Race Report: Waterman's International Aqua Bike 2018

The Quick & Dirty

2018 Waterman’s International Aqua Bike

Rock Hall, MD

72℉, Sunny, dry roads

1500m swim, 40km bike


Overall Rank - 6/7

Age Group Rank (F-AB) - 6/7


Pre-Race & Warm Up:

Slept in my own bed, got up, packed up my gear and my J, and started the drive out to Rock Hall. I ate two Uncrustables for breakfast as we crossed the bridge into MD on 495. I also clearly drank a bit more water than intended, as I spent a good hour after we got over the Bay Bridge looking for a bathroom that was open at 5am. We very nearly had to stop at the side of the road!

Once we arrived at the race site, which was equal parts breathtaking view and disgusting mudpit, I picked up my packet and did the usual stickers and transition setup. There was a brief “oh crap” moment where I thought I forgot my race belt, then remembered that I wasn’t running so didn’t need one. J and I took a few pics of the harbor view, then made our way over to the Team Z tent to wait for the start.

My warmup consisted of getting my wetsuit on and walking from the Team Z tent to the swim start. Getting on the wetsuit was insane! I definitely need to practice, as once a few kind teammates gave me some pointers, I was doing much better. As Jen and I headed over to the start, I mentioned that maybe I needed a bit more trislide….a comment that wound up being all too true.


1500 meters, 40:09 (2:41/100 meters)

I’m surprised this was over 40 minutes, considering I was in a wetsuit in salty water. Granted, I told myself to take the swim super easy, but I thought I’d be closer to 38 minutes. It did take a good amount of time to haul myself out of the harbor. The “steps” were up at my armpit level, but fortunately a kind and sturdy volunteer grabbed my hand and helped me out. I kept everything calm and relaxed. There wasn’t a lot going on in the way of landmarks, so I really depended on the buoys for siting. I feel like I swam fairly straight. This was my favorite swim to date. 70 degrees, fairly clear water, and just lovely. Minus the neck and underarm chafe, of course!

A swim Exit photo to be proud of!

A swim Exit photo to be proud of!




Someone has never gotten herself out of a wetsuit before, and paid the price today. The only ever time I wore a wetsuit there were strippers. This was so embarrassing. I had to eventually sit in the mud and it STILL took forever to get the suit off my heels. It was a longish walk/run from the water to transition, but wow. Practice!



40 km, 1:38:43 (14.9) mile/hr

Oh so very close to 15 mph! My plan was to get faster with each 5 mile chunk, and I was successful! The course was pretty, with lots of corn fields and other “exotic” views for this suburban girl. It was a little bit lonely out there, since the Aqua Bike athletes were the last wave. Since I’m a slow/average swimmer and a slow cyclist, I didn’t see a lot of people. I did, however, manage to pass a couple of fellow competitors, which was amazing.

Right at the beginning I heard a terrible noise every time I pedaled. Within the first five minutes I realized that my frame pump had come a bit loose and had fallen down towards the drivetrain. It was getting smacked by my pedal with every stroke. I hopped off, stuffed the pump in my hydration pack, and got going again. Its worth pointing out that both at the mount line and here that getting clipped in was practically impossible. My Speedplay pedals have always been a nightmare to clip into, and the muddy transition area made it worse. Any idea why they’re such a pain?

The last few miles did start to get tough. I had to bargain with myself to keep on pushing and not let off the gas. I’m so proud of myself. For the first time every, I’m really pleased with my bike. Yes, I wish I were faster, but that will come with work and some weight loss. I really gave it everything I had!

Jen knows what’s up: AquaBike 4eva!

Jen knows what’s up: AquaBike 4eva!

Once I got back to transition, there was some confusion about where Aqua Bike athletes were supposed to go. Eventually I just took my stuff back into transition, picked up a medal from a group of kids with clipboards, and then found my way back to the Team Z tent to wait for my friends to finish up. I was feeling pretty goofy, which usually means I need some water and salt. I did not have any heart pounding or any other bad symptoms.


Goals & Race Post Mortem

I met all my goals! Good relaxed swim, positive thinking, and a negative split for the bike course. Triple win! I wasn’t very consistent with my workouts this season, so even though I had a lot of improvement as far as bike confidence, it didn’t translate into speed. I’m also significantly heavier than I was last season. I would love to come back to this course and have another go at it after a winter of training.

This was my first time doing a Kinetic race. I’ve heard really good things, and overall, this was a nice race. I think perhaps the volunteer coordinator didn’t give very specific instructions to some, as there were several volunteers at intersections not waving flags or moving at all. Fortunately I had studied the course map and knew where I was going. That wouldn’t stop me from doing another race from Kinetic. Hopefully my run will be in good shape and I can make it a triathlon, although it is really nice to know that Kinetic has Aqua Bike as an option for all their races.

Up next…off season planning!

Love these ladies xoxo

Love these ladies xoxo

Race Expectations: Waterman's International Aqua Bike 2018

I know I said it last time (and every time?) but holy crap, race day is tomorrow! I’m a wreck, as usual. Woke up this morning and thought maybe I tweaked my achilles. Even though I haven’t really been running….and there’s no run in an Aqua Bike…..so why am I worried about this? I also became concerned that I had a cold, and then thought maybe I broke my pelvis. Yeah….the pre-race jitters are in full swing. To-do lists and packing and alarm setting, and omg breakfast, etc etc etc. My brain is in overdrive, and I kind of love it.

Setting goals has been really awful this whole season. Actually, the goals themselves haven’t been awful, its been the expectations that are out of control. The ones that live inside my head, and never make it to the page, but nevertheless are driving me. And not in the “reach for the moon and land among the stars” kind of way. More of a, “hey, you’ve got a CSS of 2:20/100m and a Zone 2 bike speed of 12mph, so you should podium in your division,” level of ridiculousness. Like, what?! Who thinks that way? I have no idea why I put that kind of stupid pressure on myself. So to fix that, my goals need to look different. Smaller, more concrete, and within my power to execute.

Less stuff than for a triathlon….but not by much!

Less stuff than for a triathlon….but not by much!

Swim Relaxed

The water temperature is 70 degrees, and the amazing Jen is letting me borrow her old wetsuit. I’ve only swam in a wetsuit once before, so the idea is to take the start easy and keep everything long and lean and relaxed. No panic, no fuss, just swim.

Second swim goal: don’t wish it away. The Williamsburg swim was choppy, and at one point I just wanted out of the water. No matter what happens out there tomorrow, I want to grab it and live, not wish for it to be something else.

Negative Split the Bike

I’ve got a fairly flat course and no run. What have I got to lose? I will hydrate like a champ (still haven’t graduated to grabbing water bottles yet, so hydration pack it is) and then I’m going to break the race up into 5 mile chunks, and try to get a little bit faster with each chunk.

Goal Times - NOPE

I’m just not even going to go there. If I finish and can say I reached my three goals, then this race is going to be the biggest win, worthy of nothing but smiles. Let’s do this!

Anyone else racing this weekend? Shout out to my Manatee peeps at IMChatt!

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


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!


  • .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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


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.


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