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.


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!

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?