I felt so much more relaxed knowing that I didn't have to swim. Funny how that is. I was still excited and nervous but I wasn't anxious, which is a nice change for me. We got to the race site, racked our bikes and I went to find the registration tent. I got through registration very quickly and went to set up my bike. I had lots of time to spare so I took my bike out for a spin to check that my gears were working fine and then I did a nice little warm up run and stretch. I was just about to leave transition to go over to the start when I realized that I had forgotten to take my helmet out of my bag and put it with my bike! I grabbed it out of my bag and put it on my handlebars. The triathletes were just getting ready to head down to the water so I found Gary and kissed him good luck. He wished me luck and said "Go out and win it". I laughed and said "Oh I don't know about that". I definitely had a podium spot on my mind but not an overall win.
I get to the start and patiently wait, seeding myself slightly behind the first row of runners, and checking out the competition. It's a small group and I don't see too many ladies in my AG. In a duathlon the age groups run in 9 year increments whereas in a triathlon they run in 4 year increments. So in this race ladies that are 45-49 are actually lumped in with the ladies in my age group. I think it's probably because less people tend do to duathlons vs. triathlons. And that's probably because they're freaking HARD.
With a triathlon you at least get a "break" from the pounding during the swim. Don't get me wrong, open water swimming is not easy either, it's just a bit easier on your body (for the most part, although I'm sure the folks that raced in today's freezing cold water would disagree). In a duathlon, you pound the crap out of your legs on the run. You then hop on the bike and pound the crap out of your legs again, using slightly different muscles mind you, but it still hurts. Then, you have to run AGAIN. No easy task I tell you.
The first run was 5km which is great because I wanted to see how fast I could do a 5km. So I ran like I didn't have to ride. Hard. There were 2 women in front of me and by the first km I had passed them both. I actually ended up passing several guys as well. I wasn't sure but I thought I was in the top 10 when I got into transition. I knew my run was 21 something but I didn't know exactly as I didn't really look at my watch. I was too focused on how much pain I was feeling in my legs.
Official time: 21:28
I grabbed my bike helmet, put it on, yanked off my shoes, grabbed a GU Roctane and pulled my bike off the rack. As soon as it hit the ground, the back wheel dragged. CRAP. I stopped and fiddled with it, tried to spin the wheels around and it stuck. ARG. I bounced the back wheel off the ground and then it seemed to release. Off I went, hoping that I hadn't lost too much time in T1
Official T1 time: 1:28. Not good.
I got on the bike knowing that my legs were not going to want to work. I wanted to ease into it but that's impossible when you're being chased down. So I rode as hard as I could manage. I was passed by several guys, which is not surprising, especially given the fact that I can count the number of times I've ridden my bike this year on 2 hands. I hoped that I had enough of a lead from the run that I could hold off any stronger cyclists. I had no idea where the other women were until I hit the 10km turn around. At the turn around I saw another woman coming fast. The bike course is a tough one, at least on the way out. It's got some good rollers and a couple of short steep climbs. I figured the way back would be a lot easier. I hammered as much as I could on the downhills, getting into a full roadie crouch when I stopped pedaling. I thought I might be able to make up some time descending and keep the approaching rocket on the bike at bay. Unfortunately she caught me with 5km to go. She blew by me like I was standing still. All I could do was try to keep her pink top in sight. Which I managed to do. I crossed my fingers and hoped that she wasn't a very good runner. 2.5km is not a lot of ground to cover to make up time.
Bike: 42:43. Needs some work!
Bike: 42:43. Needs some work!
I rode up to the dismount line with one foot unclipped already. I hopped off my bike and ran into transition. I couldn't quite find my spot and was a little discombobulated for a second. I spotted my day glo Newtons and made a bee-line for the rack. I racked my bike, pulled off my bike shoes, slipped on my running shoes, removed my helmet, grabbed my hat and ran out of transition. The hunt was on.
T2 time: 55 seconds.
As soon as I got out of transition on to the road I spotted the pink top. She was about 400-500 m in front of me. Game on. I was dying at this point. There was lactic acid running through my entire body. My breathing was ragged and I just wanted to stop. I actually thought about slowing down because I figured even if I slowed down, I might actually still get second. Then I thought, "Are you nuts? Would you be happy with second if you dogged it?" Hell no. Suck it up and get running. You can DO THIS. So I pushed harder. My heart rate was somewhere in the mid 180's. I started reeling her in. Just before the 1km mark, I caught her. Yesssssssssss. I congratulated her on a great bike and she said she wasn't much of a runner so I figured I was probably going to be ok. I hit the turn around and didn't look back. I figured I gapped her enough to be safe. I saw Gary and held up my index finger to signal number 1. He said "Way to go, but don't get cocky, there's someone right behind you!" But I knew I was going to be ok. I was moving. I was sucking wind big time at this point but I had to leave it all out on the course. As I ran towards the finishing chute I heard some people in the crowd say "It's the first place woman!" Then there were lots of cheers and "way to go girl". I am pretty sure I was grinning at this point. As I ran into the finishing chute, I threw my hands in the air and yelled "Wooooohoooooooooo!" as I crossed the finish line.
First place woman overall. First time I've ever won anything outright. Final 2.5km run 10:57.
Overall time 1:17:18. I was 14th overall. Only 13 people were faster than me and they were all GUYS.
I'm still smiling. And to top it all off, Gary ended up second place in his age group so we both ended up on the podium today!
Not a bad way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning.
|Top 3 finishers on the podium|