October 17, 2015:
Beach2Battleship was the race I had circled on my calendar for the 2015 season. Some of my close friends were going to be there since they didn’t live too far away. I had never done a point-to-point race before, but I loved it even though some people find them too stressful because of separate transitions. If I had to do it over again, I would have done the full instead of the half even though that would have meant I had two full distance races a little more than a month apart.
The weekend before a hurricane had come through the region. It didn’t make landfall, but it caused conditions to be serious enough to delay Ironman Maryland for two weeks. The weather for Beach2Battleship was pretty nice other than the wind, which was about 12 mph or so.
The morning of the race was a lot colder than the day before. I remember being at transition and wishing I had a hoodie or something. The event required athletes to be shuttled to the swim start. I managed to end up on an electric bus that eventually lost its power and left us stranded for 20 minutes. I thought “Oh man…don’t let this be one of those bad omens.” Another bus did pick us up thankfully, but I still had to wait another 45 minutes for the race to start.
The swim is an in-water start and I was ecstatic because the water felt amazing compared to the air. I had a brief thought run through my head, “Man, you did not pack a long sleeve jersey for this race…you may freeze.” I quickly forgot about that as my wave was up for the start. If you’ve never done Beach2Battleship, the swim has a wicked current. One could probably float to the swim finish and still beat the cut-off time. The guy sending off the waves kept telling us to get behind the start line, but I don’t think he quite realized how much effort that required to do so. The swim was extremely fast, so I just put on cruise control and saved my energy. The swim exit wasn’t like an Ironman though. Ironman swims tend to have a set of stairs; this had a makeshift wooden ladder you had to climb to get out. I’m sure now that Ironman has taken over the race that feature will now be stairs.
I grabbed my bike out of transition and got out of there very quickly. If there was something I think could be changed about this race, it would be moving the bike mount line from being directly on top of a curb. That pretty much eliminated the option of doing a flying mount, which was what I had planned. The bike was pretty fast for me and I spent most of it passing all the slower full distance competitors. It was really flat with the exception of the one large bridge on the interstate bypass. There was about 40 miles of headwinds though. At least the last 16 miles were tailwinds, which I made sure to take full advantage of. I think the only thing that went wrong in the race was my dismount off my bike. I did not know where the dismount line was and I was coming in hot. When my feet hit the ground my legs could not keep up at that speed…and I ate it in front of a pretty big crowd at the convention center. I rebounded quickly and a volunteer took my bike from me as I ran into the convention center for T2. I thought that was a really cool set up. I was in and out pretty quick, but I could see there was a little bit of bleeding from my fall. It’s not like it mattered to me anyway.
The run was the hard part for me. My IT Band had been giving me problems after the full distance event I did 5 weeks earlier. I just did the best that I could with it. At a turn-around I saw a guy coming wearing the same exact clothes as I was. He said, “Nice jersey.” I said, “Did we just become best friends?” The guy behind him said, “Yup!” It’s a Step-Brothers reference if you’ve never seen the movie. I managed to have a pretty good race given the circumstances and it turned out that electric bus running out of juice wasn’t a bad omen after all (it’s just slightly ironic because I drive an electric car). I was very happy with 5:06:36. There were tons of spectators out on the out & back run. The run was also nicely shaded.
Run (out & back)