Rev3 Florida Race Report: #XPdoesRev3

15 11 2013

Yesterday was the first day that I could actually walk down steps like a normal human being. Yes, my quads were THAT sore! I guess that’s a sign that I raced hard?

Read on and judge for yourself!

Bill and I went down to Venice, FL on Friday night. One of my teammates had a friend who was letting us stay at his house in Englewood, a few miles south of Venice. I was so happy that we were staying close to the race site, and even more excited to be staying in a sweet beach house with my closest friends. We quickly deemed this weekend hashtag worthy: #XPdoesRev3

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why yes, those would be ginormous pig sculptures on the porch.

Saturday:

We took it easy Saturday morning, sleeping in a little and then having a pancake breakfast. Bill and I used a variety of items from the house’s pantry and fridge to create some strawberry-bananna pancakes. Of course, the breakfast wouldn’t be complete without bananas flambé!

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After breakfast, we loaded up our gear to head to the expo, get a little workout in, and to check in for the race. We got to the site and man, was it windy! I had been monitoring the wind all week, and today’s forecast had been 18mph winds. Race day was predicted to be 12mph, and I was certainly hoping that the wind would die down! We walked over to the registration area, where things were easy peasy. They were very well organized and everyone was so friendly! The gang grabbed some photos at the green screen and spent some time at the NormaTek tent before heading back to our cars for our workout.

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We put on our run gear, and went for a 15 minute jog on the golf course across the street. No need to run on the hard cement! We ended with a few accelerations before heading back to the car for a quick spin on our bikes. This would be my first time using my fancy Zipp wheels and man was I excited!!

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I was actually a little nervous at first to go into aero because my bike was MUCH more sensitive to the wind with the wheels on. I finally went down, and I certainly felt like I was Little Miss Speedy on the bike. I wasn’t putting in a ton of effort, yet I was still going quite fast. I was definitely looking forward to the bike leg of the race!

After we biked, we took them to transition to check in. I really like races that let you check in the night before- I ❤ the extra sleep on race morning!

IMG_9613The racks for the bikes were much different than ones I had seen before. You put your back tire in, and that was it! Everyone’s spot was personalized, and I realized I was sharing a rack with my Tampa friends Meghan and Maria, and my teammates Jess and Heather!

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It was getting closer to 1pm, and we still wanted to get in a quick swim before the 1:30pm pre-race meeting, so we put on our wetsuits and quickly headed for the beach. Gosh, the water was perfect. It was a cool 74ish and flat as a pancake. I swam out to the first buoy to check out the course and get a feel for the current. Had we had more time, I probably would have gone out a bit further. After we swam, we high tailed it to the pre- race meeting.

After a pretty standard pre-race meeting, the gang headed back to the house to eat and relax for the evening. Tomorrow was the big day!

Sunday:

It had taken me awhile to fall asleep on Saturday night, so when my alarm went off, I was still in a pretty deep sleep. I wiped my eyes and crawled out of bed to put on my race number tattoos. Today was the day I would see how tough I was, and if all my training would pay off. My stomach was swirling with nerves, and I had a difficult time forcing down my oats. I told myself to chill out, that today was going to be great.

We left the house a little after 5:30. We had about a 20 minute drive to get to Venice, and figured that would give us plenty of time to get set up in transition before it closed at 6:45. There was a teeny bit of traffic right as you arrived at the race site which started to stress me out, but Bill said a few encouraging words and I tried really hard not to get upset. We really did have plenty of time, and there was nothing I could do about the traffic.

I got to my rack, took my time getting set up and before I knew it, it was time to head down to the beach. I did a quick warm up, and then hung out with my lovely friends.

IMG_9639It was so nice to see Beth at the start! She came down to cheer!

Soon, it was time to line up. I lined up near the front of the pack and awaited the gun.

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Photo credits from this point on go to my friend Chris’s friend Chris. He was such a trooper and trekked all over the course taking photos of the XP gang. THANK YOU CHRIS!

IMG_1004I’m right behind the girl in the long sleeve suit checking her watch.

Swim: I took a few dolphin dives and started to swim. By the time we made it to the first buoy, I could tell I was with the lead pack of a few girls. One girl had taken off, and had distanced herself from the field. I was hanging with another girl right around the first turn, and then we got separated.

The course was what they called a coat hanger. I called it a chef hat. Out to a buoy, make a left and swim on a diagonal. Make a sharp right, swim, swim, swim parallel to the beach, make a hard right and swim on a diagonal to the last buoy where you make a left and swim in to the beach.

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Right after we turned the second buoy, I saw someone coming up on my left. At first I thought it was Meghan, but then I saw the teal tri suit peeking out from a wetsuit with purple armbands- it was Heather! Heather and I go head to head at every swim practice. She’s a former D1 swimmer, and I love having her to train with. Out in the Gulf, we were swimming stroke for stroke as we swam parallel to the beach. After we passed one or two of the yellow buoys, I started to think that this was feeling like a really long swim. Where was our next turn? A little after the pier, Heather jumped in front of me, so I drafted off of her for a little. We started to come up on the guys from the wave in front of us and Heather and I got separated a little before the next turn. Once we turned, the only thing I could see was the sun. It was HORRIBLE! I just tried to follow the crowd and hope I was taking the course at a good angle. I spotted Heather again as we reached the final turn. She was off to my right about 15 feet or so, and ever so slightly behind me. It was my goal to have a perfect course on the way in and beat her out, even if it was only by a few seconds. 🙂 I pushed hard and stood up before her, running off the beach, stripping my wetsuit halfway off. There would be wetsuit strippers in the parking lot, and this was my first time experiencing them. When I got to them, I started to lay down and then my heels slipped and I plopped on my butt. I laughed a little because the volunteer had just told me to sit down and when I slipped, she said with a smile, “Or that works too.”

IMG_1105I saw Beth screaming at the top of her lungs on the beach. She made me smile.

1.2 Mile Swim: 00:28:43, 2/21 in my age group, 3/84 females

To be honest, I was expecting a bit faster, considering I had on a wetsuit. I wonder if anyone else thought it felt long?

T1: 03:26 Golly, this was SLOW. I took forever to get myself together, primarily because I was fiddling with my nutrition. I don’t have a bento box on my bike, so I stuff everything in the pockets in my tri top. I just really struggled to get my nutrition in those pockets. Lesson learned- put the nutrition on the bike!

Bike: I hopped on the bike and pedaled away from the transition area. I was looking forward to the bike so I could experience a race with my fancy wheels. I knew I had been putting in my miles on the bike this summer, and I was excited to see it pay off.

As soon as I got in to my shoes and got comfortable, I pulled out a Luna bar to begin taking in calories. I was already sort of hungry when the swim started, so I knew I needed to eat as soon as I was on the bike. Unfortunately, my stomach was churning a little, so I could only take in a little bit at a time. I had been a little nervous about the bike ride because it included so many turns and I was worried I would get lost. Thankfully, the course was REALLY well marked, and there were volunteers and/or police at every intersection. The roads were pretty smooth too, except for one intersection where I think they were doing some roadwork. Let me tell you, the volunteers were AWESOME. I absolutely loved seeing the cute older folks lining the course to cheer us on and direct us on our way. There was one older woman who had a large cow bell- the kind you need to hit with a drumstick- and as I rode by her, she was tapping it lightly, and it was nearly inaudible. That made me chuckle. Then, when we entered the preserve, there was this old man who was just SO excited to be cheering us on. He made me smile so big.

One of my favorite things about the bike course was the out and backs. This allowed me to see my friends and teammates throughout the entire bike leg. It was so great to cheer each other on out there!

The toughest part about the course was the wind. It wasn’t terrible out there, but there were two stretches where the headwind was super annoying. But, I reminded myself that I’d be coming back on the same road, which meant tailwind!

Throughout the ride, I kept repeating “This is just warm up for a half marathon. This is just a warm up for a half marathon.” I was so worried about going out too hard on the bike and bonking on the run. I was also worried about my nutrition (particularly my headaches), so I was constantly checking my watch to take a salt tab every 45 minutes to an hour. As we were getting closer to the finish, I did some mental math, and realized I would probably beat my goal and come in under 3:00! I tried not to get too excited, and just put my head down and finished the ride strong.

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56 mile bike: 2:51:37, 20.38 mph, 6 / 21 AG, 10 / 84 females

T2: 01:15. I don’t remember much about this transition except that I realized I was 2/3 of the way done. And OMG I have to run a half marathon.

Run: The run started off pretty good. Shortly after I started running, I saw some unexpected friendly faces: Tori, Meg, Beth, and Genna, were cheering loudly on the run. It gave me a boost to see my friends and I looked at my watch and saw 5:08 for the first km. Alright, if I can just keep this up… The second km beeped and I was holding strong at 5:07, but I realized I should probably back off a little. I passed Bill right before the first aid station on the course- he was almost done his run for the Olympic race. It was so fun to see him! The third km was 5:20, which was a wee bit slower than I was hoping, but at this point the wheels started to come off. It was so flipping hot and humid. It was torture to pass the sign that said 10 miles, when I was barely 3 into the run. (By the way, the course was a two loop course.) All I wanted to do was stop. I was seriously considering stopping the run entirely and walking off after only running a few miles. I figured I needed some nutrition, so I grabbed an AccelGel from my race belt. I immediately spit it out. Not sure if it was the heat or if it was old, but there was some solid chunks in it, which made my stomach churn. I stopped to walk some, and decided to try one of the Peanut Butter GUs I had brought along. It wasn’t super appetizing to me, but I ate it little by little. I forced myself to start running again, and to take the half marathon one mile at a time. Finally, I decided that I was going to walk through every aid station and run in between. This was definitely what got me through the race. There were a few times where I walked a little between the aid stations, but for the most part my walking happened when I was grabbing a cup of ice and pouring it down my shirt, or dumping a cup of water on my head. The heat was definitely getting to me, my feet were getting blisters, and my legs felt like bricks. I perked up some on my second loop when I saw my friends again, this time dressed up in their fantastic costumes:

1469785_10102513569458502_1152470985_n(borrowed from Tori’s Facebook page)

If you look at my run splits (which I won’t share because they are horrendous), right around miles 6 and 7 my time gets a little faster. That’s where I saw my friends 🙂

As I entered the back half of the run, my mind started to ditch the negative thoughts and I realized that I was less than 6 miles from becoming a half iron man. I could run 6 miles. I could do this thing! Those last few miles were so incredibly tough. As I turned the corner for the finish chute, the only thing I could think about was finishing so that I could sit down and stop running! I was aware enough to smile as I crossed, but I was SO excited to get off my feet. I was greeted by Bill who congratulated me with a big smile on his face. I had done it!

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13.1 mile run: 2:09:47, 7 / 21 AG, 14 / 84 females

Not my best half marathon, but all things considered, it wasn’t all that bad.

Final Time: 05:34:48, 7/21 AG, 14/84 Female

I met up with my teammates after for a group finish line shot.

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I was so glad that we did this race as a team. I couldn’t ask for any better friends or teammates. They make the training bearable. We push each other. We encourage each other. We make each other laugh. We came and we conquered. #XPdidRev3

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17 responses

15 11 2013
Victoria

The run in a half ironman is HARD. Great job on the race, that bike split is killer with all those turns you had to cover.

15 11 2013
321delish

Thanks Victoria!!

15 11 2013
Meghann

Congrats, Steph! You did great and I’m so, so proud of all of you. 🙂

15 11 2013
321delish

Thanks Meghann! I tried channeling your strength during my run!

15 11 2013
Beth

Congrats Steph!!! So awesome to see you out there & so glad my ridiculousness helped you out. Although, I’m pretty sure you’d have kicked ass without us. 😉 Come let me chase you at Ocala!

15 11 2013
321delish

Haha! You guys were awesome! I’m very very tempted!

15 11 2013
Meghan

Congrats on a great day Stephanie! It was so nice to have friendly faves at the start. We definitely shared a lot of opinions in different parts of the day. Yikes! That sun going to the fourth buoy! You’re a half Ironman! Can’t wait to see what’s up next for you.

15 11 2013
321delish

Thanks Meghan! You too!! I’m excited to watch you as you get ready to become an Ironman! Triathlon really is your sport- you’re amazing!

15 11 2013
Michelle

Those costumes are AWESOME!!! Lol.

Your half time was 4 minutes faster than my half time this weekend — without the 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike ride. You’re such a rockstar! Congrats 🙂

15 11 2013
321delish

Aw, thanks Michelle! I’m so impressed that you’re back at it! I hear you’ve got marathon on your mind for 2014;-)

17 11 2013
Feerlessfood

Way to go Steph! Looks like you guys had a great trip!

17 11 2013
321delish

Thanks Chuck! It was great!!

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