Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rev3 Cedar Point Race Report

This weekend, I was in Sandusky, OH for the ironman distance Rev3.  I'd had this race circled way back in January as a key race for the season, so I was excited to toe the start line for my second attempt at the distance.  Of course, since January I've had to deal with the minor setback of being on the injured reserve for 3 months so I was mostly excited to be able to toe the start line!  Coming off of the Giant Eagle 5150 race, I knew I was healthy and fast, but had to cram in a long distance build into 4 weeks and try not to re-injure myself in the process.  Workouts went as well as could be expected, so I knew I had a fighting shot at a solid showing and made the decision to race as if I had a full build going in.  Looking back, it may have cost me but I have no regrets!

WARNING, it's a long race so it's a long report.  Here's how it went down:

I spent a few days before the race with the Dail family, my home-stay for the weekend.  Their house was right on the bike course, so I was able to ride a majority of it prior to the race and get a mental plan for race day.  I knew my cycling has been strong lately and would be key to set-up for my slightly under-trained run.  I finished up my preparation with my normal post race Pizza with Bryan and his family at a local restaurant.  Rev3 does a great job of getting out into the community and this place was packed at 5pm!

As race day came, I felt pain free and ready to race.  I successfully balanced the need to train with the need to recover/stay uninjured, and in long course racing, that's half the battle.  In my case, coming off injury, I felt like it was 99% of the battle!  The race itself was basically a reward for walking the tight rope over the last month or so.  When the gun sounded, I took off at a leisurely pace and quickly found myself in the lead.  I thought to myself "I love long course racing!".  Compared to the frantic olympic distance swims, this was fantastic!  You can see in the recap video below that I stayed relaxed all swim (no the video isn't in slow-mo, I was just staying loooong and smooooth.)  I came out in 53 minutes and headed into transition with a few minutes on the field.  Perfect.  I took off on the bike and immediately started to focus on my nutrition plan, all 2000+ calories of it!

On the bike, I focused on my goal wattage and waited for the main pack to catch up.  I knew if I rode within my limits and followed my nutrition plan, I'd be able to counter any move that came by.  At mile 20, I got a time check that said I had 2 minutes on 2nd place and figured I'd be alone through mile 50 or so and then would have to start racing...  This turned out to be completely wrong.  By mile 90 I had 5 minutes and was still pulling away.  By the time T2 come up, I had over 6 minutes and felt like I'd just got done with an ez spin!  Again, I found myself saying "I love Long Course Racing".  I couldn't believe it.  I even felt the need to make small talk with the spectators as I get ready to take off on the run (I apologize for the bad joke in the video below...  It sounded funnier in my head!).  Here's a shot of my power file from the ride.  Nice and steady.

Out of T2, I knew I had a few good runners behind me so I did my best to put in as much time as possible before my fitness caught up to me.  I was confident that I had 2 good hours in my legs and was hoping that the 3rd hour would be there.  I started clicking off a few sub 6:30 miles and came through the 1/2 way point with a 5 minute lead intact and a 1:26 split.  I was fortunate to have a few great runners doing the half-distance race pacing me through the first loop and I owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for their company (If either of you two are reading this, email me!).  As I made the turn for the 2nd loop, I started to see the victory come into focus.  Through mile 16, I was still feeling good but my legs started to remind me the they were doing some serious work.  Over the next two miles and a quick stop to the porta-john, I slowly started to fall apart.  My heart, mind, lungs, and will were ready to go but my legs simply were not.  It was as if someone had lassoed me and I was running against bound ankles! My stride shortened up to the point of absurdity just in time to have Victor Zyemtsev come by me to take the lead!  Talk about insult to injury!

Coming out of T2 with a smile!

After leading the race for seven and a half hours, I was officially in damage control.  I knew Victor was a great runner, but I also knew he had company on the bike and they wouldn't be far behind.  I did my best to hold it together, but was passed by Dan Bretscher and Chris McDonald before finally coming into the finish line with a 4th place finish.  The last 2 miles seemed like an eternity and I tried to cut my losses and not waste an entire day of great racing.  Turning into the park, I knew I was solidly in 4th and it took all I could to get to the finish.  I did a Blazeman Roll across the line and honestly could have stayed on the ground for a few hours.  I'd given everything on the day and put out the best effort I had.

In the end, my inexperience at the distance is what did me in (Example Chris (4) and Victor (10) have both WON more long course races than I've started!).  Looking at splits, all I had to do was run a 3 hour marathon to win the day.  If I had started out at 6:50 instead of 6:25 for the first 10k, I may have been able to hold on to the win.  I preach patience to my athletes and thought I was practicing what I preach.  I may have been wrong.  Of course, it may be that I simply ran out of fitness due to my limited preparation and no amount of pacing would change that.  Regardless,  I have a HUGE fire in my belly for my next long course race!  I am absolutely confident I left 10 minutes on the course and with a full season behind me I may be able to start knocking on the 8:20's.  I don't throw these numbers out lightly and look forward to putting my focus into the distance for 2013 and beyond.  For now, I will be following the remainder of the Rev3 series before turning in for the off-season.
Love the energy at the end!  Well done to all!
As I'm sitting here in my recovery boots licking my wounds, I can't help but be thankful for everyone who makes it possible for me to race at the highest level.  Thank you to Bryan and the Dail family for sharing their home for me.  To Rev3 for putting on a great race and caring about each and every athlete on the course.  Thanks to my friends and family for their constant support.  Finally, thank you to my sponsors:  3Sports in Richmond,  First Endurance Nutrition,  ISM Saddles,  BlueSeventy, and Utopian Coffee.  See you in 4 weeks for Rev3 Half Full.

Here's the video Recap from the race.  Enjoy!


  1. Personally I enjoyed your joke, I frequently make similar ones. Great race Eric!