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).
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.