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Ironman 70.3 Eagleman

This story really goes back to October, but as it is a “race report” and nothing more, I’ll spare you all the details of my training, nutrition and psychological roller coasters. Oh and by the way, the weather for the day was forecasted to be 93* and sunny. I do most of my training at 4:00 am and am not used to oppressive heat (foreshadowing).

Saturday:

I met up with Diane and her friend Tammy around noon. While I’ve been friends with both of them via facebook, twitter and Daily Mile for a while (no rhyme intended) this was the first I actually met either of them and they were brave enough to split a room with a relative stranger. We made the two and half hour from Media, PA to Cambridge, MD.  When we got there, we picked up our packets and racked our bikes. I have to admit to being a bit star struck as my bike was directly next to the pro racks, so I figured I’d be rubbing elbows with Crowie and Rinny.

We were lucky enough to get a tip about a great buffet that was being held at the Hyatt (aka: the hotel that I can’t afford to stay at). It turned out to be a pretty amazing spread put on for the athletes and we filled up on an early dinner of pasta and rice and beans etc. I even indulged in a little dirt pudding. I don’t know what that stuff is (and apparently I’m the only person who doesn’t) but it was great. Following dinner we set off back to the hotel for the anxiety-fest otherwise known as three triathletes in the same room double, triple and quadruple checking every bag they have. Eventually we were able to settle down and we got to bed in the area of 8:30.

Sunday:

My alarm went off at 4:15, although I had been lying awake since 3:30. Quick shower, bagel with peanut butter, banana and out the door, you know the drill. We drove to the local middle school where there was a shuttle to transition. By the time I got body marked, I had about an hour before transition closed. I was able to set everything up and get ready in plenty of time to stalk Rinny and Crowie who were only a few feet away. The pro men were starting at 6:45 and my wave wasn’t until 7:47. I watched a few waves to get an idea of how many people were in each, unfortunately, this didn’t calm me down much as it looked like a couple hundred in each one. Eventually we made our way into the water which was barely wetsuit legal, but beautiful and lightly salted as the we were swimming in the mouth Choptank River (I’m not making that name up).

SWIM: 32:09 Despite the name, the water was calm and me and 208 of my closest friend set off. Smooth sailing the whole way. I swam slightly to the left of the clockwise rectangle to avoid excess contact. My sighting was pretty good and the course was marked good, but not great. They definitely could’ve used smaller intervals between buoys. Before I knew it, I was slicing down the orange corridor of volunteers that marked the swim exit and into T1. I can’t complain about the swim time but I tend to inflate my ego sometimes regarding swimming, and it’s humbling when I think I’m awesome and only finish 48/208 AG. Oh well, there’s room to improve here I guess.

Swim Exit.

Bike: 2:39:46 I had heard horrible things about this bike course, about how it has deceptive false flats and how the headwind seems to be in your face the entire time at 25 mph. I can’t say that I agree the other’s assessment. I thought the course was pancake flat, and the wind was nothing like I had been anticipating. Most of the bike course in through the Blackwater Wildlife Preserve, so it’s fairly remote. There were times when you didn’t see a car for miles. I did see a few ambulances that were attending to cyclists which is always upsetting. We do this for fun and when it becomes threatening to our health because of a crash, or other medical issue, it really makes you think. Anyway, I can usually ride my bike in hot weather without much of an issue, and this was no different, but I’d say that I was very aware of the increasing heat. My plan had been to take it easy on the second half of the bike in order to set myself up for a decent run, but with the weather in mind I started to think that the run was gonna suck no matter what. I made the decision to continue hammering on the bike and finished feeling good, I was by no means bonking or anything like that. I had consumed about 60 oz of gatorade and 20 oz of Nuun. Plus I had about 5 oz of Hammer Gel in my flask. I was well fueled and hydrated. I knew my bike split was going to be one I was happy with, but I didn’t think I would be averaging over 21 mph. I’m pretty thrilled with that.

Run: 2:25:50 This is where my race report turns into a grim Edgar Allen Poe work. Prior to racing I thought that holding a 9:00/mile pace was a good goal, maybe a little conservative, but probably about where I should aim. I chomped on a Clif bar as I headed out of transition and by the time I got to the first mile marker, I was feeling the heat. I looked at my watch and saw 9:00 exactly. The problem was that it was very clear to me that 9:00 was not going to be a sustainable pace. Over the course of the next 12.1 miles, my pace got slower and slower. Around mile 4 I began to walk through the aid stations. I crossed the half way point with a 10:23/mile pace, which I’d have been happy to keep. But my death march only worsened. I was getting passed by so many people that I had to look down and make sure my feet were still moving because I’d have sworn I was standing still. The closer I got to the finish line, the more medical issues I was seeing. As we entered the neighborhoods close to transition, people partying in their yards were tending to people who had collapsed in front of their houses. After asking if there was anything I could do to help, I was encouraged to keep running. Afterwards it dawned on me that the people probably didn’t want another body on their lawn and looking at me, figured it was only minutes until I went down too. Anyway as I got to mile 12 I was able to pull myself together a little bit and finish strong. Crossing the finish line was totally surreal, not so much because of the accomplishment, but because of how over heated I was. I really is a blur to me right now. I literally walked straight through the finish line and into the water with my medal around my neck. I stayed in there for about 10 minutes. My final time was 5:44 which was 16 minutes faster than my baseline time I had given myself. I’m happy to have come in under 6 hours. I’ll take as a good day’s work.

Aftermath: I’m still digesting this whole thing, but there are a few things I’m very clear about. Eagleman is great race, it’s a fast course in a beautiful part of the country. Ironman puts on a top notch raceThe only complaint that I have is that they said there would be Endurolytes at the aid stations and there weren’t. I definitely could’ve used some. I’m very pleased with my swim and my bike, but I’m sure that I have a ton of work to do on my run. I need to work on my sensitivity to heat and also probably need to drop a few pounds. I’m at least 10 pounds heavier than where I’d like to be and that showed on the run. I had a lot of anxiety leading up to this race. It was a destination race, I was staying with people I didn’t know well, I’ve never raced an Ironman event before and I didn’t know if had what it takes. All in all everything turned out awesome. It was an amazing experience that left me hungry for more. I’m uber-grateful to everyone who has supported me through this, particularly my wife, who feigns interest like nobody’s business. It ain’t her thing, but she pretends with the best. Also to my twitter crew who are a constant source of knowledge and inspiration, Jason, Greg, Chuck, Kc, Jenn and Dave (@Dtrmn8r). The folks on Daily Mile are too numerous to mention, but you know just the right moment to call me out or kick me in the ass and it means the world.

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About paddyb76

Aspiring triathlete and endurance athlete. Husband, father and teacher. Always seeking a better life.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Ironman 70.3 Eagleman

  1. Dude this is just great. So super psyched for your accomplishments as I texted you already today.

    This sport is both uplifitng and humbling at the same time. This is why I love it so much.

    Keep working at it and all will fall into place.

    Posted by Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race | June 11, 2012, 9:24 pm
  2. Congrats again man! I heard his race wasn’t easy and I’m stoked for you. I still stand by your decision to scale back from a full Ironman this year… and look- you BALLED OUT at this race.

    Inspiration baby

    Posted by Feerlessfood | June 12, 2012, 12:20 am
  3. Love your race report! I tracked you the entire time and damn what a swim and bike. I’m especially jealous of your swim! You totally killed it and the bike was just as impressive. The heat is a killer, no doubt about it and even I still have to work to acclimate to it and I’m in it all year round. It’s doable, just not pleasant. Congrats Pat! Very proud of you.

    Posted by kristie concepcion (@140point6miles) | June 12, 2012, 8:39 am
  4. Hell of a job PB! You executed the game plan exactly how you planned and came across under your goal time! That my friend is the right way to finish your first attempt at any distance. Echo KC on swim & bike splits….HELL YEAH! What did you do for the electrolytes on the run? I know Jason & I use diluted First Endurance Liquid shot for both fueling & electrolyte replenishment. Still wouldn’t have been enough with the heat…endurolytes or salt tabs would’ve helped a lot for sure.

    Posted by @thelifeitri | June 14, 2012, 11:56 am
  5. You can’t put me on the list of people who said the bike course was deceptively flat. Pancake flat is spot on. That run course provide no shade, so it is brutal in those temperatures. See you at the Philly Tri on Saturday! – Shawn

    Posted by shevdog | June 19, 2012, 5:03 pm
  6. I’m so damn late catching up on everything!! First of all FANTASTIC race and report. Secondly, PLEASE let me know if you ever figure out a way to tolerate the heat. I live in the sauna of hell and train AT mid-morning to maximize acclimation….it doesn’t help. Like you, I can tolerate the ride, but as soon as my feet hit the ground my body says, “Are you freakin’ NUTS?” So I think you did fabulous….and yes, electrolytes would’ve helped….it’s the 1 think I HAVE found post-pone my bodies rebellion!! AND lastly (we must be kindred spirits) I always look at my swim times, expecting to be at least top 5 in my AG and am always eating some humble pie….Always some more to work on, eh??!!!
    Great job!!!

    Posted by jnkmiles.org | July 7, 2012, 8:38 am

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