Saturday, November 1, 2014

2014 Tri for Sight Sprint Duathlon - Race Recap

Alright, so I wrote this way back in September, but, you know, life and work and yada-yada-yada.

Anyway, here it is for those of you who've been dying to know how my first duathlon went...

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Last weekend The weekend of September 6th was kind of a blur.

On Friday night, we had this huge, years-in-the-making (basically) implementation for work.

And since it's software that's used 24/7, naturally it started at midnight.

It really wasn't so bad. Of course, I was falling asleep leading up to it, but as soon as I got to work the adrenalin started pumping and I was wide awake.

Which, unfortunately, made it hard to fall asleep by the time I made it to bed around 2:45am.

And of course, shortly after I finally did fall asleep, the baby woke up. He had a runny nose the day before, which we wrote off to teething, but when he kept coughing and wheezing throughout the night we knew it was something more serious (it turned out he had croup again).

He was so pitiful (and I give in way too easily) that I ended up sleeping in his rocking chair with him on my chest all night.

Because even though it sucks I secretly kinda love it and I want to soak it up as much as I can.
Work issues started creeping up pretty early on Saturday, but I felt surprisingly well-rested for the amount of sleep I got.

Since the race Sunday morning was about an hour away, and we had to get there by 6:15am to get our packets, and because we were just plain exhausted, we sent the sick boy away and turned in (somewhat) early Saturday night. And even though I slept pretty well, 4:45am is just wayyy too early.

We ended up getting to Spindletop Hall in Lexington around 6:30am and got our packets, bibs, and chips with no major issues.

It turned out that they had my timing chip but neither of my bibs, but they made me one for my bike really quick and gave me a beer ticket from an extra race bib, so I was good. :)

The race has grown quite a bit from when Jennifer first did it a few years ago. Overall I was impressed with how everything was set up.

After getting our swag we grabbed our stuff from the car and got our transition areas set up. Then it was a quick pre-race meeting before we went our separate ways for the start of the race.

I only had rough goals going into the race since this was my first du, and I've only done one run-bike-run workout. Basically, I was hoping to finish around the 1:20 mark -- 16 minutes for the first 2 mile run, 40-ish minutes for the bike (I think a 20mph average would put me at 36 minutes), and hopefully less than 24 minutes for the final 5K run. Oh yeah, plus transitions.

The main thing I was concerned about was pacing myself so I wasn't exhausted before I even started the second run.

The Race

Since the swim was in a pool, the triathloners had a time trial start. Given the number of people racing, it was going to take around an hour and twenty minutes before the last swimmer started. Jennifer was somewhere in the middle of that pack.

The duathloners, on the other hand, all started with the first swimmer.

In keeping with my strategy I settled into the middle of the pack, trying to keep my pace no faster than an 8:00/mile. This wasn't all that hard for the first mile since we were going uphill with a headwind.

Mile 1: 8:00

Coming back it was hard to hold my pace back since I was now going downhill with a tailwind, so I just tried to keep the effort easy.

Mile 2: 7:25

First run (2 miles): 15:25

I haven't practiced transitioning at all, so I was a mess in there. It ended up taking nearly two full minutes for me to change my shoes and grab my bike. I gotta work on that!

I was so ready to ride that I jumped on and took off, and I forgot to start my Garmin in the process. I didn't catch it until I was about a half mile in.

On the way out it was a bit hilly and windy, and it was taking way more energy than I thought it should to average around 16 mph. I was getting frustrated, but I just tried to enjoy it -- the weather was perfect, and it really was a nice ride. About halfway through the out and back we went down a huge hill and things seemed to flatten out after that. My pace started picking up.

I didn't really pay attention to my time at the turn-around since I didn't know how much time I missed at the start of the bike. Instead, I just tried to keep my pace and cadence up.

I made it back to transition without incident, but I had a lot of trouble dismounting because I ended up unclipping both shoes, instead of just my right like I always do.

It was awkward. My leg cramped up from having to reach so I didn't fall. I was embarrassed.

I didn't know it then, but I had done the ride in 42:00, which was just over an 18 mph. Nice!

My second transition was just as bad (if not worse) than my first. Roughly two minutes later, I was out on the second run.

Again, my goal for this run was to hold back for the first two miles or so, then give it everything I had to the finish.

I ended up matching pace with an older gentleman for about the first half. It felt unusually hard, but having him around helped push me. We were running 7:30-7:40s.

I ended up holding that pace pretty well throughout the entire run. I tried not to let myself slack, but I didn't really have anything more to give, either, aside from sprinting the last few feet.

Final 5K Run: 23:17

I think the course was a bit short (my watch and Jennifer's both said 3.05), so that time it's a little misleading.

But even so, that's only a few seconds away from my 5K PR of 23:12!!

Overall, I finished in 19th out of 50-ish people. I was 2nd (out of 3) in the 30-34 age group, and 6th (out of 8) in the 30-39 age group.

I will absolutely be doing this race again. It's cheap, close to home, small, well-organized, and they gave out a free West Sixth beer at the finish. In other words, my perfect race.

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