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Race Result

Racer: Steve Giorgis
Race: Eagleman
Date: Sunday, June 12, 2005
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 50 - 54
Time: 4:59:40
Overall Place: 150 / 1400
Age Group Place: 3 / 66
Comment: Lots of fun, especially if you are not "racing"!

Race Report:

As I crested the bridge driving into Cambridge on Sunday morning, I could see the buoys of the outbound swim leg all lined up, and as I went further along the bridge, the return leg of buoys came into alignment. The Choptank was a deep blue color, the sun was out, the sky had some puffy clouds, and the buzz of the pre-race transition area was still off in the distance. It was 6:20 am and I was finally confident that I would be able to retrieve my packet in time to set up and exit the transition area before they closed it at 7am. That was my only worry of the day.

What about the “race”? I had given up on “racing” Eagleman several weeks ago. For starters, it was my daughter’s dance show that weekend and I wanted to attend at least one of them. I accomplished that Saturday afternoon. Plus, my wife’s company, for which she is the marketing lead, was the “bib sponsor” for the Lawyers Have Heart 10K on Saturday morning. Both my son and I were being heavily recruited to run on their team. It isn’t very often that I get asked to run a race by my wife; it’s usually the other way around with me asking if I can. So, under pressure, I agreed to race the 10K and then run Eagleman as a long training day. Plus, I was looking forward to running a road race with Matt (my 16 year old son) again.

[We are now interrupting this RR to bring you my LHH10K RR]. Saturday, 8am. Matt and I were running side by side for the first (6:04) and second (6:00) miles, right on my goal pace. He was suffering from a sinus infection and had run a hard 5 with the freshly minted VA State 4 x 800 relay Champions from Herndon HS the day before. As expected, he dropped back after 2. On this out and back course, I found myself running with Alisa Harvey who would end up 3rd women overall. Another woman came up and the two of them picked up the pace and pulled away from me. At around mile 4, I was running along and looked up to see Alicia running back right at me. She stooped over, picked something up and started sprinting in the right direction again. “Chip?” I asked. “Key.” she replied. That little extra 50 yards didn’t get mentioned in the post-race article about their duel for 2nd. I ended up backing off the pace due to the oppressive heat and humidity, while returning on Whitehurst Freeway (read: no shade, on white concrete for the final mile), knowing I had a whole lot more miles to do on Sunday. Finished first in my AG with a 38:22. [Now returning you to the regularly scheduled Eagleman RR.]

I parked at the Y, assembled my bike, packed up and rode to the transition area to meet Eric Sorensen who had my packet. As I approached the park, I remembered that I left my phone in the car…aaarrrgh. Maybe I can find him. Hmmm…6:35 by now. I gave up and ran back to the car (ouch…I am a bit sore), got the phone and we agreed on a meeting spot. I wandered into transition at 6:50…whew, I’m in!! No worries from that point on.

Even though I wasn’t racing, I still had a strategy and some experimenting to do. First experiment was to see if I could do a hard workout the day after a race. I also wanted to see if I could finish this race strong, unlike all of my previous three Eagleman finishes. That would require going easy until the run turn-around, where I would see what was left in the tank.

Swim – After an hour plus wait in the already hot conditions, we were allowed in the water. Ah, the cooler water felt good as I took some easy warm up strokes. OK, the soreness in my calves and quads shouldn’t affect my swim at all. I took my position on the line and got ready for a quick start to get away and then settle in. The horn went off, I pushed off the bottom, and both feet immediately cramped! All I could think was “it’s gonna be a long day.” I swam along trying to stretch my feet out, which is akin to setting anchor. They eventually loosened up and I was out front with 2 others off to the outside. By the time we merged, they were 20 yards ahead of me. I started to push it hoping to catch them and then draft, but then remembered that I wasn’t racing. It took forever to get to the sailboat, only to learn that we didn’t have to go around it. On the stretch back, my cap was gradually working it’s way off my head. I thought about fixing it, but that would require treading water and I didn’t want to risk cramping again. Right around the final turn to T1, it popped off and I got a rush of cool water on my head. That felt good! I feel bad for littering….some turtle probably has it stuck on his head now. Finished in 31:47, 3:00 slower than last year, but who cares, I’m not racing. Action shot leaving the water without cap: http://www.asiorders.com/view_user_photo.asp?EVENTID=6983&ID=15298357&FROM=lost

T1 – I took my time and it shows…2:53…286th fastest!

Bike – My strategy here was to not over exert myself to the point where my quads would get fried. I had to catch myself a couple of times early on as I was pushing it and my quads were starting to scream. Most of the first half of the bike was into a head wind, which made it even more difficult. Even so, I averaged over 19mph. I remember this because about at the half way point, a relay guy passed by me, which I had been expecting. But this guy just pulled in front of me and I had to slow down to stay out of his draft. So I passed him, and then he passed me back but started talking to me as he was beside me, asking what my average speed was, etc. since his computer wasn’t working. As I was telling him this, it dawned on me that this motorcycle sound approaching behind me is about to write us up. So I frantically tell the relay guy to go ahead and finish his pass and I basically quit pedaling. Sure enough, the marshal pulls up and says “Something tells me you have done these races before and know better than to ride side-by-side.” “Yes sir….I do know that. I was just giving him the mileage…blah, blah, blah.” “Well, you need to be more careful,” he said as he noted my race number and pulled away. Aaarrrhhh! Oh well, good thing I’m not racing. But I was mad anyway. As I approached Mr. Relay, I was determined to pass quickly, so I shifted a couple gears harder, stood up, and hammered right by him and a handful of others opening up a good size gap. Hhmmm…that didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, and I’m going a lot faster now. From that point forward, I stood up and hammered every 10 minutes or so. That, plus the tail wind, gave me a negative split, and I was able to come into T2 feeling good. 374th overall, 2:42:05, 20.7mph

T2 – Dismount was OK, jogged with the bike, had to tie my training shoes and empty my pocket before grabbing my number and jogging off. No hurry but it was still the 110th fastest in 1:45.
Run – Just like the bike, my plan was to go out at a comfortable pace, see how I felt at the turn-around, and then finish strong, or at least stronger than I ever have before at this race. Keeping “comfortable” that first mile was tough at any pace, but I soon relaxed and settled into a 8 mpm pace. I went through my mental checklist: no quads cramping, no ITB seizing, no Achilles pains. So far, so good. I made it to the 5 mile mark and was feeling fine, so I deviated from my plan and started to pick it up there. It was very hot by this time of the day - noon. We were running from aid station to aid station. I would soak my jersey with water and it would be hot again by the next station, so I took a cup of ice with me each time and used a cube in each hand to keep cool. On the way back, I was passing people like they were walking (actually, many were). I was down to a 7:30 mpm pace and feeling confident I can hold it to the finish. With 2 miles to go, a relay runner came up from behind and I was able to pick it up and match his pace. This lasted about half a mile until I got a stitch…so much for that plan. I slowed down and worked it out to the point where I was able to pick it up for the last mile. In fact, coming down the chute, there was one more I could pass before the finish, and he challenged me! So I dug a little deeper and managed a sprint. He saw that and quickly backed off. Now that hasn’t happened in years! 115th overall, 1:41:12, 7:44 mpm

Overall – The plan worked! Even the day after a tough run race, I was able to finish a half ironman and not kill myself in the process. So that tells me I am not pacing my HIM races properly. Somehow, I need to get stronger on the bike so I can finish in a respectable time and still be able to run well. See below for how weak my bike is in comparison to the swim and run:
Swim-72nd male overall, Bike-374th, Run-115th, Overall–150th, AG-3rd.

It was a great day in all respects. I met a few more RATS and appreciate you all for the cheers at the end and out on the course, the shade from the tent afterwards, and especially that cold beer…aaahhhh. The shower at the Y afterwards was awesome. On top of all this, I didn’t get a penalty from the bike. Thanks again to Eric for picking up my packet. The heat must have gotten to me; I realized that night that I had not had any solid food since 6am until dinner. I’m always amazed how this little club in Reston seems to take home so much hardware. Let’s see how this works at DiTR. Congrats to all who finished (the race, and this report ;-).