cedar point rev - race report - the race
Goals for the race? FINISH and Thank the volunteers... oh, and don't walk on the run!
Race MorningI’d slept amazingly well and when the alarm went off at 4:15 am I was ready to go. I took a quick shower, got myself dressed, put body glide on every conceivable part of my body that was touching clothing. Retrieved my bottles from the fridge and put everything in carrying bags to get it to the race site.
1.5 scoops of 1st Endurance Ultragen Cappuccino
2 spoonfuls of peanut butter
1 bottle EFS Sport Drink sipped throughout the AM
This is the same breakfast I had before ALL of my long rides and so I had confidence that I would feel fine.
Alex and I made it to the transition area around 4:45 am. Transition was already open, so while he fixed some things in the tent that had been affected by the rain the night before I set up my transition area. They weighed us in the am which took no time at all and before I knew it, I had been body marked, weighed, and set up my transition area. They was one tense moment when after I’d taken my bike tire bag off the bike to exchange the pitstop for a new product that Alex likes better (espresso) we couldn’t get the bag back on the bike. Eventually we figured it out and I was ready to go. One last good luck hug from Shanks and we met up with Dani and Jason to head back to the hotel and the swim start.
I put my wetsuit on in their room (located just by swim start, we could see the swim start from their window). Alex “suit juiced” the hell out of it, and it worked! That suit came off like a charm at the end of the swim. I love my wetsuit, it is super comfortable and toasty warm (although I’ve never felt over heated in it either). We made it down to the beach, in time to hear they were holding the start for 10 min. I’m pretty sure it was because there was not enough light.
Alex and I had been watching “Surviving the Cut” on Discovery Channel during the weeks leading up to Cedar Point. One episode was about para-rescue training and they have a day called “ETD” or Extended Training Day. It starts at 4 am and ends 17 hours later. So from that moment on, we always talked about race day as ETD. Go no harder than training until you get to the run. Race Day equals ETD, nothing more than an extended training day. This really helped with my nerves I think.
I looked out at the water… it was PERFECT, almost glassy. At that moment, all of my nerves just left me. I was quietly confident. I knew I was going to complete the race and I was ready to see just how fast I could do it.SwimDani and I lined up in the middle of the group and close to the front. I was so ready and completely calm. I set my watch and hit start (I always start ahead so I don’t have to worry about it later). They did some announcements about oldest/youngest competitors and then there was one min left and then
and we all went running in to lake Erie!
There were tons of feet out there and I actually felt like I wasn’t so much swimming as floating forward with a bunch of people. I had my usual open water freak out, but I was able to use the technique of focusing on breathing out instead of breathing in with success and quickly settled in to the swim. At one point I looked up to sight and noticed a group of swimmers in front of me pulling away… I surged so that I could keep up with their feet and stayed on until the first turn buoy.
It was a little bit “contacty” out there, but I felt like I was getting through the bodies and arms fairly well. Only 400 people vs. 2500 people makes a big difference.
When we made the turn, I noticed how big the waves were out there. I felt a little bit like a bobbing cork. I also noticed if I tried to swim straight to the next buoy I was actually getting pushed to the right of it, so I started sighting to the left and it seemed to help keep me on track. The next turn buoy came fairly quickly and it was a bit like a free ride into the beach. The way back in was noticeably faster than the way out. As I finished the first loop, I looked down at my watch and was pleased to see I’d completed the first loop in 34 min. I ran out of the water and down the beach to cross the timing mat and start my second loop.
The beach run was so cool because everyone who was doing the Half distance race was there waiting for their waves to start and they were cheering like mad! I remembered back to a race I did before when I was doing the half and I was cheering like mad for those crazy people doing the full on the same day; and now here I was, I was the crazy person doing the full and I couldn't have been more proud of myself!
Starting the second loop, I realized it would be a bit slower, I assume because there wasn’t as much draft to carry me through the chop at the beginning. Once I got past the waves though, I was able to settle into a rhythm and adjust to the new current. (yes, it was a bit different than the first loop).
During the entire swim, I just kept talking to myself to remain steady and calm in the water. The swim was something to start the day, a warm up, and I didn’t want to spend too much energy out there.
Sooner than I expected I caught sight of the final buoy and then the large arch indicating the end of the swim. People were lined up on either side of it and it was fun to run through that area. As soon as I stood up in the water I started pulling off the top of my wetsuit and then once I freed my arms got my swim cap off. This was my most successful wetsuit removal of the year; thank goodness for SuitJuice!
Swim Time: 1:14 (1:55/m) – Goal Time was 1:15!!!
I ran into transition, slipped a bit in the bucket of water to clean the sand off of my feet but kept my balance and went to retrieve my T1 bag from the peg. My bag was on the outside of the racks of bags and so my family was there waiting for me. I heard “go Jill” and “go Mom” and I looked over to see my Mom and Dad, Jason and AJ cheering for me. That felt awesome!
I grabbed my T1 bag and headed into the changing tent. The ladies in the changing tent were incredible. They dumped all my stuff out for me and the other ripped my wetsuit off the rest of the way. They asked me what I needed and we got it done! I put my helmet on and my glasses (I know, backwards!!). I put my shoes on because my bike was right outside the changing tent. I stuffed my extra flasks in my back pocket and took my arm warmers with me. I tried putting my arm warmers on while I ran to my bike but had trouble and decided I didn’t need them anyhow. I stuffed them into my back pocket as well. I grabbed my bike and ran out of transition.
I was surprised as how smooth T1 went for me. I was worried about it and to tell you the truth, when I was in the tent I felt really badass. :D It was my second “this is really it, this is 140.6” moment of the day. (The first being when I was heading in for my second loop of the swim)
T1 Time 3:04 – Goal Time 3:30
I get on the bike and it felt lovely to be there. I looked down at my watch and my HR was not showing on my watch. I tried fiddling with my HRM strap but nothing happened. I tried to remember how to “rescan” for the HRM but couldn’t remember. I have power readout as well, and while I wanted to use HR for this race because I’m still learning how to use power and the winds seem to give odd power numbers; I decided to stop fiddling and just go with Power and cadence.
The bike was definitely windy and most of the roads are bumpy and rough; but for the most part, I just enjoyed the heck out of it. It just felt effortless on this day. Because I didn’t have my HR data, I really checked myself to make sure that I wasn’t pushing too hard. I really wanted to make sure I had plenty left for the run. The entire bike ride I really just focused on keeping myself from going to fast or too hard.
Pretty early in the bike I realized I really had to pee. I tried to go “on the bike”, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work. (I guess I should have practiced like Jamie) Finally at the 30 mile aid station, I stopped and used the porta potty. I felt like such a loser. I could hear all the bikes outside passing me by. I got back on my bike and just as I was getting back up to speed my friend Dani passed me. “Great swim girl!” Me:”Thanks!! I just had to stop and pee!” “What?!?” Me (embarrassed): ”I stopped to pee!”
Around mile 45 Dani passes me again “you are having a great ride” Me: “What happened to you?” Dani: “I had to stop to pee”.
Haha At least I wasn't the only one!
Dani would later tell me, I knew exactly when you passes me back on the bike, because as I’m sitting in the Porta Potty I heard you ride by “thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”. Yep, my main goal of 140.6 was met; Thank the Volunteers, profusely.
There is a fun little out and back section near the town of Milan. It was fun to go through their town square and people were out cheering. We got to go through there twice so I really enjoyed that part.
I met up with the HalfRev folks for a bit and I was worried about draft concerns because all of a sudden there were a lot of folks out there. I was also worried that I would start going too hard to get around them. But then they were gone and I was all alone again and I kind of missed the distraction of the other people. At one point a gentleman passed me and I said, it’s getting lonely out here. He said “don’t’ worry, they are all behind us” I thought that was cute.
Nutrition on the bike: My plan was to drink one bottle an hour with EFS Sports Drink (100 cals) and every 40 min take one shot of EFS LS and 1 saltstick tab. The weather was cooler than I had been training in, so I actually didn’t take a saltstick with each LS sip, this may have been a mistake. My coach mentioned that I might not drink as much, but I was actually drinking more than usual (I think because usually on long rides I talk the entire time to my riding companions and I was drinking out of boredom). So I really kept to plan with my nutrition on the bike, except for the saltstick. I wish I would have just stuck with it and not changed it because I think I was sweating just as much, but since it wasn’t as humid as GA, I didn’t feel it.
Around mile 80 I stopped to pee again. The ladies at this aid station grabbed my bike from me as I got off and asked me what I needed, they added water to my water bottles and unfortunately watered down my perfect mixture in my aero bottle. But they were trying so hard to be helpful and kept asking me (while I trying to quickly pee) what I needed.
kind of “burped” everything out of my stomach. This made me a little worried… why did I have all of that in my stomach, have I stopped digesting? Should I start to slow down a bit? I took a salt tab and tried to just keep pushing and push the doubts out of my mind.
The final, probably 40 miles of the bike is constant crosswind and headwind. Maybe a little bit of a tailwind, but not much. It wasn’t disheartening, just slow. I said to myself, you had a nice tailwind for awhile Jill, now is just time to remain calm and take what the day gives and keep going. My knees also started to hurt, which had never happened to me before.
Pretty soon, I was in familiar territory and heading back to the park.
Bike Time: 6:00:00 – Goal Time: 6:10!! With two stops to pee and one to fix a dropped chain I’m super happy with that time.
I grabbed my bag and ran into the changing tent. Dumped everything out and tried to figure out what I needed. Again, the volunteers were amazing! I took my helmet off and my glasses almost flew off (remember, I put them on in the wrong order). I got my glasses back on, found my visor and stuck it on my head. I looked down at the flask of EFS LS that I had in the bag and my stomach churned. I was pretty sure anything I put in my stomach at that moment was coming right back up. Next task was to get my compression socks on. This went perfectly smoothly on my right foot… then I went to put on the left and I was faced with an issue that I’d never thought of, and in my not so sharp state of mind (this is the first time I realized I wasn’t thinking quite as clearly as I thought I was) I was completely baffled, do I pull the sock over the timing chip? Do I take it off and put it back on over the sock? I decided to take it off, but when I went to do that I realized that the way it was on there the only way to get it off was to take the chip off the strap. The volunteer didn’t have any advice for me either. Well, the only option at this point was to go over, so over the sock went! She asked me if I needed sunscreen… YES PLEASE!! So she put sunscreen on me and then squeezed some in my hands to put on my face. I also noticed that my clothing was chaffing my right side under my arm, but I didn’t have any body glide in my T2 bag. Oh well. I grabbed my hand flask and headed out on the run; I was ready to go!!
Already on my way out of T2 I noticed my legs were ready to go. Sure I took awhile in T2 with the whole sock/chip thing and sunscreen, but it gave my legs a chance to come back to me I suppose.
As I ran out of T2 I finally noticed my friend Christine had arrived and my brother was there as well. That was a nice pick-me-up.
Alex was cheering for me too and he was super excited for me. He told me that Dani was 6 min in front of me, which was surprising because I was expecting her to be more like 30 min in front of me the way she blew past me on the bike. It was really good news, it was just nice to know there was a good chance I’d see a friendly face within the first loop.
As I left the park, completely jazzed from seeing my family, I looked down at my Garmin to see that I was running 7:15 pace… a little to fast for 26.2, so I tried to calm myself down. Mile 2 passed by without incident and I was feeling good. In the 3rd mile things started to go a little south. My stomach started doing the flipping thing and I was worried that I wasn’t digesting the food in my stomach. At the next aid station I grabbed some water and tried to drink that. It made the stomach worse. Tried some pretzels to attempt to “soak up” the liquid in my stomach. Unfortunately they just got stuck in my mouth and I need to drink more water to get them down my throat. Around mile 5 my stomach wasn’t getting any better so I slowed down my pace in an attempt to get some blood flowing to my stomach again. I walked the aid stations and sipped at water.
So here is what went through my head: “Okay Jill, chances are you aren’t going to make 26.2 without any calories coming in… You’ve your sons and your family waiting for you back there and the med tent is not an option. If you slow down now, get things working again, you can have a kick ass second half of the marathon. Just be patient and things will turn around."
I tried everything I could think of, but with hindsight 20/20; I chose all the wrong things. I probably should have started salt tabs asap but I didn’t until mile 10. I maybe should have gone with cola right away but I waited for that until mile 14 when I was desperate for things to turn around.
I stopped to pee once and again used the porta-let. I also wanted to make sure that nothing was “coming out” as the air that had been in my tummy had worked it’s way through my GI system. (I know a little TMI there)
I tried to keep my spirits up by thanking all the volunteers (they were super awesome). I said “good job” to everyone I passed. I even said it to the folks on the other side of the out and back. I had seen Jason at the end of his loops at the beginning of mine and we were able to high five. I saw my “virtual” training buddy Jamie out there on the run and he was in good spirits, which helped mine. Thanks Jamie!!!
As I left special needs Alex was there talking to me… “is your run going to plan?” I remember answering, “run is SO not going to plan”. He says “well you are doing great and your first loop is right on track” (that’s because I told him my more than likely goal, not the super secret goal that I was holding close to me heart).
The second loop was better AND worse. It was better because I had already done it and I knew where I was on the course. It was worse because certain parts of it just seemed to be taking so much longer.
When I came to the first aid station out of the park I finally took the cola they offered. It was the only think I’d put in my stomach that felt okay. So I took another one at the next aid station. Pretty soon I was able to run two miles at a time before stopping at an aid station for soda. I was still running slowly on purpose because I was afraid if I went any faster the stomach would turn bad again.
Finally at mile 21 I realized that this was about as good as I was going to feel and that I would be able to make it to the finish line on nothing if I needed to. So I went for it. I said to myself “it’s super silly to get something at the last aid stations, no need”. I did grab something at mile 23 aid station, but after that I just ran toward home. My last mile went down to 8:45 pace.
I ran into the park and knew that this time I got to follow the sign that said “finish”. They asked me if I was finishing and I said “YES!!!”I saw Steven there (he’d been done with his half for hours!) and hear him talking into his cell phone “Jill is coming in right now”. That felt awesome!!! I knew I was going to see my family is a little bit. As I ran down the finishers chute, Jason (my Jason) was dropped over the barrier to run to the finish with me. He grabbed my hand and started running. AJ was also put in the chute but couldn’t keep up with us. I was actually worried that if I stopped to pick up AJ, Jason would pull me down, so I just ran with Jason to the finish with AJ trying to catch up with us.
I looked at the clock as I passed underneath it and saw 11:38 on the clock. I hadn’t looked at my total race time on my watch all day and I was so happy with that time. As I hugged Alex at the finish I said “11:38 can you believe it!?!?” and he says “it’s actually more like 11:20 something, the clock started with the pro men.” I was so excited that I was finished and excited about my time (especially considering my run).
Run Time: 4:05 – Goal Time: 3:45 (yes, it was ambitious, but I really thought I had a good shot at it) with one Pee stop and lots of walking :(
Total Time: 11:26 - The Goal Time that I told people “anything under 13 hours would be cool, but mostly I just want to finish”, the Goal Time I told Alex and my mom and dad “12 hours, 12 hours would be great”, the Goal Time I had for myself, my super secret, I’m not going to tell anyone because it would take a perfect day goal time was 11:22.
Yeah, you could say that I’m happy with my race.
They gave me my finishers medal and some water. Somebody grabbed my chip (I’m sure they were glad that I hadn’t pee’d on myself during the run even if my coach is kicking me in the ass for stopping so many times to pee) and Alex sat me down in a chair.
When I got back to my family, we took pictures and talked about what to do about dinner.
Even though I’d had an awesome race, it was still 7pm by the time I got done in the med tent and my boys were hungry and my parents were wiped out. It was decided that they would all head out to dinner and alex would bring me home as soon as I saw Dani and my friend Jamie cross the finish line. I was able to cheer Dani home, but by then I was so cold and I felt like I was going to throw up at any moment; I just needed to get back to the hotel and shower.
My Dad came back to the park to pick me up (Alex had to pack up the all3sports expo tent unexpectedly). Dad took me to the hotel and then headed back the restaurant to pick up my mom, Jason and AJ. They brought back fettuccine Alfredo (Alfredo on the side) with chicken. Amazingly after my shower I was feeling pretty good. Stomach not quite so sensitive. I was able to pick through the dinner and the more I ate the better I felt. Eventually, we all went to bed and I fell asleep hard.
Around 3am, Jason fell out of the hotel bed (he moves a lot when he sleeps). He was unhurt but once I got him back into his bed and then snuggled there with him to make sure he wouldn’t fall again I couldn’t sleep. I got out my iPhone and started reading through the posts people had left on Facebook and Twitter. I was overwhelmed by the posts, the congratulations and the folks who had been following along with us all day long. It really meant a lot to me to read what folks had written. Thank you everyone!!
• You can’t take too much salt, you can take too little
• Always check your HRM the day before and in the am before the swim
• Learn to pee on the bike (could have saved 6:00)
• Get over peeing on the run (could have saved 3:00)
• Pack stuff in “reusable” drawstring bags at home for travel
• Make a written list of the things that need to get done race morning
No one can do this all alone and I had a ton of help to get me to the finish line! First of all, of course, Alex who was constantly supportive and stayed home with the boys many Saturdays while I was off riding my bike.
My coach, Laura Sophiea, the most amazing coach and amazing person. I could NOT have done this without her guidance and support. Absolutely Incredible!!
My Chiropractor, Dr. Pam, I didn't do regular massage, but I did see Dr. Pam fairly regularly throughout my training. Between Laura's smart plans, my attention to recovery, and Dr. Pam keeping me "straight" I was injury free throughout my 140.6 training!
My kids, because they are amazingly supportive and adaptable!
My parents, because they are amazingly supportive and adaptable too!! :D
My brother, for flying all the way out to Ohio to cheer me on! His family was going to come, but my nephew was sick, poor little guy :( , so they couldn't make it. I truly appreciate the plan to come guys!!!
My friend Christine, for driving all the way to Ohio, and standing out in the sun all day while being 4 months pregnant! I'm so glad you were able to find a tent and a chair :D
My riding training buddy, Casey, for listening to me chatter all those miles away!!
My running buddy and most awesome friend, Andrea, for your unwavering support and laughter :D
Michelle and Kate for taking the time (after all these years ha ha) to get the "inspirational towel" ready for me!
Tatyana for lending me her disc wheel!!! I loved it!!
All of my friends who posted on Facebook and Twitter wishes of Good Luck and Congratulations, I read them all and they are with me everyday, thank you so very very much!!
I couldn't have done the training without the folks at Lifetime Fitness, they create an environment in the kid's center that Jason and AJ love. I know they are having fun while I work out, which takes some of the guilt away!
I also used the drop off care services of P.L.A.Y. in Roswell to get in some long rides and runs, AJ loves it there!!
My awesome babysitter and friend, MK, for waking up at god knows what hour one day so she could be at my house at 5:30 to watch the boys while I did my last long ride!!
I hope I didn't forget anyone!!! I love you guys!! I couldn't have done this without you!!