Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3Posted: September 26, 2013
This past season I entered into a new race distance, that of the 70.3. As many people know I have goal to complete my first full distance for my 40th birthday, so this distance is just another mountain to climb along the way. When looking for a race of this distance I knew that I wanted something that would also be fun for my family, triathlon is a very selfish sport and I realize that so I wanted something for the wife and kiddies as well. Rev3 is know for their family friendly events, the fact that this race was at Cedar Point, the worlds best amusement park and the fact that it was an end of the season race kind of close to home sealed the deal.
The Friday and Saturday were great days spent with my family. I went to all the mandatory meetings, picked up my packet, set up my bike and met my family in the park. We introduced Jack to big boy roller coasters and he absolutely loved them. The night before the race we went out for Japanese Steak House and again he loved it. I got to bed a bit later than I would have liked to but there is not much sleeping the eve of a big race anyhow.
It seemed like I had just closed my eyes when my alarm went off at 5:45 telling me to get out of bed and get focused on the task ahead. I had my Ensure Plus Protein Drink for breakfast, put on my Crush Gear, grabbed my bag and headed out the door.
Over night the winds picked up creating dangerous conditions in Lake Erie so the swim portion of the race was moved to a second location in the marina. This allowed me to take a half mile walk on the beach by myself to focus my thoughts and my goals for the day. As I walked into transition I kept thinking about the wind and how it was going to really add to the challenge of the day. I talked to a few people sharing worries, positive thoughts and well wishes for the days event. Transition closed and due to the changes in the race there was another .5 mile walk to the start of the swim. I spent some time with my parents, wife and kids waiting for my wave to start. As I downed my Eboost Orange Shot, I felt very confident, strong and ready to do my best.
I normally like to get a warm up swim in before the event to get the blood pumping, and my breathing warmed up, kind of like priming the pump. However, because of the swim change that wasn’t possibly. Todays swim was a TT start meaning 2 racers would be sent off every 3 seconds to try and create a little bit of separation. This was my first time participating in this sort of start and I thought I was ready. I entered the water and my stroke felt great, I was moving smoothly and had a great rhythm going, when out of nowhere I got smacked in the face. My goggles got knocked loose and were letting in water so I paused for a moment, fixed my goggles and started out again, however that break screwed up my breathing, rhythm and my swim mojo. The entire swim I felt lost. I was either running into other people, or not being able to sight correctly, or being pulled back from behind. At one point in the swim I thought I was going to burp and it turned out to be a bit of puke. Have you ever tried to swim while trying to clean puke out of your mouth… Its not the easiest thing to do. Fast forward to the last turn of the swim. I looked up and could see the swim out arches and all I could think was, “dumbass, you didn’t enjoy that at all, you complained the whole way and now 1/3 of your race is over.” I quickly shook out the negative thoughts and surged ahead refocused on my stroke and doing what I needed to do. Before I knew it I was out of the water and stripping off my wetsuit and heading off to T1.
< SWIM TIME – 42:24 >
I walk around barefoot all the time, outside to get the mail, running down the block to get the kids, on the driveway, in the rocks where ever. For years my wife would say “I can’t believe you are always barefoot.” I would always respond with, “Transition training.” Little did I know that because of the swim change there was now a .5 mile bare foot run to T1, today my transition training would pay off. I ran straight to my bike threw on my shoes, helmet, shades and headed out to the course. I saw my family, I heard their cheers, felt their love and support. It fired me up and I was off.
All weekend I knew that the bike course was going to be windy, and it did not disappoint. As we headed out of the park my legs felt great and the wind wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating. I was focusing on keeping my heart rate level and making sure I stayed within my window to ensure I had a good run. I was surprised at how great I felt, I suppose that was the purpose of the 70+ mile training rides that I had done the last few weeks. About 10 miles into the ride is when the wind started to pick up and turned into a steady 20-25 mph barrier. That wind would stay with us for the rest of the bike, and would be joined by a little bit of rain. Wind in the front, wind on the sides, back to the front. I was longing for the wind to be at my back but it never came. As the miles ticked off and in spite of the weather I found myself really appreciating the day and the opportunity to participate in the event. At one point I saw father and son spectating the race wearing Chicago Bears jerseys. Little did they know it but they would become one of my sources of joy. Every time I would see them I would perk up on the bike and yell BEAAAARRS! as loud as I can and they would respond. Good times.
For the most part however, the bike ride was quite uneventful as we made our way around the course, that is untill we got to mile 51. As we headed back to the park we were riding along the lake and the wind was an absolute killer. It was the worst cross wind I have ever ridden in and on top of it the road was pretty crappy as well. For the final 5 miles I pushed as hard as I could not to improve my time, but because at this point I wanted nothing more than to get off of my bike as it felt unsafe. I put my head down and charged on I was on my way into T2. I spotted my parents and my daughter and they waved and were smiling proud of what I had done so far.
< BIKE TIME – 2:46:56 >
I quickly ran through transition, threw on my shoes, grabbed my visor, some nutrition, and I was off for the run. On my way out to the course I saw my wife and son. They were so excited and I had a new sense of strength and was ready to do my best. My coach and I discussed staying slow and steady on the start of the race and finding a good pace. I mind had decided that pace was going to around 8:39 per mile, my body on the other had wanted to go faster. As I looked down at my watch I would continue to notice that was running too hard and would have to dial it back. I knew that it felt easy now but by the end it would not. Embracing my idea of enjoying the day, I would talk to whom ever I was running next to looking for a buddy to run with for the next 13.1 miles.
At around mile 3, I ran into my new race besty. We had the same goal for the day, have fun, embrace the race, enjoy every moment and make others smile. For the next 9 miles we ran together sharing stories, laughing, encouraging others, thanking volunteers, and motivating each other, all the while maintaining our 8:39 pace. With 5k to go I told my new friend that it was time to turn it up. That it was time to push the pace and finish strong. He stayed with me for a while and then yelled for me to get after it. On I went, it wasnt as much fun running by myself, but it gave me a chance to reflect on the day so far and to think about what I had done and what I still needed to do. The last mile of the run was straight into the wind and felt disheartening as I was putting out harder effort and going slower. I saw Crush team mate Nicole with about .75 miles to go, it was nice to see another smiling face, we gave high 5’s and I pushed on. Before I knew it I was in the home stretch and couldn’t wait to see my kids run down the shoot with me. I rounded the final turn and there they were, Jack and Gracie ran out to me and followed me in as we finished the race together.
< RUN TIME – 1:54:14 >
There were things that went well and things that did not, but in the end I feel that I did the best that I could on this day. It was a great day and a great way to cap off the 2013 race season. I can’t wait to do it again next year. This was by far my biggest race accomplishment and I never could have done it without the love and support of my wife and kids. Thanks for always being there for me.
<TOTAL TIME – 5:32:25>