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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Eagleman
Date: Sunday, June 8, 2008
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: (DNF)
Comment: Hot, trouble breathing, mentally broke down

Race Report:

Swim: 30:56
T1: 3:20
Bike: 2:52:20
T2: 4:43
Run: 1 mile, DNF

After a very cool spring, Mother Nature decided it was time for a 100-degree weekend. As Karen and I drove out to Cambridge on Saturday, the car thermometer registered 100 degrees (88 on the bridges over the water). Sitting on the pavement, it got up to 111 degrees. That's what the weekend had in store for us.

We camped at the high school again this year. We set up under a tree which is unfortunately near all the other campers. Several of those campers decided to get up and rudely slam their car doors repeatedly at 4:15am. Due to the thunderstorm that forced the rain fly to go up, our tent was VERY warm so difficult to sleep well through the night. Still, I was wired for the race by the time we packed up and made our way to transition at 6:15am.

Bagel and PB for breakfast. Probably should have had more, but was stressed about setting up transition (forgot my tube, air so I needed Karen to run back to the car for my spare...).

Water was 76 degrees so warm for a wetsuit, but I usually don't mind the hot water in a wetsuit as long as it's not over 80. I warmed up about 50m and then we were off. I swam "long and strong" as is my mantra during these, and I felt great despite not swimming much these past months. I had a lot of travel, so most of my swimming was on my own in the hotel pools. Not conducive to getting fast! But again, I felt great and the time reflected that. Uneventful swim despite a few people from the M30-34 group in front of us who were weaving all over the place. I actually didn't sight once for the first 500m or so! I had someone swimming on my right and the pack on my left so I didn't have to worry at all about veering off course.

T1 saw a light jog to my bike, typical speed with shoes and helmet, and a spray of suntan lotion. Then I was off. Despite spinning very easily, I was flying by the other competitors! I felt GREAT, again despite not training much on the bike this season (travel, weather, etc.). One problem reared its ugliness about 5 mile in - my nether regions were suffering greatly from the saddle! I've never had this problem this early in the race. It hurt badly and really caused me mental issues early on. Despite that, I kept positive, kept spinning, and kept drinking according to plan. I'd stand up every 15 minutes or so, but otherwise stayed pretty aero. Unfortunately, about 30 miles in, I started having trouble getting a full breath and trouble drinking or eating (Hammergel). This combined with the pain from the saddle completely decimated me mentally. Also, the difficulty getting a full breath (it felt a bit like someone squeezing my torso) made it hard to push. I think the biggest issue was the mental breakdown from this because it had never happened to me before. For the last 20 miles of the bike, I waffled back and forth about whether I'd even go out on the run since I was now sitting up 90% of the time and pedaling fairly slowly.

I rolled into T2 and said "I'm done" to Dave Orton who I saw standing just outside. He said "me too". That said, I had promised myself that I'd sit down in transition, put on my running shoes, take my time, and see if I could get motivated to move forward. I decided to give it a try. I walked out of transition, threw some ice in my cap, and jogged off. My legs felt great. But my mind/chest did not. I told Karen that I was likely not going to finish and would only do a few miles but I'd see how I felt. I jogged about 1/2 mile then the tightness returned in my chest. I walked for a bit, then jogged for about 1/2 mile when the tightness returned. I tried one more time and it was still there. Could I have finished? Likely. But it would have been a slow march in the extreme, non-shaded heat and I would have been just as disappointed as if I just walked back. I decided for safety given that internal discussion and walked back 1+ miles. I saw Jeroen, Dave, Katie, etc. and cheered them on. I got back, handed in my chip, and sat down with a water and a beer.

My saying at the end - "Live to fight another day". I am very disappointed in myself for mentally "quitting" despite it probably being the right thing to do physically. I had trained well for the run. I'd gotten up to 16 miles in training, and was running a decent pace for me. I really wanted to see what I could do. Oh well, next year.

Lessons learned:
1) Practice riding aero for 2+ hours. And drink as if it were 90 degrees outside to get the stomach used to it.
2) Figure out positioning on the bike to ease the pain in aero. It was a "one time thing" but I've never been perfectly comfortable in my aero position.
2a) Practice riding in tri shorts vs. bike shorts.
3) Train in the heat as much as possible. If the spring is cool, train midday whenever possible.
4) Eat more for breakfast on long race days. I think some of my issues stemmed from mild bonking.
5) Figure out how to overcome mental breakdowns. Visualization?
6) Pray for sub 100-degree 100% humid weather.