Nov 01

Identity Crisis

What am I? Am I a runner who bikes and swims? Am a cyclist who swims and runs? Am I a triathlete who simply likes to take things offroad every now and then? At least that I know I am not a swimmer who bikes and runs.

What am I talking about?

Well, all summer long, I was crushing it on the bike and having an absolute blast. I was taking every chance I could to do group rides with a bunch of roadies to improve my bike skills. I spent many a Monday’s hammering it out on the Monday Night Time Trial course in Ada pushing with everything I had in me to better my time by a few seconds each week. I did back to back long rides to increase my endurance and even managed to do a sub-5 hour century during training for the first (and second) time. I was beginning to think that I was becoming a true cyclist.

However, all the while I was increasing my bike performance, I missed running. I started this crazy lifestyle as a runner. Running is my roots. I started running in 1997 for high school XC and except for a year or two off in college, I was purely a runner through 2008 when I started training for my first triathlon. So, in the back of my mind, I always seem find myself going back to my roots and identifying as a runner.

Now, this fall, I am splitting my time between dodging roots, rocks, and trees on the single track all the while pounding the pavement. And I can’t decide what I like more? I love the thrill of carving around a corner, hopping a log without thinking twice about it, or rocketing down a hill and grinding back up the other side.

But at the same time, I love hitting the roads and pounding out a 10-15 mile run and not think twice about it. Ever since my marathon training last winter, my runner performance and stamina has gone through the roof. I feel like I can run forever and at speeds that 5 years ago I never thought were possible.

I still haven’t figured out quite what I am, but I do know one thing… I am having a blast!

So, how do you identify?

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Oct 23

Race Report: Grand Rapids Marathon

Wow! What an amazing experience this race was! This race will easily go down on my list of most memorable races ever. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was joining My Team Triumph for the Grand Rapids Marathon this year. It worked out perfect because I was not looking to go out and race hard this year. I really just wanted to go out and have fun.


The team, led by Captain Johnny, was made up of a combination of members from the Striders Tri Club and RunGR. While it was technically a relay team, I signed up to run the whole marathon. I had been planning on running the whole thing any ways so I figured why not? With the relay format, I would be running with 2-3 other runners throughout the race sharing the responsibility privilege of pushing Johnny.

If you look closely, you can see that Johny is wearing a pair of Tigers mittens that one of the teammates made for him.

It was a bit chilly at the start of the race, but overall it was absolutely gorgeous weather for a race. All of the My Team Triumph teams started at 7:30, a half hour before the rest of the field started. That would give us plenty of time to spread out and gave us the course to ourselves.

Now let me tell you about Johnny. He is super amazing to start. He kept us entertained the entire race. To be honest, I didn’t notice a single mile marker until mile 16. His constant chatter and laughter kept my mind off the fact that I was running a marathon. He is a huge sports fan so we talked about Notre Dame football (Yes, he is a ND fan, so that gives him an immediate +1 in my book!), Tigers baseball, Lance/doping, etc. In fact, he talked so much that we were joking with him that his mouth was going to be tired by the end of the race. And not only that, he was super appreciative of the team which is bass ackwards, but it was us who should have been thanking him for the opportunity.

If you have a minute, give this video a watch. It opens with a scene of Johnny and shows you the amount of effort and hard work he, and others with motor disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, goes through to do tasks that we might normally take for granted.

Ok, onto the race itself…

The first leg of a little over 4 miles went great. Already, I could tell it was going to be a ton of fun. We were still running with most of the other teams at this point so Johnny was chatting with the other captains as well. He may or may not have made a $5 bet with one of the other captains on the outcome of the race. haha.

We took turns pushing Johnny, pushing for about a half mile to a mile at time. I was surprised at how well the jogger moved. It really didn’t take much work to push it forward. The hardest part was not being able to swim your arms while pushing. So, every once in a while I’d have to shake out my arms to loosen them up.

Before I knew it, we were at the first exchange zone. Johnny and I left behind our fellow “angels” from the first leg and picked up 3 fresh runners. This next leg was a little over 6 miles and was the hilliest part of the course. Thankfully one of our teammates was a beast on the hills and it was like they weren’t even there.

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We also found that tag teaming it on the hills worked the best. One runner on each side of the jogger and not only could two people push, but you could swing your other arm to help propel yourself uphill.

In no time, we found ourselves at the 2nd exchange point and we picked up 3 new runners including my friend (and IMMT finisher!) Rebecca.

The weather began to warm up, the fog cleared, and we were greeted with views like this.


The course changed a bit this year to take advantage of the new trail system being built around Millennium Park. So for an extra two miles or so, we were treated to colorful views of the trees and the calm, blue water of the lakes. Absolutely gorgeous. We all kept commenting that we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

After winding around Millennium Park and along the Grand River, we crossed over the blue bridge where I met up with Donna and Bev who were the next leg of the run. In true Ironman fashion, Rebecca continue on with us. She was going to volunteer at an aid station further along the course so she decided to just run with us. She was a life savor because this was probably the hardest leg of the course and we could use all the extra help we could get.

Thanks Tim for grabbing this shot!

This stretch is a 6+ miles; 3-ish miles out and back. The road isn’t in great shape, and was even harder to navigate pushing the jogger. The slope of the road kept wanting to pull the jogger to the side. And to top that off, you have runners going both ways so there isn’t a ton of room to begin with. We teased Johnny a bit though and told him that if he gave us any crap, we would push his jogger along the rumble strips that lined the center of the road.

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Yep, that’s Rebecca still taking a turn pushing after about 8 miles of running. Can you say Ironman?

We only had one instance were a fellow runner seemed annoyed that we were in his way. During the morning briefing, we had been reminded to make sure we were careful when passing and to be mindful other runners on the course. And with the one exception, we received nothing but good comments and encouragement for other runners. We even had runners apologize to us when they went around us! Johnny loved hearing the cheers from fellow runners and he returned the cheers each time.

After the turn around, we saw a runner pulled off to the side struggling. I slowed up to make sure he was alright. He cramping up pretty bad. I convinced him to walk with me for a bit and gave him a Gu that I had. Once he got walking, I could tell that he was still hurting but that he was loosening up. He said he was good, thanked me and I headed off to catch back up to my group. I think this epitomizes what made this race so much fun. For the first time that I can think of, I wasn’t racing with some selfish goal in the back of my head. My only priority that day was making sure that Johnny had fun and safely crossed the finish line. I could leave my ego at home and not worry about what my pace was or who was going to beat me. This made all the difference in the world.

As we got back to the blue bridge, we hit the final relay exchange zone. My co-worker David and Jack would be my teammates for the last 4+ miles. They pushed a sub-8 pace – the fastest pace of the day. My legs were starting to hurt but there was no way in hell I was going to say, “Slow down,” or complain about it. David and Jack pushed pretty much all of the final leg before handing over the reigns to me to push Johnny in the final .2 mile. Wow. What an awesome experience! Johnny was screaming his head off and waving to the crowd. David and Jack were pumping up the crowd. The crowd lined the street just like at an Ironman race.

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We crossed the finish line just squeezing in under the 4 hour mark giving Johnny his fastest ever marathon! We met up with Johnny’s family before I snuck off for a recovery beer and chili. The My Team Triumph group had their own separate VIP tent where we met in the morning and then again after the race. This was really cool because it gave us a chance to grab a bit to eat and talk with Johnny’s family after the race. We even began to talk about what our next race should be. Maybe a triathlon next time????

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I felt surprising good after the race. However, it all caught up to me when I got home and found a sunny spot to lie down with the pup. ZZZZZzzzzzzzz…..

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One final note. With the end of the year approaching, it is time to start thinking about charitable deductions. Please keep My Team Triumph in mind as you make your donations. Get a tax break and help out an amazing organization. Go check them out!

Thanks for reading!

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Oct 14

Crazy Bastarding

Part of my off season plan is to expand my horizons when it comes to biking. This means spending time with my new mountain bike; both on single track and cruising on the whatever dirt/gravel roads I can find. My hope is that I will find a good way to keep biking this winter without cowering inside to the trainer too much.


Last week, I participated in my first Crazy Bastard Cross ride. The group rides out of Townsend Park about a half hour drive away in Cannonsburg. I heard about the rides through some friends and had been wanting to check it out. The ride starts at 6:30PM so everyone is required to have working lights. The group sticks together for safety and rides gravel/dirt roads almost exclusively.

First, why “Crazy Bastards”? Well, the story goes, “On one cold night ride a driver pulled up and asked us where we were going. "Wherever we want" someone in the group replied. "Crazy Bastards!" is what she said, giving the group its name.”

I showed up just before 6:30 and found a group of about 25 riders. Most riders were on mountain bikes but a few riders were on CX bikes (kind of a cross between a mountain bike and road bike). We started off at a comfortable pace but after 5 miles, a group led my the CX-ers took off separating the pack into two groups. I was determined to hang with the first group. At one point I looked down and was averaging 23mph and still falling off the back of the group. I eventually managed to latch back on to the group.

I spent a large chunk of the ride in the middle or back of the pack knowing that if I got out front, I would only end up cooking myself. It is by far the hardest I have ever ridden in my life. At mile 25, I thought we were almost done when someone announced that there was still over 5 miles to go (ended up being 8 miles). I wanted to cry. haha. My legs and lungs were burning and I was cooked. Thankfully I had a couple of guys to work with and we took turns sucking wheel and holding on for dear life. My legs were still like jelly the next day.

It was a blast though. Riding in the dark was an absolutely amazing experience. While it might sound dangerous, I never once felt unsafe. Because we stuck to the back roads, we saw maybe a dozen cars the entire night. Plus, with everyone’s lights, we are as bright (if not brighter) as a car. I realized that I need some better lights for myself, but with all the lights out there, I didn’t have to worry about it.

Next up, single track. I’ve been both practicing and reading about technique. Stay tuned!

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Sep 29

Random Updates

A quick check of the blog shows I have not posted since the 13th. Whoops. I guess I have been keeping busy and just having too much fun.

First things first. I added a new bike to the collection this past week. I bought a Scott Scale Team 29er. I have been wanting a 29er since this past spring when I did my first gravel road races. That desire intensified this fall as I started doing more gravel riding and venturing into the world of single track.

Photo Sep 27, 4 57 45 PM

Speaking of mountain biking, I had my first crash last week. This was on my old bike and I didn’t ruin the bike or anything but I really wrenched my shoulder in the process. While it hurt initially, at the same time, I couldn’t wait to get back on the bike and figure out what I did wrong so I didn’t do it again. This is one of the reason why I waiting until after tri season to branch out though.

My off season plan is to simply have fun. I’ve cut my training load back a bit but am still doing one, if not two, activities every day. Just not as long or as fast as during “official” training. I’ve cut back my swimming to only 2 days a week instead of 3 mainly to force myself to take a break. What I do each day sort of depends on what everyone else is doing. If there is a group going out riding, I’ll do that. A running group going out, I’ll tag along. I am trying to add in some strength/core workouts into my routine though. Stronger = Faster.

That said, I do have The Grand Rapids Marathon coming up in October. This year, I am doing something different. I’ll be running with My Team Triumph this year. What is My Team Triumph?

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A myTEAM TRIUMPH team at the River Bank Run 25k earlier this year.

“With myTEAM TRIUMPH – West Michigan Chapter, disabled participants get to do it all! They get to "Captain" a team of "Angels" through an entire race, guaranteeing them their moment of glory as they cross that finish line that so many of us just take for granted." Our Angels build amazing friendships with the Captains, accomplish goals beyond their wildest dreams, and in the end have a once in a life time experience.” (from

If you are interesting in donating to this great cause, feel free to visit my donation page here. As an “Angel”, I will receive no reimbursement for race fees, travel, etc. (Full Disclosure: Some “Angels” do receive free entry into races depending on the race’s policy. I am already registered as a “lifetime entrant” to the Grand Rapids Marathon so my registration is already paid for personally.) Donations primarly go to providing the “Captains” with race fees and purchasing equipment (strollers, boats, bike carriers, etc) for the teams. More information about the donation policy can be found here.

I got in my longest run since IMMT as part of my training. I ended with 19-ish miles this morning with a good group of friends. My stupid Garmin died after 16.5 miles. I am thinking the battery needs to be replaced which unfortunately is not an easily task because it is soldered in place and not meant to be replaced. I figure that I may take a shot at replacing the battery knowing that if it goes horribly wrong, I’ll have to replace the watch. The simplicity of the Forerunner 10 intrigues me and I have a gift certificate to the local running shop laying around.

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Last weekend’s Notre Dame’s win over Michigan was just what I needed. It has been a rough past couple of years.

We are making slow but gradual progress on the bathroom remodel. Demo took longer than planned and I have been taking my time to make sure I am doing things right. We have a second bathroom so there is no huge rush to finish it (other than the hole in the side of the house where the window will go). It is a lot of work, but I enjoy doing it. I’d rather learn how to do it myself than pay someone else to do it for me.

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While the current big house project is the bathroom, my dad had some free time this weekend so he helped me finish off the shed. All that was left was the soffit and trim. All it needs now is a 2nd coat of paint on the trim and a cement stoop in front of the door. I do have to say that the shed does look pretty stellar with the colors Jennie picked! She is the painter of this project. I hate painting.

ND vs Pitt in 2010. I love this place.

I am super excited to have Jason come visit in November to go to his first Notre Dame football game. The Irish are playing Pittsburgh which is always a good game. I plan on taking plenty of pictures of (and mocking) the frozen Texan suffering through a Midwest winter.

I won my first ever Stop Ahead Sign Sprint during a Speed Merchants ride on Thursday. The fact that some of the faster riders happened to be riding their mountain bikes that night does not diminish this at all. At ALL!

I did the Le Tour de Donut race last weekend. What is a donut race? Well it is a race where you get 3 minutes deducted from your final time for each donut you eat. I opted for the 16.5 mile mountain bike course. I made the rookie mistake of both getting lost and only eating 2 donuts (the minimum). Nevertheless, I had a blast and had a great first ever mountain bike race.

I had a fun day of running yesterday. I had to help a family member move a car so I planned my run so that I could run to their car, drive to their house later in the day and then run home. I ended up with about 9 miles for the day and it was fun to do a couple of one way runs and break it up. It is so nice to be unstructured and just do what works.

I think that is all for now. I’m hoping to back next week to blog some more about my mountain biking adventures.

Thanks for reading!

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Sep 13

Race Report: Rev3 Cedar Point 70.3

I’m doing my race reports a bit out of order. I figured that I should get the bigger race report out of the way before doing the smaller one (Reeds Lake Tri). So, here goes. If you just want to read about my impressions of my first Rev3 race, skip to the bottom for the pros/cons.

We got to Cedar Point around 3:00 and headed straight to athlete check-in. Jennie waited in the car with Bailey assuming this would be a quick in and out. Not quite. I’ll talk more about it in my impressions of Rev3, but it ended up taking over an hour. I actually saw Scott while in line but he was further back in line and there was no way I was giving my spot up so we ended up texting back and forth. I also killed the time by watching part of the ND/Purdue game on my phone. By the time I was finally checked in, I was not a happy camper and could not wait to get out of there.

After athlete check-in, we headed to our “hotel” check-in with MattyO and Heather who graciously invited us to stay with them. They had a full house with us, Scott, and their friends Tim and Nat who were volunteering at the race. Add onto that Bailey and Frank and Sophie and it was a wild time. Tim and Nat offered to make dinner for everyone so we loaded up on delicious pasta. I actually had quinoa pasta for the first time and was surprised at how good it was.

After dinner we headed out for a puppy & beer meetup with the super amazing Katie and her husband Thom. I must have been asleep at the wheel because we didn’t get any pics of all 4 dogs (Katie’s 3 and Bailey), but they all got along great. They were all a bit pissed though because we wouldn’t let them jump into the hotel pool.

Race morning came in no time. I was totally stress free for this race as my game plan was to just have fun. I had a quick breakfast, got dressed, and was ready to head over to transition. We actually got some last minute news the night before that transition was going to stay open until 7:30 for athletes doing the half instead of closing at 6:30 for everyone. This allowed us to leave at 6:30 and have plenty of time to get to the race and setup.


I took my time setting up transition. After a quick check of forecast and I decided to pack my run gear in a plastic bag. I ended up not needing it as the weather was perfect, but better safe than sorry.


We headed down to the beach after transition closed, but I still had over an hour before my swim wave went went off. I had a Honey Stinger waffle as I waited and then got away from all the crowds just to relax.


We found a nice bench away from it all and ended up running into this crazy girl again. We were both happy to just be away from all the chaos.


My swim wave started a bit before Katie’s so I headed down to the water to get in a warm up. The first thing I noticed was how shallow the water was. I could see athletes over a 100 yards out still standing up. I took some time just get a few strokes in and make sure my goggles weren’t leaking.


In no time, it was time to line up for my swim start.


See how shallow the water is?


The starter counted down and off we went…. running… haha. Eventually we could start dolphin diving, but it took a solid 75 yards before we could start swimming comfortably. This slow start actually helped keep the contact to a minimum and I actually didn’t have any contact until we started to catch the swimmers in the previous wave. Even then, contact was minimal.

I took the swim super easy. I had some mysterious shoulder pain on Wednesday at the pool and I didn’t want to do anything to cause that to flare up. Again, my goal was to just have fun and I didn’t want to burn myself out on the swim. As we neared the shore, the water got just as shallow as it was at the start. I did my best to swim in as far as possible but ended up having to trudge through the water at the end. My split time ended up being 34:18 including the run to the timing mat. I was around 33 minutes shore to shore.


I think I actually saw and heard everyone as I came out of the water – Jennie, Heather, Tim & Nat, and Thom were all there.


Both of my transition times were super slow. This was sort of on purpose because it was an easy day for me (yes, I am going to keep repeating this, get used to it). After Saturday’s race, I decided to put on socks for the bike ride. At the Reeds Lake Tri, I went sockless the entire time and my feet were numb on the run.

Sitting down in transition???
You would think that I got transition training from MattyO with times like these.

Total time: 2:39


Because of my slow swim, over half of the bikes in my transition area were gone by the time I left. Excellent! People to catch on the bike. Right out of the gate, I settled into a comfortable pace. I was somewhat familiar with the course having ridden it last year with MattyO and Heather for a training day. In general, the course is super flat. The couple of hills that do exist are short and steep, but nothing really to worry about. Wind is the bigger factor on this course as it is pretty open. While there was some wind, it was deceiving and I could never really figure it out. It didn’t seem to affect my speed positively or negatively though so no big deal I guess.


I seemed to be passing people left and right and before I knew it, I was riding by myself. Every so often I would catch up to a larger group of people, but for the most part I was riding alone.

What I was really doing was looking for MattyO. I knew he was in the swim wave before me so he had a 5 minute head start on me. I figured that we would have similar swim times and I knew that he is a strong biker so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to catch him on the bike. I was hoping that I would catch him though because I had vowed to Jason that I would try and seek some revenge for him by coming up behind him and startling him like MattyO did to him at Rev3 Maine. Finally, about 23 miles in I thought I saw a purple jersey and blue helmet in front of me. Sure enough, it was him! It took another mile or so to make up the ground, but soon enough I was right on his wheel. Unfortunately, MattyO was unfazed by my yell as I rode up behind him. Sorry Jason. We ended up chatting for a bit before I took off. I didn’t want to ride next to MattyO for too long because that is never a safe thing to do (you know, like if there are buffalo along the road).

Nutrition-wise, I took in less than I normally do, but feel like I had the perfect amount. Instead of 2 EFS bottles, I ended up only drinking one of them and taking an extra hit of Liquid Shot with some water instead. Towards the end of ride, I started to feel full so I laid off of the calories entirely and went with straight water to prep me for the run.

The last 6 miles of the course were utter hell. My legs were beat and I had managed to develop a nasty saddle sore. On top of that, it was by far the worst section of road.  Every couple of pedal strokes, BUMP!, a few more pedal strokes BUMP!. Each one hurt worse than the one before it and I found myself bracing for impact. This really seemed to affect my pace for the final miles, but at the same time it got my legs ready for the run.


After surviving the final painful 6 miles, I was rolling into transition with a 2:35:36 bike split. 21.6mph for 56 miles on legs that had raced the day before and not pushing 100%. Boom. I’ll take that any day. I really feel that with the proper rest and pushing it hard on the bike, I could probably average high 22’s, if not 23mph.


Again, another slow transition. MattyO even beat my T2 time by 1 second! haha. As soon as I dismounted, I just started walking. It was not a defeated/demoralized walk though. It was a, let’s-just-give-the-legs-a-break-before-the-run walk. Again, this day was about having fun. Being exhausted right out of the gate for the run is no fun so I decided to rest while I had the chance.  I slipped on my Hoka Speeds, grabbed my visor and Garmin and was off.


As soon as I hit the transition exit, it was time to start running. As soon as I started moving, I realized how great I felt. I was a little apprehensive though because I felt good coming out of the gate at IMMT and went downhill quickly. Nevertheless, I took this as a good sign.

As I was running along the main road, Jennie pulled up alongside me to snap a picture and wish me luck.


She was then able to drive a mile or so up the road and see me again. I was already 2 miles in at this point and still feeling super strong. For one of the first times ever, I was running strong, passing people, and feeling confident about my run.

That is not a heel strike. I promise.

I had no idea what to expect from the course other than what I was able to garner from the course map. I was a bit worried after looking at the map because it seemed like there were a lot of out and backs. These can be good or bad. If I’m feeling strong, they are good because it gives me a way to gauge other runners, but if I’m feeling bad, it is defeating to run, turn around, and then simply run back.

As I passed runners, I was making sure to say “Good job!” or offer some words of encouragement. Why? Simple. I’m selfish. haha. I have found that encouraging other runners is a great way to boost your own self esteem. It is like fishing for compliments. If I pass someone and say, “Great run!”, chances are they will respond with something like, “You too!” So, by me encouraging other runners, it offers a way for me to get encouragement as well. Win win.

I was easily clicking off the miles and feeling great. After 4 miles, I started to take Coke and water at each aid station instead of just water. I would slow to a walk just long enough to drink before starting to run again. This ended up being the most I have ever run of the the run leg of a 70.3 only stopping at the aid stations.

About 7 miles in, I saw MattyO on one of the out and backs (one of the good things about out and backs). He gave me some crap about my ugly shoes which I expected, but it was still good to see him out there. I then saw him again about a mile later on another out and back. 

After the final out and back, there was less than 4 miles to go and each step brought me closer to the finish line. I kept my eyes opened for Katie hoping that I wouldn’t see her. I knew that if I didn’t see her, she would already be at least 4 miles in to her run. I ended up not seeing her so I knew that she was killing it.

My legs started to hurt during the final two miles but I just told myself that I needed to hold on. This was my last tri of the season and I wanted to finish it on a strong note. In the final mile, I got a pick me up when I saw Ben headed out for a run. He had just crushed the full aquabike (sub-5 hour bike split – hello!) and was going for a cool down run. After seeing him, I rounded the final corner and saw Jennie. I stopped to give her a quick hug before running the final few yards to the finish.


I ended up crossing the finish line with a run split of 1:45:28 (my fastest 70.3 run split ever) and a final time of 5:00:28 (my 2nd fastest 70.3 time).


I was happy to be done and I was super happy with my results. I have never felt so good after crossing the finish line.

Bailey even wore (at least for a while) his “Team Neumann” bandanna that Jennie made for him.

Spectating is hard work for a pup. You have to remember to stay hydrated.

MattyO finished shortly after I did wrapping up his 3 70.3’s in a month (and you think I’m crazy).


We stuck around for a bit to check out the post race food (unimpressive – see below) before my stomach started to tighten up on me. I really wanted to stick around and see Katie and Scott finish, but I knew my stomach wasn’t going to allow that.


Overall, I am super happy with this race. I know, I know. I was 28 seconds off of sub-5 hours, but I really don’t care. I was also only 3 minutes off of the podium. Again, I don’t care. This race was all about having fun and if I had to sacrifice even an ounce of fun for one of those two “milestones” it wouldn’t have been worth it. I was racing this race on tired legs and not at 100% effort. I am confident that with the proper taper, I could seriously tear up this course. But that was not the goal this time around. I could not have asked for a better way to wrap up my 2012 tri season.

Rev3 Impressions

As this was my first Rev3 race, I was looking forward to comparing the race to some of the WTC/Ironman races I have done. Jennie summed it up best when she said, “Rev3 is to Ironman what Cedar Point is to Disney World.” And I think she hit the nail on the head. Rev3 Cedar Point is not a bad race by any stretch of the imagination, but it still falls short of what the WTC offers. Granted, my thoughts/impressions are based on a single race in a series of events and are by no means the end-all portrayal of the series. In defense of the race, I didn’t fully immerse myself in the event. For a fairer assessment, I should have spent more time on the race site pre-race like I have done with WTC events. However, my race on Saturday prevented me from getting there any earlier.


The race itself, from swim start to the finish line was very well organized and supported. Volunteer support at the aid stations was great, intersections were guarded by police and the course was well marked. Roads were open to traffic, but I felt safe pretty much the whole time. US-6/Cleveland Rd is a bit dicey but traffic seemed to respect the athletes for the most part. I did read about complaints about the road conditions, but I felt they were pretty par for the course when it comes to Midwest roads. There were 3 total sections of fresh chipseal, but they did a wonderful job of sweeping off the loose stone so it was just bumpy and not slippery. I would have to say that the worst section was the final 6 miles (which is actually the first 6 miles too). The side of the road we were on for the final 6 was far worse than the opposite side and it seriously felt like each bump was going to split me down the middle. My speed dropped significantly on this stretch because of it. I almost wish that we were allowed to ride on the opposite side on the way back in. This is just an observation though. I don’t blame the race for the quality of the roads.

Rev3 does offer a few things that the WTC does not. The first is Body Marx body marking. Similar to TriTats, these are temporary tattoos for your body marking. While a little thing, it does add a cool factor to the race and makes you feel like a pro. (They were a super pain to get off though) You also get a free pair of BlueSeventy goggles in your swag bag along with a Rev3 Cedar Point visor (you can never have too many visors).

Rev3 also allows you to cross the finish line with your family members if you want. They even have a contents for best finish line photo. This is something that would get you DQ-ed at a WTC event. I had planned on crossing with Bailey, but couldn’t figure out a way to get him around the fence at the finisher chute.

This guy crossed with his 11-day old baby. Very cool.

The race also offered onsite live athlete tracking and onsite results lookup. As soon as you finished you could walk over to the computers, enter your number and see your time, place, and splits. I also had a chance to meet Jen Small at this area because she was volunteering which I will count as a “pro” any day!

Cool race bling. Although I didn’t win any bling, they had a really cool idea for age group awards. Your age group award actually fit around your finisher medal to form one giant medal. In the picture below, the silver ferris wheel is the finisher medal and the surrounding part is the age group award. On the back of the age group award, it has all the details (place, race distance, etc.).

I stole this from Heather. This is the race bling she won for the 5k on Satuday.

Finally, free finisher photos. As of post time, I haven’t actually seen my finisher photo, but it is great that Rev3 gives these to athletes for free. I think my finisher photo at IMWI was $15 and it was for a photo they had already taken the time to print so it would have just been thrown out if I didn’t buy it.


There were lots of lots of logistical issues that were frustrating. This started with athlete check-in. I was in line for nearly an hour simply to pick up my packet. The line was maybe 50 athletes long but completely unorganized. While there were 6 volunteers behind the table, only 2 were helping athletes. The other 4 were helping the 2 volunteers and then waiting around for the next athletes. There are lots of ways they could have improved upon this. I have never waited this long for a WTC event.

The finish line food was less than desirable to say the least. I was excited when I saw the burger buns, but then I found out that there wasn’t burgers. Instead there was some mystery meat. Some sort of pulled chicken or something that didn’t seem to have any flavor. I took one bite and decided that a stop at McDonald’s was in order. For the veggie eaters (this is for you Jason), they did have a fruit salad and pasta salad that were actually decent, but by no means constituted a full recovery meal. What is wrong with some good old fashioned pizza and burgers (and veggie burgers for our plant friends)?

They charged for parking. Wait what? Yep. $15 for Jennie to park. Parking for athletes (designated by our athlete wrist bands) was free. However, once in the park, if Jennie needed to leave, she would have to pay $15 to get back in because I wasn’t with her. Ridiculous. We ended up eating the cost because Jennie had to go and check on Bailey and eventually bring him to the race. It worked out because she was able to drive out and see me a bit on the run course. Still though, I was a little pissed about this. I can’t imagine asking family and friends to come watch me at a race and then finding out they have to pay to park. And this isn’t an optional sort of thing were you could go park on the street or further away for free. The closest you could park for free would have been 2 miles down the causeway that was lined with signs for “No pedestrians or bikes”. Cedar Point basically had a monopoly of parking.

Overall cost of the race. This really isn’t a complaint but more an observation. One of the main benefits that I have heard Rev3 tout is that they are a cheaper alternative than Ironman. I really didn’t find this to be the case. Sure, the super early entry fee ($210) might be cheaper than the early bird WTC price, but at $250 (what I paid), this race was comparable to WTC, and at $300 (the final week price) was even more than some WTC races (Poconos later this month, for instance, is still only $275). One positive for Rev3 is the introduction of their new Rev3 Season Pass that allows you to race any or all of the Rev3 races for $1200. You can even share the pass with a friend for the races you can’t do. Now, that is a great idea, but I don’t see how individual races are cheaper than WTC events.

So there you have it. One man’s opinion of his first Rev3 race. Thanks for reading!

Overall Results

(official results link)

Total Time: 5:00:28
Overall Place: 50 / 714
Gender Place: 47 / 463
Age Group Place: 4 / 43
Swim Rank: 92 OA, 15 AG
Swim Time: 34:18
T1 Time: 2:39
Bike Rank:  
Bike Time: 2:35:36
Bike Pace: 21.6mph
T2 Time: 2:29
Run Rank:  
Run Time: 1:45:28
Run Pace: 7:57

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