Rev 3 Cedar Point 70.3 2013

Transition Area of Rev3 Cedar Point

Transition area for the Rev3 Cedar Point Triathlon in the shadow of the GateKeeper.

This race has been on my radar for awhile.  I initially wanted to do it last year as my first half ironman, but it just didn’t work out, which is fine because I had a great time at Redman.  At this point, you may be wondering, “why would someone want to go to Ohio to do a triathlon?” Well, I actually grew up in Ohio.  My family and I were members of the Sandusky Sailing Club which resides just across the Bay from Cedar Point and I use to be a regular season pass holder of a Cedar Point.  I have many fond memories of this place and it had been over five years since I was last in Ohio, so I figured it was time to go back.

Phil and I made a whole trip out of it and drove up through Indianapolis and visited with my cousin, his wife and their two year old daughter.  The next day, we continued our trek to Toledo and met up with my sister, Allison, and her husband, Dan.  They had flown in from Florida for the trip.  We grabbed some lunch at the famous, Tony Packo’s and then headed out to Cedar Point.

We arrived at the race site around 3:15pm and I immediately got my race packet, timing chip and then I checked my bike into transition.  I took some time to check out the transition area and the swim area before the mandatory athlete meeting at 4pm.  When I got to the meeting, I realized that my time checking out the swim area may have been a waste.  The race organizers discussed moving the swim course to the Southwest side of the island if the conditions weren’t very good.  What this would mean though, is that there would be half-mile jog to the transition area from the swim exit.  Yikes!

After the meeting, Phil, Allison, Dan and I all headed over to our cabin at Lighthouse Point.  It was a very cute cabin and it seemed to have been designed for hobbits like Allison and I, but Dan and Phil didn’t find it as comfortable.  This cabin was great though, because it was a fantastic location for the race and we all got to stay together without being on top of each other.  After settling into the cabin, we headed out to downtown Sandusky for dinner and found a nice place to eat at Water Street Bar & Grille and then returned to the cabin and prepared for the race the following day.

Race Day

As I woke up the morning of the race one of the first things that I did was look outside.  It was overcast and windy, but I thought that there was still a chance that the swim course hadn’t been moved.  Then, as I was making my breakfast, I got a text from my Uncle Mickey (who lives in Cleveland and was also helping out with the triathlon), the swim course had been moved to the bay. Ugh.

angry lake erie

Angry Lake Erie

Phil and I headed down to the transition area and it was buzzing with the normal race day noises.  The announcer was on the speaker calling out special participates, giving updates about the water temperature and just trying to pump us up.  My uncle found me in the transition area and gave me a hard time, but it was nice to see a friendly face.  After I got my transition area setup, I headed out of transition and met up with Phil and we made the journey over to the swim start.  As we walked over I spotted one of my childhood friend’s mom, Jo Tunnicliffe.  She has done the full at this race several times, but this year decided to scale it down and do the half.  It was great to visit with her for a brief time as well.

Once we got over to the swim start, the full distance competitors were already in the water because they started an hour before the half.  The race organizers made the best of the new swim area and made a special area where competitors could place a pair of shoes to wear to get to the transition area.  It was kind of like a petit transition.  I placed an additional pair of running shoes that I had brought with me in a numbered area and took a mental picture of it.  Finally, I put on my wetsuit and turned on my Garmin…wait…turn on.  Why won’t you turn on!?

I don’t know what had happened, but some how during transportation, my Garmin got screwed up.  I kept trying to turn it on and Phil Googled for a solution.  “OK, I found out how to reset it.” He told me.  “OK, let’s do it.”  After using all ten fingers and maybe some toes, I had reset my Garmin…wait…EVERYTHING is gone!  Crap.  I had had problems with my previous Garmin before and done a soft reset on it several times and I assumed we were doing, but it was not.

I frantically tried to get my screens and settings back to what I’m used to and ran across the parking lot to pair my heart rate monitor.  I would have to pair my cadence sensor with my Garmin when I get on the bike, but had mostly gotten my watch back to normal.  After that pre-race stress, I tried to calm myself down before the start.  Right on cue, Allison and Dan came down to the starting area and I was able to get a little more zen.

Due to the swim course change, the starting style was also changed.  It was planned to be wave starts, but was changed to a self-seeding time trial start.  When my age group was piling in, I jumped in line and mingled around until I was satisfied with my placing.  Next thing I knew, I was off on my second half ironman!

Swim

I had a little bit of trouble with my goggles when I jumped in, so I ended up fooling around with them for a little bit, but finally got the situated.  The new swim course had us swimming North through the harbor at Cedar Point, around the break wall, into Sandusky Bay and then back to the boat ramp where we started. The water itself was a little choppy, so I could only imagine what Lake Erie could have been, but I eventually found my stride.  The water was wetsuit legal and it felt quite comfortable after I got warmed up.  Overall, it was a nice swim and I bested my time from my last half with 41:47.

Rev3 Cedar Point Swim Start

T1

Coming out of the water, I saw the wetsuit strippers all lined up and ready to go, but I had already decided that I didn’t want to get my wetsuit fully removed because I thought that it would better to not have to carry it.  Instead, I got some help to unzip my wetsuit and then I pulled it down half way, ran up to my shoes I had placed before the start and put them on and began my half mile jog to the transition area.  As I was running, I started to feel a little funny and my calves started to cramp a little bit.  Uh-oh, maybe keeping my wetsuit on wasn’t such a good idea.  I slowed down a little bit and made it to transition and then…not good.  Honest to goodness, I really felt like I was going to faint or puke (maybe both), but I stopped for a second and slowed down a little bit.  I grabbed my bike and instead of running it out, I walked it out while I tried to gather myself.  With the half mile jog and the feeling of puking, I made it out of transition in 8:44.

Bike

Once I mounted my bike, I got to work pairing my cadence sensor with my Garmin and luckily it didn’t take very long since I knew exactly what I needed to do.  Now I could focus on my plan.  Since it was windy, I had already decided that on the bike I was just going to focus on my heart rate and cadence.  This would make it easier for me to distribute my energy throughout the bike and not waste too much energy when I was battling a headwind and to really kick it into gear when I had a tailwind.  I think this plan worked out really well.  When I would be battling it out in a headwind, I would put my head down and really focus on my cadence and heart rate and there would be someone near me.  We would pretty much stay the same distance from each other and then we would turn and have a tailwind and they would drop back because they wasted too much energy and needed a break, but that is when I would kick it into gear.

Allison, Dan and Phil all headed out onto the course and cheered me on at a few points and it was great to see them, it’s amazing how uplifting it can be to see the ones that you love.  I really appreciated seeing them out there.  In addition to the wind, there was also a little bit of sprinkling of rain, but the weather was actually very comfortable for riding.  I finished the 56 miles in 3:00:50 which averaged to be about 18.58mph.  It was slower than my previous half ironman, but I was also dealing with a decent wind, so I won’t be too harsh on myself.

T2

There isn’t much to be said for my second transition.  I got in there and did what I needed to do and got out in 2:38.

Run

I saw Phil as I was running out and he said that if I could complete the run in under two hours, I would finish in under six hours.  I laughed.  It had been my goal to complete this half ironman in under six hours, but a sub-two hour half marathon was a tall order for me.  I had just broken the two hour mark on the half marathon earlier this year at the Little Rock Half Marathon and being able to do that after the bike leg I just completed, I knew that it was a long shot.  I readjusted my thinking though and decided to try the best that I could to stay on pace.  I felt better than I did getting off the bike at Redman and it was much cooler than it was at Redman as well.  There was a lot to be positive about.

The run course was very flat with the exception of a small bridge that connect the island that is the home to Cedar Point and the rest of Sandusky.  It appears about a mile after getting out of transition.  It wasn’t very challenging on the way out, but I knew that it would be a different story on the way back.  After getting over the bridge, the course continues into downtown Sandusky and right past my old sailing club, Sandusky Sailing Club.  It was so great to be near all of these great places that I have such fond memories of!

Running up and down the streets of Sandusky, I was holding a decent pace and staying under 10 minute miles! I drank some Coca-Cola at the aid stations and I think it really helped me get through the run.  As the run carried on, I spotted Jo and she looked strong! I was beginning to struggle at this point but I figured that I would try to keep up with her.  I held on for a very little bit, but she was moving and I didn’t have that same energy.

I would say that the run really started to fall apart for me around mile 10.  I’m pretty sure that something was off with my nutrition, probably sodium levels, but I started to get pretty emotional and my legs began to feel crampy. My emotions ranged in everything from anger to feeling like I wanted to cry.  I managed to never cry during the race, but I did slow down…a lot.  At this point, I had no other goal than to get to the finish line.  At one point, I saw another girl on the course, going in the opposite direction, crying.  I told her that she was doing a good job and could tell that she was in a lot more pain than I was, but I could really relate to how she was feeling.

I came upon the bridge again and it was difficult but just on the other side I saw the mile marker for mile 12.  I was almost there!  I decided that I wanted to run the entire last mile, no matter how slow I had to go, I wanted to run.  I pushed through and my legs felt terrible, but I pushed.  I came up to the finishing shoot and I cringed through the pain.  My legs trembled below me, but I pushed through.  I finished that last mile running and I finished the entire run in 2:16:57 which averages to 10:26 minute mile pace and also faster than my run time at Redman.

Rev3 Cedar Point Finish Line Photo

Post Race

I didn’t make my goal of finishing in under six hours, but  I finished in 6:10:56. It is slower than my race at Redman, but not by much (about a minute).  I did have a faster swim and run, which was great and considering the challenges I had to battle, including a half mile run to transition and a strong wind on the bike, I think that this was a great time.  One of the most important things is that I finished and I know I left it all out on the course that day.

Immediately after finishing, I broke down in tears.  Phil was there to get me and Allison and Dan were also there.  After I sat for a moment, Phil and I gathered my things and we went back to the cabin.  I replenished my sodium levels with Goldfish, Mojo Bars and some Coca-cola.  After a shower, I had perked up and we met Allison and Dan in the park and rode several roller coasters (including the new GateKeeper) before the park closed.

Replensish Sodium Levels

The next day, we left Lighthouse Point, visited Marblehead Lighthouse and boarded the Miller Ferry to Put-in-Bay and spent the day there before heading back to Arkansas on Tuesday.   Check out the album below for pictures of the rest of our trip and more pictures of the race.

Sunset at Rev3 Cedar Point

The beautiful sunset over Sandusky Bay at the end of the day at Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3.

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