T1 - 3:09
Bike 2:49:42 (19.8mph)
Run 2:14:20 (pace 10:16)
Miles and mixed miracles with Mid-Maryland!
It was great to be out there in MMTC gear for the first time, enjoying all the supporting cheers and cheering on team-mates (even though I don’t know too many members’ names yet). This was my first time on the Eagleman course and my first race in about two years.
The first miracle for Ayumi and I was that we were able to find a hotel, after accidentally reserving a room on-line in “Easton USA” …(FYI, that’s the one in Pennsylvania!). Second miracle was the wetsuit legal swim! And honestly, that was the calmest water, and the best-behaved wave I’ve ever raced with. Sadly, as soon as I hit the pavement on the bike, I realized the front tire was flat. I stopped and pulled off my spare tire (I like to keep it taped to the back of the seat) but as I got ready to start tearing the tire off, I thought “maybe someone punked me and just let the air out” so I decided to risk one of two CO2 tubes and just air it up to see if it was really flat. It seemed to hold a good amount of air, so even though it was a little soft, I decided to see how far it would last. Rather than risk using both CO2s and having no recourse at all should I get another flat, I rode all the way on a soft front tire, taking care to shift my weight back whenever I could see bumps in the road. I was happy that I didn’t have to spend another 5-10 minutes actually changing the tire. After that, the bike went well enough, aside from being really annoyed by the blatant drafters! (Really? There are draft legal races you know!) I was happy to make it to mile 40 in close to 2 hours, but as anticipated slowed somewhat after that. I simply hadn’t been getting in enough time in the saddle. Since I knew I was undertrained, and therefore couldn’t take this race too seriously, I treated myself to a stop in the blue portal of bladder-relief bliss, and leisurely headed out on the run. The run is where I was most undertrained, and it really didn’t seem as hot as my last two races back in 2010, (but in fact, it was). I had only taken 3 salt tabs on the bike, and had run out of water between each aid station. Despite drinking more Gatorade than usual because of that, I was probably rather dehydrated at the start of the run-sadly, without realizing it. I felt some cramping in the quads close to the start and took two more salt tabs quickly, and prepared mentally to ease up but try to stay steady. Well, despite sucking down as much water as I could at every aid station, and putting ice in my cap, shorts, and shirt, I just couldn’t get moving any faster, and started getting stitches in my side, so I was disappointed when I had to walk a bit at points in between aid stations, not just through them. Whenever I walked, I tried to walk with someone else who was also walking, and to chat a bit, encourage them, and try to start jogging again after a minute or so. Along the run, I was really amazed to still be catching up with my elders from the wave in front of me. Respect. It wasn’t until mile 4 or so that I caught up to the 2nd oldest gentleman in the race (78). He told me about the 82 year old, that I think we were both still chasing! On the return portion of the run, I continued to enjoy cheering on Mid Marylanders, but at one point the delusion set in and I called out to someone “Ganbatte” and a couple people looked at me like I was crazy, I guess it must have sounded like a profanity. Sorry – it just came out – So, if you ever race in Japan – that means “Hang in there” or “Go for it!”
Warning: due to the graphic nature of this portion of this race report, reader discretion is advised:
So, when it comes to race nutrition, we talk about figuring out what works for you, and I clearly still need to find a different product, or learn to take more salts/endurolytes earlier. Taking too many later in the race resulted in my body rejecting them in an exorcist-green-vomit style. Although it wasn’t a painful wretch, it probably sounded that way. I didn’t realize my stomach has its own set of vocal chords… and sadly, my intestinal karaoke is no better than my regular attempts. Well, after stopping briefly and wretching several times, I finally saw one little white pill among the expellant, and felt much better after that. In the end, my return split was only slightly slower than the first ½.
Despite the delusions of finish times I was having after the swim and bike, I am quite satisfied with a 5:46 overall time – or anything under 6 hours given my less than ideal training.
So, we continue to learn that endurance racing is all about being as well prepared as possible, and perhaps the most important preparation is being ready to overcome whatever inevitable obstacles arise.
I have the utmost respect for everyone who was out there, and a special Congratulations to all the first-timers at this distance!