Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Duathlon checked off the Bucket List

Check one thing off the bucket list... My very first Duathlon! It was amazing. I think I may like duathlons better than triathlons. Less to think about and prepare for, let alone train for. I had just finished my antibiotics for my sinus infection the night before the race, so I wasn't 100% going into it, but I think I did pretty well! The course was a hilly 3 mile run, 18 mile ride, and another 3 mile run. I originally said I wanted to break 2:15 and I did! I finished in 2:09. Next year I definitely want to break 2 hours.

The morning of the race I got myself up and made coffee and breakfast. I slowly put my bike on my car rack and packed my bike pump, gloves, helmet, bike shoes, etc. I'm glad I got up earlier than planned - I was able to relax before this race, which is unusual for me. Most of the time, I'm an anxious mess, running around trying to find everything I need for the race and freaking out. This time around, I kept my cool, picked up my buddy Daniel, and headed to the race site way in advance. We even had time to leave the race to pick up tissues (for my runny nose) at a nearby gas station and use the bathrooms before the race. At 8:45am, they gave a few announcements and started the race at 9am on the dot. The first leg was easy. I wanted to go faster but realized that I should pace myself because I have a lot more to go. The bike was hard. But only the first 2 laps (about 9 miles). I couldn't get my gears to shift down on one side until lap 2, so I got little fatigued in the first few miles of the bike portion. By lap 3 (13 or 14 miles in), it was like auto-pilot - I didn't feel
a thing!

Finally we hit the last leg and jogged our way through a 3 mile run,
probably going at a 10 minute/mile pace. Not bad when you can't feel anything from the waste down. In the end, Daniel and I crossed the finish line together and celebrated our victory. Definitely would recommend this race to anyone who can endure 2 hours of cardio and looking for something other than a run-only race. On April 1, I officially paid off my road bike payments so this was race was particularly special - I definitely am happy with my investment and love the way my bike handled this race. I look forward to many more. What has helped for this race was the training I did out in West Creek (where the race was actually held too). My co-workers and I went out and did mini-duathlon practices; usually a 2 mile run, 6-9 mile ride, and another 2 mile run. While short in distance, it definitely made a difference in my performance and mental preparedness... I'll have to keep those up in prep for my future races... Next up.... Mud Run and Rugged Maniac! Adventure races, here I come!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Race Season Begins... with a sinus infection

It would be just my luck to get sick before a big race... Not just sick, a sinus infection that has lasted for 2 whole weeks. The Saturday before RVA's biggest race, the Monument 10K, I came down with a sore throat. Then I woke up Sunday morning to a full-fledge cold. I figured I'd be okay since I had a week before the race. I'd recover by Monday and be back on the roads on Tuesday for training. But no... It got worse. And worse. And worse. I've never experienced anything like this.

So to my dismay, I never once ran the entire week leading up to the 10K. But I'm stubborn and definitely didn't want to miss out on my 4th year participating in one of the largest 10K races in the US. I stuffed as many tissues as I could in my race shirt, a tube of chap-stick, and hit the road. If things couldn't get any worse, we were nearly a half hour late to our Wave F start time, and as we approached the exit ramp to Belvedere, we came to a complete stop right off the interstate. So we simply hopped out of the car and began to run to the start line - about a mile or so away. After weaving through the joggers, we finally hit mile 2 and came across 2 of my friends. I let John run ahead (since it was clear I was holding him back and my lungs were spasming from the fast pace) and I stayed with my friends, relieved I didn't have to keep up with his competitive speed.

So, did I survive? Yes - thank god I have been a runner long enough that a week off doesn't affect me as much as I thought. I finished in 54:36, not bad for someone with congestion inside their lungs and enough snot to fill the James River (sorry to be graphic). Maybe next year will I break 50" - my PR goal.

So what's next up? My first DUATHLON! Of course it had to land on the weekend right after the 10K, but oh well... I'm still recovering, and on antibiotics, but dammit I'm going to finish this duathlon if it kills me. The 3Sports Duathlon consists of a 2.85 mile run, 18 mile ride, 2.85 run. I did a mini practice run-thru this week (2 mi run, 9 mi ride, 2 mi run), and it nearly killed me, but I figured if I pace myself and focus, I will be fine. I will certainly share the results of my first duathlon next week, but for now I will leave you with a photo of the most amazing job in the world. The man who serves table-side guacamole at Plaza Azteca. This has to be the best guac I've ever had.