2008 Eagleman 70.3
June 8, 2008
4/207 age group
This was my first Eagleman and was one of my two “A” races for the year. So I was really hoping to do well. Events leading up to the race were fairly uneventful so I’ll skip them. This report will be long enough as it is. Got up 5:20 the morning of the race and got to transition around 6:10 – ah, the beauty of a homestay. Set everything up, pumped up the tires, put bottles in their places, and visualized both transitions a few times. Stopped by the MMTC tent but can’t remember much – nerves. Stood in line at the porta-johns but gave up 10 minutes before my wave was supposed to start. The Choptank would do just fine. Saw Steve L., Scott F., and Mark A. on my way to the start and wished them luck. Waded out to the start and waited with nervous energy for the gun.
42/259 age group
The swim was alright. I felt fine and didn’t run into much traffic. I went out pretty hard, trying to get out of the bulk of the wave and find some fast feet. I’ve never been successful drafting on the swim and this race was no exception. At one point going out I came right up on a kayak directly in front of a yellow buoy. The girl yelled, “Go right!” I replied, “But the buoy’s right there!” She said, “It’s off course.” Great. No wonder there was no one else around. Did everyone else get a memo? I guess I swam a little farther than necessary, not sure how much though. I was shooting for 30:00, but 32:59 is about as good as I’ve ever done at a race. Plus, the tide was coming in and some people reported that swim times were a little slow this year, so I’ll take it.
T1 – 2:58
35/207 age group
My T1 has always been terrible so the goal was to GET OUTTA THERE. I had a primo spot on the end of the rack so that helped. Wetsuit came off easy, socks went on with a little trouble, everything else went smooth and I was gone. This was definitely one of the best T1’s I’ve ever posted.
Bike – 2:21:41 – 23.8 mph
4/207 age group
My legs were really tight starting the bike. I think this is because I tense my legs a lot during the swim, even though I focus on keeping them loose. They loosened up after a couple miles and I was ready to go. Early in the ride I was back and forth with a couple guys, one of them clearly drafting off the other one. As they passed one time, the drafter (let’s call him #2) said something like, “Hey man, we could get something goin’ here.” I replied, “No drafting, bud.” #2 continued past me on the other guy’s wheel, checking over his left shoulder for something (race official perhaps?). I passed them and saw him a couple more times later in the race – he’d pass me and I’d have to slow down about 0.5 mph to keep out of his draft, so I’d pass him again within a couple minutes. #2 was probably ahead of me about 10-20 minutes of the whole race and we posted bike times 10 seconds apart. I wish I had looked behind me – I bet he was right there the whole race.
Other than that the bike was pretty good. Goal was somewhere between 2:15 and 2:20 so 2:21:41 missed it by a little bit but not much. I took two 400-calorie bottles of Infinit, 2-3 bottles of water from the aero bottle, and 4 salt stick capsules to keep the cramps away. My quads got a little tight towards the end but nothing severe and no cramps. I enjoyed the flat, fast course and never really got hot despite my new aero helmet (only 2 vents in that thing!). I even got brave and took off my shoes on the bike, rode side saddle up to the dismount line, and pulled off a running dismount. Nice. Feelin’ like a pro.
T2 – 1:54
5/207 age group
Again, the end spot on the rack is the bomb. Bike shoes were already off so the running shoes slipped on quick, helmet came off, hat and race belt went on, and I was off.
Run – 1:37:55 – 7:29/mile
8/207 age group
My legs didn’t feel so great going into the run. Both quads were tight and felt like they would cramp at any time. But I remembered this from previous races and knew that they should loosen up in a couple miles. And they did. But I also had a chest cramp – these always slow me down. Maybe I drank too much and swallowed too much air too late in the bike. Eventually this subsided but the heat started to get to me. Typically I’m a pretty good hot-weather runner but maybe I’ve lost some of that training in the cool MD spring. I couldn’t get enough cold water and Gatorade at the aid stations, and the aid stations seemed 10 miles apart. I don’t think I’ve been that hot at a race before. Someone said the heat index was over 100 but I never saw anything official. My 1:25-1:30 goal was just not happening.
Remember #2? He passed me a couple miles into the run, then I passed him as he walked through an aid station, then he passed me, then he stopped to puke and I passed him again. Then he passed me for the last time around mile 11. I was too hot to keep up, and I guess he got rid of what was dragging him down. The finish was fairly uneventful – no final sprinting to beat or keep ahead of anyone. But I was glad to be there. The spray hose at the finish felt fantastic and I poured 3 bottles of ice water over my head/down my throat before I finally felt cooled down. Wow was it hot.
I had no idea how well I did until the results were posted. Based on last year’s results and my own goals for the race I wasn’t super happy but I guess the heat got to most people. #2 finished 57 seconds ahead of me for second place in the 35-39 age group and I finished fourth. Nice!
But then I started to realize what was going to happen. This race is a Kona qualifier and there are two slots for males 35-39. That meant that #2 got a Kona slot and I did not. Bummer – missed Kona by 57 seconds. It was a pipe dream to get a Kona slot so it doesn’t bother me too much that I missed it. But it really bothers me that #2 got a slot (possibly my slot) by cheating. On my wheel. That really sucks. Next race I’ll keep better track of who’s behind me.
Overall I really enjoyed the race. I’ll probably be back. The MMTC tent and food were fantastic. I didn’t even have any official post-race food – the tent food was all I needed. It was great to meet a few more club members. Huge thanks again to Jean and all the club tent volunteers.