The Cowpens Duathlon – An invitation only event:)
Saturday was supposed to be the day for my first duathlon. It was, but rather unofficially. After some some recon was done on the official duathlon site and found it to be less than ideal, we decided to do our own. We decided that we would rather have an unofficial race in beauty and relative safety then have stress and worry.
The day started off cold and windy but luckily died down by our start time. I got my transition area set up just like I practiced with Coach Katie and determined my “bike in” and “bike out” areas. I was going to do everything I could to treat this as a real race.
Ready, set, go! No gun… but we still toed the line. I headed out at a good pace that I could maintain. I felt I could run faster, but concerned less about these first two miles than the 22 ahead of me. Focused on short, quick steps. Back in transition area I rushed to put my helmet one, bike shoes on, gel taken, water sipped… run, run, run in my clips to the “bike out” area and got on my bike as quickly as I could. I was off!
My past 20 mile workouts on the bike and been a series of intervals with specific tasks. I had never tired to ride as fast as I could for 20 miles straight. My goal was to not get off the bike… not stop. Normally during my training rides I usually stop half way through to drink and fuel. I was going to have to do it on the bike. I had my water bottle filled with apple-flavored Cytomax (very yummy) and planned to use it for my fuel. The plan was to drink every 3 miles.
Well, I should have been practicing all along on trying to drink on the bike. Very difficult. I managed a few sips every three miles, but probably not enough to make a difference. I lost a lot of time trying to negotiate the water bottle.
I felt this lack of fueling about mile 17. I became so hard to pedal – my legs were so tired. I did my best to continue to focus on optimal cadence 85-95 RPM’s. At times it was hard, but I knew it would make the run “easier”.
Finally I neared the 20 mile marked and made it back to transition. I hit the “bike in” area and practiced my dismount (haha… sounds cool, but I just came to a complete stop and did my best to get off my bike as fast as I could) run, run, run in my cleats to the transition area… my legs felt so heavy.
As fast as I could I got my running shoes back on, helmet off and gel taken. Probably too late in the game for the gel to do any good, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt. The shoe transition was easy with my fancy new lacing system that Coach Katie put on my shoes. No tying needed.
Again, I focused on quick, short steps. It took a few minutes for the heaviness to leave my legs and find my running pace. I am always surprised how “fast” I run first off the bike. I felt pretty good the whole time. I really started to get a bit tired the second mile, but in my mind I told myself it is only one other mile – I needed to push it. The thought that came in my head was it was not 26 miles of running… I NEVER have to do that again… 2 miles is easy!
I kept my pace even and finished strong – time… 2:16:14.
My two run legs were completely even! I didn’t even know it until I logged it in my Garmin. I was really proud of that. My bike leg was 2 minutes slower than I have done 20 miles in the past, but I imagine the lingering wind and my pitiful attempts to drink on the bike attributed to that.
It was very fun and I am happy we did our own. Cynthia even brought medals and snacks!
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