I committed to the 2013 Eagleman on June 10, 2012 while delirious and being packed with ice and cold towels at the MMTC tent. This race was the 1st DNF of my life and I needed to come back to prove that the race wouldn't defeat me. I had high hopes for the race when I signed up but due to a couple of foot injuries and a little bit of lost motivation the training wasn't what I wanted. My mind has been on Ironman Arizona and the training that comes with it that Eagleman kind of got lost in the shuffle. Lara and I drove down on Saturday. We had a home stay that was right around the 1 mile mark of the run which made it very convenient. Met up with Beth and Ben Olvey for dinner Saturday evening and then off to bed. We tried to keep everything as simple as possible. We woke up at 5am(another benefit of staying so close to the race), get dressed and out the door. Walked down to transition and went through the usual pumping of tires, nutrition and fluids on the bike, etc, etc, and then off to the MMTC tent. My wave went off at 8:30 so I had plenty of time to hang out, sleep, build a puzzle, etc before I went off. Helped with wet suits, relaxed, wished people luck and just enjoyed the atmosphere for the morning. I walked down to the swim start with Lara and wished her luck as she was about to compete in her first half ironman. Then it was back to the tent to finally put on my wet suit, eat my last breakfast, pray to the triathlon gods for little wind and then down to the boat ramp.
Swim: 40:57 (71 of 123 AG) 1:56/100 yards
I've spent the last year really working on my swim. I swam a 46 last year and was thrilled even though I was still 77 out of 80 in my division. I was hoping for a peaceful swim and was shooting for a 36 in that I have become much more proficient and comfortable in the water. It was not to be. The current felt strong and it appears everyone was 3-4 minutes slower than expected so I'll take it. Still a big improvement over last year. I lined up right in the middle of the pack this year looking to get in on the action. I've found that the 25-29 men swim like prize fighters. Heavy hands always aiming for the head! I fought with the pack for the first 100 meters or so and then moved to the inside of the sight buoys to allow the crowd to thin out. Felt comfortable the whole time and just kept plugging away. The water was very shallow and I hit the sand much sooner than I would've preferred so I had to run it in.
T1: 1:50 (8 of 123)
Nothing too exciting here. Wet suit off, helmet and shades on. Transition was a mud pit so shoes were on the bike. Ran through the mud, to the dismount line, mounted up and off for some fun!
Bike: 2:29:40 (23 of 123) 22.4mph
Now this was a good time! Prior to this race I had yet to have a chance to really race with the guys in my age group. In the smaller races I come out of the water in the middle of the pack and then bike to the front and try to hang on for the run. Well Eagleman brings a very high level of athletes so it was totally different. With learning how to swim I was able to come out of the water with a pack of strong cyclists. We settled into a 7 man group that played leap frog the entire swim. I was careful to maintain my 4 bike length gap but being in a group you really push each other. It also makes the miles fly by. The wind was minimal so we hammered through the course. On Smithville Rd my quads started to feel a little tired and I was worried that I was pushing too hard. I shifted down to an easier gear and increased my cadence. The feeling went away and we pushed on. After a quick down Egypt Rd(what a different the wind makes!)and through Dalesville when we turned onto the home stretch and I picked it up and left the remaining 2 guys from my group behind. My outside goal was a 2:30 bike but was going to be happy with anything under 2:40 so I was really cranking on the pedals when I came into the neighborhood and saw a 2:28 on my watch. I must say that I really enjoyed the bike portion of this race.
T2: 1:28 (6 of 123)
Again nothing exciting. Dismount with shoes on the bike. I picked my bike up on my shoulder so that I could run through the mud easier which was a real mess. It was hard to find solid footing but I made it through. Bike racked, running shoes on and I was out with number belt and hat in hand.
Run: 2:34:44 (102 of 123) 11:49/mile
Well what can I say about the Eagleman run? Well it's flat, not shaded and even on an "cool" day it's hot! I came out of transition feeling surprisingly good. My legs were a little tired but I felt strong. I had set my virtual pacer on my watch for a 8:00/mile to keep me from going out too hard. I was hanging right around 7:50-7:55 for the first 3 miles and all seemed well. Saw lots of MMTC out on course and was really enjoying the day. Then my stomach started to get upset. I back it down over the next 1 1/2 miles but it kept getting worse. I got to the point where I had to walk. I was resigned to running 1/4 mile and walking 1/10 mile to keep it manageable. I'm not 100% sure what caused the issue but I think that maybe I took in too much fluid. I was really concerned about hydration after last year and I think I went too far with it this year. My stomach felt bloated and sloshy. I saw Lara around the 8 mile mark for me(4 mile for her) and she looked great. She smiled, said she felt ok, gave me a kiss and she continued on her own journey. I slowly made my way towards to finish. It was the day I had wanted but when I passed the point where I blacked out last year I felt a sense of achievement and when I hit the final 1/2 mile I knew that while slow I was about to finish the course that finished me last year. I ran through the finishers chute where I was greeted by Andy Potts who gave me my medal. I had missed out on the medal last year so this one meant a lot to me. Walked over to the tent under my own power and feeling ok. I grabbed a chair, relaxed a bit and waited for Lara to finish. She came running in looking good, completely blowing away her expected finish time!
All in all I'm glad I came back. I had a lot to prove to myself and while I didn't have the race I wanted I earned that medal this year and had quite a bit of fun along the way. Now an easy week or two and the real training begins for Ironman Arizona!