Eagleman 2009...was supposed to be alot of things--a chance to set a killer pr, a chance to hang with Jen C and party, a chance to prove my new bike fitness. Well, I guess a 2 minute pr is still a pr, but not the 20-30 mins that I had hoped. And hanging with the Mashburns and RTC folks was good, but I missed hanging out for martini happy hour post race at the hotel with Jen. As for the bike fitness, I still suck at riding in a headwind.
This man probably thinks I'm stalking him: (me and Michael Lovato just before the pro start)
A quick picture with Jen H just before her start:
Swim: They changed the swim course since the boat ramp is under construction. But that was fine, since I only remember how stinky with boat fumes the chute was two years ago. Yuck. We started in the protected cove where ChesapeakeMan swim was. Yey! No current/chop and a great sight line. Then a turn, swim past the boat ramp, and a right turn back to shore where we started the race in 2007. My goal was to put my head down and swim--not dick around and chat with kayakers or other swimmers. For the first 1/2 mile, there was this chick in my AG who could not for the life of her swim straight. Someone should tell her coach and make her do lots of sighting drills. She swam zigzagging right in front of me, and kept cutting me off. Just think how much faster she'd be if she was swimming in a straight line. By the final turn, the fast men in the swim wave behind were passing us. Passing is a kind way to say they were basically swimming right over whoever was in their way. I guess if I was actually trying for a Kona slot I'd have to swim like that too. The water got more choppy at this point, but I kept my head down and made for the finish. My 2007 swim time was 42:21 mins. This year I swam it in 38:35 mins!
Again my goal in transitions was no dicking around. Get in get out. Shaved almost a minute off my time, even despite all the mud we had to run through. (4:21 in '07, 3:44 in '09)
The bike. I felt great. I had a good nutrition plan, and felt really strong. I made it through 40 miles of the bike in about 2:30, cruising along keeping a 19mph pace. I figured 16 miles, no problemo! Then the head wind. Shit. Whenever I caught up with anyone, or anyone passed me, we bitched about the wind. 2007 bike time 3:24:15, 2009 time 3:17:52. I did meet my goal to get in off the bike before Jen H finished her run. I passed her at about the 10 mile mark looking good.
T2, took time off from 2007. (4:11 in '07, 3:41 in '09) At this point I was down about 11:30 from my '07 time. I was hoping I could do at least as well on the run.
Run: The night before the race we had some loud thunderstorms go through, and the day of the race was overcast and quite cool. The sun came out on the run, and with a vengeance. I didn't feel like I needed to take in any salt on the bike since it wasn't hot--oops. I should've known that on a run with no shade like at Eagleman, any sun could really heat things up. I started out good--feeling like I had a steady, sustainable pace. At the first mile, Jen passed me on her way in. That girl was in the zone! She almost caught up with Jerome who was just a few hundred yards ahead. By the turn around at mile 7, things just started to hurt. I had been thinking that after IM training, a half would be a walk in the park. No. It all hurts. I had been running through all the water stops until this point, but then I had to walk them and find some salt. By the 10 mile point, I needed to be done and had to really push myself to not walk. That 11 minute cushion I had out of T2 was gone and my goal was just to get the darn thing done.
That finish line was bittersweet. Glad to have it done, time to go to Europe. Sad that it wasn't the race I thought I could do. Many times on that run I was questioning why I was signed up for something even more stupid. I could just go and spectate IMUSA and have a great time and not kill myself. There are lots of questions like this swirling around in my head. Maybe that's a blog post to come...