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2012 Long Course Duathlon Nationals Race Reports

Another weekend, another race! The last of 3 weeks in a row--which is good because my body could some weeks of solid training to get me stronger for the next racing block.

This weekend I was in Cambridge, Maryland for the Long course Duathlon National Champions.  This was a 10k run, 70k bike, and another 10k run.  Thursday night I went over to my coaches place and we broke down my bike and put it in my new bike box.

This way, instead of paying for a bike shipping service, I can now travel a lot more and pay $50 (thanks JetBlue) to fly it for me!  Not too bad a deal.  The next morning, I boarded a crack of dawn flight and flew to my parents house in DC.  From there, we drove together to race site on Saturday, which was about 2 hours away, where we checked in and spent the night in a nearby hotel.

The race started at 7:00 on Sunday morning and we got there with plenty of time. I met up with my boy Ben, who I used to train with in Virginia Beach.  He’s still a beast and it’s a shame he had to pull out after one lap of the bike with because of a foot injury he’s been dealing with.

I was nervous about the first run, as in training, I don’t like cold (without a serious warm... or bike workout beforehand).  Luckily, when the horn sounded, this wasn’t an issue as my warm up and fueling were adequate. I felt pretty fresh being the only Wattie Ink racer there as well with definitely one of the best kits.  I’ve been using one of our sponsor products as well, Xtreme Endurance which has been helping recover quicker from workouts which I’e definitely needed with the current demands in my life.

The run was an out and back and the the bike was 2 loops of an out and back.  Both courses were with the wind going out and against it coming back but flat.

The first run I used my Garmin and, per coaches plan, kept the pace balanced and no faster than a 6:26 average pace (40 mins)- a sub 40 min 10k is still fast! But I wasn’t killing myself, but still working hard.  There was some serious speed at this race though and some of the competition was fierce.  My split was a 39:53.

The bike is where the wind became killer.

Everyone was mentioning it post-race.  Going out, I was averaging 22-23 mph or faster, but coming back it was close to 19-20... and I pushing hard to maintain that!  I didn’t get much passing done here so knew I would have some work to do on the run.  My only complaint is that turnaround was at and aid station, and therefore I didn’t really know if it were an aid station or the turnaround as well...and the guys there didn’t feel like saying anything.  I had to yell and them and they  were like, uh, oh yeah, its a turnaround.. There was no one near me at the time so there was no one else for me to follow to know and no signs.

Coming off the bike, the first .5k were directly into a headwind before I made a turn. This  was not the best way to feel starting a run, ha.  But luckily the course turned and then there wasn’t much wind till the turnaround. where I would running back into a slight  headwind. I could see a couple people in my age group 2 or 3 kilometers ahead of me and made my goal to beat them (well, duh right?) My Garmin somehow didn’t start, but I didn’t know this because I had it on a blank screen. The plan for this second run was just to ball out.  I ran this pretty hard too.

At 4k I could see another guy in my age group, who I knew I should be beating, going the other way at 6k, and I wasn’t sure if I could get him.  I kicked even harder at about 7k and was really pushing. At 9k I could that guy in front of me... then he started to intermittently walk and I was like “game on”, and started to seriously grind.  I passed with about half a Kilometer to go and heard him try to keep up for a couple paces and then he fell off.  My final split for the 2nd run was 39:52, according to the race results.  I felt faster than that though, but to run a sub-40 min off that grinding bike, I’m pleased enough.  It was the 15th fastest overall for run 2. I’ll take it, but room to improve for sure.

Overall I finished 45th and 5th in my age group.  Thus, I’ve qualified for Worlds in Switzerland in September! Am I going? Probably definitely not, lol.  The race itself is a 10k run, 150k bike, and a 30k run.  I don’t have enough time to be in seriously competitive shape for that distance.  Not to mention all the logistics of getting there.  And oh yeah, remember the hills I talked about in the Worlds Triathlon race in Las Vegas last year?  Apparently Switzerland makes those look tame.  No thanks.

Post race I made my parents stop a small beach nearby so I could jump in the Chesapeake Bay and cool my legs off.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t as cold as I had hoped, but still felt great.

After the drive home, I collapsed on my living room floor for a couple hours--not intentional, but I definitely knew I had left it all out there in Cambridge that morning.  My mom is awesome and made great pizza for dinner that night.  I usually eat strict paleo, but after races, and whenever I really want something (gotta live life, right?) I don’t worry about it for a meal here or there.  She makes great pizza.

Now comes a tough training block to get me ready for whatever race comes next.  Not sure what that is yet, but I know I have Age Group Nationals in August and probably local stuff before then!  We are rebuilding this year from the ground up, trying to establish greater speeds and power to allow me to get into the red zone like I haven’t been able to in previous years!

Thanks guys. Rock the W!

  1. What’s the farthest you would travel for a race? (any race)
  2. Did you do anything cool this weekend?

Do you know how to hurt?

I was mentally reviewing past seasons of triathlons and racing, and while I’ve gotten much better, I noticed that many of my times have been consistently good, but that’s it.  Just good.  I’m not happy with good.  Not only do I want to be great, I want to see improvement from “good”.  Good is fine if it’s continually improving.  For example, if your run a 1:30 half marathon and year over year decrease that to 1:29, 1:28, 1:27, etc, that’s awesome because you are getting faster!  But if you stay 1:30, 1:30, 1:30, year after year, you’re not making any progress in your training. That’s when it hit me—I workout hard and I know what it’s like to hurt… but I know how to hurt jusssst enough. I’ve said it before—you’ve got be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  If I want to get better, I’ve got to realize that there are going to be some workouts where I collapse at the end of my run or hang onto the side of pool gasping and panting thinking it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever breathed in Oxygen.

And the same goes for racing—at the end of that half Ironman, I need to be able to kick into black-out mode for that last 5k of the run—and not have been holding back for that leading up to it.  I always try to currently, but when I try to go fast, it’s maybe 1 or 2 seconds faster per mile.  Insignificant.

So what’s the point here?  If you want to get faster, you’ve got to embrace the hurt (and also the recovery!)  I’ve been adhering to my coaches plan and we have been swimming as a group a couple times a week

It’s amazing what having your coach watching you and having competition will do to your effort levels.  I’ve set PRs each practice… and also almost drown.  Using paddles while having my ankles bound together with an old bike tube?  Not fun.  I enjoy breathing, actually.  Or 50m kickboard races against someone who is faster than you and seeing black as you try to catch them.

I love it.

Rest and repeat.  If you want to get better, hurt a lot, occasionally, go easy a bit, recover correctly, and know exactly what you are looking to achieve!

I've got a race next weekend so I'm stoked to see how it's going to go!

  1. Do you agree with me?
  2. What do you want to get better in?