The Rev3 experience began on Saturday at the bike rack/expo/pre-race meeting. I was eager to scope out the lake and see if it had calmed down at all. Luckily, it was considerably calmer than the pictures that had been posted on facebook the day before. Whew.
|Pink compression socks complement ANY outfit :)|
In my pre-race post, I'd stated that I had a goal of 5:20-5:25 for my finish time. This was my semi-challenging-yet-realistic goal. I'd also had a secret "A" goal of finishing in 5:15, which I thought might be possible if I had a really good, everything-goes-in-my-favor-kind of day. On Saturday night - the night before the race, I had a dream that I finished the race in 5:15 but was ashamed to tell my coach my time because I thought she would be disappointed in me. (Which is completely absurd, because Suzanne is amazingly supportive and always helps me to look for the good in a race or training session when I'm not happy with myself.) I laughed the dream off in the morning and sent Suzanne a facebook message about it before heading to the race site.
I really liked the set-up for this race. Transition was in the parking lot at Cedar Point, so there was ample parking that was only a 2-minute walk to transition. I had time to get in a quick practice swim and was happy that the water was no where near as choppy as it was at Musselman. I'm pretty sure most people would have classified it as "not choppy at all" - but since I'm pretty sensitive to this I would say there was a teeny bit of chop heading away from shore. (As a precaution, I'd put the Sea-Bands around my wrist and chewed on some ginger root before the start.)
|We are all BFF's before the swim, right?|
In transition, I noted that the majority of bikes were still in the racks, which was a relief. As always, I was happy to get on the bike since it is my favorite part of triathlon. I was relieved that I didn't have any of the post-swim nauseated feeling I'd had at Musselman. Either the Sea-Bands and ginger worked, or the water wasn't choppy enough to make me feel sick.
The miles went by quickly on the bike. Aside from a little bit of wind, it was a beautiful day to be on the bike: blue skies, sunny, high 60's/low 70's. I stuck with my target power outputs and was ecstatic when my average speed at 10 miles in was 21.6mph. (I know it's pretty obvious, but I soon came to the realization that in order to keep that average up, I had to be going at least 21.6mph, which meant I had to work!) I concentrated on finding someone up ahead, catching, and passing that person. If I have to have a weak sport in triathlon, I'm glad it's my swimming, because I like having the goal of hunting people down on the bike and then passing them.
Around halfway in, I was still averaging over 21mph and realized that if I could maintain my pace, I would finish the bike in under 2:40. I was a little worried that I might overcook my legs on the bike and have a miserable run, but I reminded myself to keep pushing, because this race was technically a practice race for my "A" half iron race,
|I'm pretty sure I was trying to see my|
Garmin to find out if I'd actually
As I started the run, I realized two things. One, I was leaving transition a solid 15 minutes earlier than I'd been planning in my pre-race calculations and the seemingly elusive 5:15 was well within my grasp. Two, was that there were only two waves of women. I was in the second female wave, which started 10 minutes after the first female wave. Which meant that some of the women who were ahead of me were only ahead of me because they'd started 10 minutes sooner, and if I had a good run, I might be able to finish in the top 10 overall.
No matter what my running pace is, I always feel sooooo slow at the beginning of the run. I am not sure if this is because my legs aren't adjusted to running yet after the bike leg, or if it's because no matter how fast you're running, you're going slow relative to the speed you were just doing on the bike. I'm not sure how accurate the mile markers were, but I clocked my first mile in around 8:30 and my second in 8:06, which is exactly where I wanted to be - an average pace of 8:15. Shortly into the run, I caught up with a girl in my age group who had passed me towards the end of the bike. She was running with an American flag - a big one. As I pulled up next to her, I said something like, "You are amazing!" We introduced ourselves and ran together and chatted a little bit before I pulled ahead to try to catch a group of guys.
The run course was interesting - a series of loops and out-and-backs. The out-and-backs were a bit monotonous, but I liked that it gave you the opportunity to see where you were relative to others. You know who is trying to catch you, and who you might be able to catch if you push yourself. I saw Brittany carrying the flag at several points, which inspired me to run my hardest -- to celebrate doing what I love to do most, on the anniversary of a day that reminds us not to take any of our time here on Earth for granted.
Miles 10 and 11 were my slowest - either that or the mile markers were just really off. When the route took us back onto the causeway to Cedar Point and I could see the roller coasters [that I am much too wimpy to ride] in the distance, I told myself I had to dig deep and finish strong, because the 5:15 was still a possibility. I picked up the pace after mile 12. When the finishline structure came into view, I looked at my watch and saw 5:12. It was at that point that I really picked up the pace, and yelled at myself, "You're doing this in under 5:15!" (Yes, I yell at myself in races if there is no one else around to yell what I need to hear; yes, I think it helps; and yes, people around me probably think I'm crazy.) As I approached the final stretch to the finish line, some guys from Team RWB were holding out flags that runners could grab to carry across the finish line. I reached for a big one as I was approaching it and charged through the finish with a huge smile on my face. I'd done it: sub-5:15 with a 1:51 half marathon!
I was still on Cloud 9 about my big PR and the possibility that I'd finished near the top of my age group, when I found a booth with computers that you could use to look up your official times and placing. I entered my bib number, hit enter, and a list of names popped up. Mine was at the top; under "Division Place" it said 1/38 and under "Gender Place" it said 6/220, with an official time of 5:14:28. I stared at the screen for a long time to make sure I was interpreting it correctly. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would win my age group at Cedar Point, so I think my reaction was something like this: "Oh my God, oh my God..." *burst into tears, then big smile, then check screen again, several times, to make sure I hadn't misinterpreted anything*.
More than anything else, this race taught me that I need to have more confidence in myself. I think that we are capable of more than we realize, but I'll never live up to my full potential if I go into a race thinking a top X finish or a certain time is out of my reach. I don't think this confidence grows overnight, but race by race, I think I'm getting there.
Thanks to everyone for the supportive messages going into the race!
And one last comment: I will just say that Rev3 put on an awesome race at Cedar Point. Great volunteers, great organization, great courses. I'd highly recommend this race to others!