Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rev3 Cedar Point HalfRev Race Report

I'm still pretty new at this game!  Rev3 Cedar Point is only my second 70.3 distance race.

A lot has changed for me in the past year, both physically and mentally. I've rediscovered my inner athlete. I've competed again and pushed myself harder and farther than I thought possible, and in the process, I fulfilled a goal that my 18 year old self considered but wrote off as impossible or at least not worth the investment.

I sit here in my IMTX finishers hat, typing this, realizing that a lot has changed since May too. Life, work, training and motivation have all shuffled around and jockeyed for my precious time. As a result, I went to Cedar Point more prepared than I was for Waterman's last year, but not nearly as strong as I was just a few short months ago. I'm OK with that. The choices where mine, I made them and I both benefited and suffered as a result. One thing I've learned from all of this is that you can't just "stay" in top shape.  You have to plan so that you peak at the right time and for the races that matter most to you.  This is not to say that I'm disappointed with my Cedar Point result - I'm not, my result was awesome - I'm just coming to terms with the fact that staying in IronMan shape is really hard to do.

So on to what you really came to read about, the race and my results!

I love roller coasters, so I was excited about the venue and that influenced the decision to turn this race into a weekend away.  Cath and I took Friday afternoon off and made reservations to stay in the park on Friday and Saturday nights.  Jump to the end if you want to read more about our time in the park.

Saturday morning was all about registration, preperation and gear check-in.  In the prerace meeting we found out that the weather prediction was marginal and that we might be swimming an alternate course but that we would at least get to swim.  Saturday afternoon was more roller coasters! and then a good prerace meal and an early bed time.

Sunday I awoke early to the sound of light rain and raging wind.  Cath and I cleared out of our room and headed over to T1 to drop off my nutrition and confirm where the swim would go off.  Sure enough, we were racing the alternate swim, which was fine except for the half mile jog between the swim exit and T1.  That's OK I thought, just let it go, the change impacts everyone, so if I let it impact me less then I have the advantage...

The alternate swim course was in the marina and it was a time trial start.  The only thing I didn't like was that I did not have any chance to get into the water before the start, so I did some jogging and some sprints instead to warm-up.  Once in the water we swam one lap around an island and then turned sharp right back to the boat launch.  Sighting was all to the left which is tough for me as I can only breath to the right. Fortunately, the island was big enough that I really didn't have any trouble with way finding.

The water was much rougher than any other open water swim that I've done.  I really didn't have any trouble, but I could feel myself rising and falling along with the swells, which was new for me.  I was hoping to swim under 40, but that did not happen.  I still think I can get there, but the conditions will need to be better for that to happen.  Regardless, I took a couple of minutes off of my last HIM swim, which makes me really happy!

Result: 42:09 (Distance PR by 2:17)

As I mentioned above, the alternate swim course resulted in a half mile jog between the swim exit and my bike!  I didn't know where they had the timing mat, so I was unsure if that would show up on my swim or on T1.  You can see from my outrageous time, that the jog was considered part of transition.  I know that everyone had to make the jog, so no worries there, but I'm still disappointed with my time vs. my peers.  Just something else to focus on for next time.

Result: 9:08

I've read a lot about the Cedar Point bike course - it's flat, it's fast and the wind can be a factor.  I agree whole heatedly with all three of those conclusions.  The wind that forced them to move the swim stayed strong all day.  I'm guessing it was 30mph+.  For the most part I did not find it to be a problem until somewhere near mile 30ish.  At that point we were pretty exposed and riding right into the wind.  I thought this was bad, but manageable. Keep your head down, watch your heart rate and don't get too discouraged by how slow you're actually going...  Manageable.

However, at some point, we turned left onto the peninsula and the headwind turned into a 30 mph+ fully exposed crosswind.  Combined with fatigue and bad pavement and the last 5-7 miles of the bike were simply awful.  It took everything I had to keep the bike upright and on a somewhat straight line.  Mentally and physically this was very draining.  I can't imagine how much more difficult this was for the people who chose to ride with a rear disc.

The look on my face tells the whole story.  Yes, it was that bad!

I was thrilled to finally get into the park and get ready for the run.  I'd been watching my splits so I new I was fast, in spite of the wind.  Also, I'd been pushing a much higher heart rate than normal and I was really curious to see if that would impact my run.  Don't worry, that was all part of the plan...

Result: 2:48:47 (distance PR by 12:31, Woot!)

For each of the races I've done, I've put together a run vs bike correlation and the common theme has been that my run is consistently stronger than my bike as compared to my peers.  I have always ended up in the "fast and balanced" quadrant, but below the line on the run side. As a result of this, in my last two races, I've made a point to push myself harder on the bike.  Although I don't want to push to the point of a bad run, I've been willing to push myself pretty hard trying to find a better run/bike mix.

My run plan was to start with 9 minute miles then push to 8:30 and then hopefully end with some at 8:00 or better.  The miles at 9 were no problem and as expected, I had to force myself to stick to that pace. After three miles, I picked up the pace and started running ~8:30.  That worked for miles 4 - 9 with only a little fluctuation, so after mile 9 I tried to pickup the pace and get closer to an 8 minute pace.  Unfortunately, that turned out to be harder than I anticipated.

I dug deep and was able to get under 8:30 for a couple of miles but I just could not hold that pace. Finally with about a mile to go, I really wanted to kick, but that was also the same time the course turned back into the 30mph+ wind!  Needless to say, I got nowhere near 8:30 for that mile.

Finally I got back across the causeway and into the parking lot.  From there it was just a short run around transition and across the finish line!

Over all my run felt pretty good, and it was a big PR.  I'm not sure if I lost any time on the run as a result of my ride, but I still ended up running faster than many of my peers.

Result: 1:53:52 (Distance PR by 12:57)

Overall: 5:35:27 (Distance PR by 23:53)

Yup, almost 24 minutes faster than last time and faster across every sport as well!  I'm super happy about all of it and I know that I can go faster still if I plan and train to my potential.

Thanks to Rev3 for running a great race and making lemon aid out of the weather lemons.  Thanks also to Cath for spending the day Sunday hanging out and cheering me on.  You are the absolute best, babe, and I really love you!


Roller Coasters!
Friday night in the park was amazing.  There were no crowds and thus no lines!  I was able to ride most of the major roller coasters before dinner.  Cath and I both rode the Magnum XL 200. Then I rode the Top Thrill Dragster and the Gatekeeper.  After the GateKeeper, we decided that it was time for dinner so we made our way to Famous Dave's for some ribs.  This was delicious, but a major error in roller coaster planning as I ate ribs until I could eat no more!

The GateKeeper as seen from outside of the main entrance to the park!

The Top Thrill Dragster tower!

After the ribs we headed back into the park to maybe ride some more rides, but we were interrupted by a milkshake stand... and that was then end of the night for roller coasters because I had no desire to hurl my ribs and shake all over the park.

Saturday after check in we waited two hours to ride the millennium force, which was AMAZING. We also rode the mean streak, but neither of us really enjoyed that as it was way to bumpy for us old people.

So the low down on the park is Friday night!  Don't even bother with Saturday. If you get there right as the park opens on Friday, you will have more than enough time to ride everything you want to ride and you will not have to wait in a single line.  AWESOME!

No comments:

Post a Comment