Race Report: Rev3 Maine Half

This will probably be a long post so be fore warned! ūüôā And probably a gross one…

Pre-Race
I had about a 10 day taper after my final 2 week build. The first week went well. I slept really good and nailed all my workouts. The Friday before the race I woke up extremely anxious. I was getting super nervous about the race. I had a lot of pressure on me, all of which was mostly self induced. Several people kept¬†telling me¬†that the only race is against myself. Yes, that is true to extent.¬†I¬†always race my race and race for a PR, but¬†it’s a race. This was my third 70.3 race. My goal is no longer just to finish. I was racing for time and place and I knew that I would be racing outside my comfort zone and that was really the reason I was so nervous. I spent a lot of money and time training for this race (and race season in general)¬†and I wanted to perform¬†at the best of my abilities to prove to myself that I have improved and all that time and money was worth it.
I was also a bit anxious because of the lack of communication from Rev3. The athlete guide was sent out late and when they did send it, the link was broken for several hours. Once the link was fixed and you could open the guide, it was well over 77MB and took forever to load. It was super annoying and frustrating. A lot of athletes were frustrated including myself. I understand that it’s a new race, but Rev3 has been around for awhile and should know better. So, I was a bit nervous about how things might run on race day. So on Friday I picked up my race packet to help ease my nerves a bit.

Saturday I woke up early, despite my attempts to sleep in. Had a good solid carbo strong breakfast. Went out and completed my 30 min brick (20 min bike, 10 min run) in the fog. I put my race numbers on my bike and ate a second breakfast. I headed back to OOB to rack my bike, hit up the mandatory meeting, and met up with a friend for a quick swim. I have never swum at OOB before so I wanted to get at least a feel for the water there before race morning. I ended up running into a couple TriMoxie athletes and chatted with them for a bit, although for the most part I kept to myself to stay focused and in race mode. There were a lot of nice bikes in transition. I saw a lot of Scott Plasmas too! One guy even had the same bike as me, but I had better wheels (even if they are really not mine). ūüôā Another girl in my AG had the Plasma Premium, which is the top dog version of my bike that costs $10,000+. And, yes, I was slightly jealous.

Azul all racked and ready for race day
A Q&A with some of the Pro athletes

I looked through the Rev3 store tent and came across a tube valve extender. I was told by my bike¬†mechanic that I shouldn’t need one because Bike Shop Boy already had one on his wheels. Well, he didn’t. So I sent him a panicked text asking about it. We bickered a bit about it, he doesn’t want them used. I purchased one anyway and put it on my spare tube. I was super paranoid that I was going to flat out during this race because I was using borrowed wheels. After my mild panic attack, I hit the water for a quick swim. It was in the afternoon and it was a bit windy and rough. It definitely made for an interesting practice swim. If the conditions were anything like the practice swim on Saturday, we were in for a real treat on race morning!

Race Day

I slept pretty good till about 2am then tossed and turned for a couple hours before getting up. My dog just looked at me and continued to sleep. I ate my breakfast of a bagel and chocolate Ensure (I really don’t like Ensure, but it’s a good way to get down some calories if you tend not to bode well with solids pre-race). I got everything down the hatch for once! I sipped on some sports drink and packed all my stuff into my father’s truck. My car’s check engine light came on the previous day and I was super paranoid that my car was going to break down en route to the race and I would miss it. (Can you see a pattern yet? I was definitely nervous about this race! More so than I let on to a lot of people.)

I made it to transition by 5:30 and set up the rest of my gear. The girl next to me took up her fair share of room and I kindly asked her if she could consolidate some of it so I won’t step all over to get my bike. She had no problem with that and I really didn’t want to step on her stuff and break something. If that happened to me I would be upset.¬†I got in line for the porta potty to do a number two and then wetsuit on and down to the swim start. I was halfway down the beach when the first wave of athletes went off. Opps, I started jogging the rest of the way. I ran into a few TriMoxie athletes and chatted with them for a couple of seconds. But, again, I kept to myself all morning. I was in race mode and was trying to calm my nerves.¬†Then hit the water to get adjusted to it and then got in line before I missed my wave.

The Swim

Oh, what to say about this! It did not go well and I’m not pleased with my time. The start wasn’t bad. It was my first beach start so I was a little nervous. I decided to start in the front and towards the right and just go for it. I had clean water as I dolphin dived my way till I could swim. I didn’t get kicked in the face at all, but was grabbed by a few arms at the beginning. There were two courses set up in the water. The first turn buoys were for the Olympic course and the far buoys were the Half course. I made it to the first red buoy (the Olympic buoy) no problem and started spotting the Half turn buoy. I thought I was doing pretty good and then I looked up again and realized some how managed to swim to the left inside of the buoy and had to start swimming to the right back on course. I made it around that buoy with minimal contact. Passed a few men from the previous wave that started 4 minutes in front of us. I started heading towards the far turn buoy. I found open water quickly and found my groove. I was swimming quite strong and felt good with my pace. I looked up again and realized that I was far inside of the final turn buoy. Part of the problem was the current pushing me towards the beach slightly, but the biggest problem was my pathetic attempt at spotting. Usually I’m really good at spotting and staying on course, but I was seriously all over the place today and my swim time reflects that. Rumor on the street is that the course was 0.1 miles longer than it should have been. I’m pretty sure that I added at least another 0.2 miles with my Tour de OOB swim. I finished in 38:27. I really should have¬†gone sub-35. I came out 9th¬†out of 22 in my AG, 28 out of 88 in wave, and 45 out of 159 women. I finished in the top third, but still very far from my true swim potential and I am disappointed by that. But,¬†you don’t win triathlons in the swim.

Swim: 38:27            9/22 AG        45/159 Females          173/444 OA

The Swim

Transition

The run from the beach to transition was long. I think I heard them say about 0.3 miles. I jogged it. I didn’t sprint. I wanted to get my bearings. Kristin, another TriMoxie athlete, slap my ass as she ran by me. Jen ran by me without a wetsuit (Did you swim without a wetsuit? I still haven’t figured that one out!) I got to my bike and managed to get out of my wetsuit in a decent time. On went the socks, shoes, sunglasses, and helmet. Turn on Garmin, grab bike, and run. Both Kristin and Jen were long gone and I decided to make it my goal to try and catch them. Ha, both of them are extremely fast and strong cyclists and totally crushed the course! I knew it was a long stretch to catch them, but it kept me motivated. Thanks ladies!

T1: 5:59

The Bike

I had ridden the course five times previously on long training rides since it was literally 3 miles from work for me. I knew the course extremely well; however, I do think I might have over ridden it because I definitely a bit bored with it. My goal for the ride was to ride within my HIM wattage throughout the ride and aim for the perfect VI so my coach can give me an A+ for the day! I saw Kurt pretty early in the ride and he yelled for me to get into my bars. So I did. Then I started working on passing people. I saw mostly men. I looked down at my Garmin quickly and realized that I was pushing too hard and backed off a bit. After crossing Route One and started the “meat” of the course I started to settle in and focus on my nutrition. I had my nutrition plan laid out and I knew what I had to do to ensure a good run. For the most part, I nailed my nutrition plan. I also successfully and rather quickly was able to refill my aero bottle without dropping a bottle or falling over reaching back to my rear bottle cage! Small victories are important too! ūüôā I raced within my zones, but also made every attempt to forcefully pass anyone I could. Early on two girls in my AG blew by me on the bike. That lit a fire under my butt to keep pedaling and I also knew there were a few strong girls behind that I had to worry about. We approached the hilly section of the course on South Waterboro Road and I rode that portion very strong and smart. I’m super proud of myself for that because it a couple of previous training rides I had ridden it poorly. I passed a lot of people on this section, including two girls in my AG.

Around mile 40 I started to get a bit bored and my crotch was really hurting. I started having a bit of a mental pity party for myself. I started to think about how I need to find new, more comfortable tri shorts that match my tri top and how in less than a year I have to race ride 112 miles! My coach has numerous times not to think about that, but I still do. I know I’m perfectly capable of doing it, but it stems from my fear of the unknown. At one point I ran over a snake on the side of the road. I’m pretty sure it was dead already but let out a yelp because it startled the hell out of me. Finally, there was the turn onto Simpson Road. I was dreading this section all day because the road conditions are pretty bad. Luckily, people were pretty spread out so I had space to weave through potholes if needed. Then came the one lane bridge and up a big hill. I crossed over the bridge only to find two guys walking up the hill with their bikes and dropped chains. I felt bad for them because that really sucks. I made it up the hill with no problem. I was good with the hills all day. No hammering out of the saddle up them, just a slow-ish spin up to not kill my legs for the run.

The final miles of the course zig-zags through a few local rural neighbors. I was plodding along when all the sudden Plasma Premium chick in my AG zooms by me! It was a very “OH NO SHE DIDN’T” moment and it gave me the kick in the butt I needed at this point. My goal time for the bike was 2:50-3:00 and all my training rides had both me in good shape to finish in that time. Unfortunately, the headwind had picked up and slowed things down a bit. I started doing some calculations in my head and I knew that if I picked things up a bit then I could probably make my sub-3 hour goal. The Plasma Premium chick gave me that extra motivation to go go go! So I did, I sent the last six miles chasing her down and passing every possible person I could. I ended up rolling into T2 in 3:02, just shy of my goal time. I’m bummed definitely. Rumor on the street is that the course was at least a half mile long so perhaps I could have done it, but I know that I should have pushed harder at times during the course, especially around mile 40. There were several timer mats across the course. I started the bike in 10th in my AG, moved into 12th, and finally moved up to finish in 8th. I also moved up from 49th woman starting the bike to 46th.

Bike: 3:02                         8/22 AG           46/159 Females            253/444 OA

T2

I got off my bike and ran quickly into T2. I saw Plasma Premium chick racking her bike. She beat me, but I was hot on her heels. I also saw and heard my coach yelling and cheering me on. I smiled, but I stayed focused on the task of putting on the running shoes, race number, visor, and Garmin. And off I ran!

T2: 1:48

The Run

I started the run knowing the girl was hot on my heels so I put my head down and focused on running. I’m pretty sure I slapped some friends hands right out on transition, but I honestly don’t remember. I heard people yelling my name too, but I was so focused on running that I didn’t really look up (but I do appreciate it). I was very focused on this run. My goal was to run a sub-2 hour half. I knew it was going to be very tough so I was very focused and kept my head in the forward direction and not getting distracted by my environment. I knew if I did then I would lose focus. I looked down at my Garmin within the first half mile and saw that I was running at an 8:23/mile pace. Not good. WAY too fast so I tried slowing down. Weird thing was, I couldn’t. My legs wanted to go, so I just went with it and as I started mile 2 I did start to slow to my goal pace. It was going to be a long 13.1 miles so I didn’t want to go out too hard. My goal was to negative split the run. The first half go hard, but keep it reined in slightly. Second half was to push it more and really push it the last 5k. I started getting fluids in at water stations and took a gel at 40 minutes. It was starting to get hot out so I grabbed ice and dumped it down my sports bra to try to stay cool at the mile 3 water station. At one point I threw water over my head and some drops hit my Garmin causing it to spaz out and I couldn’t get it to tell me my current pace and time! I started freaking out and had to run on feel for a mile or so! Finally, it corrected itself and I calmed down.

The Run

We merged off the pavement and onto the trail just before mile 3. I hit the turn-around mat for the Olympic people at a 9:13/mile pace. It was a little slower than I wanted, but I knew that I was still okay in meeting my goal time. Right after the timing mat, Plasma Premium chick passed me, but was not far a head. I kept her in my sight the entire time. We crossed over¬†Route 9 and¬†headed¬†up the trail in the Scarborough Marsh. I really hate this section of the trail. It’s exposed and always hot. I have also run it numerous times because I can get to the trail from my work. We continued another 1.5-2 miles until we hit the turn-around mat.¬†I looked down at my watch as it hit 6 miles and in my head I thought¬†“oh, we’ll hit the timing mat in 0.2 miles and it’s half way!).¬†Because I’m super awesome at math while running, in all my brilliance, thought that the half marathon was just two 10ks. Yes, 6.2 miles plus 6.2 miles equals 13.1 miles! Wrong! We hit the turn-around close to 7 miles. Shortly after the turn-around we hit a water station. I actually stopped and walked at this one because I had to pee. Here’s the super gross part…. I peed while walking and drinking water! Yes, gross, but I’m not stopping in a middle of a race to pee in the porta-potty. Shit, yes. Pee, no.

Plasma Premium chick stopped too and started stretching her calf. I took off! And not fast. My pace had slowed to about 9:30-9:40 at this point. I was starting to feel the heat and the long day already. I passed some friends coming in the other direction looking super strong. I was completely miserable at this point and not sure if I managed to muster much of a smile or “good¬†job.” Over the bridge, over Route¬†9, and back onto the final stretch of the trail. I walked through the remaining two water stations on the trail to drink and pee. Once we hit pavement again I knew we had less than 3 miles left and I started running faster. I¬†was really starting to¬†lose it¬†at this point though. My stomach started grumbling and I knew that it could be an issue, but luckily nothing happened. I hit the last water station and knew¬†it was less than 1.5 miles to the finish. At this point two¬†woman behind me passed me and started picking up the pace and chatting. We passed a guy who made a comment “Oh, great! There is enough of you to carry me now!” I chuckled a bit.¬†I made the turn and headed towards the finish. I tried picking¬†up my¬†pace, but my legs were toast. Honestly, I don’t remember much of the last mile because it was a fuzzy blur.¬†As I approached the finish I heard several people yell my name.¬†Then I see this shirtless guy walk up towards me and¬†high-fived me. I remember thinking “Who is this dude? And do I know him?” I actually considered stopping and asking him. I was a bit out of it if you couldn’t tell.¬†Finally I made the right hand turn into the finishing¬†shoot and crossed the line. No sprint finish. No hands in the air. I was done! I saw my father waving in the distance, but honestly I didn’t make the connection that it was my father. The volunteers took off my timing chip and I collapsed into a chair. I sat there for a few minutes with a cold towel around¬†my shoulders until the world stopped spinning. Then I hobbled out of the¬†chute and my coach came running down to congratulate me. I chatted with her for a few minutes and then my father.

Run: 2:04            8/22 AG              43/159 Females               226/444 OA

Total Time: 5:53:04         8/22 AG        43/159 Females          226/444 OA

Post-Race

I got a got a crappy Amatos sandwich and sat down to eat it with Jen C. I watched the SheJAMs Olympic and Rev3 Olympic awards from a far. Lots of great performances done by all. I saw Kristin and she told me my lips were blue, which probably explained why I felt so cold and was shivering a little. I had a little ART done on my right hip since it had been bothering me throughout the race and then headed to transition to gather my stuff. At this point I was quite cold and ended up putting on my sweatpants, sweatshirt, and down vest that I had wore in the morning even though it was 80+ degrees and sunny. I probably shouldn’t have driven home, but I did and survived.

Reflections

I’m happy with my race, but not satisfied. My goal of the season was to finish a half sub-6 hours, which I did. But, talking with my coach a few weeks before the race, I thought I could probably do sub-5:40 if race conditions were good. She agreed I probably could, but it was really hard to predict a time because it was a new race and also swim courses are always unpredictable. The course could be set long (like it was), short, or the conditions could have been bad. There was also a headwind and it was hot. I knew with those environmental factors I was going to be a little slower. I really wanted to go sub-3 hours on the bike. My training rides had me set for going between 2:50-3:00. I definitely had a strong bike leg, but it does reassure me that I need to work on improving my bike fitness over the winter months. Clearly, I’m not pleased with my swim. I’m actually rather pissed off with myself about it. But, it is what it is at this point. I’m slightly disappointed with my run, but I did run pretty strong and I did leave everything out there on the course. I’m proud of that because that was my goal for the day.

This was my first attempt at actually racing a 70.3 race. Pumpkinman last year was to finish the race, and Mooseman was honestly a day to survive due to the difficulty of the course and the weather conditions. I think I did well. I’m completely guilty of stalking scoping out my competition beforehand. I like to know who is in my AG and who I will be chasing all day. Some people have told me it shouldn’t matter and just race my best race. But knowing people in my AG helps motivate me. The two girls who placed one-two in my AG both finished Top 5 overall females and were both sub-11 hour Kona finishers last year! The other girls who placed before me all were very fast cyclist and again tells me that I need to work more on my bike fitness. I’m happy with my placing. Obviously, a podium spot would have been a sweet deal, but I knew the level of competition at this race was going to be strong and fast. I’m happy that I was able to finish the top third-ish (36%). It shows that I am improving in my fitness, but I still have A LOT of work if I want to be able to compete with the best. Overall, it was a good day and everything ran smoothly! Rev3 definitely can put on a show and the volunteers and staff really were top notch! Hats off to you!

~ Happy Training!

Four Days…

So far taper is going pretty well. I’ve been sleeping like a baby every night and sleeping solidly through the entire night, which is something I’m not use to at all with my insomniac ways. It helps that the weather has not been humid and the temperature is dropping down into the low 50s at night. With the windows open and the fan blowing I can cuddle up with my down blanket and sleep beautifully! It also means my favorite month is not far off! I love September!

I’ve been eating well. Making sure to eat when I’m hungry and to hydrate with water like a champ. Now that it’s Thursday I’ll be cutting out more fibrous foods like veggies and fruit. I’ll still eat some, but not as many servings as normal. Saturday morning I plan to go out for a big carbo load breakfast. Saturday will be an early dinner and bedtime.

The race on Sunday starts before 6:30am to beat the train that rolls through the course. Weather is looking to be really nice too. Since the race starts so early, most of us should beat a majority of the hottest part of the day. Although, it will probably get a bit steamy on the run course. Luckily, Rev3 has ice at aid stations! Win!

Speaking of Rev3, I’m super excited about this race. I’ve been told by numerous people and have read many happy reviews about the awesomeness of Rev3 races, but I’ve been a bit disappointed by them so far. Their communication with athletes really sucks. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because it is a new race, but come on! They should know that we are Type A athletes who want a working Athlete Guide more than a week out from the race, especially since so many people are traveling out of state and country (Canada)! Anyway, more on that at a later date…

I have my nutrition plan for the race set. I’ve been playing around with EFS on my more recent training rides. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I like it, but at the same time I don’t. The favor is a bit too much for me and on my last big brick it didn’t quite sit right in my stomach. I’m going to use my tried and true Fluid Performance on the bike with Hammar gels. I have my alarm on my Garmin to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to eat and drink.

Mentally, I’m pretty good. Tuesday was a bit of a roller coaster though. I was feeling rather confident until 3pm when I got a text from someone that they may not come to my race on Sunday. For the past 5+ months they have told me they would be there, but I guess other things sound more inviting? WTF?! I was really pissed off about it Tuesday and my workouts reflected that. My wattage for my hour ride was horrible. I missed all my intervals and just rode plain crappy. My 20 minute run off the bike went really well though! For a sprint Tri perhaps! I guess I run much faster when pissed off… Anyway, I’m still upset about the whole ordeal, but I’ve brushed it aside. I don’t and can’t waste my time and energy on the situation. My father will be there and my coach who is currently sidelined with broken foot told me that she’d throw her boot at me if I’m running slow! ūüôā

At this point I’m ready to get the race over with. Last night in the pool I realized that I really didn’t want to be there swimming 5 x 300s. Those 300s felt like 3000s! I need a break from the little black line, wattage intervals, and pace charts! I just want to put on my sneakers and run out the door…

But, don’t get me wrong! I’m itching to race! I’m ready and Azul is ready! I have my new aero helmet (although I’m still trying to figure out if I like it or not) and Azul has her race wheels (which, Bike Shop Boy might be selling because he wants a stiffer wheel. So if anyone is looking for a set of lightly used Zipp 404s, let me know!)!! I’ll also be rocking my sweet TriMoxie tri top! We’ll be out on the course in full force and per usual, kicking ass!

~ Happy Training and Happy Race Day!

Seven Days…

And the countdown begins… T-minus 7 days till Rev3 Maine Half-Ironman…

I officially began taper last Thursday. The weekend of the 11th/12th contained my last big long run and brick workout. Unfortunately, they didn’t quite go as planned. I had to change my Thursday and Friday workouts around due to a work conflict. I wasn’t feeling the best on Friday. I had leftovers for lunch on Friday and they just didn’t sit right for the rest of the day. The weather that Friday wasn’t great. The fog had rolled in and it was a light rain. I don’t mind riding in the rain, but fog is another story. I decided to play it safe and ride the trainer indoors. It was a super tough workout to boot! Three intervals of 12 minutes with 4 min @ 60% FTP, 80% FTP, and 100% FTP with five minutes easy spin between each 12 minute interval. I made it through the first two intervals, but pretty much died on the last. I was feeling shaky and literally sweated several pounds worth of sweat all over my poor bike and the carpet. I got off my bike and succeed to drink a couple bottles of water. My body was done. I wasn’t feeling well. My gut was not pleased with my earlier food choices and was making itself known. I showered, weighed myself to see how much sweat I lost, and went to bed after eating a banana. BAD! Yes, I knew I needed to eat food to nourish my poor body, but when I don’t feel well I loose my appetite and I have a hard time forcing myself to eat.

My puddles of sweat on the floor… next time a bucket to catch it all!

I got up around 5am to get ready to go to a boot camp class, but I about passed out on my way to the bathroom. Back to bed. I woke up later feeling better, so I had a large breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt, and some eggs. I drank lots of water and finally felt good enough to knock off my 1:45 long run. I knew my body was still weak from hardly eating anything the day before, but I wanted and needed to get the run done because I had to work in the afternoon. My hands were shaking as I was putting my contacts in, but I completely ignored the signs that I probably shouldn’t run. I strapped my Garmin on and headed out the door. The first 3 miles were uneventful, but a little slower than normal. I was okay with that. Then it hit me! My body was starting to bonk. Mentally I kept telling myself to keep going. You’re going to do an Ironman next year! You need to be mentally strong. Mind over matter! Blah, blah, blah…

I began playing the “run to the next mailbox or house” game. That worked for awhile. Then I hit mile 5 and my body was done. DONE. I walked the last mile home. I was light headed, a little dizzy, and just nausea. The worst part of the whole ordeal was the fact I knew exactly what I was doing and that it was a very bad idea. I chose to ignore my voice of reasoning and just do what I pleased. Moral of the story… Nutrition is key!

Sunday’s workout was much, much better! I met up with a fellow TriMoxie athlete and swam about 1.2 miles at Kettle Cove. It was foggy, rainy, and very wavy in the ocean, but not a bad swim. I swam through a ton of seaweed, but at this point it doesn’t bother me. After swimming, I ate a big lunch and hung out at work till my 2 hour and 40 minute bike and 40 min T-run. It was a HUGE workout too. I’m pretty sure my coach was trying to kill me! It contained 4 x 3:30 sprints, 2 x 12 min @ HIM watts and 4 x 2 mins @ VO2max wattage. I forgot to upload the workout details to my Garmin and thus had to resort to writing my workout on my arm in Sharpie since I always forget my workouts as soon as I step out the door.

The workout of the day

The ride was good. I felt good on the bike, but I was seriously hurting after the ride because it was a tough workout. The weather was pretty good. It rained in parts and sunny and humid in others. I usually go through about a bottle an hour for hydration, but I finished my 3 bottles within 2.5 hours. I was thirsty and it was a bit odd. As soon as I got back to my car I chugged a cold bottle of water before heading out for 40 minutes of running. The run was okay. My legs felt okay, but didn’t have the strength to run fast. Those sprints on the bike (which occurred on the hilliest part of my route) killed my legs. My left side cramped up a bit from all the water chugging in “transition.” I made it though and was done with my last big brick before race day!

Ice bath after a tough brick workout

Last week I had good workouts. My body was tired though and very ready to begin taper that Thursday. I ended up taking Friday off too to rest my body. I needed too. My right hip has been bothering me for the past week or so. I felt super good on Saturday for my run. Azul went into the shop on Thursday to get a tune-up, race wheels (thanks Bike Shop Boy for the borrowed wheels!), and new bar tape (Lizard tape is the best!). She is now one sleek and mean racing machine!

Azul is one sexy bike! ūüôā

On Sunday I headed out to Kettle Cove again for a short swim and also to watch a little bit of the Tri for Preservation. My coach took 2nd overall because she is just awesome! ūüôā I then headed to Panera for some lunch and work/school stuff for awhile. After a few hours of computer work I headed out to ride in the Cumberland/Yarmouth area. I only had a 2 hour ride with 3 x 10 min @ HIM watts followed by a 40 min T-run with 3 x 5 min @ HIM pace. This was my first ride ever with race wheels! It’s hard to tell if I was faster with the wheels. I think I would have to ride both sets on the same course, in the same conditions, etc… BUT, I could definitely feel the difference in the ride. SO much smoother! Plus, they make cool “woshing” noises. I’ve decided that Bike Shop Boy is going to have to pry them out of my cold, dead hands before I give them back! I know that won’t fly with him, so I decided that either I’m going to sell one of my kidneys or start fighting all the hobos for the cans and bottles on the side of the road to return! I only need to collect about 54,000 cans! Start drinking people!! I need Zipp 404s!

My T-run went absolutely beautifully! I felt super strong and my legs were ready to fly off the bike. I even ran slightly faster than HIM goal pace during my intervals. I’m hoping I feel this great on race day! After the brick it was home with another ice bath, compression tights, foam rolling, and a good solid dinner.

Rev3 is in 7 days! I’m excited. I’ve been ready for this race for the past three weeks. At this point I just want to get it over with. It’s my “A” race and I have been training for it the past 8 months. After signing up for Lake Placid though, my mind is already focused on next year. I still care about this race, but next year really is the big dance and I can’t be more excited! I’m very excited about seeing how much my overall fitness has improved and putting in a good, solid race to end my tri season. Mentally and physically I’m ready for next Sunday. I have my race plan from my coach and I have a goal time to finish. So far the weather is looking to be good. I know my wattage/pace and nutrition plan. What’s really nice about this race is that I know so many people from various walks of life doing this race. I’m competitive and that will definitely help drive me to meet my goal time. I’m ready to leave everything out on the course. I just need to be smart this week with nailing my workouts, getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, making sure my gear is ready, and staying mentally strong. I’m ready… Let’s GO!

~ Happy Training!  

Rev3 Maine Olympic Bike Course

Last evening I had a 90 minute endurance zone ride on my training schedule so I figured I would ride from work and check out the Rev3 Maine Olympic Bike Course. I’m very impressed and excited about the HIM bike course so I had a feeling this course would be equally enjoyable. I was a bit surprised to find that the Olympic course is more challenging than the HIM course, at least in my opinion.

Source – From Rev3 Site

I didn’t ride the first 3 miles of the course since I rode from Rt 1 in Scarborough (which is quite the adventure to ride in rush hour traffic). However, I have ridden those miles a couple of times before and they are relatively flat or a false flats with a wide shoulder. The rode is a little beat up in areas so you have to be aware of that when riding, but no gaping craters like some roads in Maine. Once you cross over Route One to Flag Pond Road, things get nice. There is not a wide shoulder or really any shoulder on the road, but conditions are nice (minus the trash I saw on the side of the road for the first time! Grr… I hate when people throw their trash out their window!). Both the HIM and Olympic follow this route. You must climb the bridge over the Turnpike, which is a quick but annoying little bugger! Once over the bridge and back down the HIM people will make a left turn onto Jenkins Rd, but the Olympic people will continue a little further up to take a right hand turn onto Hearn Rd. The very beginning of Hearn Rd is a slight uphill so you might consider gearing into a slightly easier gear to get up over the slight increase before settling in for the long haul.

The Olympic course is an out and back route that also follows some of the same roads that the HIM people will ride at the end. I’ve ridden Ash Swamp Rd (which I now affectionately refer to as Swamp Ass Rd because of my very wet ride of the HIM course last weekend) and Hearn Rd, but only from the HIM direction. The Olympic course rides those roads in the opposite direction heading out into Scarborough/Hollis and then you return on the same roads. Having ridden Ash Swamp Rd and Hearn Rd before I assumed they were flat and fast. Well, in the opposite direction, it is actually a false flat. I was cruising along in my endurance zone when I looked down and realized that my speed had slowed and I was pushing way too many watts. Definitely a false flat! The roads are in good condition, but surprising a lot of false flats. Don’t get discourage here. The out portion of the course will probably be slower than the back portion when your going in the opposite direction.

Once you reach the 4-way stop sign at the end of Ash Swamp Rd you go straight across to Waston Mill Rd. This road is the hardest road of the course in my opinion. It has a decent hill. You will descend down a small hill, cross over a bridge with a slight turn, and then ascend a rather short, but fairly steep hill. It’s enough of a grade that you might even want to consider hopping out of the saddle to climb. As you approach the crest of the hill you will see an orange sign for ice cold lemonade! Not sure if Rev3 will be serving any of race day, but you could try!

After the hill you will hit a nice little stretch of new pavement with pretty views of farmland and flowers in hay fields. Even a tractor for sale if your so incline to buy one. Not sure if it works though. There was a significant headwind on this stretch and actually for most of the course. Perhaps it was just last night that I was riding, but it’s possible that on race day to have a good headwind in this area and other parts of the course.

Pretty flowers and flat section

At the end of Watson Mill Rd you take a right onto Burnham Rd for a mile or so. This road was not in the best riding condition and actually parts of Watson Mill Rd were pretty bad too. Burnham Rd has some false flats too, but overall pretty fast.

Next is a left onto Tapley Rd, which again is fairly flat and fast road. It’s really shaded in this area, which will be nice if it is a hot and sunny race day. I was riding it around 6:30pm so it was rather dark in areas. The road conditions again weren’t that great. Very little shoulder and some pavement cracks.

Watch out for stuff like this!

At the end of Tapley you take a left onto Deer Run Drive and ride through the little neighborhood. This was completely flat and fast and kind of a nice little break from the course. The right hand turn back onto to Tapley is a little sharp so beware of that. Once you make the turn back onto Tapley you have reached the half way point!

The rest of the course just follows the same route back. You’ll hit the hill again on Watson Mill Rd. To ride this hill (which I actually did three times for kicks and giggles!), I would suggest to gear down to your hardest gear and push yourself down the hill (go as fast as you feel comfortable or until you gear out and coast) until you reach the bottom of the hill to begin climbing. Ride as much as that speed as possible up the hill where you either want to jump out of the saddle to finish the climb or gear up to an easier gear and spin up the remaining back of the hill. Personally, since it’s an Olympic distance race and the hill has a decent pitch, I would choose climbing out of the saddle.

The orange “ice cold lemonade” sign that begins the returning descend of the hill

Riding back on Ash Swamp Rd and Hearn Rd is a little easier because you have the slight grade down. However, in parts there is still a slight false flat. Once again you’ll have to ride over the Turnpike overpass back to Route One. The ride down Cascade Rd will be a bit better this time because it has a slight down grade to the finish.

Overall, I think the Olympic course is slightly more challenging than the HIM. It has more false flats and a decent little technical climb on Watson Mill Rd. The road conditions in areas were pretty bad and a majority of the roads had little to no shoulder. However, almost all the roads are rural side roads so traffic shouldn’t be an issue. The headwind was quite bad when I rode the course last night. I’m not sure if it is the norm or I was just riding on a windy evening. Just be aware that there is a potential headwind that will slow you down slightly. The course will be fast. Just don’t get discouraged by the false flats and ride smart. The out portion will probably be slower than the return portion. I’ll be interested to see what people’s opinion of the Olympic course will be.

The Rev3 website does not give elevation charts for the bike courses so I mapped them out on mapymyride.com to get an idea of what the elevation actually looks like. I can also look at my Garmin data too (remember to use elevation correction when uploading data because if you don’t Garmin will lie to you…)

Olympic Course Elevation
HIM Course Elevation

As you can see from the above charts, there really is no climbing compared to courses such as Mooseman, Quassy, or Lake Placid. The hills on the HIM course are slightly longer and more gradual. But there are only a few. Most of the course is flat and fast with wide shoulders. The Olympic course is mostly flat with several stretches of false flats, one decent hill you’ll hit from both sides and all on rural side roads. Either way, it’s a good course. Here’s to good weather on race day!

~ Happy Training!

Weekend Rap-Up

Last weekend was pretty epic, but it lacked in training. However, I did have a kick ass long ride the Friday night before I left for Lake Placid. I rode the Rev3 HIM course from work. Unfortunately I left a little later than intended due to some work stuff, but I managed to squeeze in a 3 hour ride before it got too dark. My workout was suppose to be a warm-up, followed by 3 x 20 minutes at race pace wattage with 10 mins easy spin between, and then a cool down. Being the uber brilliant person I am, forgot my workout as soon as I left the parking lot and proceeded to do 3 x 30 minute intervals. Now, of course, I could have stopped and checked TrainingPeaks on my phone, but I try not to stop during my long rides (or really any workouts). You don’t stop during a race so why stop and take a bathroom or snack break during a training ride? You eat, drink, and piss on your bike like a real triathlete! Speaking of peeing, I’ve been having a hard time doing that on my bike….

Yup, we pee on our bikes…

Anyway, I was kicking my workouts ass when I was in the middle of a race pace interval on Route 202 in Waterboro going about 23 mph when a dumbass in a jeep passes me and then puts on his blinker and decides to take a very slow right hand turn about 5 feet in front of me! I slammed hardcore on my brakes, fishtailed, prayed that myself and my $6000+ bike stayed up right and managed not to slam into the side of the jeep! I yelled at the driver and of course, the only thing he could response with was “I had my blinker on!” Seriously?! I was not a happy camper. For a split second I thought about whipping around, grabbing the driver by the scuff of his neck and hucking his 40 oz iced coffee in his face… but I was good and just kept on pedaling. My heart rate was sky rocketed at this point since I just had a near death experience, but shit happens just like bad drivers…. what are ya going to do?

The rest of the ride went exactly as planned. I nailed my zones and had a very strong and confident ride. I’ve talked with my coach and we both agree that my FTP has improved since the beginning of training and my zones are a little higher now! Based on this ride I know where to aim as far as wattage and time. I’m very excited for the bike leg!

Now, for this weekend. Saturday I did my long run. I was hoping to do it Friday night, but I needed to go home to pick up our CSA distribution from the farm because apparently my father is too busy to take 15 minutes out of his day to do so…. grr… Anyway, I decided to check out the Rev3 run course. I thought I knew what it was, but apparently I didn’t. Opps! I started on the Eastern Trail by the Scarborough Marsh and ran towards OOB. Instead of getting onto Old Portland Road I kept going to Old Cascade Road (which is what the bike course takes) and then ran down Old Cascade Road down to the pier and back up and back to the ET.

I got some pretty weird looks from people down near the pier. I guess none of them are use to seeing runners. I think one in two people down in OOB that day were either smoking, overweight, or obese. Half of them were shoving their mouths full of crap. It made me sad to see all of this. The health of our country really is on a downward spiral. I really hope some of these people will stop and watch part of the REV3 race on August 26th and perhaps be inspired to begin to eat healthier and exercise! Oh, my little public health mind would love that!

Once I hit the 7-8 mile mark I had an “Oh Shit” moment and I mean that literally! I had to go and go soon! I managed to make it into the woods and do my business. Thank God for porta-potties on race day, but I really hope I don’t have to use any during the race! Thank God also for aid stations! I ran with my fuel belt and I really hate running with it. I always get a side cramp on my left side and it’s too big and uncomfortable for me. But I ran through it. Once I hit the 10 mile mark all I could think of was in exactly one year from today I will have to run another 16 MILES for IMLP!! Holy Shit! Not to mention the 2.4 mile swim and 112 mile bike that precedes the run! According to my coach, the marathon at IMLP is really 1 mile x 26! ūüôā

Okay, maybe this wasn’t what my “Oh Shit” moment looked like, but I really liked the picture!

Last time I checked the weather Sunday was suppose to be partly sunny and a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. I guess I should never believe the weatherman! I was hoping and planning to watch the women at the Maine Tri for a Cure in the morning, but I had a mandatory work meeting right smack in the middle of the race. For what I’ve heard it was a great day for many women and they were able to raise over $1.2 for the Maine Cancer Foundation. Congratulations to everyone who finished the race.

After my work meeting I scooted over to my full-time job site and parked my car to get ready for a rainy ride on the Rev3 course! I was suppose to do 4 x 20 minutes at race pace wattage today and I was pretty close to nailing those intervals, but I rode blind most of the time because I couldn’t read my Garmin very well in the rain. I didn’t push it really hard on the course either due to the wet roads and constant rain. I saw one other crazy lady out there training on the course with me. It actually wasn’t a bad day to ride either. I realized that this may be what I have to deal with next year during Ironman training. Workouts have to get done whether it’s in rain, snow or sleet! But I’m hoping for sun! ūüôā

In the end I rode 65 miles and then followed up with a 3 mile run. I really thought today was going to be the day I peed on Azul, but I just couldn’t do it! I tried my darnest and at times thought it was really going to happen, but no bueno ūüôĀ I know I didn’t drink enough on my ride due to the fact it wasn’t very hot. If it was hot and I drank like I’m suppose to during a race then I think it would happen. I know, some of you are probably disgusted by this. But I’m not a real triathlete until I pee on my bike!

~ Happy Training!   

65 Mile Recovery Ride

I raced a sprint tri on Saturday (race report coming later this week) and I was suppose to have a rest day/light OWS if I wanted too. Well, Bike Shop Boy and I decided that it was a beautiful (and hot day) for a nice recovery ride. I mentioned in an email to my coach Saturday night that I would be doing a recovery ride on Sunday, but I didn’t really tell her how long. I told Bike Shop Boy as we were riding that my coach was probably going to kill me. She didn’t kill me, but I got a small reprimand because apparently, even though I was very good and rode slow in my recovery wattage zone, 65 miles isn’t a recovery ride! Opps…

I have a few big HIM target training rides coming up in the next few weeks so I wanted to check out the Rev3 HIM course so on target training days I didn’t have to deal with stopping to check my directions. Plus, I was excited to ride the course after reading Jen from Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood‘s review of the course earlier last week. I uploaded the course onto my Garmin Edge 800. I was hoping that it would give me turn-by-turn directions, but I guess you had to pay extra for that. We did pretty good following the directions. We only took a wrong turn twice. Once up a big fing hill that I’m glad is not on the course!

From Rev3 Website

We decided to park at my place of employment so we didn’t have to pay $20 for parking in OOB. We rode from Route 1 in Scarborough, down to Pine Point Beach and then down to OOB. We started riding around 11am so at this point it was quite hot and humid out. We actually did this on purpose to train for the heat. We passed a few people coming in from doing the course as we were heading out. We took our time and enjoyed the scenery. It was a recovery ride and thus I made sure to keep my wattage belong 120 watts, which is my recovery zone. The first 15-18 miles are pretty flat with a few rollers. The roads are in good shape. This will be a fast section for sure. However, once you get onto South Waterboro Rd through Lyman it gets a bit hilly. There are a couple decent little climbs. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to blow up here or shortly after because of poor pacing at the beginning section of the course. Even though it’s going to be a fast course, you need to ride it smart or else your going to hit the last 15 miles and just die.

After South Waterboro Rd you take a right on to Route 202, which has a nice wide shoulder. It’s mostly flat with a slight up grade. Definitely a headwind around here too. We stopped at Hannaford to get lunch and some lovely people watching. I never got so many weird looks from people in the grocery store because I was walking around in my cycling kit and shoes!

Re-fueling

After our mini re-fueling break, we hit Route 202 to Route 5. There was a horse show going on at the Hollis Riders Club so obviously I had to stop and see what was going on because I use to compete there sometimes. I got yelled at by someone because apparently horses are afraid of bicycles. First of all I would like to say, a) I am not a biker. I am a cyclist. A biker rides a motorcycle and cyclist rides a bicycle, and b) if your horse is a afraid of a bicycle then your either a poor rider who can’t control her horse when it spooks and/or you haven’t done the proper groundwork with your horse to familiarize them with outside environmental noises/objects. What happens if an ambulance or a Harley went screaming by? Sorry, that just annoyed because I was just sitting quietly on my bicycle watching the riders warm up. I informed the rider who yelled at me that I grew up with horses and I wasn’t stupid and not going to make any sudden noises. It was a dressage show. No offense to MiddleAgeRunner, but most Dressage riders have a whip up their ass. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t compete in Dressage growing up.

Anyway, after our brief break we continued our way through the course. Bike Shop Boy really enjoyed the course and for a brief second considered registering for the race. And then quickly decided he’d probably drown in the ocean. He did make a comment that it would be funny if there was a good stinking climb somewhere at the end of the course. Well, his dream did come true. After Route 5, you take a left onto Clarks Mills Road, which I believe was uneventful back to Route 202. We did see a hot dog stand on the side of the road that wasn’t open. Bike Shop Boy was rather sad because he wanted a hot dog. The Route 202 is fast, but with some false flats and a headwind too. You cross over the Saco River and take an immediate right onto Route 117 that is a small climb. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be hurting on this climb and/or blow up.

Bike Shop Boy taking the lead

At the top of the hill you take a right onto Simpson Road. Simpson Road just plain sucks. It sucks because the road conditions suck! There are cracks and small potholes everywhere. Beware of lots of flat tires here. The road also has a false flat too so it’s not a fast section. The road goes on a ways and then a small downhill over a one lane bridge and up a steep little hill. This hill is going to hurt! It’s one of those that is going to separate the smart riders from the dumb ones. If you rode the course smart then you’ll be fine. Just put your bike in the granny gear and spin up the hill. But, I have a feeling there will be several cocky people who are going to try and haul ass up the hill and then blow up during the run. The nice part about crossing the bridge and riding the hill is that you enter a new town and then pavement gets much, much better!

The course then winds through some local, rural side roads that are all in excellent condition and fairly flat. The course then connects back to Route One where you’ll ride back the same way you came out. At this point, Bike Shop Boy and I headed up Route One to hit up the Dairy Bar for some frozen yogurt and then back to our cars. Overall, we did over 65 miles. If we have gone back through OOB and Pine Point we would have hit over 75 miles. Seventy five miles is a long way for a recovery ride, but 65 is okay… ūüôā

Overall, I’m pleased with the course that Rev3 chose for the HIM. I really like how it’s an out-and-back, one-loop course. I hate two-loop courses! The road conditions for the most part are excellent with either low traffic local roads or wide shoulders. However, Simpson Road just plain sucks! I have a feeling that there will be lots of flats on that section of the course! I just hope I’m not one of them! We averaged a moving speed of 16.0 mph for 65 miles with my average wattage of 99 watts. A perfect recovery speed and wattage! I’m excited to ride the course in a couple of weeks where I have 4 x 20 min at race pace wattage. That should be a fun ride! Hopefully, it won’t be 90 degrees and humid as hell, but you never know what race day will bring!

I’m also very excited that Bike Shop Boy is going to let me borrow his Zipp 404s from his road bike to use for the race! Azul is going to smokin’ hott on race day! ūüôā

Zipp 404s!

~ Happy Training!

Mooseman: The Aftermath

My body is still pretty beat up from Sunday. I take this as a good sign because it means that I pushed my body hard during the race. I had a massage by my favorite sports massage therapist in town which definitely helped alleviate some of the soreness in my body, especially the left side. My right hip and gastrocnemius (calf muscle) have been continuously sore. I see my chiropractor tonight luckily because I’m about 95% sure that my pelvis is out again. But, after that course, I would be seriously impressed if my hips weren’t out of whack!

On Wednesday evenings I lead a women’s all-abilities road ride from the best bike shop in Southern Maine, Allspeed Cyclery & Snow! My ride last night was pretty rough. Luckily, there were a couple new riders who were riding at a slower pace so I didn’t get left in the dust in my own ride! I made sure to take a route as flat as possible because my quads were screaming at me at every little incline or hill. I’m sure every car who drove by me in the opposite direction got a good laugh at the faces of pain I had and also my fabulously mis-matched outfit last night. Generally, my cycling kits match each other. I have taken styling tips from Bike Shop Boy who must match his entire kit to his bicycle (including the socks). He would have disowned me last night. I was a hot mess. I was wearing my baby blue and black PVC shorts, pink & black Giordana team jersey, gray arm warmers, and my new black, white, and red 110% compression socks. Too bad I didn’t take a picture…

Seriously, the best compression socks! I have been living in them since Tuesday when they came in the mail!

So what’s next? I will be embarking on a long ass drive to Lake Placid in 3 weeks for the PBM Coaching/TriMoxie Coaching IMLP camp! I just got my training plan from my coach for camp last night and I’m super excited for the long weekend! I have a feeling that my body will be beat to shit by the end of the weekend, but it will be cool nonetheless. I met a couple other athletes who will be at camp this past weekend, but I’ll be super excited to meet some more crazy souls. Perhaps I’m a bit bias, but triathletes are definitely the coolest people around! Who doesn’t love talking about compression wear, powermeters, peeing on your bike, taking a big poo before races, etc.?

My next big race is REV3 OOB, which isn’t till the end of August. I’m super excited about that race because I believe the course is best suited for my strengths. My goal is to go sub-6:00 and I believe that it is fully possible as long as I don’t have any mechanical or nutritional troubles. I also plan to swim Peaks to Portland again, although I haven’t officially signed up for the race. After that race, I will be quickly showering the salty water and pee off of me and hopping in my car for a 6+ hour drive to Lake Placid to volunteer on race day so I can secure one of those coveted spots for 2013!

Other than that, I don’t have any other races planned. I have to drop $650 on July 23rd so my race budget is very tight. Tuesday night I sat at my computer with my credit card in hand staring at the registration for Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island, but I resisted. I think I will probably sign up for the Norway Tri in July. I’d like to do another sprint this summer just to redeem myself from Tri for the Y last month. The Pirate Tri is this Sunday at Camp Sebago and I’m sad that I’m not racing it this year. It was the first triathlon I did three years ago and I have done it the past two years. I love the race, but my body is not ready to race again. I have a bunch of friends doing it plus a couple other TriMoxie athletes are doing it so I’ll go cheer everyone on! And then spend the afternoon riding a newly cleaned and tuned Azul!

~ Happy Training!