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Eagleman 2011

This was my third, and what will be my last time at Eagleman. This was my most disappointing race and first Did Not Finish (DNF) of any race I’ve done. I think I’ve decided that I don’t race well in the extreme heat/humid so why keep doing it when I have plenty of other races in cooler weather to choose from?

Swim (40:00)

The swim was a non-event. It was a non wetsuit swim so I wasn’t expecting a low 30s swim but thought I might have been a few minutes faster, but all in all not to bad. I was 3 minutes faster then last years also non wetsuit swim, but it’s hard to compare times since it’s a river swim with varying current and chop. But I moved up a few places overall and in the AG compared to last year so the swim is getting better.

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The start had some contact and pushing but settled down quickly and I took a good line around to the first turn buoy. The water was very calm this year without much chop and I didn’t have any trouble sighting. After the first turn I started catching up to stranglers from the earlier waves and had to do some weaving but it wasn’t to bad.

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One thing about this year was the water was very shallow. In fact if you really wanted to you could have walked in the last leg of course. I choose to swim in most of the way and only start walking about 20 yards from the finish.

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T1 

Was quick without having to worry about getting a wetsuit off and I was on my way.

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Bike (2:29)

The bike was what I expected. I had three section according to my race plan. The first section was 10 mile to get the HR back down after the swim and settle into a good rhythm. This section went well and I was right on plan and average 22 mph.

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The next and longest section was a bump up in HR for the next 30 miles. I was trucking along for this section still feeling great and average 23.4 mph for the this section.

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The last part was another bump in HR for the last 16 miles. This section didn’t go as well as I couldn’t sustain the higher HR but was only a couple of BPMs below where I should be so I wasn’t to concerned. The speed dropped a bit down to 22.2 mph but that was more a result of riding into a headwind during a long stretch and being on some bumpier roads.

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What I’m more interested in is the drop of 30 watts average power during this section. I have noticed a lot of drift in the power #s during my longer training rides and I think something might be wrong with my powertap or could be an actual drop-off in power, but I find it hard to believe I averaged over 22mph on only 206 watts.

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T2

In and out quickly with no issues

Run

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This is where it all fell apart. On the bike I followed my nutrition plan just like I have been doing on my long rides and I’ve never had issues in the past. But I was a little worried how the run was going to turn out because around mile 50 I got a little cramp in my foot while biking but it managed to work itself out.

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The run started with heavy legs as expected but I started moving along at just under an 8 minute pace which was where I wanted to be at this point. I got through the first two miles fine and was starting to feel better until getting near the mile 2 aid station when my legs started to feel really tight in my hamstrings and both sides of my knees (IT band?).

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I slowed down to pick up some water and my legs locked up and cramped really badly on me. Remembering my med tent adventure from last year this had me really worried. I grabbed a banana and some Gatorade and kept walking for 2-3 minutes and my legs finally loosened up so I could start “running” again but now my stomach was mess. I made it two more miles before my stomach was on the verge of revolting and starting to cramp. My legs didn’t feel too bad and my HR wasn’t out of control but my stomach just wouldn’t let me run. I was reduced to running until my stomach wouldn’t let me and then walking until I could start running again. I did this until about 8 when my stomach just wouldn’t let me run anymore. I walked for the next 2 miles but I started to feel some cramps in my calves coming on so I made the decision to drop out of the race and end my day.

Post Race

Obviously I’m very disappointed in my race. I’ve done a number of 4 hour rides with race intensity for the last hour this spring and hopped off the bike to run sub 7 min per paces without feeling wiped out so I know I was in great shape for this race. It’s just tough that my body decided to quit on me today. This was especially disappointing because my run has been the most improved and consistent part of my races so far this year; I got off the bike in 15th place in my age group and really thought I was capable of running my way into the top 10. 

But after my med tent trip last year and disappointing race this year I think I have finally learned my lesson that I don’t race well in the heat and humidity and will not be back at Eagleman next year. I’m leaning towards doing Mooseman or maybe another race. I’m also going to stay away from heat and go to the other weather extreme and do what is sure to be a cold race at Ironman Poconos this October.

Eagleman Race Report Part 1

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This was my most disappointing triathlon race so far, I had a solid  four months of training this spring. I was 15 lbs lighter then last years race  and to have this dud of a race is very disappointing.  

Pre Race

Unlink most races the pre race activities were actually very busy for me. It was a very early morning with the alarm going off at 4am. I stayed in Salisbury so I had a half hour drive to the race site but because my Dad was volunteering at the race we got to park inside the Great Marsh Park and I could sit in the car and see my bike in the transition area.

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The problem was when I went put the rest of my racing stuff with my bike I was surprised to see that my back tire had blown out and gone flat. That’s not too big of a deal as it is usually just a quick inner tube change. But this was different, the wheel cover that I use to turn my power meter training wheel into an aerodynamic disc had cracked. I think the tire just blew out and the force cracked the plastic cover.

This left me with a difficult choice, I have an older deep section race wheel from before I got my power meter. So I could either take the cover off and use a standard wheel with the powertap or I could use my old race wheel and not have power to pace myself. I have ridden the course multiple times and had a good idea of what my goal watts should feel like so I decided to go with the aero wheel without power meter since it would give me the fastest setup. 

Swim 43:12

The other interesting prerace news was that the water was 79 degrees which means no wetsuits. That’s not a big deal for me, I’m a decent enough swimmer. It just means that I would swimming a few minutes slower.image

This year’s swim course was a bit different then last year. Everyone swam out to the end of the boat ramp and we had a deep water swim start.

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The swim start was actually very calm for a big Ironman and I only got kicked once or twice in the first couple hundred yards and then it was clear sailing until I would catch up to the stranglers in an early wave.

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I was feeling really good during the swim and took what I thought was a good line. So I was very disappointed when I got out of the water and saw 42 minutes, I was really expecting to see 35-36 minutes.

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I think what happened is I took the long way back to shore after the last turnaround. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture below. The red buoy is the swim finish and you can just make out the orange turn buoy if you look into the background. Instead of going right to the red buoy (which you are allowed to do) I tried to stay closer to the yellow sighting buoys which you can see obviously added some distance to my swim.

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T1 1:44

I didn’t have a wetsuit to take off so this was quick.

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Bike 2:34:20

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The race plan was to take it easy for the first half hour at around 210 watts for the first half hour and then go up to 220 watts for the rest of the ride. But because I didn’t have my powermeter I had to improvise and go by heart rate and perceived effort. I biked the course 3 times this spring and this was the calmest I have seen the wind.

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Being in one of the last waves the course can get really crowded and this year was no exception but most people were good about staying to the right and letting the faster people pass. I spent most of ride passing people and for the middle twenty miles found someone going about the same pace as me so I kept him about ten yards in front of me and let him make sure people were moving over to the right to pass.

I was expecting a big headwind like usually for the last 10-15 miles but it wasn’t there which was nice. Mentally it seemed like the bike just flew by and I was back to the park and done before I knew it.

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Because of the lack of wind I managed to average just under 22 mph for the ride which is a couple minutes faster then last year, but since I didn’t have the power data I don’t really know if this ride was truly better then last year or not.

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Looking at my hear rate chart I did a good job of following the plan I improvised and I don’t think this was what lead to my run performance. 

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T2 1:49

Another quick transition but the fact that my back is covered in dry salt from my sweat is a sign of the bad things that are on the way.

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Run Death March  2:30:22

This was a complete and utter disaster. 

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The plan was to run ~ 8 min miles for the first 3 miles to get my legs under me and then drop the pace down to 7:30. I didn’t feel to bad coming out of the transition and got through my first three miles at an 8:15 pace.

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I tried to pick up the pace up after three miles and my legs were having none of that so I settled back in at an 8 min per mile pace for next mile and then I just blew up.

This was the worst I have ever felt during a race, my legs would not let me run. The heat and humidity just wore me out and I was done. I was only able to run for a quarter mile at a time and then I would need to walk again. It was so frustrating because I knew from all my training I was capable of these paces and I wanted to keep running but it just wasn’t happening. It was a run/walk suffer fest for the next nine miles.

My heart rate would start to shoot through the roof when I would try to run at an easy pace and I would start see one or two spots out of the corner of my eye until I started to walk again. Once I got to mile 11 it turned into mostly walking for the next mile. 

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I walked until I got to the finish tunnel and then jogged down the finish line to a disappointing finish time .

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Post Race

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And this is where all the fun starts. But that will have to wait until part 2.

Quick Eagleman Update

I had a really tough day out there today. To everyone’s surprise the swim was a non-wetsuit swim so I obviously swam slower then if I had the wetsuit but it wasn’t to bad. The winds weren’t to bad and I had a solid bike ride setting a new PR at just over 2:30:00. But then the wheels came off on the run, I made it 4 miles before I completely broke down and had to run/walk the rest of the way. And to top it all off I got to spend 90 minutes in the medical tent after I finished the race.

Everything is fine, I was just very dehydrated. I’m out of town the next couple days so I’ll try to get my report up by Wednesday, there is going to be plenty to write about.

Another Big Weekend

My buildup towards the Eagleman race in June is progressing well and I had another weekend of training.

Thursday

I got off a a cross country flight and then went for my long. I was expecting it to be a complete disaster but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. Last week’s long run was a mess so it’s nice to see a good one this week.

Friday

I had a short ran and swim. The swim went well with most of 100 times in the 1:30’s which is fairly good for me. Plus, I had a dentist appointment and didn’t have any cavities!

Saturday

I wanted to go to Cambridge and ride the area around the Eagleman course for my long ride but the Six Pillars century ride was going on so I switched my weekend rides and did my 2 hour ride and 30 min run today.

I also went and put some money on the Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately I lost. I got the #2 horse correct, but the #1 horse got boxed in on the home stretch and wasn’t able to get to the front.

Sunday

Today I went out to Cambridge for my long ride and I had a really good one. I needed to ride longer then the Eagleman route so I did one loop of the Chesapeakeman course.

I like going out to ride the course a couple times before the race because the terrain is pancake flat which is different then the rolling terrain near me.IMG_1714_edited-1

It’s reassuring to know that I can go 3+ hours riding in the aerobars for most of the ride. I also get an idea of what kind of time I’m going to able to do for the race plus it gives me an idea of how to handle different weather conditions.

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Unlike last time when it was cold and calm, today was hot and windy. So I had some sections where I was putting out 290 watts with a 16 mph and others where I was coasting with 100 watts and going 21 mph.

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I found this intersection interesting. It’s my first and which way is the road? Do both of them have the same name?

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After the ride I found an AWESOME Pig place in Easton MD. Which I plan on going to whenever I go out to Cambridge for a bike ride.

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Then it was time to come home and pack for another work trip this week.

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Eagleman Pre-Ride

On Saturday I went out to Cambridge to ride the Eagleman course to get accustomed to riding in the wind and staying in the aerobars for long periods of time since it’s so flat. I plan on doing this several more times before the race in June.

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The weather forecast was looking good and was suppose to be in the high 70’s but it turned out to be overcast and cold, it was probably in the high 40’s when I started. Luckily I had a coat and two pairs of arm warmers with me and I was to use one as an improvised pair of leg warmers which worked out good and I used for the first half of my ride. DSC00517_edited-1

I have ridden this route three times including the race and training rides but this time I managed to get extraordinarily lost as evident by my GPS track. It should head towards the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and make a circle back towards the start and that is not what I did.

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I started to follow the pavement markings for the Chesapeake Man race but I soon learned that is a different course when I saw a lot of unfamiliar terrain. And I managed to lose the markings for the Chesapeake Man route which is my dead end up in the top left.  But for this area everything is flat and windy so the fact I didn’t ride the actual course isn’t that big of a deal. I got to see some sites I wouldn’t have gotten to see like some more waterfront views:DSC00500_edited-1

And a couple of goats:DSC00498_edited-1

As for my actual ride it wasn’t a steady effort but I had a series of intervals to do for the ride and it was really interesting to see the impact of the wind. For the first few there wasn’t much wind and I was averaging 23 mph but for the last few I had a side/head wind and at the exact same wattage (+/- 5 watt average) I was only going 19 mph. And because everything is pancake flat that 4 mph difference was due entirely to the wind.      DSC00526_edited-1 DSC00533_edited-1   

After riding I drove out to Assateague Island park near Ocean City and I was freezing at the beach because I only packed a pair of shorts and it was overcast and windy. I decided to see if digging a hole to sit in would help me stay warm but it did not work. So I went with the conventional blanket route instead.

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This is the beach where horses from the national park will occasionally walk out to beach and I have seen this many times. But I saw a new one on this trip to the beach, people brought their own horses to ride on the beach.DSC00616_edited-1

And then on the way out of the park one of the wild horses wanted to meet the new horses.

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I wrapped up the weekend with a two hour ride and half hour run on Sunday for another solid weekend on training. Next week I have the cherry blossom 10 miler on Sunday and the week after that is the first triathlon race of the year!    

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