Fellow IC3ers and Friends,
This past Saturday was the 30th running of the Muncie Endurathon HIM. It would be the second time I have attempted the 70.3 distance and my 5th triathlon overall. The lead up to the race could have been better. I came down with a case of strep throat and a double ear infection on the Wednesday before the race. Most of Wednesday night and Thursday were spent trying to control a very high fever (103+ ) and drinking as much as my very sore throat would allow. I had serious doubts that I would racing anywhere near my capabilities at this point. By Friday night and what seemed like 1,000 pills later, I felt acceptable. "Acceptable" is not really the description one would like to describe themselves before attempting a ~5 hour race effort, but that was the situation.
I woke up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, got things moving, and left for the Prairie Creek Reservoir with Chris. We started with a little running to warm-up. This was the first time I had run since Monday. We continued with a little biking and a stop at the facilities. It was about 6:55 and our race started at 7:15, so we headed down to the beach for a quick swim and the start.
1.2 mile swim: 0:43:05 (342nd out of 698)
Uh......I really don't like to think about these specific 43 minutes of my life, but I will do my best to report. Chris and I started in wave 4 which included every testosterone driven male between the ages of 25 and 34. It was a really large group. We would be traveling around a newly designed swim course that took us about 750 meters away from shore. We then would take a right hand turn for about 450 meters and another right hand turn back to shore. The reservoir was angry that we disturbed her so early in the morning, and she thanked us with some nice surf. She added a current that was not in our favor to top it all off. After banging and sloshing around with 100s of my closest friends for the better part of an hour, I finally, FINALLY made it back to shore. This time was a full minute and a half slower than last year, and I even had a wetsuit on this year. GEESH! Regardless, I transitioned to my more suitable activity...the bike.
56 mile bike: 2:18:33; 24.3 MPH (10th out of 698)
The course started out traveling around the southside of the reservoir and came back north on the Cardinal Greenway. The wind was a little swirly, but it most often times was out of the SW to SSW at a fairly stout clip. The funniest moment on the bike came when I had just begun to head south on the closed state highway. I was thinking to myself, "It's pretty cool that this is my second Endurathon, and I have never been passed during the bike leg." It wasn't 5 seconds later a yellow M.O.B. Squad train named Francis Manfred came roaring by me like I was sitting still. I stopped thinking about how cool I was after that. Good work to Francis. He averaged 27.2 MPH for the 56 mile course as a part of a relay team. That's pretty fast...I guess. :-) I completed the first 28 miles in 1:12:XX, and the last 28 miles in 1:06:XX. I gave a really solid, hard effort the whole way. Oddly enough, my legs really never felt great, and I was having a lot of stomach issues on the bike. The Hammer Perpetuem, which I always use with no problem, didn't seem to be aggreeing with me and kept wanting to come back up. Regardless, it was a good ride, and I still thought I might I have a little left for the run.
13.1 mile run: 1:38:25, 7:31 min/mi. (72nd out of 698)
I passed a fairly large group in the last couple of miles of the bike. Coming out of transition a couple of those folks returned the favor holding a pace that was too much for me. Fortunately, one of the gentlemen, Mouhammed Seck, was running a fairly suitable pace. We ran the first 4 miles together. At the 3rd mile marker, I made a mistake by taking on some gatorade. Something in the sugar water didn't agree with my already tempermental stomach, and I started having some stomach cramps that became somewhat limiting. After mile 4, we hit a hill and Mr. Seck kicked it in a bit, and I had to let him go. This decision turned out to be a good one, because after another mile and a half my gut began to behave itself. At this point I felt pretty good, and ran a few good miles. I was still feeling pretty good at the turnaround and kept my pace. Things started feeling funny at mile 8, and I knew that it was going to take a fair bit of guts and focus to maintain my race to the end. I latched on to a few good running partners, remembered my training, and prayed a lot in the next 5.1 miles. I really wanted to be able to kick it in to a hot pace in the last mile, but it just wasn't there. I crossed the finish line knowing that under all considerations I gave this race my all.
Finish: 4:43:09, 42nd overall, 6th in my age group
In every race there are good times and bad times. In my mental prep leading up to the race I settled on several thought to focus on for the bad times. 1.) I thought of my blessed Savior, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. The physical pain that He chose for me humbles me during these activities. I cannot fathom or compare, and I praise Him for His sacrifice. 2.) "Consider pure joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds. For the suffering of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness take its full effect making you perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James Ch. 2 3.) Chris Tomlin has written a great song of worship in "I Will Rise". If you haven't heard it, look it up and listen to it today. I sang portions of this song frequently througout the day.
I will also say that while this day was fun and I'm glad I did it, it did not compare to last year's sufferfest that I enjoyed stride for stride with my Christian brother, friend, brother-in-law, and training partner, Chris Hutchison. I will let him ring with his own race report, but I know he also gave a considerably large effort in the face of substantial physical difficulty.
I don't know about next year, but I will definitely do this event again. Thanks for reading and praying.
Live, Ride, Die...Live!