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All posts for the month June, 2016

Eagleman 70.3

 

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another”

  • Walter Elliot

 

Back in 2013 I started my journey racing as a professional triathlete with the ultimate goal of consistently placing on the podiums in prestigious races and possibly even winning one. Reaching the pro podium proved to be quite the challenge!  While I’ve never finished out of the top 10, I consistently finish between 6th and 10th place.  After two years of doing things the same way and getting the same results, I decided to mix things up.  I hired a coach, I got a new bike, and I got to work.

At the end of May, I raced a 70.3 in Chattanooga, and recorded a less-than-mediocre 10th place finish.  I knew I was capable of more, I just didn’t put it together on the day.  So three weeks later I found myself wading in the Choptank River with 20 other pros ready to start Eagleman 70.3.

On paper the pro field wasn’t nearly as accomplished as the one I had raced against in Chattanooga, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from racing over the past 20 years, it’s never to underestimate anyone. Each pro on that starting line has accumulated a deep list of strong race results, and only the foolish would discount any professional who has earned the right to be there.

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Eagleman pro start

 

Having said that, the swim played out perfectly for me. There weren’t any super swimmers in the field, so while two guys jumped off the front about 90 seconds in front of the group, the lead group of 10-12 racers stayed together the entire way.  I was able to stay in contact in the opening minutes (and believe me, there was a lot of contact), and then just kept my eyes on the group the entire way around the course.  I felt steady and comfortable, and if someone started to pull off the front, I was absolutely ready to throw in a surge to close it down.  That never happened, and I decided to stay tucked in to the group and come out as comfortably as possible.  (11th OA, 28:04)

Transition took a little more time than usual- I decided to roll my sleeved top down during the swim to increase some shoulder mobility, but getting the wet top on while running to my bike proved to be challenging. I believe I lost one spot in the race here, and hopped on the bike in 12th place, right at the tail end of the main group.

It was such a relief to be heading out on the bike with others, but I quickly realized that the riders that came out in the front of the group were creating a gap to some of us in the rear, so I put my head down and went to work. The Diamondback felt incredible.  I think the biggest thing for me is the ride quality.  The Serios is so responsive.  That was the one thing that I never felt my old bike could do.  I always felt like I was riding a Mack Truck when I rode it, and on technical courses I never felt like I could keep any sort of momentum.  That has never been the case with the Serios – when I want to go, it goes!  I steadily moved up through the field over the first hour.  Around that time, I reached my old college teammate Kyle Pawlaczyk.  He was riding well, and it took me about 10 minutes before I was ready to move past and set the pace on my own.  Fortunately, once I moved past him, I almost immediately saw another small group up the road, which turned out to be the lead chase group.  Once I bridged the gap to the group, I sat up and weighed my options.  I was sitting in 5th on the road, but I knew all three of the guys in that group, and I knew they were all strong runners.  So I decided to push the pace for the next 15 miles and see if I could break them a bit.  Turns out that the only guy willing/able to come with me was Thomas Gerlach, who I had ridden the final miles with in Chattanooga.  He was intent on keeping the pace hot, so over the final 10 miles we took turns at the front trying to create as large of a gap on the rest as we could.  I set a new 70.3 bike split PR by just about 3 minutes on similar power as I’ve ridden in previous races.  Cheers to Diamondback and Rudy Project for getting me through that bike course as efficiently as possible!  (2nd fastest bike split on the day, 2:06:52)DSCN0701

Eagleman run start

 

Rolling into transition, Gerlach had put about 5-10 seconds into me. I knew I was currently in third, and I was pumped to be starting the run that far up in the race.  I threw on a running singlet (for the first time ever in a tri, but hey, it was hot!) and got on with it.  As I was heading out onto the run course, Kyle came in with the two others from that initial chase group in tow.  So I had somewhere around 10 seconds to Gerlach and close to 45 seconds over fourth.  The big change was that this time around, unlike in Chattanooga, I felt good!  Finally I had my legs and I was ready to race aggressively, not reactively.  I took over second place within a half mile, and then focused on pressing on the best I could.  At the first mile I received a time gap to Cody Beals, who was running way up ahead in first place:  4:30.  Woof.  That’s a lot of time, and Cody is no slouch on the run.  So I stayed relaxed, controlled my core temperature with water and ice through the aid stations, and told myself if I got another split halfway through the run and I was gaining on him, that I would take some risks on the back half.  Honestly I was still concerned with having at least four guys charging behind me within a minute, and protecting second was still very important to me.  Unfortunately I never did receive any additional time splits to the lead, but I did continue to gain on third.  With a few miles to go third was well behind out of sight, so I was able to focus on finishing well and in control.  (2nd fastest run, 1:18:38)

Eagleman finish

 

Coming down the finishing chute to finish second was exhilarating. I set a new personal record for the distance: 3:56:38, lopping off two and a half minutes from my previous best time.  The recent changes in equipment, technique, and approach to the sport served me well, and I was finally able to meet that goal.  I was still disappointed that I couldn’t put myself in position to challenge for the win, but that will have to come another day.  The key takeaways for me are that I am still improving year over year, and I now have the knowledge that I do have what it takes in training and in racing to become a perennial podium placer in long course triathlon.

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Big thanks to my family for their constant support, my coach Dave Luscan for his guidance and expertise, the Snapple Triathlon Team, Xterra Wetsuits, Diamondback Bikes, Rudy Project, First Endurance, LG, and Sweatvac. Without just one of those crucial pieces, I am an incomplete puzzle who would still be searching for his first IM 70.3 Pro Podium.

 

Nutrition:

Breakfast:

2 cups Maple + Brown Sugar Oatmeal (360 kcal)

1 bottle EFS PRO Lemon Water (120 kcal)

1 banana (100 kcal)

 

Pre-race:

1 gel + water

 

On the bike:

2 bottles containing 4 scoops EFS Pro Lemon Water + 1.5 servings of EFS Vanilla Liquid Shot (620 kcal)

1 large bottle of water

+ a couple sips of some Gatorade Endurance at an aid station (20 kcal)

 

On the run:

1 flask w/ 1 serving of EFS Liquid shot + 1 serving of EFS Pro Lemon Water (140 kcal)

Coke @ every 4 aid stations (100 kcal)

Water and Ice at every aid station

2017 Eagleman 70.3 N/A 4th 3:59:33 Cambridge, MD
2017 Raleigh 70.3 N/A 7th 4:04:28 Raleigh, NC
2017 Yorktown Freedom Run 8k N/A 1st 27:13 Yorktown, VA
2017 Chattanooga 70.3 N/A 2nd 3:58:43 Chattanooga, TN
2017 Run the DOG 5k N/A 2nd 15:43 Williamsbug, VA
2017 Dismal Swamp Half Marathon 1st 1st 1:10:24 Chesapeake, VA (PR)
2017 Maritime 8k 2nd 3rd 25:32 Newport News, VA
2017 Colonial Half Marathon 1st 4th 1:11:05 Williamsburg, VA
2017 Gloucester 8k 2nd 2nd 25:50 Gloucester, VA
2016

 

2016 Christmastown Dash 8k 1st 1st 26:09 Williamsburg, VA
2016 Blue Talon Turkey Trot 5k 1st 1st 15:52 Williamsburg, VA
2016 Ironman Chattanooga n/a 11th 9:06:32 Chattanooga, TN
2016 Luray Sprint Triathlon n/a 1st 1:12:22 Luray, VA (course record)
2016 Luray Olympic Triathlon n/a 1st 2:04:53 Luray, VA
2016 Eagleman 70.3 n/a 2nd 3:56 Cambridge, MD
2016 Chattanooga 70.3 n/a 10th 4:01:22 Chattanooga, TN
2016 Run the DOG 5k 1st 3rd 15:27 Williamsburg, VA
2016 Maritime 8k 2nd 2nd 25:41 Newport News, VA
2016 Colonial Half Marathon 2nd 2nd 1:12:55 Williamsburg, VA
2015

 

2015 Blue Talon Turkey Trot 5k 1st 2nd 15:32 Williamsburg, VA
2015 Patriots Half Triathlon 1st 1st 4:13:14 Williamsburg, VA
2015 Luray Sprint Triathlon 1st 1st 1:13:58 Luray, VA
2015 Luray Olympic Triathlon 1st 1st   Luray, VA
2015 Deltaville 5k 1st 1st 16:18 Deltaville, VA
2015 Run for the Dream 8k 2nd 2nd 26:09 Williamsburg, VA
2015 Yorktown Freedom Run 8k 2nd 2nd 25:43 Yorktown, VA
2015 Maritime 8k 1st 1st 25:59 Newport News, VA
2015 Love Rox Half Marathon 2nd 2nd 1:13:44 Richmond, VA
2014

 

2014 RRRC Turkey Trot 10k 1st 2nd 33:24 Richmond, VA
2014 Ironman Chattanooga n/a 10th 8:39:32 Chattanooga, TN
2014 Patriots Half Triathlon 1st 1st 4:15:57 Williamsburg, VA
2014 Challenge New Albany Half Iron Triathlon n/a 6th 4:01:13 New Albany, OH
2014 Run for the Dream 8k 1st 1st 25:22 Williamsburg, VA
2014 Run the DOG 5k 3rd 4th 15:33 Williamsburg, VA
2014 Colonial Half Marathon 1st 4th 1:13:43 Williamsburg, VA
2013

 

2013 Sentara Sleighbell 5k 1st 1st 15:51 Williamsburg, VA
2013 Richmond Marathon 1st 6th 2:27:23 Richmond, VA
2013 Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon 1st 1st 1:11:26 Hampton, VA
2013 Patriots Half 1st 1st 4:12:16 Williamsburg, VA (CR)
2013 Recovery Rocks 5k 1st 1st 16:24 Croaker, VA
2013 Steelhead 70.3 n/a 7th 4:04:46 Benton Harbor, MI
2013 Rev3 Williamsburg n/a 10th 4:05:33 Williamsburg, VA
2013 Run the D.O.G 5k 1st 3rd 15:36 Williamsburg, VA
2012

 

2012 Sentara Sleighbell 5k 1st 1st 15:49 Williamsburg, VA
2012 RRRC Turkey Trot 10k 1st 1st 33:34 Richmond, VA
2012 Ironman World Championships 3rd 38th 9:12:38 Kailua-Kona, HI
2012 Patriots Half Triathlon 1st 1st 4:14:04 Williamsburg, VA
2012 Rocketts Landing Triathlon 1st 1st 2:00:14 Richmond, VA
2012 Ironman Texas 1st 12th 8:51:45 Houston, TX / 1st amateur, personal record (PR)
2012 Colonial Half Marathon 1st 4th 1:10:33 Williamsburg, VA (PR)
2011

 

2011 Christmas Town Dash 8k 1st 1st 25:39 Williamsburg, VA (CR)
2011 USAT Long Course Triathlon National Championships 1st 1st 3:59:00 Myrtle Beach, SC

(PR)

2011 Patriots Half Triathlon 1st 1st 4:16:19 Williamsburg, VA
2011 Rocketts Landing Triathlon 1st 1st 1:55:34 Richmond, VA/ CR/ PR
2011 Powersprint Triathlon 1st 1st 50:35 Richmond, VA
2011 Run the D.O.G. 5k 2nd 2nd 15:18 Williamsburg, VA
2010

 

2010 Nation’s Triathlon 2nd 2nd 1:57:39 Washington, DC
2010 Mulberry Island Half Marathon 1st 1st 1:12:29 Fort Eustis, VA
2010 Rocketts Landing Triathlon 1st 1st 2:00:27 Richmond, VA
2009

 

2009 Ironman World Championship 11th 93rd 9:27:49 Kailua-Kona, HI
2009 Nations Triathlon 1st 2nd 1:58:30 Washington, DC
2009 USAT National Duathlon Championship 2nd 4th 1:52:30 Richmond, VA
2009 Virginia Duathlon 1st 1st 1:30:04 Surry, VA
2008

 

2008 Ironman Arizona 2nd 30th 9:12:45 Tempe, AZ
2008 Richmond Sprint Triathlon 1st 1st` 54:53 Richmond, VA
2008 Yorktown Sprint Triathlon 1st 1st 55:11 Yorktown, VA/CR
2008 Powersprint Triathlon 1st 1st 49:30 Richmond, VA/ CR
2008 USAT Short Course Duathlon National Championships 3rd 8th 2:04:51 Richmond, VA
2008 3Sports Duathlon 1st 2nd 1:18:27 Richmond, VA
2007

 

2007 ITU LD World Duathlon Championships 1st 33rd 3:31:23 Richmond, VA/ 9th Amateur

AG Gold Medal

2007 Great Acorn Triathlon 1st 1st 1:01:10 Lake Anna, VA/ CR
2007 Ironman Louisville 2nd 25th 9:48:03 Louisville, KY/8th Amateur
2007 Mountaineer Man Half Distance 1st 6th 4:17:28 Morgantown, WV/1st in Elite Open Cat, 1st Amateur
2007 Powersprint Triathlon 1st 1st 50:36 Richmond, VA
2007 Red, White and Blue 5k 1st 1st 15:14 Williamsburg, VA/CR
2007 Mental Health 5k 1st 1st 15:13 Williamsburg, VA/ CR
2007 3Sports Long Course Duathlon 1st 6th 2:43:17 Richmond, VA/  2nd Amateur.
2007 Smithfield Sprint Triathlon 1st 1st 47:13 Smithfield, VA/CR
2006
2006 3Sports Sprint Triathlon 1st 1st 53:24 Richmond, VA
2005 IC4A 3k Steeplechase n/a 15th 9:08 Princeton, NJ