Friday, May 16, 2014

The Race of Rams Duathlon...every race is supposed to be a learning experience right?

Duathlon transitions are so easy
Fair warning, this is gonna be a long post. I have to admit that I went into this Duathlon with LOADS of anxiety. The 5k debacle a couple weeks ago, the “forced” rest, the trying to focus on not being stressed out, the trying to sleep…etcetera etcetera…and I didn’t feel prepared or ready to race the event at all. However, I had a great race last year and the MRA Multisport folks peer pressured me (I was willing of course) into signing up for it 2 months ago at the Multi-Sport Expo so there was no way I was going to be a DNS.

Normally this would be my first real “A” race on the season (last year at this race I finished top ten, won my age group and qualified for Duathlon national championships) and be the 'kick off" of my killer 2014 multisport season...but because of all the aforementioned, I resigned myself to a “let’s see how this goes” approach. Just writing that killed a part of my soul.

Of course I got there early (actually earlier than normal because I read the start time wrong) to get set up in transition. The transition area was on grass this year which I’m not a fan of. I prefer asphalt because there’s never a concern with sinking in the ground or mud in cycling shoes or on the bike…and it’s a whole lot easier to run on…but I digress. I forgot how simple duathlon transitions areas are to set up. My area looked almost naked! With all this time on my hands, there was nothing to do but re-look course maps and talk to people. Yes, I actually talked to people. Opposed to my normal “zone out the world and focus on race day” mentality. I just tried to be focused on relaxing...yes, TOTALLY alien for me. Rather than get the the start line cold and wound up, I went out for an easy warm up run. Imagine my surprise when someone else out running to warm up asks me "are you Dutch?" Um, yes? "Nice to meet you, I read your blog all the time". Holy crap! People actually read this thing?! Talk about taking me out of my own head. All I could think now was "don't pooch this race Dutch"!
At least I finished strong

1.5 mile run - 9:35 (6:20 pace)
Getting to the start I just focused on trying to go out easy and see what I had for the rest of the race. Imagine my surprise as we get into the first half mile and I glance down to see a sub-6min pace. Whoa! Ok...ok, maybe I'm not that far off my fitness after all. Let's just try to keep a good pace and see how the rest of the race goes.  I literally ran into T1 not believing my pace and that I was in the 6th or 7th place. I totally blanked on what I needed to do and stumbled through getting my gear on and get out on the bike.

T1: 58 secs

14 mi bike - 47:18 mins (17.8mph pace)
Getting out on the bike was a brave new world. Because of the terrible winter we've had in MA all my bike time has been spent indoors. While its great training, it does not replicate real roads and I felt it. The first hill literally took my breath away. The course had to be modified from last year's because of road conditions, so it was  two laps of 7 miles. Of course the loops would have to be of the hilliest part of the course!!! I was bearing down on the first set of hills, giving max effort...and I got passed. I was crushed. I was burying the needle on the bike and I got passed. Then it dawned on me that I was giving it my all but I had no more power to give because of the last few months. My "max effort" now was not the max effort of me last season. Ok, well the best thing to do is regroup...and prepare to do those hills again as part of the second loop. I hit the hills the second time around much better but they still kicked my butt. I finally caught my breath as I headed into transition to go out on the run.

T2: 58 secs

2 mi run - 14:20 (7:10 pace)
My joy quickly disappeared...when I remembered it was uphill for a mile to the turn and then back down to the finish. Honestly, can I just move back to Savannah where everything is flat?! Damn! I just tried to push as hard as I could to the turn knowing I'd get the downhill on the return trip. I thought maybe I would be able to catch one or two people on the road but no luck. Running hard I never made up ground on anyone in front of me. I didnt know where I was in the standings but I figured I should push as hard as I could to at least try to make up time. 

As I crossed the finish, I saw the race clock was at 1:12, not bad. Of course the first thing I did was figure out how I did (so much for no expectations and "seeing what happens"). As the results went up I saw that I was 13th overall and 2nd in my age group. Not a bad day at all! I know every race is supposed to be a learning lesson and this one surely was. I may not be at the level of fitness I want, but I'm not that far off and I still have the ability to empty the tank. Now to build on that for the rest of the season. Fingers crossed...

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