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Race Result

Racer: Brady DeHoust
Race: Make-A-Wish Sea Colony Triathlon
Date: Saturday, September 25, 2004
Location: Bethany Beach, DE
Race Type: Triathlon - International Distance
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 2:00:23
Overall Place: 4
Age Group Place: 2
Comment: It's not always about a PR

Race Report:

“Do I really want to do this race? I’m tired and really don’t feel like driving another 2-hours in the car today. I was having a pretty good time at the wedding too. Maybe I should just turn around and head back to the wedding reception. It will be great to spend the time with Deidre, away from home for a change. How long have I been driving? ... Hmm, about 25-minutes. I need to make the call in the next 5-minutes to turn back. Maybe all I need to do is get to the beach, and I’ll be motivated to race...maybe that’s the ticket. But man, this is a dark, boring drive. I wish Deidre was here to keep me company”.

That was that conversation I had with myself leaving a wedding reception Saturday night en route to Bethany Beach. The wedding was on Kent Island (just over the Bay Bridge) on Saturday afternoon. Not ideally what I’d like to be doing the day before a race, but that’s how things worked out. Normally, the Make-A-Wish tri is run on a Saturday, allowing folks to stay a night and enjoy the beach. But this year, they moved the race to Sunday due to Yom Kippur. My original plan was to race Saturday then head to the wedding in the afternoon. But the rescheduled date had me bailing from the reception Saturday night at 9pm to arrive in Bethany Beach before packet pick-up closed at midnight. Shortly after 11pm, I arrived and registered. By midnight, I was turning out the light to squeeze in as much sleep as I could.

My hotel room was literally 200 yards from the transition area. This allowed me to sleep ‘til 6am. As soon as I woke, I busted over to T1 and racked my bike, just to get that out of the way. Then, cruised back to the hotel to grab some breakfast and the rest of my gear.

For the next hour, just the normal pre-race stuff; a quick run, a few stretches, few cups of water, etc. The true warm-up for this race is the beach walk consisting of the entire length of the swim course. There’s no better way to get an idea of the swim distance when you walk the entire thing. I counted the yellow buoys on my way. Seven, sandwiched between 2-orange buoys. Other than some breakers about 15-yards offshore, the ocean was calm. There’d only be potential wave issues going out and coming in, otherwise, it was picture perfect.

My wave was the 2nd of the day. It was a fairly big wave of M20-34. I figured there was a good chance the winner would come from this wave. I didn’t really recognize too many athletes. My buddy Dan was there. Jason Goyanko and Brian Benda were two more familiar faces. I thought Brian had a good chance of taking the win based on previous races; surely, he’d crush everyone in the swim.

My swim went well. I enjoy the ocean. I got off to a good start and had lots of space the entire way. I felt pretty smooth and in control. It’s hard to gauge performance on time at this race. Looking at some of the top swimmers from 2003, their swim times were anywhere from 1-3 minutes slower this year. Benda had the best swim at 20:37, where last year’s was sub 20. My time was over 2-minutes faster than last year -- 16th out in my wave and 35th OA. I felt good.

The run to T1 is tough -- up the beach, up some stairs, over a deck with some turns, and into the parking lot of the Sea Colony. You get a nice rinse from the showers they turn on before hitting the parking lot. Patiently fast, and I was on my way.

I probably passed a handful of the top 15 in my wave in transition. My guess is that I started the bike somewhere in 10th – 13th place. The bike course is a flat out-and-back with the exception of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. In previous years, the bike course had a tailwind going out and a headwind on the return. This year, it seemed to be predominately a crosswind, meaning speeds were fairly consistent on the out and the back. The bike was a real hammer-fest. I think I changed gears no more than five times. I pushed hard from the beginning to the end, passing a few along the away and avoided anyone overtaking my position. Near the turn-around in Dewey, Brian Benda and a few others were a couple minutes up, but less than the margin they had after the swim. I felt strong and in control, and kept pressing on to close the margin as much as I could before the run. Into T2 with the 4th best bike split on the day in 52’33” (for 36k).

T2 was quick. The transition area is pretty long. There were quite a few racks for wave 2. I noted only a few bikes already racked and wondered how long they’d been there.

Out of T2, spectators are yelling, “Get ‘em on the run”. I took that to believe that whoever was up front wasn’t too far...at least that’s what I hoped. The first runner I passed was from the first wave. I think he was in the 50-54 AG. He informed me that only two others were up ahead, and approximately 2-minutes up. I felt really good. The phrase “light and fast” kept sounding in my head. That’s how I felt -- “light and fast”. There were only a couple of ~1-minute stretches that I didn’t feel great; otherwise, I knew I was having a good run and was not in jeopardy of slowing. What was hard was being in no-mans land. You could see for long stretches ahead of you, but no one was close enough to see. Brian passed me on his return, probably ~3 minutes up at the time. I thought I may have a chance to catch the guy currently in 2nd. He was probably 45-seconds up at the turn around, and within sight for the final 5k. I ran hard -- as hard as I could to try and reel him in. When the Sea Colony Resort was in view, I knew I’d likely not catch him. But still, there were some fast guys coming in behind from other waves. Regardless of my wave place, I knew I had to continue running hard to post the best time I could overall.

I finished 3rd in my wave with a 35’28” run - good for fastest of the day - and 4th OA (1st OA went to 41-yr old Michael Wroblewski from DC).

The post race picnic is one of the best. I laid around for a while as they jammed out 80s tune after 80s tune through the sound system. I was really happy with my race. I questioned what drove me to jump through the hurdles that eventually landed me in Bethany late Saturday night. Before they started giving out the awards, two young boys whose wishes were fulfilled through the MAW foundation told their stories. Jordan, this year’s honorary wish child for the triathlon, was first to tell his wish story. Jordan and his family were able to fly out to LA to meet the Lakers after attending a playoff game. That was Jordan’s wish. It’s amazing to me to hear a 10 or 12 yr old child say words like “chemotherapy” and “lymphoma”. But 95% of his story was about his day in LA...not his battle with cancer. The second boy, whose name I can’t remember, talked about his wish to have a part in the Spiderman II movie...it also came true. And what was true to me, at that point, was that I jumped through hurdles and landed in Bethany Beach late Saturday night because I love to hear these kid’s stories. I didn’t go to set a new PR, or try to win my AG division. I went to sit at the post race picnic and hear how my small donation helps kids like Jordan have at least one great day in the midst of all the hospital visits and treatments. One day to be just a kid.

I did this race five years ago as my first triathlon. I finished 173rd that year. I had no PRs to break, or AG wins to defend. I simply showed up to support a young boy named Joe. Joe was fighting a brain tumor, and his community came together to use donations from the triathlon to help grant Joe his wish. Each year, I show up with my Joe’s Team t-shirt to race in his memory. He is, to this day, a big part of the reason I’m in this sport. I’ll show up next year. I’ll show up for Joe and the rest of the kids.