Well, for the first time, in a long time, I had a fantastic time racing. The weather and wind conditions were perfect. Going into the race, I really did not have expectations because I’m trying to keep focused on IMLP. So when Sherry asked me what time do I think I will be finished, I started jotting down some times. Before I knew it, I had a pretty high bar to meet. I have to say, I came in the race in a great mind set. Nerves were doing great. The rain kept me out of the pool and having to attend a viewing/funeral, forced a bit more rest than I was scheduled for. I’m guessing it was a blessing that my body needed.
For dinner, I had a large caesar salad and baked sweet potato. I have to say, that just hit the spot. Plus a scoop of ice cream with the kids. In the morning, I had a honey / homemade nut butter sandwich on TJ ezekiel bread. Plus 2 bananas and a natural gatorade from Whole Foods that has less garbage. Pre-race I had about 12 oz of electrolyte water and 1 scoop of heed. This was in my 24 oz water bottle.
The water conditions were very nice. The tide was rolling out so I would be fighting the current going out. My plan all along once I saw the tide tables, was to stay inside the sight buoys. This kept me out of the traffic and not getting run over. I got right into my swim groove for the first time. It was so nice. No swim start panic, just straight into freestyle. As I was approaching the first turn buoy, things start to get a little choppy. It felt more like boat traffic, than anything. When, I made the turn, I kept getting pushed back towards the park so the current must have been rolling more than I thought. Made the second turn buoy and could see the park. Plus I could see all kinds of color caps and they were the waves in front of me. I was swimming great, sticking to free style, and before I knew it I was knee deep water. I could walk in and start to strip. I have to say, this was my best swim ever. It might not have been a PR time wise, but it was a PR all around swim from start to finish. A swim I really enjoyed.
I was up into transition and was able to get out of my wetsuit super quick. The body glide on the calves really helped. Downside of having big legs. Got my shoes, helmet, glasses on and ran thru the mud. Went past the mount kicked the mud out of my cleats and I was off.
The bike got going and really started to crank it up from the gate. As I was riding, I kept feeling like the rear wheel was out of balance. My thought was I had some mud on it that was causing it. By the time I hit church creek, I was cruising right along. I kept sipping my primary fuel bottle (3 scoops of HEED and TJ electrolyte water). Even though the weather was perfect, I was taking salt pills about every 20 minutes or so. I also ate a cliff block. By the time I turned left onto Smithfield Rd, I was at 59 minutes and I knew that was a great first hour. As I was approaching Hoopers Island Rd, I reloaded with a second HEED bottle. This bottle had 2 scoops of HEED and TJ electrolyte water. I get up to Key Wallace and still was noticing the wheel having that out of balance feel. I was still going good on taking salts and I did another cliff block prior to getting to Egypt. Once on Egypt, I was feeling for wind. Nothing. I was like oh my, the beast is behaving today. Riding without HR, I took a peak at my watch and was loving the pace. I was holding steady at 22.7. I then noticed Rinny on the side of the road cramping up. I was like oh my, I did not expect to see a pro still on the road let alone her. The ride back to Hudson Rd was just grinding in setting the legs up for the run but I was feeling great. Best bike feeling I’ve had at this distance. Then once I got onto Hudson, it got super crowded. I finally said this is too big of a cluster dropped the hammer and passed the larger pack. I was also nice to see that the run course was pretty light on runners going out. I was thinking, I must be doing a great split here. Got thru the access road and thru the neighborhood. Turned right at the school and than pop! More like BOOM!!! The rear wheel finally gave out. I was not going to change a wheel out for the last mile. I jumped off the bike and started to run. Then a volunteer said, it might be easier to run without cleats on. SO, I reclipped the shoes into the pedals and start to run barefoot. I was going so slow and so badly wanted a 2:30 split, I said heck with it and soft pedaled back in and dismounted.
OMG, what a mud pit coming back into transition. By the time I got to the rack, my feet and legs were covered in mud. I took the 3rd bottle that I drank in T0, I washed down my legs then dried them off. My feet were slipping a bit in my tri shoes on the bike, so I wanted to dry them off best I could. Helmet off and visor and running shoes on, I was out on the run.
Well, by the time I got out of T2, I really had to pee. I was trying to pee on the bike but kept thinking that my speedfil bottle was below me. I ran by the first set of porta potties and did not want to wait for a line. Hit the second set and aid station after mile 1 and saw an open one. Ran in and it seem to take minutes in there. Got done, grabbed a cup of ice because I was really getting hot and down the shorts. Sip of coke and was back on the run. I then passed the #1 female pro. This was a great sign since I was a mile up from last year or so. As the ice melted super quick, I noticed that my feet were starting to slide around and blisters were coming. I then reached the school, saw my coach coming in looking strong, and we exchanged shout outs. By mile 3 or so, the blisters were screaming. Just screaming. I knew I just had to keep running and get thru it. Each aide station I would either throw ice down the shorts or water over the head. Just alternating. I was then switching back between soda and Gatorade. About mile 4, my stomach was starting to get upset so I popped two tums. Then around mile 5, I had to run more on the shoulder that had some pitch. My feet really started screaming. I had to get back in the road and off the shoulder. I got passed by some peeps that were going at a great clip. I was able to hit the turn around and heading back in. This is when I noticed the run getting a bit more crowded. Coming back, I started to see some faces I knew. Then I got lucky. A guy passed me at a pace I could jump on. I said, I hope you don’t mind me tagging along. He was a local and a ton of people knew him. It was nice getting some juju from people cheering him on. I would get thru the aid stations a bit ahead and that help pushed him back up to pace. It was nice hitting the one around mile 7/8, a volunteer ran up and handed me a coke because they were not ready. It was amazing he helped me out that much because I frankly did not stop to wait. Amazes me what people do to help. By the time we hit the access road, I hear him shout come on Crab because I was starting to fade. That got me back up to pace and striding. As we headed into the neighborhood, more cheers. Heck, I took it as they were cheering for me. By the time we hit the mile 9 or so aide station, my pacer fell off. I yelled back but frankly did not want to break stride and stop the momentum because my feet were on fire. When I hit the last aid station, I dumped cold water over my head, then another cup on my arms because I was really starting to get hot. Then I could see the park. I looked at my watch and knew I was close to 5 hours or just over. I just did not have that gear to pick it up to finish strong for that last 1/2 mile. By the time I hit the chute, I passed one last guy sprinting in. So happy I was done. Got my ice towel, finishers medal, then hit the firetruck to cool off. That is one of the best parts of this race. Firemen hosing you off with very cold water showers.
I was happy that my family met me after getting hosed off and to hear, well we did not think you would be in so soon. We then got a quick pix on the podium stand. Went back to the ATC tent and had a cold beer. That was so refreshing. Well, I knew my feet were bad but I had to get out of my shoes. I went back to get my flips and noticed how bad my feet were. I said, I should hit the medical tent because those army guys know how to deal with blisters. I was in the med tent for some time and they treated me and put bandages on. All and all a great day.
Going into Eagleman, I had very little taper because of Placid. The training volume certainly made these distances very manageable and put in perspective. I’m so stoked I had a PR. Knowing that I lost several minutes with the flat and having to pee, I know breaking 5 is in reach. A PR on the bike, missing the PR on the run by 12 seconds, it was a fantastic day.
Overall 5:04:15 (PR)
Swim – 40:22 @ 2:05/100m
T1 – 2:33
Bike – @ 22.11 MPH (PR)
T2 – 1:59
Run – 1:47:22 @ 8.11/mi