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