Where do I start? First off, this race was a big question mark for me. I really debated doing the race. Since New Orleans I’ve been nursing a calf niggle and I really wasn’t sure if the timing of Quassy was so great for the healing process. Two weeks before I thought there was no way possible I’d be able to start the run. One week away I thought maybe I could just start the run and go a short time and call it a training brick. On the other hand, I knew that was not a good scenario. I have never gone into a race with this in mind, because I know me better than this. If I start a race I plan on finishing. In a few rare instances this hasn’t happen and I tend to lament it longer than I should! So as soon as I told Rev 3 I was coming, I knew I was all in!
With that said I have to mention that no other race would I have struggled with this decision. I think it’s pretty safe to say I would have just said no! Rev 3 is an absolutely incredible race organization. They treat Pros like Pros, but more than that they put on spectacular races for everyone to enjoy. This includes spectators! Quassy is in the perfect location for a race and as soon as I got in and checked out the race site on Friday I was glad I came. Of course there was a little, “what did I get myself into?” between the course and the start list. But I reminded myself that I’m in this beautiful location with the most incredible triathletes in the world and I need to embrace it and enjoy it. I’m so glad I did because it really allowed me to free my mind and not over analyze things. I think in this sport we can be our own worst enemies!
After checking into the hotel Friday I was lucky to have an awesome roommate, Kate Major. She is such a veteran of the sport and also down to earth and most of all funny! (Although sometimes I wonder if she’s trying to be funny, I just have to laugh at some of her Aussie “sayings” ie what she yells at bad drivers! ahhh, I still laugh sitting her ;) I digress. Also, many of my Trakkers teammates were at the race and it was great to catch up with them and see how their season is going. Michael Lovato was commentating and I’ve got to give him big thanks for helping me out and not get freaked out about my situation. He made me feel comfortable that whatever I chose was okay and in the end it’s not the end of the world. Saturday was a little bike/run then to the race site for a little swim and race meeting. I didn’t have time to get my wet suit on for my swim. The water actually felt great, and the big debate would be if the swim was wet suit legal. The temp that morning was 69, and the cut off is 68. Needless to say it would be a close call!
Sunday morning always comes too early. I got up 3 hours before race start and had my usual bagel, pb & honey. I also sipped on mild grapeEFS until the race start. I got my nutrition squared away for the bike and we headed out to the race site. The pro racks were awesome–they had a poster up behind each of our racks. Definitely makes us feel like rock stars! Once we got out there and Kate did some sneaky parking, we learned that the swim would be non-wet suit. I actually was kind of glad by this! This race was odd in that I didn’t want to run to warm-up, I figured I’d better save all my running for the race! ha! I took my EFS PreRace 40 minutes before the start with a quick shot of EFS Berry gel. Once I got on my TYR Torque I headed down to the swim. I think I made the smartest decision of my day here–with air temps in the 50s and the water at 69, I decided to skip my swim warm-up. I knew once I got in I’d have to get out and probably get cold waiting to start. Instead I just did a few dry land exercises to make sure my muscles were “warm” and ready to go. Kathleen Calkins husband was nice enough to take my jacket at the last minute. (thank you so much!!) This proved to be a good move as several of the women were shivering, and a few had to drop out on the bike because of hypothermia. Back to the swim–one of the good things about not running is you have more time to devote to biking and running. I didn’t jockey for position on the swim. Most of the strong swimmers lined up to the left, and I started to the right. I figured I would just go hard and hope the feet were there!! When the gun went off (or actually I think it was just a guy yelling “Go” because I wasn’t expecting that!) I just swam hard, had a few run-ins but nothing significant. Suddenly I was on some feet and I thought, “I hope these are some good ones.” After a few 100s I figured they had to be because I was swimming hard to stay on them. This is a perfect scenario for me–being on feet that I have to “work” to stay on. That’s when I know I’m going to have a good swim. We rounded the last turn buoy and I actually felt really good. I suppose I was warmed up then! When we got out I was stoked looking around. Finally, a swim that I knew I could have but just kept missing! I got in and out of transition and realizedRinny was just ahead. While this was exciting, I knew on this course it was important to ride my own race and stay within myself. I immediately felt comfortable and strong. I loved each and every hill. This is my type of course and I never had that feeling of “get me off this bike” that can creep in. Turns out my pace put me in good company. I lost contact a few times but just stayed focused on the course and on mynutrition. Somehow I’d look up and I’d be back up to Malika (who was having a fantastic ride) and Rinny. At around mile 53 I made the mistake of putting my bike in the small gear and then suddenly lost contact and couldn’t figure out why. When I realized my mistake I was like HomerSimpson “DOH!” as I lost 20-30 secs right at the end! But on the other hand, it’s probably good I didn’t run out of T2 with these ladies as I really needed to make sure I wasn’t going to hinder my calf more on the run.
At T2 I made the decision to wear trainers, the Avia Rhythms. Let me tell you, there is nothing like running (or stomping rather) our of T2 in trainers. It just feels wrong. I ran out and settled into a pace that I thought I could manage for 13.1 miles. Granted, this was not a great pace. I’ll be honest–I don’t like getting passed on the run. But this was my reality for the day and this was also not a course you could fake a great run. The good news about running slow–my calf held up great which is a huge confidence booster and I’m not nearly as sore as normal! Imagine that! In the end I finished 7th, which I’m more than pleased with on this day. Am I satisfied? Heck no!! But that’s what keeps me getting up in the morning and chipping away at this sport. Things are headed in the right direction!
Now, the most important factor of the race: Nutrition, I had two 300 calorie bottles of EFS mild grape. I decided to have only about 100 calories worth of gel. At around half way I grabbed water to sip on the remainder of the ride. I didn’t quite finish the 2nd bottle, so I’m guessing my total calories were about 600 calories. Looking back I probably could have used a little more because I started getting light headed around mile 3 of the run. For me this is usually an indicator I didn’t get enough calories on the bike. It’s tough in cooler temps to get all the calories in but it’s an absolute must! I took more than my normal gels on the run, 3 total. I also took in coke and water at the aid stations. These are all good things to know for the future! Also, I have to mention–an integral part of my training and recovery has been the EFS Multi-Vitamin and the Optygen HP. I know that this has been key in my recovery, which tends to be my biggest limiter. I will definitely be taking these every night!
So, what’s next for me? Chasing down some points to get a spot at 70.3 Worlds! Looks like Buffalo Springs and then maybe Racine 70.3. I will keep you posted! Let me thank my awesome sponsors: Trakkers, Revolution 3, Kestrel, Avia, First Endurance, TYR, Recovery Pump, Louis Garneau. My bike store 918XC for putting up with me! Also, Ted at Superleggera for squaring away my fit (he’s the fit guru fyi!) Team Red White and Blue, thanks for keeping me motivated! My family, thank you! I have to mention that in New Orleans I forgot to thank the most important person, my Mom. She watched the kids so that Lucas could go with me. Without her it wouldn’t have been possible. Sorry Mom I was too busy throwing a pity party, but I hope you know how important you are to me! Until next time!
To learn more about Jessica, visit her blog at http://jessicajonesmeyers.blogspot.com/