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Race Result

Racer: Mike Guzek
Race: Eagleman
Date: Sunday, June 8, 2003
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Time: 4:42:15
Overall Place: 117

Race Report:

All my other race reports for this year have started off with something about how cold the air and water was or how the rain was pouring buckets of water on my head. I just assumed that Eagleman would be the same way and I was looking forward to just cutting and pasting the first paragraph of my report. As luck would have it, despite the fact that it rained all day Saturday during bike inspection and check in, race day was rain free and seemed like an oven at 65 degrees at the start of the race.

The highlight of the race for me probably happened the day before the race when I went into Subway and saw none other than Tim Deboom and Lori Bowden in line ordering subs just before heading over to Sailwinds park for the pro forum. I knew at that moment that I had chosen the perfect pre race meal. If subway is good enough for Tim, then bi-golly, it's good enough for me! Although I didn't hear what he ordered, I could tell it was a footlong. I was planning on getting a footlong. Coincidence? Or was this an indicator that our food choices AND swim/bike/run splits would be similar? At the time I wasn't sure.

When I arrived at Lake Bike Rack where the 700-739s numbered participants where supposed to set up, I was disappointed I didn't have any scuba gear with me. My rack was on a pond about 3 inches deep. Fortunately, the organizers let us move the entire rack to a new spot that was much drier in the transition area. This was a huge score! When I got down to the water for the swim I realized the temperatures were pretty good. I think they were in the mid to upper 60s which is nearly perfect for a wetsuit swim.

The water was pretty shallow for the first 100 yards of the swim so when the horn went off to start the 29 and under 5th wave of the day, I did those shallow dive things and was cooking. I zipped right out in front. After 30 seconds or so I set into a swim but saw people walking for about another minute or so. I swam very well I thought, but like so many people, I had much difficulty with direction on this day. First, I was wide right…I mean way wide right. By the time I got to the sail boat turn around, I was way wide left with a kayaker gently corralling me into the turn. The swim back was much better (except for the annual gas taste in the water) and I got out in 29:53 which was in the 60s or 70s overall so I wasn't too disappointed.

I made my way through the terribly muddy transition and onto the bike course. It was pretty uneventful. Don't get me wrong, the scenery in the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge is great, but on a flat course there is just not much to break it up. Over the first 25 miles or so my speedometer we bouncing around 23-24. After that, it started hanging out more towards the 22-23 range with the occasional trips to 21 and even (gasp) 20 as the winds picked up. The weather was great (cloudy and cool) and the roads had dried. I got into transition in 2:25:20 which was 6 seconds slower than last year….but I think the conditions were a little tougher (at least I hope)! I thought I did a good job of mixing up my cadence and getting out the saddle to keep the legs from getting stale. But man, there was nothing I could do to alleviate my lower back ache!! I remember last year having my back go south on me and it was the same this year, despite my best efforts to stretch it out. I seemed to manage it ok, but I could tell how a bad back can suck the life out of your legs…you just start to lose power when your body core is wrecked.

I started the run a bit conservatively. I really took a beating over the last 4 miles or so last year and I was determined to not make the same mistake again. My pace generally stayed around 7:30/mile for the first half of the run. I felt pretty good (especially after a pitstop behind Mr. Tree at mile .5). I caught a glimpse of the pros coming back in. I saw Deboom getting beat and I started thinking about our spiritual Subway footlong connection. Perhaps us both getting a footlong didn't mean that I would swim/bike/run like him….perhaps it meant that he would swim/bike/run like me!! EEK! Poor Tim!! I bet he was wishing he got a 6 incher instead (or whatever Lori Bowden got!). In any case, I chipped away the miles and worked my way to the turn around.

Shortly after the turn around I saw Brady, on "the hunt." Every race-- I beat him on the swim, we bike nearly the same, he tries to catch me on the run. His 6:10 miles for the first half verses my 7:30+ made me an easy target on this day. I was consumed by the Run Pummeler shortly after mile 8 who quickly became a dot on the horizon. The rest of way back was tougher but I felt really good until about mile 9 where the faces started to happen. I tried to not make faces….but I think I was making the "please shoot me face." Spectators faces acted as a mirror telling me how my own faces were getting worse. They would cringe, look away in horror, or try to offer some words of encouragement-"almost there……at least it's not hot…..it's ok to cry!" stuff like that. I managed to keep up a reasonable pace however and felt fairly stable over the last mile. I finished in 4:42:15. There was a pack of RATs by the transition that helped out tons! They were going berserk! Jen was doing the pro cycling thing where she would step right out in front of you and start yelling like crazy! I was yelling back…I was like "WAHOO!" It was good time!

My one war story from all this is that during the run I noticed some discomfort in my feet. I could tell I had some blister brewing as a result of no socks and wet feet. I also noticed what looked like a fifty-cent piece size of spilled goo or something on the top of each of my shoes. I thought it was odd that I managed to spill gel on the same spot on each shoe. I later realized I was bleeding through the tops of my shoes. : o I wish I could say I triumphed over the pain of bleeding feet, but honestly I didn't really even know what was going on. I guess my legs and back and stomach hurt so bad that I stopped taking a pain inventory before I even got to my feet. Oh well. I am sure when I tell this story in a few years it will be something like "the blood was pouring out of my shoes….the skin was gone….I was running on bone….there was nothing there but bone and I was still running 5:40 miles!!" Race memories are like fine wines…they get better with age. I wonder how many Ironman's I will claim to have won by the time I'm 30??