Archive for the ‘Race Report’ Category

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Since I decided on two additional triathlons, one sprint and one olympic, training has picked up during the past few weeks.  While I had stayed active and continued to swim, bike and run throughout July, having the races on the calendar give me more structure to my training sessions. This has been just what I needed to get excited about the coming weeks.

Swim:  I have been able to get in open water swims for the past four weekends.  I have a pair of new swim buddies that are just as anxious to get in time at the lake as I am.  One of them also has a kayak, so his wife provides swim support, which is awesome!  My time at the pool has been pretty typical…but I feel I have had more good days than not.

Bike:  I am still really enjoying the bi-weekly group rides from TriLife.  I try to go on both Tuesday and Thursday, schedule permitting.  These rides continue to challenge me, plus they are fun!

Run:  Tempo runs and intervals have returned in regular rotation.  I have taken a more challenging approach to the speed intervals (from Tony’s suggestion), but I know pushing myself here will yield results.  I also just got in a long run yesterday…a run longer than I have done in a while.

Highlights:  

(1).  A 50 mile ride a few weeks ago where I was really able to push my pace.  A group of us rode from TriLife on a Saturday morning….the group started at around 10 riders and quickly broke down into a couple of smaller groups.  The guys I stuck with were some that I ride with regularly during the week.  I enjoy riding with them as we have similar riding styles.  A solid challenge, but I felt great at the end!

(2).  The second highlight was my open water swim this past Saturday.  The total swim was .75 miles but it was all about how I felt!  Before starting the swim we found two sight points to work with.  The first was only about 200-300 yards out and then we turned and headed further out towards the middle of the lake.  After we swam to the point we wanted, it was just a turn around and swim back to shore.  I was feeling good and decided to push my effort the last few hundred yards or so of the swim back to shore.  I did just what I wanted and was pleased.  I try to finish strong in races, so I really should plan to try to incorporate this approach more in training to better simulate racing!

(3).  The third highlight was yesterday’s long-ish run.  I have not really run anything over the 4 to 5 mile range in a while, so I wanted to go out and tackle 7 miles to get a current gauge.  Tony and I hit the Greenway Sunday morning.  He had 10 miles on his legs from the day before, so he tagged along with me for his recovery run.  Despite having to back off a couple of sections to keep my heart rate from going too high, I was super pleased with my 8:50 pace for distance.  I felt good when we finished and really no complainants overall!  Looking to make steady improvements over the next few weeks! 

(4).  The fourth highlight comes in the form of a “quasi” race report about an event called Throwdown (www.trithrowdown.wordpress.com).  Throwdown is an event, open to all, that is produced by the owner of TriLife, Jon.  It is a “mock race” that is a sprint distance triathlon.  There were 16 participants at the 8/19/15 event and we had a blast!  This is still a relatively new concept and I expect participation will quickly grow. We did not have chips for timing, but Jon utilized a timing system to capture results.

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Just like any other race, there was a transition area set up with bike racks.  It was great that we could park and then rack our bikes just a few feet away.  I set up my transition area pretty much the way I would for an official race.  Transition is one of the areas that I don’t really practice, so this is a great event to do just that! 

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

The swim did not have inflatable sight buoys this time, but there was one lake buoy we swam around and then out to a dock that served as the turn around.  Going out on the swim the sighting was pretty good, but coming back it was a little more challenging.  The planned distance was 750 meters, but I think we swam closer to 1,000 meters.  I did not lap my time as soon as I got out of the water, which I will definitely do next time.  The official T1 time did not start until we did a short run from the lake to the parking lot.  With the “longer” swim course and me not tripping my time at a good point, I am not sure what true swim pace was.   I felt pretty good on the swim though.  Based on feedback, I think they will try to make the sighting a bit better for the next event.   

Throwdown swim2-Lee

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

The bike was around 12.5 miles and the route included roads that are familiar from the group rides.  I pushed pretty good on the bike and my Garmin had me at an average of 20 mph.   

The 5K run was entirely within the park and only had one incline, right at the beginning.  After running up the hill and trying to settle into a comfortable pace, I felt like I should kick it up a notch.  There was a section of the run that was on gravel and since I don’t frequently run on gravel I was not as comfortable as I was on the pavement, but I maintained well.  The downhill finish was nice and I was pleased to be the “first female finisher” (the only time I have heard those words) out of the four women participating.  I ran an average pace of 8:34 and my total event time was 1:32:05.  Tony also participated in Throwdown and he had as much fun as I did.  He had run 20 miles the day before (he is training for Marine Corp Marathon) and despite this and the very little swimming that he has done lately, he still beat me by 7 minutes!     

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

Photo from trithrowdown.wordpress.com

After the event, we all headed to Panera for lunch.  It was a day of great fun and solid training to boot!  I am already looking forward to the next Throwdown on September 6!     

Low Light:

There was one low light that sticks in my mind.  It was last Tuesday’s group ride.  We all took a chance in deciding to move forward with the ride, and not just jumping on trainers, but we paid the price.  About 20 minutes in, we hit a bad storm with very heavy rain.  We had modified the route “in case” there was rain, but we were a good distance out when it hit.  We were SOAKED to the bone when we got back to the shop.  To me, it was reminiscent of the rain I experienced in Lake Placid last year.  The one good thing that came from it, is that I took a lot of time to really clean my bike over the weekend.  I desperately needed it before it got rain soaked, so this was more incentive to get her in great condition! 

Bike Cleaning

The Cannondale getting some TLC!!!

Training is in a good place for me right now.  I am enjoying it more than I can recently remember and looking forward to my upcoming events!

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It certainly has been a long time since my last post.  After Raleigh 70.3, I did not have any races set in my schedule.  I had my next race in mind, but I just wanted to find out where my motivation was after that race.  The race I had in mind was a sprint distance called Smile Train.  It is the first triathlon I ever raced back in 2009.  I have never repeated this race and have wanted to for quite a while.  However, I wanted to really RACE it.

My training turned to a focus on speed overall.  With the run, my sessions were tempo and speed intervals; for the swim, I was doing shorter sets, also working on speed.  As far as the bike, I continued to ride with the Tri Life group, which has always helped me push my speed.  Overall, I was feeling good and I was generally happy with where I was.  After some solid training sessions, I registered for the race one week before race day.

As the week prior to race day, I apparently got a touch of a cold.  I had some sinus drainage and essentially lost my voice for a couple of days.  I had a couple of nights’ sleep that was poor, but I never really felt bad due to the “cold”.  I felt a bit fatigued on a couple of days, but I thought that was more due to the sleep issue.  I honestly thought it was more that I sounded bad, but the “cold” did not hit me hard enough to bring me down.

Sunday morning, June 28, was race day.  I (initially) felt ready to go.  After a series of hot days, the morning was very beautiful and a great day to race!

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In line waiting for my swim start

The swim was a 250 meter pool swim.  Start times were based off the times that each participant submitted at the registration.  I submitted an aggressive time, but when I registered, I had completed a couple of solid sprint swim sessions and feeling confident.  I was able to get in some warm-up sets, which was important for me with the swim…especially with the desire to want to go all out from the first stroke.

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My turn

ST3

GO!!!

I pushed hard.  I felt like I was giving all I had.  Most of my transitions under the rope (we had to swim under the rope at each wall to change lanes) were not as quick and smooth as I would have liked.  I got passed by a couple of people, which is not too unusual in this environment.  I gave what I had.

Time for the 12 mile bike.  I was really planning to push super hard since this is typically my strongest leg.  I had high expectations for myself.  Well, I definitely pushed myself hard, but was not able to get the speed I was was expecting or capable of.  It was here that I really realized that my energy level was struggling big time.  The course is a rolling course and even though I was not wearing the heart rate strap for my Garmin, I knew it was high.

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Finishing up the bike

As the run started, I tried to just focus on the idea I had a 5K to run.  I originally had high expectations for the run as well, so I dug in with hopes that my training would push me through.

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Starting out on the run

I had forgotten that this was a tough 5K course.  For a race that a lot of folks choose as their first (as I did in 2009), it is certainly not a easy run.  Basically your are either running uphill or downhill.  There is pretty much NO flat.

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Big smile just before crossing the finish line!!

I crossed the finish line at a total time of 1:12:52.  I was disappointed in what I was able to put out there.  Even though I thought I was OK with this cold, my body definitely had a different story to tell.  This was the first race that I have run where I was not 100%.  I felt like I gave 110%, but only had about 80% to give.  After I finished, my body continued to send me more of a message as I coughed for about 20 minutes straight.  UGH!!!  At least my coughing fit was not during the race!!

Results:

1:12:52 (2009 time: 1:33:04)

Age Group Placement: 4 out of 26

Gender Placement: 21 out of 127

posted by on Race Report, Triathlon

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Race Week:
This year we once again decided to volunteer for the Homestay program and open up our home to a professional triathlete that was coming to Raleigh for the race.  We first did this in 2014 and had a fun experience.  Caitlin Snow was our visitor and she arrived on Tuesday.  Even though we were all working during the week, it was great to pair up at dinner time.  We enjoyed getting to know her as a person and an athlete.

Pre-Race (Friday):
The logistics of this race can be a bit of a pain, but I knew what to expect.  Therefore, I decided to take Friday off from work to start getting focused.  Friday morning I spent relaxing and then after lunch, Cait and I headed downtown for check-in.  We were able to zoom though packet pick-up relatively quickly and then glanced at a few things at the expo and the store.

Balloon

We were killing time in advance of the Athlete Panel where Cait participated.  She was asked to speak in addition to Meredith Kessler and Matt Chrabot, the 2014 first place male.  I had never attended an athlete panel and I found it interesting.

Panel

The Athlete Panel

After finishing up downtown, we made a leisurely stop at Whole Foods and headed home.  We spent another evening sitting out on the porch, eating dinner and sharing great conversation.

Pre-Race (Saturday):
Saturday morning was great!  I prepared homemade blueberry pancakes and eggs to kick-off our pre-race day eats on the right foot.  We had a couple more guests join us for breakfast, so it was a really nice morning enjoying a delicious breakfast on the porch with some more stories and laughs.

So, here is where some of the race logistics are not so fun.  We needed to check in our bikes on Saturday afternoon at the swim start which is located about 50 minutes from my house and in a different direction than the downtown area where T2, the finish line and race headquarters are located.  This is one big reason I wanted to get checked in and packet pick-up completed on Friday.

Rack

Bike racked on Saturday afternoon. She is ready to go!

After getting race prep completed, the late afternoon/evening including was rest, staying off my feet as much as possible, having a delicious dinner that Tony prepared and heading to bed at a decent time.

Lake

View of the lake that we swam in. This view is not from the swim start but from early on in the bike course.

Race Day (Sunday):
I don’t think I can ever get a “normal” night’s sleep before a race. The 3:50am alarm was brutal, but no need to delay the inevitable by hitting snooze. Up to dress, eat and grab gear bags to head out to drive 20 minutes downtown to T2 to catch the shuttle (with an approximately 40 minute drive) to the swim start.

Cait

Just before heading out on race day!

The line to board the shuttle was crazy long…longer than anticipated. However, since my swim wave was scheduled for 7:52am, I was not too concerned about time.

Once at swim start/T1, it was normal pre-race stuff. Getting body marked, loading hydration and nutrition on the bike, checking tire pressure, putting on the first round of sunscreen and packing away my wetsuit in the morning clothes bag since it was deemed to be non-wetsuit legal (the first time in the three years of the race). I then had to wait for a very long time in line for the bathroom. There were NOT enough port-o-johns. I probably ended up waiting at least 35 minutes. Good thing I had a later wave!

One note to mention is that spectators are allowed at the swim start, but they must also ride a shuttle from downtown Raleigh, which also takes them back to T2, after the last swimmer has exited.  Spectators are not allowed to drive themselves down to the lake. Therefore, Tony and crew were waiting for me early on the bike course.

After a snack and shedding my morning clothes bag, I headed to join the line with the other ladies in my swim wave. I started looking around for a fellow blogger that I had “virtually met” a few months ago when we started following each others’ blog since we were both training for Raleigh 70.3. I knew her race number and luckily I spotted her without too much difficulty. It was great to meet Alison of Racingtales, who ended up earning a spot to the IM 70.3 World Championships in Austria! It was nice to connect with her in person and chat before it was time to get down to business.

Swim:
I think I felt a little less anxious that I have historically, just before our wave was signaled to start. My plan was to find my groove as soon as possible and hope for as little contact as possible. The first 150 meters or so was just average, but after that I found my pace and yes had some contact, but nothing too terrible. There were lots of sight buoys, which plays to my advantage, since I struggle with swimming straight in open water. After the first (of two) turns, I was still feeling decent. I was expecting the “back section” to include more chop. My experience was weird though…I seemed to go from one extreme to the other…either feeling MORE chop than the first out leg or feeling LESS chop in comparison. I did experience a bit more contact in this area including an instance of the person directly in front completely stopping. I also got kicked in the hip by someone swimming breast stroke, which takes up much more space in the water than freestyle, and I definitely felt that kick. As I rounded the final buoy, I was happy. I was on the last section and I felt like I was having a solid swim. This swim back to land, felt soooooo long though. As I continued to sight, it just seemed like it was taking me forever to get to land. I think the gist of it is that I was just ready to get on my bike.

As I exited the water, I checked my Garmin…50 minutes…I was expecting much better. I had trained much better…albeit, this swim was without the wetsuit, but still, I was a bit frustrated right away. My goal to better my times from 2013 was still in play though. My time was a handful of seconds faster and that swim was with a wetsuit.

T1:
I was trying to be efficient. My bike was fairly close to the transition exit which I prefer since I can run better in bare feet carrying only my goggles and swim cap, than steering a bike with bike shoes on my feet. I did a quick spray of sunscreen before heading out since there was no way I was having a good race if I had to deal with sunburn!

Bike:
Onto the bike and the first few miles were kind of crappy. People were all bunched up together and you have to do a small out and back from the exit road that leads from the lake to the highway. There are some rollers in these first miles and the pavement is not the best, so it is just a section that I was ready to get through in order to find my true rhythm. As I pulled onto the highway, I saw my mom and family friend, Kathy. That was a boost because they are loud and proud. Immediately after that I saw Tony who always motivates me and he called up to Tim who was a little further down, since he was posing as race photographer. This is where it really all began…I put my swim behind me, saw friends and family and started riding my bike on super smooth pavement…I was ready to go!!!!

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Game on!

Smooth pavement!

One of the most important things for me to do on the bike was DRINK! With the forecasted temperatures to be in the upper 80s for the day, it was going to be a warm one and I wanted to be as smart as possible and not get behind on my hydration. I started with one bottle of Gatorade (the same they were serving on the course) on my bike and I planned to get more at each aid station. I had all the nutrition I needed with me…Honey Stinger Waffles and some peanut butter filled pretzels. I also had salt tabs which I took a couple of during the ride.  #hshive

Along the course, at around mile 33, I once again saw Tony and Tim, plus another friend, Eric was hanging out with them as well.

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Another boost and big smiles from me! I was riding well and feeling good. Not hot and not thirsty. I kept an eye on my average speed because I pretty much knew what I should have in my legs, but also did not want to blow them out.

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Around the 44 mile mark, the bike course goes along a road that my brother and his family live off of, as well as, one of my closest friends. I was on the look out for them, because I know how hard it can be to spot a racer on the bike. Kelly spotted me and I shouted hellos to her.  After that I saw my brother with an awesome poster along with my mom and Kathy. More great cheers! My niece and nephew had planned to watch for me with my brother but they both got sick last minute.

Jax with poster

My nephew Jaxson hanging out to send cheers my way!

When I was on the tail end of the bike course, I was right where I wanted to be. I had eaten most of what I planned and was never thirsty. I focused on finishing strong and maintaining something in the tank for the run. As I neared T2, I was happy with my ride and would not change a thing about what I had done. I knew I had continued with my goal of bettering my 2013 time which was a strong bike leg.

T2:
As I entered T2, I knew I had a long way to get to my rack. After I dismounted and ran/walked a few steps in my shoes, I knew I did not want to do this. I stopped and took off my shoes and ran barefoot. Better. The pavement was very hot, but still better. However, I made a ROOKIE mistake. I was searching for my number on the bike rack and gear bag. My number was 2066 and in my mind I was looking for 2206. WHAT?!?!? Tony was shouting (to try to help) from the side of the transition area, but I was so confused!! I then realized it and OMG…how silly am I?? That definitely cost me a bit of time. UGH! I grabbed my run gear, sprayed a bit more sunscreen and then hit the bathroom before running out.

Run:
I wanted to have a good first mile. I didn’t want to go out crazy fast, but I did not want to start with too easy a pace. My legs felt heavy, which was completely normal, but I did get that first mile at a solid pace. I spotted Tim at around mile .5 and 1. Tony was there just after mile 1. Tony brought down his mountain bike so he could get around on the course easily. That ended up being a great plan for him and I think it made the spectating more fun from his perspective.

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Starting the run

I expected my legs to start to loosen up. Well…..I was not getting the relief I craved.  I just needed to find my “pocket” and the pace that felt manageable. I remained hopeful, but as the miles ticked off, my legs were just getting heavier. I focused on the current mile and then being smart at the aide stations since it was super warm (mid to upper 80s). I walked through the aid stations (while trying not to slow terribly) taking water (one to drink and one over the head), Gatorade, and ice (for the sports bra and a piece or two to suck on). They ran out of sponges early, as I was only able to get on at the first station. I took Coke later in the run, which I found to be helpful. I took a few shot blocks during the run (which I carried with me), not at the planned time intervals, but I did get in a few.

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Focused on the first mile

After a few miles, I knew my sub-2 hour run goal was out of reach. My first mile was just what I wanted to begin the run, but I could not hold the pace I needed. I had trained so well to meet that goal, but that day was not the day. At that point, I just wanted to be as strong as I could and give my best.

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The support that I had on the course was crazy fun! The two loop design made it spectator friendly. Our neighbors were at a point that was closer to the initial turn around mark. They always have so much enthusiasm and huge smiles on their faces! I saw them four times. My mom and Kathy made it down to run course as well (I was not expecting that) and was kind of mid-point on the main road of the run course. I saw them three times and they were great! One of the other runners commented how the support from my mom was awesome (after their perfectly loud cheers), which made me smile again! I saw friends at the start of the second loop (which is super close to the finish line). The spacing of my awesome supporters out on the course was perfect! I lost count of how many times I saw Tony and Tim, because they kept popping up!! I also saw my friend/fellow racer, Daryl, twice during the run and he looked strong!

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Early on the second loop

Needless to say, I felt extremely LOVED and SUPPORTED at a time that was very hard. Tony said that I looked good and I tried to smile when I saw the camera, but as I mentioned a few times during the run, my legs felt like that were 3,000 or 30,000 pounds (I think I quoted both numbers at different times on the course). While it was hot (and really no relief at all from the sun), I think I hydrated well and keep my body temperature from getting too high (ice, ice baby). I tried to maintain the run and the few times that I walked (not at an aid station), I counted to 10 before running again.

Run by bell tower

Running by the Bell Tower at NC State University. This is where out neighbors were hanging out and cheering!

As I hit the last mile, I saw mom and Kathy and that gave me the final boost that I needed to finish strong. I was so ready for that chute…I remember so well from 2013 and it was spectacular! As I turned onto Fayetteville Street and followed the arrows to the right side (the left side is for the start of the second loop), I was relieved. A friend from the Tri Shop jumped out for a high five and I saw Daryl (he finished earlier) who was cheering with Tony and Tim.

Headed down the chute on Fayetteville Street with the State Capitol Building in the background.

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Excited to be near the finish line!

I crossed the finish line and there is no better feeling of accomplishment and pride for giving my all and digging deep.

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My got my medal, finishers’ hat and food and out of nowhere another friend from the Tri Shop ran up and gave me a huge hug. This was the first time I saw him, so that was a complete surprise. Tony and Tim were right there for soaking wet and sweaty hugs (I warned them, but no one cared). I was thrilled that my third 70.3 distance was done!

Done

Post race is always fun. Beaming from the excitement and chatting about everything that happened. Another friend, Michelle, made it out to the finish for support and congratulations. Mom and Kathy also made it to the finish line area (they did not make it to watch me finish, but I am glad I saw them so late on the run to give me the final push). I am so thankful to be able to participate in this amazing sport and so incredibly lucky to have the support from family and friends that I had that day. SO AWESOME!

me, mom and Kathy

Mom, me and Kathy

Summary:
I had many goals heading into race day. The first was to improve each leg over my race from 2013. Even though every race is different, this is something I was aiming for and accomplished. Secondly, I wanted to go sub-6 hours overall. I missed that goal by 2 minutes and 13 seconds, but I gave it my all. Third, I really wanted to run a sub-2 hour half marathon. This was a “stretch” goal, but I thought I may be able to get it, if I had a great race. While I fell short of the time goal, I know it I will hit it one day.

2013: 

Swim: 50:25   T1: 5:07   Bike: 2:58   T2: 6:50   Run: 2:13   Total: 6:14

2015:

Swim: 50:21   T1: 3:00   Bike: 2:55:37   T2: 5:53   Run: 2:07:21   Total: 6:02:12
Division Rank: 38/151
Gender Rank: 185/699

Probably like most, I do a lot of reflection after a race. I think about the things that went well and the things that I hoped would go better. But, I don’t have regrets. You make decisions over the day and you can’t second guess them days after. Those decisions are often made when you are feeling great or feeling low, but you have to have faith that you made the best decision you could at the time. I am proud of my day and thankful that I strive for big goals and challenge myself in this way.

I am thrilled to report that our house guest, Cait, finshed as the third pro woman.  Even more impressive is that she had the fastest run of the day by a female!  We thoroughly enjoyed hosting her during her time in Raleigh.  She was so down to earth and fun to talk to.  She had some really great stories to share too!  I hope our paths cross again sometime in the future!

Kudos to Raleigh for another great showing at the IM 70.3.  The volunteers were amazing and the course was lined with supporters throughout Pittsboro, Fuquay, Apex and Raleigh.  I have read so many compliments from various racers and it makes me proud that my hometown can support this great event!

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Pre-Race

Race day looked to be great weather wise. It would be gradually warming up Saturday and would be one of the warmer days so far, but the race started at 7:00am, and the morning temperatures looked to be beautiful! Friday evening, Tony and I got my bike ready…a little clean up, put on the race wheels and a good overall check. No issues and she was in good shape for racing!

Bike Ready

She is ready to race!

I laid out my gear and I admit is was nice to only have to think about gear for two different legs of the race. Plus I would already be wearing everything that I needed for my run when I left the house, so the layout of the gear I needed was easy. We had dinner and a bit of down time before jumping in bed at a decent hour to get a good night’s sleep.

Gear Ready

The Gear!

Race Day:

4:20am alarm…that part is always brutal.  I wanted to be out of the house by 5:15am and I usually don’t move too quickly that early, so I allowed plenty of time. Breakfast was typical…oatmeal cooked on the stove top with brown sugar, bananas, walnuts and a small glass of milk. This is my everyday of the work week breakfast as well as that for training mornings. It just works for me.

We stayed on schedule pretty well and arrived to the race site around the time I wanted. I was not sure of what to expect regarding parking, since I have never raced or spectated this event. We quickly realized that as far as those logistics go, it COULD NOT have been ANY easier. We parked and we were literally steps away from transition. The locally produced, smaller races can sometime end up having terrific advantages like this!

I picked up my packet, got the bike racked and everything in place. The race was held in the USA Baseball facility in Cary, NC (about 35 minutes from home), and it is a very nice facility. To clarify, the transition was located in the parking lot of the facility and the racing took place on the surrounding roads and greenways. Luckily, the rest room facilities were available for the participants…”real” rest rooms are always an added benefit.

Tony suggested (and I agreed) that a little warm-up was probably a good idea. Other than getting in a warm-up swim, I typically don’t warm-up too much before I race. However, this time I figured since we would be starting with a run, a bit of a warm-up run would be a good idea.

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Ready to go in my new Coeur kit!

As start time approached, the racers gathered around for a couple of announcements. One of the race directors proceeded to inform us that due to some paving, the course had to be modified sightly (I think at this point he also mentioned that the changes resulted in a few added miles, but I did not hear this part). He then verbally walked us through the route…not sure why he did this because it just caused confusion to everyone. I looked over to another one of organizers and questioned if the course was marked and volunteers were out on course. (I will also say that this production company is one of the largest in our area. They produce lots of local races and have been doing so for a number of years and I have raced numerous events they have produced.) He said that there were SOME volunteers out on course. So…with all the confusion at this point, I was pretty certain that this would be the first race that I have ever participated in where I would be getting lost out on course!!!

The run began and my goal was to run my race. I was not concerned with the runners that were running past me. Everyone certainly has their own thing…some like to start out with a fast pace (while some can actually maintain and others gradually slow), but I like to try to hold a consistent pace as much as possible.

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Here we go!

The event included both a short course and a long course.  The short course was just half the distance of the long.   The course included an aide station at mile 1.25 (this is also the turn around point for the short course racers that started a few minutes after the long course racers) and then again at mile 2.5 (the turn around for long course). To get to that first aide station, there were a couple of slight hills, but nothing hardly worth mentioning.

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Headed out of the park to tackle the first run leg of 5 miles

We started around the parking lot and exited the park and made our way to sidewalks around the surrounding neighborhoods.

Approximately .5 miles after the first aide station, the course moves onto the greenway (paved). This weaved through/behind residential areas. There were lots of rollers…plenty of ups and downs to provide a good challenge. On this first run leg of 5 miles, I felt good. My pace range was what I expected, with my first mile being my fastest (not typical), but within the parameters of what I have been running lately.

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Arriving back into the park to finish up the first run leg

So into T1 and hoping for a super quick transition. Tony was right there encouraging me to keep it quick (he is a STRONG proponent of quick transitions).

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Transition #1

Off with the running shoes and visor and on with bike shoes and helmet and GO! Now I needed to get in some good hydration right away and have some Honey Stinger Waffle. My goal was to be done with my first bottle within 45 minutes and eat accordingly (I had two waffles in my Bento box on my bike).  #hshive

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Ready to ride!

The course was two loops to easily incorporate both the short course and long course. Many of the roads were familiar in that I have ridden them from time to time. It is not my typical area for riding, but it is in an area that many cyclists frequent, so I have ridden various routes in the area over the years. The course was fairly typical for this area. Some rollers, but not too much to get the heart rate going. I finished my first bottle around the 41 minute mark, so I was spot on with my hydration.

I had a time range in mind as to what my total bike time should be. When I was completing the first loop, I knew my average was close to what I was hoping, but the ride time to that point seemed long. I did not think too much of it since I was almost comfortable with my average speed…wanted to be be a bit faster, so I focused on that on the second loop.

During the second loop, I just really stayed focused and tried to ride smart. There was stuff going on to keep it interesting, such as people that don’t clearly understand/care/follow the bike rules to racing. One problem I encountered was when a guy passed me and he continued to stay on the far left side of the lane.   After a bit, I wanted to pass him back and doing so would require me to almost ride on the yellow line, so I mentioned that he needed to ride on the right.   I said something because this was a safety issue.  I certainly did not want to pass on the right and he was not leaving me much room to pass safely on the left.  There was one other instance were I passed a girl and after passing she was blocking me from getting back onto the right side of the road and therefore taking advantage of the draft.  I think it would just be easier if everyone made themselves aware of the rules and tried to respect them, but then again, I am a rule follower!

Bike

A quick smile on the bike! Notice the super smooth pavement!

As I pulled into T2 to get off my bike, Tony was there again cheering me to keep moving.  When my feet hit the ground off the bike, based on how my legs felt immediately, I knew that I had pushed hard on the bike.  I got my bike racked as quickly as possible (after initially turning down the wrong bike aisle) and off with my helmet and bike shoes and on with my running shoes and visor.  I typically never bike with socks on (unless it is cold weather), but I did for this race for ease of transition, since I have to run with socks.

For the first few steps of the run, this picture sums it up…!!!

I laughed at this picture! This is just starting the second run of 5 miles. My legs were heavy!

I have been training plenty of bricks so I was surprised at how my legs felt.

Run

Second time headed out of the park knowing my legs would eventually loosen up!

As I passed Tony heading out of the park, he was reminding me that my legs would loosen up soon!  And they did.  The second run was pretty good.  At this point I liked knowing what to expect and the mental game of “just get to the 2.5 mile mark and then I got to go back”, definitely worked.  I was doing my thing and trying to stay consistent with my pace.  The hills were challenging, but I also knew that the hills I would be running at Raleigh 70.3 were not as steep, so this was solid training.

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Nearing the completion of the second run!

As I came off the greenway section and then onto the sidewalks and then onto the side of the road, I was noticing it was getting pretty warm.  I knew I was in the home stretch though!  Come to find out, my last mile was my second fastest at 8:43/avg pace (Garmin) with my first mile of Run 1 being my fastest at 8:40/avg pace.

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Finish Line!!!

I was happy to FINISH STRONG!

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That was a fun race!

As soon as I finished, I was chatting with Tony and not until then did I find out that the bike was around 36 miles total (32 miles was originally planned).  Since I did not have total distance on the main bike screen on the Garmin, I did not know the distance, it was just feeling long due to the ride time.

Race Results

I was excited to find that my placement was 2nd in my age group and even happier to see that my relative consistency seemed to pay off and I bettered my positions with each leg of the race!  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this race and the format.  I am not sure why it took me so long to try a duathlon, but I am certain I will be back!

After the race we headed home.  I got cleaned up and we cooked up some brunch.  The afternoon consisted of some relaxing and doing a few low key things around the house.  One tradition of mine is that I like to enjoy a post-race milkshake!  Since we had all the necessary ingredients, I made us a cookies n’ cream shake to have once we started getting hungry again during the day.  YUM!

Milkshake

The evening consisted of a dinner out.  There were multiple things that appealed to me food wise, so I chose Cowfish, which is a restaurant that serves both sushi and burgers.  Tony and I enjoyed it as we split a great bison burger and two sushi rolls.  It hit the spot and was a nice ending to a great day!