At this point you’ve probably read or heard from everyone of your friends who raced Eagleman IM 70.3 what a rough day it turned out to be for everyone racing. I’ve seen and heard all kinds of numbers for race day temperatures, humidity, and “feels like” temperatures. Whatever it turned out to be, Hell was probably a bit cooler. It was right up there with Ironman 140.6 Louisville on August. In fact, I felt much better after finishing Louisville than I did after crossing the finish line of Eagleman 70.3.
I went into Eagleman thinking I might improve upon my Kinetic half time a month ago, given that Eagleman is a fast course. Those expectations quickly faded away at the start of the run, substituted by a new strategy to try to keep myself together through the finish line. In a matter of minutes, I went from a “let’s see what I can do today” mindset (coming off a PR on the bike) to being humbled by the oppressive conditions and taking pride in just finishing at a steady pace.
And so I managed. Barely. Walking the aid stations to cool down my core with ice allowed me to keep my heart rate in check and maintain a steady pace, albeit slow – 20 minutes slower than expected. I crossed the finish line and could not take one step further, bringing myself to the ground at the water tent and unable to get up for 15-20 minutes. I borderline contemplated asking to be carried to the medical tent, though luckily I began to regain my composure.
Ask me how the race went and I’ll tell you that despite the fact that it wasn’t pretty and I don’t care to remember most of it, I am very happy with my results/performance. Why you might ask? Because I did the best I could on that particular day, and sometimes that’s all that matters.
I am glad I was able to adjust my expectations and find the positives on an otherwise ugly race. Sometimes racing is not about negative splits or beating personal records, but rather about just keeping it together on the run. Not falling apart on Sunday made it a good day of racing.
Looking at the positives, Eagleman was a great weekend, lodging with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, racing amongst DC Tri Club fellow triathletes, with the support of Gabi as my sherpa, and with the added benefit of a physical therapy session from Rose Physical Therapy Group post race. It was so great to see a constant stream of DC Tri Club athletes on the course, cheering each other even when we don’t know our names. One more thing I take with me from this event is admiration and respect for those athletes who displayed tremendous courage, discipline, and the will to get the job done when starting the run — sometimes walking — in the hottest time of the day. Kudos to you!
These are the aspects of the race I do indeed want to remember, and which will keep me coming back for more (though perhaps not Eagleman again!).