I had one more weekend to make it through before taper time, but there was a twist to this one. While I would be competing at Eagleman, I would be doing so as a relay team! The Quassy-Eagleman double was going to be too much to pile on before CDA, so I opted to do the bike at Eagleman – my friend Courtney was going to be the swimmer, and roommate Carly was going to be our
ringer runner. With the Baltimore celebration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 (yes, we like to find any reason to party) around the same time as the race, we were feeling a little patriotic as we went with the team name “Oh Say Can You See Those Fast and Pretty Girls.” When Courtney had a last minute work trip pop up, I opted to take on the aqua-velo portion of the relay as I figured another open water swim practice couldn’t hurt!
As usual the week prior to the race, every day seemed to be the ideal race day conditions. That only meant one thing: race day would be an inferno like always. Relays start in the very last wave, so I had plenty of time to catch up with my parents who made the trip down for the race. When Ed and Carly arrived it was just about time to suit up and get ready to rock!
I lined up at the front of the pack yet again, and tried to go out with the fast group. Since we also had the aquavelo in the wave, it meant that I was dropped pretty quickly by a few of the faster swimming. I held on with some others though, and was swimming at a good effort. Eagleman is one of the more challenging swims I’ve ever done, with a 36:37 in 2009 (wetsuit), and a 36:40 in 2011 (non-wetsuit). I am happy to report though that I came out of the water this year in 30:38! I was the second relay out of the water (which bodes well considering most relays would pick a ‘real swimmer’ for that leg!) and with that as my third solid swim in 2 months I can officially say I feel like I’ve shedded my past of 35(+) minute swim times.
I came into T1 where it appeared that not many (if any) other relay teams would be doubling up legs, so I took my time to put on a jersey and get settled before heading onto the bike. After biking a 2:33 last year, I was hoping to inch closer to that 2:30 mark this year. Spoiler alert: I didn’t come close!
A combination of unfavorable winds and general training fatigue in the legs was clear, and with that I’m content to report that I biked a hair under 2:40 in the end. While I always set my goals for a race, it is important to keep myself in check and part of that is remembering that I was in no way tapered and focusing on this event. A 56 mile TT on tired legs is a great way to gear up for a goal race, so I’m can most certainly accept that. I also was still able to hold my own in the relay division, only getting passed by one dude.
As I got off the bike and handed the chip to Carly (who now had the awful task at hand of running a half marathon in 90+ degree heat!) I realized that I could count my blessings on not doing the entire race myself this year. After only the swim and bike, the heat had definitely hit me and I was ready to raid my parent’s cooler, which consisted of Bugles (they still exist!) and iced tea. After refueling I headed back onto the course for my spectating duties.
I also have to mention a couple of amazing performances from the day: Katie had a great day and took home the Kona spot for the 25-29 age group (the East coast will be representing in October!!!) and my Rev3 teammate Maggie had a killer performance, shattering the 5-hour barrier with a breakthrough race!
Another highlight of the day was getting to meet the women’s champion, Meredith Kessler. She has been so much fun to watch race in the past couple years and getting to meet her confirmed that she’s a true sweetheart! And you know she’s a true champion when she’s back to looking super cute within a couple hours of winning the race:)
I am happy to report that after this weekend I have make it through the “gauntlet” of IM training for this race, and now can focus on relaxing and keeping my feet up! I feel ready, and am excited to head to Idaho next week 🙂