so was the race really windy on the bike and hot/really humid on the run with absolutely no shade, and the swim was choppy?
if so you got a standard issue Eagleman race.
Congratulations to all that did the race, its a great race and the consistently tough conditions year after year is one of the reasons why the race is considered one of "the classic" races on the entire east coast.
The swim wasn't choppy. I didn't think last year was choppy either. However, either the current was stronger this year or the wind blew the buoys off course and made it longer because every DCTri person that I asked (even the good swimmers) had significantly slower swim time. I think that the DQ rate for the swim this year was pretty high when compared to other years. Part was due to the wetsuit issue ... part due to the what I just described. If you look at the pro's time as well as the top AG's time, you will see a much slower time (relatively speaking) than prior years.
The bike was less windy than last year and probably less than any of the practice rides that I've been to out there over the past two years. It was windy but not Eagleman windy.
The ruling on the wetsuit was VietCong-ish.
The run/heat/sun lived up to the hype.
I am guessing parking delayed the start. Traffic was backing up at the school pretty early.
As for the swim.... something wasn't right!!! My average for the three prior Eaglemans is 42 minutes. These were all swum with some current and chop. Yes the lack of a wetsuit was a factor, but I should not have swum over 62 minutes! I believe the course was long and the layout never afforded the swimmers any favorable current. I swear I was battling the current for the entire swim.
I was very disappointed getting out of the water and considered dropping out. However I stuck with it. The wind on the bike course was tame compared to prior years. However the heat and sun on the run more than made up for this. I ended finished 30 minutes slower than last year.
Congrats to everyone! Perhaps the only thing that kept me going was seeing so many DC Tri folks competing!
Here's my race report:
It was hot. I can't remember anything else.
- Out of the water in 1:02:37... really pissed!
- Not as windy as usual on the bike but hot. Held back a little knowing I will need it for the run. 2:39:52 split.
- Super hot heading out for the run. First mile in 6:58 and faded fast to 8-min miles in the second half. Still passed a ton a people with a 1:40:42.
- Overall: 5:27:40.
- In my age group, I went from 170th to 114th off the bike to 35th place.
DC Tri people ROCK! Best cheering section EVER! I loved the cheering from people on the course and also the spectators! Thanks for the encouragement.
My first attempt at 70.3...
Didn't think the swim was that bad- very happy that it wasn't choppy.
I've heard that the wind could've been worse, but, I swear the wind was blowing in my face on the bike no matter which direction I was going!
I usually run a 2 hour half-marathon... Now, I understand that I can't expect to do as well running after the swim and bike, but, I spent 3 hours and 15 minutes walking that very hot course and at the turnaround I was seriously concerned that I would not even be able to finsih the course at a walk pace.
The sun just got to me more than I expected, I guess.
Anyway, I finished my first 70.3, slower than I wanted, but I finished!!!
Ban the Tidewater Inn! They suck!
I booked my room 8 months ago to show up and say they put me in a hotel 20 miles further from the start. My friends who were doing the relay with me were booked there as well and only got a room bc Tidewater did not want to deal with their dog. We needed to stay together. The short version of the story is that we still had to stay 20 miles further away only to show up at that hotel who said they would not honor our late check out or the dog fee which we had to pay! This put us 3 hrs behind schedule. Finally got to eat something after waiting 2 hrs to be served. It is now 10p. We were all totally exhausted from dealing with all the [you fill in the blank] and never made it to the race start. I am so royally [you fill in the blank] that I can't even tell the whole story. When I calm down and someone gets me in the right frame of mind at a happy hour -maybe then.
Tidewater was only turning away Triathletes. No advance notice - like they didn't know weeks ago (at least) that they overbooked. I confirmed 3 weeks ago and was assured I had a room. I don't think I will ever register for Eagleman again unless I am prepared to spend the big bucks for the Hyatt - enen then - will I have a room?
PS. No - I don't camp.
some of hotels in cambridge have been pulling some shady stuff this year.
the best value inn, was telling people to email the supervisor at his gmail account to where he then told you you had to sign some sort of contract to have a 3 night min stay at a jacked up rate. the whole thing sounded shady, in that the normal cancellation policy of the best value franchise was not adhered to. strange.
sounds like it was a tough swim, good for you guys, makes for a better race story afterwards.
i think back in like 98 or something something similar happened the swim times were slower than normal, i think it later came out some of teh bouys moved due to a strong current so the swim was actually a bit longer. Hey it happens its the nature of open water swimming.
eagleman almost always seems to have windy conditions, the only question is will it be a strong wind in your face or a really strong wind in your face most of the time.
the run, well its the run, and sounds like it lived up to the hype as it always does.
sounds like you all have good stories to tell.
For what it's worth I've heard the swim was 1.59 miles, which seems unlikely, but given the fastest swim times were 3-4 minutes slower than usual, and assuming pros don't lose too much w/o wetsuits, it might have been a bit long. However, conditions seemed great otherwise. Water about as smooth as I've seen it.
The pros do not ever wear wetsuits at Eagleman since the water temp has to be below 68(?) for them to do so. I don't think that the water temp is ever that cold in the middle of June. I know that they didn't wear wetsuits last year.
Let's assume that they do a bit slower than 100 m/min. 3-4 min off means that the race was either off by somewhere between 300-400 meters or the current was strong.
All I know was that Elvis was talking to me during the swim.
Excellent. Thanks for the correction! Explains why now that I think about it I don't recall seeing pros taking off wetsuits!
Sorry to hear about hotel BS. THat sucks bad. what also sucks is my Eagleman SUNBURN!!
Well, I have to report that I got a DQ for failing to make the swim cutoff time. I knew going in that I'm a weak swimmer but I thought I would be able to make the cutoff with plenty of time to spare.
On the morning of the race, I discovered that I couldn't see out of my goggles at all! There was some sort of gunk built up on the inside of the lenses. I tried rubbing them with my jersey several times but I couldn't get that stuff off. I could only see through a narrow strip across the top of the lenses.
My sighting was horrible. I couldn't see the buoys at all. I thought I would try to draft off people and let them guide me but since I can't keep up with most people on the swim, that didn't work for long. When I did see the buoys, I always found myself about 30m or more off to the side. I don't even want to imagine what my path through the water looked like. Experimenting with new ways to draw the letter Z?
This was my first OWS without a wetsuit and I'm a back-of-the-pack swimmer in general but I didn't think the waves were that bad. I could feel the current, especially in the middle part and some of the final stretch where I thought I was going sideways. When I got out of the water, I couldn't tell if I had made the cutoff. I didn't know if the race clock started at 7 am, or the actual start time, and whether my wave had gone off according to the original plan, starting at X min. after the race start. So I continued onto the bike.
I developed some bad stomach cramps almost right away. I think it was a combination of the coffee I had early that morning (not going to do that again) and having the gels sitting in a gel flask in that heat. The 1st 30 min. was pretty good on the bike but after that, my stomach was hurting too much. I made it to the 2nd aid station and took care of business. I got my second, er, first wind after that, especially after the next turn. Instead of getting passed by dozens of people, I sped up like crazy and passed a dozen people in about a mile. But the lack of food over a 45-min. stretch did me in. I didn't have enough energy to push into the steady wind and I slowed back down as people started passing me again.
I was still in decent shape to start the run but then I found out I had been DQ'd. Crap.
A bit disappointing but I'm heartened to hear that the swim course may have been long or at least that the current slowed everyone down, even the pros. It doesn't mean that I'm still not a slow swimmer but at least it means that if I had done even a half-decent job of sighting (and had clear goggles), that I could have made the swim cutoff. I missed it by about 90 seconds.
At least I'll be able to recover quickly since I didn't do the run. The biggest problem in recovering is the nasty sunburn I have on my arms, face and the back of my shoulders. There's also a thin strip on my lower back at the gap between my jersey and tri shorts that hurts too. So it looks like I'll be close to 100% for the Washington DC Tri next weekend (as long as I've recovered from the sunburn by then!). I'm really glad I decided to sign up for that now. I won't have Eagleman festering in my mind for weeks. I can quickly refocus and concentrate on preparing for another race.
I think WDC will go better and not just because it's Oly distance. There are buoys every 100m. Plus I'll be sure to have clear goggles. And I won't have to deal with hotels and car rentals this time. I almost missed Eagleman altogether because I was scrambling to get a rental car on Sat. Some places don't let you use a debit card. Because of that mess, I didn't eat much at all on Sat. and I didn't get into Cambridge until shortly after 6 pm. I made the packet pick-up and the bike racking. I also had time for a short wetsuit swim on the course on Sat. evening but I was dehydrated and hungry. I didn't eat until 8:30-9 pm and I got very little sleep on Sat.
Still, I chalk it all up as a valuable learning experience. This was my first attempt at the HIM distance. I'm disappointed with the DQ but I think I would have been OK finishing the entire race. I certainly wouldn't have been fast at all but at least I think I had the endurance to finish. Finishing in decent shape was a key goal for me in my first HIM. That didn't work out but I plan to try it again. Probably not until next year though. I have the two Olys this year plus the near-HIM (70.0 miles) Half Full Tri in Oct.
Congrats to everyone who finished. Sorry to hear about the hotel though, morunner. I hear you about the late Sat. dinner. That may have sapped some of my energy too.
I stayed in Easton. One-day rental was fine and I had no problems with the hotel. It's not as convenient as staying in Cambridge but it's not that far away. Even on Sun. morning, the drive wasn't bad at all, maybe 20-25 min. to the shuttle parking area. Of course there was the big traffic backup at the school but that affected those staying in Cambridge too.
Getting back to the shuttle parking lot was a hassle. I rode back with the heavy bag on my back and the tire pump and shoe bag on my handlebars. Pretty hard to stay upright on the bike with all that weight on your shoulders. And I couldn't even tilt my head up properly because the back of my aero helmet kept hitting the bag. Not a recommended riding position.
My race report echoes the stories others are recounting. Overall, I was in at 5:06:49, which was good for 39th in the M 35-39 AG (out of 328) and 184th overall (out of 2523).
Swim--slower than expected (and started cramping toward the end, which was odd). I had targeted 35-36 mins, took me 41:42. It didn't occur to me that maybe the swim was actually longer than 1.2 miles (and maybe that was why I started cramping), but I was bummed that I was already 5-6 mins off the pace I was shooting for.
T1--a sluggish 3:06, owing to the cramping issues on the swim which forced me to stretch out my legs for an extra minute plus.
Bike--windy, but not really as bad as I had expected. I was targeting 2:30 and it took me 2:31:10, so right where I wanted to be.
T2--an almost-as-sluggish 2:44. No excuses here, I just suck at transitioning.
Run--absolutely brutal. Was targeting 1:30, but finished in 1:48:07. Started fast, going sub-7 mins up to mile 3 and then just imploded due to the heat. Quad started cramping, had to stop and stretch. Started walking the few hundred yards through each aid station and just running in between. Combination of the heat index and the complete lack of shade anywhere on the course made it a slog. I've never seen so many people walking on a run course. One lesson learned here is to carry your supplements in a plastic bag or waterproof pouch. Once I started dumping water on my head, all of the S-Caps in my fuel belt disintegrated, which I think added to what was already a tough run.
All in all, it was my first 70.3, so I am happy to have run through the finish line and posted a decent time. That said, I am reasonably certain that I am more well suited for Oly distance than real long course stuff. Ask me again once the blisters on my feet heal.
these stories sound spectacular, keep them coming... they make for some very funny reading.
This was my second attempt at the half-Ironman (or "Ironman 70.3" as they're now insisting on calling it) distance. The first (Diamondman in 2007) was an almost complete meltdown; I finished that one fourth from last overall, and I was determined to do better than that this time, aiming for better times in all three events.
The day started out fairly warm and only got warmer, and despite multiple assurances at packet pick up the race director called for no wetsuits for the swim. Not a huge deal, I've done a non-wetsuit race before and I'm feeling much more confident on the swim in general (though I'm still slower than I'd like to be). Did remember to put lots of body glide on my underarms so there was no chafing this time. Popped into the water, started out fine. Discovered that I was consistently pulling to the left and never seemed to be able to correct without overcorrecting and subsequently zig-zagging all over the course. That had to be the most frustrating part of the swim for me - not being able to swim in a straight line no matter what I did. Zipped out of the water and hit the lap button on my new Garmin 310xt, and saw a very, very disappointing 1:00 time. I had honestly expected to do a hell of a lot better than that based on my Columbia time (forgetting how much of a difference a wetsuit can make). It was very dispiriting, but still faster than Diamondman by over 3 minutes, as well as not feeling completely blown out after the swim, so I took it and ran.
I was expecting wind on the bike, having done rides on the Eastern Shore before. The bursts of speed and slow just seemed to come at random, however. I'd be zipping along at 20+ MPH and then suddenly *bam* the wind would hit and I'd be down to 16 or less. This was the first race where I picked up bottles from volunteers, and I thought it went pretty well. Slowly enough and I was even able to pick up from the first volunteer and fill the Aerodrink and toss the bottle before I was out of the area. Tried that at the second one because I found the grabbed bottles annoying - they didn't quite fit the water bottle cages, so tended to slip over and hit my calf while pedaling. Also, being able to stop at a port-a-john at the aid station at mile 23 was a godsend. I'm willing to pee during the swim, but I'm not hardcore enough to do so on the bike. Nutrition followed as per plan, lots of water and shot-bloks (I like that I have to chew them). Next race I think I'm going to alternate the margarita ones, which have extra sodium but which seemed to upset my stomach when I popped only them down at regular intervals, with other flavors and see how that goes since the stomach did seem to calm when I switched to the sleeve of mountain berry. Anyway, got in at 3:09, about 6 minutes faster. So far, so good.
The run? What else to say that other club people haven't? It sucked. No cover, hot as hell, just miserable. I did do a lot better on nutrition this time, paid a lot more attention to how I was feeling, and never felt like I was going to bonk. I carry a hand strap water bottle when I do long runs so I can sip as I feel like I need to rather than depending on aid stations, so I had that on me, and several gel packs in my pockets. I sucked down a cup of Gatorade at almost every aid station, and still managed to almost empty my own water bottle between each station. I must've been sweating like mad, 'cause there was never an ounce of pressure on my bladder even with all that liquid. Insane. I never touched the gels, the Gatorade and water were enough. Club support, from other racers, from club volunteers/spectators, and from random folks yelling out "Go DC Tri!" was a huge boost. 90% of the run at Diamondman was completely devoid of spectators because of how the course is set up, so this was a welcome change. Thanks to the multisport time mode on the Garmin I knew with 2 miles out that I was going to get the PR, even if I walked the rest of the way. That felt really good, and provided a little bit of boost to get into the chute. Absolutely fried my shoulders and neck in that sun out on the run, though. Hell, even the top of my scalp is burnt, though the hair! Very glad I wore a visor, so my face isn't really burnt, but I think a full hat will be in order for the next hot race of any distance. Finished the run in 3:04, a good 10 minutes faster, securing my PR.
Overall, I shaved about 15 minutes off my Diamondman time, finishing in 7:19:18, and nowhere near fourth from last. That felt really, really good, and cemented my record for the season with 4 distance PRs in the 4 races I've done to date (half-marathon, 10 miler, Olympic, and half-Iron). Two more races to go, both new distances for me (Total 200 next month, and IM Louisville in August), but so far I'm really, really happy with how this season is turning out.
Well, I accomplished both my goals, I finished and I didn't end up in the medical tent at the finish line. It was a tough race, especially with the heat and the other factors that make Eagleman what it is - wind, no shade, etc. It was my first HIM race, so I knew it would be tough. To make matters worse, in addition to being slow it was pretty disheartening being in the last age group wave. We didn't start til like 8:30, a good 2 hours after the transition area closed and well into the heat and humidity.
As many people have mentioned, the buoys had moved a lot, so I made sure to sight the turn buoys instead of the yellow course ones because those were definitely off the line. The swim is my only strong point, so it still felt nice to pass swim caps from the waves before since I knew it wouldn't happen on the bike. Somehow I have gotten into the habit of having a faster T2 instead of T1... sprayed some sun block while breathing with my mouth open which was far from delicious.
I'm glad I had ridden the course a couple of times before hand so mentally I was prepared to suck and deal with the wind. It was pretty windy and it got worse the later it was in the day. I'm glad there was bottle exchanges on the course cuz I needed all the electrolytes I could handle... but I puked a bit on the bike twice from that gross Gatorade and probably being in aero position before it made it all the way down to my stomach. Oh yeah, and it was only the second time I rode with my aerobars, so I was learning while racing. I really need to figure out why I am sooo slow on the bike and get faster cuz I get way too bored being out there as long as I have to to finish.
I hurt getting off the bike and as I mentioned, combining being slow and in the last AG wave means that people were finishing as I came in to start the run. It was hot and past 1 pm... I was sick of it and didn't think I could make it on the first 2 miles. I was mostly walking, sobbing a bit, and really needed some encouragement. But I got to see several friends coming back on their run, and I decided to HTFU since I had to finish if I had come this far, so I kept jogging/walking. Everyone I saw out there was walking a lot, even people I know that are good runners, so that was a bit reassuring.
Getting the turn around point was glorious because at that point there was only one way to go - to the finish line. I started chatting with a few other people still on the course so that made things a lot more tolerable and just set mini goals - jog to that speed limit sign, walk to that mail box, jog to that tiny bit of shade, walk in the shade, etc. The stretch of street behind those condos was disgusting - desolate and heat coming from all directions, from the top, up from the ground, hot breeze. Thank god for all the aid stations at each mile, the volunteers and the ice makers. I missed out on a lot of goodies since it was late, but there was still ice to throw down my sports bra and into my hat, and had a bit of gatorade at each stop. I even started passing people from waves before mine on the run even though it was towards the end of the race. It was great to hear and see my friends cheering me on so I pushed through and ran through the finish. I was very happy, but it was kind of annoying that even though I was slow, it seemed even more pathetic of an end because of how late I actually started and how many people had left and things were getting taken apart, but oh well... I finished, I wasn't last (even in my age group) and I didn't need the medical tent, so my goals were accomplished.
Now as advice for others who are also slow and are thinking of doing a HIM... Moving up to the HIM thing is a very different beast from Olys and Sprints... I knew relative to my training friends, I am generally slow on the bike and the run, but I never felt like a loser training for or racing in an Oly or Sprint, but the intensity is a lot higher for a half and there are not as many slow pokes that sign up for HIM or more... You don't have Team in Training to make you feel better and pass on the bike or couch potatoes doing their first race and you can pass on the run... If you are slow, you look slow and don't have very many people slower than you to boost your ego. I am very glad I finished, but it takes a lot of emotional strength to do it when the course is being broken down and people are packing up and leaving.
So now I am technically done with my season since I haven't signed up for any other races. I am sure that will change in the next few weeks, so I am open to suggestions. :)
Great job everyone out there and thank you to all of the volunteers. This race was brutal, but the volunteers and encouragement from friends were key to being able to even finish the race.
And thank you to Wang Chiang Vacation Rentals - truly the only way to travel! Hehe.
THIS IS LONG. LIKE RACEDAY FELT. BUT IT IS MUCH COOLER.
I tried to prepare myself for the heat by camping out the night before. My tent turned into a miniature rain forest, with small squalls of rain developing by my feet. I slept outside of my sleeping bag the whole night, and slept restlessly at best (interestingly, I had been talking to my friend in El Salvador about how she was managing to sleep in the heat and humidity there, and she said eventually you just accept being uncomfortable and go to sleep). That's what happened to me. I eventually just accepted things, and slept fitfully throughout the night (which is to be expected the night before a race, no matter how warm, cold, comfortable, uncomfortable you are). Woke up at 4:15, rolled out of my tent and got my breakfast on (wheat thins and gatorade). Broke camp and changed into my gear for the day, organized my gear bag (including the unnecessary wetsuit) and headed over to the shuttle site. Shuttle ride over to transition was uneventful (as are most non-race things on race day... or at least they seem to be for me, knock on wood), and consisted of me trying to remember the route so I could get home later in the day.
As I rolled into transition, I heard the "no wetsuits today, the water is 79º" (or whatever it was) call. I was surprised a bit, but that's life. I wasn't really phased by that. I had been swimming well at the pool the last couple of weeks, so I figured maybe I would lose 3 to 4 minutes from a decent 1.2 mile time (for me, that's like 32-33 minutes). Lots of waiting around, doing diddly-poo, waiting for the start. In hindsight, I should have had some water to drink. Of course, transition was closed so I couldn't grab any water from in there, and I didn't even think to look whether they were handing out water.
I thought I was swimming decently well. Front middle of the pack, which I guess it was (35 out of ~90). Started running into a lot of traffic on the second leg, and the current kept pushing my south of the buoys there. Turning for home, I had problems sighting the red finish kite (and the portapotties in the vicinity), and having seen the buoys for the home leg off line earlier in the day, it seemed necessary to sight off of those. I think, though, that they had corrected the buoys by that point so I could have saved a few seconds by sighting off of those instead of searching for the red flags (and swimming a bit too far east). As I neared shore, my hips started to get a bit tight, but it wasn't anything worth drowning over. Got out of the water, wasn't sure what my time was. Didn't really care (I typically don't know what my swim time is, so I always figure I'll wait until I get finished with the day. Turns out I swam a 40:something.
T1 is T1. Uneventful. Bike mount was a bit hectic (almost ran into the first W25-29 as we left transition).
The bike was pretty decent, although I don't have any data on it because my Garmin Edge 500 decided that it didn't want to save said data. Actually, scratch that. The bike was not decent. It, for me at least, was a struggle with a body that didn't want to push very hard. I was never able to get my HR up to the levels I wanted, and the few times I could get my power up to the wattage I wanted, my legs would feel very heavy. As I started out on the bike, I vomited a bit in my mouth (I think from drinking the choptank) and my hips continued to be a bit tight. The ride was pretty uneventful – not much in the way of excitement, just kind of disgusting feeling. Lots of traffic on the course and a number of times where passing was difficult as you'd have a slower person in front of you making a pass of a slower person (and sometimes I was said slower people). Shortly before we got to the turn for Old Field Rd (which passes the Blackwater Visitor Center) there was a fellow rider on the side of the road asking for CO2. I gave him my CO2 and inflator (I had unthreaded, he needed threaded). Apparently, this is illegal according to WTC rules. If anyone would like to turn me into the RD, feel free to. I would (and will) do it again in a heartbeat. As we turned onto Egypt road I was trying to take in as many liquid calories and liquid liquid as possible, thinking I was either under-nutrited or under-hydrated. So that's the bike, or as much as I care to discuss about it. It was what it was. 2:36:something.
T2 is T2. Almost ran over one of the aquavelo peeps who was just kindof standing in my path. Other than that, uneventful. Grabbed my water bottle and immediately started pouring water on my head. It was not cold. Tossed the water bottle as I passed the finish line.
As soon as I started the run, I removed my Garmin 305 and put it in my pocket. I decided I really didn't want to see how slowly I was going and psyche myself out. I stepped off the curb around mile 1 and twisted my ankle, but no serious damage was done and although it would have been a good excuse to stop for the day, I kept going (and any excuse to stop for the day (yesterday) would leave me regretting it tomorrow (today) so I'm glad I didn't. I walked probably 75% of the aid stations, making sure to grab 1 or 2 cups of ice along the way, and here's where a 1 piece suit rocks. I'd pour the ice down my top and it would congregate at my crotch, which has some major arteries and bits and likes to not be 300º. Anyhow, I really credit the ice down the shorts/suit for helping me stay coolish. The rest of the course I ran, save for one point where I decided slamming my right foot into the front of my shoe was probably not a good thing and finally tightened my lock laces (I had been running with them loose, which is probably equivalent to running in shoes a half/full size too big). At one point I was passed by one of the W25-29 and realized that her pace was not only matchable but maintainable, so I would end up passing her in between aid stations and getting passed by her at aid stations. I'm not averse to getting chicked, but she was one of two people I saw all day who were running past me and having someone to pace off of is incredibly useful. (She would end up beating me to the finish by a few seconds, and seemed to have had a good day. So kudos to her.) Tried to cheer for every DC Tri person I saw on the course, even though I race incognito. Last couple of miles felt like they took forever, but I am pretty sure they didn't, as I eventually finished them. Turns out I negative split the run (52:something out, 50:something in). Could I have gone faster? Perhaps/probably. But I had fun out there and aside from tingling sensations in both arms and the sun beating down relentlessly on my shoulders, face and calves, I was never in a spot of bother/danger. Run time: 1:42:something.
Al those somethings and transition times added up to give me a nice round finishing time of 5:04:00. Not my fastest day, but only 5 minutes off of NOLA 70.3 earlier this year, and in much more difficult conditions.