REV3 Costa Rica Race Report and other musings

1 03 2011

One of my fabulous Trakkers teammates had a wonderful statement on her blog that really spoke to my life right now so I’m going to borrow it!  (You can go directly to Suzanna’s blog to read her post!)

“You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at once.”

I really did get to have it all on my trip to Costa Rica, I just didn’t get everything at once.  Relaxation, racing, fun, family – it all fit into the 2 weeks, I just didn’t have it all at once 🙂  The race was just a fun longish workout for me since I was nowhere near racing shape and still completely unable to run.  Thankfully I had yet another wonderful teammate, Jill that volunteered to do the run leg of the race and voila – I was on  a relay team!

As we were driving into the resort on the first day I have to admit my anxiety level rose with every monster hill we drove.  By Thursday I had all but convinced myself I wasn’t racing because I was in no shape to do that bike and by golly there were jellyfish in the water and of course there was the whole non-running issue.  In stepped the fabulous Jill as my runner and I decided to brave the hills (even if I had to get off my bike to walk one or two of them) and the jellies and enjoy a bike tour of the Guanacaste countryside!

As always with REV3 we turned our bikes in the night before which I really like because it makes race morning that much less stressful.  We had to be out of transition early (5:45 am) because the kids’ races began at 6:10 am.  Those kids in Costa Rica are hard core!  There were out in the ocean swimming and had to drag their bikes up the same hills we did!  By the way, those were some serious bikes the Costa Rica kids were riding!  In about 8 years the Costa Rican Olympic team is going to be wicked fast!  The other nice touch REV3 tried out for this race was tattoo numbers.  I loved putting my own numbers on (rather than having to strip down for body marking).

Now this is the life!

The weather was warm from the get go.  I lined up for our swim and felt absolute fear (which I realize is silly because the fish are more scared of me, blah, blah, blah), what can I say, I’m just not an ocean swimmer!  I made it through the first loop in what felt like a great effort level by drafting off the same feet for the entire loop.  The water was fairly calm, but on the way back in I felt like I was swimming in place.  There must have been either wind or tide because the bottom of the ocean (which I could see perfectly) was NOT moving!   When I got out to head back in for another loop I am sure there was disgust on my face when I read 16:00 on my watch!  I usually do my 750 swim in around 12 min., maybe 13 if I’m off course or under trained.   I think the consensus is that the course was a little long.

I lost my good drafting feet for the second loop and had kind of mentally checked out after seeing 16 min. on the clock so I think my second loop was even slower!  Transition was a short run up the beach and a nice carpeted run through the transition area and I was off for the bike!   There was a short (100 meter) gravel section at the start of the bike.  I agonized over whether to walk or ride this section, but since everybody else was riding it I decided to do the same.  No problemo.  I really did try to ride up the big hill.  I did the back and forth, but when I started to see starts I hopped my cold weather trainer riding butt off the bike and walked.  Sad thing is that I think I was faster walking the bike!

I think the in-resort hilly bike section was around 2 – 3 miles. Seriously, that was f’ing hard and that’s all I have to say about that.   Once we got out of the resort the bike was a 3 loop course that was beautiful and rolling.  There was some wind but I think the Sunday race got the brunt of the wind on the bike course.  There were locals out cheering along the side of the road.  There was a little boy on a horse being led by an older little girl.  It was awesome.  I went slow and took it all in and had a blast.  I knew the course was 3 loops.  I knew I got lapped by the lead females so when I finished by second loop and the guy directing racers was telling me to head back rather than do a 3rd loop I disagreed with him.  I argued a few times but ultimately I headed back in, mostly because my husband had just gotten sent back after his second loop, so I tried to catch him to see if he wanted to turn around.

I wasn’t fast enough to catch him before we got back in the resort and by then he was hot and tired too.  I again had to walk one of those darn hills (which, by the way is much more embarrassing when you are accidentally with the front of the pack!) and made it back to transition where Jill was waiting to take off on the run.  I was bummed to have to DQ Paul and I, but since we were both just out there to enjoy the scenery and racing in another country it just wasn’t a big deal.  It’s a running family joke that “Ultimatly it’s YOUR responsibility to know the course!” and this one proved that point to us.  The race course was well published and announced.  I knew we had 3 bike loops (but unfortunately Paul didn’t!).

Jill finished the run in no time and her husband Alex and I met her at the finish line where we got some yummy fresh coconut milk straight from the coconut!  I ended up getting a medal and finisher shirt, even though I missed 4 miles of the bike.  The shirts are, as always awesome and the medal is my favorite race medal to date.

Some thoughts on the race:

If the race stays at the same venue next year we will stay off property.  I prefer a smaller hotel or condo complex to a big resort.  Just my preferences.

The gravel section most likely will never be paved.  It’s part of a natural preserve and it is the designated animal crossing area.  If you feel unsafe riding over gravel get off your bike and walk.  It’s literally 100 meters.

I still don’t know how to prep for that heat or those hills in Feb. while living in VA so this race will always be a “C” fun race for me.

As always REV3 did a great job of having the pro’s around and accessible.   I ran into the Lavatos and Ritchie Cunningham at the pool, on the beach and in the grocery store.  I swam at the resort pool with Matty Reed.  I picked up my packet behind Chris “Big Sexy” McDonald. I love that about their races.

I loved the bike course (minus the hills: )  I found drivers to be very cautious of the bikers and thought the police did a great job.  Folks in cars were cheering me on, which sure beats the American drivers honking and cursing at me at some races I have done.

As I was out on the bike course I was thinking to myself, screw Kona – this race should be on everyone’s bucketlist.




2 responses

1 03 2011

I want to go next year. Sounds like it was so awesome!! Great RR.

1 03 2011

It was such a great race! Thanks so much for the opportunity to join you out there!!! My first relay! 😀

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