One of my favorite weekends of the year, Eagleman/Bay Swim/Survivor 7 has proved to be one of the hardest to race on over the past 5 or 6 seasons. An exponential bump in heat and humidity would give those racing very little time to adapt, and the effort would cause many (usually me) to stagger around like a zombie.
Well, 2013 brought some changes. For one, Survivor 7 is gone. The cost to put on the event became just too great and it's unlikely to return thanks to an increase in gimmick runs. Then, the cast of regulars at Eagleman all decided to take a break, leaving just Mike Mashner as the lone competitor this year. Finally, the weather...was perfect. Whodathunk?!
Indeed, competitors arrived at the race site on Sunday morning to the guarantee of a wetsuit swim (73 degree water), overcast skies, temps in the low 70s and no wind. A better day has ne'er before been seen in Cambridge, at least not by these eyes! Zero was certainly in for a treat at his first Eagleman. He came out of the water strong, and held a great position throughout the bike course. Riding 56 miles around Baltimore usually means you're riding uphill and downhill, with a few flat sections along the way. Out there, it's pedal pedal pedal the entire time, often without so much as changing gears. It is draining, and Mike found that out. With an 8:15 start time, it meant he was getting out onto the run after 11am. No matter the conditions, nobody wants to do an exposed half marathon on the roads at that point. Mike's 1:30 run, relative to the field, was a solid effort and propelled him to a 4:26:57 half iron PR, 40th overall and 13th in M30-34. It's an age group full of sharks!
Kansas also hosted a 70.3 event on Sunday, and Ben Ingram has been quietly preparing for the race. Now that he's a seasoned triathlon veteran, racing halves is apparently "old hat" - Ben cruised to a 32:27 swim and a 2:27 bike split, before putting down a 1:18 half marathon. He finished 27th overall and 3rd in his age group (4:23:48) which qualified him for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas this September!
At the 4.4 mile Chesapeake Bay Swim, Brian Benda, who has won this event many times before, was crossing the Bay for the 10th time. Now into his 40s, he was beat by just one person - a swimmer 17 years his junior. What an incredible accomplishment, 1:35:10 for 4.4 miles of swimming, and finishing 2nd to a college swimmer. Crazy! David Lee also got out there, finishing in 2:23:59 which all things considered wasn't too shabby!
I heard reports of PJ Anderer running a track mile at the PVTC meet on Saturday, running 5:08 or 5:09, and Meg McNew ran the Lawyers Have Heart 10k in DC, finishing 15th in 41:05.
Steve Febish ran the Woodcliff Lake 5k, and with a purpose. Steve lost a friend last week, and he wanted to win this one for him. The course record was 16:29 - a pedestrian time by Steve's standards - but you never know who will show up to a race. But Steve is a champ, and showed his resolve by winning the race in 16:23, and by a fantastic margin. Steve's effort earned him the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week.