>> Monday, April 27, 2009
Or, “I Thought the ‘Mud Run’ Was Last Weekend!”
Or, “Wow, Steph! If You Can Handle THIS As Your First Duathlon, You Can Handle ANYTHING!”
Pharmie and I got up at 4:30 yesterday morning, and we got ready for the Winter BeGone Duathlon in Oronoco, MN. We loaded our bikes, and tried to ignore the fact that it was 40-45 degrees outside. We hit the road and got to the race site PRETTY early. We were the 4th car in the lot:
(notice the sweet bike with the kick-stand)
Rain sheeting through transition
To make a long story short, here’s a bullet-pointed list:
• There was lightning, so we all had to wait 30 minutes (USAT rules) to see if the race could even start.
• All 5 of us thought about NOT starting the race. Too cold, wet, windy, and stupid.
• The driving rain HURT even while jogging - the ride would be HELL.
• The rain briefly let up, and we were then told the race would start in 10 minutes. And they were shortening the race: EVERYONE would be doing the short course.
• All 5 of us were back in! Time to race!
We jogged to the starting line. I was chatting with blogger buddy and interval buddy Jeremy on the way to the start (the start was 3-4 blocks from transition). We had talked earlier, and I had told him I hoped for a top 10 finish. Now that we were all doing the short course, I told him “what the heck - I’m still shooting for top 10,” but now it was going to be harder with the bigger group.
We got lined up. The race director, Bill, did a good job of getting everyone to the start and then getting everyone started before we stood around for too long and got cold. Thanks Bill! We were ready!
Ready, set, GO!
2.25 mile run:
I found myself running in 9th place. Then I dropped back to 10th, then 11th. At the first mile marker, I got back to 10th, and my first mile split was 5:43. Good. When we hit the turn-around, I looked for my crew running out. I said hi to Pharmie and Matt (running pretty close), and to Borsch and Steph (running together).
Heading back towards transition, I caught another runner. Entering the park, I said “hi” to Mark, who was volunteering and who is the race director for next weekend’s duathlon. I smiled at Jeremy’s family who was there to cheer.
I hit T1 in 9th or 10th place.
Grabbed my bike, put on my helmet which had been sitting in a puddle, fumbled for WAY too long with the chinstrap because my fingers were numb, and was off on the ride. Oh, and I did a little “flying start” on the bike. Nice. Total time: 1:03.
13 mile bike:
One of my big goals was to push hard on the bike. So I did. The course had many turns, and on the way out, we seemed to be going MOSTLY into the wind. At least, with my pace, I had HOPED we were going into the wind! The wind SUCKED. And the hills were bigger than last year. Really. I swear. They grew.
Nearing the turn-around, the rain started again. Pelting, cold, large drops of rain. Yay. I was warm enough, but the rain just sucked. And hurt a little on my face. That’s what she said.
I hit the “turn-around cone” with a 17.7 mph average. I wanted to improve that by a lot on the ride back.
After about a mile (of pelting rain), I met Matt. Borsch was close behind. Then I saw Pharmie. Then Jeremy shouted to me, but I noticed he was smiling, waving, and STANDING behind a race vehicle. Jeremy’s chain busted during his ride!! That sucks!! They popped out a link and reattached it, but with the shortened chain, his derailleurs didn’t work. Damn it. About a mile after seeing Jeremy, I shouted words of encouragement to Steph. She was toughing out this crappy day in her first duathlon!
In the first half of the bike, I got passed by about 5 people. On the second half, I just got passed by a few. I was pushing pretty hard on the way back into town, and I was watching my average skyrocket. I blew through the 18s. I ended up hitting T2 with a 19.3 average overall. And I think I was in about 17th place overall.
Said “hi” to Mark again. Said “hi” to Mike who was volunteering (he helped set-up the half marathon in Rochester that I ran in Feb). I racked my bike, and started changing shoes. When I was pulling off my left shoe, I gave myself a HUGE Charlie Horse up my left calf. ZING! I wasn’t worried and knew it wouldn’t last. I was out of T2 in 0:46.
2 Mile Run:
In the shitty, cold, rainy, windy weather, I’m REALLY GLAD the race was shortened for the long course athletes, and we only had to run 2 miles instead of 6.2. That was NICE! The rain had pretty much stopped once I hit T2, and now it was just cold and windy.
I took off hard, and caught someone in the first few minutes. I caught someone else just before the turn-around. I had my sights set on someone running strong about a block ahead of me. I closed the gap. Entering the park (about 200-300 meters from the finish), I was right on his tail. But he never let me pass. He had a stronger kick. I had finished strong in 15th place overall.
2.25 Mile Run: 13:00 (5:47 average), tied for 9th fastest
13 Mile Bike: 41:11 (19.3 mph on my computer) 23rd fastest
2 Mile Run: 11:16 (5:38 average), 4th fastest
Place: 15th out of 115
Age Group: 4th out of 7
Notice I was only 1 second behind the guy I was trying to catch!
I went back to the car (which was 100 feet away - YAY for early arrival!), and grabbed my camera. Shortly after, Pharmie came riding in, all ready to start her final run:
No Steph, look FORWARD!
(You can see the finish line just past her.)
Getting ready to rack her bike next to Goldilocks
Matt and I hung out near the finish, and we chatted a little with Mark, who’s the race director for next weekend’s duathlon that we’re all going to do. (We met Mark last year in Faribault.) About 5 minutes after Matt finished, Borsch was heading to the line. Here he is hitting the finish with a nice looking stride:
She just passed the woman in blue
We literally just grabbed our piles of wet, heavy, stinky, muddy clothes from transition, and threw them in my trunk. We loaded up the bikes, and hit the road back to St. Paul. We did NOT want to be out in that cold any more than we had to!
Four final thoughts:
• I was able to out-bike both Matt and Borsch, which was GREAT! (and mostly unexpected.) I got Matt by 6 seconds! Next weekend, if the weather’s better, Matt will TOTALLY own me on the bike, so I must enjoy this minor victory while it lasts.
• It was really nice that all 3 portions were out-and-back. Pharmie and I both commented that we loved to be able to see everyone else in our group before or after the turn-arounds.
• Pharmie placed 4th in her AG too, so we both walked away in that annoying place. Had there still been both races (the long course and the short course), we would have placed higher because our AGs would have been smaller. Dang. Oh well. There’s always next year!
• Matt and I can’t wait for the race photos. We both think there should be some good ones of us all wet, cold, and pissed. I’ll share those when they come in!