Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Race Report: Rev3 Knoxville 70.3 (or IMLP 140.6 Midterm Exam) - May 22, 2016

This race was one that I've been looking forward to for quite some time.  Really, since AtomicMan 70.3 at the end of last season.  I was excited to see how far my fitness had come and how much I had improved upon my experiences from my two half distance races last year.  In December, I found out that I made the Rev3 Ambassador Team.  This gave me even more reasons to look forward to Rev3 Knoxville.  I would get to show off my "home" race to lots of new people and I would get to see and hangout with my new team mates again!

Leading up to Rev3 Knoxville, I have been in full on 140.6 training mode.  I've been putting in a lot of miles on the bike and doing some serious work in the water.  I felt like my run was a bit behind due to a minor foot injury I had been dealing with over the winter.  Over the last 4-6 weeks, however, my run form has been coming back and I've been able to log some good miles and get some speed work in.  This race was going to be really a three fold test for me.  1.) Nutrition for the full distance 2.) Pacing for the full distance and 3.) Can my run hold together.   

Got my race plan early in the week from my coach.  It contained my pacing plan as per usual but this time, there was also a rather large section detailing my nutrition leading up to the race and then the race itself.  I race with caffeine.  His suggestion was to eliminate caffeine for the days leading up to the race so as to maximize its effect on race day.  That meant.... no coffee.  That alone made me skeptical.  I kept reading.  Everything made sense to me as to the taper nutrition. Getting the body used to fueling with simple carbs by tapering the complexity of foods leading up to the race.  Then... race day.  Here's where I started to doubt.  My breakfast was to be applesauce.  Lot's of applesauce.  I would pair this with a scoop of protein powder in water.  Right.  I would then consume 5 bottles of fluids on the bike (2 more than either of my 70.3's last year.  I normally plan for 1 bottle per hour).  Run would be on course sports drink and water with gels as needed.  

Race plan was pretty straightforward.  Push the swim.  Relax on the bike and keep the power around 200 watts on the flats and 250 on the climbs.  Once on the run, keep the pace slow and HR in upper Z2 until mile 10, then push.

So how did everything go?!  Well, I survived the nutrition taper including cutting out coffee (yikes!) and the applesauce breakfast.  I will say, sitting on the couch at 4am "drinking" and entire jar of unsweetened applesauce was a little bizarre. BUT, it seemed to work.  I got to the race site feeling good and wasn't hungry at all leading up to the swim start.  Everything went smoothly in the swim.  After the gun, the first stretch to the buoy was directly into the sun so couldn't see anything.  Just kept following the mass of people.  I really couldn't find any clean water.  I tried to weave my way around and through the mass but just couldn't seem to get any clear space.  I decided at that point to just settle in as best as I could and conserve.  No point in getting frustrated.   There was a point at which I ended up next to this guy that couldn't seem to stay out of my way.  He kept weaving in front of me and cutting me off.  It seemed no matter what I did he was there. I finally got annoyed with that and kicked on the jets at the buoy turn and tried to put some space between us.  I felt like I got a pretty good gap but I think he just held onto my heels and I drug him along.   Oh well.  By now the exit was in sight so head down and point myself at the exit.  Made it to the dock and hauled myself out of the water.  Got the wetsuit half stripped with no issue and trotted into T1.

Swim: 36:46 1:37/100yd

T1 was smooth.  Strip the wetsuit.  Helmet on, shoes on, glasses and away we go.  The bike went as planned for the 20-30 miles.  I was getting my nutrition in as planned and my pace was on point.  I passed the first aid station at mile 9 as planned without taking on additional supplies.  After finishing the serving of custom sports drink in the aero bottle, I refilled out of my rear bottle cage with more of my custom sports drink. I tossed the empty bottle and took on some clean water at the next aid station around mile 27.  By this point I was almost through that second bottle.  This time around I refilled the aero bottle with water.  It was soon after this I realized the front of my bike felt a little funny.  I looked down and realized the front tire was low.  It wasn't totally flat so I figured it was leaking slowly.  I stopped and refilled the tire with CO2.  I figured with a little less than half of the bike course left I could limp it back without changing (even if I had to stop another time or two to fill it.)  Well, that didn't last.  I glanced down at my Garmin, then back up just in time to see a small rock.  I hit it.  Dead centered it.  I heard the soul crushing hiss of not only one but BOTH of my tires going flat.  Yep.  Double flat.  I wobbled to a stop, cussed a few times, then set about changing my tubes.  I always carry two tubes with me.  With luck, the support car passed and stopped to help me out.  I used his floor pump so I didn't have to use what was left of my 1 and a half CO2's.  10 minutes later, I was back on the road again.  Nothing I could do now but keep on going and enjoy what was left of the day.  Heck, I wasn't winning nor was I trying to win so no biggie.  Just stuck to the plan and kept going.  I finished the water refill and then hit my last bottle of sports drink.  Passing the last aid I tossed the empty water bottle and got another water to finish the day.  Before getting back to T2 I got all 5 planned bottles in.  Coming back into town I saw several riders coming in from a side road.  I was confused but just kept riding.  Turns out, another event came out to mark their course early that morning (using the same colors as the Rev3 course markings) and some riders had gotten lost due to them.  Very sad but goes to show the importance of knowing the course.  I kept on and made it back into town.  Cruised into T2 and got ready for the run.

Bike: 3:10:33 17.6 mph (factoring out the roughly 10 minutes for the flats was right at 3 hours and around 19 mph)

Run felt very good.  I was making a conscious effort to enjoy the day.  Especially after the flat tires on the bike, I really just wanted to enjoy the run.  I headed out of T2 with my pacing firmly implanted in my mind.  No matter how good I felt, I was going to hold to a Z2 HR and just let the pace fall where it may.  I switched the display on Garmin to show only HR Zone and Current HR.  First miles flew by and I was holding steady in the mid 9's.  I said hi to all my friends and high-fived my club mates and team mates as I passed them.  I joked with volunteers and spectators and smiled.  I smiled a lot.  I don't remember having that much fun on a run in a long time.  Sure it was hot and I was tired but I was having a blast.  I alternated Gatorade and Water at the aid stations and splashed water on my head to keep me cool.  Mile 6 I hit a Double Latte Powerbar Power Gel.  Talk about a wake up!  The next four miles went by the same as the first 6.  More smiles and high fives and encouraging others that were having a rough go.  Fatigue started to set in a bit around mile 10 so I hit another gel.  This time was a Pomegranate Blueberry Acai Power Gel.  No caffeine in this one.  Wish there was.  Still, the calories did the trick and I picked up the pace heading into the last 3 miles.  Best part of the day, however, was when I rounded the corner of the finish chute and see my wife waiting for me.  She was volunteering and had been posted there.  She threw her hands into the air, I did the same and ran simultaneously into her arms and across the finish line.  

Run: 2:03:50 - 9:27/mi

Rev3 Knoxville 70.3 Final Time 5:55:37.

Looking back, I had a really great day.  I got out of the race what I needed to.  I got a good, solid test of my 140.6 pacing and nutrition. I had a great time, racing a great course and hanging out with my Rocky Top Multisport Club and Rev3 Team and I came across the line upright and unhurt into the arms of my wife.  Really, what more could I ask for?!

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