It feels ungrateful to complain about a 17 minute PR, but I was really hoping to go sub-5 on this outing. I trained well, tapered well; I made huge improvements on my run and bike, but ultimately crashed hard in my run. Whether this was a gap in pacing, nutrition, hydration, or conditioning I'm not yet entirely certain. Eagleman is a challenging course to race fast on, because the conditions cut out much of the forgiveness you can find on other courses.
But as Mike Tyson said (and quoted to me by the cookie monster (bobv) that morning): Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
Pei, the kids and I headed up to Cambridge Saturday after lunch with a friend. The drive was easy and we did packet pickup then dropped my bike. I ran into Mark Yost and Shawn Young. We scoped transition and then I begged off to check into the hotel. For dinner we went down and joined about two dozen other MMTC folks for dinner at the Washington Street Pub in Easton. Other than some slow service it was nice. Then back to Cambridge for a good nights sleep.
I did a different breakfast this time, trying to pack a few more calories into a more digestible package than the usual bagel. Two bottles of Ensure, a banana, and a blueberry poptart got me ready to go.
My friend Alec had come in from Seattle for the race and in exchange for borrowing a car he picked me up at the hotel and we drove off to the MS for the shuttle. On the bus we heard the news: wetsuit swim. I was frankly surprised, as the temps had been high all week. But hey, I'll take it.
Off to transition to set everything up. I continue to try and simplify my setup/traansitions, and think I've gotten them pretty close to optimal for me.
On the bike: 3xconcentrated bottle of Infnit on the downtube. Aerodrink filled with water. SCaps in my bento. Bike computer on and auto-paused. Helmet on the bars. Race belt in the helmet (since we have to wear it on the bike). Sunglasses on top.
On the ground. Towel. Bike shoes. Running shoes. Socks in case the taping on my blisters come off. Gels for the run. This time I added a hand-flask for water so that I could drink between aid stations on the run (this was based off a really hard run on this course last year due to the heat).
Once all set up, I headed over to the tent to put on my sunscreen, then sat in a chair talking and listening to tunes until my wave was ready to go. Took a gel 10 minutes prior to the swim start, then wandered over and put my wetsuit on right before entering the water.
The Swim: 33:44 (71/215, 540/2600)
I lined up on the far end of the start line, out by the buoy. M35-39 is a pretty big wave, and it gets tightly packed in by the shoot. Starting out by the buoy really things out the field. On the start I had almost no contact in the water. Almost no one to draft off either, but that's still a skill I'm working on.
I've been working on my swim for the past year or so, and it's finally started to click. I'm still not a great swimmer, but at least I'm now solidly at the front of the MOP. I hit a rhythm and stuck to it. Tried to sight off my fellow swimmers as much as possible. The water was perfect. Any warmer and the wetsuit would have been hot.
10 minutes off last years swim time (told you I was slow) makes me very pleased.
Suit off, shoes on, sunglasses on, race belt on, helmet on, go.
The Bike: 2:26:12 (26/215, 181/2600)
Over the past 8 months working with Mike Matney, I've really seen improvements on my bike. I had done the Devilman half-lite race a couple weeks ago to try and fine-tune my pacing for Eagleman, and I had come out and ridden the Eagleman course fast a couple times with Shawn, so I had a pretty good idea of what I had in me.
I took the first couple miles relatively easy at a high cadence trying to bring my heart rate down a bit from the swim and get used to being on the bike. Once I got to the cemetary, I dropped the hammer and targeted high z3/low z4 intensity, or about 220-230w.
The bike went smooth and I really felt in the zone. I drank from my aerodrink frequently, took a big mouthful of infinit every 5 miles, and took a SCap every hour. I took water at most the water stops, and went through 4 bottles of water on the bike. I felt full, hydrated and good. And cruising. Passed tons of people on the bike. Got passed only by one guy.
Around mile 38 I finally caught up and passed Alec.
Great bike for me. 10 minutes faster than last year and felt great coming off it.
Coming into T2 I though I was golden. I was right at the 3 hour mark, felt good, and a 2 hour half-mary should have been a cake walk.
I had a unclipping issue at the dismount line and fell, which caused me enough distraction that I left my gels for the run in transition. Even with the fall and putting on socks (my taping had come off) my T2 time was respectable.
The Run: 2:08:23 (66/215, 410/2600)
As I came out on the run I felt quite good, but a bit hungry. That was when I realized I left my gels. Damn. My plan was to try and run 8:30s for the first 2-3 miles, then move up to 8:00s. I should have adjusted this plan for the heat. After 3 miles I found myself slowing, not speeding up. I took two cups of fluids at every aid station and nursed off my hand flask. Around mike 4 I started walking the aid stations and took an Scap and a gel from the buffet. Around mile 7-8 my jaw started to cramp up, which I think is a sign of dehydration/electrolyte imbalance for me. I really felt done. I took another SCap.
Shortly thereafter I started walking outside of aid stations. This for me is a death blow. So hard to get started again once I start walking outside of the aid stations. I ended up walking quite a bit in the last 5 miles. Around mile 11 Tim Jardeleza passed me. What a role reversal - last year I had passed him looking like what I must have looked like. I tried to hang onto him for as long as possible.
I gave the last mile all I had and was never so glad for a icy towel as when I crossed the finish line. A 17 minute PR off last year, but a slower run. Need to crack the Eman run.
Dawn runs an awesome tent. Can't say enough. I sat there until ready to go home. Two days on, I'm still a bit sunburned.