Monday, June 2, 2014

70.3 Raleigh Race Report

I must start by saying I did not plan on reporting about Raleigh this weekend.  It feels strange not to be up at Rev3 Quassy where I had planned on another shot at that monster course!  With the pro races cut from Rev3, I had to go to plan B and drive a few hours south to Raleigh for my first IM branded race in quite some time.  With the race being so close, I (we) decided that I could stay home and help with Sidney all the way to Saturday afternoon and make it a quick trip.  After a quick wake up swim and last minute diaper change I loaded up the new Subaru, put the bike on the AWESOME new 1UP bike rack and hit the road.
Best Bike Rack Ever
My plan was to arrive right before the 3pm pro meeting, but en route I double checked the time and saw it was a 1pm meeting that I would never make!  I try to be professional and follow the 'mandatory' part of the pre-race meeting, so I panicked for a bit as I drove a bit too fast to try to make it... Until I realized that the 1pm meeting was for Eagleman next weekend!  Too many last minute changes in my life apparently.  I arrived early and relaxed and took some time to stretch out before the meeting.

Branding 101
The race was a point to point race, so after the meeting I drove the 45 min to rack my bike and check out the swim venue.  Everything went smoothly and the course I took note that if I could get away early on the bike, I could potentially get out of sight and stay there.  Not knowing how long my energy would hold up, I decided I'd have to be aggressive and let the cards fall where they may on the run... not unlike every other race plan I've made!

I met up with a few fellow Pelsuo Open Water Coaches at Mellow Mushroom for a bit of pre-race pizza before heading to bed at the glorious 8:00 hour!  I knew I'd need the sleep if I was going to pull off any sort of result.

Welcome Sight!

Race morning came early with a 3:30 wake up and 4:30 shuttle ride to transition.  Everything was very well run and I made quick work of bike set up.  I took some time to go through some running drills and make sure that the body was relatively problem free.  It was slow going, but by the end of warm up I felt surprisingly good.  Mentally, my mindset was boosted by some of the most welcome news of the morning... After visiting my privileged port-a-potty, I got my mind ready to race.

The race started with an in-water start and wetsuit swim.  Even though the water temp was 75, the WTC Pro rules allow a wetsuit up to 76 instead of the USAT rule of 68, so this was a big difference for me.  Luckily, I'm in the best suit out there with the BlueSeventy Helix and I made quick work of the swim.  I came out with Matt Chrabot in tow and a decent gap to the main competitors in the field. I hit the bike and knew it was time to turn the screws.
First Out of the Water
On the bike, my legs felt strong as I opened up a gap on everyone except Matt, who was riding well enough to keep me in sight for the whole ride.  By the 1/2 way point, I knew I'd be following the lead car the entire ride and kept the pressure on knowing the runners were out there somewhere.  I focused on staying on top of my nutrition and am happy to report that the new First Endurance EFS HP prototype is incredible (NOT just a sponsored athlete saying so either).  I was able to stay hydrated and fueled without any signs of GI issues heading into the run.  My 2:12 split was good enough to put me into a position to podium so I hit the run optimistic yet unsure of how my body would hold up for the 13.1 mile run.
Do I look crooked to you?
Once on the run, I settled into my pace pretty quickly and held onto the lead for the first few miles before Matt came by looking good.  I knew he'd have a good run so I just focused on staying smooth and limiting the losses to the runners who came in a few minutes back off the bike.  At the 1/2 way point, I was still sitting at just under 6:00 pace, but feeling the fatigue set in.  Lionel Sanders flew by me on his way to a 1:09 run split and there was nothing I could do to match him.  I did my best to hold on to a top 3, but in the end my not-so-quick 1:18 landed me in 4th place with a 3:56 final time.

I was happy with my effort and pleased with the result knowing that in all honesty I'm racing at probably 80-85% of my capacity.  It's encouraging to know that I can perform at this level while dealing with such a compromised recovery/sleep situation.  Almost as if to remind me of my state, I came home to check my phone after the race and this was the notification that was waiting!

After the race, I connected with a few of the many RVA athletes and found a great burger place called Chuck's in Downtown Raleigh before heading to awards.  Sadly, only 2 of the top 5 men decided that the awards ceremony was important, so the men's professional field appeared anything but in the eyes of the spectators.  No wonder Rev3 has decided that we as a group aren't adding value to their races!  

I'm home now and writing this with a baby on my chest and about to hop into my Normatec boots for my "workout" of the day.  It's going to be a quick week of recovery before heading to Eagleman for the last race of this half of the season.  After that, the focus is on the Ironman distance!  Thank you to all those who have been supportive and helpful in the past 6 weeks since Sidney was born.  Sponsors, friends, and family have all been great and I'm looking forward to repaying you with some memorable performances!  Stay tuned...

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