The short/picture version (you know it’s a good race report coming when there’s smiles like this at the finish!):
As Friday night came and I spent 2 hours sitting in traffic waiting to get through the Holland Tunnel, I began second guessing my decision to throw in a few more races this training cycle. Having made it through the IM build (relatively) unemotional, a nervous breakdown was bound to happen sooner or later. Luckily, my foul mood passed through quickly after the traffic began to move and I made my way to Ryan’s parents house in NJ where I would meet up with the rest of the Baltimore crew – Ryan, Mike and Courtney. A good night of sleep under our belts, we decided to do our pre-race spin in NJ which ended up being one of the better decisions of the weekend as we would soon find out that June is the rainy season in the northeast.
Similarly to just about every race in the last year, it was raining hard through much of the rest of our pre-race rituals. Luckily we seem to be getting more efficient about doing this on the road, and we were done by mid day and were able to relax a little. Before we knew it though it was time for bed and the alarms were set for an early wake up.
My morning went as flawlessly as it could – this venue is great as it offers close parking and close proximity to the transition area as well as the swim start. Not having seen even a mile of the race course there were definitely some butterflies as I wondered what to expect. Luckily I had plenty of support around in my Rev3 family and it was so nice to have familiar faces in transition, and just before the start. This was a beach start and I was pretty excited for that. I figured it would be good practice for IM Cd’A so I got myself right on the front of the group. We were also the 2nd wave to start – usually my age group ends up close to last (if not last!). Ryan and Mike were starting 15 minutes behind me for once, so we had a mini bet going on: who can get to 5K on the run first. The loser would buy Dairy Queen on the way home!
I would love to see a video of exactly what happened during that start. I heard go and started sprinting, a couple dolphin dives, and swam maybe 25 meters and quickly became pretty confused: where was everyone else?! If I wasn’t in front, I was darn close to it, and I literally had no front pack in front of me to chase. Talk about a different experience! It was no time to sit back and wonder though, so I kept on swimming. As I made the first turn into the blinding sun I adjusted my expectations for a slower swim due to the fact I was stopping to check where in the world I was a few times. Luckily that is a short leg of the U pattern, so I made the final turn and headed into the beach. I could tell there weren’t many green caps ahead of me, and sure enough results show that my 31:28 swim was good enough for 5th in my wave of 100 people, and 9th overall female. I’ll take it!
Onto the bike. No more than a couple minutes passed and I could tell my riding legs weren’t quite there. That’s not too surprising though after I put in a huge training block ending only 5 days prior, with only 3 days of a taper! My legs were aching just looking at the climbs ahead. And, I can assure you, that this course is full of climbing. I would love to come back fresh and see what I could do out there, but instead I was forced to ride smart and stay within myself, very conscious of the fact that any push too hard could set me way back in this ride. Once again my bike computer crapped out less than 10 miles in, so I really was left to just do what I could do. At the out-and-back portion just prior to the 40 mile mark, I saw I only had a small gap left on Mike and Ryan. Shoot! That got me pedaling a little harder towards the end. Unfortunately the winds had started to pick up and while they were far from terrible, it was enough to keep me from really maxing out the time potential on the long descents on the way home. Just about 53 miles in, I heard YEAAAA BOOOOIIIII and knew it could only be one thing: I was caught! Sure enough, not only Ryan but also Mike was there. I did my best to keep them sight for as long as possible, and came into T2 at 2:55. Certainly not a time for a bike leg I’d like to make a habit of, but given how I felt and the difficulty of the course I wasn’t going to sweat it.
As I headed out for the run I actually threw on my Garmin for the first time in a tri. On one hand, I have been dying to break 1:45 off the bike. On the other hand, everything I had been hearing was telling me that Quassy wouldn’t be the course to expect a fast run! So I was going to try to at least run smart, and let the pieces fall into place. As I approached the first mile I saw a low 7 on the watch. Wait, what?! After struggling with what to do for a few steps, I decided to just ignore the Garmin after all and run on feel. This was like night and day compared to the bike…my legs felt light and my steps effortless! Within the first couple miles I had passed two girls and was told I was third. However, I knew that really could mean anything as there were several waves of women who had started behind me. So the best I could do was race my race. On the first out and back I was able to see Mike and Ryan. Ryan checked his watch and looked at me: “You’re flying! You’re crushing it!” he said. I kind of shrugged and said I know, I just feel good! I honestly don’t think 13 miles have ever passed more quickly. I do remember a lot of hills though (and my garmin file here confirms that), but before I knew it I was heading up the long hill in the final mile. I knew breaking 1:40 was within reach so I pushed all the way into the finishing chute and came through in 1:39:01….a 7 minute run PR in the 70.3 distance! Thanks to my teammate Elaine for snapping this pic coming out of T2!
Overall my 5:08 was just a couple minutes slower than Rev3 Knoxville. I would say it’s a no brainer though that this was a much stronger performance, and I am really happy to have put this one in the training bank. It was the hardest course I have raced yet in triathlon (yes, harder than Vegas in my opinion), and anyone who races here has much more street cred to their name!
After the race our plans for riding some Amusement park rides were thwarted by the timing of more rain, but it was a great venue to hang out at, with tons of activities going on.
After refueling on some burgers and pasta, we packed up and made the driving back to Baltimore. It’s surprisingly quick, and being that accessible I think I may just have to make the trip back next year! And while we didn’t make a DQ stop, I did buy the crew Frosty’s at Wendy’s since I lost the bet!
Special thanks to all the Rev3 sponsors for making this another successful day: TRISLIDE, NormaTec, Pearl Izumi (my first time racing in flats was a great success and my feet are happy to be back in PI’s!), Swiftwick, Blue Seventy, and Powerbar!