My flight to Portland went off without a hitch, and both my bike and I arrived unscathed. Managing the bike box and my other crap was a pain (Ryan, I missed you so!), but I did it, despite everyone staring at the skinny girl lugging a 58lb bike box with a 30lb bag on her back. I am so badass :) Now that I write it out, I realize that my luggage weighed almost as much as I do. Hey, maybe THAT’S why my swim sucked, haha!
<mojo missing> For some reason, I just wasn’t as excited to race as I normally am. I didn’t feel nervous, exactly, but I just didn’t feel ‘on’. Unfortunately, this feeling didn’t go away, but I had made a commitment to myself and I was going to keep it. Even now, two weeks later, I still don’t entirely know why I felt that way.
Before the race I did a quick run and swim to get my body warmed up before the super fast start of the race. When the gun went off, I was in the back, like usual, trying not to get beat up. Actually, my issue in the swim has been LACK of contact, but this swim was an improvement over Quassy. I lost the first group immediately, but was with 2 or 3 other girls for half the swim. I worked my arms off to stick with their bubbles, and it was much better for my mental focus to have other swimmers right there in front of me, pulling me along.
When I got out of the water and ran to transition, someone told me that a group of three was only a minute ahead of me. Woohoo!! And, amazingly, there was one other bike in transition. Not last!
When I started the ride, my legs were already complaining. I wanted today to be great and to race fast. But sometimes you wake up and just don’t feel strong, and racing a half ironman is hard to fake. I willed my legs to shut the hell up and ride, and as soon as the hills hit, they started listening. I maintained 5 watts more for the entire ride compared to Quassy, and I was in the mix with a lot of other girls much earlier in the race, which rocked!
However, the stagger rule for pro’s, on an open course with car traffic, does not rock. The officials were around me for a lot of my ride, and I had to brake and soft pedal way too often to avoid being too close to cars and other cyclists (non-racers). The course was amazing, overall, with only a few busy sections, and if I were racing as an age grouper, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all. However, I’m rightfully paranoid of getting a position penalty (for not staggering), because a lot of girls had to stand down for two minutes due to the stagger rule.
Basically, if you can see another cyclist anywhere in the distance, you have to be staggered off of them, even if they are a mile away. If they move left, you have to move immediately, or will get called for a position penalty. I understand the point of the rule, but there are times when this creates a dangerous situation (when riding in the shoulder, for example, with no room to safely stagger). This is completely different than drafting, by the way, because there is no limit to how far in front of you the other cyclist can be.
The last part of the bike course was an out and back on Marine Drive. This was flat and fast, and I maintained a very strong pace. My big mistake was that I didn’t grab a final water bottle. For whatever reason, I thought we were much closer to finishing than we were. In this half hour, I got behind on my hydration, and now I realize that this happens fast.
When I got onto the run, I was feeling pretty good for the first 3 miles. However, I usually have to pee immediately after the bike, and that didn’t happen. In fact, I didn’t end up peeing until almost 4pm! The first mile clicked by at 6:45, right on pace. The second one was 6:40, and I came up and passed a girl. The leaders were headed the other way, and I tried counting as they went by. It seemed possible that I could run up to 10th- I just needed to have a great run! But as the miles went by, my legs died a slow, dehydrated death, and I had no kick to go any faster. I ran with another first year pro, Kelly Fillnow, who had an awesome run and she did what I couldn’t do by running herself up to 10th place.
My run was nearly the same time as Quassy. This was disappointing because the Quassy run course was much harder. However, the fastest run of the day was only 6 min ahead of me, so I think we all suffered a bit from that bike ride, despite being a relatively flat run course. Since the race, I’ve discovered that I can lose 5 pounds of water weight in just a 50 minute run, and that’s almost 5% of my body weight! Next race, hydration will be mastered. The good news for this race, was that my bike split was the 8th fastest (of the girls that finished). I always have a hard time really pushing my limits on the bike, and my goal was to bike HARD- and that I did!
As usual, Rev3 did an amazing job. The course is spectacular and well worth the trip to the wonderful city of Portland. I wish I could’ve spent more time exploring, but that stupid thesis just won’t write itself. Thank you to all of the awesome volunteers and police officers on the course, and thank you again to the Rev3 staff of for making everyone feel special.
Now it’s back to the daily grind! Next up, Rev3 Dells!