Monday, November 18, 2013

Rev3 Florida...and a quick look back at Rev3 Branson

The Start. I am in the purple cap. This was the first time I got a different colored cap so they could "identify" me. 
Well, I finished up the 2013 season in sunny Florida. Unlike last year I got to swim in the ocean and it was perfect on race day; the water was about as calm as an ocean can be. I had a solid swim, got popped around the first buoy because I thought "I don't want to get kicked." This caused me to back off just a touch to stay out of trouble and a gap opened up. I ended up about :20 behind MBK and Lauren but with Bec Wassner out of T1. She took off very quickly and while I had practiced in training to ride a bit harder at the beginning to catch any "groups" I was not able to match her pace. So, I settled in and rode the 56 miles all alone. The course was a collection of out and backs and the occasional glimpses of those ahead and behind me kept me motivated. The gap to the front seemed to grow quickly and then less in the last half of the ride. Since I was riding alone I did not have to worry too often about staggering which was kind of nice. I missed a bottle at the 2nd aid station which worried me a bit. I had about 12 ounces of Powerbar Perform to get me to the next aid station at mile 43. Luckily, I had downed almost 60 oz of sports drink by that time and, since the course was flat, the actual riding time had only been 90 minutes. I felt like a slight lull in my drinking for about 40 minutes would not put me in a spot of trouble as long as I got the bottle at the next aid station and made sure to drink it all before I got back to transition. I got off the bike alone and started out on the run course that took us along the coast and then in towards a waterway. The air is pretty still on the run course so it was warm, but, in all honesty, I really welcomed the heat. I don't do that well in cold, particularly on the bike, so I was happy to have a nice warm day to race. I did not have any idea if I was gaining on anyone in front of me the first 6 miles. I felt pretty good and kept sucking down my PowerGels so I did not have a replay of the last mile last year when I was passed for 5th place and had to fight the last 1/2 mile to keep from being passed for 6th. As I approached the far turnaround Meredith came by and said "you can do it, she is right there." At first I thought she was just being super encouraging to keep me going but then I caught a glimpse of Bec running in 4th. I took my last Powergel and reminded myself to run strong but be patient. We still had 2 miles to go and I did not need to use all my energy to catch her immediately. As I  closed the gap I could tell she had heavy legs so I made one big push to pass her and then kept the pace up for the last 1.5 miles. I kept telling myself to enjoy the pain and the feeling of pushing myself since I knew an off season break was next on the agenda. I was happy to finish the year with a solid effort. I feel stronger and made some changes in the middle of the year that really helped me capitalize on all the hard work I do in training. As I look at the last few years my improvement has been relatively steady and consistent. There has been no major "breakthrough" moment and that's okay. While I daydream about having a race where you beat a major favorite and come to finish line with no one knowing your name (a la' Jesse Thomas) I will take my approach of just chipping away. Sometimes I break off a bigger chunk of rock and sometimes my pick axe breaks (ie, bad race) but, no matter what, I really enjoy the process of trying to get faster. So, after my last race of the season, in an effort to get faster, I am sitting on my behind for the next two weeks. This is probably one of the biggest challenges of the year!  To keep myself out of the pool I had a tattoo modified just a few days ago so I "can't" swim until it is healed. Andy does not believe that I will follow the rules and stay out of the water but I am going to make it!

Mile 6. 

2013 is a wrap. 
Lastly, I wanted to write just a little bit about Rev3 Branson at the end of September. I always intended to write about the race because, while it was not an earth shattering performance, it was not disappointing either. I often think that people's omission of a race report indicates their level of satisfaction with the performance, but in my case, that was not the reason I did not write. For some reason I just figured no one really wanted to hear about it. Unfortunately, I have slipped into a habit of just writing about races and I think when you do that the "pattern" of the race report becomes more apparent to the writer. Perhaps if I wrote a bit more I would feel more connected to my audience and I could actually share more than a rundown of race details like "the swim was wavy, I was cold on the bike, I ran okay" type of reporting.

On that note, here is the Branson run down:

-the swim was stressful as the water was warm and the air was cold. Fog collected on the water and I did not know where I was going which caused me to let off the gas a bit.

-the bike was FREEZING for me and I rode like crap the first 20 miles. Then, as the temperature went up, so did my watts. The bike course was up and down the whole way but one of my favorite courses EVER. We got to ride on a closed 4 lane highway. It was like a dream. No cars. Amazing and challenging.

The Bike Course. We had BOTH sides of the highway. No cars.
-I ran fairly strongly off a solid, but not great, bike ride. I moved up and that is always nice. Honestly, I started the run a little pissed about my ride so I had some motivation.

We ran through the Promenade (outdoor mall) and into the surrounding neighborhoods.  Since we had a lot of hills on the bike we got a flat run to finish out the day.
-I REALLY enjoyed Branson. It was a weird little place but the scenery at Table Rock Lake and on the bike course was absolutely stunning. Branson was full of southern hospitality and I loved it. I HIGHLY recommend the race and really hope it will be around next year.

Branson.

The Branson airport. Two gates. Southwest and Frontier fly there.

And there you have it. 2013 is done. I need to make a commitment to write again on this blog even though I won't race again until March/April 2014. I often wonder what to write about. Is anyone really reading? Perhaps I need to write more to make people interested in what I have to say. If you are reading and have anything you want to hear about leave a comment! I always like good ideas and I want to make my reading audience happy. Thanks for following along this year, Happy Holidays!

Major props to RokaPowerBarRudy ProjectRolf PrimaSmashfest QueenFocus, Calavera SwimwearZoot, Napa River Velo and Davis Wheelworks for all their support this year.

3 comments:

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    1. my random thoughts...that will scare people away :) But, I will do it anyway!

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  2. I'm reading! :) I'd love a post or two on nutrition, considering I still have some stuff to learn! Maybe on how to train through the winter and stay motivated, too, for those of us Midwesterners in the house. Or there's always strength training so you can tell me how to get those back/arm muscles. Sheesh. You look super fit!

    Awesome job at FL--kicked some major ass out there. Very excited to see your success!

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