Rev3 70.3 – My Epic Fail and What I Learned:

The monkey is not off my back, but we’ve now made peace.

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On Sunday, June 2nd I was to complete the Rev3 70.3 Quassy. The Rev3 70.3 is a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56 mile bike ride and then a 13.1 mile half marathon.

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I was up at 4am sharp and arrived to snag the first row of parking spots near Transition. As the sun was rising, I set up my gear for the bike & run. I ate my banana & cereal bar as I do before all my early morning training runs and races. I was ready for the long day ahead. I knew that I would be on course for approximately 9 hours: 1:10 for the swim; 5:30 for the bike and 2:30 for the run. I was prepared for long day.

One thing I knew for sure was that I would be fighting the time clock. My wave was scheduled to begin 2nd to last at 7:35am. The good thing about this was that would mean no big men swimming over me. The bad thing about this would be I would be one of the last racers out of the water. This could mean that I would be fighting to inch ahead of the sweeper van and cut-off times on the bike.

I got in the water and began swimming. My swim is not pretty and I still need a 540tremendous amount of work. I used a combination of crawl, breast, back, and side stroke (with a little doggie paddle just for fun). I had worked hard on swimming last year with Team Training New England and had gained a tremendous amount of confidence. However, this year the scheduled opened water swims were after this race and I hadn’t yet been out in open water. I got through the swim actually 4 minutes faster than I thought, but when I put down legs to stand up in the water – about 10 ft from shore – my calves cramped so badly that I immediately panicked and called for help. A team had to come into the water and help relieve my cramping. I’m not sure if I was dehydrated from the swim or wetsuit or what exactly happened. I had never cramped like that before in a swim.

At this point I was told that I was not the last racer in the water, but I knew that I was pretty close to last. Never-the-less I was determined to continue on to the bike! I ran up to Transition with those awesome volunteers cheering me on (the pathetic soul I was), grabbed a banana and chugged my Generation UCAN Vanilla, my new favorite flavor. I took my time to get out of my wetsuit and put on my compression socks (since cramping calves was now a big concern of mine), helmet, sunglasses and Camelbak filled with NUUN. I was ready to rock and roll!

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Ah the bike….I had put in the time to learn how to clip in and out of my clip less peddles. I had learned how to save my energy and remain in the saddle on climbs. I had learned how to down shift and up shift and anticipate the hill, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how exhausted I was now after the swim. Sure, I had done back to back workouts, but my cramping coupled with the heat of the day, was not helping. I immediately popped two electrolyte tables and sipped on NUUN. On my stop to take a drink from my bottles a police officer came to check on me, then another and another, until I realized I was being followed by the sweeper van. He asked me how I was and I asked him if I was last and he confirmed my fears…yes. I let out a big #@$% out of my mouth, I took off again. I got off my bike to walk up a few hills and stretch out my calves and then the van pulled up again. I asked if I continued on the bike and powered through the race would I still be allowed to continue on the run? He told me “No, you won’t be allowed to run.” This is where I made the choice to give up.

I rationalized why the heck would I want to power through the bike if I was just going to be stopped and not allowed to run the Half Marathon? What was the point? I had made the choice to give up and fail, but just needed someone to give me the choice. I got in the van with another racer and quit at mile 25.47 of the bike and 26.67 of the race.

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Soon we were at the next aid station; here we picked up two additional racers. Then we came upon a racer who fell into the road right in front of us, but he didn’t give up – it took him 9:31:53 and he finished the 70.3 that day…

What I learned from my “epic fail” of Rev3 70.3 Quassy:

  1. I need to set realistic goals: Wanting to be an Ironman doesn’t make you an Ironman. As much as I want to be an IRONMAN I am not 70.3 ready. There I said it. This is a huge break through. So what I have run 12 full marathons and 18 half marathons – it doesn’t matter in triathlon. Triathlon is hard because you have to be good at 3 different sports. Right now I am ready for sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. I really need to perfect the sprint. In order for me to be an Ironman, I am going to have to focus on a TRIATHLON training plan and not running. I am going to have to LISTEN and formulate a plan with a TRIATHLON coach. Since I have already registered for 12 additional races this year I don’t have the serious time needed to commit to triathlon. I need to clear my schedule and focus on triathlon in 2014. So for 2013 I’m going to continue to use the Team Training New England drop-in swim sessions and open water swim sessions. I’m also going to register for the sprint series at Lake Terramuggus – it’s cheap and local and you can register to race the day of the event!
  2. Don’t let anyone talk you into quitting. Right now I don’t believe in myself and I lack triathlon confidence. The only way to gain this confidence is putting in the work. I need to bank triathlon sweat equity.
  3. Do some research on your race before registering for the race: For god sakes, look at the elevation charts and do some research. Don’t pick the race because it is close by and you won’t have to spend time and money on travel if it beyond your capabilities (like me). I found out that this race is sought out by Pros for its difficulty. The bike course has an elevation gain of 2,493 and 1 Level-3 climbs and 6 Level-5 climbs.
  4. Listen to your coaches and those who have your best interest in mind: My husband registered me for this race because I was driving in the car and it was in danger of selling out. He questioned my ability to do the Half and suggested I sign up for the Olympic distance. I said I would be ready and he went ahead and registered me against his better judgment. Plus he even waited to say, “I told you so” until after I was home on Sunday and I admitted this to him! Coach Lynn and Coach Janice wanted me to focus on sprint and Olympic distances. Listen to your coaches it’s why you pay them to coach you. They won’t set you up to fail. I now have to go into training tomorrow and face them…with my tail between my legs.

8 Comments on “Rev3 70.3 – My Epic Fail and What I Learned:

  1. Kimberly,
    I’m a former TTNE member ’09 if memory serves. Don’t count yourself out. You have the drive just listen to your own advice- start getting more comfortable with the shorter distance- the races aren’t going anywhere-there’s plenty if time. I know so many who jump right for their first sprint to wanting to do a ironman- and fail. The time and training it takes is not to be taken on lightly.
    Stay the course and you’ll get there!! Come join us at west hill for a swim sometime.

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  2. Oh my gosh…you gave me chills and I have to tell you — the LAST thing I thought was that this was a fail. You undertook a goal that is so big, I’ve never really let myself consider it. So every mile that you did complete is a mile that should feel amazing to you. I know how hard it is to set out to accomplish something and have it fall apart — but DAMN this inspires me.

    I hate the sweepers. I know they have a role but seriously…

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  3. Kimberly,
    I have been training or a workout leader with TTNE since 2008. I admire you for your running experience, something that I don’t bring to triathlon! It is my least favorite of the 3 sports. That said, I was at REV3 for the past 3 yrs. I did the Olympic distance 2 yrs ago. Last yr I did the Half Ironman in the Aquabike category in order to avoid the running distance but enjoy the beautiful swim and bike course. I decided to do the same Aquabike this year. I don’t know if I will ever train for a Half and do the run but I know it won’t be for Quassy if I do! The course research is definitely important as is trusting the coaches. They are wonderful people with plenty of experience between them. They can certainly be helpful with your future training and race selection planning. And I would be happy to talk to your more about the script that is playing in your mind as a result of this Rev3 experience. Focus on the positives. Each race that we get up for and arrive at and do any part of is a learning experience and exposure to the pre race anxiety, nutrition, transition area stress. All of that before you even enter the water. Don’t worry about what happened. Expect these challenges to be there and surprise yourself with how you handle it!!! You are awesome for setting the goals in the first place and wanting to challenge yourself. Enj

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  4. Hello there, Funny thing I was just browsing the internet for articles of who have not finished a 70.3 Half Ironman. I’ve talked to other Triathletes that have. Well last week I tried my first 70.3 in October. It did not work because I was delayed by paramedics since I was showing Symptoms of Hypothermia from a very cold swim and did not make the run cut off after the bike. But at least making 2/3 of the race counts right! So good luck with the next 70.3!

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  5. Pingback: Book Review: The Bicycling Big Book of Training | Maker Mother Marathon Runner

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