Rev-3 Half-Rev Triathlon
July 10, 2011
Blue Lake Park, Fairview, OR
The Revolution 3 triathlon series is a popular series that competes with the Ironman-brand triathlons and draws top triathletes from all over the world. This year they decided to have a Half-Rev in my own backyard in Portland. With the new venue being at Blue Lake Park, the event was going to be flat and very, very fast. And with my friend Scott doing it as well, I couldn’t resist throwing down my name and signing up.
Now, folks, if you recall, I have been training specifically for a marathon the past 6 months. I haven’t been doing very much biking or swimming. This is a half-ironman distance event (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 half marathon run). Nothing to sneeze at, last year I did this distance and had trained for 10 weeks leading up to it. I pulled off a perfectly executed race that time, but it was certainly the hardest physical event I had ever done taking me 6:42:19 to finish. For this event, my plan was to go out and have fun, still execute a good race plan and keep a solid effort the entire 70.3 miles.
Couldn’t have asked for more perfect conditions. Beautiful sunny skies, very little wind and the temp were perfect for most of the day, although it got hot in the afternoon.
Shortly after arriving at the race site, I realized I had made a bonehead mistake…I FORGOT MY LIQUID NUTRITION!!! Ugh! I had my gels and snicker’s bites for the bike and run, but I didn’t have my special EnduroMax protein/carb/electrolyte mix and my G2 gatorade for the run. These are very specially selected nutrition items that I have trained with and have dialed in to give me the energy I need without turning my stomach inside out. Without these items, I would have to make due with what the event had to offer. Two products which I had not trained with at all—Gu gels and Gatorade Perform 02. I don’t tolerate sugar very well which is why I use G2 and Gu gels are way too thick and they taste like crud. Oh brother. I had many offers in my support crew to run home and get them, but there simply wasn’t enough time and I knew I needed to ‘learn my lesson’ from this bonehead mistake. I would have to change my race plan.
Swim 1.2 miles 36:14
What do you know, my swim time was 30 seconds faster than the last time I did this distance. Holy cow!
My swimming hasn’t been the best lately. I have done a couple of open water swims at the local pond and felt like I just flailed around in the water. No rhythm, no gliding stroke, poor breathing, etc. But I just tried to focus on keeping it smooth as I could and draft off as many feet as I could.
Before I get to that part, I have to tell you about the start. Since I was going to be taking it easy this time, I started way in the back. It was a beach start and after the gun went off I leisurely entered the water with the masses. Well, this made for some difficult swimming because of all of the arms and feet and bodies everywhere. I had to breaststroke/doggie paddle for the first 40 yards to get to some clear water. Mental note to not do this again. Whether I am going for it or just taking it easy, I need to line up in the spot where I always do and that is the 2nd row.
The swim went pretty well. I was able to bilateral breathe for most of the distance. I took it easy and tried to focus on form. What is silly is that on the way back, about 300 yards from the finish, there was a dock that came out into the lake and for some reason I stopped and looked up and there I saw my mom standing on the dock about 30 yards away from me. I waved and she saw me! It was so funny because I don’t normally just stop in the middle of the swim to look around, but I did this time and there she was.
As I approached the finish, instead of standing up when my hand touches the bottom, I started standing and walking when the water was about waist deep. I have been having difficulty with dizziness after standing up and I read that this would help.
I ran up the beach and to the ‘bag rack.’ Well, we had to run 4/10s of a mile to the transition area so they had a bag rack where we could put on our runners for this long jaunt. I saw Erik and Wendy and it was so cool to see their smiling faces.
I got into the transition area, got my bike and headed out.
Bike 56 miles 2:58:21 (18.8 mph)
Okay so onto the bike. The bike portion of a long distance triathlon is where execution and nutrition really come into play. A person must properly pace themselves on the bike so they don’t blow up during the run. And as for nutrition, a person needs to properly hydrate and fuel for not only the bike, but also for the run because it is so hard to process stuff while running. Remember I don’t have my special nutrition bottles with me. In fact, the only bottle I had on my bike was the aero jug between my aero bars and I had a little bit of water in there.
I have done 2 triathlons at Blue Lake (a sprint and an Olympic). Both times my bike splits were about 18-19 mph. After the first 5 miles or so, I could see that my bike pace was on fire, I was at 18+ already and feeling great. I decided to keep chugging along for the first lap and then see how I felt.
My pace for the first 28 miles was about 19 mph! Woohoo! Very nice. I was feeling pretty good and decided to keep up that pace for the 2nd loop. Except we started getting a bit of a wind coming from the west. That’s okay because it meant I would have a tail wind on the way back after the turnaround with 12 miles to go.
Everything went well on the bike, I got to see Wendy and my mom a few times and that was great. Wendy made me an awesome sign. I loved it. As I got closer to the finish I wanted to come in under 3 hours. I kept mashing and pushing and crossed at 2:58:21. Sweet! Now time for the run…. Oh brother.
Run 13.1 miles 2:40:25 12:15/mi pace
Okay, just 13.1 miles to go. I remember when I did Ironman Coeur d’Alene I was cursing outloud as I headed out on the run thinking this was so stupid, to be starting a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. Well, I wasn’t cursing, but I was really worried what kind of shape my body was in.
There was an aid station right outside of transition and I stopped and grabbed some Gatorade and water and chewed on a piece of banana. As soon as the banana hit my mouth, my stomach started cramping. Ugh. Spit, spit, spit that banana out. Not a good sign. I took off running.
Remember pacing is important? Yeah, well, I didn’t pay much attention to that because I neaded out WAAAAY too fast. The first 2.6 miles I was at a 9:28 pace. But I was in so much pain. My stomach hurt, my legs hurt and I developed an awful side stitch that lasted til mile 3. I usually don’t get those (side aches) but this was a bugger. I tried to push through the pain.
At mile 3 I was in trouble and knew I had to get a grip on my strategy for the remaining 10 miles if I was going to avoid the medical tent. I stopped at the aid station and chugged some water and Gatorade and ate pretzels and also a gel. I must have stood there for 5 minutes or so just chilling. I made a deal with myself, that I was going to run from aid station to aid station and I could walk/stand when I got to one and take my time.
I got to mile 4 and used the bathroom. While in the porta-loo I got dizzy and thought I was going to fall over. Oh goodness. The heat was taking its toll and out on Marine Drive there is no shade. I had a hand towel with me that I doused with water and tied it around my neck. This helped cool me down a lot and I kept it there for the remainder of the run.
I kept the pace going, keeping it nice and steady until about mile 7 and then I had to walk between aid stations. I walked about 2 times in between, but still maintained a 12 minute pace. After mile 9 though I was really hurting and it was very difficult to run. I had to dig into the bag of tricks to keep my min off of the pain. I decided to count my steps, I walked 30 right foot strikes and then ran 30 right foot strikes. This progressed to 50 and 50. While running, I could easily do a 9 minute pace, but I just couldn’t keep it for very long. And if I tried running slower I still couldn’t make it much past the 50 steps. At a aid station I found a bag of Lay's potato chips that was part of some volunteer's lunch. Well I didn't care and scarfed down the salty goodness slices. Mmmmmm, I felt much better.
Yay! Finally the finish! A cool thing about this race is that they allow family members to finish with you. So Erik was there waiting for me and we ran through the finish chute together. It was really cool and Erik loved it; so did I.
Wow! I finished a half-ironman distance triathlon beating my old time by more than 20 minutes! Incredible. But I was really tired and depleted after this event. It took me about 5 days afterwards before I started feeling ‘normal’ again. Lesson learned---DON’T FORGET YOUR NUTRITION!!!
Thanks for your support everyone!