Print Story So you want to be a silicon man?
By lm (Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 10:51:37 AM EST) (all tags)
Adventures in running the Eagleman 70.3 triathlon.

1.9k swim.
90k bike ride.
21.1k run.

In the brutal heat of a summer day in southern Maryland.

Update [2015-7-5 18:23:44 by lm]: Finally got through all the technical glitches from FinisherPix and uploaded the best from each leg of the race.

The first challenge was waking several hours before dawn. Transitions had to be set up by 6:40AM and the race was a 90 minute drive away in good traffic. But, as there was not likely to be any parking close to the starting line, I was planning to take a shuttle "leaving every 20 minutes" from a local school a few miles away. This meant setting the alarm for 3:30AM. I met my goal of being on the road by 4.

The drive down was mostly uneventful. The local "alternative" rock station DC 101 played an uncharacteristically good string of music and once they turned into WBMR (Blind Melon Radio) I switched to the local NPR station. For the sweet love of Cheeze Wiz why do I hear No Rain every time I turn on the radio?

Stopped for coffee about 5 minutes away from the middle school parking lot. Had a couple sips while waiting in line for the bus. Turns out the "shuttle" was a fleet of school busses. I don't think that I've been on a school bus since 1987. They haven't changed much. One new thing that I did notice was the "Bodily Fluid Cleanup Kit" mounted at the front of the bus right next to the first aid kit. When did that become part of the standard equipment on a school bus?

Had plenty of time to set up my transition even if I was feeling a little low rent. My bike is a $500 commuter bike (a 16 speed Torker Interurban if you're curious). I don't even have proper bike shoes. Rather I'd picked up a pair of suede sneakers (Vans) at the thrift store and had pedals with straps. I'm pretty sure that there wasn't a bike on the racks that cost less than 4x what mine did. Some cost more than a new car.

At 6:45, the swim waves started taking off with the pro-males and then pro-females taking off first. They were special. They had a start pistol mark their start. The rest of the waves got a blast from an air horn.

While waiting for my wave, I noticed a spectator that had ridden his vintage British 3 speed to the staging area to watch. I tried to spark up a conversation. He wasn't having it.

When my wave (wave 10) started queueing up, they announced that it was the largest wave in the race. Who knew that males aged 41-44 would numerically dominate participation in the race?

And then the air horn blew and we were off. Fortunately the Choptank river was calm and the temperature was mild. Aside from the salty taste and bits of sea plants floating around it was almost like swimming in a pool. Well, if the pool had 10 people to a lane. It was a crowded course. At one point, when swimmers from the wave behind started catching up, I found myself with a trio of hot women climbing on top of me. They didn't stop. Rather they called me rude and kept on trucking.

The last 150 meters was more of a walk than a swim. The water just wasn't deep enough to swim. I climbed out of the water at 50:43. Immediately I tripped and splatted onto the sand, kind of half rolling and popping back up. The crowd gasped when tripped. And cheered when I popped back up. I had sand on my face. I should start calling myself Officer Casebolt.

Evidently the photographer only wanted to catch lm while drinking when coming off the beach.

The bike route for Eagleman is flat, flat flat. I took off and didn't look back. 10 miles into the race and I'm like "hell to the yeah, this is awesome". At 20 miles my taint started to hurt. At 25 miles, there was no more pain because I could no longer feel it. At thirty miles the pain came back. At thirty five miles I was past dehydrated. The sun was fully overhead. Temps were in high eighties. There was not a cloud in the sky. Despite having gone through 80oz of gatorade, water, and ginger ale, I could not drink enough fluid. At 40 miles I was ready to be done. At 45 miles I'm all "how fucking long is this thing?" At 50 miles, each mile kept getting longer and longer. And I passed the emergency crew cleaning up what was left of a bicycle accident. Total time on a bike: 2:58:03. Split one (at 29.5 miles) I averaged 19.79 mi/h. Split two (the final 26.5 mi), 17.94 mi/h.

Photo of lm sweating to death on his bicycle.

At transition two, I gulped down more ginger ale and prepared for the run. I made the mistake of trying to run barefoot. Did I mention the temps and sun yet? A quarter of a mile down the pavement, I realized that already had blisters from the hot black top burning my feet. I sat down by the side of the road and put on some toe socks and my huaraches. Before the end of the first mile, I was already out of gas and started alternative walking sixty paces with running 500 paces.

At this point the heat was unbearable and it was impossible to drink enough water. I saw the emergency squad four more times. I don't know if they were all for heat related injuries but in one case, they had a guy lying off in the grass and they were slowly pouring cups of ice water over him. It was brutal.

By six miles out, I was done. I mean, I was DONE. Only problem was that the course was 6.55 miles out and 6.55 miles back. Even if I gave up, I'd still have to make it those 6 miles back. Time to keep on keeping on.

At every aid station I was gulping as much of the water and gatorade as I could. I was also filling my cap with ice and putting it up on my head to help me stay cool. It didn't work. It was insanely hot.

Total run time: 3:23:44. The first half of the race, I averaged 14 minute miles. The second half, 17 minute miles.

You can tell from the expression on lm`s face just how much fun the last leg of a triathlon is.

Overall rank in the race was 1585 out of 2923 athletes. Swim rank was 1296 and bike rank was 1125.

After crossing the finish line, I grabbed a cold bottle of water and an apple from the food tent. I sat down in the shade and that apple was one of the 10 best apples I ever tasted. Then I went to go load up my gear and it dawned on me that I was 3 miles away from the school parking lot and the "shuttle" didn't take bikes. I walked about half a mile to try to limber up a bit and then slowly rode my bike the rest of the way.

And then all that remained was the final challenge: driving home. Eagleman takes place in Cambridge, Maryland. If you try driving from DC to Ocean City, you'll pass right by Cambridge. It's a nice town. It reminded me a good deal of Rensselaer, Indiana. When I was kid, my mom was friends with a nun who was originally from Rensselaer. Some summers we used to drive up and visit for a few days. It was a nice little town. But anyway, on a Sunday late afternoon and early evening, you have all the return traffic from Ocean City to DC to contend with. The return drive took three and half hours.

When I got home, I didn't know what hurt the worst, the muscle soreness, the chafed areas, or the sunburnt areas. I took precautions: SPF 50 sunscreen, body glide, etc. They didn't help enough. I found myself alternating between chills and feeling far too warm. More ginger ale. More water. A 12 pack of Taco Bell crunchy tacos. The first half of the execrable disaster "epic" 2012. And, finally, a glass of wine and I hit the hay.

I slept better than I have for years.

< Bits and pieces | Deathly Hollow >
So you want to be a silicon man? | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)
"alternative" rock station DC 101 by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 11:03:45 AM EST
Alternative to what? DC101 has always been the local mainstream teenager/twentysomething white boy station. I grew up listening to it in the 70s and 80s. Lots of Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and the "Beatles Break" midday.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

It's a funny station by lm (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 11:38:16 AM EST
Most times I turn it on, I already know what they will play. You'll get one of two songs by Kongas (either Come With Me Now or I was Only Joking), one RHCP song usually Breaking the Girl but sometimes a good one), whatever Bleachers most recent hit is, used to be Mountain Sound by Of Monsters and Men but now it seems to be their new hit, Riptide by Vance Joy, Frank Turner's Recovery, Blind Melon's No Rain, and one of three songs by Bush.

But sometimes on the weekends or very early in the morning, they'll let the DJ pick the set list and you'll get a good string of songs.

Anyway, I suspect you know why I used scare quotes.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Also amused by claim. by wumpus (4.00 / 3) #7 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 05:21:07 PM EST
And the reason I never think of the Apple conference when I hear the letters "WWDC".


[ Parent ]
the greaseman! by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Jun 16, 2015 at 01:49:53 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Young Dave Brown by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed Jun 17, 2015 at 11:36:30 AM EST
Cerphe was there for a while, too, after WAVA went top-40.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
wait, when did it go top-40 by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Jun 18, 2015 at 10:16:59 AM EST
before or after it became a gospel/christian rock station ?

[ Parent ]
Before.. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Jun 19, 2015 at 08:14:09 AM EST
It was AOR, like DC101 but not quite as "hard rock", then it went top-40, then Christian.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Good job! by miker2 (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 11:08:13 AM EST
I did Eagleman 5 years in a row (2004-2008) and only one year was it not completely insane hot/humid and that year (2004) saw more than a few course records broken.  It's rare to find an 'easy' half-IM, but Eagleman is one of the more difficult ones because of the weather and tides (one year had a strong incoming tide, so the 'back' portion of the swim was more like a swimming treadmill).

Every year the worst part of the race was the traffic on the way home.

It's billed as one of the easier ones by lm (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 11:42:06 AM EST
The swim was perfect this year. The run would have been boring were it not for the heat.

I chose it mostly because it's close. Savageman is also within striking distance but I think I need more training before I try that one.

I also need a better bike.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Savageman by miker2 (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 05:50:28 PM EST
I've heard that race is really, really rough.

Eaglemans difficulty is a matter of conditions.  2004 was cool, dry, and still.  2008 was over 100 deg and matching humidity and windy as shit on the bike.  One of those years in the middle had a bear of a tidal current.  Other races I've done that have more consistent conditions from year to year are easier to prepare for, but that's what makes eagleman a fun challenge.

Getting a TT bike with aero wheels will help a lot on a course like eagleman where the wind can seriously hurt your time when you don't have the proper equipment.

Not sure how close it would be or if they even run it anymore, but there's a half-iron in called DiamondMan in Red Lion, DE that's reasonably well run.

[ Parent ]
Savageman does look really tough by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 06:11:07 PM EST
I wanted to put off getting a more expensive bike until I was certain that I'd want to do another half-ironman. Now that I know what it's like and I can tell how much not having a more aero bike hurt, it's on the list.

Thanks for the tip off about DiamondMan. I'll look into it.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Meh by Dr Thrustgood (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Jun 23, 2015 at 03:53:10 AM EST
I'd investigate clipless pedals long before spending the cash on fancy-pants aero wheels.

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Is it Summer in your parallel dimension? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 04:02:53 PM EST
It's still Spring here.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Depends on what you mean by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 04:58:31 PM EST
Are you speaking of traditional US summer - everything between Memorial Day and Labor day? If so, then yes, it's summer here.

Do you mean meteorological summer - the warmest part of the year usually encompassing the entirety of the months of June, July, and August in the northern hemisphere? If so, then yes, it's summer here.

Or do you mean astronomical summer? In which case, no it's not summer yet unless you're using the Chinese astronomical system in which case summer starts in May.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
The latter. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 09:01:06 PM EST
A.K.A. the real definition.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Sorry, Charlie. by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Jun 15, 2015 at 10:05:32 PM EST
The first two definitions are no less real than the last.

  1. (your definition)
  2. (my first definition)
  3. An even looser definition than mine.
  4. A still yet looser definition than mine.
Sticking the astronomical definition as the "real" definition as opposed to the way that the word is used by most people is silly at best.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
[ Parent ]
Impressed by johnny (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Jun 16, 2015 at 05:55:47 AM EST
If I had participated in that event, and if I had finished, my rank would have been dead last. Or more likely just dead. Bravo.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
So you want to be a silicon man? | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden)