Twenty eight seconds. That is the measly amount of time I took off last year’s finish time. But there are a few details that need explaining.
First, there was a bit of a difference in the weather. Last year, it was quite warm and sunny, with very little wind. This year, the temperature was in the high 40’s (yes, in July), it was quite windy, and there were a couple light sprinkles. I was freezing!
We got to the race a little more than an hour before the 9:00 start. We set up our bikes and our stuff in the transition area and then went inside to pick up our packets. Packet pickup took all of about 3 minutes, and that included exchanging our shirts. Last year the shirts ran small. Very small. This year I ordered a larger size. They changed vendors. We each traded our shirts for a smaller size. I tried mine on when I got home and it is still huge on me. I will try to see if they have any leftovers so that I can get one that fits.
After we got our stuff, I texted my mom and my cousin Carli. They brought the boys down to watch us race. I found them a great spectating spot just outside of the transition area. We chatted with them for a little while then it was time to get ready.
I found my cousin Rachel. She is super fast and I thought I could maybe keep up with her for only two miles. I also found my friend Penni. She has done a few duathlons too and it is great to see her at an event every now and then. I also saw my friend Liz. She was doing the event as a relay with her dad.
The event starts in waves. The guys go first. The women follow a minute later. Then the relay teams go. Even with the staggered start, it was still congested. My suggestion for next year would be to have people self-seed themselves. That way the faster runners don’t have to try to weave through a crowd at the beginning. This proved to be an issue for Rachel and me during the first half mile or so.
One of the great things about bringing a cheering section to a race, is that they can get some pictures. Most of the pictures here were taken by my cousin Carli. Some were from the event facebook page. They posted all the photos they took and allowed people to tag themselves. Love that about small races!
Above is Tim right after the start. He is reaching down to high-five Jaden!
I didn’t get a good starting photo. I’m kinda stuck behind Rachel (white t-shirt). I’m in the long sleeve white tshirt in the middle of the photo. I wasn’t able to keep up with Rachel for long. I tried to hold on to her, but by the first mile, she was gone.
I also had the problem of my right shoe coming untied. I noticed it about half a mile into the run. I wasn’t going to stop to tie it, so I just had to be careful. My plan was to not double knot my laces in an effort to save a little time in transition. I ended up saving a lot of time, since I didn’t even need to untie that shoe at all!
I’m pretty happy with the time of the first run. My time on this same run course last year was 17:53. I got a bit faster! (yet, I still only took a total of 28 seconds off the overall race time—we’ll get to that)
I ran into transition and changed into my bike shoes and helmet. I struggled a little bit because my fingers were cold. Then I ran my bike past the transition area and tried to clip into my pedals. I suck at this aspect of cycling. I always feel like I’m going to fall over. I managed to clip in and get out on the bike course.
Transition 1: 1:16
I even got to see the family on the way out. I’m not sure why I am making that face in the photo below. I think it might have been when my mom asked me how long the bike section was. I was probably answering her and Carli took that opportunity to capture this winner of a photo of me.
As soon as I turned out of the parking lot and onto the road, I was hit with the wind. It was SO WINDY! And it was coming from the west. I tried my best to maintain a decent pace, but the wind was brutal. The bike course is basically a big square. We turned left and dealt with a cross wind. Then we made a right hand turn and had to ride for several miles straight. Into. The. Wind. It sucked. And, the biggest hill on the bike course was into that wind.
Doesn’t Tim look oblivious in this picture. I think that was a good thing. If he had known the hills and the wind that were in his future, he would have been so mad at me for signing him up for another duathlon!
I was counting down the hills until we got to make another turn. Dealing with the cross wind was tough, but it was nothing compared to that head wind. There were some more hills and then we finally got to make the last turn and have the wind at our backs! Thank God for small miracles. The biggest downhill happens with the wind at your back. I took that opportunity to rest a bit. It is pretty cool to be careening down a hill on a bike.
The boys stayed busy while we were out on the bike course. They had grandma and they found a furry friend to play with.
Seriously, is that not the cutest puppy you’ve ever seen?
I spent the last couple miles of the bike course trying to figure out if there was any way I was going to hit my goal for this race. I pretty much knew that my A Goal of 1:20 was out of the question. I was still holding on to hope that I could somehow pull out a 1:25 and beat last year’s time. But, I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time doing math and racing at the same time.
The elevation profile makes me cringe. I need to find a pancake-flat bike course somewhere. Then I’ll be able to ride faster. Actually, I think part of my problem on the bike is that I don’t know how to embrace the pain. When I run, I can get into a mindset of dealing with the pain of pushing myself really hard. I don’t do that on the bike. I have never gone all-out on the bike to see what it feels like. When I run, I know that I am able to really push myself, because I’ve done it before. I need to do some work on the bike so that I understand what my body is capable of there.
My time on the bike course last year was 49:03. Stupid wind.
I unclipped and ran my bike back to my staging area and got ready to change my shoes for the second run course. The problem was that my hands were so cold that I couldn’t get my fingers to work. I couldn’t undo the straps on my bike shoes. Once I finally got them off, I couldn’t tie my shoes. I tried to get them tight, but my fingers were completely numb. I thought about not double knotting them again, but I wasn’t convinced that they were actually tight enough, so I figured that the only way to ensure that they didn’t come untied was to double knot them. And since the second run course starts on a trail section (and because I am famously clumsy) I had to be careful.
Seriously, it is July. I shouldn’t have to worry about cold fingers!
Transition 2: 1:25
Once I finally got my shoes on and my helmet off, I headed out on the run. It seriously felt so good to be off that bike and not dealing with the wind, that I just let my legs go. I was passing people like they were standing still! It felt awesome!! I decided that is was professionals must feel like.
I did have a bit of a problem regulating my breathing. I don’t think my body was quite ready to run after getting off the bike. My lungs were searing and I couldn’t seem to get my breathing under control. But, I refused to let it slow me down. I got about halfway through that run course and I was still passing people. No one had passed me yet, and at that point I decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone pass me. I was just going to keep going to the finish line, or until I hyperventilated. Fortunately, the finish line came first! And no one passed me during those last couple miles.
I am pretty excited that my second run pace was only 4 seconds slower than my first run pace. I think being familiar with the course is helpful. I knew pretty much where I was and how much course was left, so I felt confident pushing myself.
I crossed the finish line and looked at my time. At that moment, I couldn’t remember exactly what my time was from last year, but I knew that it would be close whether I had beaten it or not.
I went to go sit by the family and wait for Tim to come in.
He looks really good finishing, but he was exhausted.
My total stats for the day. Overall, I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a sub-1:25, but the wind and the cold really made the day more of a challenge. I finished as the 16th woman overall and 10th in my age group. I can’t believe the popularity of my age group. (In the 19-and under group, I would have finished 3rd. In the 20-29 group, I would have finished 3rd. In the 40-49 group, I would have finished 3rd. Even if there had been a 35-39 group, I still would have finished 4th.) According to Tim, this is because women in their 30’s are ‘freaking out because they are getting old.’ I won’t share where he finished in his age group.
It is depressing that I finished 33rd in my age group on the bike. I really need get better.
*Really easy packet pickup.
*Nice volunteers. They were all standing out in the cold helping to direct us where to go and they were excellent cheer leaders!
*Nice food spread afterwards. There were subs, fruit, granola, and really yummy cheese from a local cheese maker. The only thing missing was chocolate milk.
*Easy transition area. There is plenty of room for everyone.
*Posting the photos on facebook after the race.
*Inconsistent shirt sizing. Find a vendor. Stick with that vendor. I’ve done this race three years in a row and have yet to end up with a shirt that fits.
*The weather. Not their fault, but it totally sucked.
*The hills. I need to be a stronger cyclist.
*Having a water station on the bike course would have been nice. I had water with me, and it wasn’t a warm day (by any stretch of the imagination), but that extra water would have been nice.
*Start line congestion. I think self-seeding will help this for next year. And maybe a two minute delay between waves.
Overall Grade: A
I will probably do this event again. I love that it is local and that it is growing each year.