P M-Fing R: REV3 Williamsburg Olympic Triathlon

As the title states, I got a shiny new PR at the REV3 Williamsburg Olympic triathlon on Sunday! I fought hard for it. In fact my swim was seven minutes slower than the first time I did this race last year, but I biked smart, had a great run and earned that PR. 

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early on race morning-the swim exit

Here’s how my day went down:

Race day started bright and early at 4am. I slept pretty well and was actually alert shortly after the alarm went off. I got dressed, made coffee, brushed my teeth and was out the door by 4:45am. I had packed up my transition gear the night before so all I had to do was toss it in the car-it was nice to not worry about forgetting something at the last minute. I arrived at the Chickahominy Riverfront Park just before 5:15am and set up my transition area before meeting up with my Coeur teammates Megan and Ashley. 

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With Coeur Teammates Ashley and Megan/photo credit: Laura

Then the waiting game began. I munched on a Clif Bar, drank my coffee and kind of zoned out from the conversation at times trying to visualize my race from start to finish. Then the sun came up and it was time to head down to the start area. My friend Laura (who did the sprint on Saturday) showed up and hung out until we got in the water. She gave me a good pre-swim pep talk that I truly believe helped me get through the first half of the swim. 

Swim (water temp: 85.3 degrees)
2017 32:35 (2:10/100 meters)
2016 26:35 (1:51/100 meters)

I could compare this year’s swim to last year’s but last year the current was insane fast…resulting in a “how the fuck did I just swim that fast?” kind of swim. This year? I did okay. The swim is my least favorite leg of the triathlon and my philosophy is to “get through it, then I get to bike and run.” There were some improvements: I sighted really well/stayed on course, I didn’t get nauseated (thanks for the ginger, Laura), I didn’t have to stop to rest and lastly, I didn’t panic. 

The end of the swim was just gross. Before the last sighting buoy, I started hitting the mud with my hands as I swam, so I knew I could stand. I’m not a fan of walking that much in the water, so I altered my swim stroke so I could just keep swimming. When it got to where I couldn’t do that (close to the final turn buoy), I did attempted some dolphin dives but my feet just kept sinking into the mud-like up to my ankles-so I just swam the best I could until I absolutely had to walk it in. I was a bit bummed when I saw my time (again, comparing to last year), but I was so happy to be out of that water and running on solid ground again I just carried on!

A huge positive note: after the race and calculating my pace per 100 meters, it was a bit faster than my training pace-so YAY!

Gear: Roka F2 goggles in Dark Vermillion Mirror

Bike
2017 1:32:29 (27.2 miles-17.69 mph)
2016 1:35:59 (27.2 miles-17 mph)

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photo credit: Laura

I love this bike course. It’s mostly shaded and has a few rolling hills but lots of fast flats. I came out of T1 ready to ride and ready to make up some time I lost on the swim. My goal was to do a solid bike but not go too hard so I could save some for the run (thank you Crushing Iron Podcast for embedding that into my brain). The thing I noticed about the bike is that I was waiting for this one (not so big) hill that just destroyed me last year and it never came…which means I’ve improved on the bike! The bike was pretty uneventful, I got to say “on your left” a lot (that’s a first) and I didn’t have any mechanicals or falls. Success!

Nutrition: one bottle of NBS Organic Lemons, one bottle of water, one pouch of Honey Stinger chews.

Gear: Trek Speed Concept 7.5, Rudy Boost 01 Helmet, Shimano SH-WT60 cycling shoes, Smith Optics PivLock Arena sunnies

Run
2017 1:01:01 (6.2 miles-9:51 pace)
2016 1:08:58 (6.2 miles-11:08 pace)

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The run is where I saw a HUGE improvement. Seriously, I think a smart bike leg (okay, along with the training) is how I got there. I really like this run, it’s about 50% shaded and 50% sunny, is on the paved Cap to Cap Trail and is relatively flat with the exception of the bridge at the beginning and again toward the end. Of course it was hot, but not brutal and there are plenty of aid stations with tons of sponges, water, ice, Gatorade and AWESOME volunteers. Every aid station I dumped cold water down my front/back and took a sip of water. I also took some sponges (omg so good) because I do tend to overheat easily and wanted to keep that under control. I ended up taking a sip of Gatorade at the second to last aid station just to get that little boost in the last mile and a half (whether it was all mental or not-it helped!).

I noticed my run pace was actually staying pretty steady throughout the entire race.  It wasn’t until I hit a shaded spot on the way back in that I slowed a bit to savor the coolness in the shade.

High-fives from Coeur teammates kept me pumped, as did cheering on runners headed back toward the finish line and going in the same direction as I was. The run was pretty uneventful, though I did start to feel some rubbing on the balls of my feet during the last mile or so but no big deal. 

I LOVE the way REV3 changed up the final part of the course this year. Last year you came off the bridge, ran around transition and then around the back part of the campground before going through the finisher chute. It made finish line see so far away! This year, I believe they pushed the turnaround out a bit further so once you got back to the transition area there was only .2 to run to get to the finish line. 

 

Run gear: Hoka One One Clifton 2, Balega Blister Resist socks, Smith Optics Arena sunnies, Oiselle Roga hat

Gear I wore for the entire race: Coeur Sports team kit, Brooks Rebound Racer, Garmin 735XT

Finish: 
2017 3 hours, 10 minutes and 32 seconds
2016 3 hours, 16 minutes and 49 seconds
A 6 MINUTE and 17 SECOND PR! 

The last 100 yards or so of every triathlon I’ve done I always get teary-eyed and this time was no different. I just think to myself “I get to do this…wow, this sport has taught/given me so much.” That feeling never gets old. 

I crossed the finish line, received my medal, a nice cold, wet towel around my shoulders and got all the fluids–a water and a Gatorade. Then I hung out and waited to cheer Megan in who wasn’t too far behind me.

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We got food (mmm BBQ), pet all the dogs, cheered some other athletes in then met up with a couple other Coeur teammates for a picture. 

I headed back to my cabin at the KOA and hopped in the pool to cool off…

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Until next year, REV3 Williamsburg!

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Quick race details:

Williamsburg, VA

July (be prepared for the heat/humidity)

Distances offered: Sprint, Olympic, Half, Olympic and Half Aquabike, Olympic and Half Relay, free Kids’ Duathlon

Course: swim with the current, fast/flat bike and run (with the exception of the bridge for both)—>Olympic course description

Swag: soft gender specific t-shirt, REV3 branded buff, visor, handwritten thank you note from the REV3 staff

Would I Recommend? 100% yes

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