coeur teammates for an open water swim practice, which was so much fun.  It was great to hang out with so many lovely ladies (and their families) and it was super convenient to be able to get in an OWS as well.  I hadn’t been in open water yet this season, and now I’ve managed to check off that box.

Race morning, I let our racers decide what time we would get to the race site.  So we were in bright and early (which is my preference as a racer for sure).  I met up with a bunch of teammates who were racing, made sure everyone had everything they needed, and then made the first trip back to the car with the bike pump and some other things.

Headed over to race start and found some more of our team members.  I was wearing a giant shark mask (mostly as a hat, because it was hot inside that thing).  It made me easy to find, which is good, since everyone I was looking for was wearing wetsuits and swim caps.  I collected items from some of the racers and then cheered everyone as they entered the water.  I stuck around to see the last swimmers get in, and everyone looked so great!  I was so proud of everyone.

Sherpa Shark enjoyed the view from the school bus after swim start.

I missed a lot of people getting out of the water because that swim was fast!  A number of my friends were out of the water before the last swimmers were in!  I hopped a bus back to transition and headed over to swim finish to watch the rest of the swimmers get out of the water.  It was awesome to see so many grinning faces as people made it out of the water.  I know that some team members were worried if they would all make it out of the swim in time, and everyone made it with plenty of time to spare.  It was such a great feeling.

I then headed back to the car to drop off the shark head and a few other things I had collected along the way, then stopped to grab coffee and a quick breakfast.  I started getting text messages that one of our racers seemed to have stopped.  Finally, I got a text from someone with information.  Even though Ruth didn’t finish the race, I’m so proud of all she accomplished, and her spirit is awesome and you should read her recap of what happened.  I tracked her down and offered a hug and was super impressed by her determination to try again.

Now things were getting busy.  I spent much of the day going between bike finish and the race finish line and then between the finish and mile 12.6, trying to see as many people as possible.  It was exhausting, but it was also awesome to cheer people along the way, both friends and strangers.  It was a hot day, and I was so impressed with everyone (and also kind of glad I wasn’t racing).

As friends finished the race, I slowly collected people and we headed up the run course to cheer people on where the race split and people on their first loop went one way and people on their second headed to the finish.  It was a tough spot to be at when the race time limit was reached and people were no longer allowed to head to their second loop.  Some seemed to know that it was going to happen, others were clearly devastated.  It’s so hard to put in all that effort and not just miss the cutoff.

I was so, so proud of all of my teammates who were out there, pushing through different situations, each doing their best in difficult conditions.  Everyone made smart choices, and sometimes that meant not finishing the race, but being able to race another day.

Being out and cheering was so, so much fun.  Definitely highly recommended, and I’m certainly going to make a point to be at more races in the future.  Just because I can’t race doesn’t mean I can’t exhaust myself on race day just the same!

(Seriously.  I was so, so sore the next day.  So sore.)

Just a few of my Coeur teammates at Chattanooga. We are terrible at all getting into a pic!