Duathlon Nationals Race Recap

I have to start my race recap with some huge thanks:

Kevin-without my supportive husband I would have never got to the start line of the race, he drove Katherine to gymnastics every sat am so I could go train, he supported me going to the race despite having an event I should have attended with him the night before the race and tons of little things along the way. he loves to come watch my races but stayed behind to attend to family and work commitments. Thanks so much I love you tons!!

Coach john-he has been coaching my running for a few years now and does not have the cycling background but helped me put a schedule together for Sept and Oct that would get me ready for the race (without thinking I was crazy)

Ken Lewis- I like to refer to him as the seed planter (he planted the seed that lead to me qualifying in 2009) and again this time around. he offered tips, advice and generously gave his time to help me get my bike setup (tearing off extra weight, convincing me of things I did not need, and putting on my race wheels).

siblings and their families-they traveled from out-of-town and out-of-state to come cheer me on and be my race supporters, photographers and motivators. I am so blessed to have had them there to celebrate the day.

Post race with niece Claire and sister Kathy

Post race with niece Claire and sister Kathy

Mid August I got the crazy idea to get back on my bike and race at Duathlon Nationals since it was practically in my backyard. I had been off my bike for 4 years!  There was dust and cob webs on the bike that had to be cleaned before even riding it. I only rode 1-2 x per week while combining my running. Physically I felt in about 85% of my running fitness and only knew I could go the distance on the bike. I knew I would run my heart out and get passed on the bike by women with better, faster more sophisticated (expensive) bikes than me and then try to catch as many as I could by the finish line. Here is how it all went down!!!

Start line of Duathlon Nationals women under 50 wave.

The announcer was trying to motivate us but actually made everyone more nervous! Saying “are you ready to go anaerobic for 2+ hours?” We just ignored him and cheered in excitement. The first 5k started up hill then made a nice turn for a downhill then back up. We had another great downhill (which we would get to run back up) so I let loose trying to gain speed. I was in 6th place after my first 5k in a time of 19:56 (this is what I ran 2 wks ago in a single 5k). I flew into transition put on bike helmet, changed shoes and I was off. I took a moment at the bike mount area to carefully mount my bike and get going. It would be easy to rush and wipe out here! My family was there cheering me on and taking photos.

In transition getting ready to bike.

Easy does it getting on the bike so I don’t crash.

Bike started uphill and then had a nice climb at mile 2. After about 5 minutes on the bike here came all the girls with the “fancy tricked out bikes”. I have a nice road bike but no aero bars; essentially mine is heavier and not as aero so really makes you go slower for this kind of race. I knew this would happen so did not panic and made a game of counting the # of girls that passed me and then see how many I could pass on the run. I was passed by 26 women on the bike. All had aero bars, many had disk wheels most were tri-bikes or time trial bikes. I am not a huge bike geek but if you are you know what this means for me and my road bike! The bike was a 2 loop course. After the first loop we made a complete u-turn and headed back out. I was approaching the u-turn and could see my niece cheering for me. As I was approaching the u-turn another women with a very tricked out bike pulled off to the side and unclipped her bike shoes. I figured she was stopping or dropping out of race. No she was going to push her foot on the ground through the u-turn. I started yelling “don’t stop” since I had 2 bikes behind me and we were all about to become a huge pile up. This chick had no business riding that kind of bike without even knowing how to make a wide u-turn. I was fuming since I almost crashed. I somehow manuvered around her and hit the pedals hard firing up the hill for loop 2. My butt was really hurting now. I need to get a new bike saddle, fit or something. I was just going to have to grin and bear it, standing when I needed a break. I feel like I went about 90% effort on the bike saving just a bit for the run.

I flew into T2 racked my bike and quickly changed my shoes. I had some women to catch! I started to run and my legs were absolute jello legs. I really could not believe how dead they were. It was all mental as I waited for my legs to catch up to what was going on. I fired out of transition passing one women like a steam train.

starting 2nd and final run.

The run was the same, up hill to begin with, not so much fun with dead legs. My lungs were at full capacity gasping for air. Before mile 1 I had caught 4 women. At the u-turn I saw a great shade tree and briefly thought about laying down under it. My body was alive and racing hard, I have not felt this way in a long time! Between mile 1 and 2 there was a lot of downhill so I just fired down that hill as fast as I could looking for more people to pass. At the bottom of the hill there was a turn around and then it is up 2 hills to the finish. The last hill was brutal I passed a 23 yr old and just kept going. I ended up catching and passing 10 women total on the run!

My goal before the race was a loose sub 2 hours, I was not sure about my biking or how the course would be. I finished in 1:56:05. I really thought my 2nd run would be much faster. I really thought my bike would be much slower. I felt great the whole race. Nutrition was spot on. I drank 20 oz of Recharge with 1 scoop Carbo Pro and 1 Honey Stinger gel on 2nd loop of bike. I took in about 650 calories prerace (we did not start until 830am).

run 19:56 pace 6:24

T1 1:06

bike 1:13:10 speed 17.8 mph

T2 :49

Run 21:08  pace 6:48

My family was there at the finish and it was awesome!!!! I quickly caught my breath and raced back about 400 yards to see my friend Melissa come in and cheer her on. She was hoping to go under 2 hrs also so as the clock was 90 seconds to go I spotted her turn the corner and started screaming like mad. “Go Melissa you only have 30 seconds run as hard as you can” She made it in 1:59:43.

Enjoying the misting machine celebrating our sub 2hr finishes and that we both qualified for Team USA world team.

We celebrated with a huge Indian Buffet lunch with my family.

Part 2 of the weekend was about to begin. My friend Michelle and suggested a trip to the Biosphere 2 and staying overnight there. We rented a casitas for all of us and explored all day. There was  a special evening Halloween themed program for the families and then after everyone left we had our own private flashlight tour of Bioshpere2. It was really awesome!!!!!!!!!! We traversed through the rain forest in the dark, mud, damp and cockroach infested trails, visited the Ocean and hung out on the beach. Our tour guide Kevin made it rain in the desert.

Our crew getting ready for flashlight tour of Bioshpere2.

Our crew getting ready for flashlight tour of Bioshpere2.

Josh and Kevin were totally freaked out by the massive amounts of cockroaches crawling on ground and walls. I chose to ignore and plus since I had my glasses I could not see them in my peripheral vision. We spent a few hours walking around (up and down lots of steps) seeing the Biosphere and learning about the people who were sealed in for 2 years. You can learn more at http://b2science.org/.

Cool picture. Looking up through top of Biosphere seeing reflection of the boat in the ocean.

Cool picture. Looking up through top of Biosphere seeing reflection of the boat in the ocean.

In the library looking through the glass down several floors. Mom is hoping the glass does not break.

In the library looking through the glass down several floors. Mom is hoping the glass does not break.

We sat around the dark library talking late into the night with our tour guide. I finally had to pull the plug after 11pm or campout in here for the night. In the morning I decided to go for a short run around the grounds. How often do you get to run somewhere cool like this!!

Post run in front of Biosphere2. Showing off race tattoos that may never wash off.

Post run in front of Biosphere2. Showing off race tattoos that may never wash off.

We enjoyed a final breakfast and lecture with our tour guide Kevin. Katherine has learned that University of Arizona is a top science school in the country. Her gears are clicking away, hmm we are big Sun Devil fans but Uof A would be cheaper than Stanford!

scenic breakfast at Biosphere2

scenic breakfast at Biosphere2

It was such a fun weekend with friends and family.

I have officially qualified for Team USA World team for Duathlon to be held in Pontevedra Spain May 31. I am not sure how this aligns with my goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials, also the trip to Spain would be pretty costly. I will keep you posted on my goals and racing plans!

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