June 21, 2009

Eagleman Re-cap

Thanks for everyone's good wishes for Eagleman. The race went well. The key was the weather. As Leah said, the weather was not as hot as last year. The run did get a little warm at times but overall it was ok. There was some cloud cover that shielded the sun but the rays were strong and still produced plenty of sun burn.

The swim was a different course this year as the area where you usually finish, the boat launch, was being repaired. They had us going in the opposite direction. I had a decent swim with a time of 35:40. I had a tough time sighting some of the buoys and at times found myself drifting off. But overall I was pleased with the swim.

I was intent on getting fast transition times this year. I came into T1 in a blaze. But the wet, muddy conditions slowed me down and I took 4:08 in getting ready for the bike. Not all that bad but I was hoping to be a minute faster.

The bike started out great as I was producing averages between 21 and 22 miles per hour. Where were the winds?!! I was hammering along and feeling great when I realized that I spoke to soon. Around mile 40, the infamous Eagleman winds kicked in and stayed with us most of the whole way home. I ended up with a 19+ average and a time of 2:55:00. I'll take it.

T2 went fairly smooth but again I was 1 minute slower than I wanted to be at 4:15. The legs felt fresh going out on the run and I was intent on hitting the turn around in under 1 hour. The hope was to couple that with a 1:05 or 1:10 run back in for 2:05, 2:10 finish. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. I tired in the middle miles and struggled after mile 11. I finished with a time of 2:18:14. Not bad but certainly not great. My overall time of 5:57:15 was a personal PR at Eagleman by 20 seconds. But the best thing I am taking away from this race is how good I felt after the race. In years past, I have felt very beat up from Eagleman but this year was different.

Now, it's on to Lake Placid with 5 weeks to go. This past week was the first week of 3 hard ones. The end is near!

June 11, 2009

Eagleman 2009

Eagleman is lurking in the shadows. 3 days away.

This will be my 8th year in a row. And like the guys I race with, I'm not sure why I do this race. It's a fantastic race. Don't get me wrong. Robert Vogorito does a fantastic job year after year. And now it's an official Ironman 70.3 so it has that level of status now. But it's the conditions that can produce misery. Rough water, Heat, and Wind. They can all make for a horrible day if just one of them shows up. Last year, at 6 AM before we even go in the water, it was at leaset 85 degrees. Later on, the heat index was 100+.

But then there was 2007 when conditions were perfect. The temp was down, the wind was at our backs and the water current pushed us a long. And record times all around.

You never know what you get on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. When I cross the line, my first thought could be 'Why?' but hours later we'll all be ready to sign up again.

June 04, 2009

The Mental Weeks

There are just a little more than 7 weeks to go until Ironman Lake Placid 2009.

These are "The Mental Weeks". There are still a lot of BIG rides left but you are oh so close to race day. You can almost see the end. Almost taste it. The alarm is still going off at 5:20 AM every single day and the sound of it makes you want to throw up. You have HAD ENOUGH! You are asking yourself and your training buddies "Why are we doing this?"

Even though those voices are starting to quiet a bit because the end is near, they are still there gnawing at you. On Saturday, the alarm goes off at 4:50 AM to get the ride started at 5:30 AM to get the 100 miles in, a 30 minute run afterwards and still be home at a decent time. Everyone shows up as if it's judgement day. It's almost "race day like" in its atmosphere. Everyone is so quiet. Then slowly the voices come to life. They curse what we are doing and suggest we head to the diner instead. Coffee, French Toast and Bacon! But somehow we get on the bikes and ride. Soldiers going off to battle. Solemn but accepting the mission.

The mental weeks are tough. You are investing alot of time into training at this point. The weeks are long. You try to prove to the family that you can train and still be a part of their lives. You can still do everything that needs to be done around the house. But it's just not possible. If I come home after riding 100 miles and running for 5 and I work outside cutting the lawn or painting the deck, I can't make it to 10 PM. Awake that is. A movie? Forget it. A beer? Would love it but then I'm out cold by 9. But still you are a trooper and the family more so. They granted you their permission for you to do this. You must put up a brave face and do what needs to be done. At least make it look like you tried to do it all.

When the mental weeks are over, it's taper time and then the real fun begins. You start the slow descent towards race day. And when it's over, it's like an addict coming off a high. It's hard to sustain but you want more. Except the family is shaking their head. Not this time. It's Saturday morning and we want you back before we wake. And don't forget the bagels.