Let me start by saying this was my second tri that I’ve done that was run by Rev3. And I highly, highly, highly recommend doing any race that they offer. I love Rev3. Their races are phenomenal. Period.
So! This past weekend was the 70.3 at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Honestly, I’ve been waiting for this race all season. I had a feeling that all of the Ironman training might pay off at some race or another and maybe just maybe this would be the one. We headed to Maine on Friday after work. This made for a relatively late night arrival. There was enough time to set up camp and catch up with several friends around a fire for a little bit before heading to bed to get some much needed rest.
Saturday morning camp awoke with a bustle. We hurried around to make some breakfast and pack up bags to head down to the race venue. First on the agenda was the practice swim. The plan was to swim about a half an hour and more than that to get used to how cold the ocean was going to be for the race. Trust me, it didn’t disappoint. Th water was a balmy 60 degrees. For the first five minutes I seriously wondered how I would be able to swim with my hands so cold. Fortunately by the time I swam to the next buoy, I was numb enough that it didn’t really hurt anymore. So we swam about 0.8 miles and headed out of the water.
Unfortunately, I am missing several tri peeps in this picture, but I love it just the same!
It was a delicate dance to get the wetsuits off, clean them sufficiently of sand so as to prevent issues on race morning and get everything put away. Unfortunately this was also when I realized that the back of my neck had been attacked by my wetsuit. Oh the burning of the saltwater on a severely chaffed neck. Holy crapoli….
The rest of the day went along fine. We visited the expo, racked our bikes and I went back to camp and took a lengthy nap. Fortunately, I’m training for an ironman so upon waking up from that, I had the pleasure of running six miles. Not so much on the pre race relaxation when you’re training for something bigger. Oh well! Fast forward to race day.
Race morning started early. Transition was to open at 5 am and close at 6:10. This didn’t leave much room for dilly dallying around. We got up, got ready, made breakfast, applied race number tattoos and walked the half a mile to the race start. I was quickly set up in transition. I will say that it was a chilly morning with air temps only around 50 so leaving my flip flops in transition made me sad. Upon setting up, we then needed to walk the additional half mile from transition to the race start. Can I say I was surprised when the sand was freezing? All the more reason that the water may feel warmer …. I was hoping!
After a ten minute delay the race was off. Each wave went with no issue. I was in the fifth and final wave of the half swim. I can say this swim was fairly uneventful for me. Nothing majorly crazy happened. I had plenty to concentrate on with the beautiful ocean horizon and big old sky to look at. Unfortunately the swim was finishing at low tide so it did get shallow towards the end forcing me to walk more than I would normally. I exited and looked at my watch. Immediately I was dismayed because my swim was almost five minute longer than I had hoped it would be, but I felt a little relief when I saw that in face I had swum almost .25 miles extra. Ugh. By gones.
For any who are contemplating this race, it is a long transition. From the swim out into transition is a solid 0.3 miles. Once I was clear of the sand, I picked up a jog to get me in and ready to bike. Wetsuit off, bike shoes on. Helmet, sunglasses and nutrition and I was good to go.
Again, nothing über eventful on the bike. This was a rolling course so nothing too awful challenging. We did ride trough some ace ice Maine countryside. I jockeyed with several different people going back and forth for positions. The 56 mile (54.5 by my watch) went by relatively quickly. I focused on nutrition and keeping my heel down while pedaling. (You’re welcome Jess.)
Before I knew it I was back in transition to get ready for the run. This is where I messed up some….
Turns out that when you hit wrong buttons on your garmin in multi sport mode, things get messy. I accidentally hit stop instead of lap coming into transition, thus stopping my time. I noticed this only after I was out of transition and about a half mile into the run. So I hit start… About a half mile later I wondered why my garmin screen still looked funny. Although I had restarted it, I never told it that I was out of transition. So yeah, at this point I had no idea what my time was. I definitely had a loose time goal for this race so now I had to guess about how I was doing. I figured it would be what it would be and worked to get my head back in the game.
This was the first half iron where I set a run/walk timer on my watch. I set it up for a 10/1. So ten minutes run, one minute walk. I have to admit that at first I thought this might be too aggressive but I was willing to give it a go. As it turned out, it totally worked for me. I did go off it a little bit if an aid station fell during my run cycle. But for the most part I stuck with the plan and I knew it was working. Truth be told often by the time I get to the run of a half iron, I lose my mojo. I walk as much as I run, and just figure I will get there when I get there. I was determined not to do this in Maine and I didn’t. The only run issue I had has to do with nutrition choices. I stupidly took a gu out on the course at mile 5 and mile 10. When I took the first one I knew that it was going to come back and bite me as I could feel my stomach revolt. But they were all I had with me and so desperately wanted not to bonk that I went ahead with the plan. This resulted in two porta potty stops near the end of the race that cost me some time. But I kept plugging along.
When I hit that final mile back in to the finish, I was relatively sure that I was under my goal. Not by much, but I knew I had worked hard and was really optimistic that it had paid off. So for once, I was all smiles at the finish!
I was absolutely ecstatic with the outcome of this race. I managed to PR by something like 38 minutes. I enjoyed almost every single step of the race. The weather and the venue were incredible. I cannot say enough good things about this race. If you’re looking for a fun race toward the end of the season, I would definitely recommend Rev3 Old Orchard Beach. Hands down my favorite thus far.
So there you have it, I know what I need to change for IMLT. This proved to be a good practice run. Now I’m off to have one final push before the taper starts. Happy weekend peeps!