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Race Result

Racer: Mike Tine
Race: Savageman
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008
Location: Deep Creek, MD
Race Type: Triathlon - Half Ironman
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 6:38:18
Overall Place: 77 / 223
Age Group Place: 15 / 39
Comment: W(ow) - not in shape but epic event

Race Report:

Swim: 30:38 (1st in AG! 2nd in wave!)
T1: 3:47
Bike: 3:36:47
T2: 2:37
Run: 2:24:30 (11 min/mile pace, walk-run)

Let me start with my caveat. I went in knowing I wasn't racing this event. I was participating. I hadn't biked more than 45 miles except for the weekend before. Mostly flat-land training. No run longer than 10k except for the combined "Reston Du". Swimming once every 2 weeks. So I was "tapered".

I entered, though, because I wanted to do it and because it was for a good cause. My father died 10 years ago from melanoma, so anything to help research this horrible disease is a good cause.

I was nervous, and was rushing because I had forgotten my helmet in the car, 1/2 mile from transition. However, thanks to sleeping at the campsites the night before, I was well rested and ready to go! And I had a mile+ warmup run as a result.

After kissing the official (Karen was officiating), I got ready for the swim. After a 20-min delay, the first wave entered the fog. Then it was our turn. I hopped in, and despite an initial thought of "this is colder than I expected", I realized it was the perfect wetsuit temp. When the horn sounded, I went horizontal and started my paced swimming. Very quickly I noticed there was nobody around me. I got worried that I'd veered off course, but that was impossible because the shoreline was still the same distance away and the swim zone buoys were right there. I just put my head down and didn't look forward for about 300m. When I finally looked up, there was one person about 25m ahead of me, but otherwise smooth water. Was I really in 2nd with my limited training? I told myself to keep stroking like I was and just keep constant. When I exited the water, it appeared that I was indeed towards the front of the wave (turns out I was 2nd, and 1st in my AG!).

Walking up the steep hill to transition, I saw Brady DeHoust. No surprise, he had a great race. While in transition, I saw Mark Conover, a fellow official who beat me out of the water at Luray. I knew he'd catch me on the run, but my goal was to keep him away during the bike.

I tried to put on my long-fingered bike gloves in transition, but my wet hands wouldn't allow it. So I put on my socks, shoes, and helmet and took off with the gloves in my mouth. While riding no-handed, I put on the cut-off tube socks that were tied to my handlebars and then the gloves. This took about a mile to get right. Then it was on to the hills!

The first 7-10 miles was rolling hills downhill. A bit harder than expected in parts, but overall a great way to kick off the bike. Then we veered off to the left in Westernport and I knew "the Wall" was coming. 50m, turn a corner, and look straight up. W(ow). I'd heard that the way to do this was to snake up the first couple of blocks to conserve energy then explode up the main wall. I snaked, joked with some spectator/volunteers, then let out a resounding yawp/grunt at the bottom of the main portion and aimed straight uphill. At the time, I thought I had a 25 on the back rather than the 23 cog I actually had. In any event, I pushed, pulled, and grunted my way up this hill with the cheering crowds (and Rocky) pushing me forward. I made it!

Another 100-200m uphill and the road turns left to greet me with...more steeps. I couldn't take it. I paused for about a minute to catch my breath and regroup. Then onward and upward.

The next 6 miles were brutal. I heard it was a long hill after the Wall, but I still didn't expect the pain that was coming. Beautiful nonetheless.

Up, up, up, with some great spectators. On the winding downhill portion, Kyle had put the fear of God into me so I was overly cautious. Still, it's VERY technical, so caution was good. However, the head ref (not Karen) and a slow cornering cyclist blocked me on one turn of the downhill. I eventually sprinted by them and continued to descend. Fun!

The constant steepness got to me as, before Killer Miller, I let out an inadvertent "Oh for the love of God" when I saw it. Seriously, the steeps just kept coming. Due to these steeps, I didn't eat or drink enough because my stomach wasn't digesting. Note - practice eating/drinking on tough mountains.

Seeing Aaron and Kyle on the hills was fun and gave me a boost of energy when I needed it. Thanks guys!

With about 10 miles to go, I was cooked. But I fought through and finished the bike. T2 was uneventful. I took my time because I wasn't racing.

The run started with REALLY tired legs. I knew I was going to walk/run but the original plan was 2-3 miles run, 1/2 mile walk. That quickly changed to run when you can, walk when you must (uphill). At about 1-1/2 miles, a spectator who saw me walking said "way not to quit" to which I responded "oh, I'm calling it a day when I get closer to transition. They cheered me on, but I was all set to quit because there was no way I was finishing this race feeling like I did. I decided I should eat/drink what I could and then just walk it in. But I still jogged downhill. Eating bananas, coke, and water eventually perked up my spirits enough to convince myself to do at least the first lap and see what the course was like. As I approached the end of the first lap, I decided I could continue since my energy was returning. I shook my head (to funny comments from the announcer and very helpful cheers from Cascio and Karen) and ambled on. Walk-run-walk-walk-walk-run-walk... you get the idea. At some point, Brady passed me and really gave me a boost with some much-needed advice and go-get-em attitude. Thanks Brady! I just kept cruising. It was great to see everyone I knew and cheer them on.

I finally made it to the finish and can call myself a Savageman!

I will do this race again, and will raise funds for melanoma research in addition to the entry fee (too busy at work this year to do it justice).