Hit Panera for dinner, stopped at the race venue to get my bike ready to hold the additional nutrition for the half and headed back to the hotel. Got everything all packed up and set the alarm for my 0445 wake up call, my swim wave was taking off at 0710.
We woke up to a beautiful and warm AM and headed to the race venue. Got everything set up and caught up with some new and old friends. I love this race, so many people are back year after year.
Got my warm up swim, said a prayer to the good Lord above and prepared myself for day 2 of some awesome swim-bike-run. Not much of a race plan after racing hard yesterday, just "go out for a comfortably hard catered training effort" and oh yeah, see if you can beat last year's time. No easy feat considering the 80-85 degree temps.
I had a great swim, my sighting was excellent and I did a good job following athletes bubbles and feet on the second leg into the sun. As I headed home I thought to myself that I had already swam further in the past tw days than I had during the last 9 months!
|Enough to scare you I know, but I LOVE this shot!|
The bike course is STUNNING, so many beautiful vistas, sweeping decents, etc. My plan was to just spin up the climbs in an easy gear, keeping the legs moving and not burning too many matches. My 12-27 cassette was a lifesaver, so was my small 39 teeth front ring! That allowed me to work the down and flats. This year being my 4th year doing the half I'm now very familiar with the course which is nice. My bottle exchanges were perfect at mile 15 and 40 and I was heading home. Did some quick calculations and it looked like I may PR on the bike by a minute or two, so I tried to stay consistent and gain speed where I could do it without using much energy. It was 10:30 by now and warming quickly. I consumed a pack of PowerBar energy blast chews and half of an energy bar. Final numbers showed >4200' of elevation gain over 56 miles!
|Go figure, I'm climbing a hill! Scenery was spectacular though.|
Off the bike in 2:46:58, a PR for me on the course by a small margin and >20mph average. Now up to 23/140 AG.
On to the run course after a quick, smooth transition. The first 3 miles are relatively downhill and somewhat unshaded. I didn't feel too bad, grabbed a PowerBar Latte gel at mile 3 or so. Goal here as to manage nutrition and keep my core temp (and thus heart rate) down. All was good until that gravel road climb at mile 4, OUCH! Legs were fine, but heart rate started to rise and so did my sweat rate, I was heating up. I decided from that point forward it would be a "walk the uphill / sun" and "run the downs".
|All smiles before that dreaded climb at mile 4!|
I hit the out / back into the development for mile 5 and 6 and I was able to hold on to 7 minute pace, but was again forced to walk the long, sunny, hot hill at mile 7 to 8. That mile was 10:14 and I got to thinking that if I wasn't smart I could end up running a 2:00 half marathon (I ran 1:26 last year). I crested that hill and started to run, and started holding on to + / - 7:00 pace, passing people. I was taking water and gatorade at EVERY stop, trying to hydrate and cool my core temp down.
Once I hit mile 10 I was confident I was going to finish, and I would be able to salvage a decent half marathon time....and POSSIBLY get under 5 hours. Well, the plan worked and I cross the line in a sprint of all things after being challenged by "The King" in costume with a microphone cheering people in.
The run was OVER 1:33:35, up to 15/140 AG and 53/997 overall.
|Not bad, a free finisher photo!! Note the expression on the guy I just outsprinted thanks to "The King"!|
My official time was 4:58:57. I was very pleased with that given the conditions. I had a bad blister on my right little toe, but I survived.....only to be dumb enough to proclaim that I'd do it again next year!!
I loaded up and headed home, I was homesick, missing my family. I had a very uneventful ride home and was glad to hug everyone when I arrived. Such a fun weekend and hats off to the REV3 crew and all the athletes, spectators and volunteers who did a kick ass job in those tough conditions!