Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rev3 Cedar Point Full Triathlon Race Report

So about a year ago I decided to do the full distance triathlon (140.6) at Cedar Point. One big reason was the cost, $350 compared to $650 for an Ironman. I had heard a lot of good things about the Rev3 series. Over the course of the weekend, I noticed good & bad things about the differnce in events compared to Ironman. Less than 250 athletes compared to 2500+. This made for shorter lines for check-in & such.
     Arrived at Cedar Point on Friday & checked into hotel, went out for pizza  with Liz & Nathan. Got a good nights sleep also. Saturday I was awaken by a bullhorn outside my hotel that was at the start if the sprint race.
     Later, I did the athlete check-in, thought about doing the practice swim but decided against it, water was rough & choppy as there was a ride current risk. Then went to bike check-in & then athlete meeting. Since I was all set, I decided to join my family for awhile & ride a few roller coasters (one of the pluses of doing Cedar Point). Think I ride 4 total, then called it a day. Had lunch/supper in the park at Johnny Rockets. Headed back to hotel & got my race day bags & special needs bags ready. Showered & shaved, then laid down in bed by 8:30pm. Set my alarms for 4:20am (yes I sent more than one in racedays). Woke by 3:50am, stayed in bed until 4:10am. Up & showered. Breakfast was a bagel, banana, & Fit & Active milk chocolate shake. Met Liz at 5:15am & headed down to transition. Aired my bike tires, put my drinks on my bike, & dropped off my bags. Back to my room, anothe plus was that my room was 200 yards from the swim start. Waited in my room until 6:30am, then headed down to swim start.
     Got my wetsuit on (Lake Erie water temp was 72). Waded out to the start which was in the water about chest deep. I noticed the waves were pounded me right away! Oh well, once we got out a little bit, it would be more smooth. Boy was I wrong. Air horn went off & away I go. I just kept getting pounded by the waves. Couldn't breath to the right, so untried the left, same thing. Just kept taking in water. I started to panic. Flipped over & tried the backstroke. I wasn't moving. Finally, I started doing a side stroke. Ok, now I was moving forward but very slowly. The course was 0.4 miles out to the first buoy to turn. Wasn't sure I was going to make it there. This was the first race that I had thought of being pulled from the swim, crossed my mind a couple of times. The waves were 2-4 feet high which made breathing hard & sighting even harder! When I looked back, I only noticed a couple of swim caps behind me. Finally made the first turn, then it got easier as the waves were coming from my left side & I could breath in the right side. I looked at my watch & that first 0.4 miles took 20 minutes. A quick calculation & I the swim was going to take 2 hours! The second 0.4 miles went much better & I started passing people left & right. Made the next right turn that would take me back to the start buoy. It was too bad as the waves were coming from the right & I could breath on my left. At the halfway point I checked my watch & I was at 48 minutes. Now it was back straight into the waves. So I decided it was back to the side stroke. One problem though, my right hamstring didn't like that & started to cramp. Now what? Well only thing to do was man up swim! I finally found a good rhythm breathing on my right & timing it either at the bottom of the wave or at the top. Made the next turn & knew it was time to turn it up a notch. Next straight away & started passing a lot if people. Made the last turn & headed towards to swim finish. This is were I thought this waves would just push me in like a surfer. Wrong again. Had to work hard. The closer I got to the shore, the more I noticed the rip current pulling me back out. Made it out if the water in 1:33:58 for 2.4 miles, 72nd out of 224. My Garmin showed  2.7 miles. And I had to really work for that. I was planning on a 1:10:00 or faster. 
  Walked into transition changing tent & most guys were talking about how hard that was. Made me feel a little better. Left the tent & got to my bike, put my helmet on, then realized I forgot my sunglasses in my bag. Had to go back, too long of a day to go without them.
  Now time for my specialty, the bike. I had decided to use my aero helmet even though my longest ride with it was 60 miles. The high for the day was only 75. I'm happy I did, didn't have any problems. My plan for the bike was to average 20 but to make sure my heart rate stayed under 145 for the most part. With only 224, we were spaced out a lot, which made for a honest bike. I didn't see any drafting. I broke the bike course into 4 sections of 28 miles each. I checked my average after each section & reevaluated my hydration. First section was bad, I knew I had used a lot more energy on the swim than I had planned. I was at 19.4 mph average. Next section I was at 19.7 mph average, third section was 19.6 mph average, & I ended at 19.6 mph average for the 112 miles. The course is pretty flat & a 2 loop course. Each loop had a 12 miles section straight east which turned out to be directly in to the wind & the second time the wind was noticeable stronger. Overall I was happy with my bike time, 5:42:41. I was up to 26th overall.
     T2 was just a normal transition & then off for the marathon. Having a knee injury, I planned in walking at least the first half, then deciding what to do after that. I got the first loop done in 3:05. I figured the second half would be a little slower. It was but not by much. As I went I decided just to speed walk the whole marathon just so I could say that I did. At about mile 20, I stopped to refill my water bottle & I noticed I could barley stand up. My back was hurting & I was hunched over. I didn't hurt much as long as I was walking fast, so I kept after it. With 2 miles to go, it was getting dark, but I knew I had this one in the bag! I got to 100 yards to go & my niece was there & ran thru the finish line with me. Well, let me explain, she wanted to run & I couldn't at that point. Finished the marathon in 6:14:23. Not bad for speed walking the whole distance.
    My finish time was officially 13:42:18 for 90th overall & 16th out of 35 in my age group. After my knee injury, my goal was to break 14 hours. So it was an awesome day!
     After the race, it was a half mile bech walk back to my hotel. But we found a gate to the park open & decided to go that way. Then my brother asked if I wanted to ride my bike. Sure, how many people get the chance to ride their bike thru Cedar Point amusement park! Well I know one!!
    We went to eat at TGIFriday but that didn't taste good. Went back to hotel but couldn't sleep. At 2:45am, I had a piece of leftover pizza & it tasted good. Then I was able to go to sleep.
     Overall I was happy with Rev3 event. I would recommend it to anyone. Cedar Point had a sprint event on Saturday & a half & full on Sunday. But....nothing compares to an Ironman!
    My total training time & miles for the year are - 
     Swim - 52 workouts, 85.06 miles, & 51:50:43.
     Bike - 76 workouts, 2721.93 miles, & 176:06:39.
     Run - 58 workouts. 359.65 miles, & 60:02:28.
     Walk - 45 workouts, 223.37 miles, & 58:16:22.

     Lastly, I want to thank my wife for putting up with all my training (and moods), my training partners for pushing me in days when I didn't want to & for putting up with me  when I wanted to push then, & to all my friends & family on social media for all the encouragement! It was an epic year training & racing!