The race report for the General Smallwood oly would be pretty boring except that this race turned exceptional, in a bad way.
First, the standard stuff. The swim was a little long, the bike was good, and the run was about what you'd expect. Oh, and wave starts can really suck the competition out of a race.
The good: over 150 DC Tri club members and several of the Snapple/DCTri elite team showed up to race. As noted in other blog posts, Hillary Cairns and Jenny Leehey went 1-2 in the women's race. I was 2nd in the mens race. DCTri won the mid-Atlantic club championship on the back of solid results across the board and up and down the roster.
The bad: On the hottest day of a record breaking heatwave, the water was like soup and the air was like a convection oven. Things were ok on the bike, but by the time we hit the run course, it was really really painful. When I'd go up hills and my heartrate would climb because of the hill, I'd start getting dizzy and losing my vision--I think because my HR was already abnormally high from the heat. After that happened about twice I slowed my pace substantially.
Also, I got beaten by a guy in the 5th wave, who I never saw. I was cruising by the end of the run because no one was near me behind or in front, and I probably gave up the win because of it. I hate wave starts. You have to have an elite or open wave, or else it's just a guessing game as to what's going on with the overall race. Boo!
The ugly: Teammate Luke Holman passed me halfway thru the bike to take the overall lead. He kept the pace high (for those conditions). He was looking great on the run, high-fiving me at mile 4 as we were crossing paths. He was about a minute or two up on me at that point. Then when I crossed the finish line, they told me I had finished first. Confused and worried, I was like "what about my teammate Luke who was a couple minutes up?" They didn't know where he was. I kept on them for a little while, but then needed to get water and shade. I walked over to the DCTri tent, where club president gave me the bad news that Luke had been found disoriented and overheated in the woods just 1/4 mile from the finish line. They had med-evac'ed him and he was in rough shape. I couldn't believe it. At that point I thought I had won as a result, and I felt just terrible about it.
Luke is now fine--he had a serious case of exercise-induced heat exhaustion or stroke. Scary scary stuff.
The heat caused a number of problems and cast a pall over the whole race. It probably should have been cancelled. That said, there were some gems within that mess and some great spirit and perserverance. Hats off to everyone who pushed through on a terrible day, and of course, our team is so overjoyed to know that Luke is now doing ok.
Category: Phil Schmidt