Rocketman Classic+ Race Report

I know, I know. Its been forever since I last posted a blog entry but life has kept me busy and I really didn’t have the energy to write a post following the Boston bombings. The bombings occurred the week before the retail store opened so I was already busy prepping for that and the party we had the Saturday before opening but when the bombings occurred everything took back seat to make sure my friends in the area were ok and to follow the coverage.

All I’m going to say is I’m glad its behind us and the events reinforce just how strong the runner and athletic communities are.

Anyways, onto the Rocketman Triathlon!

Rocketman

This race was held in Titusville, FL which is where NASA is located and used to launch our men and women into space. A lot of planning and permits went into getting this race approved and going so I’m glad I was able to participate in it this year as there may not be another race. Hopefully there will be as the area saw a lot of tourists, the race organizers said there were participants from 49 states and 16 countries.

As an expo vendor on Saturday, I personally spoke with participants representing Washington State, DC, Minnesota, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands and many other places. It was wonderful to hear the race gained so much exposure and was a big enough draw for athletes to come to “historic” Titusville.

I worked all day Saturday, selling nutrition and accessories but was lucky enough to get a break for some puppy kisses and impromptu photo shoot with French Bulldog pups Stella and Kona.

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photo (25)In fact there were quite a few dogs at the expo and race festivities Saturday. Canine Companions had a booth across from me so of course I came over to visit several times as the labs were just so cute and friendly plus well behaved. I got this picture towards the end of the day when someone was obviously very tired.

photo (24)After driving back to Vero once packing up the expo space, I definitely felt like this and knew I had to get my bags packed and things ready for Sunday morning’s very early wake up call.

The alarm sounded at 3:45 am and of course Memphis completely ignored it and me as I got up to start preparing for a long day at Nasa. My dad came shortly after so we could ride together. We made it to Titusville around 5:30 am and found some parking not too far from transition. The whole ride there, there was lightning in the clouds over the ocean which somewhat worried me that there would be more serious weather than what was being predicted. As for the weather, it stayed cloudy and somewhat drizzly and fairly cool until my wave at 8:30 got into the water. At that time, the clouds literally started to break and the sun came out right when we started our warm up swim off of the pier to the small sandbar where we were able to stand while we waited for our horn to sound.

The water temperature was 76 or 75 degrees in the morning and the air was chilly so there was no doubt I was going with my wetsuit. It may take me 5 minutes to put it on but I’m able to get out of it very quickly in T1. When I got in the water, I did some strokes and got used to being in the water. The majority of the women in my wave opted to not wear wetsuits and therefore were shivering while we waited for the horn to sound. A lot of them looked nervous but for some reason I had no butterflies and was kind of giddy about swimming. Who would have thought! I guess it helped that the swim was only 500 meters and I knew I would be plenty buoyant with my wetsuit.

I stayed to the right side of the buoy and angled left. I felt good during the swim and was able to pretty clearly sight. I did have some trouble finding clear water but with such a short swim I’m not surprised. Good practice for Ironman.

Oh wait, you’re saying Ironman? What! Did I miss a post?!

Nope, not to worry! I’ll get to that at the end of this post.

I came to the dock and both ladders were in use so the guy on the dock reached his arms out and pulled me straight out of the water! I felt off balanced as I tried to stand up and get up the stairs but I was able scramble up and towards T1.

Swim: 8:59, 6 in AG

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Transition 1 was uneventful. I was able to get my wetsuit off without losing my chip or watch and put my helmet and shoes on. I headed towards bike out and clipped in.

Transition 1: 3:05, 2nd in AG

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As we turned out of transition we were immediately headed up the causeway bridge over the area where we just swam. It was really cool to see the other athletes swimming below and the pretty scenery of the Indian River. Wish I had a camera on the bike! I made it up the bridge and was able to pick up good speed on the downhill.

The first half of the bike course was awesome! There was a strong tail wind, cool wind and not too many riders. I was alone for most of the early part of the ride which was nice. As I rounded a corner, the Vehicle Assembly Center (VAC) came into view so it was great riding towards it. We rode around the VAC towards Launch Pad A and B. We got as close as you are allowed to get. Two guys in front of me stopped and got their picture. Again, wish I had my camera! It was so cool riding around the launch pads and knowing the history and events that have launched from there. Most of the course out there was on the roads where Nasa uses the crawler to move the shuttles to the launch pads. It definitely wasn’t the smoothest of roads but the course itself overruled the conditions.

Now once we made the turn back into the wind, the best race ride ever soon became the “I can’t wait to get off this bike!” ride. The wind was relentless and everyone was struggling. My lower back was tightening up so I kept getting out of my aero bars and sitting up. I drank my Osmo bottles (2) and ate my Honey Stinger chews to help stay distracted but I have never been so happy to see a bridge. The course was supposed to be 33 miles but as I recorded and others did as well, it was definitely 36 miles. Don’t know where someone lost those 3 miles but they felt like they went on forever!

The climb back up the bridge, into the wind was rough and I thought I was in trouble as I hadn’t shifted to my small chain ring and by the time I realized it, it was way too late to shift as I did not have enough momentum to do so. I was able to put my head down and get up the bridge. I took it easy on the way down to let my legs rest and get ready to run. My feet had been asleep for quite some time and did not wake up until about a mile into the run.

Bike: 2 hours, 11 minutes, 3rd in AG

Lap 1 (5 mile laps): 15:20

Lap 2: 15:05

Lap 3: 15: 18

Lap 4: 18:08

Lap 5: 20:16

Lap 6: 21:51 (ugh)

Lap 7: 21:52 (double ugh)

Transition with my bike proved a little more difficult as the rack was not high enough for my bike to move under the rack so I could rack it. Once I got it situated, I got my shoes on and my hat and was off.

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Transition 2: 2:16, 3rd in AG

I felt good on the run despite not being able to feel my feet. When I was on the bike, I was afraid I was going to cramp up as my muscles were getting sore and tight from the wind but luckily that never occurred. I felt a little fatigue around mile 2 so I decided to take the peanut butter Gu I brought with me and some water from the aid station on the way back. Unfortunately it didn’t sit well in my stomach for the last mile but I was able to get through it. During the last mile, I came upon a guy from Miami who was doing the international distance and we ended up pacing each other for the last half mile or so. It was fun coming back to the crowds where some friends from Team Vortex of Orlando were cheering and enjoying post race beverages.

I went around Space View Park and through the chute.

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Run: 27:05, 6th in AG

Mile 1: 8:44

Mile 2: 8:49

Mile 3: 8:44

Cumulative: 2 hours, 52 minutes. 3rd in my Age Group! Not a bad way to start my season off. I knew on the bike I had to be somewhere in the lead since I had a good swim time and saw only one girl in my AG pass me on the bike. I never did see the 1st place girl. The girl who came in fourth was only 10 seconds behind me so I’m glad I held onto my run!

Overall, this was a great race in a very unique venue. There were a lot of newbies in the race and they sure chose a more difficult one!

Total race distance: 39.52 miles

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We didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony as it had already been a very long day and we still had to wait to get the bikes out of transition. If this race does happen again, I highly recommend registering early!

So now back to the little Ironman announcement made earlier.

I registered recently to volunteer for:

LakePlacid

 

So you know what that means right?! I’ll be registering for my first Ironman the day following this year’s race! The plan is to do Ironman Augusta 70.3 in September, maybe a marathon in the winter and pick up full training for Lake Placid 2014! I’m very excited to get up there this summer and see the course and volunteer at the race. Here we go….

 

 

 

 

 

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