Earlier this year I thought about racing the Rev 3, however, the timeliness of it with my work schedule and the race I want to key in on didn't fit. Then, Cannondale, and Matt Cappiello in particular, asked if I'd be interested in doing the race as a team. Matt would do the swim, Curt Davis, an ex-pro cyclist, engineer for Cannondale, and all around nice guy, would do the ride. I'd be the runner. "Why not?" I told Cappy, and we were signed up. I never really took the race seriously. I've never done a team tri before, and to be honest, I kind of snoottily thought of the team race as a cop out to doing the whole thing. I get the fact that some can't swim, or can't ride, or can't run, but for those that could, why not do all three? However, I knew the full race would leave me flat for my key race and thought this would be a fun way to get in a hard 1/2 marathon run.
There was no taper. In fact, I was on my bike at 4:30am on Saturday morning getting in a hard brick. Again, this was because I was downplaying the whole team thing. Well, I show up at the race this morning and see that there are quite a few teams and quite a few teams taking this very seriously. I thought "Oh shit, maybe I should have taken this a bit more seriously!" Yes, that's exactly what I thought.
The organization of the race was great. They did put on a top notch race. My concern for the race is that first, there were only 700 athletes signed up (including pros) and this was a very expensive race to put on, and second, there weren't many spectators there considering the hype behind the race. The gps tracking company that is a direct competitor with MyAthlete and that hyped the shit out of live tracking for every athlete at this race was basically non-existent. There were a few athletes wearing their clunky devices and they didn't even work. They are brilliant with their marketing though.
The thing about doing the run in a relay is that there is a lot of waiting. I sat around in the sun and actually met a lot of nice people. Quite a few who actually read this blog?! (And I though that Baker and Big Rocks were the only two who read this crap) I was anxious to get running, and knew that I'd have to run hard if I wanted to win the relay division. Greg Pelican had a stellar team including a fast swimmer and a 2:30 marathoner. There was another team who had a female swimmer that came out well under 25 minutes and their cyclist was a pro as well. This team put over 15 minutes into us by the end of the ride, and Cappy and Curt did great, which is a testament to how fast they were moving. Curt built a four minute lead on Greg by the end of the ride, so I left in second place, chasing a ghost and running scared.
My goal was to knock off six minute pace, and the first two miles were downhill so I clicked off 5:45's. You start the run of the relay after sitting around waiting and there is no one around you and you have to start out at an aggressive pace. I significantly underestimated the intensity of this and was awakening to this in the first few miles. I'm having my worst allergy season to date and following the thursday friday rain, my allergies were kicking in strong, and my breathing was compromised. I'm not making excuses here, but rather just stating the facts. At the four mile mark, you begin climbing for the next two miles and half way through, I had a full blown asthma attack. I was gasping for breath and forced to walk for a bit until my breathing settled down, my lungs relaxed, and I gained control. I haven't had too many of these and I have to say that it's a scary and uncontrollable feeling. I began running again at a more relaxed and controlled effort but it still didn't feel great. I plugged along and finally around the seven mile mark, I felt like I could run. In fact, the last five miles were my best. It felt good to finish strong, however, I was bummed about the early miles, especially since I've been training well and running well. I held off Greg's runner and after finishing, realized that the lead relay finished less than a minute in front of me! The course is tough and windy so you can't see who is in front of you. Of course I'm kicking myself with the "if only's" now. The lesson today that being part of a relay can be a serious bitch, with the waiting around and starting with no-one in sight. Honestly, I would have rather raced the whole thing. I don't think my time would have been much different. In know way am I trying to say that the relay is harder than doing the whole thing. Racing the whole race is definitely harder. However, I think my underestimation combined with allergies made today a more challenging endeavor than I would have imagined.
Some side notes - the course is a son of a bitch and is great! This is one tough course. I spoke quite a bit with Luke Bell who dnf'd after snapping his front derailleur five miles into the ride. He's one hell of a nice guy and very down to earth. Matt Reed and Miranda Carfee are studs.
I had quite a few athletes who raced today and raced really well. I think Straz took second in his age group, Gus placed third in his age group and had a great day. Annmarie placed fourth and had an equally great day. These two are keying in on IMLP and I hardly tapered them for this race! Megan, Mandy, Jeff B., Greg P., Jim H., and Tim S. all did really well. They all finished strongly. Chris T. who I've been running with a bunch (or who's been kicking my ass) raced like a pro today. He won the overall amateur race and was only a few minutes off the top pro run splits. Congrats to them and all who finished, and thanks to my team mates for actually a fun day!