REV3 Costa Rica
After having a solid block of training in Boulder for the past 10 weeks, I was ready and excited to race the REV3 Olympic distance in Costa Rica. In addition to racing, I was stoked to bring triathlon to Costa Rica by putting on a race preparation clinic with Richie Cunningham and my husband, Michael. Meeting the rest of TEAM TRAKKERS was an additional bonus of our trip (our team planned its 2011 launch, so that all eleven members were present).
The hardest part of my trip was that I needed to make my way from Boulder to Austin prior to traveling to Costa Rica. This meant one whole additional day of travel. Unfortunately my body did not hold up to the extra challenge and I arrived in Costa Rica with a full blown head cold. This was terrible timing as I had been on a great streak of perfect health! While my energy was good, my breathing was terrible. Lucky for me, Michael is fluent in Spanish and he was able to communicate to the farmacia my need for medicine, which helped ease some of my violent coughing.
During our first two full days in Guanacaste, Richie, Michael, and I were camp counselors for the REV3 pre-race triathlon clinic. Thursday started off with a 6k run along the run course of the REV3 race, which included some sandy sections along the beach. Because the group was small, we were able to give a lot of one-on-one attention to each person! After our run, we rehydrated with First Endurance fruit punch flavored EFS, which happens to be my (and now Richie’s) favorite flavor! While hydrating, Michael did a race nutrition talk using the First Endurance products, EFS and the Vanilla Liquid Shot. Our participants had lots of questions regarding the product and loved the ability to sample it as well! They especially loved the FE visors that we gave out, and I saw some using the visors race day! The final part of our camp on Thursday was the swim clinic with Richie. One of the things that I love about putting on a clinic is learning from someone else’s experience. Richie was excellent at breaking down the swim portion of a race. He talked about where to start if you were a timid swimmer, what to do if you were a good swimmer, how to sight, and how to “monkey dance” through the water during a beach start.
Friday was a really full day. We started off with a 2hour bike ride with the campers along the race course, followed by another swim session with Richie. This was the hardest day for me as I was still battling my horrible head cold. Since I probably overdid it the day before, once the bike ride was done, I tried to spend as much time as possible in bed sleeping and recovering. I did what I could at that point to get myself ready for race day. However, by 4pm I was back up and at ‘em , answering questions during the pro panel where I was joined by Kelly Williamson, Amanda Stevens, Matt Reed, Leo Chacon, Big Sexy-Chris MacDonald, and Richie. The locals were so excited to have us, and they asked a ton of questions. The appreciation and the love for triathlon was obvious!
Lucky for me, Saturday was a more restful day. I did my basic race warm up which includes a 10-15’ swim, a 30-45’ bike session, and a 10-15’ run with a few strides. I tried to sleep as much as I could to quell the head cold, making sure that I was going to be the best that I could be on race day. I had a final race prep meeting with my coach, Derick. And I felt ready to GO!
I woke up Sunday morning early, but not bright. I did not feel very good and Michael politely asked me if I felt good enough to race. I felt like I was, so I started my pre race rituals: The first thing that I did was make breakfast 2 hours before race time, which consisted of 2 bananas, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and 2 scoops of First Endurance Ultragen Cappuccino. This has become my new staple breakfast that seems to sit extremely well, hydrating at the same time.
Richie and I arrived at the race venue 1 hour before the start. It was business as usual, setting up my Kestrel 4000 and laying out my super speedy AVIA Bolts! Olympic distance races are so much different than 70.3’s or Ironmans. There isn’t much to do except make sure that your bike and shoes are set. Nutrition is minimal. All that I needed was 2 bottles of fruit punch EFS with a squirt of vanilla liquid shot in each one. My total calories on the bike were about 200-300.
Arriving at the swim start, I was a bit nervous. My swim program has been a bit different this year. This was going to be my first test to see if it was working. Wearing my TYR Sayonara, I was aggressive and I was swimming as hard as I could. But my stroke did not feel good at the very beginning. After about 5 minutes or so, I felt great and started swimming very well. I felt really strong and was able to really push the swim, which is what I have struggled with in the past. I was excited to exit the water only 4 minutes back of the main pack in a rough ocean swim without a wetsuit in a LONG swim. (I believe that all the pro girls (except for Kate) went off course.) To be perfectly honest I was just following arms because I couldn’t see over the waves at times.
I jumped on my pint sized bike (47cm 650c Kestrel 4000) – named Porsche – and barreled through the first 3 miles of steep, long hills. Biking felt effortless. My bike handles beautifully, especially down the gnarly descents. I love having the ability to manhandle my bike! I used my Zipp 404 clinchers, which seemed to be the perfect set up!
I entered transition 2, racked my bike, slipped on my AVIA Bolt 2’s and started the run. Sadly, this part did not feel effortless. This is where my pesky head cold really came back to bite me. The more that I tried to push, the worse my breathing became. I felt as though I was running fast quarters around the track, except I was in slow motion. My body just could not get in enough oxygen in order to run fast. My breathing was crackling and labored. During the run is where I lost the most time and the most places, and this is what I usually consider my specialty. The only redeeming quality that I considered was how much I really loved those Bolts: I did not wear socks and I had no blisters, despite running along a sandy beach for 2-3k! The shoes really are bad ass!
At the finish I was greeted by my husband and a volunteer offering a tasty coconut drink served out of a REAL coconut! Despite struggling and having a race that was not indicative of where I am in my training, it was a real treat to participate in the inaugural REV3 Olympic Distance race in Costa Rica. I accomplished many of my goals which included putting on a camp for REV3, being a representative of my TRAKKERS, and enjoying the Latin American lifestyle!
After the race, the TRAKKERS athletes did a photo shoot with the uber-talented Eric Wynn, which was followed by a team dinner at the Marriott! I was really stoked to get to hang out with some old friends and make some new ones. I am so excited about all of the members of our team. We have a very diverse group of talented individuals who each bring something different to the table. It’s going to be an awesome 2011!