Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rev3 Cedar Point - The Swim

I woke up Sunday morning and went through my regular pre-race routine of putting sunscreen on my face, putting Trislide on any potential chaffing spots and having my pre-race breakfast. Normally, I have oatmeal, but with no microwave access and no open restaurants in the vicinity, I had a chocolate chip Clif Bar instead.

After breakfast, we headed to transition to get body marked, weigh-in and to put my nutrition on my bike. Then it was back to the room for one last opportunity to sit on porcelain for the day before heading out to the swim start. It was also a bit chilly out, so it was nice to be waiting for the race start in the comfort and warmth of our room. The swim start was directly outside of our room so we could watch the sunrise and countdown to the race start without worrying about missing something.

After applying my Trislide, I put on my wetsuit and headed to the beach to join the other racers. The race start was delayed by 10 minutes because (I think) it was not quite light enough out to start the pro waves. Before I knew it they were corralling us at the swim start (where I ran into Trakkers teammate Laura!) and I was giving Douglas one last kiss before the shotgun indicating the start of the race.

With Douglas

Snoopy and Charlie Brown wishing me good luck!

No nerves here ...

All smiles!

A short 10 second countdown later and the gun went off and we were on our way into the water. The forecast was correct, the wind did change directions, and Lake Erie was much calmer than the day before. I knew from the day before that I would have to dolphin my way in for quite a bit because the water was shallow. The swim was 2 rectangles next to each other, so we were to do one 1.2 mile loop and then run a short way down the beach to do a second 1.2 mile loop.

Most of the racers near me were walking their way in and I turned to someone next to me and said, “I guess we are going to walk our way out to the first buoy” only to realize that it was my Trakkers teammate Jaime. A quick hug later and we were both on our way.

I settled into my swim much more quickly than I expected and was surprised at how much clear water I had around me. I caught myself several times thinking about the bike or the run and I quickly got myself to refocus on swimming. One buoy at a time. The further I swam away from shore, the choppier the water became and when I made the first turn to swim parallel to the shore, I could really feel the chop. Around this time I got kicked in the face which made me bite my tongue, but I just shook it off and kept swimming.

I was pretty happy with my sighting as I was doing a decent job of swimming on the buoy line. When I made the second turn to head back towards shore to finish the first loop I had a much harder time sighting because I could see the buoys for the second loop. At that point, I stopped sighting the buoys and started sighting the roller coasters on the shoreline instead.

I finished up the first loop and immediately saw Douglas as I was exiting the water. I love seeing Douglas along the course because it gives me a real pick me up. I exchanged a few words with a fellow racer and then started dolphining in again. I don’t know why, but the first loop always seems to fly by and the second loop seems to drag on, even when my splits are basically even (the same was true at IMFL).

Finishing 1st Loop

Doug's Sign

I did my best just to focus buoy to buoy and enjoy the water. I reminded myself during the second loop to be thankful to even have the opportunity and athleticism to be competing in an iron distance race.

As I was finishing up the last lap I got kicked in the face one last time and my goggles came off my eyes, so I had to stop momentarily to put them back on securely. I swam and dolphined as long as I could before walking in towards shore. I pulled down the top half of my wetsuit as I was running out of the water and into transition.

It was not my fastest swim (but faster than IMFL!), but it was within my desired range, so we’ll call it a success!

Loop 1 -- 42:34 (2:12 min pace)
Loop 2 – 42:55 (2:13 min pace)
Total Swim Time: 1:25:30 (2:13 pace)

9/14 Division
41/67 Overall Women (including pros)

I exited that water and pulled my wetsuit down to my waist and then ran to the transition area. Thankfully, Rev3 had bins of water to step in to remove the sand from our feet. After a quick step in the water, it was off to the pegs to pick up my swim to bike transition bag. Of course, Douglas was there waiting for me which made the smile on my face from being finished with the swim that much bigger!

Side note: This is just one of the many things I thought Rev3 did that was more user friendly than Ironman branded races. Rather than having your bag “generally grouped” with a lot of other bags by number, you actually have two pegs from which to hang your transition bags so that you can quickly and easily retrieve them. Also, the transition area was set up much more very efficiently than IMFL, saving precious minutes in transition!

Peg Board with Transition Bags
Tip: My bags are the ones with the pink tape. Definiely do someting to make your bags stand out. This will especially help when retrieving your special need bags because they are not sorted by number!

I decided to take my wetsuit off next to the pegs before entering the changing tent because there was more room. My Trislide worked like a charm and my wetsuit slid right off with no problems.
With my wetsuit on my arm and my transition bag in my hand, I entered the changing tent to put on my cycling socks, shoes, bolero (arm warmers that are connected in the back), sunglasses and helmet while a great volunteer packed up all my swim gear. before retrieving my bike from my bike spot (which were labeled with the coolest labels that made me feel like a pro!).

How cool is this?

After one last wave to Douglas (who had dutifully run from the pegs to the bike out), I was off for a short little bike ride …

T1 Time: 4:24

As I started the bike portion of the race I was 6:01 ahead of my IMFL time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rev 3 Cedar Point - Pre-Race

If having things go wrong BEFORE a race is a good thing (better than during the race, right?), then the days leading up to Cedar Point were perfect.

The weeks leading up to the race were pretty hectic, including taking on a new job at work, so while I did my workouts, mentally I was not focused on Cedar Point. I didn't pack until late Wednesday night and I didn't have my usual lists and the like to guide me. The good news is that I was not obessissing about the race, the bad news was that mentally I was not "in the game".

We left Houston on Thursday morning on the 7:35 a.m. flight … but my bike took a side trip to Tampa before meeting us in Columbus.

See, Douglas and I completely underestimated the time required to park, take the shuttle, wait in line to check our bags and make it through security. Our “official” check-in time at the Southwest counter was 7:19 for our 7:35 a.m. flight, and that was before paying for my bike, getting our baggage claim tags and ultimately going through security.

When we checked in a loud buzzer went off warning us that we were checking in late and that our luggage might not make our flight. It was seriously loud and I would have been embarrassed if I was not panicked about missing our flight. When the agent handed us our boarding passes she told us to run once we got through security or we would likely miss our flight.

We made it to our gate at 7:30 and the plane was pulling away from the terminal at 7:35. Southwest does mess around! Luckily, I saw our bags make the flight … my bike, however, did not, although, we did not find that out until we arrived in Columbus at 12:25.

The Southwest team in Columbus was fantastic and told us exactly when we could expect my bike. Depending on which flight my bike took, we were told it would either arrive at 2:15 or 4:30 pm. Either way, we had time to kill, so we went to rent our car and grab some lunch.

The rental car agent gave us a great recommendation for an outdoor shopping and dining spot just a couple of miles from the airport called Easton, so we headed there and had lunch at Cosi (I wish we had one in Texas!) and walked around to kill some time. The weather was beautiful and it was actually nice to walk around after traveling for the entire morning and before getting into a car to drive for several hours. We got a call at 2:15 from the baggage crew letting us know that my bike had arrived so we headed back to the airport after grabbing some delicious yogurt from Yagoot (another thing I wish we had here)!

With that, we started the 2 hour trip to Sandusky and Cedar Point. We drove through small town USA, Ohio and reveled at the great scenery and made each other laugh – it was a great, albeit slow (speeds), trip.

We arrived at Cedar Point and checked into The Breakers (host hotel) and Douglas was immediately spooked. You know how there is almost always some sort of buzz at hotels – people coming and going, the check-in crew manning computers, etc. … well, not here, not Thursday night. The hotel was basically deserted and Doug said it reminded him of The Shining. It didn’t help that the hotel was decorated for Halloween. I, of course, preceded to harass him for the rest of the night – well, the rest of the trip – about his fear. Red rum, red rum …

After getting settled in we ventured out to find a good pizza joint, knowing that if we found a good place we would be repeat customers since I always eat pizza pre-race. We ended up at Chet and Matt’s and had stellar pizza – so good, we had it three nights in a row!

Friday morning we slept in and then went to expo to do packet pick up and check-in with Team Trakkers. The expo had some great give-a-ways and the race schwag was awesome -- plus, meeting so many of my teammates and seeing Coach Carole was icing on the cake.

So, Thursday my bike was missing. Friday, my rear tire went flat.

3 times.

Without riding it.

Seriously …

I started to freak out a bit. I had already purchased all of the 650 tubes All3Sports had in stock at the Expo and there was not much available in terms of 650 tires. I was pretty freaking frustrated.

Turns out the first two flats were due to a tiny poking, super thin sharp wire (tire ribbon maybe?) on the inside of the tire. After I removed it and changed the tire for the third time, I figured we were good to go. We grabbed lunch and checked out the run course only to see several hours later that the tire was flat AGAIN! Crap!
I was really nervous at this point. Did I need a new tire? What was causing the flats? Uggh.

Bike Authority was on hand and they checked out the tire and rim tape and felt like my wheel was ok and the tire did not need to be replaced, so they offered to change the tire and promised me that they would help me get to the bottom of the issue if it went flat again. They thought the 3rd flat was likely a pinch flat, which was not outside of the realm of possibility given that I had turned the tire inside out after changing it the second time and it didn’t go back on as smoothly as I would have liked. Ok, breathe, Anne.

After a great nutrition session with none other than THE Robert Kunz from First Endurance, it was time to hit Cedar Point for the Rev3 family night. I was determined not to worry about the tire while we were at the park. Carole asked me how I was feeling about the race and I responded in all sincerity, that I was more nervous about the rides at that moment!

The family night from 6 – 9 p.m. was beyond awesome. No lines at all for some of the best rides on the planet (seriously, they are on the list of tallest, fastest, best rides. Millennium Force – check. Top Thrill Dragster – check. By the time we had ridden all of the open rides I was actually starting to feel a bit nauseous (some of the rides are crazy!) and it was time for dinner. Team Trakkers stuck together for night and it was great to get to know them better as well.

Top Thrill Dragster ... 0 to 120 mph, straight up, straight down in 17 seconds!

Team Trakkers!

The other great thing is that the host hotel was at the park so we walked straight from the park to our room. It was great to lie down while Doug went to pick up more Chet and Matt pizza!

Saturday morning I let Douglas sleep in while I went to the practice swim. Lake Erie was pretty choppy and my practice swim left a lot to be desired, but I have long given up fretting about the swim. The conditions will be what they will be. After doing the Gulf Coast Tri in May 2009, I know I have swum in some pretty choppy water. Thankfully, the wind forecast for Sunday had the wind coming from the opposite direction and they were predicting calmer waters for Sunday.

I also ran into my blogger buddy, Mark -- Tri Dad of 5! It was so great to meet him and wish him well in person for his first 140.6

After my swim, Douglas and I decided to drive the bike course so I could see what was in store for Sunday and I also wanted to do my last bike ride on the course. We had so much fun chatting in the car on the route and stopping at a local orchard for some fresh apples and homemade just-out-of-the-oven apple fritters and blueberry muffins.

Thankfully, my back tire was still holding air so I did not have to stress about that on Saturday. After driving the course we went back to the Expo and Transition areas to turn in my bike and attend the athlete meeting. Then it was off to church and then back to … you guessed it … Chet and Matt’s for my pre-race pizza dinner.
After dinner it was back to the room to pack my transition and special needs bags. I feel asleep around 9:00 p.m. with 3 different alarms set for 4:30 a.m. and dreams of 140.6 in my head …

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How do you sum up a season?

With my last scheduled race of the season behind me and a big race report to write in front of me, I am struggling to find words for this triathlon season.

Rev3 Cedar Point was a success and a PR to boot (12:24:49!!) , but it also reminded me of how much I have to learn about myself as an athlete.

A full race report will follow by segment in the week ahead and I promise it will not be all roses and sunshine. I will do my best to chronicle the highs and lows of my day -- how I felt in the moment and I how I feel now -- and most importantly, what I will do the same and what I will change for my next Ironman. I really enjoy re-reading race reports as I prepare for future races and I hope that someone reading learns something that can help them in their next race as well.

For now, I will leave you with this quote I saw today that really spoke to me:

"How can you say that the sky is the limit if there are footprints on the moon?"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Full Rev......DONE!

and there isn't a prouder husband in the world!!!!! i love you madly!!!!!! congratulations, baby!!!!!

- Douglas (Anne's Iron Sherpa)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Let's Go Racing!

A short 8 hours from now I will be getting body marked and doing all my last minute race preparations -- checking tires, filling bottles, nervous pacing and the like -- I can't believe that race day is upon us!

We have really enjoyed our time in Ohio and especially family night at Cedar Point. I have lots of stories to share but those will have to wait for the post race report. Blogging from a blackberry is a wee bit challenging!

If you want to follow me on race day, you can do the following:

1. Go to and look for race day coverage. There should be a link for athlete tracking where you can enter my race number - 429 - and follow my splits through out the day.

2. I will be wearing a Trakkers device that should allow you to see where I am at any point on the bike or run course (I will not be wearing it during the swim).

Go to and click on "Watch Live". This will pull up a separate window with an icon (avatar) associated with my name. Once you select my name, click on “Go” at the bottom right corner of the page.

This will pull up the course map and my LIVE GPS coordinates. (Note this page is not active until race start.) You can utilize the zoom and pan functions on the left to follow my progression. You can also view the course using the different view buttons on the top right.

If you are tracking me from a smart phone, use the link below for the mobile Trakkers site:

If for some reason my tracking device is not tracking, default to option 1 above.

Good night and thank you for all of your support!

p.s. I love you, Iron Sherpa and thank you for everything!

Monday, September 6, 2010

6 days to 140.6 and August Report

With less than 1 week until Cedar Point I am anxious ... but not about the race (yet).

I am anxious because I have never flown to a race with my bike and all of my training and racing crap. Packing is going to be a nightmare. I have not even thought about packing lists yet. Work has been super busy and I have been too focused on enjoying the taper to worry about things like packing. I am not one to obsess during the taper about things like weather (low 65, high 75, chance of rain, by the way) or to question if I have done enough or if I should I be doing more.

I know that I am ready to race and once we have arrived in Cedar Point, my bike is reassembled, I have gotten the lay of the land, and of course, hooked up with Team Trakkers, I know that I will settle into my groove. I am sure there will be nerves, but I think that has more to do with expectations.

Speaking of expectations, I haven't shared mine yet.

My answer is going to be lame, but my goal is to execute my race just like I have executed my training. If I do that, I know that I will have a great race.

This is what the month leading up to the race looked like, including 2 weeks of taper:

August in Numbers
Swim: 21,015 yards in 8:17
Bike: 697.36 miles in 38:21 -- biggest bike month ever!
Run: 92.75 miles in 15:15
Other: 0:15
Total Time: 62:08

For those of you racing or spectating in Cedar Point, make sure to say hello! Good luck to everyone, including those racing IMWI the same day. Happy and safe travels!