Breakfast was first thing in the morning, and then a game of checkers was in order with Jackson (and boy does that 11 year old rule the checker board)! Next, we walked to the race expo and packet pickup. Endless Pools had a swimming machine set up that Jason and I tried (think a swimming treadmill), which was an unique experience.
Noah's Ark Waterpark was our next destination (also within walking distance of hotel). Rev3 teamed up with Noah's Ark to give us 25% off admission as well! My first activity on the zip line at the park was a bust, as I fell into the water right after leaving the platform. I certainly didn't want to try again as I might get sore arms for my 0.9 mile swim the next day! ;) The other memorable water ride of the day was the Stingray. I see now that it has been rated one of the scariest rides on the park--I certainly understand why!! The half pipe water slide created quite a rush and my heart rate still increases when I see pictures of it. Thanks Jason for talking me into that one!! The Moosejaw Pizza Company provided our pre-race meal and a few tastes of microbrews!
Now onto race day! Once again our hotel was in a wonderful location, within walking distance of transition and the finish line. Due to the close proximity, the race morning was very relaxed. We could set up our transition area and then head back to the hotel before race start. This race was only my second official Olympic Distance race, so I appreciated the relaxed morning.
The time trial start swim started off the Tommy Bartlett stage, into Lake Delton. I struggled a little bit with sighting on the 0.9 mile swim, as there were not many intermediary buoys between the large buoys. I was very thankful to get the swim out of the way and jump on my bike. However, once on the bike I realized I was in for quite a hilly, challenging course as well. Thankfully, cycling was my strongest discipline at the moment! The course headed around Lake Delton and then out into the quiet Wisconsin countryside. After 25 miles, a 6.2 mile run was ALL I had left...and also about ALL I could handle. Uff da! I dug pretty deep on the bike traversing hill upon hill, and realized I had left next to nothing for my run. The run course was also hilly, hilly, and more hilly! I decided my strategy was going to be to walk up the hills and run was much as I could on the downhills and flats. There was no sense using the little energy I had left to run uphill. After a lot of walk/running (sometimes much more walking than running), I came up to the final corner to see my friends Jason and Genna cheering and running with me into the final stretch. Thanks guys, I needed that final push! Finally, the chute was in sight and my second Olympic distance race was in the books!!!!
After crossing the finish line a volunteer immediately wrapped a wet towel, straight out of and huge ice bath, around my shoulders! BEST POST RACE ITEM EVER! (The day started comfortably warm and quickly went to very hot and humid with stale air on the run.) Of course the "cheesy" medal and finisher visor were even more coveted after working so incredibly hard to earn them.
Swim (0.9 miles): 39:24
Bike (25 miles): 1:32:07
Run (6.2 miles): 1:16:05
My goal was to finish the race and I did it! I can honestly say this was the hardest race course I have participated in to date. It would be interesting to see how my results would compare on the same course if I had properly trained and had not been working my way back from an injury. Amazingly enough, I still ended up 5 of 10 in my age group.
RACE THOUGHTS AFTER MY FIRST REV3 EXPERIENCE:
-I would highly recommend a Rev3 race to anyone
-An elite-feeling race experience (tattoo body marking, personalized name/number plates in transition, personalized bibs, photo from packet pickup on the big screen when crossing the finish line)
-Great swag (long-sleeve dri-fit tee, Rev3 satchel, Rev3 Buff, Rev3 finishers Headsweats visor, finisher medal, free finishline photo download, Rev3 sticker, and other race nutrition goodies)
-A fun and free photo booth with instant uploads to social media
-The course was well marked, although a few more buoys on the swim would be helpful
-Great, helpful volunteers
Thanks Rev3 and Wisconsin Dells for the positive and challenging race experience! Also, thanks to Jason, Genna, and Jackson for allowing me to be a partner in crime in the Dells! ;)