Friday, August 30, 2013

REV3 Half Iron Old Orchard Beach Race Review

Here is my race review of the Rev3 Half Iron Old Orchard Beach.  If you haven't read about the week leading up to the race and the pre-race festivities such as the expo, practice swim, etc,  read it here
But as for the race itself, here goes:
Since we were staying only about 15 minute walk away from the race site and there was virtually no parking lots near the venue, Leo and I headed out to the race around 4:50 am.  It was a very calm walk.  I'm usually hyper and want to talk and analyze, and Leo is very quiet.  I could feel myself bouncing along and every time I tried to speak to Leo, he shot me a look of "can you please shut up, it's early".  

So by the time we got to the transition area and start of the race, it was perfect timing to hit the port-a-potties.  Everyone who knows me knows that I need like 3-4 trips to the bathroom before every run, race, ride.  It's weird, but I feel really comfortable doing that and since there were no lines, I went straight to do my business. From there, I headed to my already racked bike and started to unpack.  I really liked how spaced out Rev3 makes each competitor.  They do a great job of not having athletes fight over such a small amount of real estate.  Even better was that there were 2 bikes that were never checked in the night before, so that left 2 more open areas for a few of us to share.  None of us were complaining 1 bit.  And of course, I was the one who suggested that we take over and use those open slots.  I'm not shy or ashamed one bit.  Unpacking and setting my gear up took surprisingly more time that normal this morning.  I've had it down to where all I needed was like 10 minutes, but for some reason I took a lot longer today.  And that's with packing things and mixing my drinks the night before.  Weird, but it didn't affect the race one bit. 
All set, ready to jump on and go

So after putting my HoneyMaxx bottles on my bike, I laid out my run gear, Body Glided up, and took the walk to the beach for the start of the race. 

quick note- Mixing HoneyMaxx the night before the race in warm water and having it dissolve then putting it in the refrigerator was key.  It has never tasted so good, and dissolved even better than before.
Leo told me he would meet me down at the beach since he wanted to drop off shoes to run from the water to the transition area (it was about a .3 mile run) so I took the journey alone.  No worries, I warmed up and jogged it.  Once at the beach, it was time to as Barney Stinson would say "Wetsuit Up". Once I was in my wetsuit I kept looking around for Leo. He couldn't have been far.  But after about 5-10 minutes of scanning, and not seeing him, I decided I needed to get in the water and do my swim warm up.  So I jumped in the water and was quickly woken up by the warm and toasty 59 degree water temp.  My face was so frigid after being in the water for only 5 minutes, I didn't know how I was going to make it through the whole swim.  Everyone was so cold it was actually quite funny.  But I decided to internally heat up my wetsuit to keep me warm.  If you know what I'm talking about there, then you are definitely a triathlete.
After a few minutes of warming up, I got out and looked around for Leo again.  Still no luck.  But after another 5 minutes or so, he found me and we had about 5 minutes until the start of the race. So we said our good lucks, went to our starting positions and were off.  Before we knew it, we were toeing the lie and the gun went off.

The start of the swim was surprisingly calm for a race.  There wasn't a lot of kicking, clawing, and fighting for position.  I expected more of the typical triathlon swim frenzy, but this was nice and relaxed.  As the swim went on, I kept a steady pace and a comfortable pace.  Having the swim practice the day before, I was comfortable with my pacing and knew I would have a decent time.  But after about 5 minutes (and hitting the first buoy), I noticed the top of my wetsuit was starting to get really tight.  Like tight to where I couldn't breathe.  It felt like I was having a panic attack, but I was completely calm.  It was so weird.  So I had to flip over on my back for a few seconds and to get it fixed, and went off again.
Once I hit the first turn buoy, the swim felt really long.  Like they left the buoys out over night and they drifted out into the water.  I checked my watch and I was a good 3 minutes slower than the day before.  Not good.  But, I kept passing people on the swim and caught a bunch of the people from the wave before me.  I thought I was doing well, and hit the second turn buoy and realized again that my time was slow.  Well, at this point it was just time to sight a big, huge Ferris wheel on the beach and go after it. No more holding back, and I really wanted to get out of the cold water.  
With the low tide and shallow waters, I had to stop the swim a good 50 yards from the beach and run through the water.  Not fun at all.  When I finally hit the beach, I made the run through transition, picking off about 15 people in the process who decided to look for their shoes, take their time ripping their wetsuits off, and whatever.

I also noticed my sister and father on scene.  In the back of my mind I had a feeling they would do this, but since it was early, I really didn't expect it.  But it got my sister the opportunity to take a pic of me exiting the water.

Overall swim:  41:53-  not happy with the time, but a lot of us are guessing they measured the course wrong. No one really blazed this course, so I didn't lose so much ground here  
T1- I got to my bike quick, stripped my wetsuit off, threw my glasses/helmet on and noticed a camera man filming me do all this.  I wish I would have seen him earlier since all I could manage was a "woo" that he got.  However, I did manage to make race video so in some ways that's good
T1 time: 4:26- that includes the run from water to bike

I hopped on my bike and headed out to the course.  This course had fast written all over it.  Within the first 2 miles, I knew it was going to be a good day. About mile 3, I started realizing that about 5 of us were all passing each other then getting passed, then passing the next person. It felt like a big game of leapfrog. I would pass them on the hills, they would pass me on the descent.  Finally we just all had fun with it and started to talk to each other on the course.  The course was wide open so we were just flying down the roads.  This was a nondrafting race, but because we were all doing the same speeds, we all kind of drafted each other unintentionally.  There was just no way to avoid it.  We were all going at the same pace.

The miles kept ticking by.  At the first checkpoint, which had a net gain in elevation, my average speed was 20.5 mph.  That's great since the second half of the race was all flat and downhills.  I realized at mile 30 that I was having so much fun on the course.  When did I ever like being on a bike course?  Never.  But this was such a great course that I loved it. 

Everything was going perfect until mile 43. There were about 10-12 of us all in a line and then a slight hill hit us. Not a big one for sure, but I went to change gears and my chain snapped off the chainring and got stuck.  I had to stop and try and fix it.  I couldn't get the chain back on my gearing.  It was so weird.  Finally, someone asked if I needed help and he stopped to assist me.  I couldn't believe it.  More impressive was that I noticed on his calf that he was in my age group.  After about 4 minutes of fumbling and getting grease all over our hands, my chain got back on my gear and I was off again.

So to whoever helped me on the bike, I wish you nothing but good Karma in the future and help if you ever need it.  You didn't have to do this and I am so thankful to you.  You're awesome whoever you are.  I tried to find you after but I couldn't

Even with that, I closed out the bike course extremely happy and headed to T2.
Bike: 2:37, averaged 22.25 mph the second half of the course, even with a 4-5 minute stop with no moving. I'd say I'm pretty happy with that.

I filled both water bottles on my bike with HoneyMaxx.  This was seriously awesome.  The taste was incredible, it dissolved fully, and I didn't need to waste time grabbing another bottle on the course.  HoneyMaxx was a saviour for me today and I am so thankful to be part of their team.  I had no issues with cramping during either the bike or the run, which was a first for me so I'll continue to be a huge supporter of HoneyMaxx
T2: 1:19
I racked my bike, threw on my Skora's and headed out on the course.  Probably could have shaved 10 seconds off my transition time seeing as it was a descent on the bike and came at us quickly I hardly had time to dismount, but not the end of the world.

Once on the course, I knew I had some ground to make up because of the chain issue.  I didn't know what position I was in for my Age Group but I figured I had no shot at a podium.  This took some of the pressure off of me and I could enjoy the run.  I also knew I was going to see my family at the .5 mile mark so I had 3 minutes or so to look forward to and get my legs under me.  I saw my family waiting on the corner of a predetermined spot and started making sure I looked good for pictures.  I also screamed out, "sorry for the delay, had a bike issue".  Either way, my family was extremely supportive and I was thankful they were there.

After seeing my family, I knew I had run most of the course earlier in the week so I felt comfortable with my pacing.  However, at the 2 mile mark, we ended up going on the trail and not the street I was running on all week.  I didn't know this so I didn't run this part.  Not a huge problem since it was packed trail and very flat.  I started picking people off left and right and knew I had to control myself because I was going too fast.  I was aiming for a sub 1:30 Half, and figured it was definitely possible.  At this point the Olympic distance athletes were on the course with us, so it was hard to determine who I was running against. Some of them were going so fast that it just plays with the mental part of the run.  Once we got to the turn around point for the Olympic course, I knew the rest of the people were all racing the same distance as me. 

I felt great until mile 11 where I was just a tad tired.  Not crazy tired, but it was at this point where I started playing the mental game.  "Should I walk, should I not"  I ultimately gave in and walked for 30 seconds up a hill.  Once at the top of the hill, I started to run again and felt refreshed.  I saw Leo just as I started to run again and he was just coming out for his run portion.  He crossed the street and gave me a high five.  Seriously?  He looked so refreshed and happy.  All I wanted to do was get through my last 1.5 miles and be done.  So I headed out for the finish line knowing that the most exciting part of the race for me was about to come.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most was running through the finish line with Riley.  I said that if I didn't have anyone around me then I would pick him up and cross the finish line with him in arms.  With my bike chain issue, I knew I was definitely going to do this. I didn't care who was near me.  I was picking him up anyway and having a moment of glory with my son.  So at the start of the finishers shoot I met my family and grabbed Riley and crossed that finish line with him.  I couldn't have been more happy

"Daddy, come get me.  I'm waiting for you"
"I got you kid, let's go finish this"

The best finisher's medal anyone could ever give me

Run: 1:33:09- not my best run, but not unhappy with it either.  

TOTAL TIME : 4:58:27  7th in Age Group.  Looking at the age group podium, I wouldn't have been able to catch any of them, so I'm happy.  

Post Race:
Afterwards, it was off to take pictures, meet the family, and enjoy the race.  My family went to sit out on the beach and I waited around for Leo to finish.  Not that I am complaining since it gave me a chance to put some Normatec booties on for recovery.  
These are nice
Once I met up with Leo's family, he crossed the finish line and we met up for the congratulation pictures.

Afterwards, it was back to our house for some bloody mary's, lobster dinner, and my reward of Peanut M&M's
This race was one of my favorite races ever.  Rev3 puts on an amazing race and they know their clientele.  Rev3 cares about their athletes more than the race, which is something that not many companies do.  I will definitely be back for Rev3 events, and have already signed up for 2 of their races in 2014 with a 3rd that I am just waiting on the dates.  I had a great time up here in Maine, loved the course, the event, and the town.  I will definitely be back.

Thanks for everyone who helped throughout the season and cheered me along.  It was a great season.  

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