Friday, June 19, 2015

Challenge Williamsburg Race Report - Sometimes You're Hot, Sometimes You're Not

Last weekend I competed in Challenge Williamsburg. This was my third time doing the race although the first time as a Challenge race and teammate. The inaugural year I raced the olympic, followed by the half last year and then the olympic again this year (which is a different course than 2013). I really love this course and like the Rev3 Tri brand, the Challenge brand really goes all out in making their races special!

After fighting off allergies all week, I was not happy to wake up Thursday with an earache, sore throat and headache and headed into the doctor. The doc said I have a sinus infection and put me on some antibiotics along with nose spray and an allergy pill. Not good timing but I decided to at least attempt to race since we had planned the trip and paid in advance.

Yum Yum!
My husband Steve was also racing the olympic distance so we made a little race vacation trip out of it. Friday we drove in and checked into our condo at Wyndham Kingsgate and immediately headed over to the pool for a little while to decompress from the long drive. After unpacking and getting cleaned up, we headed out to The Dog Street Pub, our favorite little place in Colonial Williamsburg for dinner and drinks. After dinner we checked out the Hair of the Dog Bottle Shop behind the restaurant where Foothills Brewing Company from North Carolina was sampling some beers. We also tried the Ale Works IPA that was on tap. Good stuff!

Race Eve:

My awesome teammates!
Saturday was a busy day! We got in a little shakeout run before heading to the expo to pick up our packets, timing chips and swag followed by the practice swim. It was so much fun seeing The Challenge staffers and my teammates and meeting some new folks as well! For the practice swim, the James River was perfect. Warm and calm and it went very smooth in trying my new swimskin so I assumed it would be a decent swim. After the swim, Steve and I headed out on the course for some recon. We planned to do about 12.5-13 (one loop of the course) but because of the way the course was setup we ended up getting in some bonus miles and doing 22. With the temp being 97 degrees that day we definitely got some sun!

Later that evening we headed out to The Corner Pocket to meet up with my teammates and their families for some prerace beer and food. Steve and I ended up cooking a light dinner later on and then getting all of our stuff ready for the morning.With the race being two transitions there is a little more organization involved.

Race Morning:
I woke up at 4:30 and was really not feeling too well. I was stuffy, hardly had a voice and had some funky GI issues going on from the antibiotic as well. Steve was concerned but I told him I would just do my best and if it wasn't my day I would back off. I know racing with a cold or infection isn't the best idea, but I am stubborn. We left the condo around 5:30 to head to the Warhill Sports Complex where the race finishes. Once there we setup our T2 area and then took the coach bus shuttle to the swim start and T1, which was setup at the Jamestown Beach area. It is a pretty short drive and most of T1 was setup from checking our bikes in Saturday so we just needed to setup the other stuff. After a trip to the bathroom we walked down to the start.

Swim: 1500 meters:
I had assumed the swim would be fast and easy. I assumed wrong. The first year with the current I had a terrible swim, last year we had the current assisting us so I did 40 mins for the 2000. This year it took me 34 mins, which did not make me happy considering I had just done a 27 at the GWRT olympic last weekend. I felt like it was a long swim. Some of my teammates and friends said they felt the current was pushing us out away from the buoys so I definitely lost some time here as I was hoping to be at least 30 or better.

This is a long transition having to run from the beach up a good distance to the bike area so this was 3:40ish versus being a minute or 2 faster.

I heart my bike!
Bike: 25 Miles:
This is usually a fast bike course with some nice flat sections as well as rolling terrain. Last year I averaged about 19.2 for the half and I ended up doing the olympic in 1:18 and change or 19.14mph this year. This was not the bike split I was hoping for but I am a little behind on my bike fitness this year and I hope to be stronger later in the season. This was definitely my favorite part of the race though as the course is quite beautiful and also shaded in many areas.

Pretty straight forward transition here. At 1:48 it was a little sluggish but I was kindof dreading the run!

Run: 6.2 Miles:
I love running...except when I am sick. Needless to say I did not set a 10K PR here. Where I had done a 46 minute 10K at GWRT this one was 55 minutes...ouch! I guess with the heat, trail portions and being sick I just could not do better than an 8:53 pace. I lost the most time here. I should have been at least 5-7 minutes faster here on a decent day.

I debated either walking or quitting the second loop because I did not feel great but then I just told myself it is just a 5K and you are done and I fought through the conditions to finish. I am glad I did. Sometimes the tough workouts are what really help to strengthen us and with a marathon coming up soon I need all the strength I can muster up!

The Finish:
Post race with my love
My time of 2:53 was disappointing yet not surprising given the conditions. Had it been a better day I probably would have done better than 6th in my AG. After coming off of a 2:36 with a longer bike the week before I had envisioned closer to a 2:35-2:40. But I cannot beat myself up too much when I was not at 100%. At the end of the day it was a heck of a training day for me anyways! Steve had a good race and placed 2nd in his AG so I was happy that one of us made the podium!

Post Race:
After the race we enjoyed the post race food and hung out with some teammates and cheered before heading back to the car to change. We stuck around for the awards and then headed back to the condo to relax. That night we met some teammates and friends out for dinner and drinks at the College Delly. We headed back to watch the Cavs game and I ended up falling asleep not far into the third quarter as I was exhausted.

We drove home Monday and used it as a rest day so I am slowly getting back into the training now as I heal and rest up to take on the Charlevoix Marathon next weekend!

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