Rev3 Quassy Race Report - Proving Ground

This past Sunday I raced the HalfRev Quassy in Middlebury, Ct. It was one of the most difficult days I've had racing triathlon.

Goals for the race: Successful test of nutrition plan and beat my time from my last half at gulf coast. (This last one doesn't really seem like a big goal, but going from fully flat gulf coast to crazy hilly quassy, I thought it was a conservative, realistic goal)

Quick note on the race: Just do it... awesome race, awesome venue, great crowd, challenging course... JUST DO THIS RACE! :) If you had only one chance to do the 70.3 distance and you wanted to prove yourself on a tough course with a beautiful swim and top notch amenities, Rev3Quassy is the one you pick.

This is a really long race report, I put a bunch of stuff in here so I wouldn't forget it later...some highlights you can just skip to:
- my pre-race freakout
- meeting Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae
- race day


Quassy Rev3 was my third 70.3 distance race, and my entire goal for the race was to prove my nutrition plan to myself. Every 70.3 I've done before this something has gone wrong with my nutrition. (For any non-triathlon folks reading this, "nutrition" is the general term for the stuff we eat and drink during the race to keep our glycogen, electrolytes, hydration, etc. at high enough levels to continue to swim/bike/run for as long as we are out there. So what you eat/drink depends mostly on how long the race is, secondly on weather conditions.) I've never been able to actually "run" the run portion of the race before. The most dramatic probably being Gulf Coast 2007 where with 9 miles remaining on the bike I puked all the sports drink that was sitting in my stomach all over the front of my bike, limped my way into t2 and continued to shuffle/puke/run my way to the finish line.

Post race analysis: I decided... I probably need more salt/electrolytes and less sugar.

Insert baby #2 and a season of sprint and Olympic distance races and this theory had to wait until June 6, 2010 to be tested.

Pre-Race: this starts the Wednesday before the race. I pack up the boys and we drive down to my parents house in S.C. The plan is for me to fly to CT from SC on Thursday and for the boys to spend the weekend at "nana and papa's summer camp". As I left the house on Thursday, with AJ blissfully napping and Jason messing around with his cousins in the pool, I knew the would be okay... it was me that I was worried about. I was lonely. It was the first time I had been "alone" (no kids, no husband, no friends or even acquaintances) in over three years. So once I got to the airport... I did a lot of tweeting and facebooking. Love my iPhone. It was uplifting to read everyone's messages and notes of good luck and kick butt. I tucked all of them away in my head for later use.


It was while I was sitting in the airport, that I realized... I'd left my Newtons at my parents house. I'd run in them that morning, and them because they were sandy, had left them outside the door and forgot to pack them back in my bag. IDIOT! I called alex, assuming the newton guys would be at the expo as they were last year, please pull a size 8 racer for me! Turns out, no Newton at the expo this year, I'm going to have to race in my broken down trainers that I wore on the plane... oh no! Alex to the rescue!! He thinks fast, calls the store and has them overnight a pair to the hotel. Whew! crisis averted!

Arriving on Thursday night, I drove the rental car to the house of the friends we were staying with. Alex, had already arrived earlier in the week, driving the huge Penske moving truck up from ATL with all of the all3sports expo merchandise. Friday was spent running around helping him get the expo stuff set up and then working the expo. I didn't do so much "expo-ing" was saying hello to as many friends, old and new, as possible.

Met new friends Rachelle and Kati and saw old friend Carole!
From Racing and Training 2010
Carole is one of the worlds best people. She knows this life is not a dress rehearsal and lives her life accordingly, and I love her for that!

I also squeezed in a bike ride.

Saturday was much of the same, throw in a run, a chance to meet Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae (no biggie, right?), cheering for folks in the Oly dist race,

Rachelle cruising in to the finish of the oly! - From Racing and Training 2010

packet pickup and bike check in.

From Racing and Training 2010




Ok quick side note... talking to Crowie and Rinny on saturday was totally cool, only because they are just that... totally cool. Crowie and I talked about our kids crazy weekend schedules and Rinny and I "bonded" over the fact we were disappointed that the course had been changed because people complained it was too hard. She promised she would tell me after the race if it was actually any easier. It was just like talking to any other triathlete. :-)

From Racing and Training 2010


I was able to make it back to our friends house around 5 pm to put my feet up and get my stuff ready for the next day. I'm thinking I need to do better than that for FullRev Cedar Point... maybe I'll shoot for noonish... 2pm?



Race Day!!!

I slept fairly well, only woke up once at 3:30 am and was able to go back to sleep fairly quickly and sleep to 4:45. Got dressed, ate a banana and started sipping First Endurance Ultragen. (Ultragen is actually their recovery drink, but it's got lots of good stuff in it and it goes down easier than solid food - and cappuccino is TASTY!) It was simple to get to the race start, no traffic issues. Parking lot is right next to transition so it's all just easy peasy! Alex left me off in transition to go open the all3sports tent at the expo site... lots of folks needing last minute items.

Setting up transition is getting easier... it almost seems to simple so I'm always worried that I am forgetting something. My rack area was nice... steps from bike out/in. I haven't even tried the whole "shoes on the bike" thing so I'm still running uncomfortably in my bike shoes, so the shorter the distance to bike out, the better.

- Filled up my areo bottle with EFS Sports Drink; put two additional bottles of EFS on bike (for the folks playing at home, that's three bottles each with 100 cals to be consumed over a planned 3:00 hr bike).
- Put out cycling shoes with flask of EFS LS in shoes (remembered to open it! good for me!) - full flask represents about 400 cals. - total cals consumed on bike 700.
- Helmet, sun glasses (today was the first day for my new time trial helmet!)
- Running shoes (I was so excited to be back in Yellow newton racers! Thanks guys at all3sports for the last minute hustle to get them on the UPS truck and overnight-ed to CT!!!) with half full flask of EFS LS and race number belt tucked in. 4 electrolytes wrapped up in plastic wrap for "just in cases" in race belt pocket.
- Lucky all3sports visor

My new @sirisaac newtons for tomorrow's race! Yell-O baby!   on Twitpic

Being me I of course chat up every person that feels like talking in my general area. When I get nervous... I get chatty! Luckily, Trakkers Kelly (a.k.a. trimommykelly), was in my same rack area. She rocks, and it helped a ton to have a friendly face to talk to before the race.

Kelly and me pre-race! - From Racing and Training 2010


Oh lord... am I ever going to get the race part?

ahh, here we are...

Swim! (37:00)

Head down to beach with wetsuit in hand... as I've said before... MUST WARM UP MY SWIM. Otherwise I seriously freak out when the race starts. I've got just a few minutes in the water before the call us in, but it's enough to get the breathing okay... now I just have 30 min to wait till my wave starts...

I line up on the outside of the group, start my watch with 1 min to go... when it's time to go... I GO! I focus on breathing out, not in (my new "don't panic in the water" technique, it's really working for me!!!) about 100 m out my goggles filled up with water, so I stopped and fixed em, no big deal. Sighting would have been fine if I didn't have foggy goggles, so if I really couldn't see when I popped my head out, I'd lift up one side and check things out. For the most part there were so many people around me, I'd just pick out feet and follow. Around the back side I started to run into the slower folks form the waves in front of me and navigated my way through the carnage as best I could.

ADMISSION TIME!!! I didn't push this swim... I found a rhythm, I stuck with it. However, I think I finally have gotten my open water panic under control and I'm going to try to really push it in my next race (it's a sprint, so what do I have to loose, right!)

Loved the HUGE Muscle Milk Inflatable Swim Finish (all those caps are because it is SO big) sign that clearly showed me where to get out of the water. Ran up the ramp, looked at my watch and was okay with the 36:00 it showed... I'd started a min ahead so it was really 35:00 which is good for me. (Results show 37, I'm assuming this includes the run up to Transition, which makes sense).

From Racing and Training 2010


T1!!!

I was able to get my wetsuit off without too much trouble. I still resemble a toddler taking her first ballet class as I try to step out of my wetsuit, but it's getting better. Thinking I'll try some "trislide" next race. new helmet went on without an issue, shoes, bike, ready to go!

From Racing and Training 2010


BIKE (3:02)

I headed out on the bike, knowing the first two miles or so were basically downhill. My legs felt great, ready to PARTY! I started really hammering, and then I looked at my power data and decided I needed to pull back a little... I had 56 miles ahead of me after all!

So let's talk about my "plan"... I wanted to be conservative on the bike and set myself up for a strong run. I was completely confident in this plan. I watched my power and metered myself during the entire course. Never pushing too hard up the hills. It felt weird... shouldn't I be "racing"?!?! And I was going back and forth with a group of ladies, they were all together and I was worried about drafting, so I tried to just keep them in my sights without getting mixed up in it all. Race your race I kept saying to myself; don't worry about anyone else.

Their were folks fixing flats all over the place, and personally, I think it's because the roads were like riding Paris Roubaix. Maybe I'm a spoiled southerner, but seriously CT DOT... fix the roads! :-) I thanked folks at the water stops and the corners for coming out to volunteer. I had one lady tell me I was classy because of that, and that made me feel really good. :-)

The atmosphere on the bike was already super friendly. Chatted with a woman who was kicking my butt on the downhills, but I'd pass her on the up hills. She descended like a maniac! Also "met" Trakkers Megan (@megankillian) out there... passed her and said "good job" she passed me back a little while later and said "Jill?" (I guess my all3sports kit gave me away ha ha) and I said "megan?" ha ha. That was fun. She went on to kick some serious butt in this race!! go megan!!

I saw some other folks out there... Trakkers Sonja looking like a freaking missile attack; so focused! Tried counting the ladies in front on me on the out and back and finally stopped caring (race your own race remember!)

As the course went on, the hills were taking their toll... I couldn't hold the same wattage and still be "comfortable". Sometimes I pushed and other times I backed off. Finally rolled up the last hill into transition.

T2

I was lightening fast in T2... started running out... went to hit the little "lap" on my watch... GAAAAAHHHH.... had left watch on bike... run back, grab watch, run again...

RUN 1:54

Saw Alex with the camera as I headed out of T2 on the run. I thought I smiled... I guess not:
From Racing and Training 2010

haha

I knew I had to go fast the first part of the run if I wanted to get a good time. The hills were coming and they were fierce. So I started to go for it... as I neared the first aid station a little though occurred to me... "take a salt tab". I don't know why, can't explain it, but it seemed like a good idea, so I got my little packet out of my race belt and grabbed the salt tab, drank it down with some water and a shot of EFS LS (through course of run I ended up take only one more LS shot and took two more salt tabs - they seemed to settle my stomach). Kept running. I felt so-so those first two miles... I kept saying to myself, no worries, it'll settle in, you'll be fine... you can do 13.1 in your sleep (which I can't but it helps to think you can). I turned the corner onto the dirt path and all of a sudden the road just went UP, it looked like a freaking wall.

It was here that I let myself get psyched out. about halfway up, I started to walk, and stopped for a second to stretch my hamstrings... a really nice guy tapped me lightly on the back, "come on girl, you were looking strong, you can do this". So I started running again (thanks nice guy!) but pretty soon I noticed the insole in my right shoe was bunching up under my foot. what? I stopped to fix it... as soon as I went downhill it happened again... I tried to fix it three times and then on the fourth, I just ripped it out and put it in my back pocket. The mile that this took place clocked in at a lovely 10:15. ugh.

Once I took it out, it felt better... shoe felt big, but I got used to it after a mile or so. Mentally I was trying to get myself to mile 9. I said thank you to every volunteer that I could, because it makes me feel better and I really DO appreciate them. I knew there was a big downhill there and then after that some nice rollers. I looked at my watch and did some calculating to determine if I got my groove on, I had a chance to break my PR (which I THOUGHT was 5:39) So once I hit mile 9, my mantra became: if you walk no PR. It wasn't comfortable, the legs were definitely tired and I was dreading that last mile uphill, but it also motivated me to try to go as fast as I could until I got to that point.

At the mile 11 or so turn around I guy yelled over to me "you've been my inspiration". I couldn't imagine what I'd done to inspire him, but it didn't matter I tried to smile and wave (about all I was capable of at that point).

I get to the bottom of the last climb, I look at my watch and know that I have to get up this thing in less than 10 min to PR... if you walk, no PR, if you walk, no PR, if you walk, no PR... running, running, running... gah! walking... mr. turnaround dude comes up behind me. "there is no way you are quitting now, let's run this in together". "okay" I manage. Running, running, running... gah, can't do it anymore "okay I'll walk with you he says". For some reason the thought that I'm responsible for him walking spurns me on "no" I say, "let's run again". running running running... HE starts walking. I turn around and look at him "NO WAY, We aren't quitting now!!!" I said this seriously, embarrassingly loudly. but he responded and started running. "If we hustle," I say, "we can get me a PR". "Okay" he says "we are getting you your PR".

"Just up to that turn" "Just to those mailboxes" "Just to that person" we talked ourselves to the finish chute... As we turn the corner he says "are you going to get your PR". I say "Yes!" He says, "well, then go for it, go get your PR" and motions me to go ahead of him into the finish chute.

I ran that thing like I'd won the race and raised my hands as I passed under the finish clock. My watch said that I'd done it, I'd PRd on that crazy ass tough ass course. I was over the moon!

Alex met me at the finish line; where I proceeded to collapse/hug him. I turned around to see my new best friend cross the line. "did you get it" "yes!" We hugged so hard we almost fell down. Too funny how emotional it all is in the moment.

Total time: 5:37 good enough for 7th in my AG (results show 8th, the 1st place lady in my AG was 1st overall)

POST RACE

Alex was able to guide me over to the ice bath tubs. He asked if I needed medical, and I didn't think I did, but I wasn't feeling like a spring chicken either. As I sat in the ice bath, steam was coming off the water... I'm not sure what thermal dynamic happening would cause that to happen, but it sure felt good being in there. Alex brought me grapes and a mix 1 which I drank and ate happily. My stomach had been getting really hungry for solid food out there, something I need to take note of for FullRev Cedar Point.

From Racing and Training 2010


I started to get really cold, so I got out of the tub and put on my awesomely long sleeved FINISHER shirt. After a bit we headed back over the all3sports tent. I wanted to try to see some of my Trakkers friends finish if I could. I ran into my new friend as he stood in line at the massage and we exchanged hugs and well wishes all over again. so cool. then I went and sat in fetal position (literally - it made my lower back feel better) on a folding chair next to the all3sports checkout table. About a half hour later, I was starting to come back to life and then it was time to help breakdown the tents, etc. (due to a freak windstorm scheduled to come through the race venue, the park and the race expo finished early). I was able to be there to cheer in the last few finishers, something I always like to be there for because those folks are heroes to me. I always think about how much it hurt to be out there for 5.5 hours, can't imagine 8 or 9!

This is how I summed it up on Facebook: Toughest race I've ever done! It was an accomplishment to finish it and I congratulate everyone who did! So happy to have finished with a PR! 5:37! Met so many incredible people out on course! Awesome day!

I will be back next year to try to do even better! I feel like I learned a lot on this day, stuff I'll bring forward to Cedar Point Full distance. My nutrition is getting there so that is a big confidence boost (no puking, no cramping, I'll take it!). Now as I start my final push to Cedar Point, I feel ready for the challenge and excited to succeed!

Thanks REV3!

Side note: when I was looking at some things upon my return home, I looked up my results from my last half (gulf coast 2007) and lo and behold, I'd actually finished that race in 5:36 (for some reason 5:39 was in my head). So my 5:37 at quassy was not actually a PR... but the course is so much harder I'm still taking it as one. ha ha!

5 comments:

  1. Wow. Epic race report Jill.

    Congrats on the (sorta) PR. It was great racing with you. Next time, I'll try to be a little quicker on the run so that I can keep up with you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Um...PR for sure, as there is no way that other race was as friggin' hard as Quassy was. You killed it girl!!

    Awesome RR!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice job! I'm going with the majority here and saying it's a PR. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was so great to meet you!! You did FABulous!!! Can't wait to cheer you in at Cedar Point!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. i raced the quassy olympic...fun!!

    ReplyDelete

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