Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rev3 Florida!

I've had this race on my schedule for quite some time.  So long, in fact, that I had managed to get pretty gosh darn excited about it.  To me, this race represents the marriage between two of my favorite things: the beach and destroying myself.  I've gotten to do those two favs once already this year down in Alabama but I felt like another state of destruction (oh yes, that pun was intended) would not be a bad thing.  It'd be a good thing.  A real good thing.

Revolution3 puts on a great race.  If I had to describe the "vibe" of the race, I'd liken it a lot to Setup Events but with WAY more cash.  A very friendly, down-homey feel but with that pomp and production one normally associates with WTC events.  This course LOOKED as though it'd be super fun and crazy fast.  An ocean swim (awesome; despite being no way wetsuit legal for pros infinitely more fun than a gross lake swim), an insanely flat bike course, and a flat run course along various forms of water (the ocean AND the canal; a one-two punch of osmo-awesome).

In the middle of the week, however, my thinking took a turn towards the negatory.  As with other times in my life, a Hurricane decided to throw a proverbial wrench into my plans.  Growing up in New Orleans meant that every Gulf-targeted hurricane meant some hurrication mixed with a little panic.  There's nothing quite like living in a city below sea level in between a massively shallow lake and the biggest big muddy river on the continent.  That being said, it was unsure how Sandy would affect the western coast of Florida.

The plan was for myself and Mr Caamano to head south in the man-van on Thursday afternoon; spend the night in Jacksonville and make the rest of the drive on Friday morning.

Our travel was uneventful and we arrived in Venice, FL early on Friday afternoon.  A scoping out of the race site was down and it was obvious that mother nature was striking back this weekend.  The water was wavy, the wind was whipping, but the mood remained mild.  We rested easy and woke up Saturday ready to get all the pre-workout workouts and stuff all done up and dusted.  They were uneventful despite riding 28mph in one direction and 16 in the other.  Needless to say, the weather had not yet calmed.

Saturday evening brought a pre-race mandatory dinner of pizza and a [relatively] early bedtime with questions about the likelihood of a swim on race day and performance anxiety.  I was nervous for several reasons:

1) My bowels had not done their usual movements for 2.5 days. I felt...strange.
2) If the swim actually went forward for the pros (it was already determined the AG'ers would not be swimming) I was skeptical I'd actually be able to complete it.  It was honestly that bad.
3) It had been ridiculously windy the past two days.  Certainly the windiest race conditions I would experience so far (including NOLA '11, Myrtle Beach '11, and B2B '11).
4) Racing makes me nervous.  When it doesn't, I'll stop.
5) Just because a top 4 is less awesome than a top 5.

Race day itself dawned bright (but not too early, as the race didn't start until 7:50; awesome!!) and windy.  We headed over to the race site and prepared ourselves.  I found out the pros would do a simple out and back 1.5 mile run to start the day and the AG'ers would be lined up as we ran in before they started their races as a bike/run.

I knew that my chances at a high(er) overall placing just went up as I'm a better runner than swimmer and I thought the mass start would be pretty DANG cool so I warmed up and got ready to go!

Run 1.5 miles - 7:41

I'm not gonna lie; this was pretty awesome.  We headed out with a stiff tailwind so the pace came very easy. After about two minutes or so I had drifted back from the main pack (pretty big, and filled with some phenomenal runners) but I just held pace until Brian Fleischmann passed me.  I stuck right on his heels and hit the hard 180 turnaround and turned into the wind.  I stuck on his feet and eventually Joe Umphenour (sorry I'm sure that I am butchering the spelling but do not want to look them up out of sheer laziness) came up alongside me.  The two of them lost me a little bit around the final corner and we stormed into the cheers of basically every other athlete which, to put it mildly, was super ridiculously awesome.  It's good to feel like a rock star, even if you want to barf.  I had gone through the first mile in 5:02 (on the garmin and including a complete 180) so to say I had run pretty fast would be an understatement.  The main pack had about a 25ish second gap on me into transition.

men race start from REVOLUTION3 Triathlon on Vimeo.

T1 - :48

I transitioned quickly and headed out on the bike just behind Andrew Starky, ALLLMOOST making it into some sweet video coverage.  Dangit!

Bike 56 miles - 2:15:27

Well, Starky rode off like he wanted to mash his pedals through the earth's crust and I set about minding my own business and minding my watts.  The first thirty miles was basically a tailwind and I felt like I was absolutely FLYING.  It was actually kind of hard to hold watts (which I later decided was a combination of tailwind and massive stomach discomfort) as we blasted down the flat roads at 30mph.  The race was pretty uneventful to mile 30, where I passed through an aid station and replaced my bottle of water in between the aero extensions.  At mile 31 I crossed an intersection with a big bump and the bottle flew out at 25mph.  I had only this one bottle and no shot at replacement for another 35-40 minutes so I made the decision to turn around and pick it up.  There had been a couple of guys getting closer in front of me and no one in sight behind me so this decision was not reached lightly.  I turned around and found the bottle in the grass but it had emptied upon impact, leaving me with nothing.  I said a slightly exasperated word of exclamation and headed back on my way, water-less for the next 15ish miles.

It was warm and now it was a solid headwind for the rest of the ride.  I had mentally skipped a beat or two with the knowledge of what was to come the next 20+ miles.  I put my head down and tried to punch as small a hole as possible the rest of the way.  I managed to pass some more guys the last 15 miles despite feeling like I was crawling (and, according to my watts, I pretty much was) and while dealing with some cramps in my calf and hip flexor.

The last 5 miles were the worst as I KNEW that I was falling apart a little bit (I had gotten water and chugged as much as possible at mile 45 in addition to getting in as many calories as I'd originally planned) and the thought of running was starting to seem more far-fetched.  I rolled into T2 to the cheers of altogether too many people and in (what I think was) a good position.

T2 - :51

Getting off the bike and taking off helmet, putting on shoes, and grabbing stuff was an exercise in trying not to cramp fully.  I headed out and as I was running my calf was firing off it's displeasure at running.  Not awesome.

Run 13.1 - (or just 1 mile-ish) - 10ish minutes

I ran out of T2, grabbed some water from the volunteers to drink and some to pour over myself and tried to run away from my pain and misfortune.  Unfortunately, my pain and misfortune were much faster than me and less than 100meters into the run my calf locked up completely.  I stretched it out on the curb for a little while before heading further onto the run course.  I didn't make it far, however, before the ol' cramp monster reared it's fugly head again. To make a long story short, I wrestled with running and stopping for about a mile before I decided I didn't feel like doing that for 2+ hours.  I'd had my fill of that at Augusta last year.  I was proud to finish there, but the cramping was also less intense and it was more of a massive stomach baby that had grown inside of me.  This year, finishing was not in my cards.  I turned in my chip.  Boom.  For better or for worse.

Searchable Results HERE

Even though my race didn't go as expected/hoped, I loved seeing Chris have a great race and dealing with the altered course in a smooth stride.  He learned a lot in his first half in several years, stringing together a 2:18 with a 1:32 to set big PB's in both.  It was great seeing Tara gut out a really tough run to finish in second amateur female, continuing to place as one of the top female age groupers at every Rev3 race she attends.

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend and despite (sort of) ending my season on a sad note, I know that it was not a fitness issue.  I am a better swimmer than I was last year.  I am riding stronger, faster, and more awesomer than I was last year.  I am a far better looking runner than I was last year and MAY even be a lot faster.  Who knows.

Oh wait, I do.

Next week will be a fun little make-believe "race" at Shipwreck Sprinternational, the sight of many a catastrophic triathlon failure last year.  It'll be epic.  And somehow incredibly relaxing.  I may or may not have mentioned this, but I LOVE the beach!!!!

No comments: