I wanted to show this picture first because this really does show what this race was for me. It was FUN! The energy in Anderson, South Carolina was amazing. I love racing Rev3 races because the atmosphere is relaxed yet energizing and very supportive. It seems that every time I toe the line at a Rev3 race, I just feel ready. From all of the Rev3 staff to every volunteers, the production always seems to come together so easily for all of the athletes to make it a great race day experience.
It was a great treat that the race started an hour later due to sunrise. I’ll be the first to say that an extra hour of sleep before a race makes a huge difference. The morning was pretty uneventful and I had plenty of time to get ready and just be. Sometimes I wonder why I have so much time left on my hands before the start, but I will always take more time than no time and running around like a mad woman. I got in a good warm up in Lake Hartwell and felt prepared to get out there and do my best.
The swim start was very shallow so I tend to run as far as I can to stay with the group. The start was a little rough as most of the gals were all in a pack together pushing each other. By the first buoy we spread out and the water was flat and the course easy to navigate. I got in a good pace for me, and although in the back of the group, I was still keeping the gap small. I never felt that I lost my momentum and caught a few girls. The last stretch always seems the longest but I could see a few pro women right in front of me and just kept my eyes on them. I ended up only being less than a minute down from a small pack of women. When I got into T1 I passed one and followed on out of transition. This felt really great for me to be out of the first transition and already be four women up from the back. Now to catch a few more.
This bike course in Anderson is deceivingly harder than most would think. The course is one loop. The good part for me is that I never really know where I am and just stay present and keep going hard. There are lots of turns and rolling hills that don’t allow you to get into a good rhythm for v ery long. There is also not a very good opportunity to see how far ahead the next competitor is….thanks to my hubby, Rob Spitler, for being out there on the course in many places cheering and giving me splits to the next pro women ahead. This really helped me push and know I could catch a few girls. I felt really strong on the bike again. I had a lot of confidence from the bike I put out at Rev3 Cedar Point and know my training has been very consistent since then, so I was feeling strong, focused, and present even though the course was not easy. When I came into T2 I had caught a few pro women on the bike and saw the next few women still in transition, so I knew I was close to a group and in the mix of the competition. It felt really good and was energizing for me. At this point it seemed as the hard work was really revealing itself.
I started the run and tried to hold back just a bit to get my pace under control. However, I think it was a little faster that I would have planned. There is a long downhill at about half mile into the race so the pace was up. I could see Jacqui Gordon and Anna Cleaver in front of me, but at this point not worth chasing down right in the beginning because I’d probably bust. So I kept them in sight and at the same distance for most of the first loop. The run is a little hilly and was changed to two loops this year so better spectating. I enjoyed the new two looper, although a little tougher than the previous year. The sun barely came out during the run which really kept the focus on running and not on staying cool.
By the second loop I had been caught by Lisa Ribes and caught up to Jacqui G. I just stayed with the both of them. I paced off of the both of them as I was a little timid to go past too hard and then be caught again. So I settled in by Jacqui and just focused on staying right with her. We did a little back and forth in leading but really knew the race at this point was between us. We eventually passed Lisa and stuck together through the paths of the town park. I was hanging on for dear life and hoping that I had a kick in me at the end. The better part of the past mile is uphill a little and we were pushing and huffing and puffing. At the last aid station I decided it was now or never and had nothing to lose. I took off as hard as I could pick it up. I saw my husband at the last turn and said “how close?” She had dropped back about 20 yards so I just looked forward took the last short downhill as hard as possible into the finish line and was so ecstatic.
This was a huge breakthrough for me in this race. I was able to finally be in the middle of the competition and get my fighting face on. This was new for me because in the past I have been mostly racing against myself to catch anyone far ahead. This time I had women in the front and back of me and had to really stay with them and push myself and not let up at all. It was a great feeling to be so close to a group and feel that the fitness is paying off. The “process” is coming together. I have to thank Jacqui for being a great competitor and really putting me to the test. She has always been a tough athlete and puts up a good fight.
I am really looking forward to the final race of my season at Rev3 Florida. The field is predicted to be big and the course fast and furious. Although, I am guessing wind and heat will play a big factor in the race, I am prepared to put myself in the position of fighting again in this race and see where it takes me. I finally feel like my mind and my body are in sync with each other.
Special thanks to all the Rev3 staff and volunteers for making this race possible and my best one of the year. I had a smile on my face for much of this race. Also thanks to my sponsors who make racing possible for me: PowerBar, HED, BlueSeventy, Fuel Belt, and Rudy Project. I had a great day!!!
On to the next one, on to the next one, on to the next one…….
To follow Erin, please visit her at : http://erinspitler.blogspot.com