Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blue Norther' Duathlon

About a week and a half ago, my co-worker/enabler IM said she was doing the Blue Norther' Duathlon in Seguin (held today) and that I should sign up. Since I didn't have any plans, I figured "What the heck?" and registered. Held at Texas Lutheran University, the race consisted of a 5K run (twice around the campus), a 14-mile bike on country roads, and the same 5K again. As the first race on my new bike, it went pretty darned well. If only I could run faster, I might have at least seen the really fast people. I finished with a time of 1:37:01, but at least one person had finished by the time I got out of T2 (transition from the bike to the second run).

Not too surprisingly, I didn't sleep well last night. Add to that the time change, and I didn't get nearly as much sleep as I would have liked. I left the house about a quarter to 6, and got to the race site about 6:30. I had plenty of options for racking my bike, so I chose a spot at the end of a row, near the bike out/in, but not in the really close racks where people who looked really fast were setting up. An old friend from college, who is now a pretty serious triathlete, MG, was also racing, so I kind of hung out with her for a little. At about 7:45, I went for a little warm-up run with IM. After a few pre-race words, there was a mass start just past 8. I must have lined up in the right spot, because the people around me were running right at an 8 minute mile pace, which is what I wanted to run, and the really fast people were way ahead of us. People were bunched up, but not overly so, for the first lap. It got a little more stratified on the second lap. After the first mile or so, not that many people passed me, and I passed a few people before the first transition.

I had intended (and set things up) to wear my gloves for the bike, and to have a gel at the start. In the frenzy of trying to get out quickly, however, I ditched the gloves and stashed the gel in my jersey. The bike was phenomenal. I passed a lot of people. I was down in my tuck most of the time. Nobody passed me. I even passed a few people with fancy aero race wheels (a set are in my future). About halfway, there was a downhill stretch, and nobody was threatening to overtake me, so I had that gel. The course was more or less a loop (with one stretch of main road repeated), but it was actually a bit more rectangular, with nearly right angle turns at road intersections. At those intersections, I came up out of my tuck and used the occasion to drink from my water bottle with electrolytes (as opposed to the aero bottle in my bars I was drinking straight water from).

For the second 5K, I held a pretty steady ~8:30 pace for the first 2.8 miles, then picked it up a little. In the last 200 meters, the endorphins or whatever really kicked in and I felt like I was flying down the final stretch and just felt really great. Some other niceties: The guy who sold me my bike gave me a little pat on the back when he passed me on my first loop (his second) of the last leg; IM gave me a big shout for the final stretch, and some guys standing near her chimed in as well.

I stuck around for a little while after the race for brownies and cookies, and to watch IM and MG get medals for winning their age groups. After getting home and showered, I took a great hour and a half nap, then stuffed my face with a 16-oz steak. All in all, a good day.

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