Challenge Williamsburg Race Recap - Pre-race

After a 1200 yard swim at Furman University around 8am and a delicious drink of Clif chocolate protein recovery mixed with 1% Organic cow's milk, we packed up my car, loaded the bikes, ate some breakfast (for me - waffle sandwich with syrup, raisins, cinnamon, peanut butter and banana and handful of blueberries) and hit the road.

Campy was excited for his first trip to Virginia and since it was our first trip to Williamsburg, we were excited to make lots of memories together as a family.

We picked up my mom (who is a great spect-athlete and a wonderful Campy sitter/aka "grandma to Campy") and we started our 7-hour trip to Williamsburg.

Our in-car entertainment was several podcasts of The Real Starky (which we love to listen to when we travel). We all took turns driving which was good to not be stuck behind the wheel for too many hours at once. 

We had plenty of snacks for the trip, including PB, bread, saltines, baked potato chips, hummus, carrots, yogurt, milk, berries, fruit (oranges, bananas, peaches, apples), rice cakes, pretzels, bars, raisins, granola and my favorite trail mix, Veronica's Health Crunch.

The trip was rather smooth and uneventful and we arrive to our hotel, Holiday Inn Patriot around 6pm. And it was warm out!

We unloaded the car and oddly enough, as we were unpacking, we saw our athletes/friends Rob and JoAnn from Jacksonville who were racing and they were in the room across the hall from us! 

So first things first upon arrival....find local pizza!! 

It's no surprise to those who know me that I always have pizza two nights before an endurance event.

I found Anna's Brick Oven from our hotel eating guide in our room (which included a $3 off coupon) and after reviewing the menu, we called in our order and 20 minutes later and 2 miles down the road, I picked up our  dinner.

I ordered the veggie pizza on thin crust and Karel and my mom each ordered a pasta dish (Karel got meatballs and my mom got chicken). Rob and JoAnn ate with us in our room and it was fun to relax and veg-out before the anticipation of the race grew the next day.

By 10pm, it was time for lights out.

For some reason, Campy was not his normal self and he was up all night just sitting up in our bed, very alert. The hallway was a bit noisy at times and every now and then the smoke detector would beep. Needless to say, if Campy doesn't sleep well, we don't sleep well (since Campy always sleeps under the covers in our bed) so I was up all night with my little furry friend and even let him outside for a potty walk around 3am.

I didn't let it get to me as I know I would have (hopefully) a better night of sleep on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, Karel and I headed out for a spin around 7:30am and we rode a few miles down the road to the race venue and then rode on the race course - the last 5 miles or so of the course. Since Karel was doing the aquabike half, he decided to ride a bit more so he went a bit further than I did -which was around 60 minutes of total riding time for me.  I turned around and finished my warm-up with a few pickups to wake up my heavy legs on the last few miles (miles 50-56) of the course. The course was not all flat and it was nice to know that there would be a few opportunities to get out of the saddle or to change my position from just being aero.

After the ride, Campy joined me for a quick 10 min run around the parking lot and into an apartment complex. 

I spotted Amy, who won Challenge Knoxville as overall amateur female (and beat me by several minutes - she had such an amazing race) and we chatted a bit outside the parking lot of the hotel.
I then cleaned up and had enough time to enjoy a few eats from the hotel breakfast (which was free for Challenge Williamsburg athletes).

I enjoyed some scrambled eggs and pancakes with syrup and peaches.

After my breakfast, Karel came back and ate (eggs, pancakes, biscuit, oatmeal).  About an hour later, I relaxed a little bit while Karel and my mom went to Jamestown Beach (swim start) for Karel to test the water. Since I didn't sleep too well, I wanted to just relax in the room with Campy. I'm not a napper so I just stayed in bed on the computer doing Trimarni work-stuff.

When Karel and my mom got back around noon, we had a small snack and then got ready for the athlete meeting at the expo (T2/finish) at 1:30pm. 

With Williamsburg being a two transition race (T1 is in a different location than T2/finish) there were a few logistics to consider to avoid spending all day out and about). 

It was a very hot day and Sunday was anticipated to be a hot day as well but we also had a chance of rain showers on Sat around 5pm, whereas Sunday was expected to be hot and sunny all morning.

After the athlete meeting at 1:30pm, we went to the Fresh Market and picked up a few things for lunch/dinner. I got cottage cheese (Daisy Brand 2%) and a few items from the salad bar (very simple/low fiber options) as well as more milk since we were running low, a croissant for Karel in the morning and some mineral water.

While I was shopping at Fresh Market, Karel went to Moe's (with my mom staying in the car with Campy) for his lunch.

By 3pm, we were back in the room, eating lunch which worked out well since we had a late breakfast after our morning workout. Since we snacked between noon and 3pm, we weren't starving by the time we ate our lunch.

 I never force myself to eat on a schedule when it comes to races (or long workouts) but instead, make sure that adequate fluids and calories are consumed in frequent intervals throughout the day and all foods are familiar and well tested. As for meals, I feel like I do more eating of mini meals throughout the day during the day before the race and typically, dinner the night before an endurance event is quite small whereas breakfast (post workout) is my biggest meal of the day.

I added a electrolytes to my water all day so that I was not overdrinking on just water as I knew my body needed the electrolytes. I had a sport drink with my morning workout and a recovery drink w/ branch chain aminos post workout.

We just love the atmosphere at Challenge races. Everyone is so nice and the expo is never crowded with long lines. I spotted my athlete and volunteer coordinator Tracy and it was great to see her. Soon after, we bumped into Trimarni athletes Danielle and Elizabeth.

After all was done at the expo for registration, we relaxed in our rooms for an hour and waited for the rain showers to pass, we put our bike stickers on our bikes and headed out to the beach to rack our bikes in T1. I love the transitions in Challenge races because we don't have to worry about space on the hanging racks because we all have our own individual places for our bikes, on the ground.

We walked to the swim start which was a bit of a walk from T1 but it was nice knowing that our run from the swim to T1 was on the grass and not pavement.

(thanks Elizabeth for the pic!)

Since I planned to go to T2 on race day morning to drop off my run gear, all of my pre-race to-dos were done for the day so we headed back to the hotel around 6pm and the rest of the night was left to snacking, reviewing the race courses, double checking my transition bag, filling my bike bottles and run flasks with powder and getting everything ready for a very early morning. 

As we relaxed in the evening, we enjoyed watching the Critérium du Dauphiné with our new wireless speaker that was in our Challenge swag bag - what great sound! 

(thanks Elizabeth for capturing Campy in butt-rub heaven!)

Karel and I chatted with our athletes in the hotel later that evening about pre-race strategies and Campy enjoyed several butt rubs and by 9:30pm, it was time for our last sleep before Challenge Williamsburg Half Ironman.

Stay tuned for my pre-race + 1.2 mile swim race recap coming soon!