Rev3 Portland is less than 3 weeks away and I had yet to do any open water practice swims. I saw this event a few months ago but was hesitant to sign up as I wasn't sure how I would be feeling after ALC and didn't want to over commit myself. Turns out I couldn't even take the time off I had originally told myself I would and was out running 3 days later (although I have yet to get back on my bike).
When I went to the website to register I realized they had more than just a 1 mile or 2 mile open water swim but three different aquathon events as well - a 2 mile swim/6 mile run, a 1 miles swim/6 mile run or a 1 mile swim/3 mile run. I opted for the 1/6 aquathon option - might as well get some more transition practice in there.
Despite the fact the race started at 9:00 am, I was up and out the door at 4:30 am to take my brother-in-law and husband to the US Open in San Francisco. After dropping them off at 6:00 am I still had 2.5 hours before I had to be at the race to set up (and I was about an hour away from the start) so I set myself up at Starbucks and got some work done.
When I arrived at the race I got prime parking within feet of the check in and the start/finish. The race was small (about 175 people) and I instantly got extremely nervous. Many people had tri-club trisuits, I overheard a lot of race talk, saw some ironman tattoos and instantly felt like I didn't belong and how I was going to come in last. I know, so stupid. Usually I am not so intimated - I know my place - middle of the pact - but for some reason today I was just overcome with feelings of inadequacy - everyone just looked so official.
With 45 minutes until my wave started I took my time getting my stuff ready. The transition was really easy. There were multiple long tables at the top of the swim exit. You just picked a spot and laid your stuff out.
The first wave started promptly at 9:00 am (the 2 mile swim only) with my wave starting at 9:19 (1 mile swim/6 mile run & 1 mile swim/3 mile run). After the second wave at 9:10 (2 mile swim/6mile run) I made my way into the water to warm up. It was warmer than I expected but I was still happy I had a wetsuit. I lined up closer to the front than I normally do to try and avoid getting kicked in the face multiple times. At 9:19 the horn blew and we were off.
It took me a good 3 minutes to find my groove. My wetsuit was choking me so I unzipped the back a bit but that just let a flood of water down my back. I zipped it back up and eventually it fell into place and I got into a rhythm.
My goal for this swim was to work on my sighting and stay close to the buoys to eliminate swimming extra distance. I have been known to put my head up and be swimming in the completely wrong direction. This was my first swim with my snazzy new Garmin 910xt so I was excited to see my actual distance when uploaded to the computer.
About half way through the swim I lifted my head to see that there was roughly only 8 people ahead of me. I was pumped to be in the top 10.
The rest of the swim went really well. I stayed tight with the buoys, kept a good groove and even passed another person.
As I exited the swim and went to hit my watch for transition it said 25:xx. I was pretty thrilled with that time as I was expected closer to 30 minutes.
As I got to my stuff and looked around I realized I was the only female in the transition area. No, I thought, I couldn't have really been the first girl out of the water could I? Nah, I am sure the first female is already out running. As I slipped on my running shoes three of the guys looked at me and said awesome swim.
I grabbed my visor and water bottles and headed out. The course was 2 loops of three miles and it was getting hot. About a mile out I saw the first few people on their way back in - no women. Holy crap I was the lead women. Me, middle of the pack, 9:00 minute miler was leading a race. Of course I still had 5 miles to go so I knew there was absolutely no way I would hold the lead but I relished the moment.
It really was a moment because right before the turn around a women passed me. Eh, it was great while it lasted and heck, 2nd is fabulous, you know what, top 10 is fabulous. That isn't usually where I get to hang out.
Around mile 2 I was passed again and my competitive side kicked it. I was still top 3 and top three was where I wanted to stay. On their way out from the second loop I saw one of the women who passed me go out for loop 2 but I never saw the other women. That must have meant she was only doing the 3 mile run not the 6. I was in second again.
Things were starting to hurt and it was hot. My stomach had that panicky, nervous feeling. My ankle chip was digging into my leg. I wanted to stop but didn't want to risk getting passed again. Around mile 4 I did. Ok I thought, top 3 is still good. However, at the turnaround at mile 4.5 I saw a girl flying behind me. I knew she was going to catch me and she did. I was kinda disappointed but had to remind myself whenever in my life have I even been in a position to count people passing me, know how many people were even in front of me - absolutely NEVER!!
With less than a mile to go one of the girls in front of me was starting to slow down. Ok I thought, I can pass her but when? Again, never been in this situation. I didn't know when to empty the tank as I didn't want to burn out. Is there etiquette for this type of thing? When I estimated I had roughly .2 miles to go I gave it everything I had and charged ahead. As I passed her I said "good race" (I didn't want to be rude) and sprinted to the finish. Top 3!!
As I sat gasping for air (this "racing" stuff is hard - what have I been doing the last 5 years?) a few people said "nice race" to me. Again, never happened before.
I saw them putting up race results so I decided to check and see if my calculations were right however at first they weren't broken down my division (all the 1 mile swim and 3 and 6 miler results were combined) so I couldn't really tell where I was. I decided just to go get my stuff from transition, load up my car, fix my hair, change, etc.
Right before leaving my stomach had calmed down so I walked over to grab some food and another bottle of water and saw the results were broken down by age group. I was first overall in my age group! I must have checked 10x to make sure I read that right. They announced they would be doing the awards in about 20 minutes. I didn't care what I won - I was going to win something, that never happens so I stuck around.
I chatted with the girl who got second in our age group and it turns out we are both doing the same tri this weekend with the bigger goal of a 70.3 in July. She was really sweet.
1 mile swim: 25:17
Transition + 6 mile run: 58:06
(mile splits per Garmin)
Mile 1: 8:34
Mile 2: 8:51
Mile 3: 8:53
Mile 4: 9:08
Mile 5: 9:10
Mile 6: 8:58
Last .19: 8:08
Total: 55:08 (8:54/mile avg)
Total Time: 1:23:23
1st female overall in the 1 mile swim
1st in age group (18-39)
2nd overall female overall
9th place overall
Okay, okay, I guess I have to add that there were only 4 in my age group, 14 females and 23 people who did the 1 mile swim/6 mile run so it isn't like I had a lot of competition but when else am I ever going to place? I will take what I can get!
Overall this was an awesome race and no, not just because I got to feel fast. All the racers were super friendly, the water at the UVAS reservoir was clean and calm (my tri this weekend is there again), the shirts were really cute and the food post race was abundant given the small size of the race (only 170 people for all events). This race is part of a series and there is one more scheduled before Rev3 so I have already signed up for that is well.
We will now return to ALC recaps. :D