Friday, August 30, 2013

Rev3 Maine Half Aqua Bike: Race Report

Saturday morning my teammate Jordan picked me up with breakfast smoothies (or as he likes to call them Sludgies) and we headed north toward Old Orchard Beach.  It was great to see him again and we chatted the whole way up north.

Packing for a involves a LOT of gear luckily I'm good at packing!


Once we said hi to a few people, I decided I wanted to get in the water for a practice swim since it would be my first swim in the ocean.  It was a gorgeous day for a swim and I'm glad that I got in for the practice swim, I found out a couple of things:

1) Brrrrrrrr that was is cold!
2) The ocean is salty =)...duh

I paddled around for awhile and decided it was time to get out and see about my rental bike.

I rented a bike from Rev3 rentals and Alex had it all set up for me!  I rode it on the trainer and then around the block and decided it was good to go.  A little more lax than I normally am, I didn't even check the tire pressure.  

Here I am testing out my new Quintana Roo steed for race day.

I picked up my packet and got all my numbers out.  Seeing my name on a race bib always make me a little nervous!

After a full day of walking around the expo it was time for a quiet dinner and early to bed.  Not before a pre-Rev3 tradition of finding the show "Too Cute" on animal planet---I missed Colleen and Chloe, my roomies from Rev3 Anderson last year.

Early, early morning came around and I proceeded to get ready to head for transition. Shockingly I was pretty calm.  Maybe it was because I hadn't fully adjusted to the time change and I was really tired or maybe it was because the thought of a half aqua-bike didn't actually seem that daunting---I'm going with both.   Also, shockingly, I wasn't even that cold!

I walked down to the water (the sand was cold on my feet for sure but not terrible) and waded around (there we go, there is the cold!).  Eventually I decided to even put my face in the water...BRRRRRRR, BRRRRRRRR, BRRRRRRRR, just as cold as the day before, maybe more so since it wasn't even 7am; however, I told myself to suck it up and that at least it was cleaner than the Willamette back in Oregon-ha! 

Before I knew it, my wave was getting ready, and around 6:25 the gun went off and I was running toward the water.

My goal for the swim was to practice sighting into the sun and just generally get used to swimming with others again.  It really wasn't too bad.  I was super nervous about the water--the salt, the cold, the dark, the current but after a few strokes I got into a groove and was happily swimming along.  I hit the first turn buoy and was pretty numb but still enjoying myself.

As I was swimming parallel to the shore it occurred to me that the swim was probably going to be long.  I was still enjoying myself and began passing cap colors ahead of me but kept the pace relaxed and moving toward the final turn buoy.

When I hit the final turn buoy it was great.  Sighting was a breeze, there was a big ferris wheel along the shore and the Rev3 arch was very visible. I was just continuing to enjoy myself.

I hit the beach and looked at my watch.  Eeeeeeegads that was a slow swim--I'm used to being in the 37 minute range so when I saw a time well over 40 minutes (43:52) I was a little disappointed but also figured the course was long.  Later my watched measured 1.49 miles, so a long swim but a good swim, I'll take it.

Looking at my watch thinking...whoa slow swim.

Running up from the beach, I felt good.  Sometimes I get out of the water and feel dizzy but I felt good!  I knew it was a long way to transition so gingerly I jogged on the sand and even a little on the pavement; however, a bare foot (healing from a break) on pavement didn't feel great so I mostly walked from the beach to transition---a good half a mile or so. Hence the T1 time of....9:01.

When I got to my bike, I was the only one in my row, which was great!  Even with such a slow swim time (for me) I still managed to hit transition with plenty of bikes still on their racks.  I took the time to dry my feet and swig some water to wash my mouth.  Before I knew it I was off and riding.

My plan was to ride the flats strong and take my time with climbs.  There are a lot of flat stretches in the beginning and I was passing people--this never happens!  I felt good and was just settling in. 

When I hit the first of the many many rollers, I just shifted and spun.  While I haven't been riding a lot of hills, I was confident that whatever the race threw at me I could handle.  What a shift from prior races where I spent much of my time worrying about the hills!  I got passed by a few people when we hit the really rolly section but not even that many.

I concentrated on enjoying the rural Maine scenery, the sunny skies and the mostly shaded course.   I knew the most major climb would come pretty early on at mile 30ish and I was ready.  I was breathing hard by the top but it wasn't anything too terrible.

I also saw Mandy several times which was fun because we would yell back and forth "nice ass."  Poor girl got a double flat AND she stopped to help someone who didn't know how to change a tire---now, I suck at changing tires but at least I know HOW TO!

The course was marked really well and there were volunteers at all the major intersections telling you where to go.  I passed by all the aid stations knowing I really didn't need anything.  I considered stopping at the final one around mile 50 to use the bathroom but knowing that I didn't have to run I figured I could make it 6 miles.  So for the last 6 miles I tried not to think about having to pee and hammered my way home.

I rolled into transition on the final turn, dismounted and ran across the transition line aka my finish line--total bike time: 3:41:37 (15.2 avg).  What a weird thing to hit T2 and just be done.  It was also kinda amazing, no half marathon for me that day.  Aqua-bike was a great way to spend a training day!
Not sure why I'm not in aero here...must have been bumps in the road ahead or something

Did I meet my goals?
My goals were to have fun and practice my race pacing.  I think I succeeded.  

Swim Goals: My swim goal had been 35 minutes but with a course that was way long and frigid waters, the day before I re-calculated and was aiming for under 45.  SUCCESS!

Bike Goals: My goal was sub-3:45--SUCCESS!  My pie in the sky was 3:30 however, not knowing the hill situation I figured 3:45 was a better plan and really didn't even bother to stress about time goals at all during the race.


After rolling my stuff up in my trusty ikea transition bag, I dropped off my bike with Alex and said thanks.  And found my teammates.  I asked them how I was supposed to get my medal and shirt and they told me to go run down the finish line.  Slightly embarrassed by this idea, I did it anyway.  Let's just say running the finish line after a 20 minute break was pretty fun!  My only problem was not wearing my race belt with my number made it painfully difficult to find my finish line photo.  But alas I found it and true to form, I think I look all graceful and it turns out I really look like Phoebe from Friends (who know that episode she runs through Central Park and looks like a maniac, yup, that's me!).

This one not so much Phoebe but more like manish...ugh, race photos really are not flattering

And, with that less than pretty exit, I collected my medal and put Rev3 Maine 2013 to bed.

Stay tuned for the post-race wrap up which includes a continuation of playing tourist in Boston, also known as the day I ate my way through Beantown.