Tuesday, June 9, 2009

REV3 Race Report

I can say without hesitation that I just competed in one of the most well run races I’ve done in my triathlon career. The volunteers and police support on the course was first class. Every turn was well marked and all the intersections were extremely safe. Although this was a first year event, from an athlete’s perspective, everything flowed smoothly.
The whole weekend leading up to the race was very enjoyable. The Team Timex athletes that live locally and those that were in town for the race were invited up to the Timex headquarters on Friday to meet some of the fantastic Timex employees and tour the facility. It was a great opportunity to catch up with teammates and learn a lot from the experts at Timex.
Race morning: I had a good pre-race routine as I made sure to have a solid breakfast three hours before the race start. The only glitch of the morning happened when I opened the trunk of my truck when we parked at the race site and I realized I had left my water bottles (with all my calories) and gel flask at home in my refrigerator. It’s one of those things that no matter how many races you do; a good reminder list of necessary items is just priceless. After I had my moment of “deer in headlights” fright, I quickly called teammate Ian Ray, as I knew he was planning on traveling up to the race to spectate for the day. Fortunately, I caught him as he was heading out his door and he was able to grab my stuff.The transition area was a buzz of energy, as Heather Gollnick was busy interviewing Pro and Amateur athletes all morning. The effort and professionalism of this race was very impressive. The swim start was very organized and the crew quickly moved each swim wave through the coral and to the edge of the water for departure. My wave was the fourth of the morning: 1. Pro Men 2. Pro Women 3. M30-34, 4. M35-39. My game plan was to try to get out quickly, get some clear water, and see if I could find some feet that I could draft behind. I noticed two guys moving quickly up the middle of the splashing and I veered over to get behind them. I was able to get right on the feet of one of the guys. However after about 200 meters, all of a sudden he stopped and started breaststroke. I was able to slide by him and bridge up to the guy in front of him. I settled in and found the pace comfortable. One thing that is very interesting about getting a draft in the swim is how much it can really bring the perceived effort down. I knew the pace was pretty good as every time I tried to swing out wide and swim up past, I could only get up to the guy’s knees. So I settled in and proceeded to slap his feet every couple of strokes. At the halfway point I had found a good rhythm and I decided to try to move past one more time. This time I was able to move past, but the reality was that we were both swimming about the same speed and he just tucked in behind me. This was fair, though, since I had taken advantage of his draft for the first half. I realized as we were coming out of the water that the guy was my friend Mitch West. I felt very comfortable throughout the entire swim in my Aquasphere wetsuit and I was looking forward to the challenging ride ahead. Swim: 27:12

I tried to move through transition with a steady effort. I was out onto the bike and excited for the opportunity to ride my Trek SSL over the rolling hills. My coach, Paul Regensburg, had asked me to follow a gameplan that included holding back a little bit on the bike. I had just come off my biggest running volume week ever and he thought it would be a good race to hold back on the bike and see if I could really attack the run. I followed the game plan and I focused on monitoring perceived effort, heart rate, and my power from my Cycleops power meter. The bike was going well and I was focusing on taking my fluid calories on a regular basis. Then at mile 27, in the middle of the 7-mile climb, I was tensing up a bit and my left hamstring locked up on me out of nowhere. I quickly reached into my back pocket and grabbed an endurolyte tab. I’ve had some cramping issues in the past on the bike, but previously it’s happened on warmer days. I think the effort from the climbs and the fact that I must have been sweating more then I realized played into the cramping. The endurolyte tab quickly did its job and I was able to continue climbing without further issues. The remainder of the bike went well. At mile 36, there was a 4-mile out and back section that was a great opportunity to get a look at the pros in front and the fellow amateurs. I came off the bike in 2:25:01 and I was pleased that I had followed the game plan. I felt really good and I was excited for the run to see if the recent training would pay dividends.
The first mile was downhill, which was nice to help to get the cadence into gear. I felt really good running in my K-Swiss K onas. I was a little nervous, as I had never felt so fresh coming off the bike before. I found a good rhythm for the first 4 miles. As I was approaching the six mile marker my hamstring and inside quad starting cramping pretty severely. I was still about a half-mile from the next aid station, but I was just about at a downhill section. I was able to hit the downhill and the pounding of my stride on the gravel worked to loosen my leg up enough to make it to the aid station where I took another endurolyte and grabbed everything they were offering. I’ve never really experienced cramping issues on the run before and I was really nervous. I had been feeling really strong and I wanted to see if I could put a good run effort together. For the remainder of the run I grabbed everything the aid stations were offering and I even took a
gel at mile 8.

Whatever you've gotI’ve only taken liquid calories, during the run section, on all of my races. I’ve always been too concerned about GI issues. Well, this time I was more concerned about cramping and I didn’t want to have to stop and walk. So I guess the lesson is, you never can predict the variables of a race and all the preparation in world can still leave openings for first time factors. The attention to volume that I was giving to the aid stations seemed to pay off as I felt well fueled for the remainder of the run and my energy levels stayed high. I saw a lot of Timex teammates on the course in addition to Ian, Keith, Tristan, and Ben. The support and camaraderie on the Timex team is just fantastic.As I came into the finish line, it was apparent that fatigue was starting to settle in as my form was kind of all over the place.

arms to the right, legs to leftMy family was able to make the trip up to see the finish and it was a tremendous feeling to see my three little boys as I crossed the finish line. I finished the run in 1:20:07 and a final overall time of 4:15:03. I was really happy to learn that I ended up as the 1st amateur and 10th place overall.I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this race. It was a very challenging but fair course. I feel that REV3 put on one of the best races that I’ve ever participated in.

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