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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Journey 140.6: The Swim Is Cancelled at Eagleman 70.3

Eagleman provides great practice for IMMD
One of the reasons why I selected Ironman Maryland is because I could do a half Ironman on the same course and get acquainted with the course and the logistics.  It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to build a base, with Eagleman 70.3 being held on a Sunday in early June, almost 4 months before my full Ironman.

We arrive into Cambridge, MD on Friday for Eagleman 70.3 and find it to be the small, colonial town it was advertised to be.  We check into our AirBnB, a delightful 1950s style house retaining its vintage style, and welcome our friends Diane and Eric.  It’s walking distance to the transition and Ironman Village area which is perfect and makes for an easy check in.  We also get a practice swim in – enjoying nice calm waters in the Choptank River.  My parents are staying in a campground so they come over for dinner.

We awake on Saturday morning feeling relaxed and happy to have the whole day to prepare.  In fact, we are so relaxed we decide to take on hosting the Philadelphia Tri Club for the evening’s pasta dinner.  We do an hour easy ride to know some of the course. We also do a practice swim in the area that would have been the course and the Choptank is living up to its name so we are grateful when the race director announces they are moving the swim course to the more protected inlet where we did the practice swim due to anticipated winds the next day.  I also get an opportunity to meet many of my fellow TriDot training athletes.
Great Philly TriClub Showing and Pre-event Dinner

We are fortunate that one of our TriClub members is an awesome chef who not only baked some “swim bike run” bread but takes over all of the cooking for the dinner.  Other members bring home baked cookies and salads so it turns out to be an easier event to host than anticipated.  While normally I don’t host an event like this before a big race, perhaps it needs to become a best practice since I sleep better than most pre-race nights!

As I wake up and prepare for race day, I’m amazed how zen-like, calm I feel.  Perhaps it’s because this is my second 70.3 which I’ve designated as a B race without any pressure.  My sole objective is to use this as a reconnaissance race for my first full Ironman.  Arriving at transition, the water looks calmer than yesterday so I’m happy about that, but with rain in the forecast I have resigned myself that I will once again be racing in the rain.  The Philly TriClub has set up a tent in the Tri Village so I head over for the group photo. Then, I hear the dreaded words:  “The Swim is Cancelled”.  Everyone is a bit shocked since the water doesn’t look that rough, but apparently the weather is about change.

Before the rain, wind and fog!
We instead do a time trial start on the bike and head out on the flat course.  Once out on the course, I’m flying at 20mph, likely with the wind at my back.  But then the fun begins as the rain and fog kick in along with a headwind.  This is the wind so many people warned me about. I still have a great bike at 3:14:27, more than 17 mph, and 8 ½ minutes faster than I was in Atlantic City.

I transition to the run and I feel great with the adrenaline flowing after a great bike so I go out a bit fast.  After about 1 hour, however, I begin to hit a wall.  This being a B race and the fact that I had shortened some training after a slight injury, my longest run had been a 10K in training.  I walk more at points to reset and my feet and legs are really feeling it.  As I hit the 10 mile mark I decide to not stop anymore as it’s actually hard to get moving again after a walk break.  I end up finishing in 2:26:06, which is 8 minutes slower than Atlantic City but still a respectable time.  I felt worse than my performance!
My IronParents!

It would have been nice to be able to do the swim, but I was remarkably unphased by it being cancelled. Of course, it wasn’t my first 70.3 so if that had been the case I would have been more disappointed.  In general, my racing experience is now keeping me very calm, helping me to sleep well before races, and dealing with The Swim is Cancelled.  When life cancels the swim on you, change your goals and stay calm and focused!

Mike, Diane and I in front of our cozy AirBnB

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