Saturday, June 29, 2013

An Epic Race at the Inaugural Rev3 Williamsburg

I have to admit I had a lot of race nerves leading up to Rev3 Williamsburg! Of course I was excited to race and see my awesome Rev3 teammates and staff but I was also nervous about my first open water swim since the whole Knoxville fail. I guess it was just one of those psychological things I needed to work through. Fortunately I was able to get through a mental battle with myself and have a fun and successful race!


Gracie and me checking in my bike 
Steve and I had the kids with us since we drove in Saturday and went straight to the Rev3 expo. We ran into quite a few of my teammates and Rev3 staff.

We picked up our packets, timing chips and Rev3 swag and headed down the road a few miles to check in our bikes at Jamestown Beach. The kids enjoyed helping us to get setup. As you can see from the picture here my stepdaughter Gracie was a terrific little helper!

After setting up our bikes we checked into our awesome condo and went to pick up some groceries to make ourselves a delicious pasta dinner and get some stuff for breakfast before the race. After a day of travelling and excitement we were ready for bed early and turned in around 10pm.

Race Morning:

Prerace picture with the hubby
Steve and I were up at 4:30 to shower, get dressed, eat our tasty waffles with PB & J and head out to T2 first to setup our run stuff. We took a shuttle over to T1 to setup our bike stuff and had our swim stuff with us for the start. We were a little nervous but super excited to be racing in such a beautiful town!

We setup our T1 stuff and headed down for the walk to the swim start, which was about a 1/4 mile from T1. One more potty break prerace and it was time to get on the wetsuit, swim cap and hit the water to warm up a little. The water was warm at 76-77 degrees but happily for me still wetsuit legal!

The Swim:

I am always most nervous about the swim before every race and the swim at this race was even  more nerve wracking for me than usual with my last swim in Knoxville not going well. So as I warmed up and it was time for my wave females under 40 to start, I was very nervous and just tried to relax my breathing.

Happy to exit the swim to T1!
It was a long run in as the water was very shallow. I took my time and ran as long as possible, finally diving into the water for a few moments. I've been swimming in the pool sans noseplugs now with no issue but in the open water with the current I was not able to and was glad to have brought the trusty old noseplugs with me. It took a good 5-10 minutes for me to calm myself enough to begin a consistent freestyle. Finally I settled in. It still wasn't an easy swim for me. It seemed like I would never get to the buoys but once I did I just focused on the next one and I got through it okay. My time of 40:59 was much slower than usual but that is to be expected given my slow, shaky start. It was still a success to me as I got through it slowly but surely.


T1 was about a quarter mile run to the bike so it was pretty slow going and took 4:23 for the run, getting ready to start the bike. I took in a Powerbar double latte gel here and that really helped get me going!

The Bike:

Enjoying the ride!
What can I say about the bike? I absolutely LOVED this bike course! It was beautiful, relatively flat with an elevation gain of just 374 feet and a fast, fun course. I was able to settle into the bike right away and soon caught up with my teammate Brittany who was racing the half. We had a couple of minutes to chat and then she was off to the half course and I was focused on the oly course. Most of the course was straight forward and easy with a little climb and technical area thrown in. With the roads being wet there from the morning rain I was a little more conservative than perhaps I should have been. Still I was happy with my effort, finishing the 24 mile bike in 1:11:50 for an average of 20.05 mph. Not too shabby.


T2 was straight forward, rack the bike, get the running stuff on, down a Powerbar energy blends gel - yum and go. T1 time was 1:05.

The Run:

Focused and relaxed on the run
I equally enjoyed the 10K run on this course. It was a little hillier than I expected at only 197 feet of gain, but I was strong on the hills having run a very hilly half marathon a week before this race. I felt decent on the first split running an 8:19 pace warming up for the first 2.7 miles. I am happy to have had a negative split, running the balance of the race at a 7:32-7:34 pace. I am very happy with that effort as that is a good running off the bike time for me. I finished the run in 50:22 for the 10K. A decent effort for me and I can tell those transition runs payed off!

The Finish:

Sprinting the finish!
By far the best part of this race for me was the finish. I had enjoyed passing everyone I could at the end of the run and apparently when I passed one woman from Team Z she really wanted to catch me badly at the end. She passed me...but much to her surprise I sprinted past her again to finish ahead! It was such a rush to finish strong like that. I had hoped to finish a little faster than my final time of 2:48:39 but I was very happy overall with the race and my performance given the rocky swim.

Anthony, Maggie, Chloe, Andy, Me and Michael of Team Rev3

After the race it was great to be able to spend time with a number of my Rev3 teammates and their families and friends. I got to cheer for some of them finishing the half and we helped sort swim to bike bags for the athletes.

It was a great day and Steve and I both LOVED this course and this race! I highly recommend it and hope to race it again next year. Williamsburg has so much to offer including Busch Gardens, an adorable historic downtown area with shopping and pubs. We loved it and the kids loved it too and said it was their best vacation ever...I call that a successful racecation!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hill, Yeah it's the Lake Health Half Marathon Race Report!

A little bird told me that the Lake Health Half Marathon was going to be a hilly one. That little bird was not exaggerating! Holy Hills is all I can say and I have the medal to prove it. When your medal says "Hill, Yeah!" on it and shows the elevation chart on it, you know it was a tough race!


Prerace pic with the hubby
With the race starting at the Lake Farmpark in Kirtland at 8am we didn't have to get up ridiculously early as we do with some races. We set the alarm for 6am just like any other normal workday. After a quick shower and some breakfast of waffles, peanut butter and honey, we were off. We had picked up our packets the day before too, which made for an easier prerace. We arrived at the Farmpark around 7:15 with plenty of time to get warmed up with our usual 1 mile easy run, use the restroom, chug some Biotta beet juice and line up. The only negative for me was that my back has been bothering me a lot lately and this morning was no exception. I was a wee bit cranky and debated not even running but am glad that I toughed it out.

Start & First 4 Miles:

In hindsight I should have lined up closer to the front but as I mentioned earlier I was cranky and kindof forcing myself into racing. I thought to myself I am just going to run this easy as a training run and then a minute or two later I decided to go for it and sprinted ahead. My first mile was about 7:15. Not a bad pace but a little fast for me in a half. My half PR was at a 7:30ish pace so I had to slow down a little. I felt pretty good through the first 3-4 miles and then as we entered the first trail I knew I was in trouble. I absolutely love trail running but I did not love it at that moment. I walked one of the hills and my friend Amy Sullivan came up next to me to say hi and see what was going on with me. I am so glad that Amy showed up when she did as chatting with her helped me take my mind off the pain as the rest of the course was pretty much all hills with a combo of road and trail.

Miles 5-11:

Amy and I both felt like we didn't have it in us to really push that day on that course and after talking for a little while and running an easier 8:30-9min pace we decided to stick together and just run the race as a good training run. We stopped and had a couple of Powerbar gels and water along the way and I had to stop around mile 8 for a potty break but aside from that we ran the whole time. Steady as she goes. In retrospect running this as a training run was probably a good idea since I am racing the Rev3 Williamsburg olympic triathlon this weekend!

The Finish:

Post race with my hubby and friend Amy
The last two miles or so went through the Farmpark some road and some trail. It was mentally tough to run back through the start and loop around as the finish felt so close yet so far away. I was very happy to see the Finish ahead at 13 miles and I was unable to sprint the finish as I often do. I just didn't have the gas that day. The course was challenging and I definitely got in a good workout even running it as a 2 hour pace! Maybe next year I will actually race it. I definitely recommend this race to any Northeast Ohio folks looking to get in a challenging half in June. For the money it is a great value as we got a sweet tech shirt and a huge medal for like $35 and you can't beat that!

Post race we headed to Pulp for a well deserved delicious protein smoothie - yum!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Cleveland Marathon Race Report - Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

I'm a little late with this post but better late than never! So as I revisit the Cleveland Marathon race day in my mind I have good memories. It was a fun race - very well organized and a great turnout. The weather was perfect for the first hour or so and then it definitely heated up!


Steve and I were up at 5 to get ready. Our plan was to be on the road by 5:45 to get downtown to park by 6:15. We feasted on some waffles and peanut butter with honey and watermelon along with some coconut water. Once we parked it was time to chug some Biotta beet juice for the extra endurance boost! We parked about 1/2 mile from the race and used the time to get a warm up in. As usual I needed to use the restroom before the start. So we made our way to the stadium to use the facilities and lined up together around 6:50 for the start at 7. I love this race because you can always just feel the energy bubbling as people sing along to that song "Cleveland Rocks" from the Drew Carey show!

Start & First Half:

The start was fast and fun. Steve wanted to run the first mile or so together, which put me a little ahead of my planned 8:30-9 min pace but it was nice being close to him for a little bit. After that he took off and I settled into my groove. There was a good vibe as we ran through the city. My pace was pretty much on target and I felt very good through the first half. Around mile 7 or 8 it got as little warm so I tossed my singlet and ran in the sports bra. Needless to say I did have some fun tanlines after the race! I liked the course all except that we literally ran with the halfers almost to the 13 so it was a bit tough mentally as they were turning left to run their last 1/2 mile or something and we were turning right to start the second half. My half time was 1:55ish with my plan being to finish a tad under 4 hours.

The Back Half:

Running with my friend Andy towards the finish!
The back half started off pretty well. It was getting hotter but was tolerable. I made friends with a guy named Andy and ran about 7 miles with him before I faded a little. Right before MLK I started to cramp a little. I remember glancing at my watch around mile 19.5 so I stopped to do a Powerbar double latte gel and get a sip of water. This kicked in shortly and I was back on track. The breeze running through the park was welcome. I really tried not to stop and walk. I did pretty well until mile 22 or 23 and then I really felt hot and fatigued. From there on it was really a run/walk. I didn't want to push past my limit as there were plenty of people getting medical attention from heat exhaustion. I made sure to take a sip of water at every stop since I knew it would be a hot race. It felt like the last mile would take forever and I caught up to my friend Andy so we were able to push each other a little at the end.

The Finish:

Happy to finish!
Crossing the finish line of my second full marathon was a great feeling even though it was a little slower than I wanted. My time of 4:09 was still better than my first marathon despite the heat. I was very happy and proud to have raised over $1000 for my friend Liz Ferro's nonprofit Girls With Sole by running this race. Knowing that my sweat and pain would help these young girls really helped me push through some hard times.

Post race with my love!
My friend Mickey Rizmek from Northcoast Multisport was there and gave me a hug and Steve cheered me on as I finished. We also ran into our friends Amy and Chris who had run the half. I was tired and ready for some post race food and beverages! After downing a chocolate milk and some snacks we headed to the car to get changed and headed over to the Winking Lizard for pizza and a tall IPA to wait for my longtime friend Jill Earle as she finished her first marathon. We met up with Jill and her friends at Flannery's for another beer and then headed to home sweet home for some well earned rest and some Normatec and Compex recovery!
Post race with Jilly!

I am looking forward to running my third marathon in the fall and hopefully it will be a little cooler and I'll get that sub 4 hour PR!