I didnít know what to expect having only 3 weeks after Columbia Triathlon to prepare for Eagleman. I like doing Columbia but having to taper the 4th week before a half ironman is not the timing I like. So I took no time off and hit the 2 weeks after Columbia hard Ė basically the 2 longest training weeks ever for me. Then I cut back significantly and hoped for a soft landing. The other thing that I was worried about was that I intended to camp the night before the race as I did the year before. It was very hot till about 11:00 when a storm blew over bringing a little rain and wind. The wind felt great blowing through the truck (I slept on an air mattress in my truck). Then it stopped around 1:00, and the temp was bearable. Not much sleep but I woke up feeling refreshed, not groggy or lethargic at all.
Swim: 28:33 (8/196 AG) (67/1356 overall)
By 7:00AM, the heat was already in full force. Others in line waiting to get in the water were sweating like pigs. I fortunately was not, but it was hot. We got in the water and I took a few strokes to get the initial aches out of my arms. I positioned myself in the front of the line, and tried to make a b-line for the boat way out there. For some reason every time I looked up to spot the boat I was swimming a little to the right, so Iíd make an adjustment and turn slightly left. I would then run into several swimmers and have to climb over them. Kept thinking I was off course by continually running into people, but I think they were getting shifted to the right like I was. Ended up passing a lot of Ďblueí caps (35-39 men), and got out feeling ready to hit the bike.
T1: 2:20 (7/196 AG) (67/1356 overall)
I think I have the transition thing down to a science now. Run up, tear off my sleeveless and legless wet suit, stand on a towel, wipe feet, put socks on, grab sun glasses, put helmet on, and run to the exit. My shoes are on my bike already, so all I need to do is jump on the bike, and go. Learning to mount the bike with shoes already locked in was much easier than I thought it would be. I practiced on the trainer and then moved to the outside. Now I mount and dismount each and every ride as if in a race so it has become second nature.
Bike: 2:25:00 (12/196 AG) (23.3 mph) (75/1356 overall)
It took the first 2 miles to get acclimated to the bike with all the turns. Once out on the open road, I got into my usual fast cadence spin in a comfortable gear. Cruising 22-27 mph depending on the wind. There wasnít much wind, but in spots it did seem like there was some, slowing me occasionally under 22 mph. I tried not to draft much, but I was constantly passing people the whole time, dodging around them, following people while passing, etc. At one point, I got bunched up with like 8 other riders and we were all passing lots of people, so it became extremely difficult not to draft. It didnít last long, and we broke up, thinned out, and the ride went on. I saw only 1 race official the whole time, no one in the penalty tents, and looking at the results, no penalties, just a couple DQs. Ended strong, passing a few fellow age groupers around mile 45 (we had been going back and forth for like 30 miles). The heat did not seem to be a factor until the end, although I must say I did not seem to sweat at all as it was evaporating very quickly. I could start to feel to heat on the road wondering what the run would be like. Drank 3 bottles total on the ride, took almost a full flask of gel, and 3 sodium and potassium pills each.
T2: 1:44 (2/196 AG) (25/1356 overall)
Pulled my feet out of my shoes rolling up to the transition, through my leg over the seat, and with a leap was off running. Hung up my bike, ditched my helmet, grabbed my hat and water bottle harness, and off I went.
Run: 1:44:42 (12/196 AG) (110/1356 overall)
I felt very fresh out the gate as I have been on all my bricks and races lately. I carried a bottle so Iíd have something to nip on between aide stations. Just passed mile 1, the lead runner passed me going the other way on his way to the finish line. Then all the other pros starting coming on by. The hottest part seemed to be that new section of fresh black road. The heat was emulating from the surface with no wind. Once out on the road, I kept moving at a comfortable pace checking my watch every couple miles trying to figure out how fast I was going. At the turn around, I calculated I was about 53 minutes. At this point I knew I probably would not break 4:40, but in these conditions it didnít matter. I kept putting ice in my cap at each aide station to keep cool. I must have done the second half faster than the first, but it didnít feel that way except for the last 3 miles when I tried to push the pace. The strange thing during this run was that normally several people from my AG pass me like Iím standing still, but this time I didnít notice anyone passing me until around mile 9. Then 2 guys came on by. I ended up passing 1 guy in my AG at mile 12. He was walking and running slowly. Overall not many people passed me on the run which was very surprising. I guess Iím beginning to get more competitive.
Overall: PR 4:42:18 (5/196 AG) (60/1356 overall)
Very surprised with the 5th place result. This is surely a break out race for me. Going in I thought 15-20 would be excellent since I was 53rd last year. Next up Xterra offroad triathlon, then Chesapeakeman.
Many thanks to all the Mid Maryland volunteers (Jean Kreis), the food, tent, drinks, etc. I was looking forward to all the stories afterwards.