So, I was going into this race hoping to crack the 6 hour barrier. Last year I did my first 70.3 on another fairly flat course down in Williamsburg, but I only came away with a 6:08 there. This year, I felt stronger all around, but as the story goes Eagleman is ruthless if you are not 100% prepared.
I picked up my race packet Saturday, giving Bruce, Sheila, Lizzie, Sue, and Laura a quick hello (as you will see, this is a theme throughout this report…the giant showing of peer support throughout the entire weekend!) It was a beautiful day Saturday and I wanted to get in a very easy 10 minute swim, 20 minute bike, and 10 minute run. Well I met up with Tim Delss and Mike (? Sorry I cant remember your last name Mike!) for a little exercise. Little did I know that they had housing with 3 professional triathletes ( brothers James and Mark Bowstead, and 2nd place female finisher Margie Shapiro!) Well, after meeting them and getting in my little workout I setup my bike and headed to Ocean City for the night.
I have been sick for a week now, fighting God knows what. It has been this stupid flemmy cough in the morning which turns into dry coughing in the afternoon/evening. And I have also had slight fevers, sore throat, congestion, and a pain inside my ear?!? My only thought …. why before this race!!? Well, I always knew that I would just power through no matter what the conditions.
I woke up at 3:30 am to pack my stuff. I fell asleep around 7:45 the night before thanks to a nice dose of Nyquil. This was the first time I actually slept well the night before a race! I got to the race at 5:30 when Bruce somehow magically picked the same road to park and found a spot right behind me. Odd coincidence?! So, I got to transition and set everything up just fine. I was really anal about getting everything in perfect position because I didn’t want to literally waste time in transition ( this plan was thrown out the window quickly though!).
My swim wave was at the nice and humid time of 8:14 am. I thought that I was mentally prepared for the heat, but I was travelling into the unknown. I have never raced at temperatures over 90 before (let alone 80 I think!). So, this was new to me and I knew that nutrition would play a huge part in my day.
Goal: 40:00 Actual: 38:48 2:00/100
I was very happy with my swim time. Last year when I did my first 70.3, I swam the 1.2 miles in 50:22. I had an 11:34 improvement this year on my swim alone. So, I was really happy about that. In fact, I was stoked because I knew it set me up perfectly to beat my goal of 6 hours, but there was a different outcome in the cards for me this day.
Goal: 2:00 Actual 2:56
Oddly, in transition I was already feeling groggy. My stomach was not happy with me and I felt a little woozy. I convinced myself that this was normal for the temperature, so I told myself to drink lots of water and eat a gel to start off the bike. Thank you Tim Delss for letting me borrow that spray for the bottom of my wetsuit! I slid right out of it. It flew off my ankles!
Goal: 2:40:00 Actual: 2:51:11 19.63mph
The first 20 miles or so were ok. I never felt the energy that I knew I had during the entire bike race. I saw an aquavelo guy fly by me at mile 6 with a muscle milk race singlet on…and I was like, wait I know that person! It was Ben Winterroth being closely chased by some other guy. So, I gave Ben a loud cheer probably long after he had passed me and was way out of earshot on his way to crushing the field in the Aquavelo!!
Around mile 30 on the bike, I started having G.I. issues, which I never have. My stomach was gurgling and my head was all out of shape. I kept drinking liquids and really thought I was well hydrated, but I was shivering. It felt like the shivering you get after you break a fever. I knew that I had not taken in enough calories that morning or during the ride, so I tried to force down food that I really was not hungry for. The conditions on Egypt Road did not assist my race endeavors today. The wind slowed me down tremendously, and I felt/saw the field that I had passed in the first 30 miles of the ride catching up to me.
My bum was really sore the last 10 miles of the ride, and passing by the people on the run in the final miles made me really contemplate whether I was going to even start the run. I think it was Suzie Montoya’s loud cheers for me as I was coming into transition feeling dejected by my bike ride that really convinced me to get my ass out there and run. She was cheering for me like I had just won the whole race, which was truly motivational and gave me energy. Vig’s voice was screaming in my head that finishing is winning and I looked at my watch and still saw that there was a solid chance I could beat 6 hours.
Goal: 2:11:00 Actual: 6.6 mile split : 1:20:31 12:17/ml
13.1 mile split : 1:16:19 11:39/ml
Total : 2:36:50 11:58/ml
I realized within the first mile that this run would be hell. I didn’t make it a half mile before I had to walk….which was indicative of the long run I had ahead of me. Kim Sheridan caught me on the run and had some very encouraging words for me (thank you Kim!) Then I passed Mark Yost (clarify – he was running in the opposite direction must faster than I … he around mile 12, me only mile 1)….I just thought I would add somewhere in my race report that I passed him…it looks nice. But it was hot … and there was zero shade. I don’t know where my bonk occurred during the race. It might have been on the bike, it might have been the run? I don’t know.
So, I struggled. I lost my competitive edge right at the beginning of the run. So I figured, “Hell, I will enjoy this”. I shoved probably an entire 10 pound bad worth of ice down my race singlet during the run which kept me comfortable in the heat. I ate very little which was a mistake. I drank a ton of water and Gatorade at every stop. I simply struggled through. I danced. I sang. I high fived. I joked with a lady handing out snow cones. I thanked every volunteer that I could. At the end of the day, I finished the race. I didn’t get the 6 hours I wanted, finishing in 6:14:07, but I did finish strong. My second half of the run was faster than the first half!
So, Ive got work to do. I know it. I look forward to it. Eagleman clearly pointed out in the most harsh of ways my need to work on running, especially when tired. I could not have finished EM without the support of all the Team Fight and MMTC members who were out there. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Realistically, I thought I had an almost definite chance of cracking 6 hours. That goal will have to be set aside for another race. There is plenty of time for me to achieve this and I know I will someday. Hopefully I will get to the 5 hour marker too! I lost 8 pounds during the race….I ended up being pretty sick Monday to the point where I had to take off work. But, I am recovering and will soon be back training. IM Florida is my ultimate goal for this year. I know after completing this race that there is work to do, but that I definitely have it in me!
As I posted on facebook yesterday:
"I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle -- victorious." - - Vince Lombardi
Finishing is winning.