Location: Sandusky, OH
Overall Time: 6:51:10
Swim Time (1.2 miles): 41:01
Bike Time (56 miles): 3:21:51
Run Time (13.1 miles): 2:37:21
Division Place (Athena): 6/16
Gender Place: 158/246
Overall Place: 549/706
When 2013 rang in, I had big dreams for this race. It was going to be my first 140.6. I was going to push myself further than I ever had. I was going to commit myself 110% to reaching my goal.
But then, my body revolted. I started gaining weight. I was tired all the time. An easy three mile run was affecting my body in the same way that a half marathon race does. I wasn't recovering, yet there didn't appear to be anything medically wrong with me. After two months of searching, we figured out that my cortisol levels were out of whack and they were being compounded by the fact that I was suffering from hypoglycemia.
My body needed to recover. I needed to find the right balance of nutrients to stop my blood sugar from crashing. I knew I couldn't do that while training 15-20 hours a week. So, I made a decision that at the time, I really didn't want to make. I switched to the 70.3 and made the goal to get my health back to normal and to just finish the race. 140.6 would be there waiting for me if I ever felt compelled to find it.
So, I worked with a nutritionist and found a way to eat that kept my blood sugar stable. I started to recover better. I no longer felt like I constantly needed a nap. I was improving.
Then, there was training. I used the most basic of basic plans. A true, "just finish" plan that peaked at 9 hours per week, a big drop from my previous 70.3 training which peaked at 15 hours. And while I had no doubt I could finish, I didn't truly feel ready to race. And shockingly, I was 100% okay with that. I was going to have fun and I was going to cross that finish line no matter what.
And that's exactly what happened.
I arrived in Sandusky on Friday night after picking my teammate, Anne, up at the Cleveland Airport on my way. We met the rest of the Rev3 crew for dinner and while there, I was convinced to run the Glow Run 5K. Although I was hesitant at first, knowing that Sunday alone would drain me, I ended up having a blast. Kate, Kelly and I jogged the course, laughing the whole way.
|Kate, Kelly and me somewhere around mile 2.5
|A Glow Run sunset ...
On Saturday, I ended up driving Anne to her race (the Sprint) and decided that since I would be there anyway, I would volunteer to course marshal the KidRev and SprintRev races. Not only was it super fun, but it was a great reminder that none of us would be able to do this sport that we love if we didn't have people who were willing to give up their day to be on that course supporting us. So, if you haven't already, volunteer at a race. Give back to this sport that gives us so much.
Anyway, after spending half the day on my feet, my dear friend Heidi (who also raced the Half Rev) and I left around 1:30 to go relax for the rest of the day. After a big lunch at Chipotle and a light dinner at the Italian restaurant across the street from the hotel, we called it a night.
Despite sleeping soundly, our 6 a.m. wake up call came quickly. I got up and got dressed and then ate a breakfast of gluten-free blueberry waffles with peanut butter, honey and a banana. While I was eating, we got notification that due to a rip current the swim location had been changed. The one downside to this plan was that we now had a half mile run from the swim exit to T1 (hence the really long T1 time).
Upon arrival at the race, Heidi and I set up our transition area and got ready to hang out until our start time, me at 8:40 and her at 8:45.
|Ready to race ...
Right from the start, I felt good. I easily found my rhythm and mostly stayed on course. I never pushed the pace. My heart wasn't racing. I just tried to stay consistent. (The swim was a counterclockwise triangle on the marina side of Cedar Point. This allowed us to sight off a strip of land that we circled.) There wasn't very much "traffic" as I swam, with the exception of at the turn buoys and even that thinned out quickly. When I made the final turn toward the shore, I remember thinking, "There is no way that I am done. I feel like I've only been out here for 15 minutes."
When I got out of the water and saw that my watch said 41:00, I was floored. That time was a 7:55 PR at this distance, a fact that was enough to make my whole day worth it.
Riding high, I headed to T1, made a quick change of footwear and was on my way. I knew that the bike was going to be dicey. The winds that were causing the rip current in the lake, were also adding an extra challenge to the bike. And since we all know that I do the vast majority of training on my trainer (as in I have only rode my bike outside four times this year - three races and one ride), my handling skills aren't the greatest.
I decided early on that aero position wasn't going to happen. I was being blown sideways and backwards enough to know that I would feel too unstable. So, if we are being honest, I probably lost some time there. Also, I never really pushed it on the bike. I was working hard, but comfortably, if that makes any sense. I knew that based on my training the run was going to be brutal and I wanted to give myself every advantage that I could. Thus, when the wind was at my back at the beginning of the bike, I ultimately didn't take advantage of it. I was still warming up and telling myself not to kill the first 10 miles only to die at the end. So, again, I probably lost even more time there. Finally, I stopped three times to refill my aerobottle. I tried to fill it while I rode, but again, those handling skills thwarted my efforts. I figured it was better to lose a minute or two refilling than it was to crash or not drink at all.
Other than that though, the bike was awesome. The course was beautiful, mostly flat (definitely a climb or two) and fast. I'd ride it again in a second.
After a fast bite to eat in T2, I was off on the run. The plan from the start was to do a 2/1 interval. My training plan was very light on running and my longest run was 10 miles, over a month prior to the race. I didn't want to risk blowing up, so I just tried to be consistent. The plan worked out perfectly until about mile 10. I could tell my electrolyte balance was off and I started getting nauseous. I stopped and threw up but the nausea didn't completely wane. My pace slowed in those last three miles because of it, but I did stick to my plan. (Note: The whole run course is pancake flat with the exception of a small hill on the causeway that you cross at roughly mile 2 and 12. This is most definitely a PR course.)
As I came through the finishing chute, I saw that Heidi had come back to cross the finish line with me. I was so happy to see her (I last saw her when she blew past me at mile 2 of the bike). We decided to go big with our finisher's photo, leaping before the finish line.
I couldn't have asked for more. It was an awesome finish to an awesome day. I was very proud of my performance, especially considering the year I have had. And, I really need to take a moment to thank everyone who helped me get to this point. Thank you to all my friends and family who cheered me on, who watched my children so I could train and who listened to me obsess about this race even if they had no interest. Thank you to my Rev3Tri Teammates for constantly inspiring and motivating me. And thank you to all my sponsors, Pearl Izumi, Compex, Powerbar, Biotta Natural, SBR Sports and Blueseventy, who help me do what I do day in and day out. Without all of you, I would never be able to do any of this.