Race Report: R3Q Oly – Thar be hills!
The preparation: I hate packing.
I made it easier by (finally) creating a packing master list. Everything was laid out Thursday night. I had everything I needed AND didn’t have any weird forgot my wet suit dreams.
The departure: Triathlaife is what happens when you’re making other plans.
Hubby coming down with the stomach bug wasn’t part of my plan. Getting a bit of the bug myself, was worrisome (like all I could think about was poor Uta Pippig). A 45 minute, pre-race brick allowed me to make a plan B for how I would handle the race if I got it full force. The run gave me confidence that even with a mild bug I could pull off a Quassy finish.
The venue & pre-race : I don’t think mandatory means what i think it means.
They didn’t take attendance– so I’m thinking… I had a friend, Susan, to meet up with and tour the expo. ($0 purchases all weekend) The amusement park was cool. The fried dough was tempting, but I resisted. I was happy I had plastic bags in the car for our saddles.
Race Day: On the beach: All calm – the water & me.
This is the first race (ever) where I didn’t experience pre-race anxiety. I was clear on my goals. I was here to see what was possible for me on this day with my training on this course. I was here to learn how to move into and through challenge in a new, positive way. I was here because I love this sport and this is my idea of fun. I was aware of my stomach, but confident that I’d been taking care of myself and had a hydration / fueling plan that would give me plenty of energy and not fill my belly too much. ( I hoped)
In the water: At home.
The difference in a year amazes me. (the year-round 5am wake ups paid off) I started near the middle of the pink cap wave. I gave myself enough long, strong strokes to acclimate my breathing to the water temperature. In short time, I felt confident that I had my breathing, my legs felt clear, and I started to move up through the group. I noticed an improvement in my ability to move around other swimmers. I was happy with my sighting on the way out. The portion parallel to the beach was into the sun and I needed a friendly course correction from a nice woman on a kayak. I felt good enough to jog to transition.
I had a hard time standing on one leg to get out of my wet suit and get into socks and shoes. Transition was slow, but I left with all the gear I needed (mostly).
In the saddle: My biggest challenge – I was here to get over my bad attitude on hills.
My goal was to stay happy and present on the hilliest bike course I’ve ever raced. The first 5 miles went by quickly. (yay!) The route was beautiful with farms along the way. I was able to fuel and hydrate on plan. The uphills were very challenging, as expected. The downhills were often too much for my comfort. If you were biking near me, you would have heard my exasperation when I crested a huge hill and saw the crazy downhill. I had the opposite reaction of most of the people around me on the course. I used my brakes and sat up and just talked myself through my fear. I was passed on most of the down hills and passed many back on the next uphill. I didn’t compare myself to the others or feel badly about my fears – I accepted that this is my current level of comfort and this was a challenging course. Overall, I stayed positive and didn’t experience the draining negative thoughts that I have previously on hills. I had the ride I wanted. I felt strong and powerful and steady.
T2: nothing notable
Visor on, belt on, sneakers on, run.
In my happy place: Running trumps racing
I love running after riding my bike. A lovely net downhill start doesn’t hurt. Within the first ¼ mile I figured out why my vision seemed off on the ride. I had my clear lenses in, not my sunglasses. I make a mental note about prepping. I wish for someone to hand the silly clear lenses to, but then let it go, laugh at myself, and run. The first big hill during the 3rd mile I practiced the mindset of “embracing the hill” as part of the Quassy experience and that the hill is what makes the finish so rich. I didn’t resent or wish the hill away. I repeated this for each of the 3 major hills and just turned my focus to the footstep on the hill and pulled my body up. On the downhills, I focused on form and not braking. I fueled up, as planned in the 4th mile.
My favorite race moment happened in the 4th mile. Running behind a woman with awesome back muscles, her husband filming her from his bike, I playfully offered to look miserable since she was kicking my butt. We had fun. And then her husband said – “ya know, if you can be doing all that – you should probably be running faster.” ….Oh, right! I cracked myself up! This was a first – I’ve never lost track of the “grind” before. Off I went. It was a tough course for sure. But for the first time EVER, racing wasn’t in conflict with my joy of running.
The finish: Hit my sub 3 hour goal: 2:58:21. And most importantly I felt strong, energized, and positive throughout the challenge. This was my Rev3Quassy Olympic – no bad attitude! – mission accomplished.