Updated: Jan 10
Last year, after completing my only two sprint triathlon's of the year, and feeling much more confident after a few months of strength and conditioning training, I decided to sign up for the Ironman Eagleman 70.3. Several of my friends, my cousin, and a few teammates on Savage Tri Team had signed up for this race.
This race has always been a 'hey let's do this one' due in part to my friend Madeline completing this many times as a go-to race for her full Ironman attempts. In 2017, I did the bike relay portion of this race and felt confident going into it. We left Thursday evening to drive to my parents house and spent the night. The next morning, we bid farewell to our pup as we could not bring him along, and picked up my cousin, Katie.
This was Katie and I's first 70.3 back since our 2016 Ironman Atlantic City half. My only goal this time, was to improve my time from that race.
Cambridge, Maryland is a small, coastal town on the Eastern Shore. It was a quick drive from the Philadelphia region and much better of a drive since our previous drive in 2017 from the Harrisburg area. If you're driving from the Harrisburg area, be prepared for traffic on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Your 3-hour anticipated drive time, will quickly be 5-hours.
We arrived at our AirBNB and were pleasantly surprised at the interior of the house and views it offered! Our front windows looked out directly at the Choptank River which was the river our race was going to be swam in. This house was a perfect choice for this race for several reasons. I was staying with 8 people (four of us on Savage Tri Team, 2 as members of another team and 2 support people), offered a large kitchen/dining/living space, and you could easily enjoy the outside by the river or simply the views from the front of the house. This location was also an advantageous 2 miles from the race start and transition zone.
The check-in process was great and seamless. I even had people cheering for me for being the 500th check in for the race! I have learned through the course of triathlon's to always get to the race zone at least 2 days before the race. This saves a lot of time and anxiety worrying about checking in, setting up and even picking up race items.
Transition zone open!
My bike set up for race day.
My race prep is done meticulously each time the same way. Laying everything out in each discipline and then adding things as needed. Then packing things in a similar order. Among so many other things, triathlon has significantly helped my ADHD overcome indecision and execution.
Race morning for 70.3's comes at a time of about 4am, depending on how far away from the start zone you are and how much warm-up time is needed. My morning usually consists of coffee, oatmeal with almond milk, honey and nut butter as well as protein. The night before I have already prepped my nutrition bottles and one of those consists of a green tea based pre-workout.
It is always exciting to enter the transition zone, the day of the race. The music is hype and the energy and excitement is level 10. I racked my bike the day prior as mandatory per race rules and so the only items I needed to bring included my transition bag and items packed the night before. I prepared my area in normal fashion and began walking to the swim start. The day prior, race directors changed the swim route from the right of Great Marsh Point in the Choptank to the left of Great Marsh Point in Hambrooks Bay. This change was made in an effort to keep the swim safer where a strong current wouldn't push people out into the larger part of the river. However, race morning was met with a small craft advisory, impending rain storm and strong winds. This made for the swim portion of the race to be cancelled.
I have been in enough triathlon swims and have witnessed crazy swim conditions (significantly the USAT Age Group Championships in Cleveland, OH where the swim was very dangerous on Saturday's race that the directors ended up cancelling the swim for the Sprint race on Sunday) that I was very okay with the cancelling of the swim. In retrospect, it is only 1.2 miles of the entire race.
With this cancellation, we now had a time trial bike start in where we lined up by number and were sent out 1 by 1 to the bike course. The first 10 miles started out fantastic. I was prepared for the incoming rain storm and some winds. Around mile 15 or 20, the rain and winds started. What I anticipated to be a downpour with some wind, ended up being 20mph winds and a torrential downpour for the entire bike.
I entered transition and changed my socks, departed with some items I wouldn't carry, put on my run shoes and began my 13.1 mile run. What should have been a good run, ended up being a cramped, nauseated, bloated and gas-trapped run. I needed to stop at the port-o-pots twice and then needed to walk a large portion of my run. I was disappointed, but my goal was still to finish. After my slowest half marathon to date, I crossed the finish line.
My end time was 6:34:33. If I added in the swim, my time would have been 40 minutes faster than my prior time! For this, I am ultimately grateful and thankful that I get to do this. And I kept telling myself that during my run.
Post race recovery included Air Relax air compression sleeves, coffee and fluids. This system is great and helps reduce inflammation, speeds up recovery and helps push that lactic acid out of the body. I loved it.
Post race meal was at a local spot and I chose seafood. It was a local place and they had a ton of options for food and beverage.
The way home and the next month I spent mentally debriefing myself for the next journey. I chose a new training path that includes more zone training and a solid training plan.
On ward and upward!