Only a week behind things here, so that’s not too bad! I wanted to make sure I had time to properly give this trip all the credit it deserves. If I had to pick the next “up and coming” Rev3 event, I would say that Maine will be following closely in Quassy’s footsteps! Not that the other events aren’t great – but this one really has it all.
I was able to fly into Portland, Maine on Friday night, catching a late flight after work. This meant that I was driving to Kennebunkport in the darkness of the night to find my homestay. Yep – that’s right, my teammate Jen hooked it up for me and I was doing my first homestay! Despite the late arrival, everything went off perfectly and I found myself fast asleep in a top bunk in the quiet town of Kennebunkport shortly after midnight. The next morning I got up and properly introduced myself to my host for the weekend, Nick. He offered to take me on a tour of the town, so we hopped onto bikes and pedaled the half a mile into town for breakfast at the Wayferer. It was like going back in time, and I loved getting to meet the locals. Everyone was so welcoming, and so excited to be having the race coming nearby. After eating we pedaled out to the pier and I was able to take in the sights of the quiet New England town. We even ran into some real Maine lobsterman! I have to say, I was already sold on the concept of a homestay at this point – it was a much more enjoyable way to see the area, rather than sitting in a small hotel room by myself!
Then it was time to get all of my pre-race stuff out of the way: building my bike, heading to Old Orchard Beach to pick up my packet, and do some easy pre-race shakeouts. As usual the Rev3 fam was around every bend and it was so nice to have so many familiar (and friendly!) faces. After this it was time for some relaxation before heading into Portland for dinner with the team. I realized how exhausted I was though when I was fast asleep in my top bunk again by 9:30! This was advantageous for me though – with a 6:32 start time the wakeup call comes at 4:00, so getting to bed as early as possible was only a good thing.
Getting to the race was pretty flawless the next morning. I arrived around 5:10 and was able to park in the library right next to the transition (totally work $10 if you ask me). I set up my transition stuff – I was actually racked next to some Baltimore Team Fight friends, Alan and Rachel, so that made transition more fun than usual, and headed down to the ocean for the start. I did learn one lesson here though – totally makes sense to put on your wetsuit before you’re walking in/standing on the sand. I waited, which meant I was putting sandy feet and legs into the wetsuit – not so comfortable! I was just going to have to live with it though. We had a beach start and it was super fun getting to run in and dive through the breakers. I felt good the entire swim, though was out there for a little longer than I would have liked 🙂 Oh well. T1 here is a long run up from the ocean, so I got my bearings and it was actually pretty fun to be running through a crowd the whole way up to the bikes.
As I started riding I began to get a sense of how my legs were feeling. Only two weeks after a big effort at the Dells – with a 20+ hour training week in between – this was going to be foreign territory for me. And after a few miles I knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy day. No matter what gear I was pushing, or my cadence, my quads were feeling the burn. The good thing at least was that lightly spinning wasn’t even much better, so that was motivation to at least keep pushing. If it’s gonna hurt, I’m going to make it count for something! You may have heard that this bike course is flat, but let me tell you that it is “flat” in Rev3 terms. There are no monster climbs, but you have a fair share of rollers and a few that suck the momentum right out of you. I was passed by a couple women so I did my best to keep them in eyesight. I was conscious to walk the red line with my legs though, never quite getting past it. I wanted to be able to have a solid run and that wasn’t going to be possible if I wasn’t conserving the tank of gas I had in me. When you’re only running with half a tank anyway, it means having to stay very in tune with how your legs are feeling. The bike course was beautiful though, and before I knew it I was coming in towards transition.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the run given the state my legs were in, but I was going to give it a shot. And, while my legs were definitely tired, running actually felt much better than riding did. I think I was able to use less power from my quads which were feeling the brunt of the fatigue. I began clipping off the miles, and that’s easy to do when a large portion of the run is on the Eastern Trail. While it’s a little rocky (I wouldn’t run on flats here), it is shaded and absolutely gorgeous…..and flat. There were a couple hills in the neighborhood beforehand, but once you’re on the trail you can cruise your way along. At the out and back I was able to check out where I was in the rankings, and I saw 3 women ahead by about 3/4s of a mile. Grr. But, the best thing about 4th is that you’re not stuck running scared, you having nothing to lose. After about 10k I knew it was going to be a struggle, but I did everything I could to stay focused, keep my cadence up, and keep my mile splits down. I knew I was tired becuse every quarter mile I was adjusting my shorts and tri top – rolled up, rolled down, zipped up, zipped down – all that fidgeting is a sure sign I’m not comfortable. As I hit the neighborhoods for the last couple miles, I caught sight of one of the women ahead of me…..and I caught sight of an “R” on her leg! Ah ha! She was a relay. Well, maybe I am running scared then! Luckily there wasn’t too much further to go, and I came through the finish with a new PR of 4:52.
Afterwards it was all smiles as I learned that I lobster bake actually means you get LOBSTERS to eat! (I thought it meant lobster was baked into something….like a casserole…I don’t know…it made sense at the time.)
I enjoyed hanging out at the race and getting to see all of the finishers come through. In the afternoon it was time to head back to Kennebunkport, pack my bike, and then I had the opportunity to get to know even more of the locals at the Kennebunkport Tri Club end of season party. Again, everyone was just so inviting and friendly, they proved that they are a wonderful group of people and I hope that they continue to support and race Rev3 events!
Unfortunately it was another 4am wake up on Monday morning to get me home for work, but any of the fatigue I felt on Monday was totally worth it. I loved getting to see Maine, and I have a feeling that I will be back next year!
As always, thanks to all of the Team Rev3 sponsors for getting me to a 7 minute PR! Fueled by Powerbar, kept chafe-free by Trislide, looking cute in Pearl Izumi tri kit, leak-free goggles from Blue Seventy, no blisters with Swiftwick, and of course a post-race recovery sesh with NormaTec. It really does take a village!