June 25, 2008

Eagleman Kills

Well, it's been a long time since my last post. Training for Eagleman 2008 or lack there of and the actual race have come and gone. I thought I actually had trained enough to have a decent race but in the days leading up to D-Day, the weather reports started to scare the heck out of me. As we got closer and closer it was apparent that the Eagleman Heat would be in full force.

At around 6 AM race day morning, the temp was already at 80 degrees. The sun was staring down at us like it was dis-pleased that we had picked this day to race. The elements (Wind, Heat, Current) always plays a big part in this race. And this year was no exception. By the time I started out on the run, the heat index was 100+.

My swim was decent. (for not having trained all that much-that is my central theme here). In fact I had one of best "sighting" swims and stayed just to the right of almost every buoy. However, my time was off at about 5 minutes. The bike actually proved to be ok. The mighty wind was absent and in spite of the heat, excellent times were being recorded. My time was ok (again, lack of training, remember?). But I started to get tired around mile 48. And the heat started to really elevate and wera me down. I was pouring more water on me to stay cool than I was drinking it.

I took my time in transition 2 almost wondering what it would be like to get a DNF. But in 12 years of triathlon, I never had to get one and I intended to keep the streak alive. However, the run was my personal journey through hell. I was tired, tired and HOT! By Mile 3 I had had it with gatorade so I started to drink water and flat coke when I could find it at an aid station. I couldn't eat anything and this is my personal issue with runs in long course. My stomach can't fathom gulping down a gel at that point of the race. With the heat at its highest, I was in for a very long afternoon as I watched my time click past 3 hours. My slowest run for 13 miles in my entire, racing life. I usually have enough to sprint the last hundred or so yards but not this time. I couldn't muster it up. I was exhausted and my spirit was beaten down.

Lessons were learned. When you have been through these races before, you usually have the mental capacity to gut it out. But it doesn't mean that you'll turn in a good time or feel great doing it. The weather can add that wild card component and wear you down faster if you are not in race ready shape. I wasn't and that's what happened. Alot of walking and crying on the run.

The good news is that in the days that followed, I did feel that high from finishing a tough race. Next year, I won't let this one get away from me. By the way, this is my 7th year in a row for E-Man. Before the race I was thinking of ending it there. But I'll be back to keep the streak alive.