It was a good weekend. A really good weekend :) Other than the fact I broke a cardinal sin of competing in triathlons, which I will get to later.
I got off work a bit early on Friday and headed home to chill out and pack for the evening. Patsy was going out for the night with her girlfriends, and I knew this would mean I was going to be driving on Sat morning, which was expected. This was my weekend, let her go have fun on Friday night and she can sleep in the car. Woke up about 15 min before my alarm went off, and took a long shower, finished packing, woke Patsy up and ran a couple of errands while she was getting ready. We left fairly early in the morning because I wanted to make the group practice swim. Mike and Melissa were along in tow, they were taking their own car because they had to be back in Atlanta as soon as the race was over for Mike. We arrived into Knoxville just before 11:00am. I chatted with Wes on the way up there, he was just behind me a few miles in his car, and Sarah's family lives in Knoxville, so she was already hanging out at the Expo (she went up Friday night). After failing to be able to check in early (Mike and Melissa had the same problem), we decided to head down to the expo to check things out, and then head down to the dock to go for a practice swim.
Wes and I are famous!!! Slowtwitch.com posted some pre race event photos for Rev3 Knoxville on their site, and we both made it on there! It is hard to see us at the pic on the left, as we are already in the water and if you look between every one's legs you can see us. After the OWS, Sarah left to go visit her grandfather at the hospital, and then Wes, Patsy, Mike, Melissa and I all met up at Calhoun's on the River for some lunch. After lunch, we all went back to our hotels to check in (Wes went to the Expo since he was staying with a friend) and then headed to the Expo to retrieve our packets and check our bikes in for the afternoon. I forgot my USAT card in the hotel room, not once, but twice! :) Luckily I have a patient girlfriend. I kind of feel like the Expo area was not as cool as it could have been, because the vendors were all stacked on top of one another, considering that there were areas of the "lawn" that were void of any tents, etc... Other than that, the big screen showing you finish the race with your stats, and the finish chute were really cool!
After hanging out at the hotel for an hour or so, Mike and I met back up to drive the bike course and check it out. I will say that I think future years at this event will see better sections of the bike course than we did, since there was some construction in the first few miles of the bike (and at the end, since it was an out and back course). One sizable hill, and you had to go up it on both sides. Actually with the number of turns I was glad that I had a regular road bike with clip ons rather than a tri bike. I felt like I had much better handling on the bike course. After the drive on the bike course, we headed back to our respective hotels, and then got ready for Dinner. We ate at Oodles Uncorked in the Market square, downtown Knoxville. I have not had a pasta dinner before a tri in so long. The food was great! I got a spinach/walnut/fruit salad, and then chicken afredo for the main course. After this we all headed back to the hotel and I got all my race day stuff together, packed my transition bag, repacked my wetsuit, and read some more of Superfreakeconomics before I headed to bed around 11pm.
I woke up around 3:30am and fell right back asleep. The alarm went off at 5:15am and I hopped out of bed to immediately eat my blueberry muffin and other nutrition, went to the bathroom (only once this race, weird), and took a quick shower. I don't know why I take a shower before races, I just hate the way I feel after I wake up in the morning without a shower. Race morning temps were around 50, and I did not bring any long sleeve anything to keep me warm before the race. Let's just say it was an incentive to get the wetsuit on earlier than normal before the start of the race.
It was pretty cold! I was looking forward to getting in the water, which was somewhere between 66-68 degrees. The race directors were not allowing anyone to swim prior to the race (since swimming in the river early would have affected people actually participating in the race). The pros went off around 7:45am. Wes and Sarah went off around 8:00am, and then Mike and I went off around 8:10-8:15am. Jump into the water, "warm" the suit up ;) and then the gun went off.
I felt really good during the swim. There was kind of some bumping after the first few hundred yards of the swim, which was weird, because there weren't even 100 of us in my AG that went off. There were lots of things to sight, so I don't think I was too off course for the majority of the race! We were in the sunlight for the first quarter mile or so, and then on the turnaround it was much easier. They said that the river flow would help, I don't think it did, although the wetsuit certainly helped :) That was the fastest Olympic Swim time I have ever posted. My last oly distance swim was around 35 min, and it was without a wetsuit. I think the combination of training and the wetsuit really helped.
Swim Time : 25:10.16, Div 21/36, Overall 163/
For some reason I was out of it going through T1. I felt great during the swim, but I lightly jogged through T1 and didn't even go between the bike racks, I ran around them to my rack position (Sorry James, I know you are going to yell at me!). I decided that although my goal was to finish in less than three hours, I am not gonna bust it in transition. Earlier in the day I took my cleats off my bike and left them on the ground to run in. I also wore socks. I still don't have all the neat attachment features for my garmin so I took it from my hand (was in my swim cap), and put it on my wrist for the bike. I sprinted with my bike out of transition and I guess I was the only one at that time, because the announcer yelled my name twice as I got on the bike :)
I started out in a higher cadence and tried to get my heart rate where I wanted it to be before getting too far down the road. We headed west and then meandered through UT's campus. I never got to see the Phi Psi house, but I am sure it looks great. Around mile marker #4 I was going up (literally up) Cumberland to make a right over the Henley Rd. Bridge, when Bjorn Andersson flies right by me. Now let's be fair and say that they started around 7:45am, and I began around 8:10am, and they swim faster than I do. I was surprised that Bjorn had a big lead on everyone, and since this was an Olympic Distance race, I figured that over 6.2 miles he could close the deal.
Anyways onto my bike ride :) I was doing pretty well up through mile 7, and then the first sizable hill of two came up. I decided that since I had not done enough bike/run bricks yet this year I would save my legs and use the granny gear some. I got over the hill, and had to have the hands on the brakes on the way back down since there were so many turns. Oh and did I mention that most of the road on the first and last third of the oly bike course, not that good! Another thing, the whole damn bike leg it seemed as if there was a headwind, no matter which direction you were headed. Then again, it was really windy all weekend long. They have my bike times separated by 3 different areas where they had timers and I was not really happy with the last leg, I think that was where the final serious hill of the race was before heading back into downtown Knoxville. I also think that the hill was steeper and longer, as I used my granny gear for a longer period of time on the way back up the backside of the hill. I think the hill on the way back was steeper and a longer distance. Back over the hill and down again to the bridge, and then doubling back through campus I arrived at transition. People were screaming at all of us, which was good.
Bike Time : 1:34:12, 16.47mph, Div 22/36, Overall 173/
By the time I was headed out of T2, the announcer had stated that Matty Reed had won the men's pro event.... wait huh? Borjn couldn't hold up the lead he had coming off the bike. Matt is a beast! It looks like he ran on average a minute per mile faster than Bjorn on the run to take it. Anyways... on to my run :)
Remember earlier I told you about that cardinal rule of racing I broke, well here is how it started. Every year when the season really gets going around April/May, I begin going sock less with both cycling and running, mostly in sprint/oly distance races. Well I was a bit late in breaking in the sock less so I really began doing it the week of the race. I figured how bad could it be? How about blister 2 inches long by 1/2 an inch wide on my right arch, one of those that has to scab up and takes a week or more to heal. How did that affect my run you ask? Well despite what my mind wanted to do from Fri-Sun (race day), my body told my foot to walk on the outer edge. That put a lot of stress on my foot all weekend long and it did not bode well for my run. I basically ran in pain the entire 6.2 miles. I walked 5 times for about 45sec-1min each time. The good thing about all this is somehow I completed the race averaging a 9:23/mi pace. When I finished I was limping around for the rest of the day. The bottom/outside of my foot hurt like hell, as well as the tendon that runs from the bottom of my foot, up under and around the back of my ankle to my calf (peroneal tendon), and I stressed it pretty bad. However, I finished!!! Hooray!!! First race of the year in the books. I also finished in (just) under three hours, which was my primary goal.
Run Time: 1:00:20, 9:23/mi 25/36, 184/
Final Time: 2:59:42.39
Post race was great! A finisher shirt on top of the shirt that they already gave me (instead of a water bottle, thank goodness, I have about two weeks worth in my home), and a boxed lunch, some Mix1 (Tangerine Flavor) and Deer Park Water (because ya know, it tastes like real water oughta ;) After we watched Mike finish, Melissa and he ran back to their hotel and checked out to head to Atlanta for their other engagements. Patsy and I headed back to the hotel because our checkout was at 12pm. Once we checked out, I hobbled back down to transition and picked up my stuff and brought it back to the car to load on top. We stayed until around 2pm, and decided to head back home (Sorry Wes and Sarah!) We were exhausted and we both had to work the next day. I had trouble staying awake in the car but that was nothing a little Coca Cola and music could not cure.
Rev3 Tri series is a great event and well managed. I think there were some little things that needed to be corrected, but it did not detract from the overall greatness of this race and the series. I think also that the interaction you get with the pro field is great. I think I said "hi" to Matt Reed and Chris Leito about 4 times each not realizing who they were at the time (they look different in person). I stood in line next to Natscha Badmann at the porta johns before the swim on race morning. I mean, you go to some of these races, Ironman Events, etc, and you see these athletes far off in press conferences, or corralled off in a small area pre race. That was not the case for this race, and I loved it. The fact that I was walking around in the presence of pros just as if they were age-groupers was a great experience.
I still don't know what pro got in the bad bike accident on the course, but I hope he is ok. He was making a left turn coming back in town and swung too wide, slammed right into a car stopped at a stop light. He was taken to the hospital I was told, hurt pretty bad! Also would like to give a shout out to Michelle Ford, hope you had a great race, and to Drew Marlar, part of team Dynamo Multisport, who got 1st in his AG in the Half Iron distance event, and 4th overall. I could be wrong, but I think team Dynamo in the Half Iron event (men's) placed 2nd, 4th, and 9th overall (there were more, but that was the top 10). I also saw a few people from the Atlanta Tri Club as well, I hope you guys did well!
Day 3 post race my foot is feeling better, I think I will be able to try it out (lightly) beginning on Sunday. Right now it is trainer and swimming only. I will make sure the rest of the pics are posted on facebook for those of you who are my friends there! Hope all of you had a great weekend training/racing, and enjoy the rest of your week!