I just love this early race. The VA country side is really nice and it’s such a great little event that Setup organizes. This year they moved the course at the last minute so I have very little intel from last year’s race. The bike was going to be in the other direction. The week I prepared for the race, I jumped into my wetsuit on my final pre-race swim. The water was too cold still to do an OWS so I did this in the pool. Never swimming in this suit even though I owned it for a year now, I needed some practice time just to be comfortable. Being a full suit, I did not realize that I was getting way overheated in the suit and got really dehydrated. I noticed this Friday morning and was like oh, I’m screwed. I tried rehydrating as much as I could but did not want to flush out my electrolytes either. I should have prepared this a bit more and certainly watched my hydration much closer in hind sight.

The swim was a brisk 65 degrees. I really liked the private spot of the swim but the walk down to swim start was painful barefoot. I should have gotten some cheap flip flops and saved my feet from the stone path and brush around it. The swim certainly beat my expectations time wise. I was hoping to free more but hey, I was able to mix it which was far better than where I was last year. Keep in mind, I did the sprint a year ago in 27 minutes. This year twice the distance in 33. I have problems sighting, finding swimmers doing free was the same speed as mine because I would not find a good pacing person or gap to swim in without interruption. Too slow and have to stop or too fast and I get run over. Plus the over correcting, I was zig zagging everywhere. Also, I felt really relaxed there and did not have a negative thought. I just need more practice with OWS and should be fine. Being that this was my first year in earnest with dedicating to freestyle. I was able to mix freestyle in (less than I had hope) but still showing progress. Once I got out of the water, it really took me some time to get my legs under me. Off to T-1 and up the hill.

Once I got out, it took some time to get my legs under me. I’m not sure if that is the norm or my level of skill and fitness. My T1 time needs major improvement. It took me some time to get the suit from my calves to off my feet. I could shave 1 minute and just be middle of the pack. Plus being a bit wobbly did not help much. Then putting my run belt on, cleats, helmet, glasses, pop a gel, it took forever to get out.

Once I hit the bike, I noticed my heart rate was already in Z4. This was the first time I swim with my HR strap and was thinking, oh maybe it’s some noise and I just ignored it for a bit. Once on the bike I was fine but my HR was at 170 right away. I kept my cadence where I wanted in the mid 90s when I would check. I was able to eat two gels on the bike and a 1/2 bottle of the perpetum. With about 2 miles left, my stomach was in bad shape. I felt like I got punched and was going to throw up. I’m not sure if it was gas buildup too from the swim taking on water plus trying to take so much nutrition in on the bike, but I felt like crap. I know that in Z4, you stomach is going to revolt and it started. This did not end until about mile 3 or 4 on the run.

Back in T-2, I was able to switch shoes and get on the run. Nothing too eventful. I thought I was pretty fast thru but the times really did not reflect it. Once on the run, we ran out to swim start as an out an back. I’m not one to run on loose gravel and was looking forward to the pavement. Once we got around transition and the parking lot about to hit the pavement, it was an immediate U-turn back down a gravel road. My ankles never felt stable and could not get in a grove. The entire run just flat out hurt. I was running in to my Newton Gravity shoes which have some pretty big mesh holes. As I’m running down around mile 2, I noticed that my feet were getting gritty and the dirt and gravel was starting to collect in my shoes. That really bothered me because I actually had my trail Newtons with me in the truck. By mile 3 or so, the stomach pains when to a blister on right above my arch that ended up being pretty big. Plus I had major cramps along my right side – from below the arm pit to the waist. I did not have anything left to even sprint through the chute. And that is the first time I have never done that.

Finally, on the way home, I really started to crash. So happy I was not driving. My stomach was so upset, I was just drinking water post-race and did not want to temp anything solid. I think my blood sugar got really low and it was not until I ate something around Fredericksburg I started to rebound. I believe I had 3 Gatorades, 2 ice-tea/lemonade, at least 4-5 bottles of water and still did not have to pee until I got home. I think I was super dehydrated. Plus I’m guessing I should have done some post-race food or something to help. At the end, I see I have a lot to learn and figure out for Eagleman when it matters.

In looking at my HR data on TP (the bike started a bit late) OMG, I should have bonked on the course. Obviously that pacing at current fitness is not going to work for EM. I knew I was high coming out of the water but damn. I keep going back to I think I was really dehydrated after my pool wetsuit swim and really never got it back up before the race. I have pretty veiny arms and can tell when I’m hydrated and wasn’t Friday morning. I’m thinking having dehydration issues to start with, certainly elevated my HR from the gate and set me back. I thought I was more prepared on that front but obviously was not. It was really bad post-race, not a vain to be found and my skin to a while to return when pinched.

At the end of the day, I raced as a Clydes and ended up 2nd in my group with a 2:37:04 (although I was omitted from the report somehow) with the following splits:

Swim (1500m) – 33:29 or 2:14 / 100 m
T1 – 3:29
Bike (23) – 1:05:33 or 21.1 mph
T2 – 1:43
Run (10k) 52:52 or 8:30 m / m

I placed well but this was a nutrition disaster for me. I have a good punch list of lessons learned I feel I need to work on based on this race.