Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Race Week!

Its race week!!!  Its actually hard to beleive its finally here.  Its been a long year since deciding to race the Beach to Battleship iron distance triathlon.  Some highs and lows, some injuries (some healed, some not so much) and an amazing journey along the way.  Eventually it all has to come to an end though, and its finally race week.  Here's how I spent the week...

On Sunday I left Rhode Island and started the drive to North Carolina.  Myself and some Tri-New England friends decided we would break the drive up into two days to go easier on our bodies and so we made it just south of DC on day 1 and then drove the rest of the way on day 2 and got into town around lunchtime.  Since we couldn't get into the house we are renting here till 4pm we stopped by the battleship USS Carolina where T2 and the finish line will be located.

After some time exploring downtown and a quick lunch we were off to the grocery store for supplies and then got setup at the fantastic beach house we are staying at.  Here's a shot of the front of it.  The top railing is from the rooftop deck which has a fantastic view of the ocean.  Its the perfect place to relax and get ready to race!

In total there are 10 tri newengland team mates staying here at the house and 13 of us in total racing on Saturday.  So after unpacking the cars and quickly settling into the house we threw on some run clothes and headed out the door to shake our legs out.  Three of us went for a nice five mile run through the Wrightsville Beach area along the shoreline where the swim course is located.  I actually felt really really good on the run and before I knew it I was enjoying cruising along at much faster than my planned pace for the run.  I didn't fight it and just let it all out and then slowed it down for the last mile back to the house.  After a nice dinner at the house it was time for some much needed sleep.  Speaking of dinners though... it was so nice to be able to grocery shop and cook the food we would be eating all week.  Its always hard to travel and race, and being able to control our diets that easily was great.


On tuesday morning myself and my house mates were all up extremely early.  Apparently none of us could sleep.  Between the unfamiliar beds and our pre race nerves we just weren't feeling it.  So instead we headed up to the rooftop deck to watch the sunrise over the ocean.

After that we went about putting a plan together for the day.  We decided that we would go for a very quick swim to get a feel for the water temps and then try and get a short ride in later in the day.  By the time we got suited up for the swim the ocean was looking pretty angry with some serious six foot waves.  We were also really afraid the water was going to be really cold based on what we had heard about B2B last year.  So we just figured we would swim for ten to fifteen minutes and see just how cold the swim was going to be.  But first...  a little shenanigans....

After attempting to deny the swim by covering my eyes I gave in and we walked the short distance from the house to the ocean.  Here's where the good bit happened.  We started to walk into the ocean and it wasn't long before we all realized it was WARM!!!  I mean really warm!  As in super comfortable we can stop worrying about it warm!  We were all so excited and it was such a huge stress relief as many of us (me included) can be pretty sensitive to cold and were pretty worried about how long it would take us to warm up after such a long cold swim.  So now we were in the ocean and its warm, but theres crazy chop and six foot waves.  So what did we do?  we bodysurfed!  We had so much fun we were in the ocean for close to 90 minutes swimming out and then body surfing back in.  We would dive through the front of the waves and swim out and then do our best to bodysurf back into shore.  After having a blast bodysurfing we headed back to the house with huge smiles on our face and then had some lunch and got ready to ride.

Our bikes loaded up and ready to ride

We had planned to ride around 90 minutes at a reasonable easy pace.  The first thing we noticed about the ride was just how flat it was out here.  Even the flattest rides in New England have quite a few rolling hills in them.  Here in NC it was dead flat.  I think I shifted gears maybe three times in a 90 minute ride.  Its that flat here.  We originally planned on riding for about 25-30 miles max, but since we didn't know the roads around here we ended up having to double back to avoid a highway we thought we could ride on so in the end we rode for closer to 40 miles and just under two hours.  Not ideal for race week, but we all took turns pulling and drafted a lot to not use so much energy.  I felt so strong on the bike and the taper was really working.  I did a nice ten minute pull at half iron pace as I just felt really good and wanted to go!  A team mate reeled me in and settled me down though and I behaved myself for the rest of the ride.


Wednesday was the practice swim day.  A former Tri-New England member Taryn had moved down to North Carolina after last summer and was planning to do B2B as well.  She has been doing workouts in the area quite a bit and was very familiar with the swim course and very graciously offered to give us the guided tour of the swim.  So the 7 of us that were in town already and Taryn set out to swim a large portion of the course.  We skipped the first mile or so of the course and got in somewhere around the 1.5 mile mark from the finish.  The B2B swim has quite a current that works in your favor and we had timed out swim to the tides so we would have a similar current to practice in.  Our plan was to get in the water and have a nice easy swim along the course stopping frequently to regroup (there is a lot of boat traffic in the channel so staying together was important for safety) and we wanted to talk through what to sight for with Taryn.  So we all get in and almost immediately start giggling.  We weren't even swimming and we were already drifting along the course at quite a good clip!  It was hysterical.  Attempting to swim into the current was like swimming on a treadmill.  This was going to be an easy swim!  So we enjoyed a great workout and Taryn did a great job of explaining to us what to sight for and what to look for and where the current would be the strongest / weakest etc.

After the swim we all went out for a great breakfast in town.  After all we had burned a wopping 100 calories if we were lucky and needed to replace them!  Moments like these though were some of the best parts of the week and spending time with the team was fantastic!

With breakfast out of the way we all headed back to the house to relax, check the weather forecast every ten minutes and eventually we decided we should go for a group run towards the end of the day.  We put the word out and waited for a few more team mates to make it into town and then we met up at the beach house to head out for a nice easy 5K run.  We had a lot of fun on the run goofing off and generally being silly.  I spent most of that run laughing.  Again though...    hanging with the team in these moments was such a great stress relief.  We all kept each other laughing and happy and this was a huge part of the success of the week.


Thursday morning I cleaned my bike and then went for a quick check ride with Kate just to make sure the bike was in good order and then we pretty much just sat around waiting for it to be late enough so that we could go to the expo and pickup our race packets!

At the expo we picked up our packets, bought some last minute odds and ends like hand warmers, I bought a B2B hoodie and a hat, and we nervously milled around before heading back to the house to start the process of checking the weather again and again and then I spent that evening mulling over what to wear during all the various parts of the race.  The forecast was for high steady winds, a chance of rain, and cool temps in the high 40s, low 50s.  It was going to be a very cold day!  But I spent that evening packing all my bags up and then eating a giant pasta dinner.  Here's a few pics of the day...

Luis and I at the expo
carb loading extremes!


Friday morning we all woke up and checked the weather again.  I swear every time we checked the weather it got colder!  So we all paniced about what we had decided to wear and then looked at the current forecast.  It was 56 degrees out.  About 6 degrees warmer than race day but it would have to do.  So we all threw on our planned raceday clothes and went for a ten minute ride to check them out.  I was actually quite pleased as it felt like my choices would be just right.  I had planned to wear a tri suit, with a bike jersey, arm warmes, and full length tights on over the top of the tri suit.  I figured this would keep my core warm and my legs with the thin tights on them would be just right, but not too hot.  I would just have to hope I was right or I would have 112 miles to enjoy how wrong I was. 

After the quick check ride we all split up and did our own thing.  I went to the first athlete meeting which many people decided to skip and although I didn't learn much, I was glad I went.  From there I went to drop off my T1, T2, and run and bike special needs bags and then racked my bike and called it a day.  It was time to stop worrying, go back to the house and do my best to relax, fuel up, and eat some dinner.  I said goonight to Cannon and hoped that tomorrow would be an amazing day....

1 comment:

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