The two weeks leading into Rev3 Williamsburg had been less than optimum to say the least. I managed to pull a hamstring on a long interval run. The intervals weren’t even that fast, IDK. I had a lot of travel for work planned and some additional business travel popped up at the last minute. I had a little bit of time to see Dr. Dan at New Heights Chiropractic for some ART, but not enough for my liking.
When we landed in Williamsburg I hadn’t run in ten days. The hammy felt pretty good, but I’ve become a believer of the ‘when it feels like its healed, wait two more days’ philosophy when it comes to these things. Needless to say, I was pretty relieved when my Friday test run didn’t show any signs of hamstring trouble.
Race morning, I really wanted to make sure I got a good warmup in, just to keep my hammy as happy as possible. So, I was out jogging and doing some plyo’s while the pros and half-Rev waves were starting. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but in this case I definitely could have benefited from watching a few waves take off.
The swim was a beach start, with an extremely shallow run in. I’m not sure what I would have learned about the start. There really wasn’t a good way to get going, but it wouldn’t have been a surprise. However, it would have been helpful to see everyone getting pulled left by some combination of river current or exiting tide. I started in my customary front outside (left) position and got pulled further left just like everyone else. Certainly could have done better. By the time I realized what was happening and what it really would take to correct it, it was too late. There was a bit of chop in addition to the current, which made the entire swim a bit of a slog.
The water was also pretty warm. Just on the edge of wetsuit legal temps. I swam Saturday’s practice swim in tri shorts just in case. It was very comfortable. But race morning was wetsuit legal, so felt like I had to put it on. I’m still sure I would have been slower with a swim skin, but man it would have cooler!
I got out of the water and felt behind, but really didn’t have a clue. The official time, 26:10. Yikes! I guess I’m old enough it means I’ve been disappointed by swim times so many times that I don’t let it bother me anymore. I was looking forward to the long run from the beach to T1 anyway. T1 = 2:50, and I was pretty happy with that.
The bike course was without a doubt the easiest on the Rev3 circuit and likely the easiest I’ve ever competed on. No surprise that I turned in my fastest Oly bike split ever, 59:32. First time I’ve ever been under an hour! The first 10-12 miles were great. There was a steady stream of HalfRev competitors to make things fun. Passing people always puts me in a good frame of mind, even if everyone knows you’re supposed to be passing them. I wasn’t, however, passing many (any) OlyRev competitors… ugh. Once the HalfRev racers split off, I didn’t see anyone for a long time. I passed one guy who had dropped his chain on the 30 meter long ‘hill’ and that was it. Getting close to T2, a spectator told me I was in 8th. It made me feel a little better, at least it explained why I was seeing anyone else. AND I wasn’t getting passed, which is always nice. It was getting a little hard to keep pushing but thankfully as I was running into T2 I spied 3 guys running out. Finally, targets! I counted bikes, and yup spectator was right. I got out of T2 in a respectable 1:05 and the chase was on.
Prerace, I had planned on biking hard then taking the first few miles of the run a bit easier, just to make sure my hamstring was going to cooperate. That plan lasted about 1/4 mile. The good news was it felt like I was running easy, so I was happy to see 6:03 for my first mile split. At that point I guess I had already thrown caution to the wind, so it was time to get serious about catching some guys. As soon as I had this thought my right hamstring gave me that cautionary twinge that says ‘not so fast!’ Literally. I guess I’d been favoring the left side and righty was objecting the the additional load. I couldn’t argue.
The course was out and back, so you could get a pretty good look at everyone ahead/behind you. (I’m also convinced that the run course had more elevation gain than the bike course.) I was a bit resigned to pushing really hard on the hills (didn’t seem to bother righty) and keeping the flats around 6min/mi. Anything faster and I’d get another warning. I was still able to pick up 3 spots and was really close to a 4th, but just ran out of course again. I’m pretty happy with 36:55. Two other guys in my age group were 36:5x and no one else in the race was under 38:00. Yay, old guys!
2:06:23 total was good for 6th overall, 2nd M35-39, but I got promoted b/c our AG winner was in the top 3 OA. Thanks, James DeFillipi! I also think it may be a PR, but only by seconds, or fractions of seconds. Regardless, I haven’t gone that fast in since 2008 and I feel really good about it. Even if the bike course was too easy.
Even bigger thanks to all the people who make it possible: my wife for supporting, cheering, photographing, and fetching my bottles when I leave them in the hotel room race morning! my coach, James Cotter at Hard Yards who raced his way to an 8th place pro finish in one of his first races in 18 months! and to our wonderful TeamRev3 sponsors: Rev3 for a fantastic inaugural Williamsburg race, Powerbar for fueling all my racing and training efforts, Pearl Izumi for super comfortable kits and a fantastic new line of EMotion running shoes, Normatec and Compex for accelerating my recovery from nearly every training session, TriSwim (it might not have looked like it, but I’ve been progressing in the pool this year) and Biotta Beet Performer for the added boost of endurance and hours of entertainment watching people try your juices at the expo.