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Race day recap

September 8, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

This is me – pushing to the finish line

Holy shit I’m tired.  I feel fantastic, and really proud, but kinda tired!

Today was race day.  Between my wedding earlier this year, courses for work, and other summer conflicts, this was my only race this year (Note: future years will for sure need multiple races).

The alarm went off at 6:45.  I was staying at my folks’ place, which is actually on the bike course, so I didn’t have far to travel.  It was a bit of a rough sleep – every time I tossed and turned I could hear the sound of rain outside.  And boy, did it rain (okay, for those of you who have recently been through Hurricane Isaac, this is hardly much to write home about.  But it’s been a dry summer here).

A view of the bay where the swim was supposed to be… sorry for the crappy iphone picture

I got to the race site by 7:30 – 1 hour before the gun was set to go off.  It was raining steady, and the waves in the bay were cresting.  I very quickly learned that the swim had been cancelled.  My triathlon had been turned into a duathlon.

I guess I can’t fault them.  Safety, and all that blah blah blah.  But shit I was looking forward to the swim.  As someone who claims the swim to be his best race leg (and the run to be his worst) this was not good news.  I showed up expecting a 750m Swim/20km Bike/5km Run.  What I got was a 5km Run/20km Bike/2.5km Run.  That’s 7.5km of running.  My daily max up until now was about 5.5km (the recurring theme of this post: I’m not a good runner).

My race goals quickly changed.  I was losing my swim advantage and trading it for more running than I’d ever done previously.  My goal was now to finish.  I’ve never done a duathlon – as long as I didn’t DNF*, I would be guaranteed a Personal Best time!

The race was scheduled to begin at 8:30.  At 8:20 the race organizer came over the speakers to announce that there were high winds and standing water along the bike leg, and they were out assessing it’s safety.  They were delaying the race start by 30 minutes until they decided if the bike leg was safe.  So we all stood out in the rain for another 30 minutes, wondering if we were standing in the rain for nothing.

But the race went off, only 30 minutes late.  I was in a heat with all Pro Racers, Elite Racers, and Male Age Groupers under 39.  The horn sounded and they took off – pushing the pace right away.  This group ran FAST!

They call them “Elite” racers for a reason… I’m in there somewhere, probably at the back

I quickly fell off the pace, and ran my own race.  Race to your goal: Finish Strong.  The rain started to let up shortly after we set out to make the run quite pleasant.  Around 1km, another runner came up beside me and we chatted for 500m (until having to jump a giant puddle separated us a bit and he – rightly so – ran ahead of me).  He’s a cop, from Orillia.  It was his first triathlon (err… duathlon).  He was running virtually the same pace as me.  At that point, I knew I could do this.

I ran the whole 5km.  The whole thing.  This marks the first time I’ve ever been able to run 5km without having to walk even once.  The whole thing!  I ran in a time of 34:48 – 18th/21 in my age group, shattering my previous PB of 40:08 over 5km.  Hells.  Yeah.

Next up was the bike.  It very quickly occured to me that I’ve done a ton of bricks, practicing the Bike/Run combo.  I’ve never once done a Run/Bike brick.  As a triathlete, why would I?  ‘Cause things like this happen, that’s why (I guess).  I got onto the bike and very quickly had lead legs.  I’m used to coming out of the swim, with tired arms and very fresh legs to jump on the bike.  My legs felt like hell and I couldn’t get any strength over the first 1/3 of the race.  I passed a few people, but was passed by many more.  I kept dropping the gear and focusing on my cadence and full pedal strokes.  It got better as the race went along.  The bike was an out-and-back ride – my ride back was much stronger than my ride out.

I finished the 20km ride in 45:46, just off my previous PB of 44:03, and 15th/21 in my age group.  I’m actually pretty happy with that, given the surprise of riding off the run (and the relatively small emphasis on bike training I did this summer).

… you try running in bike shoes.

It seemed a really cruel torture that I had to run a second leg after the bike.  I had already run 5km.  What the hell?!  Well, rules are rules, so off I went.  2.5km on it’s own isn’t too bad, but I’d already run once this race.  I was a bit unsure how it would go.  But it actually went pretty well.  Again, I ran the whole thing (well, that’s a lie… I walked about 10 steps when I passed the drink table and took a cup – I learned during the first 5km that drinking from a paper cup while running doesn’t work, you get more of it on your face than in your mouth.  This time, I needed water, so I walked a few steps).

This run was another out-and-back.  A mere 1.25km to the turn around point.  It actually seemed short.  I realized that, once upon a time, 2.5km was hard.  I could barely do it.  This wasn’t hard at all – it had been so long since I’d set out for a 2.5km run that I hadn’t realized how much I’d progressed this summer.  I finished in a time of 16:06 – great for me, but still 20th/21 in my age group.  Apparently 2.5km is a pretty easy distance for most other runners too!

Here I am, running down the final 100 meters. My wife came out to meet me, and ran me into the finish line. She’s amazing!

I finished.  I finished strong.  And for a surprise duathlon, I was really happy with it.  I finished with a time of 1:40:537.3, 18th/21 in my age group.  It was my first duathlon, so it’s technically a Personal Best, but in fact it was faster than my 1:47:21 triathlon time from last year!  Shit!  I actually did really well!

So now I’m home, having finished about 6 hours ago.  I’ve eaten (a lot).  I’ve napped (a lot).  I hurt a surprising amount, but it’s good hurt – fatigue, not pain.  I think I’m going to take a few days off training – enjoy the end of another race season before starting into my fall training plan.  But the weekend isn’t over.  Tomorrow my wife runs her first 1/2 marathon, and I’ll be out there cheering her on, just like she did for me!

At the finish line with my cheering squad – my mom, and my wife (and my dad, behind the camera).

Thanks to everyone who sent me well wishes on Facebook, Twitter, Text Messages, Snail Mail, Smoke Signals, and seemingly everything else.  Your support was awesome!

And now that the rain has finally stopped, I think it’s time for a walk on the beach with my wife.


*DNF = Did Not Finish

  1. Gladys
    September 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Good job Dave I am very proud of you. you did very well
    Love Aunt Gladys hugs and kisses

  2. September 8, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Congrats Dave! You must feel amazing! Now you can focus on trying to beat this year’s time!

  3. September 9, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Congrats, Dave!! Preparing for a triathlon and competing in a duathlon isn’t ideal, but it sounds like you handled the unexpected change well. It’s all about progress, and you now have a new PR! 🙂

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