Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Challenge Knoxville Race Report - Oly distance

Short Version:  
I get knocked down
But I get up again
You're never going to keep me down

Longer Shorter Version: First tri of the season is done.  I took my first ever spill on my bike (rain, fast downhills, novice bike handling skills and adapting to RTC gear shifters are to blame) but I was able to recover, finish the bike and complete the run. It was the slowest Oly to date but considering all of the events, i will be happy with the fact I still finished!

Full write up

Pre-Race/Expo/Packet Pickup:
Never have been to Knoxville before so we decided to stay at the host hotel (Holiday Inn Worlds Fair).  The good rate, proximity and pet friendly accommodations made it a no-brainer.  Friday, I got my packet and we signed up for the glow run. Had some time before sundown so we walked over the Market Square and had some great Mexican food (that was super cheap!) and then came back for the run. Lucy made lots of friends on the fun run.

Saturday morning, hit up the shake out run with Dr Andy Baldwin.  Got to meet some people I have only interacted with on social media and enjoyed chatting it up with friends and shaking out the legs.  We ran to a local coffee shop and then made our way back to the expo.  Took in the mandatory meeting with Lucy while the boys were swimming at the hotel pool.  Then Scott went and played 18 and Josh, Lucy and I did dinner again at Market Square.  We were all pretty beat from the day by 5 pm so i got some food to go at Oodles and Josh Subway.  Ate in our hotel room while watching Diary of a Whimpy Kid.  Fun bonding and was asleep before 10. 

Race Morning:
Didn't need to wake up super early b/c transition closed at 7:30 for Oly athletes.  So woke up at 6:45 and made me way down to the start.  Set up my stuff, said hell to friends and started walking over to the pier.  During this 15 minute period is started pouring and I didn't care b/c I was about to jump in the water but felt bad for my family who was making there way over. Never saw them before the start as Scott had a struggle getting Josh and Lucy over to the water in the rain (what a trooper!)  Put on my wetsuit under a bridge (the one you see in this pic), applied some trislide that a fellow teammie had and went to the start.  
I was in the last wave and didnt have a ton of jitters going into the swim. Thankfully I was able to warm up on Saturday and get a feel for the Tennessee River. The water was warm (72) and calm, there was rain but once you are in the water, they doesn't matter.  We had a in-swim start and saw some friends right before the gun.  Always nice to see a familiar face before any butterflies come.

I was able to get into a slow groove fairly quickly and felt comfortable in the water.  Sometimes I have this thing where i go 100-200 meters with no issue and then freak out but thankfully that didn't happen.  There wasn't a lot of contact in the water but about halfway to the first bouy some guy curled up right next to me and slapped my back for what felt like another 200 meters.  Since I was in a groove i didn't want to stop and hoped i would just go faster than him but that didn't work.  We were at the exact same speed and decided i didn't want to deal with him anymore.. so, i stopped, let him pass and then changed my trajectory just a bit.  For some, this wouldn't bother them at all but I just didn't want to deal with him.  Hit the turn bouy and then onto the stretch home.  The sighting was the Lady Vols warehouse and the dock was in front of that.  Swam with a few ladies in a nice pack (no benefits of drafting but it was nice to have a clump of us together but not touching).  Pulled myself up on the dock while yelling "Beached Whale".  Scott and Josh were waiting for me in the rain and I was off to T1.  Watch said 38:32 on the dock.  Actual time counting some running: 00:40:14.  We can also see I need to work on my sighting.. Nothing new
Everything was wet including my socks that I laid out.  Was not excited to put on wet socks but then remembered that I had an extra pair in my bag.  SCORE!  Dry Socks.  Got my stuff on and onto the bike


Well, it started off a bit rough as my HR was all over the place. There was some rain coming down but wasn't pouring but enough to make me on high alert.  Managed to get through the first 10 miles uneventfully and chugged my way up the first major ascent at mile 7ish. It was one with some soft switchbacks so I kept getting faked out with "being at the top".  There was a 72 year old that was chugging along with me and I was happy to see my bike fitness was up to par with a 72 year old! :)  I also was asked by a lady to yell when i got to the top and did and she yelled back "That is tooo long". HAHA

Pretty sure this is how my impact was as i have a scraped
up elbow, hip and opposite knee.. just not as pretty
However, i was keeping a 15 MPH pace even with the large ascent and then I was approaching the next large climb (mile 11-12).  I was going on a mini downhill, saw the climb and realized i needed to switch gears down, I went to take my big chain down and started pushing my left shifter.  At the same time, someone said on your left and in that split second, i ever so slightly jerked my bars and tumbled out.  It happened in slow mo...  and the bike facing the wrong direction and I was kissing the pavement.  People asked if i needed help and i just needed a minute.  Didnt want to pull out of the race but wasn't quite ready to get back up on the bike.  I sat there for about 10-15 minutes regrouping and picking rocks out of my scab, taking a Powerbar gel and just taking a breather. 

After the race, I realized that there were many of us that slid out and my scars were not much compared to others.  Got back on the bike and finished the course.  However, it sucked that I had to start at the bottom of the hill from Zero.  I didn't walk up it but i might have almost rolled backwards! This is when i started singing Chumbawumba's song over and over in my head.  Definitely this races theme song. 

T2- Rolled into T2 and family was waiting.  Scott saw my arm right away and wished me luck on the run.

Knew it was going to be a slow go at it.  Had no interest in moving fast esp b/c i knew i was going to be covering a large amount of the 13.1 after i crossed the finish line with the last place finisher.  So, i plugged away. Saw lots of friends and teammates on the course which prompted me to keep moving.  The course wasn't hilling on the Oly.  a straight forward out and back that was pancake flat.  Did the run/walk/shuffle and had a slow (13:30/mile 10K).  Great to see my teammates pumping it and pushing through their pain while I shuffled along and drank coke on the course. As I had walked from transition to the finish line a bunch of times that weekend, i knew how long i had once i passed transition.  Attempted to pick up the pace a bit and saw my family waiting for me at the finish. Josh ran in with me and his first words were "we thought you should have been here a long time ago".  How's that for encouraging?!?!  But crossed with Josh and Lucy "much later than expected"

Photo Cred:  https://www.facebook.com/TracyEndoPhotography
Team with overall winner, Pro Cam Dye
Post Race:
Was medaled/toweled and hung out with family and teammates for a while.  I knew I was going to finish with the last place finisher of the half so i just wanted to lay low.  Visited the med tent, got bandaged up and then chilled with friends till i went back out on the course.. more on that in my next post.
Rocking our C4 Kits.  Love our new gear this year!

Overall- had a great first Challenge Experience. I wanted a PR, I wanted NOT to fall but I did and I will live to see another day.  To me, that is all that matters.  I finished after falling which was a total Mental Win.  The race was delivered just like Rev3 events in a positive way:  Family Friendly, not super uptight and stressful, good swag and great race day delivery!  Looking forward to the rest of the season.  Have some great local races before Challenge AC. 

Race Tips for anyone:
  • Worth staying at Host Hotel or somewhere very close to it (great proximity to everything)
  • Water temp can be all over the place, if you can.. bring your wetsuit options (long/sleeveless)
  • Definitely check out Market Square for dinner and check local events as there was lots going on race weekend this year
  • The humidity (esp for us who haven't been in real sun yet for the year) can take it out of you pre-race and race day.  Hydrate and talk salt appropriately. 
  • The hills aren't technical but they are tough.  Be prepared for that in what is a season opener for many of us
  • Don't fall! 

Thanks to all of my sponsors (Challenge Family, TZCoaching, Powerbar, SBR Sports, Headsweats and C4).  My season opener wasn't what I (or my coach) probably hoped for but I was happy I was able to finish and then go back out to the final finisher on the run course. Challenge Family proved to be just that.. a family.  Loved seeing all my teammates at the race and so happy my own family made the trek down with me.

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