Finally! My first race of the year! I was scheduled to race Knoxville, TN half IM (in May) however; I ended up taking a back seat due to an infection in my root canal. A few days prior to the race, the oral surgeon had to go in and cut off my dead root to stop the infection heading to my tooth. Yes it was painful and sooo glad it’s over and done with. Eagleman was my very first half IM last year so I was going into the race familiar with the course and the unbearable heat but ready to shed some major time off. This year’s training has been different in the fact that I have been using Mark Allen online since January 1st! I could already tell huge improvements in my overall training from last year and I felt a lot stronger going into this racing season. I was ready to push myself a little harder this race. Ready or not, here I come!!!Matt and I packed and left on Friday. We hit up our usual Quizno’s subs on the way in for dinner and eventually made it to our hotel to unpack, get settled in. A nice 91 degrees!
Saturday we woke up, made our way down to the hotel breakfast buffet to fuel up and then off to get our bike and run in early, near the transition area. The course is pancake flat so it was nice to feel so fast riding around on the run course. By 9am it was already 85 degrees and humid! I had been doing some training the past month or so in the heat of the day to prepare myself so I knew how to handle my nutrition as well. After our quick spin and 2 mile run, Matt and I headed to check-in. Super crowded as usual, we grabbed our “goodie bags,” changed, met up with Joe V. and were off to swim in the lovely Choptank River. It was 74.6 degrees that morning, perfect for me! I had a chance to try out my new blue seventy speed suit! I felt super-fast for once! I think I may like it even better than my wetsuit. I feel like that thing is so restricting. I could barely tell I had my speedsuit on! Sweet! I felt ready! After the quick swim, we headed back to the car to get our bikes ready to check in. We ran into Ben Erdeljac on his run. He was looking strong and ready to have a great race as well!
The rest of the afternoon was spent indoors, napping and watching soccer! Matt and I met up with Joe and Fay for dinner at Olive Garden fairly early, then it was back to the hotel to get the bottles ready, clothes laid out and off to bed! I was excited and ready to roll!
RACE DAY has arrived! Up and ready to head out the door by 5am. I had my usual breakfast that consisted of two mojo cliff bars and a Gatorade. Matt and I managed to get a nice spot along the side streets so we didn’t need to take the shuttle. We got our #’s, set up transition area, hit the port-a-potty’s and were out of transition in a flash to wait for our swim wave.
Swim: Wetsuit legal! I managed to get to an outside spot near the front so I could stay away from the crowd. It turned out to be the best decision yet! The first half of the swim was still a little rough, as always, but I managed to keep the goggles on my head, clear of fog, without a kick or a slap in the face and I passed people on the second half! I had no idea how much I would improve on the swim, however I knew I was swimming A LOT this year, and when I finished I couldn’t believe it was already over! The swim felt incredibly fast! I ended up crossing the line at 35:04! And with a heart rate at 135bpm, Whew! A mere 13 min improvement from last year! I probably could have pushed it harder after glancing at my heart rate. The swim actually felt easy to me! Another learning experience in the making! Oh well, I was a happy camper though!Bike: This is where I wanted to improve the most! I had been incorporating a lot more speed and tempo work along with longer rides this year, so again I was ready to improve, and I was hoping to by at least 12 minutes. I pushed it on the bike, but still left a little fuel in the tank for the run. I still find it hard to find the line where I push it or leave a little juice left. I guess it will come with more racing and more years of practice. I managed to keep my heart rate at about 139bpm average for the bike. Again still finding if I should push harder than this; just like the swim the bike felt so short to me! I carried 3 bottles of infinite on good ol “Feltsie” and drank 1 bottle of Gatorade I grabbed at one of the aid stations. I also took in 1 packet of cliff bar shots. I felt a little bloated but knew that I would need the fluids/nutrition if I wanted to have a strong run. I finished my ride with a 2:47:52/20.03avg/139bpm. A 24 minute improvement from LY, I’ll take it!! Oh, and I managed to pee on my bike! Matt always laughs at me! But hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go!
Run: Last but not least! Going into the run, I found my legs and was feeling good. I didn’t need to drink anything the first 4 miles since I was pretty well hydrated. The first 2 miles I managed to keep a 7:30 pace, for the next 2 miles 7:45-7:55pace and then that’s where I slowed down. Note: I never get nauseous on my training brick workouts, but it always seems to appear at my races! Argh! I am trying to figure it out. It could be the infinite making my stomach upset? I dunno. But the inevitable happened again, at mile 8 I managed to get so nauseous and sick to my stomach. I was praying to God to try and hold it in and couldn’t. Yes, I threw up. Not good. Although, I felt much better afterwards, but trying to catch up and get the fluids back in me was another problem of itself. I pretty much wanted to shut down but kept telling myself that I have come this far, no walking. So I let myself walk when I got to the “aid” stations and then kept running. I grabbed ice and water at every station and just doused my head with it. I crossed the line at 1:54:28/8:44/mi/151bpm. (The only non-improvement of the race). As soon as I crossed the finish, Matt was there to greet me and I completely blacked out. I didn’t remember anything except for waking up in the medical tent hooked up to IV’s. Matt said he and another guy had to carry me to the tent and I was out. I guess the heat did me in. I immediately felt better within the hour and came back to life. Still with the awful run I managed to get a huge PR for the day! 5:22:03!! Matt also managed to have a great day finishing up at a 4:45:38!!! I was so excited! I shaved a mere 29:50 minutes off my LY’s time at Eagleman and placed 17th in my age group! I know I have A LOT more training and racing to do to get to where I want to be, but practice makes ALMOST perfect right? Next race is Muncie, IN anther HIM July 7th!(Sorry, not too many pictures to show this time, Marty and Bill Crummy couldn’t make it). They are the picture phines!! We missed you guys this time around! :)