The quick version:
I swam in salt water really fast, road my bike for 3 hours, and then ran in the oven that was Cambridge, MD.
The long story:
I left Myrtle Beach on Thursday afternoon to head up to Virginia. After laying around all day at Adam’s apartment on Friday we departed Saturday morning for Cambridge, MD. The drive was long and there was a lot of beach traffic, but we made it only a little behind schedule. After checking in we unloaded the bikes and road the run course before leaving my bike for the night in the transition area. We had a short 30 min drive to the hotel followed by delicious dinner at Olive Garden and some Top Gear episodes before the 9pm bed time.
The next morning came quick with the alarm going off at 3:15am. Downed my oatmeal and grabbed the coffee to go. Got to the race site around 5am along with a lot of other racers starting to file in as well. Transition space was pretty tight, so I got in and got out quick to get away from the crazy people. We found a grassy area to finish some pre-race snacks and people watch before it was time to get down to business. Once they started calling for the pro’s to head to the swim we headed over to the swim start to see them off. There were a lot of waves ahead of mine so there was about 30ish minutes from the first pro wave to when I actually got to start. I was really looking forward to the swim that morning and I was super excited to wear my new swimskin until they announced that the water temp was wetsuit legal. I was caught in the dilemma of wearing my new gear or going with the wetsuit. The majority of people were all busting out their wetsuits and so I decided to follow suit. The skinsuit was going to be fast but the wetsuit was going to be faster, especially since almost everyone else was in wetsuits as well. The swim went extremely well. The first bit was a long stretch of buoys and I was mostly alone on this part. After the turn I was able to get a pretty good draft off one of the other swimmers and we cruised along until the next turn when I lost her. It didn’t matter much because I was still feeling really good, and the next thing I knew I was passing guys from the wave before me.
Once on the bike it was time to settle into a pace and go. About 10 miles in heard something drop off my bike and clink as it hit the pavement. Another racer said that it was just a CO2 cartridge. I looked back and saw it rolling in the opposite direction. I let it go and decided the other one that was still attached to the bike would be enough if I needed it. A little while later while a guy was passing me he said that one of my bottle cages was starting to fall off the holder. I reached back and sure enough it was practically dangling upside down. I pulled over and saw that one of the two bolts holding it on was gone. I secured it with a velcro strap I had and continued on my way. About 10 miles later I heard a terrible rattling noise. I stopped again and found that not one but both bottle cages were falling off and the only thing holding the whole thing together was 1 of the 6 bolts that is supposed to be holding it together. I reattached things with the velcro straps the best I could and hoped for the best. I sort of lost my groove I had, but was able to get things going again into the wind. The last 10 miles really dragged on and I was ready to be done with the bike. As I rolled into the bike finish I spotted my race crew / photographer for the day.
I was ready to come off the bike and have that odd feeling of my legs feeling like jello as I started the run, but I ran through the run start line and my legs felt for lack of a better word awesome. I started out at 8:30 pace and was starting to think to myself that the run might go alright. A little over a mile in and everything changed. Everything was feeling good except the oven that was Cambridge, MD.
No matter what I tried I just could not keep my body running. Most of the first half of the run I would run 100 strides and then walk 20 steps and repeat. It was the only thing that was working and so I stuck with it. At the aid stations I would take a three cup mixture of water (for my head), Ice (down the shorts), and Gatorade to drink. It would feel good for about 50 yards and then it was hot again. The second half of the run seemed to go a little better than the first, but it was still really really slow. Finally made it in to the finish, slower than I wanted to be, but glad that I was done. It was hard to not be upset about the disappointing run, especially with the months of preparation that went into this, but it is what it is. Bottom line is that I went out and did something really hard, finished it, and now know what I can improve on.
Don’t know yet if there are any other races for this summer, but Ironman Coeur d’Alene next June is already on the race calendar for 2013.
On a side note I would like to thank Adam for being the race crew for the weekend. Along with GU energy for providing me with a sweet deal that literally fed me on the bike and run. As well as Rudy Project and their awesome sunglasses.