Yesterday was my last triathlon of the season! This Rev3 Anderson race report is pretty long. If you want the short story, here it is: the race was GREAT despite horrendous weather!
Packet Pick Up
Saturday after teaching and enjoying a great lunch with my parents, I packed up my bike and headed to the Anderson Civic Center for packet pick up, bike check in, and the pre-race meeting. I was expecting long lines, so I left plenty of time to get everything done (with a little extra time for browsing the expo). The event organizers were really on top of things – everything went quickly and smoothly. In less than 5 minutes, I had my packet with my t-shirt, swim cap, race tattoos, and course maps. I had originally planned on trading in my assigned swim cap for a red one (the red caps were for people who didn’t feel comfortable in the water). However, my assigned swim cap was hot pink, and I really wanted a pink cap, so I chose fashion over safety.
After getting my packet, I walked over to another table to get my swag bag. The bag itself was pretty cute – but it’s so small I can’t imagine I’ll ever use it for anything. Inside was an assortment of goodies, including a Rev 3 buff, a decal, and some tasty treats.
My race t-shirt
Cute little swag bag
The contents of the swag bag
Then, it was over to the timing tent to get my pre-race photo and my timing chip. Evidently when you crossed the finish line, they posted your finishing photo with your pre-race photo on the jumbotron. In my post-race haze, however, I missed this part L
I browsed the expo for a bit and then went over to Darwin Wright Park to drop off my bike. I lucked out with parking and managed to snag one of the approximately ten parking spots that were available at the park. I quickly unloaded my bike, flashed my athlete wristband at the volunteers guarding the entrance to the transition area, and found my designated spot. All of the triathlons I’ve done before have these huge metal bike racks, with each rack devoted to a range of bib numbers. The athletes have to figure out where to place their bikes so that they can easily access them. Rev 3 transitions are much better! They have these wooden racks that lie flat on the ground. Your back wheel fits neatly into one of the slots so your bike remains upright. Even better – each athlete had a name plate showing EXACTLY where to put the bike!
That’s my spot!
After racking my bike, I drove back to the Civic Center for more expo browsing and the athlete meeting. The expo was really small, not a lot of vendors. I did manage to score a good deal on a pair of neon green compression calf sleeves. They’re awesome!
Yay! New compression sleeves!
The athlete meeting was pretty uneventful. Just a good review of the rules and regulations. They did announce a last minute change to the bike course, but since it was on a part of the course that I had never ridden, it didn’t really bother me.
I finally got home at about 5:30 and still had to pack up all my stuff for the big day. Normally I just throw everything into my transition bag, but we were informed at the race meeting that we weren’t allowed to leave transition bags in our transition area. Everything had to go in the gear bags they supplied.
While I was getting everything organized, I watched the live coverage of the Ironman World Championships. Seeing Mirinda Carfrae come from a 14:30 deficit after the bike to win the race was definitely inspirational!
I went to bed excited for the next day!
My alarm went off at the uncivilized hour of 4:00, and by 5:15 I was fueled, caffeinated, hydrated, and packed up. Because this was a point to point triathlon (that didn’t finish where it started), there were two separate transition areas. My first stop was the Civic Center to set up T2. I laid out my running shoes, a pair of dry socks (oh, the irony!), a visor, and my hand-held water bottle/GU transporter. Then, I hopped on the shuttle that took us over to the park.
The shuttles dropped us off across the street from the park, and we walked over from there. Once I got to the park with my swim and bike gear, I started getting everything arranged. There were bike mechanics on site to pump up tires, but the line was SOOOO long. I did a quick manual check of my tire pressure and decided it was good enough. I finished getting all my bike stuff arranged and pulled all my swim stuff out. The race director announced that the transition area would be closing in 10 minutes, so I put on my wet suit and tucked my swim cap and goggles into my tri top. I stashed my glasses under a plastic bag to keep them dry and checked my dry gear bag (with my jacket and flip flops). I was ready to get this race started!
The Long Wait
Not too long after I checked my dry gear bag (onto a big truck so the staff could bring the bags to us after the race), the race director told all of the kayakers to get out of the water immediately. It had started lightening! And then, it started pouring! I, along with some other similarly minded people, took shelter under the race director’s tent. While it might seem kind of silly to want to stay relatively dry just before jumping into a lake, the rain was intense and it was cold! I really wanted my jacket back!
We had some excitement under the tent when a fuse started smoking! We waited for a long time (about 30 minutes) for the lightening to stop so we could head down to the water. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a long window of clear weather, so they had to change the swim course for some of the athletes. Everyone swam the Olympic course. This change caused some confusion for the first wave of athletes!
At about 8:25, they played the national anthem, I ate my pre-race GU, and the race started!
I was in the last of the five swim waves, so I got to see all of the other athletes run down the beach and into the water. The collegiate athletes who were there for the regional championships were particularly energetic! When my swim wave was called to the starting area, I took a prime spot right in the back. I wanted to go in toward the end, where I could maneuver more easily around people and not get caught in any sort of battles for position. My primary goal was to stay calm!
Throughout the whole swim, I was calm and in control. I took my time, never getting out of breath. By the time I got to the first turn buoy, I had passed several people. By the next one, I had passed several more. Eventually, I found that there were not many people directly in front of me. Not too long after that, I caught up with some of the swimmers from earlier swim waves. Before I knew it, the swim was over and I was trying to run through lake muck (easier said than done) to the transition area!
Swim time: 31:26 (1st in my age group!)
This was much faster than my goal time, and I managed to do it calmly and didn’t feel tired at all!
T1 went pretty well. I managed to get my wet suit off fairly easily. Not much excitement here!
Swim 2 (aka The Bike)
The beginning of the bike was uneventful. I got into a groove on the opening hills and waited my standard 10 minutes before drinking my sports drink. It started drizzling a bit but nothing major for a few minutes. I got passed by a few people and passed a couple of people. I wasn’t really worried about that – I just wanted to have the best bike leg I was capable of!
Then, the skies opened up for the most torrential downpour I have ever experienced! The rain was cold and there were little pieces of hail that pounded my head through the vents in my helmet. The wind was crazy, blowing me around the road, and the black storm clouds made it completely dark. I couldn’t see anything! There was flowing water on both edges of the road. With no lights on my bike, I was worried about cars being able to see me. With the amount of water, I was so scared that my brakes would fail on the downhills. I actually considered pulling off the road and waiting out the storm because I really didn’t feel safe.
Luckily, I made it through the storm. Looking back on it, I was really lucky about where I was on the course when the storm hit. I was on the roads with the least amount of traffic. This was good because most of the policemen who were supposed to be directing traffic at the intersections were taking shelter in their cars. The volunteers, however, were bravely standing out there in the rain! I’ve read some reports about athletes who were on busier roads during the storm. Evidently most of the cars had pulled over to the side of the road during the worst of the storm, so at least they were relatively safe.
Once the rain stopped, I tried to resume my hydration and fueling. Unfortunately, my hand had frozen into the shape of my handlebars and brake hoods. It took a few miles of shaking out my left hand until it was able to grab my water bottle! My toes were a different story! My feet were soaked and frozen! I don’t have actual tri shoes with vents, so the water just kept accumulating in my shoes. They sloshed with every pedal stroke, and I thought about my “dry” socks that I had placed in T2. Visions of angry blisters on my feet popped into my head, and I thought about how much I would be suffering in the run. As one of my goals for the race was to stay focused on the “now,” I put those thoughts out of my head and tried to pick up my pace a bit. The last few miles of my bike leg went really well! I averaged almost 19 mph on the last 6.5 miles!
Bike time: 1:37:23 (15.4 mph average speed)
Although this time was slower than my goal for the race, I don’t think of it was a failure. I went as fast as I could safely go during the storm, and the storm miles were the ones that really slowed me down.
I felt good coming into T2 and was so happy to finally be able to put my running shoes on (even though I was worried about not having dry socks)!
T2 time: 1:36
I started off the run feeling pretty good. My legs were a bit tired, but that’s to be expected. I like to give myself 10 minutes to get into a groove and then take a gel with some water. My plan was to walk through the aid stations so I could hydrate better and then take another gel at mile 4. I executed my plan perfectly! The short walking breaks every mile or so kept my legs feeling as fresh as they could, especially given the number of hills on the course. The most challenging part of the course (at least for me) comes at mile 3. There’s a long, gradual incline that goes for almost an entire mile! I must have slowed down a good bit at this point (I try not to look at my watch during races – I like to go by feel) because as I crested the hill, I heard footsteps coming up behind me. A woman from my age group passed me. She looked really strong, so I tried to pick up my pace a bit to keep her in my sights. I’m proud to say that I did keep her in view right up til the very end (even though there was no way I could catch her).
I’m happy to report that despite running 10K in soaking wet socks and shoes, I have no blisters on my feet. Thank goodness for tough dancer feet!
I loved crossing the finish line! The announcer calls out your name, giving it a personalized feel. He even said I was rocking my Team in Training kit!
Run time: 1:02:48 (10:08 min miles)
Pretty much right on target with my goal!
After crossing the finish line, I got my awesome finisher’s medal and was handed a gigantic bottle of Gatorade. I don’t think Gatorade has ever tasted so good! I also got a sweet Gatorade towel and an awesome Rev3 visor!
Amazing finisher’s swag!
I chatted with some people I had met and checked out the food. They had an amazing spread with hot chicken, roasted potatoes, green beans, and all sorts of fruit. I ate some potatoes and decided to pack everything up and head home. The heater in my car and a hot shower at home were calling me.
After a much needed shower and nap, my parents treated me to an awesome dinner to celebrate the race! I got to have grilled tuna, asparagus, and sweet potato fries – all of my favorite foods. And my mom made me a cake with salted caramel icing! Talk about a great end to an extraordinary day and to my first triathlon season!