June 8th, 2007 Eagleman is the first sanctioned Ironman event for me and I drag the whole family along to Cambridge, MD with over 1500 racers . . .I have never been in a race with more than 300 folks, nor an IM sanctioned race so this is a big deal for me. My fitness level has progressed to the point where I feel like I can not embarass myself and actually finish ahead of some in my age group. It is amazing for me that I can finish in the top 416 of 8000+ in a ten mile running race but a month or two later I will be lucky to finish in the top 75% of my age group and maybe top 60% overall.
The drive down from NJ is known to us and we stay in Annapolis at Sherwood Forest friday nite with the folks and leave Sat morning for the 90 minute ride to Cambridge.
Heather, Mom and the kids head to the pool after check in at the hotel. We are all staying in Cambridge at the Hyatt which is luxurious and ($350 a nite!) but is right on the Choptank and has a great pool with a water slide . . .Josh should not be on it as he cannot swim, and QUINN is DEFINITELY not allowed, and he is very upset and cries and sulks poolside. Josh cannot swim either but loves the slide into the wave pool. We all have a nice dinner at the hotel and all of us cram into one hotel room, Mom, Dad, Heather, Josh 4, and Quinn 2.
I am nervous as hell for the bike check in, my new wheels on the Cervelo 2pc are not latching right!! The 1.2 swim in the Choptank (North Atlantic) is also unnerving. I take dad to packet pickup and bike check in the new P2c rocket. Nervous as hell after the bike check in, I demo the new e-bay wheels on the Cervelo 2pc and they are not latching right!! They keep scraping on the frame as the wheel hub stay is bent . . .Can't fix it now but I jury rig it and hope it will hold up for 3 hours tomorrow.
Race morning with Dad, we leave the hotel at 5:30 and as I am wave 3 with the 35-39s and in we go very early on. .Even with a big race I am now better setting up my transition area and am less nervous than I had thought . Man there are bikes everywhere! It is for the best that i am in an early start wave (#3) My swim is not great but the river currents working in our favor and I exit in 38 minutes a PR of over 8 minutes for the swim and hit the bike with a good transition of 4:28. Even still my swim is only 184 out of 232 that illustrates how competative these guys are!
Onn the bike there is no breeze and flat course and my bike form is improving. Overall the bike course through The Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County is gorgeous and we will revisit for Chesapeake man later in September. Almost ideal condition the only thing better would be a tail breeze. I do stop once to pee once and navigate the course and finish in 3 hours a PR by five minutes. It is amazing that at 20mph how I am still being passed by everyone it seems. I tell myself bike your pace and you started ahead of most folks. I am so ready to get off the bike after 36 miles making the last 20 a waiting game to finish to get to the run. I pas the time eating bananas to avoid any chance of leg cramps on the run. I have not discovered the sophesitication of electrolyte supplements or hourly caloric mangement. I do think to myself, how do people stay down on these aero bars for hours is amazing. This is my first long race on the p2C and my 3 hour bike split a five minute PR, mostly due to the bike and race wheels I imagine. My time however is still on the slow end for my age group at 200 out of 232 . . .These guys are serious!!
I have a solid T2 transtion time of 2:42, 81st out of 232 and about a minute of that is running out of T2 100s of yeards to the timing mat! How these guys do a 1:30 T2 is amazing.Start the run and discover that I had overate the bananas on the bike, (I need to work on my eating strategy!!) My stomach is bloated and I cannot onboard food. Hang in with a guy from Carroll Manor , MD training for Ironman Austria . I take about 30 minutes to work out my stomach issues. As I feel better my run training evidences itself and I ditch him at mile 8 and start moving now passing everybody. at about 7:30 pace I am not eating anything for fear of any stomach flare ups and then sure enough at mile 11 I run out of fuel and bonk big time. I have to walk for 30 second intervals and am struggling. About half a mile from the finish big rig Rick the clydsdale from Caroll Manor comes chugging by me trying for a 5 hour finish, (He posts a 5:11) I probably have lost about three minutes to the field over the last two miles but I spot Josh with Heather and the family and I pluck him out of the crowd to escort me home and I still set a PR of 1:55:45 for the half marathon or 126 out of 232 in my age group. My overall 5:41:14 is overall a PR for half ironman of over 12 minutes from Devilman in May 06 and places me 171 out of 232 and 930 out of 1600 overall. YAY!!! Best race ever!! Also I am only ten minutes off my goal of finishing in the top half overall, not bad for a newbie with a steel rod in his femur! I am beat up and exhausted and not thinking too clearly but am quite pleased on the 5 hour ride home to NJ and savor the Mickey D's stop along the way home thinking about how to shave ten minutes off my time for a top half and a sub 5:30 70.3 time. Maybe next year! I'll be back in 08