I never thought I would see a day where the swim would be my highlight!
I won a free entry into Eagleman this year through the MMTC volunteer program and was really looking forward to taking full advantage of it. I have not been running the way that I would have liked due to some injuries since March but with the lack of running I have seen a return to form on the bike and I was hoping to see an improvement in my swim since I finally started doing structured group swims about 2 1/2 months ago. Mike Duffy and I got to Cambridge before noon on Saturday, picked up our packets and wandered the expo before heading off to our home stay to drop our gear and go for a short swim and ride. Our home stay also included Roy Cheeks, Lynn Lascola, the Nissenbergs, 2 pros from New Zealand and pro female Margie Shapiro. She decided to join us for our workout and we headed to the water. We swam for about 10 minutes and by we I mean Margie happened to enter and exit the water the same time as the rest of us mere mortals and did around 30 minutes on the bike. Racked the bikes, went to dinner with most of the Mid Maryland Army and then called it a night. Woke up at 4:15, ate breakfast, packed my bag and we started the 15 minute walk to transition. After setting up I was out of transition by 5:15 with a good 3 hours to wait before my swim went off! Lara came down in the morning after doing the MS Century the day before in Chestertown so I went to help her carry her cooler and then we hung around and waited... and waited, and waited!
Swim: 46:21(2:19/100M) 77/80AG 1680/1749 Overall
Yes you are reading that time correctly! Most people know that I have always been possibly the worst swimmer in the club. I have never covered the 1.2 mile distance in under hour training or racing and my official PR was 1:08. I started doing structured group swims at Lifetime Fitness under the watchful eye of Rob Reber and while I was feeling a little more confident I still didn't know what to expect. Rob pulled me aside before he went down and told me to start slow, stay calm, get long and just pretend that I could hear a pendulum ticking over on my back. The gun went off, there was some thrashing but then I felt like I settled into a rhythm(this has never happened to me). I was counting my strokes and sighting after every 10 to remain consistent and calm and was making sure to exhale deeply with every breath. I never felt in difficulty or had to stop, grab a kayak, nothing! This also has never happened. When I exited the water I saw Lara and Susie standing there and Lara threw her hands up like, "WTF! Why are you here already!" She yelled 46 and I looked at my watch and thought I must have cut the course! After basking for a second it was off to T1 so my race could begin.
Bike: 2:47:29 (20.1mph) 43/80AG 821/1749 Overall
I was hoping the bike would be were I could make some time. My biking had really come around this year and after previously riding the course alone in 2:40 I was looking for a 2:35 but it was not meant to be. I took it easy for the first 4-5 miles to relax into a rhythm and once I was off of the access road I started to put the hammer down. My goal was to drink 3-4 bottles to stay hydrated and everything seemed on course for the first 20 miles or so. I was rolling through the waves ahead of me and my legs felt good. Somewhere on Smithville Rd I realized I wasn't sweating. My lips were dry and I was starting to get a headache. I started drinking more, pushing enduralyes and taking more food to compensate. I was never able to get back on track as I ended up going through 5 bottles and was still dehydrated when I got to T2.
As I left transition I felt terrible. At the aid station leaving transition I packed myself with ice and took multiple cups of fluid. I saw Lara and I went by I warned her that it wasn't going to end well. At about the 1/2 mile mark I started getting dizzy. My vision was a little hazy and blurry and I was having trouble just keeping my legs straight so I started walking. I came upon my friend Tony who was standing on the side of the road in an awkward position that simply screamed CRAMP! I walked over and he said he hamstrings and calves were locked up and he couldn't move. Another friend Fran Interlandi walked up and we decided to carry Tony to a small shaded column where he could sit. Fran continued on and I stayed with Tony until he decided to start walking again. We made it to the first aid station where I needed to sit. I sat under the canopy(thank you aid station volunteers) and drank 3 cups and used more ice. After a few minutes I tried to stand up and continue and simply fell forward never making to my feet. That was it. The race would be here next year and I was going to live to fight another day. I waited a bit more and then began what I can only describe as a death march back to towards the tent. There was lots of encouragement from other athletes and spectators offering my drinks but I just tried to keep moving forward. I gave my chip to a staff member near transition, stumbled through the racks and out towards the MMTC tent. Everything is a bit blurry and I don't remember who helped me to the tent, to a chair or started packing me with ice and cold towels but thank you. It is these people that make you realize how special of a group we have as I really had no idea what I was doing and was simply just moving. I want to say thank you again to everyone who looked over me, Lara for being there to support me and help me with my recovery and I am already planning on registering next year so that I can seek some revenge.