Eagleman 2008 was incredible.
The heat brought out the best in so many a lot of courage shown out on the course this year it seemed that so many triathletes I saw were digging deep within themselves just to finish - and it really showed on the run. I heard lots of encouragement, particularly among and between MMTC'ers and our ES cousins at CMS.
The volunteers, always outstanding at Eagleman, were even more
amazing this year. Here's one example: at about mile 8 on the run course, they weren't ready with the gatorade when I went by....so I kept going anyway. I don't like to stop. About 200-300 yards out from the waterstop, I looked to my right and here's this volunteer running to catch me with a full glass of gatorade! And it even had ice!! I needed the hydration, but the moral boost from his effort was even better. I don't think he spilled a drop.
Then there's the MMTC tent. What can I say that hasn't been said
already? We recover better than anyone...thanks in large part to
those who volunteer to run the tent. A mere thank you seems
inadequate, but thanks again. It was great talking to Todd, Jesse, Steve Levickas and Jelly after the race even if Jelly doesn't remember me.
I had a good day, despite the heat and even with being thrown back into my 45-49 age group (I age up next month, so I had done Columbia with those mad dog 50-54 year olds).
Pre-race: stayed at the Hampton Inn in Salisbury. Good Italian food the night before (Zia's on Route 13). Up around 3 for pre-race routine, made it to the transition area by 5:30 without incident. It was sticky and you could feel the temp rising faster than the sun.
The only real surprise for me though was with my bike front tire flatted out while pumping it up. I'd apparently damaged the tube pushing the pump nozzle onto the valve extender. I was fortunate to have plenty of time to change the tube and get it prepped. It could have gone after the bike start! Dodged that bullet.
Swim: 38:13 (66/139 AG).
My goal was to get in under 35 minutes. Didn't happen. The water
was calm, the wrestling was minimal and the water felt great. Too great, I've decided. I thought I had a good swim going long, easy strokes however, I took the first turn a bit too wide (not noticing that my buddies disappeared until they reappeared about 100 yards to my left! I must have been swim-dreaming). I think I just didn't want to get out of the water and back into the heat. At Lake Placid in July, I'm going to hug the buoy line and draft on a new best friend. Came out of the water in 66th place. That's a long way back....
T1: 3:48 (50/139).
Transition seemed uneventful wet suit came off easy, grabbed a
quick snack on the way out....forgot to grab my gloves, but no big deal.
Bike: 2:32:38 (14/139 AG, average speed: 22.1 mph).
Very close to my goal of 2:30:00 in these conditions, I'm not
complaining. Winds seemed light and for some reason the course
seemed flatter than in the past. I focused on hydration and keeping a steady pace went through about 5X16 ounces of accelerade (2 water bottles, the aero bottle and supplemented by 2-3 bottles of water on the course spiked with concentrated accelerade from a small bottle in my back pocket). Nutrition two power bars in the first 90 minutes then nothing solid to avoid sideaches on the run.
I saw a lot of flats and a few mechanical DNFs. Not as much drafting as Florida 70.3 last year, but there was a bit. Do these people have no shame? Didn't see a single penalty handed out. In any event, I was pleased with the bike: no mechanical snafu, I felt strong at the finish and didn't seem to feel the heat...until I got off the bike...then it hit big time.
T2: 2:32 (13/139 AG).
It was a little crowded getting to my bike rack, but other than that I slowed only to throw some more sunblock on. The legs felt
remarkably happy as I moved through transition.
Run: 1:40:23 (3/139 AG, avg pace 7:40).
I was a little slower than I'd planned, but I hadn't planned on Kona-like temps (I hear 94 degrees with a heat index of 105. Anyone hear anything different?). Nevertheless, my legs felt great. I did the first 3 miles under 21 minutes and hit the four mile mark just over 28. Usually it takes a few miles to hit that pace, but maybe the high temps warmed me up.... While the legs were willing to rock, the rest of the body wasn't. My mind, a little more prudent than usual, listened to the respiratory and circulatory systems (which were working too hard to keep that pace). So, starting somewhere around mile 5, I slowed to a fairly even pace somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00 min/mile.
Got and gave lots of support to MMTC'ers and, of course, Chuck Potter (he belongs to both clubs, right?). Met Herman around mile 3; I think I saw Steve Levickas' jet stream go past around mile 6 (he was headed in about mile 8 or so); and unless I was hallucinating I saw/heard Chuck and Jesse near the turnaround.
Something good happened around mile 10 the rest of my body woke up and decided to let my legs loose I was able to finish fairly strong all things considered, with about 7-7:15 pace for the last couple of miles. Good thing I came to life, because the next guy in my age group finished only 11 seconds behind me!
It was a good day I made my overall goal of going under 5 hours and was able to snag a Clearwater slot. (That's one of the good things about the 45-49 age group it's so big, I think it has more slots than other groups.)
Thanks again to the MMTC tent team and the Eagleman 2008 volunteers.