Swim 46:11 div rank 42
Bike 2:54:22 div rank 30
Run 2:08:46 div rank 28
Prologue: I love this race, and knew I would register again as soon as I finished last year. I love the Eastern Shore, I stay with my brother while I'm there, and there's always a great group of MMTC and Team Fight support-plus, it's an Ironman event and well-run.
Over the fall/winter, I decided I would register for the Northface Endurance Challenge 50K trail run- first because I love trail running, and second in honor of my 50th birthday that week. The additional challenge became that NFE Challenge was 7 days before Eagleman. Two big races in 7 days- ok, probably not recommended, but I really wanted to do both and I was up for the challenge- nothing I can do about timing. :-)
I did the MMTC trail runs every Sunday starting in November every week through February. Many thanks to Matt Jacobsen and Josh Myers for their support and advice about trail running and most of all for pushing me! I ran the Mid Maryland Ultra 50K in February as a "practice/supported training run" with Pat MacNabb, Melinda Peters & Julie Rosicky- it was great to run with friends, practice nutrition, hydration and figure things out. Unfortunately, the week after, I went out for a run while at UNC and ended up with severe knee pain. It only got worse, so I went to my ortho. Fortunately, no tears, but needed PT and no running for 4 weeks, then a slow ramp up over the next 3. Things went well and while I didn't get the long runs in that I was hoping for, I did run the 10 mile loop at the Bagel Run every Saturday at a race pace--thank you Mike Lombardo and Dean Gray for pushing me! My run definitely got stronger, although definitely not enough time in the saddle, and even less in the pool. I only got 6 swims in before E Man after not swimming since October. I rode Six Pillars Century, a few shorter local rides, and one ride on the E Man course before the race.
Pre-race: up at 4 AM, picked up my standard per-race breakfast- egg mcmuffin and coffee, and headed to transition with Patrick. We got set-up then to the tent to get ready. For the first time since I've done Eagleman, I was in an early swim wave at 7:20.
My goal: finish under 6 hours.
Swim: I started on the inside near the front of my wave and got a good start. I felt good almost the entire swim- no panic, no stress as usually happens. I got hit in the head pretty hard right after the first turn buoy but was able to keep going. Unfortunately, I didn't sight well enough and ended up going off course a bit and had to correct. A nasty cramp in my left calf after the last bouy- that has never happened before. Stretched it out when I could stand before running out. Disappointing swim time- a couple minutes slower than last year, and frustrating because I actually felt good for once!
T-1: wetsuit took too long to get off but got ready quickly-bike shoes, helmet, glasses, race belt and bike- out pretty quick until I got the mud pit, oh I mean bike out!- there was a big guy in front of me who stopped, picked up his bike then tried to tiptoe through the mud-really? A couple of us yelled to move to the side so we could get by-pansy ass! (Even Sandi D would have run through, and her name is pansy ass!!) Even though it was early, the mud was pretty bad- I could feel the mud seeping through my shoes as I ran out. No issues clipping in at bike mount.
Bike: the bike felt great and I was able to keep a good pace. I started working my nutrition/hydration plan a few miles in and all was going well until I reached for my bottle of Skratch in the bottle cage behind the saddle. The bracket had loosened and was hanging down. I couldn't get the bottle out without stopping which I wasn't going to do so ... Plan B. I had extra gels and stinger waffles in my bento box just in case, so I used those and grabbed water as I rode through the aid station. It all worked fine, and I continued to work hard on the bike. I passed a lot of people during the bike leg, including 12 from my AG and lots of boys. Always amusing when they say something about getting chicked. For the first time in a race, I witnessed a lot of penalties being given out (drafting and crossing the center line-one of which was a DQ on the spot), and one nasty crash which I had to swerve to avoid ending up being a part of it. I was able to maintain a good pace, yet was disappointed that my second half was slightly slower than my first half. I talked to myself through, staying focused on nutrition, hydration, and pedal stroke. I got off the bike with a bike PR of over 7 minutes so was pleased.
T-2: the mud pit again, much worse this time after all the traffic before me. I could feel the mud squishing through my shoes as I ran. Racked the bike quickly but did take an extra minute to clean the mud off of my feet-I knew I would be glad later during the run. Visor, socks, shoes, out.
Run: I felt good and started the run strong. I grabbed ice for the sports bra at the aid stations, poured water on my head and drank some. The first couple miles went well and I was at or below my target pace. Around mile 6, I was fighting to keep up my pace, and slowed more that I wanted. I continued to run, but was getting frustrated that I struggled to maintain my goal pace. It became all about mental toughness at this point. Stay focused and push as hard as I could to finish strong. I began to notice some stomach issues that nagged but I pushed through. Too long at aid stations getting ice, water and adding orange wedges, coke and some pretzels to settle my stomach. After about mile 8, my toe began to hurt pretty bad- what the heck- never had that problem before! Again, keep pushing through, focus on pace, stride, finish. Not exactly the run time I was hoping for, but an E Man run PR for me and got me in under 6 hours so, I'll take it!
Susie was waiting for me at the finish and walked with me, took my shoe off for me and got me to Patrick, Christina and Pat. Pat had a cup of ice cold diet coke waiting for me! Once we got the the tent, Joanne was right there to refill the drink and bring a plate of fruit. Wow! Lots of MMTC and Team Fight at the tents, and always a great time! I recovered pretty quickly after the finish and was able to enjoy seeing everyone and hearing about race experiences.
I reached my goal of finishing under 6 hours, and with a bike and run PR....7 days after the NFE 50K. I'm happy with that!