Race Report: Rev3 Williamsburg Sprint 2018

 All smiles at the finish line.  Plus getting photobombed by Stacey's pup, Cuey :)

All smiles at the finish line.  Plus getting photobombed by Stacey's pup, Cuey :)

Its been over a week since Rev3 Williamsburg.  I wanted to stew on my thoughts for a bit before writing my race report.  Attitude is everything, and I'm sorry to say that my attitude both in the ramp up to Williamsburg and day of wasn't quite where I wanted it to be.  All it all it was still a good day, and a great weekend of tri-shenanigans, but I can see a lot of room for improvement, particularly in the space between my ears. 

The Quick & Dirty

2018 Rev3 Williamsburg Sprint

Chickahominy River Front Park, VA

73℉, Partly Cloudy, 10 mph wind

.6mi river swim, 15.3mi bike, 3.1mi run

2:18:42

Overall Rank - 132/159

Age Group Rank (Athena) - 19/28

 

Pre-Race & Warm Up:

I had first breakfast of Naked Juice, Skratch Hyper Hydration, and two Uncrustables at 2am (ish) and went back to sleep.  My real alarm went off around 3:30, and I got in the shower to wake myself up.  Gear check, wake up J, race number tats, sunscreen....the usual race day drill.  We headed out for Chickahominy River Front Park, while I snacked on second breakfast of Skratch chews and sport hydration.

 Overly excited by the race number tattoos.  Photo: Stacey

Overly excited by the race number tattoos.  Photo: Stacey

Missing?  My usual race day buzz of excitement.  I felt exhausted, and nothing sounded better than crawling back into bed.  Even so, we made it to the race site, unloaded the bike, and I made my way over to transition.  It turns out that because Team Z had so many people racing, we were all racked together.  Cool!  I didn't actually know any of my teammates racing the Sprint, but race morning is always a nice time to make new friends.  I set up my transition space, and headed over to swim out to check on the 1/4 mile surface we'd be running on to T1.  Smooth pavement, so I opted out of leaving shoes there.

As I made it back to transition I saw Stacey, who had come out to cheer.  So sweet!  By this time I had already mentioned to J more than once that I wanted to go home and take a nap, and I even said to Stacey that I just didn't feel excited.  My head was just not in the right place.  There was a final application of sunscreen, the choosing of the goggles, and then it was time to go line up for the time trial swim start.  No turning back now!

SWIM:

  • .6mi, 24:37 (2:33/100 yards) --> I think the course was long
  • Gear - Coeur Sports tri shorts, Team Z top, Roka F1 in Vermilion
  • Nutrition - VFuel Peach Cobbler gel with water 30 minutes before go
 Getting a high five from Stacey

Getting a high five from Stacey

Definitely one of the choppiest swims I've done to date. Sighting was pretty challenging, as there was just a stand of trees ahead, but with the waves you couldn't even see them. I just tried to stay calm and carry on.  I really wanted the swim to be over....which is really unlike me.  Usually the swim is my favorite.  More signs of just how off I was feeling that day.


Made the turn at the buoy and things calmed considerably. There was a pretty strong current that almost took me past swim exit, but I caught it and corrected in time. Swam until I hit the boat ramp with my hand, and stood up in about shin deep water....not bad!

I feel like I can always push a bit harder on the swim.  Then again, I've barely gotten to the pool once a week this year.  I do tend to ride with my head a bit high, especially when sighting is difficult, so that's something to work on.

T1:

  • 5:46

This included the 1/4 mile walk/jog from swim exit to transition. I jogged the pavement, and walked the grass due to some uneven ground surface. 
Got my shoes, helmet, sunglasses, and hydration pack on. Skipped the gloves since it was supposed to be only 13.1 miles on the bike (ha!) Walked out to the mount line, and got clipped in on maybe the third try. #performanceanxiety reigns supreme with regards to clipping in.

BIKE:

  • 15.3 miles, 1:03:37 (14.43mph)
  • Gear - Specialized Dolce Comp, Specialized Aspire helmet, Louis Garneau Tri-X Speed III shoes, sunglasses that I got as swag two years ago, Osprey hydration pack
  • Nutrition - 1/2 serving of Tangerine Cream VFuel
 Don't mind me, casually standing around during the middle of a race, lol

Don't mind me, casually standing around during the middle of a race, lol

So I hit mile 6 of this course and was on the lookout for the turnaround. It didn't show up until after mile 7...the exact same point as last year! 15.3 mile course again, despite the maps claiming it was 13.1. That's irritating. 
On the bright side, we got to go out and back on the street, whereas last year we came back on the narrower and bumpier multi-use trail. 
I got passed a bunch, as usual. I did actually play leapfrog with one girl, then managed to pass her for good.  Whaaaa?  With my hydration pack, I took on fluid four times! Big win! I probably could have pushed a little harder, but I always say that. I'm 20 pounds heavier this year, and was roughly 5 minutes slower compared to last year. Could that be weight related? I was hoping to have a faster overall speed, since I've been riding with the team on the road a lot more this summer, and feeling more confident with my handling. My lady bits started complaining at the turnaround, as per usual on flat courses. The lack of movement starts to feel achy. I wasn't as strong as I would like up the last hill, but it wasn't a big heart pounding climb or anything.

T2:

  • 2:56

My calves had been feeling sore lately, so I chose to run in my Brooks instead of my Vivobarefoots.  That means socks are required.  Socks that I struggled with mightily for what felt like an eternity until I finally got them on.

RUN:

  • 3.1 miles, 41:46 (13:28 min/mile)
  • Gear - Brooks Ravenna 9, Smartwool PhD Ultra Light Micro socks, Rev3 BocoGear Trucker from last year's expo
  • Nutrition - a bit of Gatorade and water at the aid stations
 pushing my imaginary grocery cart

pushing my imaginary grocery cart

I was trotting up the bridge, gave up and walked the rest of the way. I ran back down, but then walked again at mile one. My calves felt like they wanted to burst....but we're all hurting at the point, aren't we? Its a mental issue, the inability to run. It really was a perfect day, not too hot, it would have been great to be able to run the whole thing. My body didn't let me down, though.  I have to say that it was a bit weird running around the park before making it to the finish line.  It seemed like it took forever, and you could see and hear everything for so long.  But then...that final turn....I cracked my first big smile since the swim exit, and ran across the line.  Woot!

Cool Down:

Upon stopping my left hand immediately went numb, though the feeling came back after about 10 minutes. I didn't feel super dizzy or weak. J gave me a salt tab immediately, and then I sucked down a bottle of Skratch Wellness over the next 20 minutes or so. I chatted with my friends who were there cheering, and despite standing still, never felt like I was going to pass out. Winning! 
Is that correlated with the fact that I didn't push very hard? Probably. Maybe redlining during races is just a trigger that I need to avoid?  #foodforthought

Event Thoughts:

I did have an issue where I registered with my maiden name, and then emailed and asked them to change it to my married name. They said they did. I saw the bib list with my maiden name, asked them again to change it, they said they did. Didn't happen. Not a huge deal, and honestly it is my first experience that was less than positive with Rev3. 

Rev3 puts on a good show, and I always look forward to Williamsburg. This is my second year doing the sprint, and I certainly see myself coming back next year for either the sprint or one of the other distances. 

Goals & Race Post-Mortem

Goals for this race were as follows:

Swim Smart

Hydrate on the Bike

Run!

That's 2 out of 3 then.  I swam calm and smart, even with the chop.  And standing up in shin-deep water?  Definitely swam that in as far as possible!  Hydrating on the bike was a big win.  I'm really glad Coach Ed convinced me to shelve the ego and get a hydration pack.  Total game changer to be able to work on confidence and handling but still be able to drink on the go.  Run?  Not like I wanted to.  I had a stronger run in me, and my attitude held me back.

On to O.W.L. time goals.  Well, those were based on the course maps, which said the bike course was 13.1 miles.  15.3 miles may not sound like a lot more, but at my speed it amounts to a difference of 9 minutes.  My 2:18:42 would have been 2:09 if the bike course had been as advertised.  So that earns me a grade of Acceptable.  I think?  I haven't actually accounted for rounding in my goals.  Let's call it A for Acceptable!  

 What its really all about.  #womenwhotri

What its really all about.  #womenwhotri

I wrote this about five days ago, and it sat in my drafts until now.  Reading through this post now, clearly my mental game is where I need to focus. Why so much negativity?  This has been a really tough year, and I finished the race feeling strong....why am I not overjoyed?

So there we go...ending on a bit of a sour note, I guess.  But hey, that's where I'm at right now.  Big thanks to everyone who came out to cheer, especially friends who were racing the following day.  That's an early wake up call for sure, and it was so appreciated.  Special thank you to Stacey, whose smiling face as I exited that swim was much needed, and set me up to shake it off and move forward.

And J....thank you for everything. xoxo

Race Expectations: Rev3 Williamsburg Sprint 2018

Holy crap, guys, race day is TOMORROW!  Rev3 Williamsburg Sprint is my A race for the first half of the summer.  Once I got the go ahead from the cardiologist back in April to train and race, all my focus has been for this day.  I'm a big ball of emotions, as usual.  Excited to see all my friends and cheer them on at their race on Sunday.  Nervous because my tapering triathlete brain is convinced my ankle is broken. (It absolutely is not.)  Scared that I'll wind up walking like I did at Westfields.  And there's even a tiny part of me that thinks that race day magic is going to take hold, and I'm going to have a really awesome day.  I'm better prepared for this race than any ever before.  I've had multiple 20+ mile rides.  I've hit open water twice already this season.  And I've even been doing speedwork, proving to myself that I can in fact run a whole mile put together without my heart exploding. 

Goal setting for this race is tricky this year.  The course is different than last year, and I guess that's a blessing and a curse.  Blessing, because now I can't compare to my performance from last year.  And we're not comparing, right?  Right.  Sigh...  Curse because even though my swim and run are nowhere near where they were last year, I'm actually feeling a lot more confident on the bike, and was looking forward to seeing if I could beat my bike split from 2017.  The course for the bike is technically the same, it just looks like the overall distance is shorter, so I suppose I can look at overall speed?  But let's go, goal time: 

Swim Smart 

This means don't start out too fast, sight well, and swim it in until I absolutely have to walk it.  The swim is in a different direction this year, accounting for current.  Also it is apparently quite warm...87.8 last I saw.  Ewww.  Very important to keep it calm and collected since warm water is a POTS trigger, so I'll be conservative in the swim and cautious standing up and running into transition.  Basically...be smart.

Hydrate on the Bike

Never been done before, my friends.  For real, this will be my tenth (how is that possible?!) triathlon and I'm such a nervous wreck on the bike that I've never taken in liquids before while moving.  This year I have my hydration pack, and the goal is to take in some fluid on the move, setting me up for a strong run.

Run!

 Flat Laura! Also, this image looks tiny, and I will probably reupload when not blogging on a phone. ;)

Flat Laura! Also, this image looks tiny, and I will probably reupload when not blogging on a phone. ;)

The weather is actually looking okay for Saturday morning, so I want to actually run during the run leg.  Novel idea!  I've done long runs in the rain, and speedwork when it the feels like temperature was over 100.  I got this.

Goal Times

  • Outstanding –  < 2:00
  • Exceeds Expectations – 2:05
  • Acceptable – 2:10
  • Poor -  2:15
  • Dreadful – > 2:15
  • Troll – DNF for nonmedical reason

I want to feel positive, soak up the cheers from my team, and cheer on my fellow Z-mates on the course.  I want to be able to put down the gas and run across the finish line.  More than anything, I want to race this like there's no tomorrow, but NOT pass out at the end, because I've managed my POTS instead of it managing me.  Here we go!

Good luck, fellow racers!  May the course be with you!

Luray Swim Fest 2018 - Race Report

Swim Fest was amazing, and I absolutely recommend it.  Since it wasn't really a race, more a training day, let's get the goal stuff out of the way first, shall we?

  • Outstanding –  < :50
  • Exceeds Expectations – :56
  • Acceptable – 1:02
  • Poor -  > 1:02
  • Dreadful – DNF for nonmedical reasons
  • Troll – vomiting (or worse) in the water
 yes, you did have to run out of the water between loops.&nbsp; Yes, it sucked.

yes, you did have to run out of the water between loops.  Yes, it sucked.

My official finishing time for the 2250m swim was 1:02:23.  Rounding down, that gives me a grade of Acceptable.  For someone who has scarcely swum once a week since April, and even less over the fall and winter, Acceptable is exactly what I deserve.  What I'm actually most proud of it how I paced myself.  The course is three loops, and I had each loop within 90 second of each other!

My other goals were to be calm and have fun, and I nailed both of those, too.  I plunged right in, zero anxiety, and just swam.  As for the fun...yes, totally.  A day with friends, a swim, and a burger.  Basically a dream day, no?

Liz picked me up at o'dark-thirty, picked up Emily at o'dark-forty-five, and then we were off for Luray.  Having the sun come up behind us was neat, and seeing the mist roll over Shenandoah is always beautiful.  Once we got to the race site, we set up our home base on the top of a hill, with a great view of the lake.  Emily had never swum open water before, and was signed up for the 750m, and Liz was signed up for all 3 distances, so they were first in the water.  Since the 2250m didn't start for a few hours, I wandered over to the Team Z tent for a little bit, said hi to Caroline, and then wandered around a little more.

I practiced some pre-race nutrition, just to make sure everything was going to sit well.  I started getting some nasty burps about midway through my swim, but I think that has more to do with me swallowing air than my nutrition.  I had the breakfast of champions (Pop Tarts) as we headed out of Northern Virginia, a pouch of Skratch chews and a bottle of the Sport Hydration about 90 minutes before, and a VFuel gel with some more water right as we were heading in.  Way too many calories for a typical one hour swim, but this was more about testing, and i'm pleased with how it went.  I've tested similar before long bike rides, and I'm feeling really confident about how my stomach will handle this amount of calories at these intervals for Williamsburg.  Oh!  And I had my Skratch Hyper Hydration first thing in the morning, and the Wellness as we were riding back home.  This combo is quickly becoming my "must do" before outdoor events.  Obviously its a huge amount of sodium, so unless you're like me and have had this much stipulated by a doctor, I don't recommend it.  I'm not a Skratch ambassador or anything, although I'm starting to think I should apply to be.  I've simply found that the products sit well in my stomach, and have the necessary sodium for me to manage my POTS symptoms.

This event is fantastic for beginners, I have to say.  There are tons of SUPs and kayaks, and because it is a loop course, you're never really far from shore.  Far being a relative term, of course.  Swag for the race included a medal and a super soft race shirt.  I am loving the trend of my most recent races having these soft shirts.  They get so much more use than the stiffer ones.  You could also pay to upgrade to a big beach towel if you wanted, which came in loads of colors.

 Achievement Unlocked - Peak Dorkiness

Achievement Unlocked - Peak Dorkiness

So, final thoughts...

Do Luray Swim Fest!  Do it with friends or family.  Make sure to get custard at Spelunkers on the way home.  Revel in the free race pictures.  That is all.  #swimlove

Race Expectations: Luray Swim Fest 2018

Technically Luray Swim Fest is billed as a race, but I'm treating it like a super fun training day, with a medal at the end.  After an effort to ride bikes with Liz was thwarted by rain, she mentioned Luray Swim Fest.  I had originally been planning to do Washington's Crossing again this year, since I really enjoyed it in 2017, but the weather wasn't looking too promising.  Instead, I signed up for the 2250m event at Luray, and I'm really happy about that choice.  

 Me at Washington's crossing 2017, where you swim across the potomac river.&nbsp; With bonus image of the elusive J in the bottom right corner!

Me at Washington's crossing 2017, where you swim across the potomac river.  With bonus image of the elusive J in the bottom right corner!

Goal setting is always really hard for me.  For some reason, I have these expectations in my head that I am significantly faster than I actually am, resulting in ridiculous goals that can't possibly be met.  Not so for this race!  I've barely been in the pool since Reston Tri back in September, and even since April I've only managed about one swim a week.  Expectations are low.  Still, I want to put things down on paper, so here we go: 

Be Calm 

I've only had one instance in open water where I panicked, but seeing as I have very little pool time in the last six months, and this being my first OWS of the season, I'm making it a goal to relax and be calm

Have Fun!

In addition to this being a bit of a girl's day out with friends, this event also has a Team Z presence.  I want to spend some time at the tent, and try to stop being such an outsider.

Goal Times – bringing back the Hogwarts O.W.L. system of scoring myself

  • Outstanding –  < :50
  • Exceeds Expectations – :56
  • Acceptable – 1:02
  • Poor -  > 1:02
  • Dreadful – DNF for nonmedical reasons
  • Troll – vomiting (or worse) in the water

I want to really swim, and finish strong.  I want to finish feeling good enough that I can run out of the lake and across the finish.  I've done some distances pretty similar to this before, but nothing exact.  So....automatic PR, I guess.  

Who else is swimming this weekend?

Milestones - my "first" 30 mile ride

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a retrospective on my first 30 mile ride....only to realize after the fact that I actually rode 30 miles nonstop in August of 2016.  I even blogged about it.  Whoops!


Saturday’s 30-mile ride left me feeling conflicted.  It was a team ride, and my second time going to a Team Z ride this season.  We met in Harwood, Maryland, with people riding from between 17 and and 80 miles.

The good stuff:

30 clipped in miles! 

 Tipping over and getting bloody last summer, but it was okay because Stacey took awesome care of me.

Tipping over and getting bloody last summer, but it was okay because Stacey took awesome care of me.

I’ve never ridden a nonstop 30 miles while clipped in before.  The closest I’ve gotten was last summer when I rode with Stacey’s group ride, then she and I went out on the W&OD for a few more miles.  That was also the time I forgot to clip out, fell over, stood up, and almost passed out.  Interestingly, that incident was the start of my adventure with doctors, finally landing on the POTS diagnosis.  This ride on Saturday was much hillier than I was expecting.  I’ve never been a strong climber, and the decline in my strength and increase in my weight this past year has only made them harder.

 

I nailed my sodium

POTS means I have to take in a large amount of sodium so that my blood volume is high enough for me to remain conscious.  I tested out some Skratch Hyper Hydration before loading up the car.  It has 1700mg of sodium in a single serving, and it’s basically like drinking palatable saline.  I took on another 500mg of sodium during my 2.5 hour ride, and arrived back without any dizzy spells, and I wasn’t crusted over with salt like I usually am.

I hydrated on the go

This one is huge!  I’m anxious on the bike, often getting numb hands and neck pain because I have such a death grip on the handlebars.  Coach Ed suggested I switch over to a hydration pack rather than trying to reach for bottles.  Even grabbing for the straw made me nervous sometimes, but I managed it, and even got more confident as the ride went on.  I’ll definitely be wearing my pack at Rev3 Williamsburg next month.  Such a game changer until my balance improves.

The rough stuff:

I am agonizingly slow

I kept falling so far behind my group that I couldn’t see anyone, and my planned Z2 ride wound up being more of an extended Z4 effort.  It was kind of heartbreaking.  I’d finally catch up to my group at a stop sign, and I’d only have a moment to catch my breath before they were ready to set off again.  I’m sure if I’d spoken up, they would have been more than willing to wait longer to let me rest, but I was too embarrassed.  How ridiculous is that.  My Z4 was 12 mph, by the way.  I know speed shouldn’t matter, and this should all be for fun, and now this is a place to grow from…. but man.  It really hurts to have a hilly race pace of 12 mph.  I didn’t realize that was possible.

30 miles was too much

I had originally planned to do 25 miles, but no one else on the team seemed to be doing that distance, and I didn’t want to be alone.  Instead I did the 30 and wound up being mostly alone anyway.  Cue the pity party.  To be clear, I was never dropped.  The girls always waited and were nothing but encouraging when I did catch up.  I just went to a negative headspace couldn’t get myself out of it.

Not enough calories

While I think I took in plenty of nutrition during the ride itself and recovered properly, I didn’t eat breakfast.  That hasn’t been a problem in the past, but I guess 30 miles at that effort burns a lot more than 15 miles at an easy pace, huh?  The aftermath of getting behind on calories and the effort caught up with me the next day.  I slept almost the entire day, missing my planned long run.  As J pointed out, instead of a long workout, I basically did an unplanned and under fueled bike race. 

Handling mishaps

I got sloppy during the back half of the ride.  This was evidenced by increasingly rough stops, culminating in a clip-out-left-lean-right-catch-self-with-a-stem-to-the-abdomen.  Ouch.  I also had some trouble getting up to speed after stops in the last five 10 miles, resulting in one instance where I zig zagged across the road and got rather close to an oncoming car.  Whoops.  Fortunately, I returned to the ride start with a bit of wounded pride, but nothing worse.

 

So, there we go.  Am I happy?  Yes.  I got out there, got it done, and next time will be better.  Onward!

 All smiles, because what else is there to do on a day you get to play outside?

All smiles, because what else is there to do on a day you get to play outside?