Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rev3 Quassy 70.3 Race Report

Whew!! What a weekend!  I knew it would be a world-wind tour, but it always seems so easy in theory, and much harder in reality :)   Left home at 5am Saturday morning.  I love to have a significant part of the drive over by lunchtime. I had a friend, Steve,  accompany me for the return trip - the biggest lesson I learned from Knoxville is NOT to attempt driving significant distances after a race - my "tank" is empty, I'm not focused and my reflexes are off. I am a jeopardy to anyone on the road and to myself.  The trip was uneventful and we made great time. We headed straight to the venue so I could deal with my neuroses about check-in, packet pickup, etc.  I'm a bit of a freak before a race and not a whole lot of fun to be around.  I'm working on that.  It's getting a little easier with each race to try to remain calm.  I so wish I was "laid back" but I'm not, I'm "high strung" ... a very attractive quality, as we all know! :)

Quassy amusement park is nothing like Cedar Point!  It's like a high-end carnival.  I'm not complaining, just reporting. I enjoyed the venue very much and had no problems - there was plenty of close parking, the chute and finish line were in a nice area, and I liked where transition was.  I am really very impressed with these Rev3 races!!  I'm thinking I may be a long-term fan and competitor - they do a fabulous job of supporting the athletes.

When we arrived, there were very few in line. I got my packet then went over to get my chip activated and have my picture taken for the big screen Trinitron when you finish.  Of course my hair wasn't in great shape, as I'd jumped out of bed and hit the road at the crack of dawn! Maybe for Cedar Point I'll actually try to look nice for my photo!!  I am so vain!

Next stop was checking out the various vendors set up around there. I love All3Sports and I was a wild woman and bought 3 DIFFERENT flavor GU gels! I know! I live on the edge.  Usually I use Powerbar Gel, Tangerine but I was feeling a little crazy and went out on a limb to try new flavors and a different brand. Gotta say, LOVED THEM! I got Blueberry, Pineapple, and Orange Vanilla Cream. YUM.  Plus, no cramping, which I'll address more in a minute.  Got a cheap tri-top to complement my Triabetes bike shorts - it was very warm and the thought of riding and running in the bike jersey was making me nervous.  I chose a solid black top and had to choose between small and large.  I'm a medium - they had none :(   I tried both on and could pull both of them off, however, in the interest of everyone's eyes and mental health, I opted for the large.   When you dehydrate during these events, it's important to continually take in fluids and gels, which can result in a bloated buddah belly.  The large top would be less offensive to spectators :)   The small would "restrict my core" and subsequently my breathing (yeah, no. It would just accentuate my residual baby-fat from growing 3 children in my body).

Next, took my bike over to check-in and set her up in transition.

Got a text from Janet and Joey Edwards that they "here" and in line. By this time the athletes were arriving and it was getting crowded.  We found them and talked a bit.

Next, we drove the bike course.  Egads!  It was a challenge to keep on course, as the map didn't really correlate with the turn by turn directions.  The definitely could not have been navigated alone - it was essential to have a focused driver and a map reader.  Gotta say, I wasn't the best map reader ever. It was kind of confusing.  We drove 90% of the course then headed to the hotel to check in.  The bike course, from the car vantage point, didn't seem as awful as I'd imagined.  But it was in no way FLAT - it was hilly, very hilly.  Lots of rollers and two long climbs.  I don't think I was MORE scared after the drive, I was probably a little less scared.

We got to the hotel and by this time we were starving. Granted there was a continuous grazing that happened during all those hours in the car.  The cooler was well stocked with good stuff and drinks so we indulged in a good variety of snacks.  But, now we needed a MEAL.  The Edwards' offered us to join them as they went out for a meal at an Italian restaurant.  I typically eat pretty light the day before, often skipping dinner or eating it at 2pm.  I set out to eat light, but when the menu was in front of me, spaghetti and meatballs was calling my name!  I ate most of it and was comfortably full - left a portion and didn't feel the need to clean my plate.  Blood sugars have been pretty great the entire time.

Back to the hotel and we all just settled in - doing our own thing, mostly on our respective computers. I think I fell asleep around 9.  Personally, I slept great.

I woke at 4 to eat and have coffee. I private bathroom in the lobby and a very successful PRP. (I know, thanks for sharing! You are welcome!) This is a VERY good sign!   :)  Next I went next door to Dunkin Donuts to get coffee and bagels for my roommates. I wasn't the only one with this idea, as there was a line of athletes and athlete family members with the same mission.  The poor girl at the counter was all alone and we kind of all descended on her.  I was 2nd in line ... see, it pays to be the early bird! Honestly, I was first, but I was on the phone so the lady stepped up before me.  No worries.  While they did have coffee brewing fast and furious, she had no toasters on. All bagels would have to be untoasted. And, no cream sticks :(   I had no idea what a "cream stick" is ... but I'm told it's another name for an eclair.  Who knew??  Steve would have to settle for Nilla Wafers for breakfast - the breakfast of champions!  I had eaten my protein bar, but was happy to have the coffee.

Back in the room and I changed and we headed over to the race.  We followed the line of cars with athletes and, without directions arrived without any problem.

I set up transition and began my stretching. I was trying to focus on my race.  I got into the lake and did an easy swim - that was a first for me and it felt good.  I had ejected from the others, as I kind of just need to be alone.  Meanwhile, Miss Janet is laughing, hanging out with people and goofing off. Wow. Amazing.  I think I need to re-think my pre-race routine!  Honestly, this was the latest I'd ever arrived to a race!!  I was a bit nervous about that but everything fell into place.  Plenty of time to get marked, set up, wait for the porto-potty and stretch - even go for a swim!

The waves began and I waited for mine.  When my wave went off I started swimming and felt good for about 5 minutes.  Then, I lost my focus.  I had another panic attack at the first buoy.  Not the first TURN buoy, the very first buoy.  My HR climbed and I had anxiety. I considered quitting.  What am I doing?? I can't do this?  Race for SEVEN hours?  No way.  Then I thought of how hard it would be to face everyone if I quit.   Not due to injury, but due to self-doubt and fear.  I never want to succumb to that!!  I did some self-talk and told myself to put my face in the goddamn water and SWIM!  DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO BREAK YOU!  I think I lost around 4 or 5 minutes with that tantrum.  UGH.  However, I was able to re-focus and get into a groove. 

At the halfway point I was having some phlegm issues.  I could feel it in the back of my throat and it was irritating me.  I kept coughing to try to clear it.  I finally stopped and did a VERY HARD throat clear ... then I tasted blood.  I spit into my hand and yep, blood and phlegm.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is how gross those lakes are.  Didn't phase me, as I'm fully aware, but I know many of you will shudder at that.  I had irritated the back of my throat and now it was going to remain irritated. Okay, whatever, I've got a race to do.  I continued swimming and found a strong groove, the rest of the swim felt good.  I'm disappointed with my swim time ... I thought that panic stuff was behind me.  I honestly think I wasn't focused enough at the start.  I am looking forward to my next tri - specifically the 70.3 in July, so I can knock that :41 down to a sub :30.  I know I can do it!

T1 went okay, except I was in the wrong alley and had trouble finding my bike. Steve was there, and said "next row over" - yep, there she was.  I stripped out of my wetsuit and put on my helmet, socks, shoes and glasses and was off for the bike leg, all 56 miles.

Most of you know my struggle with hills.  And you probably know how hard I've been working to overcome those struggles, which are part physical and part mental.  Well, today it DID pay off!  I will readily admit that this was the hardest ride I've ever done.  I even dismounted and walked up at two places.  But, I really had a lot more strength on the other hills and used the rollers to maximize my momentum.  I remember Ben and Tim and Steve saying just keep the legs spinning.   I really did that pretty well.  That was the best bike leg I was capable of on that day - no regrets!  I worked hard the entire race and mentally I was kicking ass!  Stole Joan's mantra: Strong legs, strong lungs, strong heart, strong mind.  It really helped me!!! 

At this point I want to say something about triathletes.  People, these athletes are amazing.  They were supportive, kind, and courteous.  I felt so supported by others offering encouragement and praise at so many points.  Of course, the volunteers were amazing, as they almost always are.  I encourage ALL of you to volunteer at a race. It will touch you! It will be an amazing experience. It will make a difference to an athlete.  But beyond the volunteers, I was very much supported by the other athletes.  Honestly, it was so amazing that I felt very blessed to be exactly where I was - doing that race. There were DOZENS of people with kind, supportive words.  It really felt ... just amazing.  No one was nasty. No one was egocentric. It was truly a blessing to be there, at that time, in that race.  It makes such a huge difference! It is like a helping hand at every step.  I paid it forward with support to others, and, often, you see the same folks again and again as you do a little cat and mouse routine.  Never once was there anything but support!

At mile 20 I believe, I stopped at an aid station to refuel (LOVE CeraSport!!!) and use the porto-potty.  I come out and who is there? Steve.  Yes, again, I am surprised that with the thousand of racers, he finds me!  He decided to ride the course too, waiting until most of the athletes had left out of T1.  He then busted butt to see how he'd fare on the course.  He was averaging 18.1 I think.  On THAT course - that is ROCKING.  I was now where near that ... but then again, I am not near the cyclist he is.  I'm really okay with that! :)   I took 5 units of Apidra and hopped back on the bike, feeling a new surge of energy.  Steve passed me and continued on, which I'm grateful for.  Triathlon is an individual sport and I had my own race to run.  I loved having the support, but this was my race, and pacing isn't an ethical practice, either.  

I found myself really cranking the downhills - a new experience for me. Usually I'm very nervous and breaking, fearing going too fast.  But today, I had no fear! The road was in great shape, there weren't other cyclists to deal with at that particular moment, and I found myself rolling ~41 mph!  It was exhilarating!

Finished the bike and in T2 I took a long time. I checked BG - 116 I believe - perfect.  I was about to take 2 gu so I took a small dose of Apidra.  Unfortunately, due to high blood pressure (racing!) my finger stick wouldn't stop bleeding! It looked way worse than it was and volunteers were worried.  Ugh.  I also accidentally locked my Garmin keys and didn't know how to unlock it.  I tried one last maneuver and it worked, so I could switch it to Running Mode.  The, of course, stop at the Porto-potty.  Steve took a very flattering shot of me exiting and pulling my clothes back on! Sexy! And with the belly hanging out, for good measure!  I wish I would have flipped him the bird ;)  Kidding.  I can handle the unflattering pics that come with racing ... It's NOT a pretty picture!  Good thing we don't have a way to share odor over the internet! :)

My run ... well, pretty good actually.  Not fab. BUT - NO CRAMPING!!!  This was FABULOUS news!   I had taken 4 salt tabs at T2 (I think I ordered and consumed a stack of pancakes too, because my T2 was like ... forever!).   I played cat and mouse with another 42 yr old lady.  In the end I got her - which surprised the hell out of me because I mentally "let" her go.  She was slow and steady, and I was erratic.  I felt she was running a better race so I let her get out of sight, have the place.  Then, at mile 12, there she was!  Oh no. Now it's ON!  I'm going to get you!!  And I did.   :)    I liked the run! I felt awful the first 2 miles, but by mile 3 I'd found a comfortable groove. I kept waiting for the cramping to start ... and it never did!  I was relatively strong for the finish and really bolted the last 3/4 mile and into the chute!  I'd say my run was a 7/10 - room for improvement, but I was happy with how it went.

I had hoped to go under 7 hours.  As I was 5 miles from the finish, I quickly calculated that I'd need to run the remaining 5 miles at an 8 min pace.  That's possible for me, just not today, at this point.  It wasn't going to happen.  I became at peace with that and just did the best I could.  My time was 7:11:00, (the time you see at the finish is from the race start, not MY wave start, so it's a bit deceptive if you don't know that) In hindsight, I know exactly where I could find those precious minutes to get me under 7.  Of course, hindsight is 20/20.  Overall, I was very proud of my race.  I hung in.  I persevered. I had fun and I have an attitude of gratitude that God allows me to do these races. It's just such an amazing experience.

Thanks for hanging in with me! It's kind of like you did it with me ... the support and encouragement I get from everyone is more motivating and touching than I think any of you would realize! THANK YOU!!!


  1. Tiffany, it has been a pleasure to watch you over the year reach your goals. You are such a strong willed, determined person that I had no doubt that you would finish strong on the tough Quassy course. It was really awesome getting to hang out with you this weekend! Keep up the momentum!

  2. Good work Tiffany. I love the race report. :) You add all the fun details. :-)

  3. Congrats Tiffany! You're a great blogger. I love reading about your races. Since I'm not doing much racing (due to finances) I have to live vicariously through you! :) Excellent job!