Sunday, March 25, 2012

Swimming circles in the Pacific!!!

I HEART Costa Rica!!!!

I am back from another fun race put on by Revolution 3 in Costa Rica!
This race became one of my favorite race destinations last year. In 2011 we had made this a family trip and going back solo was a totally different experience. I missed the family and all the fun adventures we had but still had a great time with all my Rev 3 peeps!


I arrived Thursday and immediately was reminded of the fact that NJ no matter how warm a winter we have had , its still not 95 degrees. I must have said a gazillion times to anyone who would listen.."Wow I cannot believe how hot it is...Do you feel the heat as much as I ?" ..."It's 8am and I am sweating ..Are you sweating???" Do you think my body still remembers the heat from South Africa? ...Yes I'm sure it does! Do you think? Yes, these came out of my mouth many times the few days before the race. It was HOT in CR and I loved it!!!

The two days prior the wind had been howling and Costa Rica was experiencing the worst wind in 13 years. The ocean was quite choppy with a strong current but race morning the winds seemed to die down a bit and the ocean seemed relatively calm. I knew it was going to be a fast day as most of the girls racing were short course ITU girls. When Coach Jesse asked me if there was anything I was nervous about my response was the SWIM....ITU girls are known for their super swim speed and super fast 10 km runs!!!
A beautiful Costa Rican day!

Well as we stood on the start line I looked at all the girls and hoped there would be a few I could swim with but my worst fears came true. The gun went off and we sprinted down the beach. Dolphin dives and then a few strokes in and one of the slower girls grabbed my neck and pushed me back....then repeated a few times. Now I am used to a rough swim start so I just tried my best to get away and dig deep to catch up to some feet. Before I knew it we were at the first of only three buoys. I was close to the pack but just off the back. By the second buoy I was 15 sec off the pack. As I turned round the 2nd buoy I was blinded by the light of the rising sun.
I took this the following day about an 2 hours after sunrise and it was like this but 100x worse.

Don't panic I thought... I'll just keep swimming and looking up and soon I will beable to get a marker to swim towards. I could not see any feet and even though I was glancing up every second/third stroke I could see girls ahead of me but it was getting really hard to see them. Right away being from Jersey (or living in Jerz I should say) Bruce Springsteens "Blinded by the Light " came into my head.
" He was just blinded by the light
Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night
Blinded by the light
Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun
Oh, but Mama, that's where the fun is
I was blinded
I was blinded
I was blinded"

I continued to work hard! I could see the beach to my right but my goggles were very foggy so I just slowly aimed for where I thought I needed to go and hoped I would start to see people so I could head in to the beach. By the time I saw the people and the big yellow buoy on the beach I had already swam past it and I was still so far I had to make a big U turn and head in for the beach. Once onto the beach I felt like I had to explain to everyone that I really could not see anything ' I was blinded I was and next loop if someone could at least direct me that would be great.

While sprinting along the beach and clearing the fog from my goggles I managed to see how much time I had already lost to the girls that were ahead of me. It is such a tough way to start a race. I felt great in the water, and I continued to work hard the whole way but on the second loop I did the exact same thing. I just could not see the GIANT Rev 3 banner until I was already past it as the sun was blinding so I once again I swam too far....
Yes its hard to miss this i know..

I know I am a better swimmer than the 130min/m splits I swam...Just 3 weeks ago in Panama where I could see, I had come out leading a decent pack of girls so i am not going to beat myself up too much about this...

I ran out of the water high fiving Rev 3 owner Charlie who had a big grin on his face and will tease me about my circle swimming forever....and a few others and then sprinted up to where my Kestrel was patiently waiting...thankfully not alone. Hopefully now I could get my race going...

The first part of this bike course is quite grueling. I was ready for it though and I was ready to really push on the bike and do some damage. I had come out of the water over two minutes behind the girl in front of me and six minute behind the lead girl. (On an Olympic swim ...OUCH!!!) Coach Jesse had said bike all out. Once over the gravel,up and over the steep hills and onto the flats I couldn't even see anyone ahead. So I just put my head down and rode. By the first of the 12 180 degree turns( no exaggeration there!) I could see how far back I was. I was happy to see Bree in the lead and cheered for her to GOOOO as I could see the second place girl closeby. By the second turn I could see I was making ground on the girls ahead of me. I love racing in places like this because as much as you are trying to focus and be in the race 100% you still need to be very well aware that it is just a race and not worth risking your life. At every intersection I was slowed by traffic ... a few cows,, a deer (iN CR...crazy!) darted in front of me. It was never boring for sure. By the second loop I had passed a girl and could see two more closeby. So I just kept pushing until the end and ran into transition with three girls.

I went through T2 really quick, throwing on my new Pearl Izumi race flats and headed out onto the beach to start the run. I love this course as it is so pretty but it is also really hard. The first mile is on the soft sand of the beach, the second is a gravel road and one long uphill climb and the third is some steep downhills and then a nice run along the golf course and back through transition.
The beautiful golf course!

I pushed hard but never really got into Oly pace. I had pulled into 9th place and would stay there the whole run.

This race seemed over so quickly..... I knew I had another gear in me but I just could not tap into it so after the race I still felt like my day was not complete. I decided to make the most of my day and headed back out onto the course for another 4 loops of the course for a total of 18 mlles for the day. This was alot of fun as I got to cheer for the guys running in the Half Rev. I also got to have drinks and cold sponges dumped over my head. By the end it was REALLY 100 degrees out and I was totally smashed from the heat and hills! Thanks Jesse Thomas for the loan of your Recovery Pumps. That really helped put some life back into my legs!

I turned a mediocre race into a great training day and I loved it!!!

This race is so unique and such a beautiful venue that it really is a must do race!!! I already look forward to 2013!!!

A big thanks goes out to Charlie, Krista, LJ, Eric and all the guys from the Rev 3 team. It was so good to see you all out there and you took such good care of the pro's. It was another first class race put on by Rev 3!

I am so excited to be part of the Rev 3 Professional Team for the third year! Congrats to team mates Bree Wee on her second place finish. Also to roommates Richie Cunningham and Brian Fleischmann for strong finishes. I welcome some new sponsors for 2012! Loving the new Pearl Izumi race kits ,gear and running shoes! I will be fueled by PowerBar....Coached and representing the QT2 System Elite team for the second year who are partnered up with Kestrel Bikes...Blue Seventy Wetsuits, Wattie Ink. I also welcome back Recovery Pump, Louis Garneau and Torhans Aero!!! It's going to be a great year..I'm just getting warmed up!!! So grateful and happy to be racing!

Next up Galveston Texas 70.3 next week and then IM South Africa 3 weeks later!!!!


Kelly said...

Great race report! I love that you went back out on the course to get some solid training in!! Congrats!

Bre said...

Hmm why don't you challenge those speedy ITU girls to an IM?? hehehe
Oh dear, that swim sounds like CP two years ago- :(
Nice work on the extra loops- way to turn it into a great training day!!! Who doesn't love training in Costa Rica!?!? beaaaautiful, and it's can't help but have a blast!
Give em hell out in Texas! :)