Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Irongirl Duathlon Race Report

All I can say is, Wow, the body is capable of amazing things!  I have previously written about my struggles to recover and have a decent run after my 70.3 in July as well as the everyday fatigue and sleeplessness that has been plaguing me.  (Read those posts here, here, and here.)  I was amazed last weekend to pull out a 10K PR even though I was running with the stroller.  After this weekend, I am even more amazed!

I completed the Bloomington Irongirl Duathlon at a pace I would have expected to had I been training!

My friend Traci and I  had a great girls weekend based around this race.  We chose to stay in Bloomington both Friday and Saturday nights and really have some quality girl time!

Friday night we went to Parma 8200 and enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner.  I had the gnocchi.  I really love gnocchi.  Following dinner, we went back to the hotel and enjoyed a few more glasses of wine at the hotel bar. 

Saturday morning, we were happy that we hadn't drank any more wine than we did!  Both of us were just a little sluggish that morning! 

We picked up our packets, browsed the expo, then went to lunch.  It was nice to not have anything on the agenda, no husbands, and no kids.  I had been wanting to visit Gear West Bike and Triathlon for a while and since we had time, we did!  I purchased a new bike computer to replace the one I lost in my last triathlon and some Honey Stinger waffles (yum!).  We then visited their run/ski/soccer/ side of the building where I bought a headband (my bangs had been driving me nuts all day) and a long-sleeve shirt to wear for the race (all I had packed was a sleeveless shirt).   We also visited their casual clothing store, but I didn't buy anything there. 

After our short shopping excursion, we went back to the hotel, got our race gear ready and had a supper at the hotel restaurant.  We went back to the room with the intention of getting to bed early, but the TV sucked us in and we didn't turn it off until after 10pm.  It didn't really matter, neither one of us slept very well anyway. 

We awoke to the alarm at 4am.  We got ready, picked up our grab-and-go breakfast that was provided by the hotel, and loaded our bags into the car.  After breakfast we walked to the start of the race.  We had found the parking ramp the Irongirl packet said to use and it was only a few blocks closer than our hotel.  It was chilly, but a nice walk. 

We arrived at the transition are at about 5:20am and found our racks.  There weren't very many people there yet so we had a lot of space to choose from.  Then we waited.  Transition was set to close at 7am and our waves didn't start until 7:50 and 7:55.  As cool as it was, there was no way we were going to leave our jackets and pants in transition any earlier than we had to!  We visited the port-a-potties, stood under a tree during a short rain shower, then headed back into transition to drop our warm clothes. 

The worst part of the day was definitely the wait between the close of transition and the start.  I got quite chilly standing around that long, but I knew that once I started running, the extra clothes would just make me too hot. 

By the time my wave started, I was so cold I had my jaw clenched.  It took me a couple hundred yards to relax and just worry about racing.  I loved the run course.  It was one loop around a lake and three-quarters of it was on the bike path through some trees.  It reminded me of high-school cross-country.  I even felt a little stab of the competitiveness I used to feel back them.  It's been so long since I've felt competitive with the other runners.  Usually I just competing against myself and the clock.  It was a cool to feel like I was really racing again. 

The timing mat at the entrance to transition was just a little short of 2 miles by my Garmin (1.94 miles) and I crossed it in 16:46.  The fastest two miles I've run since I don't know when. 

I changed my shoes, put on my helmet, grabbed my bike, and ran out of transition for a T1 time of 2:09.

The bike started with just a little bit of an uphill.  Possibly the worst one of the day, simply because I hadn't been able to build up any speed yet.  Somehow my bike computer, which I had set to read speed, distance, and cadence prior to the race was no longer showing cadence.  Part of my goal for the bike was to maintain a high cadence so I wouldn't trash my legs for the last run.  Instead, I just settled into what I thought felt good. 

Whatever I was doing was working!  I passed a lot of people on the bike.  The only people that passed me (except for one girl that I played leapfrog with the whole second lap) were flying past me!  I was comfortable with my pace, but was once again having problems with my chain slipping and my rear derailleur not shifting correctly.  I was sure I had it in proper working order before the race.  I really need to take it in before I throw it on the trainer for the winter.  The Garmin measured the bike course just slightly long at 22.75 miles, good for 17.1mph!

The thing I hate most about dismounting after the bike is running through transition with my bike shoes on.  I don't know why I bother to try to run.  I seriously think I could walk faster.  Anyway, I re-racked my bike, changed my shoes and took off my helmet, and was off again on the run.  T2 time was 1:57.

The second run felt like I expected.  I felt like I was just plodding along, although I knew I wasn't.  I passed quite a few women that were obviously not used to the dead-legs sensation that comes after the bike.  I wanted to tell them to just run through it, that they were really going faster than they thought, but I was sucking air while wrestling with my own dead legs and didn't have the energy to say anything.  A two mile run at the end isn't really enough for me to get rid of that dead-legs feeling.  I could really feel the after-effects of the bike all the way to the finish.  But as I neared the finish, I knew I was close to the two-hour mark.  A time that I had earlier said would be my ideal time but was not going to be realistic given my recent lack of training. 

Finish time: 1:59:17!  Holy cow!  I am amazed that I had that in me.  I am amazed that I was able to run my two fastest miles in at least six years.  I am amazed that I was able to do that well on the bike leg considering my slight mechanical difficulties and the fact that I hadn't been on my bike in two months! 

I am rejuvenated in spirit to resume more regular training.  My body, however, decided to come down with a nasty cold on Monday and I've spent the last couple days walking around in a fog.  I felt better today, and hope to go out for a nice easy run with Liam in the stroller tomorrow.  Body and mind, please get on the same page!  I am looking forward to enjoying training again soon!

Thanks to Irongirl for putting on an excellent event!  Everything was great from the course, to the volunteers, to the food, etc.  I may not be back every year, but I will definitely be back! 

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