Rev 3 Portland 2012: Attack of the Climbs

Last month was my third half Ironman of 2012, Rev 3 Portland. I’ve gotta say, I’m really enjoying the Rev 3 race series and highly recommend them to athletes who want a challenging race that’s well run. I hope the Rev 3 series gets more popular since I wouldn’t mind more competition for WTC–right now, only a few hundred people seem to turn out for each Rev 3 race, but hopefully they’ll start gaining momentum. Anyway, onto the race report. I had just done Honu 70.3 the month before and started off my season with Rev 3 Costa Rica in March, so I had been training and racing for quite a while by the time Portland rolled around. When I did the race last year, I was overweight, injured, and out of shape but still managed to have a decent race because the course was flat and fast. This year, however, the organizers changed the bike course to a hellacious hillfest, with four Category 5 climbs (which are apparently the hardest climbs you can rank before the hills essentially just become bullshit mountain terrain). Rev 3 touted the new course as their toughest and most technical one on the circuit. Oh goody. Jason, his deaf dad Jim, his sister Danielle and I went to registration (Danielle was doing the Olympic distance race while Jason and his dad were doing a half Ironman relay with one of Danielle’s friends), then all hopped in Jim’s SUV to drive the bike course. Upon seeing how ridiculous these climbs were and hearing how the car’s engine had to grind to get up them, I couldn’t help but laugh. This course was absurd–full of long, steep climbs and really windy descents that could be quite treacherous if you weren’t cautious. It definitely was not going to be a PR bike split kind of day, but I looked forward to the challenge since I had gotten better at climbing lately. I was only worried about the descents and making sure I stayed cautious and that nobody around me was going to do something stupid that would end up getting me hurt. Jason’s dad, meanwhile, was trying to watch the course like a hawk and study it as best as he could because he was going to be doing the bike leg for the relay team and “didn’t want to get lost.” We informed him that the course is ridiculously well marked with bright pink signage, so he started paying attention to every single thing that was pink and tried to commit it all to memory. Unfortunately, that backfired somewhat: Jim: “Okay, so we go straight here…” Jas: “Ugh, Dad, you’ll be fine.” Jim: “I just want to be sure!” Jas: “If you manage to get lost on this course with how well-marked it is, then you fail at life.” Jim, laughing: “Okay, okay…wait, so then we turn right into this neighborhood.” He pointed at a neon pink sign. Jas: “Dad, that’s for a garage sale!” Jim: “Oh.” Jas: “Do NOT follow that sign. Or blindly follow things that are pink.” Jim: “Well then they shouldn’t have made that garage sale sign pink! Now I’m confused!” Once we all got done laughing at him, we assured him he’d be fine. Swim Summary When race day rolled around, we headed to the venue and I got my transition area set up. My bike was racked right next to bike out/in, which was super awesome. Also awesome was the fact that transition was actually in the park this year–no running over a half mile across the street to the transition area like we did last year. The transition...
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Stings, Sun, and Second Place: My 2012 Rev 3 Costa Rica Race Report

Yeah yeah, I know you all have organized a hunger strike until I got my Costa Rica race report up, but this thing called “work” and “real world” (as in real life, not the umpteenth season of MTV’s Real World…though I do confess to harboring a guilty pleasure for the Challenges) have taken precedence lately so I haven’t had much time to blog. Sorry! In any case, I’m here now and will share my race report with you, my loyal readers. (Especially Jim, who has reduced himself to watching the same episode of American Idol twice in one day because he’s so restless for content. Holy crap.) Arriving in Costa Rica So yeah, back to Costa Rica. We arrived the Tuesday before the race, smelling and looking as if we had taken three planes and a red-eye itinerary to get to Guanacaste. Because Jas and I pack like champs, we only had to check our bike boxes (thanks, Kirsten, for letting me borrow yours!) and managed to shove everything else into carry-on luggage (tank tops and shorts don’t take up that much space). Unfortunately, American Airlines deemed it necessary to charge us an “Are you fucking kidding” price of $150 per box each way. Destination races ain’t cheap, folks. Our rental house was in a little town called Potreros, which wasn’t very far from the host hotel and the race course but sat atop a ridiculous 10-minute climb that requires a Canyonero to safely traverse. If I had to do the race again, I wouldn’t stay atop Mount Doom because it was too much a pain in the ass to get up and down the rickety-ass road all the time, but it did make for a memorable stay (plus, the house came with a dog named Cookie, whom I fed dog treats every chance I had). Pre-Race Workouts Mark, Teresa, Jason and I decided to do a 30-minute run near our house to shake the travel stiffness out of our stinky, tired bodies. The run went something like this: All of us: *gasp* *wheeze* *heave* *shuffle* *sweat* Me: “Oh look, my heart rate is at 176 already.” The hills were no joke, the terrain was ankle-rollerrific (in fact, Teresa did roll one), and it was hot as shit outside with zero cloud cover. Such a lovely taste of what’s to come on race day! Later that week we took our bikes to the Westin Playa Conchal to ride the hardest part of the bike course. Transition area would be set up in one of the Westin’s parking lot, and athletes would have to mount their bikes, ride over a 100-yard stretch of gravel, then climb a few daunting hills over the course of about 2.5 miles to get out of the resort. From there, we’d turn onto the road and enjoy a relatively flat three loops before heading back into the resort and climbing more hills to get back to transition. When we suited up to ride, it was impossible to ignore the remarkable heat as well as the discouraging gusts of wind. Since we were in the middle of the region’s dry season, we expected warm temperatures but it was unseasonably warm (the race website advertised average temps being in the upper 70s, but it was mid-to upper-90s the entire time we were there). Also, the wind was unusual for that time of year, and we were all a bit nervous about having to battle nasty gusts on race day. I strapped on my brand-spankin’ new aero helmet (now I can look like a sperm on wheels!) and tackled the climbs as best as I could. The hill...
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The 2012 Race Schedule Has Been Set (It’s Like a Fantasy Football Draft, Only Lamer)

I know it’s only November, but Teresa has me training like my “A” race is right around the corner (and it kind of is since I’m running the Seattle Half Marathon). I’m a bit nervous about having such a jam-packed 2012 race schedule after coming off a fat and injured 2011 season, but I’m feeling good and the coach seems pretty confident in me, so it’s game on, beeyotches. Behold, my 2012 race season (aka, the last year I get to race in the glorious 25-29 age group before being thrown to the fast and strong 30+ assholes): November 26th: Seattle Half Marathon This will be my first half marathon since the Eugene half in spring 2010, where I PR’d on a relatively flat and fast course. I’ve never done the Seattle half or full marathon despite having lived here for over 10 years. There’s something about the course being difficult and the fact that it’s during a typically shitty time of the year weather-wise that hasn’t struck me as being terribly appealing. However, a ton of teammates are racing the half and a lean and fast Jas is hoping to run a 3:30 or better in the full, so I decided to woman up and race it too. It’s hard to say what I’ll bust out on Sunday–I’ve been running well lately, which is a refreshing change from how slow and painful my runs were for the first half of 2011. I’d like to do 1:45 or better, which would be a PR for me (on a tough course, no less), but as long as I have a solid, strong race, I’ll be pretty happy. March 18, 2012: Rev 3 Costa Rica It’s happening, folks! Jason and I are going to kick off the tri season waaaaaaay too early for my tastes by doing our first half Ironman of the year in freaking March. I bet my first outdoor ride and open water swim will be the week we get there, right before the race. The trip will actually end up being relatively inexpensive since I used miles to book our plane tickets and we’ll be sharing a house rental with two other couples. The pricey part will be hauling our crap and the race registration. One thing I’m not thrilled about is that people complained the swim was way long last year (the top swim time was 10 minutes slower than typical, which means my slow-ass swim time will end up being like a half hour worse than usual if they don’t correct the course for this year’s race) and some swimmers got stung by fucking jellyfish during the race. WHAT. I wasn’t aware of this before booking my trip. Oh God. If I get stung by a jellyfish (and you know I will because I’m the Mediocre Athlete with the worst luck ever), that’s pretty much a race ruiner right there. Oh well, at least I’ll get to hang out in Costa Rica with my friends and boyfriend. May 2012: Mt. Rainier Duathlon Teresa will probably make me do this again. The only conundrum is whether I should try and defend my title one last time in the short course before I have to age up next year or if I should graduate myself to the long course since it’ll be better training for Canada. On one hand, the long course will be a better workout. On the other hand, GHETTO TROPHYYYYYYYYYY. Decisions, decisions. June 2, 2012: Honu 70.3 My second tropical destination race of the year. I fully expect the winds to be atrocious and the heat/humidity to be brutal. A lot of teammates will...
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Rev 3 Portland 70.3 Race Recap (or “I Totally Meant to Eat Pavement, I Swear”)

I signed up for Rev 3’s inaugural Portland 70.3 race way back in December along with about a thousand of my TN Multisports teammates. We were all pretty excited to try a non-Ironman branded race that was close to home, and Rev 3 had a reputation of being a challenging series…until they were forced to switch the venue at the last minute due to permit issues. Poop. Instead of a challenging course taking place in downtown Portland, we were treated to a flat, boring course out at Blue Lake Park, where a bunch of triathlons are already held each year. Most everyone’s reactions to the change: My reaction: Some of my teammates who are racing Ironman Canada next month were bummed because they wanted Rev 3 to be a challenging training race to help prepare for the big one in August. I, on the other hand, have had a season plagued with injury so news of the course change had little impact on me since I’d long given up on kicking ass this year and was instead trying to focus on having fun instead of beating myself up over factors I can’t control. I was more bummed that the race was less convenient to get to since our hotel would have been right in front of the old transition area, but oh well, shit happens. Week of the Race Naturally, leading up to the race I developed a last-minute hamstring injury because my body hates me, so before we left to drive down to Portland, I popped into see our team’s sports medicine doc for some last-minute TLC. (Yes, I know that’s a picture of my thigh, not my hamstring, but I wasn’t exactly limber enough to turn around and snap photos of the back of my leg when I was told to turn over for Round 2…wait, that sounds kind of dirty. It was a rape-free treatment, I swear.)┬áThe only other thing I could do for my hamstring all weekend was to alternate straddling a heating pad and a bag of ice like I was trying to hatch an egg and hope for the best. Day Before the Race On Saturday Jas and I woke up and headed to Blue Lake Park to meet with our teammates. As we drove by the transition area, I gawked at it and exclaimed, “Uh, that’s just for the pros, right?” I was mistaken. Apparently about 800-900 people dropped out or deferred their registration to next year when they found out about the venue change, leaving less than 500 people to race on Sunday. The transition area and registration set up was super dinky, giving this whole race a “small town” vibe. I felt like I was doing the Olympic distance Apple Capital race in Wenatchee instead of a fancy schmancy half Ironman. Even better was that my team’s 31 athletes represented over 5% of the race, so there was going to be a lot of blue and yellow out there on the course. Speaking of the team, we met them at the swim start, which is a lovely 0.5 miles away from the transition area across the street from the park. As we drove past numerous large parking lots and huge grassy areas, I kept sarcastically thinking, “If only Blue Lake Park had a spot big enough for transition!” Why they set up the actual transition area so far away from the swim is beyond me. Since the lake was roped off for pre-race swimming, all we could muster was a sad 30ish meter looping swim along the rope. I pulled on my Zoot suit and received an odd compliment from...
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