Thursday, June 7, 2012

Painful Half Debut

This past weekend I competed in Rev3 Quassy.  For the first time in my life I decided to do a half ironman.  I want to do well in the Rev3 series and I know in order for that to happen I had to step up to the half. Once again Rev3 put on a spectacular event and I am glad they are involved in triathlons.  Check out the race recap video here: Rev3 Quassy

Swim - The water was low 70s so I did not have the good luck of a wetsuit swim. The swim started off very well and I was on feet in a small pack to the right.  I was drafting a guy who was drafting Matty Reed...I knew I was in a great position!  Then the pace slowed down and I knew we came off Matty's feet and now I was following someone who was in over his head.  I went around him and stayed course on the right side while I could see everyone else was far to the left.  I knew crossing over to the other pack would cost more energy than swimming solo. Everyone came together at the first buoy and I was able to get on feet coming around the turn.  The pace was comfortable to draft off, but I would've been swimming too hard to break my own way through the water.  I also did not know how hard I should be swimming since I still had 56 miles of biking and 13.1 miles of running to tackle once I got out of the water.  So I just settled in and waited to get out of the water!

Bike - It was a chilly morning in Middlebury, CT so I decided I was going to put on arm warmers in T1.  This proved to be a little difficult with wet arms but I was very happy I had them on when I started riding.  The first 4 miles were a net downhill and I was a little chilly even with the arm warmers on. Greg and I laid out a plan for the bike of holding watts we felt would get me off the bike quickly but still have legs to run.  Based on my workouts leading up to race day I was thinking about riding at lower watts so I could make it off the bike.  Three weeks before the race I bonked 75% of the way through my bike workout and 2 weeks before the race I got so dehydrated I could not get my heart rate lower than 180 on the bike.  This made me a little nervous but my body always seems to come through on race day so I did not worry about it too much. I was amazed at how fast everyone rides fro 56 miles.  I rode 8 watts higher than we agreed on and still lost 8 min to the top 6 guys on the bike.  Maybe in the future I will be able to improve my biking but for my debut and for where my cycling is right now, I will take it.  I told myself to relax till 30 miles and then go faster if I could.  At about 30 miles I had to pee so for the first time in my life I peed while I was biking!  The only trick that I had to figure out was how to get relaxed enough in order to go.  Finally on a long downhill I was able to.  After that it was time to ride and forget about watts until the finish!  I rode a hard relaxed pace until T2.  It was a little faster than I was expecting to go but I am not sure how much faster I could have gone for 56 miles.
Thanks Rev3 staff for the great shot on the bike.
Run - The first mile was a huge downhill.  I was trying to slow myself down and stay relaxed but my legs were starting to get away from me.  it was not taking a toll on my body to let my legs go, so I went with them.  It was rolling to "flat" until mile 4, and then the real fun started!  It was uphill from 4 to 6 and then some rolling to uphill  till 7.  That is where I really used a lot of energy.   Looking back on the race I think I should have let my average pace go a little through here to save some energy for the back half.  But things were still going well when I got to mile 8.  As mile 10 approached I knew things were getting bad.  I tried coke for the first time on a run but that did not help either.  After averaging 5:30s through 10, I went 6:05 pace for miles 11 and 12 and then on the uphill, kick in the pants, final mile I did all I could to run a 6:50 last mile.  There was nothing left in the tank and my legs did not want to go any longer but I made it to the finish line.  

Post race I stumbled around for a little bit and ended up getting some food.  I was so happy to see my fiancee, Melissa, when I got done, and I was able to lean on her and walk around post race.  It was great to have my mom, Greg, Melissa and Nicole's husband, Wes, at the race.  Greg drove them all over the course on the bike and run!!  It really helped having them out there!  I could not have done it without the guidance from Greg and the cheering from a great support group!!
Top 10 Podium!  Thanks for the great photos sweetheart!
In all I am happy with my debut at the half ironman distance.  I still have a lot to learn about the sport or triathlon as a whole and especially about racing the half distance.  I will hopefully be back at Quassy next year and I plan on doing another half at some point.  I just need to work on my biking, because the top guys really know how to lay down a fast split!!

Always do your best.  What you plant now, you will harvest later.  ~Og Mandino