A Simple Running Log

June 12, 2017

Eagleman recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:51 am

The Swim-Bike-Runny Schmidts had a successful Eagleman relay debut, Clark and Bart both shaved a chunk off their times from last year for the individual event, and even though Clark’s dad missed the swim cutoff and therefore didn’t get an official time, he finished the bike and the run anyway and got his finisher’s medal.

Personally, I made it through the bike leg without pissing off any other racers, falling off my bike, dropping anything, getting any drafting penalties, making any wrong turns or getting any flat tires, and in a faster time than I’d hoped.

So all in all, a pretty good day in spite of the typical Eagleman heat and humidity.

Back to the beginning.

Saturday morning, Clark ran one last easy 2-miler, and then I ran an easy lap around the 4.5-mile loop, and that would be it until the race the next morning.

Dave, Kara and I all had to check in together as a team, and Dave had something to do in the mid-afternoon, so I went to Cambridge around noon to meet them. Check-in was quick and easy at Sailwinds Park, and then we drove down to Great Marsh Park to check out the layout of the transition area.

The relay is definitely an afterthought at Eagleman – I think about 2,200 people sign up to do the whole triathlon individually, but there were only maybe 100 relay teams. This was most apparent when we asked a volunteer captain in the transition area where the relay members were supposed to meet to pass off the timing chip during the race, and he gave us a blank look, like he didn’t even know there was a relay haha.

We walked back to see where I’d be racking my bike, which was right next to a fenced off area inside the transition area with a flag that said RELAY. I think we found it!

Anyway, after we figured out where everything was, we made plans for when and where to meet the next morning and we headed home.

Dave had ridden with me to Cambridge. On the way home, he said he’d been listening at the expo to the athlete briefing, and they’d said no electronics – phones, iPods, etc. – were allowed on the bike. Then he said, “But I can wear my headphones on the run, right?” Poor guy was devastated when he found out that was strictly forbidden! His whole plan for getting through the run was to blast Breaking Benjamin.

As soon as I got home, I got all my stuff packed for the next day, Clark and I loaded up the truck and we went right back to Cambridge. He checked in at Sailwinds, and then we went to Great Marsh to check in our bikes into transition.

I saw what Clark meant about feeling like he’d brought a donkey to the Kentucky Derby last year haha. Mine wasn’t the cheapest bike there – I saw a few that had cages instead of clip-in pedals, and one of the other relay teams basically had a beach cruiser with chrome fenders – but it was definitely on the lower end. Most people had triathlon bikes, and quite a few had solid disc rear wheels, which cost almost as much as my whole freaking bike did. I will never get over how much money you can easily spend on triathlons, especially the bike!

Bart had ridden his bike down there to meet us and check his in, and then we all drove back to his and Marybeth’s house, where Clark and I were staying again Saturday night.

That night, we all went to Snapper’s for dinner, and we were all in bed by 9.

Except for when I had to pee at 2:30 a.m., I slept through the night pretty well. The alarm went off at 5.

Dave and Kara both parked near Bart’s house around 6, and we all loaded up in Bart’s truck so Marybeth could drop us off as close to Great Marsh as possible.

The park was a madhouse, as everyone rushed around to get body markings (bib number on your arms, age or an ‘R’ for relay on your calf), set up their transition areas and hit the port-o-potty one last time.

When Clark came over to give me the bike tire pump, he also gave me a 60-second explanation of how to fix a flat with the tools in the little bag under my seat. I didn’t remember a word of it! I just crossed my fingers my first flat tire would pick a different day to show up.

With my bike ready to go, we asked someone to take our team picture before Kara got in her swim wave.

SBRS before race

Runner, biker, swimmer.

Kara was in the fourth of 19 swim waves. They let go the pro men, then the pro women, then women 50 and older, and then all the relay teams and men 55 to 59 years old. And that was it, the Swim-Bike-Runny Schmidts were off!

Kara figured it would take her 30 to 40 minutes to finish. When the pros started coming out of the water, I wished Clark and Bart luck (whose swim waves left about 45 minutes after Kara’s) and got in the relay pen.

I didn’t have to wait too long before I saw Kara come running into transition – her time was 36 minutes for the 1.2-mile swim. Dave later said he’d been at the swim exit when she came out of the water, and he yelled at her to hustle up when he saw her walking out while everyone else was running haha. It’s a race!

We got the timing chip transferred from Kara’s ankle to mine, and I grabbed my bike and headed out to the bike course.

You have to walk (or run) your bike through the transition area. There’s a marked line outside it you have to cross before you can mount and take off. I guess I was nervous, because anyone watching me would have thought it was my first time trying to clip in ever – I whacked my right ankle hard on the pedal somehow and almost ran into the back tire of the bike in front of me when the guy on it didn’t take off haha. I had to just stop for a second and take a breath, and I heard a volunteer say, “That’s smart!” haha. Geez. Calm down, self! I finally got myself clipped in and took off.

As I was riding out of town, I realized I hadn’t started the timer on my watch. When I went to do that, I found out I’d never cleared out the 3:14 from the last practice ride of the course three weeks earlier. Then I couldn’t remember how to do that, on a watch I’ve been wearing for eight years! Somehow I managed to get the timer cleared out and started over, but I didn’t know how many minutes I’d already been riding.

Both times I rode the whole course before, it was cool and windy. Yesterday wasn’t windy, but it was much hotter. I brought three GUs and two bottles of Roctane. The plan was to take a swig of Roctane at every mileage marker, which were at 5-mile intervals, and eat a GU at each of three rest stops, with water they were handing out there. I didn’t want to hit a wall like I had about 16 miles from the end of the last practice ride.

The first few miles, I was still pretty hyped up, worrying about drafting penalties and getting in the way of a much faster rider, and could feel my breathing getting out of control. By the time we passed the 5-mile marker though, I’d settled down.

So, for pretty much the entire 56-mile course, I got passed by dudes on tri bikes. Every now and then I’d pass a relay rider or one of the older age group athletes who’d started in the wave ahead of or with Kara, but mostly it was age group guys who’d started in the waves behind Kara catching me and blowing by. The ones with the solid rear wheels sounded like a small car coming up from behind. I’m happy to report none of them had to yell at me to get to the right – I knew that was where I belonged haha.

I was making good time though (for me.) Even though I’d started my watch late, I was checking my 5-mile intervals at the markers, and I knew I was on track to hit my 3:05 to 3:10 goal. I kept up with my drinking and GU-eating schedule the whole way too.

The heat wasn’t as much of a factor as I’d feared either. I was sweating my face off by mile 1.5, yes, but I never felt uncomfortable. It wasn’t like running in heat, when I feel like I’m being cooked from the inside out and might spontaneously combust if I don’t slow down.

I did briefly stop three times though – at the second and third aid stations, so I could eat my GU and down as much of the water bottle I’d just grabbed from a volunteer before tossing it, as I didn’t have an open cage on my bike to hold it; and then at about mile 43, so I could swap my empty bottle of Roctane, which was in a cage I could reach while pedaling, with the full one, which was in the cage I couldn’t.

Having ridden the whole course twice before was a big help. I knew where all the landmarks were, knew about how far I had between turns, and about how far I had left to go. It flew by yesterday too, probably because I was constantly passing or getting passed by other people. There was always something to do!

I saw course officials out looking for drafting twice. They were riding on motorcycles. I never saw them hand out any penalties though.

I didn’t see any officials around when what seemed like the entire male 35-39 age group went blowing by me in a peleton haha. I’m curious how they handle that many people drafting at once!

Before I knew it, we were almost to the end. The bike course joined the run course for a few miles. The winning guy had run through already, but a lot of the other top guys were out around mile 8 and 9 when I rode through. I could hear their shoes squelching, on the other side of the road, over all the noise from my own bike, the bikes around me and passing vehicles. Talk about a sweat fest! I was so glad I was going to get to hand off the timing chip to Dave and let him deal with that.

A couple more turns and I was back in town, with a mile to go. I checked my watch – 2:50-something. Again, I didn’t know exactly what my time was since I’d started the watch late, but could I actually finish in less than three hours?

The line on the pavement outside transition was also where you had to dismount before walking/running your bike back to its rack. If I’d looked like a newb trying to get on my bike on the way out, I looked like a total shitshow trying to get off it!

After three hours of pedaling my ass off, I was wasted, but I didn’t know it until I tried to get off the bike. As soon as I unclipped my right foot, the whole calf seized up in a very painful charley horse, and I almost fell over. Somehow I stayed upright and got off the bike, but when I tried to walk forward while pushing the bike, I nearly dropped it.

I managed to start moving forward in a straight line, but I could barely move! I really wanted to run the bike back to the rack, but it was not happening. I could see Dave waving his arms at me in the relay pen, imploring me to hurry up, but I seriously could not move any faster!

I had to rack the bike, another Herculean task, before I could give the chip to Dave. Finally he had the chip and I was DONE.

Clark had told me I’d be so pumped after that bike ride I wouldn’t want to give the chip to someone else to run. Well, he was wrong haha. I could barely walk out of transition down to the water to soak my legs. There was no way in hell I wanted to try to cover a half marathon!

I mean, I knew a half Ironman had to be hard, especially on a day as hot as Eagleman always is, but damn do I have so much more respect for everyone who does the whole thing on their own, after feeling as trashed as I did after doing just the bike. And the loons who do the full Ironman triathlons are just on another level.

Anyway, Kara and I hung out in the water for a bit, which felt spectacular. Then I changed out of my sweaty bike clothes, which felt even better. We talked to a woman there who was waiting for her friend to finish, who asked me if I’d just won the race haha. Not quite!

Kara pulled up my bike split on her phone: 2:58!!

I did it! I really thought 3:05 would be pushing it, but I freaking broke three hours! I was seriously pumped about that.

About a half-hour before Dave thought he’d finish, Kara and I found a spot along the finisher’s chute to watch. It was so HOT. And we were just sitting there!

Dave was a little slower than he’d thought he’d be, which didn’t surprise me, given the heat, but he still came in at 1:57, with a “holy-shit-I-will-never-do-this-again” look on his face haha.

Kara and I cheered for him as the finish line announcer said, “And here’s another relay team – the Swim-Bike-Runny Schmidts!”

Our total time was 5:39:17, and we placed 13th among all relay teams. (They don’t break down the relays into gender groupings.)

We found some shade to sit down, chill out and trade war stories from our different legs. After Dave came out of his daze, it sounded like he actually might be up to do it again next year. We all agreed we definitely don’t want to do the whole thing by ourselves. The relay is enough!

A while later, Mom and Julie stopped by the park. They were there when we heard the finish line announcer call Clark’s name as he finished.

He didn’t quite have the day he’d wanted, mostly because of the run, but Clark still took an hour off his time from last year, finishing in 6:38.

And I have to mention this – his bike split was 2:59. That’s right, I was a minute faster than Clark!

When we were in high school 100 years ago, he scored 10 points better on the SAT than I did, and I’m still hearing about that today, so I finally have a rebuttal haha.

I mean yes, I could barely walk after it, while he went and ran a half marathon, but STILL. I WAS A MINUTE FASTER.

Mom took some pictures of us.

SBRS after

Swimmer, biker, runner — done!

SBRS plus clark

The relay team, plus Clark, who did everything the three of us did all by himself.

Bart finished a little bit later, having taken about a half hour off his time from last year. He and his family went to get our trucks so we could drive our bikes back to his house. And then Clark’s dad finished too.

He hadn’t made the swim cutoff, so he was technically a DNF, but he finished the rest of the course anyway and got a medal, so there’s that.


Finisher Clarks.

When the trucks got back to the park, we got all our stuff out of transition and went back to Bart’s house, where I took the best shower I’ve had in a long time. It felt so good to wash off all those layers of scuzzy dried sweat!

We all watched the end of the Pocono race, which Ryan Blaney won – his first Cup win – and then Clark, his dad and I went to Stoked for dinner. After we dropped off Clark’s dad and picked up Pepper, we came home and went straight to bed.

Last year, the day after Eagleman was beautiful. The humidity disappeared and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees to something bearable. Not this year! It’s going to be just as hot the next few days, so I got up early and ran an easy 3-miler.

My ankle still hurts from smacking it on my pedal, but other than that, I felt fine running today. I didn’t want to do another 10 miles in that heat though. Three was enough.

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