Monday, May 17, 2010

Rev3 Race Report

....or how to place in your age group without even trying!

Last weekend didn't go quite like I thought it would.  Going into that weekend, I was feeling undertrained, ill-prepared, and a bit down on myself.  Life is like that right now (Joe and I are in a place neither one of us could have ever imagined, so we're feeling ill-prepared and down on ourselves), but sometimes you need things to start out wrong to end up right.  It's amazing how everything has a way of working out--and this past weekend was a good lesson in how our life will turn around too.

Getting to Knoxville
I had planned on driving down to Tennessee on Friday afternoon, but as I was cleaning my house (can't leave house filthy--don't want to come home to dirt and mess) Joe and I were called by Joey's school for a medical emergency.  Four hours in the ER and a CAT scan later, we were back home with Joey who spent the rest of the day sleeping and resting.  I scrubbed the bejeezus out of the kitchen floor late that afternoon while debating with myself if I should even race.  By early evening, it was clear that Joey was feeling much better.  Since the guys were still planning on attending their camp out the following night, we decided that it would be fine for me to go.  Maddy care was lined up--she had a crazy busy weekend of volunteer activities--and that evening we had a nice family dinner and watched The Blind Side. 

Saturday morning I was up and out of the house by 5:30.  I was anxious to get to Knoxville early enough to have time to check in, drive the bike course, hang with Molly, Lynn, and possibly Kari.  I had never driven farther south than Lexington on I-81.  I don't know quite what I was expecting (other than lots of tractor trailers), but it was a beautiful and scenic drive.  Winding through Blacksburg, I thought about my friends signed up for Mountains of Misery in a couple weeks.  Such a shame that I can't join them for it (NOT!), since the ride is 2 weeks before Eagleman.  Just as I pulled into Knoxville, I got a call from #1 son, home from Iraq.  Poor guy was greeted at the door by just the dog--everyone else was gone.  He was able to have a nice lunch with Maddy in between her outings and sleepover. 

Molly met me in the lobby of the hotel and we schlepped bike and bags upstairs before hitting the expo/athlete check-in.  We walked down to find transition and the swim exit.  The river looked quite nice, and there were still people in the water.  After a quick lunch of barbeque and chatting with Lynn, we headed out for a preview of the bike course.  Can you say technical?!  Narrow, narrow roads.  No shoulders.  Winding, blind descents.  Some steep climbs.  We doubted how they could close the course, given all the homes along the way, and hoped it wouldn't be much of a problem (more on that later).  On the way back to the hotel, we laid in some food and post race libations and made plans to join Lynn and her mom for dinner.

Our dinner was ok--the food was decent, but the service was far from it.  I think we had the newest, youngest waitress who asked us 3 times what kind of wine we had ordered.  Salads came after the dinner, as did the soup.  After several pleading looks at passing managers, they got it right--with 2 comped deserts for our troubles.  We were back in the hotel and lights out by 9:30.  I was surprised how easily I fell asleep, and stayed zonked until the alarm went off at 6.

Race Day
After some iffy attempts at brewing my own water for oatmeal, we found coffee and hot water at the restaurant on our way to transition.  I think I need a new transition bag--Molly had hands free with her neat back pack.  I ended up spilling some of my oatmeal while trying to juggle the food and my stuff.  We got body marked, said hello to this guy who is stalking me (I swear he's at every race I do!).  

(What the hell is up with those bags under my eyes?!)

While I was saying good morning to Michael Lovato, dear dear Lynn showed up with a Starbucks latte for me!  That is how I like to start Mother's Day.  Bless you Lynn.

It was so cold out, I think the air temps were in the 40s.  I was a little worried about the water temps given I decided to wear my own john style wetsuit.  After setting everything up in transition, we walked barefoot down to the swim start and met up with Lynn's mom and Brian.  I was in the last swim wave, so I got to see everyone off, including Tara Costa who was participating in her first tri (and she kicked butt!)  Soon it was time for my wave to get in the water.  The water felt great!  So warm in comparison to the air temps.  Time to go!

Swims are always funny things for me.  I knew I had a good start, since I lined up at the very front and there were just 2 or 3 people swimming at my speed from my wave.  Sighting was ok, even given the sun coming up straight ahead of us.  There was a riverboat close to the turn, so I just aimed for that.  Not much current either.  I still dick around too much on the swim, popping up to look around, wave at kayakers, and check out my surroundings.  I made the turn easily (there was no one else there...) and headed back down stream.  Sighting got a little harder, since there weren't enough bouys marking the course.  But I knew the swim exit was just past the railroad bridge so if I swam straight for one of the piers I'd be ok.  I got to the dock in about 24 mins (someone said the course was short) and held on for a second extra.  A couple volunteers asked if I needed help getting out, but I told them I needed to pee before exiting.  They were a little surprised at that.  Peeing done, I hopped out and started the jog up the ramp to T1.  Total swim time:  25:42 an oly-distance swim PR of about 2:45 (so I don't think the course was short). 

What a gorgeous morning it was turning into.  It was a little breezier than I would've liked, given I had just put my race wheels back on my bike.  (See here why I'm not a fan of race wheels, wind, and hills.)   T1 wasn't my fastest ever.  I struggled to get the arm warmers on, but knew I'd need them. 

As I was crossing the mount line, I heard some one say "Have a great ride, Kate."  I looked up and it was Brian, waiting for Lynn.  I can't believe I didn't find Lynn on the swim.  I can usually recognize her swim stroke from a mile away.  Time to hop on the bike and get it done.  My goal for this leg was to get up the hills fast, get down the hills however I could, and try to enjoy the back part of the course.  Getting out of town sucked--two big climbs right off the bat, then down a street that was under construction.  We had less than a normal lane width under a train bridge and with bikes heading out and in it was a bit disconcerting. 

All in all, I thought the ride went well, except for the two times I dropped my chain at the top of a climb.  I noted to be careful with my gears when gearing up for the downhills, and it didn't happen again.  Through the shady parts it was downright COLD, but the sunshine felt oh so good.  I was suprised the course was completely open to traffic, and I'm not sure how much warning drivers had that there would be a race happening that morning.  I like this series of pictures of me passing these two guys.  The ambulance in the last frame was for some poor guy who crashed and had possibly broken his collarbone.  Doesn't the guy on the left look a little like the Geico caveman? 

On the way back into town, I had to face those two hills we climbed up.  I should've pulled up the big girl pants and bombed down, but the wind had picked up quite a bit and I chickened out.  I'm sure the cops directing traffic were wondering this one chick barely inched down the hill when everyone else was flying down.  Oh well.  My next race is blessedly FLAT!  Total bike time:  1:39:53, 4 minutes slower than my Columbia bike time.

T2 is always so nice.  Throw everything on the rack, sit down, and pee while putting on the shoes.  Some lady in the rack next to mine was bemoaning having to pee heading out and I told her to just sit and do it while she put on her shoes.  She was surprised, but it saved her from stopping in a nasty portapotty. 

I got out on the run, picked what felt like a quick pace/cadence and thought to myself, "Let's see how long you can hold this."  Turns out I held it pretty well!  I felt good and was passing people (which NEVER happens to me on the run).  Just before the first mile, I saw Kari on her way back in.  Water and gu at mile 2, and some over the head.  The breeze was nice and kept the temperature just perfect.  About a 1/2 mile before the turn around, I saw Molly and gave her a high five.  I wished I could have caught up to her.  I ran the first segment at an 8:51 pace and the second half at an 8:56 pace.  Turns out I ran a 55:09 10k!!!  Which is an oly-run PR.  I was so happy with that.

So overall I came in at 3:07:22.  Not the quite time I was thinking I could do, and probably should have done with out the mental crap I was putting myself through before the race, but still a PR.  Molly met me at the finish line and we grabbed food, then decided to get our stuff out of transition before we didn't have the energy to do it later.  We found Lynn in transition getting ready to head out on her 1/2 marathon, looking strong.  Sadly, the volunteers still in transition were a little too busy texting/talking on their cell phones, and Lynn didn't see where the run out was.  We got her pointed in the right direction and let her know we'd see her at the finish with her mom and Toby.

While waiting for Lynn and Brian, Molly wandered off and found an ice bath AND mimosa.  Then they started the awards ceremony.  Molly wasn't around to see that the young chick who was paced by her volunteer boyfriend took third in her AG.  So annoying.  When they got to my AG I was curious to see how fast these women looked--but then they called my name as having placed THIRD!!!  Holy sh*t!  Had I known I was going to get called onstage, I would've worn something nicer.  I got a nice plaque and a new fuel belt.

Soon afterwards, Lynn and Brian came running home.  Lynn's mom had never seen her race before and was beaming with pride.  I was bummed that they couldn't stick around for a while--would've been nice to share those Mike's, margaritas, and cupcakes with them.  All in all, a good day!

Monday morning I was bummed to find the hotel hot tub closed for cleaning.  I got all packed up, said goodbye to Molly, and headed to visit my old TriMoms friends, Matt and Kim.  Matt had been the swim coach at UofR, but now coaches the LadyVols.  Their new facilities are AMAZING!  Also so nice to catch up with them and tell them about how far some of their TriMoms have come--quite a few of us are now Ironmen, something we never imagined while training for our first sprint in 2004!


Molly said...

Great race report! The whole weekend was so fun, it was definitely worth it! :-)

SusieQ said...

Congrats to you - how exciting!!!

Melissa said...

Congrats on your place! I love how you "dick around" on the swim. Too funny.

runningyankee said...

great job out there kate!that bike course was ridiculous! and i think that ambulence was on its way to where i was - the guy got hit right where i had the flat. it was chaos! congrats on the PR. :)

Melissa said...

Great job on the race Kate, especially with all the other stuff going on. Sounds like you and Molly had a good time.

I'm glad your son is back too!

Marit C-L said...

Awesome report Kate - I love reading what you write... I can hear your voice in there :) The funniest picture was the series of you passing those two guys. The Caveman with the stripes looks absolutely MISERABLE. Poor thing! You, looked marvelous - smooth and in control! :)

YEA!!! I'm so happy for you!! PS - glad to hear that Joey is feeling better!

Kim said...

yay on oly run PR and placing!! way to chick that guy and a caveman. you rule! cant wait to meet you in CA!

ADC said...

Great race report. Again congrats on the podium. And I am soooo happy you got to spend some time with son #1

Kate said...

Sorry for Joey, hope all is well. Great race though and hardware!!!!!

kerrie said...

congrats on a great race! i think that we sometimes have our best results when we least expect it! i also totally do all of those pee tricks and i laugh when people ask why i'm sitting down in T2 to put my shoes;)

Jennifer Cunnane said...

you have worked much harder than u think and deserve all the rewards of a podium finish!!! GREAT JOB!! I enjoyed reading your race report!