Although I’ve been training hard for the 70.3 distance the last few months, it’s always fun to come back for the Olympic distance Rev3 Knoxville race as it’s one of my favorite courses. We got extremely lucky with the weather. The Saturday was very wet, but race morning turned out to be perfect.
The swim was a little on the chilly side, which allowed us to wear wetsuits. I positioned myself next to the good swimmers at the start with Brian Fleischmann and Cam Dye. I started the swim hard and found myself in a good position next to Brian after the first 100 meters. Then all of a sudden it felt like someone hit me in the chest with a sledge hammer. I don’t know what caused it but the next couple of minutes were probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had in a race. I had a massive anxiety attack or something. I don’t really know what it was. I just found myself unable to breathe and panicking that I was going to drown even though no one was touching me and I was in a great spot. It was a feeling I’ve never had before. I tried to concentrate and work my way through it, which seemed to make things worse. I managed to get through another 100 meters and then I just completely freaked out and I had to get out of the pack. I made a b-line for where I thought the safety boats were as I was sure I was going to drown. When I got out into the open water, luckily I didn’t find any safety boats there because I would have DNF’ed the race. That’s how bad I was freaking out. I let a bit of water down my chest and in my wetsuit. By the time all this happened we were coming up to the first turn can. I put my head down and started swimming again. By this stage, things were starting to calm down and I was able to breathe again, which unfortunately didn’t help that much, because the adrenaline rush caused me to go lactic and bonk. I managed to drag myself through the rest of the swim. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to get out of the water.
Starting out on the bike, I still wasn’t in that bad of a position, however I was still having trouble getting going again. David Thompson and Matias Hecht went bombing by me in the first 5k. Normally I’m able to hold these guys but I was feeling so shitty that I got dropped. After about 15-20k, things started to come good. I started to get a bit of energy back and feel good. I managed to work really hard the last 20k on the bike and catch back to the main group a few miles before transition.
Heading out onto the run, I didn’t feel bad at all. There was a small group of guys to run with. I found myself in a good run battle again with David Thompson. It was a little bit of deja vu as we had the same battle last year. I managed to run down a couple of guys. I had to dig deep in the last 1k to get rid of Matty Reed and Thompson. In the end I ended up 8th, which was better than the drowning I was sure I was going to have earlier in the day.
Congrats to Greg Bennett and Kelly Williamson for their wins. I’m looking forward to the next stop in the Rev3 series: Quassy.