Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Eagleman 70.3 2015 Race Report

Sweet medal. Photo credit to

Half Ironman number 3 is in the books! It was a crazy hot race weekend, but definitely a fun one. Here's how it went down;

Check-in and weekend buildup

Located in Cambridge, Maryland's Sailwinds Park, athlete village was tucked away into what seemed like a pretty small area, complete with the usual retailers and massive Ironman store. Check-in was held in the park center gym (?). I got there Friday afternoon when things were pretty quiet, so my check-in was really quick and painless. I hit the store to give WTC some more of my money, because the hundreds of dollars on registration just want enough.

In terms of accommodations, there aren't so many hotels in the area, and things get booked very quickly. By the time that I registered in January, everything was gone. An option that came up was to rent this awesome house about 15 minutes from transition, that slept up to 18 people. I spent a few months posting on different Facebook pages gathering stranded athletes, and so this weekend we held The Real World; Eagleman. Honestly, it was awesome having athletes from all across the country to hang out and share stories with.
Yuuup...sure beats a hotel room
Hung out in the pool over the weekend,

View from the back

Riverbank beach walkway.

Race Morning

Just a typical triathlon house before 5AM
At 4:30AM, the house was wide awake. Most people were munching on bananas and oatmeal with a side of fresh coffee. Last minute preparations and then we made our way to Transition. I got there around 5:30, got body marked (sadly, not Tri Tats), and got my area set up. The biggest challenge was that I have a pretty large Transition bag, and we were not allowed to lay out bags along the fence. I got lucky because a couple athletes near me didn't show up, so I stashed my bag in their spot, but I don't know what I would have done otherwise.
Just me and 3,000 friends at 5AM

Race start and swim

The male pros started at 6:40, and the women followed shortly after. My AG was the last wave -once again- , so I had to hang around until 8:17. Wetsuits were not legal for this race, but I wore a skinsuit.
The first couple hundred meters were so shallow that you could easily stop and stand. I did some standing and dolphin diving because, well why not.
The swim was a simple out and back loop. At the first turn, I checked my time and was disappointed to see I was at 25 minutes. In the pool, I'd been doing the full distance in about 35 minutes,so I was frustrated that I was going so slow. Honestly I felt like I was moving pretty well, but my time said otherwise.
I finished up the return part of the swim,and the last 100 meters or so was once again shallow. Even though I told myself that I should swim for as long as I could, I ended up trying to walk through the water. Big mistake there. Wading through the water like that burned my quads and was probably slower than swimming. I was already frustrated with my slow swim, especially considering all the swim training I've been doing. After the race, I found out that many people had slow swims, likely due to a strong current, and also a possibly extended swim course. Many were commenting online that their watches recorded 1.4 miles rather than the prescribed 1.2 . Final swim time: 55 minutes.
Take-away on the swim:
  • practice open water more prior to a race
  • practice sighting
  • do more drills
  • learn to kick!

T1 and Bike

I took my time in T1 because I was already frustrated and didn't think an extra minutes or 2 would make a difference. I put on 2XU calf sleeves that were not allowed for the swim, socks helmet sunglasses, and prepared my nutrition. For the bike, I had prepared enough Perpetuem for a 3 hour bike ride. I had also loaded my Saltstick dispenser with Hammer Endurance Aminos, and had a plastic vial with Endurolyte capsules.
Eagleman is pretty well known for being very flat, hot, and a little windy. It all lived up what was promised. My plan was to take alternating Aminos and Endurolytes every 15 minutes, and drinking water.
The first two thirds of my bike were great. I think I was averaging around 21mph, and feeling strong. Then….I died. As I had read would happen, after about mile 35 the wind picked up, and it started to get very hot. My pace dropped significantly, and I found it increasingly difficult to stay in aero position. I had been hoping to finish the bike in under 3 hours, but ended up going a little bit over.
Final bike time: 3 hours, 16 minutes
Take-away on the bike:
  • Make sure to get in the long bike rides during training
  • Train in aero for longer
  • Work on bike power in the off-season

T2 and Run

My T2 was a little faster, though still long for my standars. At 3 and half minutes, I sure wasnt hustling but I’m ok with that. i had to find my spot and rack my bike, change shoes (regular laces, not lock-laces), and apply a new coat of sunscreen. Boy was that ever useless. At the point that I started it was at least 80F outside, and there is very little shade cover. It took a little while to get my run legs back, and so my first mile was surprisingly tough. Well...the next 12 miles were no cakewalk either. It was hoooooot. Apparently the Real-feel at time was over 100F. Aid station were spread out about every 1.5 miles. To their credit, the aid station were pretty well stocked. In general, they had ice-water, ice, wet sponges, GU, orange slices, bananas, pretzels, chips, and friendly volunteers. My basic “strategy” was to survive for as long as I could between aid stations. I ran when I could, and then walked when I couldn't. I made a lot of friends along the way, taking the chance to make quick joke with other athletes about the heat, the awesome tan lines we would have, and anything else to take our minds off of the general pain we were in. At the aid stations, I’d double fist ice-water, toss ice in my hat, in my top and sometime…..down my pants. Gentleman, this last point felt amaaaaaazing. I also tucked sponges under the shoulder-straps of my top. I’d often carry a cup of ice for a while after each station to chew on and sip freshly melted water for as long as it would last. I continued to pop Endurolyte capsules every half hour or so, and had 4 Hammer Gels that really provided nice bursts of energy to help me run.
There’s no other way to say it other than that the run was painful. My feet had been damp for 6 hours, and I could feel blisters forming. My shoulders were burning and there wasn’t much I could do about it other than ignore the pain and focus on finishing. What could I have done differently? Honestly I don’t know. Maybe try to run in the heat more? Who knows. The one “good” point was that I basically even split it, covering the first half in 1:14:59 , and the back half in 1:14:48 . Overall pace was 11:26 / mile.
Final run time: 2:29
Take away from the run:
- HOT!!!!!!!
- Yeah that’s all I got

Property of Finisherpix...someone want to buy it for me?

Final Total time: 6:50

Overall, Eagleman truly lived up to what I had read to expect. The swim was a little rough, the bike was flat, windy, and hot, and the run was a furnace. Would i do this race again? Absolutely. what would I do differently? Maybe i’d take a small bottle of sunscreen with me on the run, or wear some kind of cooling bolero thing that I’ve seen people wearing.

Post race....i've got some pretty fun burns on my back, arms, and legs making for a pretty miserable week. After the race I kept up the tradition of downing a pint of Ben and Jerry's cookie dough Ice cream, a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion chips, and butt-loads of water.
Well deserved in my opinion

OK, this has probably been one of the longest race reports I’ve written, so I hope you’ve enjoyed it or found it useful

Have a good one, and keep tri-ing!

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