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Race Result

Racer: Steve Giorgis
Race: Eagleman
Date: Sunday, June 13, 2004
Location: Cambridge, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 45 - 49
Time: 5:12:06
Overall Place: 516
Age Group Place: 33 / 113
Comment: What was I thinking??

Race Report:

I almost didn’t even do this race. Or if I did, it would be a swim and bike only. It wasn’t until the weekend before that I realized I could probably finish it. You see, I tore my right calf muscle back in April, and pretty much had not run more that 5 minutes straight until a week before the race. That’s when I managed to run an hour straight in a pretty decent pace. I was elated. My expectations went from “none” to “well, maybe I can pull this off.”

Pre-Race – I arrived around 2:30, checked in and listened to the pro’s answer questions from Troy. I actually got a few things out if it that I implemented the next day. Then I was off to meet Debi, Jack, and Rob for a short ride on the course, and then a run. Wearing my RATS jersey, I got a lot of greetings from fellow RATS. One was from Stv who was out for a pre-race sprint; I couldn’t believe he was running that fast the day before a race. Rob Cook and I were paired up for a homestay at a house 15 mins from the race. It was not the ideal experience (catch me on a long ride sometime for the stories). I ended up with about 3 hours of sleep, getting up before our 5:15 alarm.

Got to the race early (5:30), got a good parking spot; bike racking and body marking was very smooth. My rack was perfect, 4 spots off the main isle. I had a lot of time to get ready since I was in Wave 9 (45-55) departing at 8:01; but not as much as I thought as they kicked us out of the transition area at 7:15. More time for the loo and stretching, but no swim warm up. I was able to watch the early waves start and observed that the ones who broke from the pack were the ones dolphining since it was so shallow. Got to watch some waves finishing. Geez it was a long wait. Met up with Bill Goodrum (AKA OFB) while waiting.

Swim – With 8 mins between waves, there was time to warm up. I also took the time to practice the dolphin dive. It paid off. I broke clear of the pack pretty early and kept dolphining until I got tired of it. By then, there was one other guy to my left. We eventually merged, and then he was out of sight. Amazingly, my navigation was right on, even while weaving thru the earlier waves. On the way back, I sensed someone was with me. So I slowed down to see and sure enough, the same guy had been drafting on me since after the start. OK, my turn to draft. I slowed to see if he would keep going, but he didn’t; he went wide instead. So I finished by myself thinking I had the fastest swim split in the wave. I was hoping for 30: and saw 28: when I went over the mat. (It turns out, the guy drafting behind me would go on to be the overall Masters Champ with a 4:12 finish!! I’d like to take some credit for that:)

T1 – I have to credit my rack spot to my fast T1. 9th in my AG…that never happens.

Bike – My goal here was to finish the bike under 2:30. This being my first race of the year, I wasn’t sure if I was up to it or not. I’d had some good long rides and some good interval sessions leaving me pretty optimistic. I started out like I do in all races; no power in my legs until after 20 mins or so of the bike have passed. I expected it and it came, but out of 2.5 hours, it wasn’t that much. (Anyone have any clues as to why? Maybe my wet suit is too tight in the legs(?)) The bike was a continuous “on your left” with only a few breaks towards the end. It really boosts your confidence to pass so many people, especially when you pass someone that is passing someone else. Then reality hit…the uber bikers in my wave started to catch up and pass me. And I couldn’t do anything about it. I tried to go with them but I was already on the edge. I’d guess there were close to 15 that passed me on the bike. And then at the end when we were back in town, Mike Guzek passed me, and he was in the wave behind me. We exchanged greetings, he pulled away, and I made a mental note to say Hi again once on the run. I finished a little slower than goal but not too bad – 2:31:56.

T2 – Fast again…4th in the AG!! No complaints there.

Run – Plenty of complaints here. Right off the bat, my quads were in pain…sharp pain. No problem, we’ll get through this, just maintain for now. I could see Mike up ahead. With his height, he’s an easy target, even in a crowd. He became my first goal to catch, maybe 50 yards ahead. As expected, my quads settled down and now it was time to pick it up. I did and Mike got closer, but it was taking longer than expected, mainly since he was running faster than I expected. Out on the highway, I was 15 yards behind him and my ITB started to hurt, and then really hurt. I stopped to stretch it out and several other muscles started to cramp. Forget the stretching. I started up again, probably favoring it because then my Achilles tendon started to get sore. I tried walking and then jogging again…no luck-it hurt bad. Here’s the blow-up. I was reduced to a walk. (Insert flushing sound as my race goes down the tubes.) After several minutes of four-letter words (to myself), I rationalized that it wasn’t worth sacrificing the rest of the season by further injuring myself. Should I just stop now? I decided to finish, even if I had to walk. Only 8 miles to go.

It seemed to take forever just to reach the turn-around point. By then my attitude was improving. If it wasn’t for the pain, it would have been fun. I was hardly sweating since I was walking so much, and eventually gave up on drinking. On the way back, I hit three different porta-pods, nice and leisurely. I had plenty of time to thank the volunteers. I felt somewhat guilty when people were cheering for me as I walked along, so I’d try jogging for a while to make it at least look like I was trying. Towards the finish, there were others like me, slowly making their way to the finish. With less than a mile to go, I was cheering for a woman coming the opposite direction, just starting her run. As I passed her, I realized it was Kirsten, my ART therapist who has been working on my calf for the past two months. It was her first triathlon ever. “Go Kirsten!” (I later found out they pulled her off the course at the 11 mile point, as they closed the course.)

I finished.