Tuesday, March 12, 2013

South Bay Duathlon

Last year I volunteered at the South Bay Du, partly because my friend Molly was racing, partly because I wanted to get a close up look at transition as I was thinking about getting into multi-sport. I had a lot of fun, I love volunteering at a races because it's super fun and most of the athletes are super appreciative of the volunteers.

Doing this race was an after thought to my schedule. I had already planned out my spring races but I remembered I had a 50% discount on any USA Productions event (another bonus of volunteering) and my friends were racing, so I added it to the schedule.

As we all know I was sick for most of the winter and this effected a big chunk of my winter training. I knew I wasn't where I wanted to be for this race, but I also knew that I could cross the finish line. I should have prepared more mentally for this race, but I just didn't. I really wanted to go out and have fun and see where I was fitness wise. While I am eager to make progress, I also am trying to keep in mind that I am really new to multi-sport and I'd like to take some time getting comfortable in it and everything that comes with the sport. Adjusting to training 6 days a week and determining how many hours per week I can actually get in has been a challenge for me. With one child only going to school 3 days a week and a spouse who is gone (work/commute) for 12-13 hours a day leaves me with the constant battle of trying to figure out how to get it all in. I feel like in the past month I have nailed down a good routine that my family and I can work with. It may turn out that this year is more about about getting comfortable in the new groove and next year will be more about gains when my youngest gets to kindergarten. I think this explains much of mental shift going into the race.

The only bummer about the race was those of us doing the sprint distance had a 10am start time, which meant we spent a lot of time standing around wishing that we were already out on the race course. After a very long wait we finally got our chance. In my lack of preparedness I realized that I had never configured my display screens for the multi-sport function on my Garmin. This meant that all I could see was overall time and distance for the entire race. My plan (I at least had a couple) was to run 10 minute miles (conservative) for the first run and hopefully be able to run sub 10 minute miles on the second run. That plan went out the window when I realized I couldn't see what my pace was, oops. When I hit the one mile mark my watched flashed that I had run a 9:32 mile, so I slowed down the pace for the second mile. When my watched flashed at the end of the second mile that I had run a 10:05 mile, I felt better, until I realized that I was not all that close to transition. It wasn't until 2.17 miles that I hit transition. There went my plan of a 20 minute run one time.

T1 went pretty smoothly as I swapped out visor for helmet and running shoes for bike shoes and grabbed my bike. I managed to mount the bike without looking like an ass, so that's always a positive. This is the part of the race where my lack of bike training really came into play. There just had not been enough time on the bike this winter and I've only had one outdoor ride so far this year. I knew this would not be weakness  but at one point I said to myself  "you don't belong here today". I never really could get my heart rate down, I tried to relax but I was anticipating the hill that was to come. I knew it would be steep and short. You can see it coming, so there is time to gear down which I did. I passed one woman heading up the hill and then I passed a young boy who was walking his bike up the hill. He had passed me on the first run and he was really making a lot of noise as he did it. As I passed him on the bike he sounded like he was sniveling, I couldn't tell if he was crying or just really breathing hard like he had on the run. I feel really bad, I wish I had been in a better place to ask him if he was okay, but I was afraid to slow down and loose my momentum  and then possibly crash. Thankfully the hill is short followed by a downhill and than you start the second loop. I had survived the hill, but my legs were getting super tired and I knew I had to make it up that hill one more time. I tried my best to ride steady and conservative to be sure I had the legs to make it up that hill again. A runner that I had passed on the first run passed me on the bike just before the hill. As I geared down to my very last granny gear I trudged up the hill and passed her and one other woman, of course they passed me on the downhill section but I felt like it was more a badge of honor to be able to pass them going uphill. There was a huge sense of relief as I approached transition, I really wanted off that bike.

I racked my bike swapped out shoes again and helmet for visor and back out I went. Much to my surprise my legs felt like stumps. Seriously? My legs normally really like running off the bike, sadly, on this day they did not. I'm assuming it has a lot to do with a short course and not much recovery time for them after that hill. I knew right away the run was going to hurt, my right calf was really, really, angry with me. I managed a decent first mile, I even passed the woman who had passed me on the downhill of the bike. However, the second mile involved run/walk intervals. There was a point where I literally just mentally gave up. I knew I was going to come in a couple minutes later than I had anticipated and I just didn't have any more fight left in me. Knowing that the run course was long was not helping my mental outlook either. As I rounded the corner the race photographer was yelling at me to sprint for her... um, if I sprint now I may collapse short of the finish line, but I gave it my best effort and tried to smile. I finally passed these two gentleman who were apparently having a nice chat in the last .20 miles and just focused on one foot in front of the other to the finish line. Of course right at the finish line one of them passed me, but I managed to hold off the other one. DONE.

This is a totally false representation of how I felt or looked on the last run,
I was just trying my hardest for the photographer. 

Overall, I finished pretty close to what I thought I was capable of. Two minutes over my estimated time that can be attributed to the "fuck it" attitude on the last run.

They all can't be great, and I am totally okay with that. I also realize that it is early in the season, and I'm not exactly where I had hoped to be at this point. It's a good reminder that I really need to work more on the bike before my Triathlon in April. Probably need to work on my mental strength also if I actually want it to be fun. The best part of the day was getting to see friends and meet more folks from the Forward Motion Race Club.

It's Tuesday and I feel like I'm still in total recovery mode. My body hates me and I have no cardiovascular ability whatsoever, based on the very sad swim I had this morning. I'm focusing on recovery and eating well (although my body doesn't want much to do with food) to pull it all back together for my next event on March 24th!

Run 1: 21:06
T1: 1:25
Bike: 45:07
T2: 1:18
Run 2: 23:11

 9/11 AG

141/148 OA


  1. Great job! You (a) completed another multisport race (b) did it on a day when most people were sleeping in due to the time change (c) got good photos and (d) finished strong! What more can you ask?! Time in the saddle will help a lot of the areas you felt unsure about, but the fact is everyone's legs feel like stumps in the 2nd run of a duathlon - you did fine! Congrats!!!

  2. Congratulations! It may not have felt like your best race, but you're still so new to this. I think you did fantastic!