Rev3 Half - Race report, Part 1

After racing the Lake James 50 (1 mile swim, 40 mile bike, 8.4 mile run) just a week before Rev3 Knoxville, I wasn't so sure about how my body would recover. I had trust in my body that I would be able to feel fresh again after a few days but it wasn't until Thursday (5 days post race) that I finally started to feel a little (and by little, I mean tiny winy) pep in my step. This had me a little worried but Karel assured me that I was just fine. I trusted him and stuck to my sharpening (aka "taper") plan so that I didn't go into Rev3 too rested and after every workout, I was feeling a bit more race ready.

Friday was a very wet and gloomy day which made it difficult for me to get into race mode. However, after joining Karel and our friend/athlete Meredith (who was doing the half aquabike - her longest race distance ever) in downtown Greenville at the Mountains to Main Street expo, I found myself getting excited. There's something about a race environment - whether race day or pre-race - that gets me pumped to race.

After a Trimarni pizza party on Friday evening with several of our Greenville (and visiting Jacksonville) friends, I was feeling more race ready (pizza always does the trick). 
By Saturday morning, I was doing my pre-race warm-up brick and finding myself wanting to push a little harder on the bike than instructed and holding myself back on the run. I convinced myself that this was a good sign. Although the only day that really matters is race day, I felt as if my body was recovered and finally race ready after many months of training.

After saying good bye to Karel and Campy, Trimarni athletes Adam, Wlad and I (each in our own cars, I drove myself) headed north to Knoxville.

I entertained myself by listening to triathlon related podcasts and just under 3 hours later, around 3pm, we were at the Holiday Inn in downtown Knoxville, TN.

After checking into the hotel and unloading our stuff (I shared a room with my athlete/friend Adam and his wife and Trimarni photographer and the best sherpa ever, Taylor), Adam and Taylor made a quick trip to Whole Foods (I brought a cooler and bag of food) and I rested in the room until 3:45pm.

We all headed down to the race venue to pick up our packets and attend the pre-race athlete meeting. I never miss athlete briefings as I find it extremely important to know all rules and any last minute details or changes about the course/event. 

After the meeting, we walked back to our hotel (less than 10 minutes) to put our bike sticker numbers on our bike and then we made our way down near the water, to the transition area (another less than 10 minutes). 

I just love the Rev3 environment and how much they care about their athletes and I especially love these awesome bike racks.

I was excitedly anxious to get on my bike on Sunday morning to tackle this challenging bike course so I said see ya later to my bike before we walked to the river to check out the swim course. 

Seeing that Karel and I raced Rev3 Knoxville last year, I was familiar with the layout of the swim course. I walked Adam and Wlad through the course so they understood where we started (by Calhoun's by the River) and where we exited (by the boat house, where we are standing). 

We walked back to the hotel and chillaxed for the rest of the evening. 

I enjoy eating in my room on the night before the race (in comfy clothes without having to wait for food) so I enjoyed a pre-made meal of Jasmine rice (1.5 cups), hardboiled egg, salt, edamame and corn. Pretty simple but super easy for me to digest. I have experimented with several different options in training and this one felt the best.

I reviewed all course maps once more on my iPad in the evening and Adam and I watched a video that I found on You Tube of the bike course (my second time watching it) so he understood all the more technical sections.

I fell asleep shortly after 9:30am and slept fairly well before an early morning wake-up at 4:15am. 

After making coffee in the room (good European instant coffee and hot water in the electric kettle, mixed with milk), I sat down to my pre-race meal (once again, well practiced in training) of 2 Van's waffles with maple syrup and Smuckers Natural PB, banana and glass of OJ. Just shy of 500 calories and very easy to digest. I also had a small glass of water. 

I filled my powdered-filled bottles (3 of them, each with 280 calories) with water after I ate, prepared 1 x 20 ounce bottle with 80 calories Clif Hydration to sip in transition (I only ended up drinking about 8 ounces) and changed into my Canari short sleeve Tri suit. 

I bundled up in some warm clothes (it was 53 degrees but water temp was 67 so I wanted to stay warm before my pre-race warm-up) and we all (Adam, Wlad, Taylor and I) headed down to transition area around 5:20am. 

After pumping up my tires (I have Victoria Latex tubes in my Alto race wheels, so I have to pump them up before I ride), I laid out my gear on my transition towel:

Clothing: Canari one piece short sleeve tri suit, Oakley Women continuity sport bra, CEP calf sleeves, newton socks
Swim: Xterra vengeance wetsuit, Speedo Vanquisher goggles, body glide spray (TriSlide is our go-to spray)
Bike: Bontrager shoes, Oakley sunglasses flak 2.0, Sworks women evade tri helmet (with magnet buckle - new helmet, love it!), Garmin Edge 810, Alto Wheels CC-56, Solestar kontrol insoles
Run: Brooks Pure Flow 4 running shoes, Nathan Mercury 2 hydration belt (2 flasks each with 120 calories Clif Hydration), Clif Bar visor, Garmin 910 (I wore the Garmin for the entire race, including the swim but only turned on for the run).

Nearing 6am, I performed some dynamic exercises to get my heart rate up and blood flowing and then joined Adam and Wlad for a little jog with a few pick-ups. Although the pre-race warm-up rarely feels good as I am getting my body ready to race, it really helps to prepare the body for what's to come with the endorphin-filled start of a triathlon race. 

After making several potty stops thanks to a nervous belly, Taylor, Adam and I walked to the ~10 minutes to the swim start. 

The weather was absolutely perfect which was a nice change from the rain we experienced last year. 

All suited up and ready to go!

Adam's wave was at 6:50am, Wlad went off at 6:55am and the female wave was at 7am.
Rev3 allowed us in the water 5 minutes before our wave start which was great to be able to get into the water to warm-up and adjust the wetsuit (very important to put water inside your wetsuit before you start swimming so you can adjust the wetsuit and so it doesn't "suck" on your chest and cause tightness).

I was already noticing a massive glare from the sun right into our eyes and it was so difficult to see the buoys before our first right hand turn. I had ordered new clean (no fog -yet) goggles for this race but they didn't come in until Friday evening so I was worried about wearing them for this race as I didn't have a chance to adjust them properly for my face while swimming. I opted for my other race goggles with a little tint but they often fog which was not so good for this bright sun.

After a quick swim warm-up followed by 10,20 and 30 strokes fast with equal strokes recovery to warm-up my system, I was officially race ready and I was looking forward to the suffering that I was willing to tolerate in order to give my best effort to see if I could achieve my overall female winner goal. 

Stayed tuned for part II of my race report.

I promise, it's filled with excitement. 


Rev3 Knox and M2M half ironman - quick recap

I've always been under the impression that to be a great coach, it's very difficult to coach and be an athlete at the same time. While many great coaches were former athletes, it can often be challenging to develop athletes to reach their goals while you, the coach, are training for your own racing goals.

While I have been an athlete longer than I have been a coach, I am still learning as an athlete and as a coach. As the sport of triathlon changes every year, I also find myself racing differently to adapt to our ever evolving sport.
With this being my 10th season of endurance triathlon racing, I can honestly say that it was only a few years ago that I started to really understand how to "race" in a long distance triathlon.

Ever since Karel got his feet wet in the sport of triathlon just 4 years ago, he has taught me so much about racing. I absolutely love watching Karel race and I feel so lucky to share the behind the scene racing moments with Karel. As a former cat 1 cyclist, Karel is exceptional at suffering through pain but he is also very smart when he races. He is patient with his development, he doesn't race with an ego, he has great sportsmanship, he trains incredible hard, he stays present during his workouts and he loves competition.
Karel applies tactics to every race, adapts quickly under pressure and never chases times, watts, speeds or paces when he races.

What I love so much about our sport (triathlon) is that it's very unpredictable. I love the dynamics of racing in a 3-sport event and how every course race has its challenges. I also love the camaraderie that is shared among all levels of athletes on race day - with every athlete having his/her own reasons for showing up and participating in our awesome multisport event called triathlon.

Although Karel and I are triathlon coaches, we are also athletes. I am not sure if we would be great coaches if we stopped being athletes.
I believe that we are in the prime of our racing years and while this doesn't mean that we put our business second to training, we recognize that we are still learning about the sport and we learn best by putting ourselves through the same situations, scenarios, workouts and experiences as our athletes.

At every race, we learn something.
Boy on boy, did we each learn a lot this past weekend. 

We face adversity, we overcome challenges and we suffer just like everyone else.
Although Karel and I will always live a very active lifestyle, when it comes to training and racing, we just can't simulate race-day scenarios in training. The best way that we can learn, grow and develop as coaches is to be athletes.

Karel and I raced in two different states this past weekend, with Karel staying local to race Mountains to Main Street (M2M - our new local half IM event by Set Up Events) in Greenville, SC and I traveled to Tennessee to race Rev3 Knox.

We were both accompanied by several of our Trimarni athletes as we both proudly support Rev3 and our local events in Greenville.

The M2M course suited Karel thanks to a lake swim (wetsuit legal), challenging bike (58 miles) and slightly hilly (for the first 6 miles) and then net downhill run.
Whereas when we raced Rev3 Knox last year (in the rain) I really loved the type of climbs on the bike course and the rolling hills on the run. Sadly, the run course was changed to eliminate the hilly section but it turned into a two loop run which was just fine as I love loop/out and back courses.

Karel and I each had a goal of placing overall male and female, respectively, at each race. While we didn't know who would show up on race day, a better way to describe this "winning" goal was that we were both willing to take a lot of risks to race as hard as we could on race day.

Karel and I had mentally, physically and nutritionally (ex. dialing in sport nutrition/hydration with every long workout as well as optimal pre-race foods) prepared for our races all season. Although we still have Ironman Austria approaching in 5 weeks (yippee and yikes!) and then Karel will race IMMT, we were both fired up for our early season "key" races.

After racing the Lake James 50 last weekend, we both felt like we were ready and willing to suffer to try to reach our goal. There were no paces, time goals, watts or metrics to chase - our focus was only on the nearest competition and swimming, biking and running as (sustainably) hard as we could possibly go for our races. 

Karel and I both had our challenges on race day - which is to be expected when you willing to lose in order to win.
I hope I can do my best to summarize our race day so bear with me as I try to gather the right words to give two detailed race recaps, each with their own high moments, shortcomings, challenges and obstacles. 

Mountains to Main StreetKarel
1.2 mile swim: 31:12
T1: 59.98
58 mile bike: 2:34:48
T2: 38.02
13.1 mile run: 1:24.03
Total: 4:31.35
Overall winner

Rev3 Knoxville
1.2 mile swim: 31.11
T1: 2:16
56 mile bike (+6 mile detour): 3:07:57
T2: :58
13.1 mile run: 1:39.07
Total: 5:21.29
2nd overall female 


Race to your full potential

Performing at your best requires an effort that goes beyond your old limits. This new limit (or unexplored territory) means that you will ask your body and mind to do something unfamiliar on race day.

If you are racing this weekend, you are capable of achieving something incredible on race day. 

However, first you need to get past all the self-doubts, fears, insecurities, pressures, anxieties and nerves that are possibly holding you back from achieving greatness on race day. 

While there is nothing wrong with pre-race nerves, it is important that you believe in your fitness and your ability to overcome anything that comes your way on race day.

Trust that you have done the work that you needed to do and be confident in your abilities. 

Do not take your race day for granted, especially if you are not sick or injured. 
Don’t live your life waiting for a better time to do something or assuming you will have another opportunity.  

Racing is hard. It hurts.
Acknowledge it, accept it and embrace it.
Pushing through fatigue, sore muscles, uncomfortable breathing, it’s not easy and it can sometimes be painful. When your heart is racing, your muscles are aching and your body is suffering.....this is exactly what you trained for!
Don't convince yourself that you want to give up or “take it easy."

When you are in the hurt locker on race day (which you will be), this is a reminder that you are feeling exactly what you trained to feel on race and that you are mentally and physically tough enough to hop on the pain train.

It's time to bottle up your energy. Have trust in yourself. You’ve done the hard work.
Race day is your reward.
Racing is fun.

It’s a hobby. Remind yourself how lucky you are that you have friends and family who support you and also who believe in you. There are so many people out there who wish to have the focus, patience, dedication and discipline that you do to put in the work to train for an event.
So many individuals struggle with consistency and balance in life, but not you. You found a way to get it all done. Be inspiring so you can show others, who are just as busy as you, that it is possible. 

There is absolutely nothing else that you would rather be doing on your race day.
You have trained early in the morning and late at night for THIS one day.
You have made sacrifices for this day and you have had a commitment to yourself that you would put in the work, for THIS day. 
While this may not be your only race this season, this is not just another race. 

So what now?
You put in the work and now it’s almost time to put all that training to the test. 

You need your mind to be ready for race day. 
It’s not going to be easy. You will have high moments and low moments. Enjoy the highs and when you have a low, remember all those great workouts that you had in training, even when you thought you weren’t going to have a good workout. 
Don’t forget that race day goal that helped you finish all those hard sets or start a workout when you just didn’t have the energy.  
Focus on things within your control and be prepared for every possible oh-no situation on race day. 

And most of all, visualize yourself succeeding. Believe in yourself and your abilities.

Tell yourself your race day goal - out loud. Be brave.
What is that goal, deep inside your heart, that you want to accomplish on race day?
Is it a place, a time goal, a feeling?

What is it that you worked so hard to achieve on race day?

Don't limit yourself.

Race to your full potential on race day.