Ok ok ok… time for a race recap of the Eagleman 70.3 course and my personal experiences in Cambridge, MD.
My team mates and I decided to use airbnb and rent a house from Friday to Monday. This was a great decision. It had plenty of space, 2 full bathrooms, and having a full kitchen for hangry triathletes was ideal. We were only about 2 miles from the race site. Cambridge is a small town, but has a super Walmart for all your needs and last minute things you might have forgotten. I did notice even though it had that small town feel, it did not lack Starbucks or plenty of options to eat at. So if you don’t plan on cooking, no worries, there are plenty of food options!
Coming from the Philly area, it was only about about a 2.5 hour drive. This was ideal for me! Personally, I’m just not ready to travel long distances with my bike so the closer the race the better. This was my first time racing Eagleman. It’s notorious for its windy bike course and sun beaten run where there is no shade! Ofcourse I was watching the forecast closely and it looked like it was going to be a bit different this year!
I arrived on Friday around lunch time and went straight to check in. The expo was a bit smaller than I expected and there was no wait to pick up my bib. I cruised through the store and came out with a few goodies! Saturday I rode my bike over to transition to check it in and jogged back to shake off any of the pre-race nerves. There was a strong current in the water and the race team decided to change the direction of the swim course. We were now planning to swim to the left from the boat ramp. The temp of the water was on the fence if it would be wet suit legal, but we kept hoping it would be because there was some serious cloud coverage.
Sunday morning-RACE DAY!
Always stick with your normal routines! I got up had coffee, an english muffin with peanut butter and banana. Prepped all my race bottles. This year for my longer training and racing I started using infinite and eating Honey Stinger waffles, chews, and Skratch Lab bars, but this is what I have tested and has worked for me!
Got to transition with plenty of time to lay out my gear, use the bathroom one last time, and get ready to put the wet suit on as the water was deemed 75.2! When all of a sudden an announcement was made, the swim was canceled! People all around me were jumping up and down. The 70.3 had now become a 69.1 and I had no clue how things would proceed from here. So as I made my way back to my rack to put my gear back another announcement is made, the pros will start at 7:05 and all age groupers will start at 7:45 rolling out according to bib numbers. Ok, now we have a ton of time to kill as the original start was 6:45 and the hunger is about to start. I wrap a towel around my legs and put my jacket back on to try to stay warm. The wait was probably one of the biggest issues. I was up at 3:30 am and now not starting till 7:45!
Well, we finally roll out of the transition area. I’m on the bike and just taking it all in. Yes, I’m here, I’m racing, but the first 10-15 miles has a decent amount of turns and things are pretty tight with people so its causing everyone to slow up. I’m cruising along pretty good when I start to feel some rain. No! I’m thinking please don’t pour, just a little rain is ok. Oh, the rain came down so hard it was insane. If you raced AC 70.3 2018 this was definitely worse! And this course is 100 times flatter than AC. Between the rain and then the wind whipping through the course I was starting to feel a little beat up. I was riding around 20 mph and then the headwinds would cause me to drop to 15! (Later I think I read the headwinds were around 20mph!) On the bike I ate one waffle, emptied my torpedo which had my infinite bike drink and had a few honey stinger chews with water toward the end of the ride.
Finally I get back into transition and change out my shoes to run. My legs are tight and sore and honestly I couldn’t process how this run would even feel. I grabbed my nathan bottle that I carry, already stocked with infinite run mix and another honey stinger waffle and chews and get moving. I go to tighten the hand strap as I start running and it breaks! Lol ok no big deal, I can hold the bottle, but that piece of material hanging off is annoying and tuck it in my hand so its not swinging all over the place. I start moving on this run, trying to find the pace I’m comfortable at without pushing too much just yet. I settle into a pace and decide to not look at my garmin. I decided to just let my body do what I have been training it to do-run. The race course is an out and back and most of it you run on the shoulder of the road. To be completely honest I’m not thrilled about this and there wasn’t much space. Because of on and off rain the white line is pretty slippery and not safe to run on. I chatted with a few runners pacing the same as we tried to bond in our time of misery and getting through this race. We pay to do this! haha!
The last few miles I could feel the smile come across my face. As hard as triathlon is mentally and physically I love the challenge. I love attempting to see what I can push my body to do and how it adapts and improves over time. Personally, I felt like I gave Eagleman my best effort for the day. It was a solid race and the conditions were less than ideal, but its learning how to take what race day gives you and go with it. Racing triathlon teaches me so many life lessons that I can apply to my everyday life. Each race is different from the last and all I can do is go out there with a positive attitude and give it my best shot. Eagleman you were not an easy course and the weather was nothing short of crazy. After a hot shower and reliving the day, I would do it all over again! Finish time 5:01! Bring on the rest of the tri season!