Last week I posted my race report from 5 years ago when I did my first Duathlon. I raced the exact same race this year and while I finished faster my placing in the overall standings actually only increased by 5 places. The difference is this year the talent at the start line was much greater! We had the 2011 Duathlon age group world champion and the 2011 Team Timex athlete of the year show up so I knew it was going to be a hard, fast race. My plan was simply to go out as hard as I could, and hold on as long as possible and hopefully be able to hold a sub 6 minute pace on both runs.
Warm-up: I ran an easy 2 miles to warm-up slightly slower than my easy pace runs lately. I had just put on my ez-laces on my shoes the night before so I wanted to make sure they would sustain the fast pace that was almost guaranteed. Settled into my 7 min pace and kept it nice an easy. 2 miles/ 7 min pace/138 avg hr.
Run Leg 1 2.5 Miles
The gun goes off and so do we hanging on for dear life. I take a quick glance at the garmin to see what ungodly pace we are running and I realize it’s close to a 5 minute mile. I had no intent to keep it there but I didn’t want to completely drop back. I slowly eased back on my pace to settle in to my first mile at 5:38. The thing is at a 5:38 mile I could barely see the top 2 guys. I had a few of the faster runners pass me close to mile 2 but I knew most of them couldn’t bike so I wasn’t too worried. I came into transition right around 10th or 11th place but I knew I would be able to put some time in on the bike.
Time 14:39(5:51 Pace)
Bike: 10 miles(Garmin showed 9.2)
I came in fast and new exactly what I had to do; I decided it was too humid to ride with glasses so I went without them. Strapped on the helmet and off I went, so I thought, I couldn’t get clipped in! That’s what these early season races are for though right? I probably lost about 30-40 seconds trying to get in my shoes as I left my pedal up, which ended up being the margin between 2nd and 3rd place in the age group. Once I clipped in I immediately took off and passed everyone that has taken advantage of my “issue”. I pushed the pace and I could see the 6th place male ahead of me and I was gaining on him. I could see him till the middle section of the course where we hit the big climb on the course. As I’m still a bit heavy I got caught on the climb by one cyclist and we ended up going back and forth playing cat and mouse until the way into T2. As we approached the transition area I heard another cyclist fly up from behind and I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me on the run.
Time: 24:41(22.4mph/279 watts)
Run 2 2.5 Miles (Garmin showed 2.3)
My first flying dismount of the season was successful but I needed to run, and run fast. I came into transition within 5 seconds of 2 other racers of a competitive local team and I wasn’t going to let them pass me. I started running and I never looked back. I knew that the second run is slightly shorter than the first so I had to run fast if I wanted to catch anyone ahead of me. I felt like my legs weren’t moving, but I hit the first mile in a 5:45. It sure didn’t feel like it! I started to see the 6th place runner ahead of me and I could see him looking back and fading. At the 2 mile mark I got a split that he was only 15 seconds ahead of me. I’m not sure if he picked it up, I faded or both but that 15 seconds turned into almost 40 by the time I crossed the line. I finished the run completely gassed and in 7th place, but I did not get passed on the 2nd run and I managed a sub 6 pace on both runs.
Time: 13:35 (5:57 pace)
Overall: 54:37 7th overall, 3rd place Age Group.
Post-Race Reflections: In 2008 my time would have put me in 3rd place overall, however the talent that showed up at the race was much greater and I was extremely happy with 7th and to crack the top 10 in a really stellar field. As it was the first multisport race of the year I made a few mistakes: I didn’t calibrate my power meter, I forgot to leave the pedal down, and I got a little too happy and went out way too hard with people I know I can’t keep up with, but it’s about getting the kinks out! Sadly this was my last race on my Quintana Roo, but I am excited to be racing this season on a Kestrel Airfoil pro. Looking forward to my next duathlon race in a few weeks and then it’s on to Tri Season!