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Race Result

Racer: Aaron Schwartzbard
Race: To The Point (Half IM)
Date: Sunday, September 23, 2001
Location: St. Mary's County, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 20 - 24
Time: 5:19:34
Overall Place: 63 / 226
Age Group Place: 5 / 16
Comment: Tired from 200km ride the previous day --- 43:59 / 3:01:25 / 1:34:10

Race Report:

Racing is fun, but epic training weekends are better.

At dinner on Wednesday, Chris tried to convince me that Saturday's ride would be fun. I tried to convince her that Sunday's race would be better. Being a couple of folks who are always up for a challenge, it took all of five minutes for us to compromise. We'd do both.

Friday morning, I filled my car with clothes, gear, food, camping supplies, and a bike. After work on Friday, I went straight to Chris' house. We bought and consumed as much food as our bellies could handle. Then it was bed time. I got a sheet and a couch, and I was ready to get some rest. I'd need it.

Saturday morning, my watch started beeping at 4:10 AM. Chris came downstairs not long after that. A little more food, then we threw her stuff in my car, and we were on the road. We got to Kelly's house, and loaded our stuff into her minivan, and the three of us headed to Warrenton, VA. The ride was supposed to start at 7:00 AM. But by the time we had signed-in, gotten our bikes ready, and spent a little while trying to find the first turn, it was 7:30. No worries. We had each other and a cue sheet. In the course of the brevet, we passed several folks, we ate, we drank, we sang songs, we told stories, we avoided getting lost, and we had a great time. After 125 miles of riding (just over 200km), with more than 7000 feet of climbing, we got back to the starting point. We took a couple moments to give our feet a rest, then we were back in the van to head back to Kelly's house.

At Kelly's house, we put gear back into my car. We waved goodbye to Kelly, and Chris and I were on the road again. Thanks to IHOP, Chris and I were able to refuel en route to our destination. By the time we got to the camp site, and had erected our tents (despite the best attempts of the bugs to eat us alive), it was 11:00 PM.

Sunday morning, my watch woke me at 4:30 AM. I woke up thinking about how stupid I must be. Oh well, too late to worry about that now. We took down the tents, then drove to the race site. We signed up for the race, then began to set up our transition areas. As the sun rose, and faces emerged from the silouettes that had been scurrying about since our arrival, I started seeing many friends who had come to race. I hadn't come to race. I came to enjoy the day and go the distance.

I didn't know how much I'd be hurting from Saturday's ride, so I seeded myself at the back of the swim, and just took it nice and easy. Aside from the salty water in my mouth, the swim was extremely relaxing. I got out of the water, and at the transition area, I remembered that there was no pressure to race today. So I had a leisurely transition. On the bike, I went toodling along, quite comfortably. After the swim, I thought I was pretty far back in the field. So I was really amazed by how many people passed me during the ride. I wouldn't have guessed there were so many people back there. My neck was somewhat sore from Saturday, so I rode spent much of the ride with my head down. But I did look up enough to watch a bit of the race. The course was a double out-and-back, so for much of the race, there were people on the other side of the road, going in the other direction. I was happy to see quite a few friends among the leading riders. Eventually, I saw Chris, who had a bit of a lead on me, riding hard. I don't know how she had it in her legs, but every time I saw her, she had increased her lead. For the most part, the ride was uneventful. But I must admit, after 56 miles --- 181 miles for the weekend --- I was pretty happy to be getting off my bike. Starting the run, I was very far back in the field. But there was no pressure. I was more than happy to bring up the rear today. However, as it turned out, I had a bit left. The run was not even close to being as painful as I expected it to be. As always, I took a mile or two to find my legs, but then I could go. With a smile on my face, and a spring in my step, I just trucked up through the field. I ran consistantly, and I never had to walk. Like the bike, the run was a double out-and-back, so every couple minutes, I'd see a friend on the course.

I finished the race fifteen minutes slower than last year, even though I'm in much better shape this year. But I don't regret not doing what I could have done if I rested properly for this race. Crossing the finish line, I was thrilled that I made it through the weekend, and that I did it feeling so good. I had a great time, and I look forward to the next time I'll be able to have such a totally incredible training weekend.