My first 70.6 …. err 70.3. (And first half marathon)
Drove down Friday afternoon, took a little over 4.5 hours from Annapolis to make the 180mile drive. Should have expected this after having lived in NoVa for 3 years and experienced south bound traffic through VA.
Ate twice at Dog Street Pub in downtown Williamsburg, good food, decent prices. Restaurant selection was a little limited. Ran into Ben Mertes on Friday and ate with Carl Blake and Michael Duffy on Saturday night.
Took full advantage coming down Friday night, going to the practice swim Saturday morning and driving the bike course Saturday afternoon.
The swim was during high tide and there was a decent helpful current for the long leg, so I asked a race organizer about what the currents would be like on race day and was told it would be slack tide, turned out not to be the case. This was also where I realized we would be doing and extra ~.25 mile run from swim exit to T1 (hence the 70.6). But in fairness to the organizers there didn't appear to be a better way to lay it out.
No major surprises while driving the bike course, maybe a little hillier than advertised, glad i did the drive.
Slept well the night before, up at 4am, bagel with peanut butter for breakfast, got to T2 around 4:45, quick setup of the run gear and hopped on the school bus over to T1 with no issues, it seems that I beat the crowds. Got T2 setup and headed down to the swim start. Which was delay for 25 minutes because they failed to direct traffic properly and there were people parked along the path that was to be used for bike exit. They switched the in/out of T1, but made sure everyone knew, and beside the delay it turned out to be a non-issue.
The Swim 41:03 AG: 11/65 OV: 79/573
Wetsuit legal by .5 degrees, but so much for the slack tide. It was low tide, meaning currents were detrimental, making for a tough swim. The swim times included about 200 yards of running/dolphin diving/wading through low tides all the way out to the first sighting buoy. Turn buoys were dark red and very difficult to see in the overcast conditions. (need to get a pair of clear goggles for swims without sun). A small swell made it difficult to pick up the second turn buoy. I missed the lead pack and there weren't many others that stuck with me, for most of the swim I was on my own which resulted in my stopping a couple times to get my bearings and make sure I wasn't completely off course. I thought I was having a pretty bad swim, but when I caught and passed a female pro (started ~3 minutes in front of my wave), I started thinking maybe it wasn't all that bad. Another 150 or so yards of wading/running into the finish and the swim was finally over.
I was expecting something around 35 mins, but given my rankings, I am pretty happy with the results.
Aside from the long run, nothing special.
The Bike 2:52:04 (19.5 avg) AG: 30/65 (aggregate AG postion swim+bike) OV: 157/573
Advertised elevation gain 810ft -- Garmin Elv. 1760ft
Despite the difference in elevation I really enjoyed the bike course, there were no real bad climbs, and those that existed broke up the monotony. Its not fun being a good swimmer in the first wave, passed by a bunch that were clearly better bikers than I in the beginning. When I was passed in the middle it was usually by groups of 3 or 4. Didn't see any officials, but wasn't really looking either. The wind picked up on a few of the straight aways on the way back. Probably went out a little too hard, backed off for the last 5 or 6 miles coming in and had a bunch of people pass that were hammering the finish. Kept telling myself it would catchup to them on the run.
Had to pee for the entire bike ride, but couldn't quite make it happen on the bike. In the end I think this subconsciously effected the amount of fluid that I thought I needed to take in. Took in about 10-16oz less than race rehearsal rides, during the race I attributed that to the overcast skies and mid-70s temps. But the more I replay the race in my head the more I think this contributed to my downfall on the run. Also at 2 honey stinger waffles at 1 hour and 2 hour marks.
Overall pretty happy with my bike performance, with the exception of the lack of fluids consumed.
Again uneventful, decided not to grab my hand held water bottle because I hate running with something in my hands. In the end probably a bad idea given that I knew the distance between a few of the aid stations was 2 miles!!
The Run 2:17:19 (10:26 min/mile) 36/65 223/573
Advertised elevation gain ~300ft -- Garmin Elv. ~550 ft
Went out feeling great, averaging ~8:30 pace as planned, feeling like I could definitely maintain and still hit my goal of under 5:30. Still had to pee, but ran past the port-a-potty at mile 2ish, figured I would hit it on the way back if i needed to, still carried a 9min pace up the winding and fairly steep hill. Came back down the hill starting to feel the effects of (what i think was) dehydration, and definitely wishing that I had hit the port-a-potty on the first time around, still confident that I could bring my pace back to 8:30s after some water and a quick pit stop. This was not the case, and I hovered around 9:30 for the next 3.5 miles, taking 2 cups of water and a cup of gatorade at every aid station.With a 9:30 pace I knew I wasn't going to hit my stretch goal of under 5:30. The sun came out I completely fell off, walking parts of the 2nd loop of the course, dropping to 11 minute miles, some slower. I could have pushed harder, but at that point the certainty of finishing was more important to me than a being a couple minutes faster.
The finisher medals are pretty cool looking - two revolutionary era pistols crossed over a Rev3 Williamsburg banner.
I had heard saturday that we were getting finisher shirts after crossing the line (there were tees given out in the swag bag), was really disappointed to be handed a black, cotton, long sleeve t-shirt. Really??! It's 90 degrees out. Disappointed that I don't have a nice tech-t to show off.
Drank two bottles of gatorade and one bottle of water before I started feeling right again.
The post race bag pickup as a complete disaster, but I think others have mentioned it so I won't go in to detail.
I learned a lot about what it takes to get through the 70.3 distance, especially the half marathon. And no surprise that I need to continue to work on my running.
Will I do another 70.3? Absolutely!
Will I do another Rev3 race? Probably, at least I will give them 1 more shot.
WIll I do Williamsburg again? Probably not, I enjoyed the course but the drive up and down 95 on a summer weekend was miserable, an extra hour each way due to traffic and from what I have heard I didn't have it that bad.