Monday, June 12, 2017

Eagleman 2017 race report

This was my 10th Eagleman!
Quick things I learned:
*ALWAYS bring a roll of extra TP.  Eagleman is always so prepared, but.. not this year.  An hour before the race started, one of the  main sections of port o pots ran out of TP.  An awesome lady in my line had an extra roll and handed like 10 sheets to everyone.  **she is my new best friend😊
*speaking of port o pots (and then I”ll be done with this subject)(for now… why is there so much bathroom talk in 70.3’s.)… I need to remind myself that there is no shame in getting out of one, and then walking immediately back to the line to stand in line again… bc… race morning jitters create immense havoc on  my system… (but the pepto bismol must have done the trick because it was fine after this!)
*wherever you go, there are gems:  met a woman before the race who was all talking herself up to me and ended with:  “I’ll see you at the finish, I’ll cheer for you.” (ughhhhh like she’s going to be done so far ahead of me and just lounging around cheering for me because I’m going to be so far behind her”??!!!  OK, so my competitive juices began flowing.
 *once again I was reminded:  wear what you want- NOTHING MATTERS OUT THERE ON THE COURSE.  I am so normally not wanting to have anyone see my stomach and wouldn't wear a 2 piece, but honestly- out there- who cares... and once again I was reminded that it is fine and doesn't really matter and who cares.  If someone sees a roll, they can just pass me by... if they can:)

Race morning was awesome: woke up feeling great, got to race site, and literally parked like 50 feet from transition area- they opened up the field to parking—SO thankful- makes it so much better to not have to walk far with all of your stuff especially afterwards in heat/tired/etc.
AND… there is ALWAYS a beautiful sunrise at Eagleman.  Seriously.  I saw this and committed myself to doing this race FOREVER!!!  (more on that later).

I just feel at HOME doing this race.  Sometimes I get on myself for not always doing NEW and different ones.. but I also like how I truly kind of feel at HOME here.  10 years and – I just know the ins and outs of the park, course, set up, etc.  I felt such gratitude for having that sense of “belonging” and feeling at home.

Swim start:  This years swim was in REVERSE!  Weird- 10 years and this is the first they have done that.  But it was fine.  The reason they did it was because something about the current and that this would benefit us (but honestly.. it is not the purpose of a ½ IM to do things to benefit us or make it “easier” or “faster” for us….)  The way out was INTO the current, so I tried to make sure my arm cadence was UP so the current wouldn’t push me back as far.  The way out/beginning of swim always SUCKS how I feel though—I feel good for 90 seconds, and then start thinking ohhhhh I’m tired.. Ohhh yikes, I’m in open water and my legs are feeling tired and it irks me that LEGS feel it since I am SWIMMING. (and no, I am not kicking hard- had wetsuit on today, don’t know… just weird to me that my LEGS have a sense of panic in them?!)  anyway.. got over that about 5 minutes in and then it was FUN! I actually LOVE swimming open water.. just after that 5 min.  When we did our first turn, I knew that I had to make sure I didn’t get pushed INWARD of the buoys so I focused on going hard here also, knowing that at the next turn, the current was supposed to be behind us.  When I did turn though.. honestly.. I have to still wonder- was it behind us?  Never felt it helping me at all.  I was thinking, Hmmmmm if current is behind us for the longer part, maybe I can get my best time.  I didn’t, but it was right in the middle of where I’ve been… kind of wishing I was a bit faster because I even had my wetsuit on, so I feel like I had a lot going for me and I also FELT real strong.. feel that I sighted well and remained tight with the buoys /line of the course.. but…  overall was happy with this.
Bike: So, I got on my bike well/ had a good quick transition/ got going well. The bike was mostly really UNEVENTFUL- so good, right?! A few things:
·        I felt like I really never was PUSHING HARD… hmmm… felt SOLID, but didn’t feel FAST.  The winds were AT US early like miles 8-25ish?  Which I’ve also never had headwinds at that point- usually they are on 2nd half.  So it was just different (I was wondering if this was related to why they switched our swim- if winds were affecting currents and they were opposite normal?)  anyway, doesn’t matter, just something I noticed.
·        Drank NUUN for first 5 miles, perpetuum from 5-10 then started taking in some food at mile 10. UGH, I was ANNOYED at having to eat.  I did force myself to a bit.  BUT.. I just get so annoyed at having to eat during exercise when I do not WANT to.  But I did, then went back to perpetuum (protein drink) I just didn’t feel like FOOD TODAY but knew I had to try.  I had a bottle of 5 hour energy I drank on bike as well, then went back to NUUN and a blackberry gel…. Picked up water from the stop at mile 45ish and got it to go well into my between the bars drink holder (was worried about slowing down, but I had a great volunteer that jogged a bit to make the handoff easier; also was worried about having it go into my holder but it worked great.)  I also took BASE salt at mile 30/40/50.  (more on BASE SALT later).
·        So… mile 40, I knew I had to pee a bit.  (if you are bashful or offended reading about pee, carry on to the next bullet).  So….. I thought ok, here we go, pee now while biking and it’ll save you time (yes if you don’t do long distance tris- this is what we do.. HOWEVER I suck at this…)AND….. a friend of mine (yes, Koen, you)… was behind me and I wasn’t sure how far back and I would have honestly possibly DIED if he passed me while I was peeing (his son is in my son’s grade/class and….. you know… just didn’t really feel like that would be a memory he could ever get rid of).  So everytime I tried, I just couldn’t do it.  So during that 10 miles, I probably had 5x where I slowed down ridiculously/tried to not pedal (while trying to “go”) and then just gave up and knew I needed to push.  Never went and decided ok.. just stop in transition or real quick on the run course when I get there and go fast.  NEXT YEAR I COMMIT TO NOT EVER TRYING THIS. NO NEED TO SLOW DOWN, just stop for 20 seconds in port o pot rather than wasting this silly time trying/slowing down/losing focus.  I LEARNED.  THIS WAS A BIG MISTAKE and I WILL NOT MAKE IT AGAIN.
·        The oddest thing about this years bike was how I FELT mentally. Normally at like mile 40-45, I think, “hmmmm I’m really ready to get off this bike now.”  TODAY: I felt like that at mile like 20.  AARRGHH! That is not good, right?!  I don’t know why.  I kept saying to myself, “Sharon, this is patience, you are just being impatient with time and you want to like see how you’re going to do today.”  Or maybe it was the wind and I wasn’t going as fast mph during first 25 miles????  Not really sure.  I was annoyed by myself for continuing to think that.  I just felt like the miles weren’t ticking by fast.  On the FLIP side…. At mile 40 usually I do start to feel pretty fatigued and slowing down…. Today I never had that feeling of leg fatigue.  My BACK was fatigued though starting at like 20 miles, so that was also worrisome and so maybe it was WORRY that overshadowed my feelings during the bike.  I just felt like it was “tedious” and I wish I hadn’t felt that way.
Run:  I didn’t feel terrible as I sometimes do in the beginning.. I think I had myself mentally prepared to have NO EXPECTATIONS and to not get “worried” about how I was feeling.  I started/ I knew it wasn’t fast, but I just thought, that is ok.. stay steady/ follow the plan.  And I did.  Mile 3 though… here it came.  My freaking STOMACH.  UGH. I get this at Eagleman.  It is not a stomach cramp, it is like my ribs get big/bloated in that area and I have a hard time INHALING.  I have huge ribs so I usually try to take my fingers and literally put them UNDER the rib bones  (can everyone do this or are my ribs truly just way sticking out there) and I push my fingers around the underneath of the ribs to kind of try to break up the “cramp” or whatever it is.  And I also try to exhale and focus on belly breathing- making my stomach soft/rising/falling rather than it being held too tight.  It didn’t really help and so I was right by a big boulder/rock and I grabbed it /leaned over and stretched out my ribs/back.  And it went away.  Got it once again to SOME extent- not to the extent that I had to stop and stretch again, but I kind of slowed/relaxed my stomach/  made myself exhale really hard.  I don’t know if it is my stomach muscles TIGHTING up so quick/impulsive reaction to the ice water that I pour over me/ice being put into my swimsuit.  I have to wonder if my muscles like CLENCH from this ice?  (but I need it to stay cooled).
So I really kept steadily (slow) during the first 5, really just trying to run UNDER the intensity that I was thinking would blow up  my rib area more.  I had a fuelbelt on so mostly drank that, another 5 hour energy and at aid stations put ice water over me/ ice in my suit/ AND….. here we go.
I AM AN ADDICT.  OK< I have been thinking about this for quite some time.  At every 70.3, they have soda on the course.  I don’t even really drink diet soda anymore, BUT… during a race (and after), the best thing I want/CRAAAAVE is the bubbles of diet soda. HOWEVER, when I get that stomach bloat thing, I wonder if it is from the bubbles??  (although I had the stomach issue today BEFORE the soda)…. BUT: MY RULE IS NO SODA. DO NOT DO IT SHARON. DO NOT DO IT.  And at 70.3 florida, I drank soda.  Seriously, it is like I CANNOT resist.  I have this rule and I just honestly don’t even think about it, I think, “I don’t’ care, I want it.” And take it.
And today I did it again.. and thought.. there it is.  I am honestly a “soda during a 70.3 addict”.  I honestly have this feeling in my mind that that is maybe what it is like for an addict who knows they are not supposed to drink or use whatever, but they DO IT anyway…. (I am not meaning this to make light of drug/alcohol addiction) but for me, I have to wonder if this is similar.  ANYWAY.
THEN I REALIZED at like mile 5 I hadn’t been doing my BASE SALT like I had intended.  I maybe had done 1 some point in those 5 miles.  So, I did 2 servings under tongue at mile 6.  IT HELPED ME SO SO MUCH OMG.  So I decided to do this every even mile marker.  I don’t eat anything salty, so to have that salt in my mouth made me feel gaggish- and my mouth would kind of water and I wasn’t sure if it would turn into getting sick… but it didn’t.  and I really do think it helped.
I also wore arm coolers for the first time.  Ok, honestly, I had no idea if this really would work.  AND…. I was frankly kind of bummed to have my forearms/part of upper arm covered because ….. yea… I kinda like to get a tan.  BUT.. I DO ACTUALLY THINK THEY HELPED!!!  I would put some of my ice cubes in my arm coolers when I would get cups of ice and sometimes it was so so cold that I would take like ½ mile to try to tolerate that pain instead of the pain of running (fun times, haha!)…. But a few times I did think, I feel like my arms are so much cooler, as well as:  I often get goosebumps during EM even though it is hotter than hell.  I  NEVER had that today, not sure if it was arm coolers help OR the extra salt I was taking in.  Also, as hot as it was, it definitely wasn’t the worst Eagleman conditions ever.  There was a nice breeze at so many points that I felt and was so thankful for the breeze. 
Last 4 miles from 9-13.  I need to go see if I can find those splits. OMG, I felt SO SO SO MUCH BETTER during those miles than I did earlier!! I finished STRONG!!!  This was possibly my favorite part of the day.
The FUNNIEST part of the race happened at mile 9 when we were coming back on a hot road- a bunch of “beach grasses”(?not sure if this is what you call them—but like the big tall border grasses) were lining the road and in them, someone had placed a cutout of Sean Spicer so it looked like he was peering out at us through the bushes.  Too funny!
I loved finishing. I loved those miles and not feeling like it was the death of me!
I finished my 10th! And I did feel so happy to have finished.  No matter what, Eagleman is always an accomplishment, and I know that I owe it to myself to honor that.
Here is how I felt:  happy that I finished, happy and proud that I kept plugging away, disappointed in my times a little…. Frankly I wanted a little faster swim… a little faster bike.. and a WHOLE LOT FASTER run.  Disappointed that last year was 3rd in age group/ this year 6th.  Disappointed that it was over 10 minutes slower than last year.  Disappointed that with only 2 places per age group to go to worlds, I was sure one of the people above me would take it.  And this was a worlds I could go to- in Tennessee… I had hoped to go/visit my grandmother on the way/way back possibly….. I normally don’t do 3x 70.3/year, so this would be a bigger year than I am used to, and then next year I was hoping to go back to my favorite distance focus: oly. Distance. I was just "not impressed" by my race... so I decided to do my best Makayla Maroney (olympic gymnast) impression of not impressed:

I was tempted to wait it out until they announced slot allocation and make sure I didn’t get the opportunity, but the longer I was there, the more I knew I didn’t want to wait possibly a total of 4 more hours until awards with most certainty that I wouldn’t get the slot.  I really didn’t want to stay in the heat, I really wanted to get my legs into a cold pool and then take a shower.  I felt confident leaving, and I did just that: left, headed to pool, shower, then walked around the cute little town of Easton, MD…. Then ran to target quick since I rarely get to really go through target and had a few things/cards/bandaids etc to get… and… it was in target that I got a txt from a friend who said they rolled to me for Worlds, do I want it.  Texted back: YES, have blank check and can be there in 20 min.  he said he’d run and ask. And…. I got the text that they had rolled to the next person.  AND I WAS (am) DEVASTATED.  I was in line at that point trying to get OUT so I can run back to Cambridge if it worked and when I got that text, I literally got goosebumps/lost my blood pressure/ felt dizzy/dreamy and just devastated.  I got teary in line, and left and sat outside target, calling ryan sobbing.
I know that on the scale of life, this is FINE.  But it was my goal and I worked every dang day for this goal and I really wanted it.  I feel dumb for not staying, lazily wasting away my day that ended up in my giving my spot away. (not really “my spot” since it rolled to me also)…. I’m so sad. So annoyed, mad, sad. Boo.

It’s fine.  (not fine).

1 comment:

  1. Hey, it's an amazing accomplishment regardless! The rest of us, mere mortals, are always impressed that you can even do a race of this type.
    Funny story about peeing on the bike :)
    What's up with 5-hour energy drink - we're going to have to talk!
    And wouldn't the regular soda be better than diet at that point (some calories, and even sodium).
    Juan (and Sofia)