Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cape Henlopen Duathlon: A Success of Modern Medicine

Despite the fact that I could barely walk all day Saturday, a clutch disposable heating pad and some ibuprofen forced my left leg and back to be compliant for my Sunday morning race.

Going into the race, I ran a whopping total of 10 miles and biked 31 for the week, pitiful to say the least.  Though, I guess some recovery never hurt anyone.

This particular duathlon, a sprint distance was to be quick with a 1.5 mile run, a 13 mile flat course bike ride and a 3.1 mile run.  Temperatures were absolutely perfect at the start.  I racked my bike in a rather large transition area, warmed up, and went to the start hoping for the best from my uncooperative body.

Both run legs took place in Cape Henlopen State Park, on the paved trails which made for some good running.  The bike leg went out on the roads in the surrounding area.

This was the first duathlon in a while where I actually got a fight out of some of the others on the first run.  I went back and forth with two other guys and came flying into transition in 8:49, 5:52 pace which was honestly a little slow.  I can blame it on the fact that I was a bit rusty coming into the race.

The other two runners were hot on my tail, but I got out of transition in 57 seconds, still in the lead.  My glasses had fogged up while sitting near my bike, so I was completely blind as I ran out of transition.  After mounting my bike, I did manage to clear them.  Certainly made things exciting...

Before this race I had bought a water bottle with a straw that sits between my aero bars to make drinking easy.  I only took a few sips the whole way on the bike, and didn't eat anything.  With the flat course, you just need to keep going without any interruptions.

I got passed by two people early, but it turns out they both went off course and lost the lead.  I think I could have still caught them both on the run.  Regardless, as we continued on, I got passed by someone else who then proceeded to crash right next to me.  I saw it coming, as he didn't take a corner hard enough, drifted out into a hedge and then fell into the road.  I moved over just enough so he wouldn't take me out too.

I thought of stopping for a moment, but realized if that had been me and someone stopped, I would have told them to keep going.  These are top spots we're talking about, even if none of us are elite athletes...

As I continued, I slowly got more comfortable on the bike and was able to increase my speed. Instead of hovering in the 21-22 mph range, I was able to keep it over 23mph for most of the second half.  I'm not sure why it always takes me nearly half the race to get into a bike groove, but hopefully with more training it will get smoother.

I got passed by two more bikes along the way (frustrating isn't it!!).  When I finally got back to transition, after blowing through a rather technical part of the course, I dismounted cleanly and ran into transition, dragging my bike for a moment as it fell while I was running.  I knew I had runners to catch, so I was dragging that bike if I had to!  It was on grass, so no scratches.  The bike leg took 35:12, at 12.75 miles as measured by my computer, it works out to 21.7mph.  I really wish it was faster.  It was good for 14th overall.  With the exception of the fastest time of less than 31 minutes, most of the times were not that far off from mine, just a minute separated the next 10 riders.

I was out of transition in 49 seconds, just behind someone who finished on the bike right next to me.  I made quick work of him and came through mile 1 in what seemed like a real slow split.  My legs were exhausted as I clearly pushed it on the bike.  My left leg was cooperating, so I at least had that going for me.  I managed to track down and pass another runner at about mile 1.5.  I got a glimpse of the leader on an out and back section, and I knew there was not enough ground left for me to catch him.

Regardless, I knew I was in second and thought things were locked up.  Then as I was approaching mile 2, I could hear foot steps getting closer, and closer, and closer....

I've done many duathlons to date and have never been passed by anyone on either run leg.  I was shocked to hear someone catching me.  It turns out it was one of the guys from our early pack, so I knew he could run.  Clearly, he had run a better second leg than me to this point, and apparently, we were even on the bike.  The only problem for him was that as a runner, I have way too much pride.

He passed me and got about 5 strides on me.  I was still stunned that I had even been passed at this point.  I hesitated for the briefest of moments, only to summon all available energy I had left.  I then told myself I was going to break this guy, I would run him right into the ground, and he would regret ever trying that move.

I surged, closed the gap and passed him cleanly.  He let me go by opting to run behind me instead of alongside.  He fell right into my hands.  I held the surge the rest of the way, and picked it up even more with 1/4 mile to go.  He was barely holding on as it was, and with the second surge, I could hear him back off as I ran hard down the final straight in an open grass field (cross country finish!).

This guy ended up just a few seconds behind me.  My 18:55 second run was good for third on that leg.  This guy I just raced had 2nd, and the 1st place runner was one of the cyclists who went off course, got back on, rode real slow back in, then with fresh legs, was able to run the second leg hard.  I don't know if I can count that time!  But, I'll take 3rd on the second run.

Overall, I finished 2nd with a time of 1:04:44, just over 2 minutes behind the winner, with no crashes or going off course.  Not bad.

My leg seems to be moving in the right direction, so I am going to attempt to resume normal training this week.  Either the NSAIDs and heating pad did the trick, or time has healed it.  I'm really anxious to get back on the band wagon.  One down week is fine, but two is pushing it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work! And may time continue to finish off the healing job.