This race report starts with the finish of last year’s race.
Last year, Eagleman was my A race. I poured my heart and soul into training for it. Bottom line, I started to feel depleted of energy at mile 10 and I bonked on the run at mile 11. It took me two hours to recover and I had to walk the final two miles to finish the race. I finished, but missed my goals by a landslide. I couldn’t even walk all the way to the car; I had to wait for my buddy to drive up near the race site. Needless to say, it was a race that left a scar.
This year Eagleman was a B race, I am training for IM Wisconsin and I did my scheduled workouts until Thursday, took Friday off and did an Easy Swim and Bike on Saturday prior to the race.
Sunday June 14th 2009
Slept like a baby, even through the thunderstorm. Wake Up 3:45 AM - Breakfast in the hyperbaric chamber. 30 minutes, listened to some of my pre race jam... cleaned up, in the car and moving out to the race site by 5AM
Set up went smooth, no issues everything was there. I was looking for a friend who had some kind of cream you can use to dampen the effect of the sea nettles. (I swam into some the day before while warming up, they don't hurt they just annoy you a little). Didn't find my friend and I was in the third wave, so time to go. We found each other and they gave me two more stings.
Swim time 33:24 / 1:46 sec / 100 M (PR)
My goal was to come in under 35 minutes, so yippee, a breakthrough! This was the most aggressive and chaotic swim I have ever been in. Wildflower doesn't compare to it. I was in a pack of swimmers until the midway point, only then did it break up, but I still caught feet all the way. I could not believe it. Amazing, I love that part. Elbows, hands, arms, legs, I popped some guy in the goggle and heard the distinctive pop of knuckle on plastic goggle. There was no use in saying sorry, because if you stopped to say something you would get pushed under. If it was someone in the club or you know who it is, tell them it wasn't personal, just an accident.
I was capturing as much data as possible on this for my training records. When I came out of the water and hit my split time it said 29:30. I thought “no way, that is a breakthrough!” When I saw my result later at 33:24, I thought something went wrong and looked at the data. Somehow (probably during the melee in the swim) someone must have hit the split button. Imagine that! I didn’t know it at the time, and I was riding high on that note for the rest of the day!
T1 No issues 2:21. Everything went well here. I carried my bike over my shoulder, so I wouldn’t have to run it through the mud on the ground. Saw Linda on the way out, good vibe.
Bike 2:35:18 / 21.8 MPH
I did my normal strategy for the bike and got underway fine. Nutrition was the way I planned; I ate a bar in the early part of the ride. I have eaten bars before and had no issues. Sometime after the bar, my stomach started feeling funny and I felt like I was having some discomfort in my lower GI system on the bike. I stayed on the sports drink from then on, had the energy to go but my stomach was cramping. Some guy was trying to get into my head about pacing (we were alternating) and how we were going at his all day pace, he later fell off, he must have rode to the event the night before. I was happy to see the marshals were doing their job, I saw two yellow cards flashed at drafters and then a red card.
I didn’t look at my average speed when I finished. Last year I clocked 22.3 MPH on the course. I am in much better cycling shape this year so coming in under that was a letdown.
T2 No issues, 2:19, I really don’t like socks.
Run: 1:46:59 / 8:10 minute mile
My leg turnover didn’t come out quickly it took me about a quarter of a mile to get my cadence up to 90. I haven’t done a brick since the Columbia Triathlon, and I will get them back on my schedule now.
My abs were tightening up, which is odd for me, and they kept tightening up as the run went on.
This is where Eagleman became interesting, at mile 4 I decided that my drink mix wasn't working (I was still cramping) in the stomach so I decided to be flexible and let go of my “planned” strategy. I decided to go with the course Gatorade and water. Ok this did not work out for me last year when I bonked, so making this adjustment was a huge gamble. It seemed to work, my abs did not get any tighter and I was getting carbs in, so ok it seems to be working. I was holding an 8 min mile pace on the way out to the turn around, I was telling myself to hold back and work the negative split. Just before the turnaround I did some accelerations, and I felt Ok, not great but I could pick it up a bit. At the turn around I dropped steadily lowering into 7:20 minute mile pace. I planned on taking a cookie at mile 8, so at mile 8 took a half of a cookie, and nearly gagged. Thank goodness there was water there to wash it down, I don’t get it, I love cookies. Abs were still tight but I was managing, at mile 9 I felt like one of the cast members in the 300 with how hard my abs were, I saw Mark Yost and said Hi, but he was in the zone. At mile ten things started to get scary.
Now back to last year’s Eagleman, at mile ten of the run I started to feel depleted from running low on carbs and by mile 11, I couldn’t walk. The scar was being slowly reopened this year.
So as I came into mile ten, the first thing I had to do was slow down, my lats were tightening as well as the abs now it was hard to breath. I focused on my breathing and used some visualization techniques, I tried stretching my lats, and staying positive about how well the day was going. I could take the abs tightening but when the lats and abs tightened up and it was hard to breath, well that is a different ball game. That coupled with the memory of last year. I forced those negative thoughts out and I kept running through it all, kept my mind focused on the task. Kept my cadence in place, just decreased the intensity. I slowed down to 9:30+ minute miles from 10 miles in, it wasn’t graceful. Actually, I am afraid to see the pictures. I had the energy and carbs to finish it out though; I knew I had enough in the tank to finish the race.
In the back of my mind I was looking for a sub 5 hour result, when I came down the shoot and saw that I was 15 seconds over the 5 hour mark, I had to smile. I finished and was overcome with emotion. This was a 35 minute PR over my best Half and a 2 hour and 13 minute improvement over last year’s race.
A great race, I am glad that I was challenged again, and pushed through better than I did last time. This will help me so much at Wisconsin. It is great to know you can have a good race even when you are not performing at your optimum. I learned more about myself again, and know I can do better.
Thanks to all of the support of the club and at the race tent, as always it is great seeing everyone.