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Friday, October 3, 2014

REV3 Cedar Point 70.3 Race Re-Cap. My FRIST 70.3!

It’s now been almost 4 weeks and I really can’t believe I haven’t been able to write this race re-cap until now.  I just can’t wrap my head around that it’s “OVER” and my season is somewhat over.  I think I lived life as before 70.3 and after 70.3 for so long that I really can’t believe I’m in the actual after stage.  Every time someone suggested something I would consider it based on if it would happen before or after my race.  Now that I sit down to write, I’m not even sure where I want to start.  This could get long, so grab a beer (or water if you are still training!) and pull up a chair…

Thursday I had everything set out and ready to go for Friday afternoon.  Friday I went into work and the day flew by.  As soon as I got all the kids home from school I set about packing the van tight with everything.  I really can’t believe I got it all in there.  Our sitter and friend was coming along to help my hubby with the kids.  With her, the kids, my hubby, and me, the van included 6 people, our bags, a bike and everything tri-related. 

We were on our way by 6:15pm and we made it to Cedar Point just before the storms broke out.  We got into our room and threw everything in before the rain came and headed to the restaurant (TGI Friday’s) in the hotel.  The service was less than stellar and everyone there acted like they hated their jobs.  We ate over-priced food that took forever, but it was food.  We were sat by the window and we watched the lightning storm over the lake as the rain poured down. 

That night we got to bed decently early and woke the next morning to windy but beautiful day.  I went out for the practice swim to get used to the waves and felt a little sea-sick as I would be on top of a wave and then suddenly I would fall without anything underneath me.  After the swim I gathered all of my stuff for check in and headed out while my family and our sitter went into Cedar Point for the day. 

Check-in was a breeze.  The only time I waited in line was when I bought some gear at the expo tent.  I racked my bike over my personalized name plate (which was ravaged by the storm!) and then went back to the hotel to shower off and head into Cedar Point to find my family. 

While most people would not recommend it, I rode rides and chased my kiddos all over Cedar Point.  We didn’t leave until just after 10pm that night.  My legs and feet hurt.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t doing a race the next day….. Oh Wait…..

I got things laid out and headed to bed just after 11:30pm.  Yep, a little later than planned, but it is what it is. 

The next morning I slept in until 6:45am and I woke up feeling rested.  I hurried to transition to make sure all of my stuff was set up and ready to go.  I rushed back to our hotel room to put on my wetsuit and woke the family up.  I headed down to do a warm-up swim.  The family met me just before the start.

The waves were a crashing.  Yes, they were.  The lifeguards were busy pulling people out of the water from the full and it seemed a bit daunting.

I really thought I would be a bit more nervous than I was, but I guess I was just mentally prepared that it wasn’t about my time, but about enjoying the day.  There was no rush, no concern for trying to get a certain time, I just wanted to finish.   I had written out  a good, better, best time estimate for my family in hopes that it would help them track me a bit better, but I had no idea if I was anywhere close to what would actually happen. 

I was in the second to last wave and once we were announced, we waded out to the 1st buoy and waited for the starting horn.  The horn sounded and we were off-with the waves crashing around us.  It was rough, but for once in my life I was calm and just enjoying the swim. 

I made it to the next buoy and I saw several people clung to it with hands raised waiting for the lifeguards to come get them.

I followed the lines as best I could, but it was incredibly hard to sight since the waves were so big.  I finally made it across the lateral portion and I was looking for the orange buoys and though I saw one.  I swam for awhile until I realized it was a lifeguard wearing an orange shirt.  I veered to the right to get back on track and the waves pushed me in the last 750 yards.  It was a great feeling to get out of the water though.

Estimated time: 40-45 minutes
Actual time: 44 minutes

I thought my time was pretty good considering the rough water. 

The minute I got out of the water I saw my family waving and clapping from the run up shoot.  I high-fived my kids and got the to strippers and headed into transition.  I tried to dry myself off the best I could and got into my cycling shoes.  I headed out for the bike portion.  I’m sure by most standards I took too long in transition, but I was in no hurry. 

The bike course was deemed to be “pancake flat” but being from Northwest Ohio… I beg to differ.  Apparently those who claim that have never ridden on the pancake roads I ride.  I wouldn’t claim that the hills were horrible, but there were hills.  The rolling hills were in the middle of the course.  There was one steep climb, but the rest were just small, but often around a sharp corner. 

I remember enjoying the bike ride scenery and letting my mind wander.  I saw lots of wollybears and a snake.  Only a few miles into the bike my lower back was seizing up and I couldn’t figure out why.  I haven’t ever had that issue before.  It was only until I was out on the run that I suddenly figured it out. 

The first half of the bike was great.  I was pedaling and kicking butt.  The second half was windy and we were fighting that and then the rough road going back into Cedar Point.  I know my mph was much lower for the second half. 

Expected time: 3:44
Actual time: 3:36

As I pulled into the CP parking lot I saw my kids on the side of the parking lot with the clappers cheering.  They almost missed me.  In fact, I think my husband missed me because he didn’t get the camera until after I was past. 

My feet were almost numb when I got off the bike and into transition.  I had to pee so bad that I went into the port-o-potty with my bike shoes on.  I finally made it out onto the run after putting on sunscreen and getting my legs stretched. 

As I was jogging out onto the run course I saw my family on the side and I stopped to chat.  I reminded them that I would do my best, but that I was tired and it was ok for me to take a break to talk! 

The run course is through the city of Sandusky and is just lots of out and backs.  I spent the whole time smiling and cheering for everyone on each side of the road.  I enjoyed the run the most because everyone was so supportive.  Even the guy who ended up in second for the FULL ran past me and nudged me and told me good job.  It’s so awesome to have so many people be cheering. 

My back was having spasms and I stretched it several times.   I kept wondering why I was having back problems now…. Then I realized that I probably strained those muscles while swimming when I was trying to sight the course.  We really had to pull up and out of the water to find the buoys.   Note to self…. Strengthen back muscles so I don’t have that issue again. 

During both the bike and the run I found several Swim-Bike-Mom Army members and I was able to chat or cheer for them.  I also cheered on or high-fived some Team Toledo members too.  It was great to know people out on the course.  I was very surprised to see how many people walked the run portion.  There were very fit men and women walking the whole thing and there were people larger than me running super fast.  I feel like the longer tris are great equalizers.  I really tried to run for a couple minutes and only walk for a bit.  I don’t have any clue what my intervals were, but my average pace was just over 12 minute miles….something like 12:13.  Not too bad for walking some of it. 

Once I had only a few hundred yards left I found my family and grabbed my son (who of course wanted me to carry him!) and my daughters ran along with me to the finish line.  Crossing that line was one of the greatest feelings ever.  I am so proud of finishing and knowing that I enjoyed the day. 

Expected run time: 3:00
Actual time: 3:07

I was extremely surprised that I did such a great job predicting my times for my family.  I can’t tell my husband thank you enough for the patience he had during training and on race day.  I know keeping 3 young kids busy for over 7 hours isn’t an easy task.  I’m so glad they were all there though.

Finish time: 7:42 something.

My first goal was to just finish.  My hopeful goal was to be under 8 hours.  I’m so glad I had a great day.  As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was ready to sign up for another one.  In fact, watching friends online the next weekend made me so jealous because I wanted to be doing another one that soon.  (NOT that my body would have,  but my mind said I could!)  I can’t thank the volunteers and Rev3 staff enough for such a great event.  Rev3 events are so inspiring.  I feel like they know how to related to the athletes.  In fact- because the swim was SO rough they shared that over 60 people were voluntarily pulled from the water during the race.  Because Rev3 is so cool, they let those people choose to finish the race if they wanted to.  They got their medal and hats.  They got the bike and run experience.   To be fair, those people were marked with DQ’s so that their times would not count in the AGAs, but how cool is it to allow athletes to continued on? 

As soon as I finished I picked up my bike and my family helped me to take it back to the car.  I stopped to get my food- walking tacos and then I changed into clean clothes.  I climbed into the car and we headed home.  I wish I could have stayed longer to enjoy my finish, but our kids and sitter were tired and I don’t blame them.  We got home by 9pm and I was at work on time the next morning like nothing ever happened.  It’s so surreal. 

 Here are just a few shots of my Race Tattoos and my tattoos that I made of my kids and mottos for the day to encourage me to keep moving!  Every time I got discouraged, I looked down at them and I smiled and I knew I could keep going.

I can’t wait to sign up for another!  My goal for next year is to do 2 or 3.  I’m not sure yet how many I can afford or how many I can fit in, but I know one thing- I love the 70.3 distance.  The whole day was enjoyable and so inspiring.