I don’t know what it is, but, drama before a race always seems to find me. We were staying at a B & B in Oxford, MD – a beautiful little town about 10 miles south of Easton in Talbot County. We met Dr. Peterson and his lovely wife Heather Jacobson along with Heather B. in Easton for dinner. After leaving the restaurant, I entered the B & B address into my GPS to get back. It started taking me a different route back then we had come, but I didn’t think anything of it. That is, of course, until we made the last turn and it says, “in .2 miles, board ferry.” “Board ferry!!!??” What?? It had taken us down the opposite side of the river, across from Oxford. The issue wasn’t that we now had to take a ferry, but, that the ferry stops running at sunset! And it was already 9:15. UGH. Now my plan for being in bed by 9:30 was completely shot. I had to drive al the way back to Easton and back down the correct side of the river. Oh well, I did get into bed by 10:00, so all wasn’t completely lost. I just hate having to deal with unexpected issues before a race.
The race itself didn’t go off exactly as I had hoped, but reading almost everyone else’s reports, that seemed to be the trend. And, since everyone else seemed to drive home the point that it was hot, I’ll assume you know that and won’t mention it much.
Pre-race morning was good. We decided to get to the park early and just rest in the car for a bit. Transition set up went well and I always enjoy hanging out at the MMTC tent prerace. I had a very nice warm up swim about 30 minutes before the start.
The swim went great. In the first two races I did this year I had a panic attack in the water. This time, however, I asked God to give me peace and help me to remember how good I am at this part and I had a fantastic swim. No panic attacks and I felt strong the entire way. I stayed on course, never had to stand, only treaded water once when someone grabbed my ankle and my timing chip almost fell off, and never really used breast stroke except for getting around the turn buoys. I even channeled my best Macca impression and “dolphined” my way the last 50 yards or so to the swim out. I didn’t really have a goal time in mind because I’ve never swum this distance in open water and certainly not without a wet suit, so I was very happy overall with my time.
Swim time: 44:45
I knew going in that I was going to take about 3 minutes or so in transitions – mainly because this was my first 70.3 and I wanted to be sure I felt good moving to the next leg.
Overall the bike went great too. Much better in fact then I had hope for an even better than my goal. I had ridden the course twice in as many weeks prior, so I knew it fairly well. In both training rides, I maintained an 18 mile or so pace but I always felt like I could go faster. Heather B. lent me her Zipp wheels for this race (thank you sooo much Heather) so I had even more confidence going in. I did loose two bottles on the ride. One fell off my seat cage set up because (and I noticed this when looking at photos my wife took of me leaving on the bike) it wasn’t quite seated firmly in the cage. Lesson learned, be sure my bottles are firmly in place before starting the ride. I didn’t stress about it really, because it was just water and I knew I could get water out there. The other bottle, though, I lost after taking the very last sip of my Perpetuum and was trying to transfer it back to the cage. Loosing it at that point wasn’t a big deal because I had just finished it and I was within 5 miles of the finish, but it was a nice insulated bottle – bummer. The clincher to this part of the saga is that at the half way point, I noticed I was on pace to finish almost 15 minutes faster then either of the two training rides. And I really didn’t feel like I was hammering the course. I guess it was the combination of light winds, adrenaline, and Heather’s Zipps. At this point, however, I’m thinking, “hmm, if I can finish this in about 2:50:00, and my swim was about 40 mins or so, all I need to do is run the 13.1 miles in 2:30:00 to get in around 6 hours. HA! Little did I know, that was not going to happen.
Bike time: 2:51:08
T2 looks like it took me a bit longer than I planned but only because I decided to use the porta johns before crossing the timing mat.
As promised, I won’t spend a lot of time talking about how hot it was on the run, except to say that I just wasn’t ready for that heat. Running is my weakest part anyway, but I really need to work on running in those conditions. Like many others, I planned on walking the water stops, and that worked for the first two. But about halfway between the second a third aid stations, I hit a wall. My legs just completely bonked on me. I tried taking in as much gel as I could handle, but as it turns out, I ended up having walk/run more than 10 miles of this course. As I’m sure many of you experience, I was feeling very depressed knowing that I wasn’t going reach my goal. I knew everyone would say “but you finished” and that did keep my spirits up, but I still felt like I failed in my training. I will say my faith did get me through. I know God was with me the whole way, because I did finish strong. And I know that it is because of Him that I am able to even do this crazy sport! So even though I struggled out there, many people said I looked good coming down the cute. Thanks to Kim Sheridan for trying to pull me for a bit. Sorry, Kim, that I couldn’t hang, but you did help tremendously, and that huge hug you gave me at the end meant a lot. Thanks also to Scott Sokolowski for walking with me a bit at around mile 7. That also helped a lot Scott! And thanks to the many other MMTCers and Team Fight folks out there for encouraging me. They are two fantastic groups that I am so blessed to be part of.
A few special thanks:
To Mike Lombardo, and Jan Orlik for always seeming to be in the right spot at the right time with an awesome cheer!
To Roy Cheeks and Meg Shipman who seemed to be more excited than anyone out there for all of us!
To Heather Beutel for running an awesome tent. Did you all know she cooked all that food herself and transported all the gear herself to the site? Next time you see her, you really need to hug her and thank her again. It is a huge job, and even though a few of us helped where we could, she did the vast majority of it.
To Mike and Heather for hanging out and just relaxing with us. It was a blast.
And of course, thanks Kimberly for your unending love and support. I couldn’t do this without you.