After a leisurely drive, we rolled into Knoxville just in time to see say hello to some team members and see the Glow Run finish – what an amazing tribute to Rev3 and Nicole Gross and her family, who were injured in the Boston Marathon Bombings.
The Rev3 Knoxville Oly was a ramp up to a 70.3 in June. My attitude going in was to learn as much as possible for a great performance in June.
Saturday was a whirlwind of events – I got to pick up my new QR and Adamo saddle – took a spin on the trainer under the watchful eye of Rev 3’s expert Alex Poon to make sure all the geometry was set for a solid race Sunday. Sunday’s race presented the first open water swim … as long as countless hours goofing off sailing don’t count…. One mantra of mine is “you play like you practice.” Having never put on a wetsuit or braved temps under 75 the practice swim on Saturday was a must for me. What a difference team mates make -- @tribirdie and @trihollywood were a huge help – nifty tricks like pinching instead of grabbing with finger nails to pull up the wet suit, getting it as far up my lower leg as I can first and spraying the hotspot on my neck! TriSlide made all the difference in the world getting in and out of the wetsuit – there’s never too much! The water was …. breathtakingly balmy at a 58.5 degrees F. I swam around a bit to get my bearings and gage what hurdles Sunday might present. I got through setting up transition and went to an early dinner at the Knox Mason with my husband.
Sunday morning came early, cold and wet. Sleep is rarely my friend and she goes AWOL when I travel. Due to the predicted temps and precip I was concerned that being tired would amplify the cold. I can’t say enough how lucky I was to have my husband there to schlep my stuff from one place to another keeping it warm and dry!
The swim was something else. I acclimated to the cold but could never quite get a solid stroke rhythm going – coming back with the current was marginally easier. I had a few hiccups – made the decision to stay relaxed and float and focus on the end game. The run to transition was miserable for me. My feet are the first thing to get cold and the last to warm up – the entire run up to T1 I felt like I was running on glass. Found the bike got geared up and after struggling with stuffing my pockets with nutrition Kristin Deaton’s awesome suggestion that cleavage is a great place to store PowerBars saved the day! :) Seriously- I wouldn’t have had any food on the ride without that nugget of wisdom. I've been riding on the road for over 2 years - anything from winds so strong that I've had to pedal downhill to being smothered in sand -- these 25 miles were the most mentally challenging yet. I made the decision early on to take it safe. Most of the ride I couldn’t see, my feet were entirely numb and I was ever mindful of the blind curves outlined in the Athletes Meeting. The QR has different bottle cages that I’ll be practicing with in the next 30 days which made taking in fluids tough. Due to the wet conditions I was so glad I didn’t have to reach around my back to grab some food – the hills required some calorie intake and it was awesome to have it within “reach.” ;) On the back split I was closer to the 16.1mph June pace. Bike to run transition seemed smooth … getting my feet in my shoes was tough-- the numbness caused some pain –and running on numb feet for about 2 miles was a new experience. But I was clocking along pretty well – keeping my HR in the right zone – got a big smile from @tribirdie who I was so glad to see having a good run and BAM –it hits me I forgot my race belt back at transition. I was pretty pissed at myself since periodically on the ride I would remind myself to put it on. Alas, you can only control your response to events – on the return I went back through transition and got the race belt and kept on trucking to the finish line. I’m thinking I’ll never forget my race belt again. ;)
I’ve been reading some other posts and remarks about the weekend. The cold and rain were miserable. Endurance training is about the long game, making choices that get you through the current race as well as the next one and sometimes those goals are in conflict. I wanted a better time Sunday but I made the most of the race and I am more prepped than ever for the Half in June.
As a long time member of the sailing community I have high expectations of an athletic community. I am continually rewarded by my Rev3 Team mates and Race Directors at the caliber of competitors and race production quality! What a fantastically fun weekend!!!