Given the historical grounds for which the REV3 Wiliamsburg happened it only seems right to start with a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, US President from 1901-1909 for this race report.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
This season has not been easy. Challenges have mounted and after Eagleman two weeks ago I really wondered if I would ever see a break where my hard work, sweat and maybe even a few tears would be rewarded. A few incredible people helped me get to the start line in Virginia. After listening to my concerns Rob Orange provided the wise council to get on with it, race, stop thinking and just get the job done. Mark Cathcart was another reaffirming support. And Dan - he had no idea but watching Brene Brown TED talk on YouTube with him, listening to this quote, listening to her talk about shame gave me the resolve to dare greatly and put myself out there again to either fail or succeed. I would rather be in the Arena.
The course is ideal for a first time half ironman person that is comfortable in the water. The swim is in the James River and one has to work against a tide which can be hard and favours those that understand how to "feel the water". The bike is beautiful, rolling along small local roads that are mostly in impeccable condition. The run is two loops, one short but steepish hill with lots of opportunity to see your fans and support team.
The swim is tough for the reason that running out for at least 1 minute, doing dolphin dives again and again before you hit a place where you can swim faster than dive is really anaerobic. It reminded me of a full-on ITU race start. They hurt. I managed though and sat behind Lauren until the first buoy where I made a break and did not look back. I remember thinking as I passed the marker buoys that it took a REALLY long time to actually pass it. I had to even employ my kick for the swim! The result was a not so fast 30:39.
The bike was relatively smooth and I found my own rhythm and went with it. Lauren Goss took off much faster than I wanted to go and knew I could sustain in the heat. Margaret Shapiro passed me at mile 18 and I never got close to her again. I eventually passed Lauren again gaining a little time on her into T2. I completed the course in 2:24:29. I was in second.
Then the run. Oh the RUN! That small 13.1 miles at the end of EVERY triathlon! Imagine that. At Eagleman I suffered from asthma so I started to take Singular again to help me before this race. I also took an anti-histimine to prevent any possible allergic reaction to the pollen. The run still proved to be hard for me. I felt ok in the first loop but after passing the transition and onto the second loop I apparently went into another world where I ignore all things including huge arrows to turn left. I think I had closed my eyes even. So YES I added extra to the course! How dumb I know. That is exactly what I thought. So there I was asking the police where everyone went... he kindly told me to turn around and get back on course. Uggh. So I ran back, turned where I was supposed to and then proceeded to tell myself that if I lost a placing to that error I was going to be REALLY mad at me. I didn't want to be mad so I tried harder. I employed all my mental strategies of counting, race mottos, phrases... they got me to the end. Heat/humidity, tripping and falling (yes I also did that), going off course, - I made it. Fourth overall despite a less than stellar run. 1:37:57 That is almost a record for me in the wrong direction! Doh.
Brene Brown also said in her TED talk to not wait to kick ass when we are bullet proof and perfect. It's not going to happen. I am in the Arena fighting because yes I belong there. I am honoured to be on the start line with such incredible women, to be part of a race like REV3 where people are daring greatly to be better. I would have it no other way. Onto the next one!
Special thanks to my homestay Tricia and the family that made preparing for my race SOO much fun. And of course thanks to the REV3 family - you know I am a HUGE fan! See you in Maine!