A few months ago when a friend told me about yesterday's duathlon, I was excited. Duathlons obviously play to my strength much more so than triathlons since I am a much stronger runner than swimmer. Sadly you don't find many duathlons any more, so I jumped on the chance to race. This race also came at the perfect time in my marathon training plan to see where I was at speed-wise, but also good marathon simulation as well as the second run would be racing on tired legs - much like those last few miles of the marathon.
I felt good about my ability to produce two solid runs going into this race, but I was very doubtful of my ability to knock out a good enough bike split to warrant a high overall finish. I had not ridden my bike since my last triathlon in July, and only about 2 times total since Buffalo Springs in June. I knew some of the other ladies who were racing this event, and I knew they were much stronger cyclists than I. So my plan was to go pretty much all out on the first run and try to build as much of a lead going into the bike as I could. I know I run strong off the bike, so I just needed to bank as much time as possible early on.
Pre-Race: I did an easy 2.7 mile warm-up and everyone looked at me like I was bat shit crazy for warming up before the race. My legs will NOT move fast without a proper warm-up people!
5k Run #1: 19:44. 6th overall after this run, 1st female.
The course was an out and back, which I loved because I could see where I stood among competitors at the turn-around. I decided to race without my Garmin and only a stop watch - I prefer to race these type of events by feel instead of being so concentrated on the numbers my Garmin is flashing. The miles weren't marked, so I really didn't have an idea of what my pace was until I got closer to the finish line and saw that I was sub-20. I came across the line in 6th place overall and about 1 minute ahead of the second female. I was pretty breathless, but it was off to transition to get my bike and see how fast I could pedal.
18 mile Bike: 58:32, 18.5 mph, Bike Split Ranked 25th
I really didn't have a plan than to simply pedal as fast as I could. The bike course was 4 loops, which I really liked because I knew what was ahead of me. The first few minutes on the bike were rough - my legs felt dead and I couldn't catch my breath. About halfway through the first loop, I settled into a nice rhythm. Again, I ride by feel without an odometer, so I had no idea how fast I was going. The second place female passed me about half way through the first loop - she was flying and that's the last I saw of her. She was the eventual race winner. Another girl passed me at the start of my third loop - I kept her in sight for awhile but couldn't hang - putting me now in third place. Halfway through my last loop, I got passed again - bumping me down to fourth female. I was able to keep this girl in sight and I guessed she had about a minute lead on me going into the run. I was pretty confident I could catch her at least. I was actually pretty pleased with my bike split. I thought the bike course was only 17.5 miles, but found out later that it was indeed 18 miles - so I ended up with a solid bike split for someone who really doesn't put much effort into bike training.
5k Run #2: 20:20. 3rd fastest 5k overall, fastest 5k among the females.
And now we come to my favorite part: CHASE PEOPLE DOWN! I got off the bike and started the run with that normal "lead legs" feeling, but I always find I am actually running much faster than I think I am off the bike. I was 4th female heading into the run and passed the third place female about half a mile in. I figured by now the first and second place female were pretty far ahead, but knew since it was an out and back I would see them at some point and be able to tell if there was a remote possibility of chasing them down.
I saw the first place woman coming back towards the finish before I made it to the turn-around: chasing her down wasn't happening. Just before I made it to the turn-around, I saw the second place female coming back the other way. She had a decent gap on me, but I could tell she was hurting. I kept pushing and closing the gap. Once I realized I could actually catch her, I pushed harder. With about I would guess 3/4 of a mile left, I passed her and hammered into the finish.
Total Time: 1:40:37. This was a great race -a big thank you to my husband for getting up early on a Sunday morning to come cheer me on and to Afuera for putting on such a well organized and fun event! I'll be back next year!
My training last week: Lower mileage last week with 3 high intensity workouts. Lots of swimming!
Monday: (Lunch) 2300 yd swim; (PM) 50 min strength/core
Tuesday: (AM) Run Group - 9.24 miles. We did a fartlek run on the grass. 1-2-3-2-1-2-3-2-1 format - 1 min on/1 min off, 2 min on/2 min off, 3 min on/3 min off and so forth. Averaged 6:35-6:40 on the hard parts.
(PM) 2800 yd swim
Wednesday: (AM) 15 miles @8:18 pace. (Lunch) 2600 yd swim
Thursday: (AM) Run Group - 11.34 miles.We headed to the track today for 7x1000m repeats with 200m recovery. Long intervals with short recovery so it was more of an Aerobic Threshold type workout - I have to say this is one of my favorite workouts.
7x1000m with 200m recovery/5.25 miles/37:06/7:04 avg including recoveries.
Splits were 4:06 (6:32 pace); 4:01 (6:23 pace); 4:01 (6:23 pace); 3:57 (6:18 pace); 4:02 (6:25 pace); 4:07 (6:33 pace); 3:59 (6:21 pace)
(PM) 2000 yd swim
Friday: (Lunch) 2400 yd swim
Saturday: 9.31 mile run @8:30 pace. 2400 yd swim
Sunday: Duathlon - 5k run/18 mile bike/5k run + 2.7 mile warm-up
Total Running Miles: 53.8
Have a great week everyone!