2008.03.29 – Coronado, CA
Let’s talk very briefly about the pecking order of BAMFs in the world. At the very bottom of the list are those guys from AIG who thought they needed bonuses of tax-payer bailout dollars; they are the anti-BAMFs. At the top of the list would be Navy SEALs. I am pretty sure that Secretary Geithner should have just told the folks at AIG that they could have bonuses if they were able to hack it as a SEAL for, I dunno, five minutes. With that sort of perspective on the natural order of the world, you can imagine the level of intimidation that comes with doing a race put on at the Naval Amphibious Warfare base in Coronado, CA. This is race where the volunteers could kill you with their pinky finger. Remember to say, “Thank you, SIR!” when you get that cup of water.
There are actually two races put on to benefit the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, which specifically supports Navy SEAL and Frogman veterans – the Superfrog half-ironman and Superseal olympic. With the California 70.3 in Oceanside coming up six days after whatever race I did, I wasn’t BAMF enough to do the Superfrog. But the Superseal seemed like a great way to shake off the dust and remind the legs about what “racing” really means.
The bay-side swim off Silver Strand was calm and suprisingly warm given the time of year. I think I came out of the water in about fourth; without knowing too much about the folks racing, a big difference from doing something like an Ironman or Lifetime Fitness race, I didn’t have much of an idea about who to start beside. I just missed hooking on to a pair of guys who ended up coming out of the water a bit ahead of me. I felt quite good through the whole swim, probably sign that I should have hit it harder from the gun. I briefly considered doing some push-ups on the beach to make up for it, but then I remembered that I’m not actually any good at that, so I thought it more prudent to just HTFU and get out on the bike.
After a quick double-U-turn, it was out onto the highway along the strand for two loops on the fast and flat bike course. The wind was not too strong, and I felt quite good. People were quite courteous out on the course, probably since they were equally afraid as I was of the Navy SEALs that were probably hiding in ghillie suits next to the highway. I managed to close all the gaps out of the swim pretty quickly and also not to get lapped by the King of Sweden, Bjorn Andersson, who was dominating the bike as part of a Superfrog relay team. I managed to split pretty consistently and came off the bike with somewhere between four and five minutes in the lead.
The run is a nice mix of hard-packed sand and paved bike paths that winds along the bay-side of the strand. There were some brief sections where the sand was quite soft, and I felt quite proud of myself for dropping the escort cyclist. Coming out of the turnaround, I still had a pretty solid lead over second place, but I was sure I saw the glimmer of a rifle scope from one of the bushes, so I quickly saluted and picked up the pace. I have to offer a special thank you to “Norma,” who helped prep my legs and repair them for the onslaught. I came across the line very happy with my performance and glad that I hadn’t forgotten how to actually race.
The first race of the season is always a bit nerve-wracking, so it was nice to have everything go smoothly. (Special thanks to Michael Collins for the pair of rubber-bands, the *one* thing I did forget.) I was also pleased to see that my extra focus on running paid off, with a good fast run off a solid bike ride early in the year. Coming away with a win is always something special, and I am definitely planning on returning next year to defend my title. It was truly an honor to receive the beautiful winner’s trophy from Admiral Garry Bonelli, but I certainly felt even more humbled to be racing alongside all of the veterans out there on the course. A hearty “Hoo-Yah” to all of them.