Thursday, July 21, 2016

Race Recap: Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3 and a lesson in how to make a race more challenging

I'm horrible at this blog thing. Seriously. No wonder only my mom reads this... (mom? mom? Bueller?)

I'm going to turn over a new leaf and be more productive with blogging. I've already turned over like 42 new leaves in the blogging adventure, but whats one more. This ones for you Mom!

So - second 70.3 this year. And probably the one of the more painful experiences I've had in a racing weekend but more on that in a hot second.

Trekked down to Williamsburg Saturday mid-morning. This ended up being a terrible time traffic wise to venture down south so I stopped at Starbucks for a double dirty pick me up and cruised along 95 South to the sweet sexy stylings of Eric Church for four hours.

Arrived at the race site, picked up my packet - and I must commend Rev3 for the nice DC Tri/Rev3 hat - saw my SOAS sister Erin and her mom and got up the motivation to do an easy bike/run shake-out. Snapple'd myself up and away I went on the bike. Legs felt strong, I was replaying Eric Church in my head, and life was grand.

Life was grand for exactly 14 minutes and 57 seconds.

Life got significantly less grand when I went around some stuff in the road - cruising at 20+ mph on a slight downhill - and somehow ended up going over the handlebars and straight into the ditch on the side of the road. My face slid along the ditch, picking up dirt/stick/leaves in my mouth, and my bike flipped over and landed in front of me. I laid there for a few seconds, not really knowing what had just happened or what to do first. I rolled over and my first thought was, "shit, I just lost all my teeth - I wonder if I can even find all my teeth in the mess of leaves here. i don't want a redneck smile for the rest of my life."

You think I'm kidding but that was my honest-to-god first thought.

I spit out the mouthful of nature that was in my mouth and was surprised when I could feel all my teeth. I touched each one with my tongue and finger to make sure they were all there and relatively firm and in place. I then assessed my face. There was a little bit blood coming from my nose and mouth, the nose itself was incredibly painful, and I was currently rocking a unilaterally shadeless pair of Rudy sunglasses. Next thought was that I wouldn't have wearable sunglasses for the race the following day, so I looked down and by the sheer grace of god there was a tiny sliver of blue plastic peeking out from between the leaves.

Hallelujah. small victories.

As i picked up the shade, I felt a sharp jab in my left side. oh sweet mother of jesus, that stab in the ribs lowered me back to the ground and I questioned by ability to walk, let alone race the following day.

(one step at a time prochnow. just figure out your life and then worry about the race tomorrow.)

at that moment, a couple of dudes on hot bikes flew past. i looked myself up and down from my nest in the leaves and swore to god that if i ever encountered a person in my predicament in the future, i wouldn't fly past and ignore them. karma guys... karma.

(not even the seducing whir-whir-whir sound of your sexy disc wheel will make me hate you less.)

a sweet older couple arrived as i was in the middle of cursing out the cyclists. the woman looked pretty concerned but she handed me a rag and some water to clean up my face and asked if i needed a ride back. i said i thought i would be okay and they said they would stick around until they were able to see me ride away.

i fetched my bike from the far tree and attempted to get back on without checking it over. i know - brilliant.

i fell over immediately.

fixed the brake and the derailleur that were slightly out of whack, fished out some leaves that were stuck near the chain, and did a quick check with the brakes and made sure the wheels were turning without any issues. attempt number 2 was successful. i waved to my new friends and started laughing as some tears rolled down my cheeks. seconds later (once I was out of sight of their van), I pulled over and composed myself. i wanted to laugh at how stupid this situation was and how bad it hurt, but when i giggled, my rib felt like it was stabbing me in the lungs which made me cough and then the cough made it worse and then the tears started coming. i figured out if i pushed in a certain spot, then i could cough and i figured i had broken a rib. meh, as long as I could breathe, I figured there was nothing the doctor was going to do except give me pain medication.

got back on bike and made it back to the car. i stopped one of the volunteers to ask if a medic was around and as soon as he looked at me, he grabbed my left shoulder and asked if i was okay... yikes - my next stop would be a mirror with that kind of reaction... he said they were gone so i thanked him and trekked back to the car. i thought - hell, lets try running. i took my top off and a sea of leaves, sticks, and dirt spilled out. in front of a really attractive man in his mid 30's in the vehicle next to me. awesome.

the run hurt but was tolerable. i did 15 minutes in total and called it good. breathing was going to be rough during the race and i knew i would be hurting even more in the morning once my adrenaline dwindled down.

shape up or ship out - am i right? buck up or go home? harden the fuck up? the race was going to happen unless i was physically unable to walk in the morning. and even then - any forward motion counts right? i could probably float pretty effectively with the current and i could stay upright on a bike. i was golden! tip top shape even!

i hung out with some friends for awhile at the race site waiting for them to check-in. i borrowed ice from someone and froze my nose off. it had started to swell nicely and i was getting some impressive bruising across the bridge and by my eyes.

("hell yes I was in a fight" I will answer when asked later on. "and you should see the other dude. not chick - DUDE.")

calzone for dinner. fro-yo and girl talk in the hotel room for dessert. sleep.

woke up in the morning and did the whole laugh-cry thing again. dear god, that was some serious pain in my rib. i made the mistake of making sure my sunglasses were okay and i saw stars when i put them over my nose. that would surely feel excellent during the race a few hours from then...

nevertheless, I got my stuff together and headed to transition. got everything in place, a couple people asked about my face and we all had a good laugh. well - they did. my laughing kept turning into tears when i tried to laugh and/or breathe.

put on the speedsuit. had never worn it before. that was a treat to put on over my broken torso but lo and behold - i felt awesome once it was zipped up. that sucker was painted on and compressive and lovely - could i just do the whole race in it?

definitely a current. they were trying to keep us in a line and we kept drifting away in the active battle to stay near the start. i felt great for 3/4 of the swim. i felt a small twinge with every stroke using my left arm but it was the best i'd felt in about 18 hours so i was pleased. once i saw the arch, i knew i was starting to fade. i was losing strength in my left arm and i was drifting out to the right away from the finish. nevertheless, finished and ran out, happy to out of the water.

27 something.

tried to book it in transition since the race wasn't too big and transition was pretty small. taking off the speedsuit was pretty easy but the nice tightness around the chest disappeared and breathing became a chore again. balls.

i knew i needed to keep my heart rate in check for the ride. follow the plan... first half at MAF-10 and second half at MAF-5. i knew i was out in front for the swim and that cyclists would start passing me in due time. the key was just to hold them off as long as i could without maxing out my heart rate and killing myself. i started to count the few going by - and it happened earlier than i expected (shit.) i stuck with the grand plan and did my thing, eating when i needed to, making sure i was taking in enough fluid because it was getting pretty warm out there. the course itself was pretty easy and I enjoyed it a lot. the "hills" were nothing compared to what we've been training on in west virginia and pennsylvania so it was a bit of a self-confidence booster. i didn't feel like i was putting a significant effort into the bike so I was excited to get out and run to see what my legs had left. i was able to stay in aero for most of the ride so my ribs and breathing were pretty well controlled. i wasn't taking deep breaths and i was optimistic for what would happen when i got off the bike.


my friend rev 3 ed was standing right by my row so i paused for a picture and smile as i pulled my running shoes on, grabbed my visor, race belt, and water bottle and peaced onto the run.

wait for it... oof. my ribs hurt. breathing hurt. #everythinghurtsimdying.
suffice it to say, running 13.1 miles was a less than idyllic experience. BUT - i had running legs off the bike... it had been a long time since I felt that way! I got into a comfortably painful pace and just kept at it through the run. it was a double out-and-back with the end culminating in a fairly large incline on a bridge. saw friends on course and spectating and just took it all in. I was following the plan in terms of HR and perceived effort and just cruising. I actually started to feel a bit stronger around mile 9 and increased the tempo and pace a bit. before I knew it I was up and over the bridge and I could hear the finish line music. little did I realize it was still a solid 3/4 of a mile through the park to get there. I had just passed a girl in my age group so I turned on the jets... but may have turned them on a touch too early... I ran out of steam about halfway through the park, but when I turned to look over my shoulder, she was no where in sight. head down to the finish - looked at watch and saw i'd broken 5 hours. not bad all things considering.

all in all, it was a punch-you-in-the-gut type weekend with the crash but i tried to step up and perform regardless. no excuses guys - life is what it is.

thanks to Rev3 for a well run, fun race. thanks to Son and the team at Rising Tide :) and Snapple, Rudy project, Xterra, LG, District Taco and our other awesome sponsers!