The Big Story - SANDY
The big story with this race is the weather. Sandy cruised through the Atlantic off the East Coast of Florida a few days before the race and kicked up the surf something fierce.
We arrived in Venice on Friday - when we left Miami early Friday the weather was ridiculously bad, windy and wet.
|This was the rain on the way from Miami to Venice. Yuck.|
|The Amy-nator on the bike rack getting a good soaking.|
In Venice it was nice and sunny and breezy. We went by the pier where the race would be and the surf was really kicked up. After dinner I walked out to the end of the pier with my kids and was definitely thrown off guard to see at least 5-7 foot rollers toward the end of the pier.
|The AG dolls with the birthday girl were all dry for the ride.|
Before the race
Saturday we planned to go to the practice swim but it was cancelled due to high surf.
|This was the surf Friday. This may not look like much but it's so much more than it should be. See way out there at the end of the pier. Big waves.|
|for comparison this is the ocean in Miami a few days before notice no rollers or breakers and the gulf is normally more mild than this.|
|again - here's the gulf on Friday by the pier. See all the white ... that doesn't belong in the gulf that's all from Sandy's winds. Admittedly in other places like NJ or the outer banks this is nothing but for us it means winds and rip currents.|
Then we planned to ride our bikes from the hotel to the race site to check our bikes and attend the pre-race athlete meeting. Also my neices and nephew did the Little Rev Race which was a lot of fun.
The ride over scared me pretty feircly. About 2 minutes into the short ride we went over a canal bridge and I caught a gust and thought I was being blown into traffic. I am not terribly brave on the bike and when the wind grabs my not to deep aero wheels I feel totally out of control. So I was freaked. I stopped twice to gather my wits and keep going. My brother did try to encourage me to calm down but fear is fear. I really was wondering if I would be able to race the next day.
I made it to the race site where we immediately learned that bike check in was delayed because it was too windy. So we hung out and talked to other racers. Watched the little rev race which was super cute and listened to the Athlete meeting where we learned that the decision about the swim would be made 2-hours before race start.
|during the race meeting the sheriff described the city of Venice like this. "Florida is known to have a lot of senior residents. Well all the parents of those seniors live in Venice." Ha! It was a good joke.|
The bike mechanic was busy changing peoples wheels out from the deep aero wheels and I talked to a nice girl who was my size who had recently raced in Amelia Island. She said she had never been so scared in her life with the wind. That sounded like how I felt and I decided then and there to change out my front wheel to the stock wheel for the race. Luckily I had brought it with me.
We finished out the day with dinner at an Italian restaurant and birthday cake in the hotel for my daughter because it was her 9th birthday. I changed out my wheel and also decided not to use my aero helmet just because it's new. My decision was just to stick to what I knew so that I could focus on my mental state and not give myself any excuses to tackle this race head on.
|Cake in the hotel room!|
I went to sleep praying the wind would slow down over night.
I slept on the pullout couch and slept lightly waking up every hour or so. I finally got up at 5 and was very congested, my eyes were swollen and my throat was scratchy. We had all been puffy in this hotel room so I blew my nose and washed my face with a super hot towel and headed down for some hot coffee at breakfast. I also checked the weather - winds 21mph.
|I kept trying to think of visual ways to show how windy it was in photos because ... it's invisible. But 20-30 mph of wind is really windy.|
At breakfast we learned from another racer that the age-group swim had been cancelled. Start would be a time-trial start onto the bike. I wasn't suprised. My brother was bummed because he can swim through anything and it would give him some advantage. But he also knows that there are lots of people who don't have his swim skills so he understood the reason for the call.
|notice the flag. It was windy.|
So we killed some time and then headed over to the race site. We dropped off our stuff in transition and went for a warm up on the bike. I was thrilled with the difference with the smaller front wheel. I felt totally in control of my bike and I was ready to race. I was also sniffling a little bit so I tucked some tissues into my tri-suit.
|In transition our numbered spots even had our name on them. It was super cool. I took mine home.|
We watched the pros start their run which was fun. They are so tall and fit - and of course, crazy fast. Then we lined up and one by one we ran into transition and headed out onto the bike.
I was super excited to get on the bike because I now had my skinny wheel and I wasn't afraid to ride. I was ready to buckle down and go. So I hopped on the bike and went. Right from the start the wind was apparent but not bad because it was mostly behind us.
I was immediately sniffling from what I thought was my allergies from the hotel room. But I was making good time for the first 15-20 miles. We went through what was a section right by the beach - it was the most beautiful section of a bike ride I've ever done.
We also went over some bridges which was nerve-wracking for me. At the end of the second bridge I caught a crosswind which knocked me a good 3 feet to the side and really made my heart pound.
I was first passed by my friend Nick. Then Janeth who gave me good advice and Marty who made rocket noises. Then Jeremy my brother.
Then we turned into the wind and it was just relentless from then on. It was noisy in my ears it was hard endless grinding on the bike and I just felt like I was getting nowhere. I was going 13-18 mph (the 18 was not happening often) and I should say that while a lot of folks passed me I passed a lot of people with my 13 miles an hour. It was nuts.
Around mile 25 I realized I wasn't fighting allergies - I had caught a cold. Bummer. and gross too. My gloves were pretty covered in snot. Gross I know.
There were three water/ supply stops during the course and volunteers at every corner. The volunteers were AMAZING! One benefit of an older community for this race is that instead of high schoolers we had seniors as volunteers they smiled, they rang bells, they cheered - it was awesome. Plus they were everywhere. It was tremendous. In comparison at Motivation Man in June I saw one group of cheering folks on the whole bike (there I somehow missed the one bottle exchange - don't ask).
I was concentrating on taking in my calories (3 bottles of infinit, and 2 gus for the course) and I realized around mile 40 that my morale was low and I was having trouble thinking. I had just passed my brother - who had a flat but I didn't know that then. I needed to refill my hydration bladder and eat my gu and they were all on the right side of my bike. I'm not great at getting to things on the right side of me. So I actually stopped and made sure I filled up my bladder, ate my whole gu, blew my nose and started again. I normally wouldn't do this but it was the right thing for me in this race because even with all my calories it was a really hard day.
In other news my tri shorts and I are not friends. These are Sugoi shorts and they are my coach K kit but man are they painful. They will not be making another race appearance for a race this long. No way. Ouch!
Around mile 50 I actually started thinking that I might not continue on for the run. I've never had that thought during a race but that's how hard this was for me. But then I just sucked it up and went on.
|Finally off the bike!|
And just like that the bike was finished. I've never been so happy to be off my bike.
In transition I went to my bag and found tissues. I fully accepted that I had a little cold at this point. I grabbed all my Gu and went.
The run was flat and pretty there were plenty of water stops with ice and food and everything you could want. It was windy but on the run that's not so bad.
I remembered my watch for the run so I was trying to keep my pace as close to 9 minutes as possible and I did that all the way.
I don't love loop courses but it is nice to see the family half-way. I saw Nick and Janeth on the course and Jeremy too. I was surprised he hadn't caught me on the bike and it motivated me to keep my pace up to try to hold him off. Sibling Rivalry - what can I say.
All the runners have names on their bibs so I took to encouraging the folks around me. Just like on the bike the volunteers were amazing. They took their jobs seriously. It's a long day to volunteer for an event like this and they did a great, great, great job. They wore costumes, they rang bells, they cheered us on, they made jokes. I can't say enough good things about these volunteers.
I was worried about staying hydrated so I took water and Pepsi at each station. I ate my gus and even took a powergel late into the course. I walked each water station because I'm unable to swallow while jogging but I tried not to lollygag. Except the last turn-a-round - I walked that whole stretch and really savored it. I even stopped to go to the bathroom :-) And I still ran 2:10.
The Results 5:26
Okay so my goal was 5:30 and here's a funny thing. I took a goal setting workshop a few years ago and one of the things the woman said was to be specific in your goals otherwise the universe can do funny things to you. Her example was you wish for a weekend with family. Well if you're not specific that weekend with family could be for a funeral. Horrible I know. But in this case I set the goal as 5:30 and I hit it but not really because there was no swim. The universe works in funny ways.
|The best cheering crew. The master cheerleader Amanda is behind the camera but it's her who gets all the kids to where they are supposed to be on time and wearing the cute shirts.|
I'm really proud of my run. I didn't know if I could do a 2:10-2:15 half after a long bike but I did and it was a really tough bike and I was a little sick.
I'm also proud of my bike. It wasn't amazing or anything but I got it done even though I was afraid. And it points out a huge weakness of mine. So now I can work on those weaknesses. Riding in the wind and better bike control skills.
|Here's my brother and me after the race. I was actually chilled in the wind ... or maybe I had a little fever who knows actually. But happy to be with my family and to be finished.|
And also by luck I beat my brother by 2-3 minutes. Okay so he got a flat. but I'll take it. Happy Birthday to me!
|cool medal, cool race, great swag. Good times.|
Other general stuff
This is a great race location. The town and the volunteers really were amazing. The course is very pretty ... I mean some of the bike is just highway and highway is highway but for 56 miles you're gonna get some bland spots.
Rev3 puts on a great race. They were troopers from the start about the weather. They really are nice people and this was a fun time. You can really tell that they are doing this for the racers. When you ask a Rev3 rep a question - you get an answer and not the run around. We asked why bike check-in was cancelled and they said we're afraid the bikes will fall over and be damaged. It was a hassle but seemed honest.
|This is me picking up my kids to run through the finish. I cannot tell you what a great thing it is that they encourage this at Rev3. It makes a huge difference to me. My kids LOVE it. LOVE it!|
There were just under 500 racers for this event. I'm not sure how many they need to repeat this event but I do hope they continue here because I'd do it again for sure.
So if I had one this was my "A" race for the year. I built my endurance for it and I had a big goal. I can't say I hit the goal but I think my training definitely paid off. I know that I wouldn't have been able to complete that bike as I did without all the training. I'm not rushing to sign up for another 70.3 before 12/31 instead I'm recovering from my cold. The 5:30 goal still stands for next year.
And just for fun here's the Age Group video Rev3 put together and I'm in it!