Rev3, the Disney World of triathlons! – my friend Julie
All around a pretty great way to kick off the triathlon season! I bested my time from last year by almost 14 minutes and we had beautiful weather!
If you read last year’s recap of this race, you’ll remember that it was cold and pretty close to flooding on the course. This year was cool and overcast to start, the sun peaking out and warming things up a little after I crossed the finish line- other than some wind on the bike, a pretty perfect race climate.
I made a pretty last minute decision to do this race because I wasn’t sure how my shoulder would be holding up and I had the Girls on the Run 5k on Saturday (Rev3 was on Sunday.) The Girls on the Run 5k was incredible! I had the privilege of managing the entire 5k course during the race and getting to see every single girl and their running buddies working hard out on the hilly course! Seeing those girls work so hard and look so happy at what they have accomplished is a fantastic way to put some perspective on my own racing and why I love running and triathlon. It was a perfect start to a race weekend.
I looked at Rev3 Knoxville as my warm up race, since it was exactly four weeks before Ironman 70.3 Boulder. I didn’t taper for it and really had a lot going on in the week leading up to it meaning less sleep that I would hope for. I wanted to start out the season strong but I also knew that with my shoulder, the hard training weeks I had been putting in, and not to mention the stress of working in a school nearing the end of the school year, I wasn’t going to feel very well rested. But, I did know that the weather would be better, aka, not flooding, so I thought I could definitely better my time from this same race last year.
My friend Julie picked me up straight from the Girls on the Run 5k and drove me to Knoxville in time for me to pick up my race packet and check my bike into transition before it closed. Julie works for a company called Tri-Bike Transport and had to pick up three bikes from the race, making my life a whole lot easier because I got to take advantage of her reimbursed hotel room and get a free ride, thanks Julie! She is a fellow triathlete who raced Saturday morning and wanted to be a spectator at a race for once, especially one that had pros. I got my race packet and checked in my bike and then we were able to chill the rest of the evening and got to bed early.
Race morning was a bit chilly and since I didn’t get to do a practice swim in the river the day before, I decided to try out my new long-sleeved wetsuit. Note my newbie mistake of trying out new equipment on race day… although to be fair this race is a warm up for Ironman 70.3 Boulder, which is the reason I bought a long-sleeved wetsuit, so this was sort of a practice swim in it. Still not my best race day decision. The water was fine temperature-wise, much better than last year, but as soon as the race started and I was swimming up the river, I felt panicked and that the suit constricted my breath. Once I got going down river I found my rhythm but the damage of going upriver was already done and my swim time wasn’t anything special.
About 10 minutes into the bike there was a lot of glass out on the course and I stopped to check my tire, fearing that I got a flat or had glass in my tire. Everything was fine but having to stop right after getting started and check on my tire wasn’t what I wanted to do that soon into the bike course. I also learned that those “mandatory athlete meetings” they ask you to go to probably would had helped me out on the bike course. Rev3 had three different races going – the Olympic that I was in, a half ironman distance, and a totally different distance for the Championship race that the pros and top amateurs were racing. The bike course I was following had signage just for the half. I’m sure at the meeting they would have said to follow the half signage until it splits at mile so-and-so, but because I got there late and didn’t attend one, I was just hoping everyone else I was following knew what they were doing! There were a couple of decent climbs on the course but what really slowed me down was the convergence of all the different courses back together because of triathlon’s non-drafting and passing rules.
I came into T2 hoping to have had a faster bike split, but I knew if I had a good run I could still easily best my time from last year. My legs felt pretty heavy starting out, and the sun was starting to peak out from the clouds and heat up the pavement so I was happy to get to the shaded trail part of the course. Some of the pros were on their way back so I saw the looks of fierce determination on the faces of the top women! I definitely used the first half of the run to get my legs back and then negative split to have a pretty quick second half of the out and back. I ended up beating my previous best 10k off the bike time by a few seconds! I rounded into the finish line and was happy to see that I’d knocked off 14 minutes from last year!
Julie and I hung around the finish line area/expo for a while because we had to wait on the bikes from the championship athletes and spotted some of the pros (already showered and changed) mingling around the finish area, including Tim Don, the winner of the race! We picked up the bikes, packed up the car and grabbed lunch downtown, rounding out a fun but busy race weekend!