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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Columbia Triathlon
Date: Sunday, May 23, 2004
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: (DNF)
Comment: Swim, Labor, Dad

Race Report:

I’ve often wondered if I’d ever have to DNF a race. Lake Placid in 2003 presented me with my first test, as I had to continue on, while feeling both physically and mentally defeated...it was hard, and at times just seemed like it’d be much easier to just stop. Other than that race, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid race-ending mechanicals and injuries. I’m adamant on being as prepared as possible for every race where I show face. Understandably, there are sometimes circumstances where there is virtually nothing you can do to control whether you continue your race, or just have to stop.

The way my race season was planned out, chances were good that I’d not be able to race Eagleman --- an important half-ironman race that falls 6-weeks out of Lake Placid. You see, Deidre was due to deliver our first child on June 10th, just three days before the race. I accepted that, especially since I was half the reason for the schedule conflict. One thing I learned through the pregnancy process is that the term of pregnancy is actually 40-weeks, not the 9-month duration we’re all used to hearing about. What that meant was after 36-weeks, she’d be considered “to term” and the “window” of potentially going into labor was now open. The Columbia triathlon would fall 37.5 weeks into the pregnancy --- the window was open.

Deidre and I left at 5:20am on Sunday morning to get to the race site and go through the motions of race preparation. With the bike being racked the day before, I was able to zip through my transition set-up and make my way to the lake for a 10-minute warm up swim. With the early morning high temperatures and humidity, the water was very refreshing and served as much as a cool down as a warm up. I watched the M30-34 year old wave blast off into the sun, and then made my way to the swim corral for my wave. Treading water with about 2-minutes ‘til race start, I spotted Deidre and gave her one last wave before setting off...so far, so good. I’d be able to race Columbia. Sweet!

I felt good swimming. Other than a case of the rightsies (pulling right) on the long stretch after the first turn, no real problems were encountered on the swim. Training in the pool indicated that I had the potential to swim a 24, so I made that my goal. A couple signs that my swimming has improved, even if only marginally: (1) I no longer see swim caps from the wave behind mine; and (2) I can make it through the swim without swimming 100 meters next to someone doing the backstroke.

The Centennial Lake water this year seemed to be clearer than previous years. I made a couple efforts to draft off some feet, but found this to be hard due to variable navigation techniques (i.e. the drafted would go left, I’d go right). It’s always nice to take that breath where the swim corral and spectators come into view. At that point, there’s not much left and I could see some swimmers taking the left turn to shore. I felt pretty solid...tired no less, but solid. My first attempt to stand and start my run to transition was rejected by too deep of water. A couple strokes later, I was land bound after a 24:41 swim, and started my run to transition --- I was in 100% race mode. All that was on my mind was getting the wetsuit off quick and getting on to the bike to start, what for me, is the better 2/3 of my race...the bike/run. Little did I know that, instead, I was just a few seconds away from posting my first DNF.

So, I’m running up through the fence lined transition path, and feeling pretty good about the swim. About half-way through, out of nowhere, a spectator jumped out in my path...I thought,”What the $&@#?! Wait, that’s Jen. Why is she trying to stop me?! I am literally going to run her over if she doesn’t get out of my way”. Jen says, “Brady, great swim, but your race is over. Everything is okay, but Deidre’s water broke during your swim”. For a few seconds, or maybe one second...or maybe it was a millisecond...at any rate, for a moment, I was in disarray. I had to snap out of race mode and figure out what was going on. Finally, it all came clear when I looked down to see Deidre, calmly sitting in a chair with pants that looked like they’d just been through a losing battle with a Super Soaker. “Oh smack...ok, yes, I am done”. I finally snapped to it and figured things out. I stopped the watch. It was time to have a baby.

So, let me now paint the picture. I’m standing there in my wetsuit, making sure Deidre is okay. Melanie (Guz’s significant other), Jen Ragone, David Glover, Mark Freeman, Aaron Schwartzbard, Lindsey, and Gary were all around to make sure we got moving in the right direction, and, to help me remove my wetsuit (at this point, outside assistance did not apply, and that sucker can be a pain in the ass to remove). Honestly, Deidre seemed to be the calmest of anyone. Remember, this is our first baby...meaning Deidre’s first pregnancy, and my first time finding out my baby is trying to enter the world while I was in the middle of racing a triathlon. So, things were somewhat hectic. I mean, we knew this time was close, and we’d prepared ourselves as best we could. We had the “immediate needs” bag packed in the car and pretty much took it with us everywhere we traveled. But still, this was all new. How fast or how slow things would happen was an unknown. My initial reaction was to get moving fast.

The first line of business was to get Deidre to the car. I’d run to transition and grab my gear. Aaron was the “chip return” guy, and would also be my personal “domestique”. I ran into the transition area, and was happy to see a fair amount of bikes left on the rack. A couple other age groupers that were on my rack were there in transition and preparing for the bike. As they stripped their wetsuits and put on their sun glasses, I was cramming my wetsuit and pump into a trash bag and putting on my runners to get my stuff out of there and to my car. I’m sure it looked suspect to see a guy come out of the swim, then proceed to look as if he’s looking to transition fast, then see him running out of transition with wetsuit, pump, and transition bag in tow. I told them, “Guys, my race is over. My wife went into labor during the swim. Have a great day out there”. Even with their myriad of activities during transition, the two or three that heard the news offered me good luck, and I was on my way.

Aaron met me at the top of the transition exit hill. We booked it to my car and I anxiously waited the arrival of Deidre. She had received a ride from race support in a golf cart. I thought the plan was to bring her to my car, then for us to drive to Fairfax hospital so we could settle in for the day. After 10-minutes of waiting, and sucking down both water bottles from my bike cages, Aaron scooted off to see what was going on. A few minutes later, and after crushing a cliff bar (I guess I wasn’t totally out of race mode), Aaron gave me the news that the EMT had taken Deidre to Howard County General, and that I’d have to meet her there.

“But wait, she has my keys”.

“Ok, wait here, and I’ll figure out where your keys are”.

Aaron was off again. I sat very impatiently and waited. At one point, I left all my gear, including my race wheels, laying next to my car as I scurried around to find out what the deal was. Aaron returned with news that Deidre had remembered she had my keys, stopped the ambulance, and had the keys handed over to one of the police officers.

“Wait here and I’ll run up to the 108 intersection and get your keys”.

So, again...I waited. I talked to Deidre a few times on her cell phone. She still seemed to be much calmer than I. She said she tried to get them to just drive her to my car, but the race committee was adamant on her going to Howard Co. General via ambulance and getting checked out --- on their part, better safe than sorry, and I’m cool with that.

Aaron returned shortly with my keys, and now, approximately 4-miles around Centennial Park logged for the day --- probably not the ideal recovery method for Achilles tendonitis. I jumped in the car and started my way out of the park.

“But wait a second”, I thought, “This isn’t going to work”.

Aaron resurfaced as I was stuck at the bike exit.

“Dude, how am I going to get out of the park? All the racers are leaving on the bike right now”.

He must have been thinking the same thing, because he had the answer already.

“This security guy will give you a ride. He’s in his car on the road for the bike exit”.

At that point, I handed over my car to Aaron so he could park it and headed off, finally, to the hospital. I arrived a few minutes later...sweating, tired, and thirsty, but glad to be there. Deidre was hooked up to some monitors and checked out A-Ok and still much calmer than me.

“How are you”?

“Fine...everything is fine. I tried to get them to bring me to your car, but they refused. Everything is okay and we’ll be allowed to leave here to drive to Fairfax hospital as soon the doctor okays it”.

“So, we need my car now???? I got a ride here because I couldn’t get my car out of the park”.

“Yes, we need your car”.

So, I hitched a ride back in the same ambulance that brought her to the hospital from the park. I now had her car keys, so I ran back to my car and waited for the last swimmer to exit transition, thus allowing cars to exit. Once out of the park, I was held up for quite some time at the intersection where riders were making the last turn back on to 108 for the bike finish. I cheered on the riders, and hoped I may catch a familiar face to shout some words of encouragement...no luck, and I cold tell the riders were scorched from the tough ride and hot temperatures.

I returned back to Howard Co. General and Deidre and I waited for the discharge order. We made a quick stop at McDonald’s so Deidre could get her “last meal” --- french fries, of course --- then made the 45-minute ride to Fairfax hospital where, as I sit and write this report on Wednesday, May 26, we still reside. After 14-hours of labor, Deidre was taken to the operating room for a C-section. At 12:01am on Monday, our first son was born. His name is Kyle Matthew DeHoust, and was 6lbs 10oz, and healthy --- aside from some jaundice that he’s in treatment for now. Deidre endured the worst of both worlds, but is recovering very well.

It was quite a journey.

Post log:
“Hurry up and wait” --- a better term could not apply. But then again, this was our first experience with this. No matter what others said, we just wanted to be at our final destination as fast as possible. All the nurses said, “Oh, you could’ve finished the race”. But, from reading the reports, I may be lucky I didn’t have to endure the heat and pain of Columbia this year...wait, never mind...that’s part of the reason I do this stuff.

So, my first DNF...and what a great DNF it was!

Lots of thanks to all the RATs and friends that helped get us through those first few hours. Also, a big congrats to all those who raced and endured the tough conditions Columbia is known to offer.

Happy Daddo,
Brady DeHoust