“A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.” – Mary Lou Retton
After you read my story of my first Duathlon, this quote will make a lot more sense. Suffice to say that I did not do as well as I had expected personally, nor did I finish in the field where I wanted to. However, for my first event ever on a bike and with a transition it was a great learning experience! I gained a lot of knowledge for what to do/not do next time as well as some glaring deficiencies in my training that need to be addressed.
Overall though I had an absolute blast and the people who put on the event did a great job! This will be a memorable experience for me despite the slightly disappointing outcome. Though I didn’t walk away with a trophy (far from it as a matter of fact) I did come out with knowledge, experience, new training goals, and some fantastic memories!
MT. RAINIER DUATHLON
Today was the day of the biggest event of the season to date for me and also the first time I would be competing on a bike. The nerves were showing from the moment I woke up this morning, but I was able to pull it together and once we were off and running I was feeling great! Many thanks go out to John Warner for being there as my support and official photographer. Just having him there really helped to settle me and give me confidence, I can’t thank you enough John! Also, you can expect to see some awesome shots of the day posted soon thanks to him. Check out his web site Drifting Lotus for some mind-blowing photos he’s taken on his many adventures around the globe. If you need a photographer for any occasion, especially those action sports related look no further than this guy! Here is a quick explanation of the event, then how it went down for me.
The long course for the event consisted of a 8K run, followed by a 46K bike (approximately 23K loop done twice), and ending with a 6K run (same course as the 8K just abbreviated). The course was set-up out of the Enumclaw Expo Center where the main transition area was positioned.
I arrived the evening before the event and stayed in a hotel on the event site. After eating a good dinner I got to bed early with plans on awaking several hours before the race. Personally, I am not one to roll right out of bed and head right for the starting line (or anywhere else for that matter). Morning is my favorite time of the day and when I am at my most creative/productive and I am usually able to accomplish a lot before most people are even thinking about awaking. Anyhow I got up and had my ritual coffee and morning “half” breakfast, did some blogging, shaved, showered, and mentally got ready to hit this duathlon with everything I had.
When 7:15am rolled around (45 minutes before race start) I headed over to the transition area to set up my gear and do a quick warm-up. For future reference, I am going to get to the transition area earlier as it was already filling up and I barely had time and space to set up my biking gear, hydration, and get a quick warm-up in before they were calling us to the starting line.
The race started promptly at 8:00am and I was near the front when they counted down from ten and gave us the go signal. My goal pace for the first 8K was 7:30/M overall. I figured I’d start out a little faster than 7:30/M and end a little bit slower. Fortunately, I was wearing my Suunto Ambit GPS watch so I was able to keep tabs on my pace and stay as close as I could to my goal. The course was more or less flat until some nasty hills between miles four and five. I pushed through it though and entered T1 in 37:41.
In T1 I quickly got my bearings, put on my helmet, changed shoes, chugged some Progenex Force I had pre-made, grabbed my bike and was off. My total time in T1 was around 1:30 and I’m not sure if I could have been any faster.
The bike was a 23K loop done twice that snaked up, down, and through Enumclaw. The first 24:00 or so were relatively flat and I cruised right through feeling great. Then, I met the ascent and for the next 15:00-20:00 I battled with every pedal stroke going up that mountain. Everytime I thought it was over, I’d round a corner and be staring at another wall. It was pretty disheartening at the time considering I knew I had to do it all over again. Also, as a little added slap from Mother Nature a nice cold rain started to fall as I began this brute of an ascent and continued on and off for the rest of the race. The descent was another animal altogether. In my 29 years of existence I do not think I’ve ever gone that fast on a bicycle. I had to come out of the aero bars and hold on for dear life as I flew down a rain soaked highway dodging other competitors as I passed (and was passed) by them. Not to mention hoping the entire time not to be run over by the traffic whizzing by at 50+mph. I finished the first loop in 44:00 and continued onto the second which seemed slightly less difficult, but took about 5:00 longer than the first.
Coming into T2 I was feeling mentally strong and ready to give the second run, and final leg, all that I had left. I got off the bike a little slower than I would have liked as my muscles were not used to that extended exertion on a bike yet. This was my first indication that the final run was probably not going to be an easy one. In T2 I racked my bike, took off the helmet and threw on a hat, switched shoes, grabbed a Stinger honey-gel pack and took off. Well, at least I tried to take off. Even though mentally and aerobically I was feeling strong and willing my muscles had other plans and all I could muster going out of T2 was a shuffling run that was considerably slower than I had hoped it would be. In my mind, I was thinking that this fatigue would wear off as I kept going, but no such luck. In all my years of training I’ve never had a muscular breakdown that bad, yet been so clear mentally at the same time. As you can guess this was frustrating to say the least. The mind was willing, the body unable. I finished that last 6K in 34:00 on two minutes faster than I ran 8K just a couple hours earlier. Disappointing, but crossing that finish line was a fantastic feeling!
Looking forward to getting back to training and competing in the next event!
For those of you not competing today, get on this WOD!