PreRace: I had fun at the Expo saying hi to familiar faces. Met up with the Wheeler brothers-from-another-motha (aka Dave and Bill) for a warm-up ride. Steve M. met up with us as well. The Hyatt had a great “Ironman Buffet” for dinner that night. I was stuffed and ready to go.
Race Day: Dave Wheeler hooked me up with a ride from the hotel and navigated the perfect route, traffic free, to the race site. We were both amazed how we avoided the traffic. I had a half a bagel and some Gatorade for breakfast. The MMTC tent was the place to be. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who had extra room in the transition area, so I was glad I could bring my bag and extras to the tent for safe keeping.
Swim: 35:31 Arnat and I headed to the swim start together and met up with D.C. Mayor Fenty. We exchanged greetings and wished each other luck. He said his political “Oh, I’ll be following you”, but I knew he was kissing babies. Once in the water I realized I forgot to Bodyglide around my arms for my sleeveless wetsuit. Utohh! I knew I would pay for that later with rub burns. Trying to relocate Bodyglide from your neck to around your arms with your fingers does NOT work. Felt very relaxed at the beginning and did not have as much body smashing as in Columbia. I passed Arnat who had goggle problems soon after the start. I was very thankful the chop was not nearly as bad as last year. I came across almost 9 minutes faster than last year. I was amazed!
T1: 4:17 One minute faster than last year. Had great cheers from MMTC folks and other friends.
Bike: 2:47:43 (20.1 mph) The first 20 miles had mild winds and I thought this couldn’t hold up and the winds would soon come. I switched my bike computer to tell me just chronograph, cadence, and heart rate. I didn’t want to know my mph or other stats, but when I hit the 20 mile mark at just under 1 hour I felt great. I maintained a Zone 3 heart rate around 158, which is 11 below my anaerobic threshold, knowing I still have to run a half marathon. Jesse passed me looking strong as usual. I was waiting for Arnat to pass me, but that would come on the run. Mayor Fenty caught me about mile 40 and he was in sight for next 8 miles. He crushed me at Columbia so I thought this was good I was hanging with him this far. I did see two peletons go by me which pissed me off (Natascha Badmann mentioned this in her acceptance speech, but must have witnessed different ones). These guys were totally drafting in a large pact with no officials in sight. I later heard Maura Dunnigan tell me about her 4-minute penalty for “drafting” while talking and riding next to another triathlete on the bike. I know the rules, but how much advantage can one get while riding and talking to someone parallel? There were no severe cross winds going on either. Again, I know the rules, but it does seem unfair when she gets a penalty while multiple peletons go by. Anyway, off my soap box, and back to the race report. I felt a strange groin pain during the ride and was hoping this would not affect my run or was a muscle pull. Other muscles were getting tight, but I think that’s the difference between riding in a flat, aero position for so long versus riding the hills of Howard / Carroll County. The bike into town is great to see the runners on their out-and-back. I saw Chip and Scott heading out and looking “in the zone”.
T2: 4:17 I was surprised I was slower by a minute from last year here. I think it was because of my rack position, plus the timing mat seemed a little further away.
Run: 2:11:15 (10:02 pace) OK, we just finished a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike, and need to run a half-marathon. What I liked was knowing that about each mile there was a water stop (aka rest stop) where my strategy is to walk through and drink one Gatorade and pour water on my head. Break it up into one-rest stop increments and it doesn’t seem so bad. Besides, I can’t run and drink at the same time. Oh noooo.. before I hit mile # 1, I felt a bad pain in my right outside quad, near my knee (Rick Renyer knows what I’m talking about). I’ve had this before, but wasn’t sure how long it would last. Nervous that I would be succumbed to a walk, I stopped to rub the muscle. As I was working this pain out, Natascha Badmann passes by and we all give applause and encouragement for her. Knowing this was the first woman Pro to go by that I saw, I figured she was headed for her 6th Eagleman victory. This gave me motivation to run and thankfully I was able to run through that pain, which subsided soon after the 1st mile. I can’t remember what happened first: Arnat passing me or when I passed by Major Dave Rozelle. But, it was a thrill to see the encouragement that Major Rozelle received from everyone passing by him. “You’re my hero”, “God bless you”, “You go Dave” “Umpaah”. The out and back provides a great way to see your friends. Always great to give and receive support while passing by MMTC racers. The miles seem to go by quicker when you run with someone, so I ran with a guy from NJ for a little while, but he was struggling and told me to go on. I had a GU at mile 9 which gave me a nice pick-me-up and my body felt stronger. I picked up the pace a bit and then heard “Bob, don’t say hi or anything”. I turned around and noticed it was Jake, having a bad run and in pain. I totally didn’t expect to pass by him. Sorry, man! Home stretch after the last water and then I saw my family near the last corner which gave me a boost of adrenaline. People were yelling to “take it home” and “pick it up”, so I did. My 10-min/mile pace suddenly became a 6-min/mile pace. I hit my nitrous reserve tank and flew to the finish chute, and loved having our MMTC folks screaming and high-fiving me. That’s the way to finish! Across the finish mat and greeted by Patti Harden, my swim coach, asking how did I do…. 5:43:00; over 22 minutes faster than last year!
Post Race: Awesome day! A special thanks to Melissa, Sadj, Bob, Dawn, Tim, Shawn, Brian and the rest of gang at the tent making our experience the best it could be. Loved the food and hanging out with everyone.