One of my favorite things about this time of year is how nice it is just to be outside. You'll hear people say things like "oh what a lovely day I think I'll put on my tennis shoes and go for a jog." But we know better, and sometimes even the most beautiful looking days are some of the most treacherous.
Take Saturday, for example. Temps were great for being outside and there was a breeze. Well out on the Eastern Shore, that breeze was multiplied by infinity, and the beautiful full moon we saw meant tides and stinging jellyfish. For anyone swimming or riding a bike, it was far from a beautiful day. That was the case for Alyssa Godesky and Bob Villanueva, as they competed in the Chesapeakeman AquaBike - a 2.4 mile swim in the Choptank River followed by 112 miles out in the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. Everyone at this point is familiar with Eagleman. This is like double Eagleman.
Swimming against an incoming tide assured a tough swim, and the volume of saltwater intake mixed with sea nettle stings slowed everyone's swim down a touch. But Alyssa came out of the water in a strong 1:07, 2nd place among the women in the field. She got out onto the bike and absolutely drilled it, sending a message to her Kona competitors as she roasted a 5:12:51 bike split - a distance PR and the fastest 112 mile bike split any of us has ever ridden. It was the windiest I've ever seen it out there on Saturday; head and cross winds for most of the loop before the final 10 miles provided some respite. The effort put her in the money in 2nd place behind local pro Suzy Serpico. Alyssa's got a couple of weeks before Kona and she is definitely ready.
Bob V, meanwhile, is prepping for Ironman Florida. He came out of the water just over 90 minutes and had a strong ride, finishing that portion of the race in 5:33. He was 25th among the competitors. Bob also just got accepted into next year's Boston Marathon so he'll have a quick turnaround following the November IM!
The other big event this weekend was of course the RM Classic 5000m. It was held on a cool but breezy morning up at Gilman, and we had a terrific field assembled for the 5th running of the event. Absent from the start line was 3-time defending champion Dustin Meeker, which meant we'd have a new winner. It was pretty apparent that Conrad Laskowski was not letting anyone take away his moment of glory, as he bolted into the lead from the word GO and didn't look back. He took the win in a fantastic time of 15:15, ahead of Graham Peck who ran an even split 15:31. Ed Aramayo and Steve Febish battled for the final podium spot, with Ed blazing the last 150m to finish in 15:58 to Steve's 16:00. Andy Sovonick and Dan Miranda ran most of the race together before Andy pulled away a little, finishing in 16:51. Dan came through at 16:57. The inseparable duo of Joel Gladfelter (17:19, who ran 21 miles the day before) and Joel Brusewitz (17:38) were next through, and newcomer David Cobb ran an awesome 17:42 - a near PR in his first run with us! We just work that quick. PJ Anderer (18:21) was across next, a little ahead of Jon Miller (18:47).
On the ladies side, Sara Breedlove became our women's champion, running 18:53. Sara has been crushing her workouts lately and is primed for an awesome fall season. Denise Knickman was 2nd in 20:37 and Lillian Pinault was 3rd in 21:01. Lillian made sure to let me know that she had run her long run of 15 miles the day before.
And of course special thanks to the crew of spectators who came up to support the racers: Nate, Steve Laurie, the Majumdars, Pat and Grady McLoughlin, Emily Hurley, Carly and her friend Tim, and Graham's girlfriend Lindsay.
Among the other performances this weekend:
Amy Horst was 4th at the Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial 5k at Loyola on Saturday morning, and the dynamic duo of Carly Page and Julie Wolfe took the women's team title at the Metric Marathon in Howard County. It also looks like they beat the open men's team, but were still 2nd overall as the master's men won it all. Finally, Tom Stack was 4th at the Bethany Beach Triathlon. He's had a great tri season!
In our Purple Drink Athlete of the Week voting, the honor went to Conrad Laskowski - his first of the year - for winning the RM Classic, the most important race of the year.