Monday, May 26, 2008

The Du is Done

If you are a runner and also bike some, all I can say is that you have to do a duathlon sometime. It brings a whole new strategy to being competitive. Today a bunch of us raced the Du For The Parks Duathlon in Hot Springs. This was really my 2nd first Du. Last year I had a flat on the bike portion of this race and had a DNF. It did allow me to see how much fun these races can be. Since I will probably never do a Triathlon, the duathlon is more for me. I just don't like the swim that much.

Annette and I rode to the race with Bailey and Michele who were going to do a female team. Bailey is recovering from a stress fracture so she couldn't run but she had been biking. Michele is a strong runner but doesn't do the bike. This made for a perfect team for them.

We arrived a little over an hour before race start. We had to register and with bikes and transition areas to set up, it just takes more time. And you always have that chance of something mechanical at the last minute on the bike. This worked out pretty good for us as some of us started our warm up just 20 minutes or so before the start.

We had a pretty big group of cruisers racing this one. Annette, myself, Bailey, Michele, Gary, Curtis, James B., Vicki, Lisa, & Jane. Annette, Bailey and Michele had never done a Du before and I had never finished one.

The first 2 mile run started at 8:30am. We were towards the back of the pack as it appeared obvious that some really good athletes had turned out for this one. I realized just before the start that I had no idea what pace I was going to run or what I needed to run. I couldn't even remember my 2 mile PR. So when the race started, I just ran. And I ran hard. I jumped ahead of Michele and Annette but I knew they would be trying to chase me down. I saw Vicki up ahead and passed her pretty quick. About 1/2 a mile out I saw Jane and started trying to reel her in. It took me till the one mile turn around to catch her. I was pretty hot and winded by that time and decided that I'd slow my pace just a little. Little did I know that I had just set a new one mile PR! Later I found out I ran an 8:12 first mile which is 6 seconds faster than my last timed mile.

I slowed some on mile 2 but kept pushing. It was nice seeing the bikes waiting. I crossed the mat to the transition area with a 2 mile time of 16:57. Again, I really didn't know my time till later but this too was a new 2 mile PR. I beat my old PR by 20 seconds. Probably no wonder I felt like dying when I started putting my bike shoes on. Running shoes off, bike shoes on, helmet on, then run the bike to the mat, cross and then get on the bike. I lost a little time messing with my garmin switching it to bike mode.

Once I got out of the parking lot I grabbed a drink from my water bottle and started hammering. There is a very nice downhill shortly after the bike start and I planned on taking advantage of it. I flew down that hill passing a couple bikes and making a sharp left turn onto Hwy 70 for about another block then a sharp right turn. From here it was an out and back, pretty straight but up and down hills. The down hills were awesome and I hit up to 32 mph+ on some of them. Then you would have a big uphill that took you down to 12mph or sometimes 7.

I really tried to push the pace on the bike as I thought this would be where I could make up the most time. I didn't even want to look at my average speed at this point because I was afraid I would be disappointed so I just wanted to hammer. Not very many people passed me. I made a lot of my passes on the uphills. I can only remember maybe 5 bikes passing me the whole race but I passed a bunch, too many to count.

Up to the turn around point the route felt like more downhills than uphills. I realized before the turnaround that I had to go back up all those nice downhills. Yuck. I think they were bigger going back or my legs were getting tireder. A lot of the bikes were slowing way down on the hills and I'd take them out. I tried to go aero as much as I could but staying in the aero bars just wears me down so I have to come up. My neck starts hurting and I know its just because I haven't trained enough which is true. After the zigzag on 70 and back right, there was one last uphill. A girl on a tri bike had passed me but she had slowed on the hill pretty bad. I had to drop to my lowest gear and spin fast to get around her but I did. I felt like I was sprinting! When I hit the top of the hill I could see the Depot so I gave it all I had to finish. I was rolling into the parking lot at about 20 mph and stopped just at the line where you have to get off the bike. Unclip and jog across the mat, then find my spot on the rack. I had to switch back to my running shoes which was more of a pain than going to the bike shoes. Plus I was so hot from the sun and heat. I took one last drink from my water bottle and headed out to the last run, grabbing a water at the mat and then pouring it on my head to cool me down. I did feel pretty good about the bike, I knew I did good, just not sure what everyone else had done. My bike time ended up being 41:51 for 12 miles with an average pace of 17.2 mph.

The second run was nothing short of terrible. It wasn't the fact that my legs felt weird from the bike, it was just the fact that the heat had beat me down with two all out efforts and now I was trying for a third. Well, it wasn't happening. I ran maybe 200 meters and I had to take a walk break. I was already winded. Then I took off again. I ran maybe a 1/4 mile and took another walk break. Before the one mile mark I noticed that everyone in front of me seemed to be doing the same. It reminded me of the Nashville Marathon around mile 23. I was not that exhausted but getting everything to keep going felt about the same. I guess I had burnt up all my glycogen on the bike and the first run. I was running on empty. Or maybe it was mental, or maybe it was just the 85 degree heat. Whatever it was, I had to run/walk it in for 2 miles. I was not happy about this but I did finish. Final 2 miles - 21:32 - 10:46 pace.

My overall time for the event was 1:24:03. I beat the people I wanted to beat and after it was over I really felt like I had done something different. Not quite the same as a marathon but still had that awesome feeling afterwards.

As for the rest of the crew. Annette had an AWESOME bike and awesome time overall. She averaged 14.6 mph which is very good for someone that has only biked for less than a month. Bailey and Michele won 1st place in the female team competition. Bailey also had an awesome bike with just over a 15 mph average. She too is a new biker. Jane won first place in her age group, Gary won 2nd grandmasters, Vicki won 2nd grandmasters, Curtis won 3rd in his age group and Lisa won a 2nd in hers. The only thing I won was a PR and a lot of new found knowledge about duathlons. These are a lot of fun and they really bring out the athlete in you!

1 comment:

Alan said...

Good on you, well done!

I did the duathlon, too, and had a 1:05:37 time. Even though I knew there were uphills on the return of the bike leg, they still surprised me...I was checking to see if my brakes were rubbing, but they weren't. There was also a mild headwind. My second run wasn't as good as I wanted but the heat had plenty to do with that. I'll be ready for it next year.