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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Duke Blue Devil
Date: Saturday, October 11, 2003
Location: Durham, NC
Race Type: Triathlon - Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 10:37:29
Overall Place: 11
Age Group Place: 2

Race Report:

Swim: 94th (1:19:34)
Bike: 11th (5:25:38)
Run: 14th (3:46:36)

Pre Race
Thursday afternoon, Mike Guzek and I made the four-hour trip down to Durham, NC for the Duke Blue Devil iron-distance tri. Mike had done this race in it’s first year, as well as David Glover, who had won overall. With the date of the race being moved from August to October, the timing seemed right to make Duke the season-ender. The hardest thing about signing up was the fact that I’m a die-hard Maryland basketball fan. Partaking in any event that had any ties to the Cameron Crazies was a tough battle in itself. But I persevered, knowing that there’s no blue blood running through these veins! And, I believe I’m correct in that this is the reason that Guzek (a UNC alum) always makes reference to this race as “Dook”. In all honesty, to do an iron-distance race that benefited a great cause (the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center) with all but $25 of each entry fee being tax deductible was a no-brainer.

I had done Lake Placid in July, and the only thing similar about these two races was that they are both 140.6 miles. If you want all the IM hype, jumbo-trons, Timex booths, tattoos, and race numbers with your last name printed on them, then Lake Placid is the race. If you want a 5-minute registration in a hotel office, an excellent pre-race dinner that lasts no longer than an hour, and about 1/8 of the hype, Duke is it. Don’t get me wrong, both are fantastic…just in different ways.

Friday night, we met up with Glover, Jenn, Mark Freeman, Mike Smith, and Michael Chusuei for the pre-race pasta dinner. Dave gave a short but sweet talk about iron-distance racing/training and it’s relation to the battle to beat cancer. His speech focused on the commonality between ironman and the fight against cancer; each is a journey to the finish line (or, to be cancer free) where you will experience all types of emotions.

Race morning, it was dark and wet. We woke up at 4:30 to get down some breakfast and be ready to leave by 5am to make the 25-minute drive to Beaverdam Park. After some yogurt, a banana, and a peanut butter sandwich, we hit the road. There was some rain on our way to the race, but nothing too bad, and it seemed to subside by the time we reached the park. After checking the bikes in the day before, there wasn’t much to do other than check in the changing bags, load up the bike with water bottles and gel, and pump the tires. About 6:45am, I saw Deidre (my wife) for the first time. She had come down with Melanie (Guzek’s girlfriend) the night before and gotten in very late. She wished me luck and I made my way down to the swim.

At ten minutes to seven, it was still pitch black dark. You couldn’t even see the second buoy on the swim course. They postponed the race start to 7:15, when the sun was actually up. The water temp was good – probably around 68 degrees. We lined up for the beach start. When the horn sounded for the start, I watched Guzek dive right out in front, with Glover right there next to him. I got out quick, and settled in to my weak (arg) swimming pace pretty quickly. It was probably the least amount of impact I’ve had at the beginning of a swim -- a bit surprising with a mass start. The “loop” was more like a long, skinny rectangle. My siting went well, and I never got too far off the buoy line. The backside of the rectangle seemed like an eternity. I’d reach a buoy and be sure it’d be the one to make the turn back to shore, but would see another 200 yards away. I exited the first loop, and made the quick 75-yard jog along the beach to begin the second loop. Deidre, Jenn, and Melanie were all there shouting like crazy. The second loop was much of the same. I felt pretty good, but then again, I don’t swim very “hard”. I did get warm a few times, but with some pre-race advice from Glover, I was able to get a refreshing rush of cool water in my upper body simply by flipping up the bottom of the Desoto top (another great advantage to this two-piece design). My swim is usually around the top 30%. I figured I was somewhere around 100th out of the water (was 94th), and was glad to get through that “journey”.

After a quick wetsuit stripping, it was an uphill run to the transition area. I grabbed my changing bag and prepared for the bike.

Best described as a lollipop shape course, only covering the out-and-back section once and doing two loops of the top. The roads were wet from the rain during the morning, so some caution had to be taken on descents and turns. My goal is always the same; to maintain a steady effort that I know I can hold for the given distance of the race. For the first 25-30 miles, there was a head/cross wind and it was difficult to get a good tempo going. I set expectations that my bike time goal may not be met. At the first aid station (somewhere around mile 20), I picked up some Gatorade. Instead of using the Gatorade squeeze bottles (good, ‘cause I hate ‘em), they had made their own and put it in normal water bottles. After my first sip, I knew I’d have to get electrolytes some other way, because it was naaaaasty…nothing like hose flavored Gatorade. I tried my best to take big gulps and “chase” it down with water, but each time it made me gag. I assumed I’d just take in water for the rest of the ride. I had two bottles of Accelerade, plus some electrolyte capsules at special needs. Around thirty miles in, I felt I was getting into a good tempo. Approaching the second aid station, I noticed something a bit strange -- no volunteers! My first ever self serve aid station, and I blew right through it. The back half of the loop was fast. The course had lots of turns, so occasionally a nice tail wind would help keep speeds high. Coming into special needs, I felt super and had made great time. I turned in, ditched my nasty, full Gatorade bottle and reloaded with Accelerade, a defizzed coke, two electrolyte capsules, and a peanut butter sandwich. At this point, the passes were much more spread apart. There’d be times when I felt like I was just out on a training ride, with no one in site as far as I could see. When I did see someone, I’d work steady and hard and eventually make the pass (most of the time on a hill). I played cat and mouse with a bigger guy who really could fly on the flats and down hills, but suffered up anything with grade. Finishing the first loop, I was reenergized with some loud cheers from Deidre, Melanie, and Jenn. It was a nice, brief moment away from the solitude of the lonely course. Soon after starting the second loop, a volunteer yelled out our positions. “Thirty-two”, she yelled. I was surprised and happy, I may have had a long swim, but I was making great progress on the bike and still had a little less than half the bike to make up some more spots. So, from that point on, I kept track of my position. Each pass that was made set me up for a new goal…the next spot. I finished the second loop and got the instruction that there were 8.3 miles to go to get back to the park. I was right around 5 hours at the time, so I was really pleased with my efforts on the bike. I started to mentally prepare for the run. I sucked down whatever fluid I had remaining and had a few nibbles of a cliff bar to allow my stomach to settle before starting the run. I hit T2 in 5:25; five minutes better than my bike goal time, and probably somewhere around 20-23rd place.

T2 was pretty uneventful. The volunteers swiped our bikes and I hit the changing tent. At GFT last year, I had trouble synching my laces due to cramps in my hips. My legs felt super. I had no cramping. I ditched the arm warmers, slipped on the runners, synched up the laces, and through on the visor.

The run consisted of five 5.2-mile loops all contained within the park. On each loop, there were a couple out-and-backs, offering plenty of time to see who was in front of you and a chance to see familiar faces. One common trend in my race reports is my hunt for Guzek -- he may as well race with a bulls-eye on the back of his jersey. We have totally different races, but somehow find ways to finish within minutes of one-another. With his dominant swim, I figured he was at least twenty-minutes ahead starting the bike. At the second mile of the run, I saw Guz on one of the out-and-backs. He had that look of “what are you doing here already?” I was holding a 7:35 pace and feeling good. Around mile three of my first loop, I saw Glover (his second loop) for the first time since the sun had risen, running strong on a downhill, and clearly with a comfortable lead. At mile four, I passed Guzek and we spoke briefly about each other’s races. I had pushed the bike a little harder, enabling me to chip away at his swim dominance. The important thing is that we were both feeling good. He affirmed that Glover was in first and made it clear to me to “save some for the second half.” Finishing the first loop, I checked my split and was just under 38-minutes. A really nice feature of the 5-loop style run is that you passed through the main finish area (but not the actual finish line) five different times and they called your name each time through. Deidre, Melanie, Jenn and a handful of others were there every loop, screaming like crazy. It was a great “energizer”. I think, if you listened hard enough, you could actually hear Jenn yelling for David as he finished each loop, regardless of where you were on the course. A not-so-nice feature of the 5-loop style was that anything hard on one loop was X 5, and there were 3-4 decent hills on the loop. I finished the first thirteen miles with a 1:42 split. I had run to within fifteen seconds of the leader in my age group, but at this point, I had used a lot of gas to get there. I started to fade and noticed that he maintained a steady pace and eventually put ten minutes back on me before the finish. The hills started to sting on the 4th, and 5th loops. I was tired of anything the aid stations had to offer, and just wanted to finish. I mainly took in coke, water, Gatorade, bananas, and occasionally pretzels on the run. The last mile felt great, and made the right turn off the loop course for the downhill finish adjacent to the transition area to finish with a 3:46 marathon and a 10:37 finish -- I certainly didn’t “save some for the second half.” Deidre, Jenn, Melanie (the usual suspects), and Glover (already cleaned-up, changed, and massaged) were there right on the finish shoot to bring me home.

Ten minutes later, Guzek came hurling down the finish hill. I thought he might not be able to stop, and wind up back in Falls Lake where we had swum over ten hours before. We sat at the finish to cheer in finishers. One-by-one, they turned the corner with their hands up high and smiles on their faces. Post race food looked excellent, I just didn’t have the stomach to eat it. Congratulations to those who raced Duke:

David Glover (overall winner)
Mike Guzek (1st Clydesdale (by a landslide), 3rd AG, 12th overall)
Mark Freeman (1st iron-distance race)
Mike Smith (1st iron-distance race)
Michael Chusuei

I highly recommend this race. For anyone considering their first iron-distance race in 2004, this race is ideal. Similar to the Great Floridian (with less participants), it offers a very well run race, a great (and fair) course, and much less pressure and hype. It’s much cheaper, and goes to support a great cause. This was the second year for Duke, and it’ll only survive if more participants come each year. Bill Scott (Set-up, Inc. and race director) seems to really use athlete feedback to better this race year-to-year -- I plan to be there!


Thanks for reading.

-- Brady DeHoust

Life is simple. swim, eat, bike, eat, run, sleep.