Monday, May 27, 2013

The "Just Du It" Duathlon...I did it once but could I do it again?

This Duathlon was the one that "kicked off " my love of Duathlons a couple years ago (I had a good race that day, 9th overall and 2nd in my AG.). I missed it last year because it was the Sunday after Reach the Beach Massachusetts.Yes I could've done it, but I was gassed from RTB and figured it'd be a waste of money. So, when I saw it was on the calendar again this year...and after my success at the Race of Rams Duathlon a few weeks back...I knew I had to make the drive to Seekonk to run this one again. 

The race has grown in popularity the last couple years. The once half full parking lot of the race two years ago has swelled to an overflowing one that that had racers now looking for parking on side streets this go round. Good...this means it'll be a tough field and give me a measuring stick for where I'm at in the season. 

The race was "skinny"...just a number (not chipped, no number for the bike and no body markings). That means my race sherpa, J, is responsible for timing out my legs and transition times. Yes, I'm that guy that must have ALL the data and while my Polar RCX5G5 will give me "leg data" it won't track transition times (I can only hit so many buttons AND race). So, time to hit the transition area, set up my bike and go for a run. I have to admit that I didn't do "warm up" runs before races until this season. I don't know why to be honest but it seems to be beneficial for me of late so it's part of the "pre-race rituals" (along with sacrificing a chicken to the race gods and reciting the Ranger Creed to myself. Whatever, don't judge)

Run: 3 miles, 18:32
At the gun, there was a pack of us that quickly separated ourselves from the field. A quick glance of my watch showed we were running on a 6:15 pace. Good, totally doable for 3 miles and I focused on trying to run down those ahead of me. I reeled a few guys in the by the time we made it to the turn for transition and was feeling good.

T1: 50 seconds
Nice smooth run into transition and to my bike, kicked off my Saucony Kinvaras (I'll pay for that but we'll get to that later) cycling gear on and out for the bike leg.

Bike: 11 miles, 32:56
I wanted to get out on the course, establish a good cadence and settle in. Just as I did that, an older woman, hands on the hoods of her tri bike, came blowing past me. Insult to injury? She never dropped down into aero! I saw her passing guys in the distance...sitting up! Ugh, so much for settling in. Well, look down on the Polar and let's keep this ride at 21mph plus. About 4 miles in my calves started to crap...just in time for some hills. Yay me! And by yay...I mean f' me! The hills were just enough to make me need to get out of the saddle to get through and I spent the next 4 miles alternating getting out of the saddle for hills and jockeying back and forth with the guy in front of me on the flats. I finally got past him with a quarter mile before transition and was happy to go into the final leg up one position. 

T2: 31 seconds
Remember I said I kicked of my shoes? Well, in getting out of my cycling gear and putting my running shoes back on I discovered I'd rolled the insole of the left shoe under itself. How that happened I do not know but I spent 5 or 10 seconds trying to fix it and after realizing I couldn't...ran out for the last leg.

Run 2 miles, 13:10
I thought that at least the rolled insole would give me something to occupy my mind for the run. I mean I couldn't focus on the pain in my legs or lungs when I had this discomfort in my shoe right? Right! The 2 mile leg was out and back and all I could think about was idiocy of kicking off my shoes in the first place (I do run better angry) and trying to pass anyone I could to hop up spots in the overall. I didn't pass anyone but ran hard the entire leg. So hard that when I crossed the finish line I had to quickly swallow and breath to stem the feeling of nausea. As silly and/or gross as it may sound, I knew I had left it all on the course because I almost threw up crossing the finish line. 

I ended up 15th overall and 3rd in my age group. I had hoped for a better overall but like I said before, the field was deep. A pretty good day and I was happy with my pace on the 1st run, the better speed on the bike (compared to the Race of Rams Duathlon a few weeks back) and the "kick" I had for the finish. It was a much better start to finish race for me that ended up with my taking 4 minutes off my PR for this course. Some good lessons learned too. Primarily, I need more hills work on the bike followed by speed work after (the cycling version of a bike-run brick) in order to transition from climbing to tempo on the bike in order to maintain a fast cadence throughout. Not a bad day at all though and I'll take the result. 

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