Sunday, May 17, 2009

1/100th of a second

Each year when I register for an early season Duathlon, I question my sanity. Running is not my thing and I really enjoy swimming, so why DU it? Well I know they’ll make me stronger in the long run, and you certainly can't beat the fun filled atmosphere at the Gear West Duathlon.

It's the local season opener (part of the Midwest Multisport series), so it’s the perfect opportunity to see everyone again. Great crowds, great volunteers, and GREAT competition is guaranteed.

This run starts with a 400m sprint on asphalt before turning into the park with mostly XC style running. The first run is 6K with plenty of twists, turns, and little climbs. I tried to stay conservative on the first run, and came into T1 about 40 seconds out of first. With a good transition, and full throttle on the pedals, I passed women's leader Marlo Crosby-McGaver within the first mile of the bike. Having fallen victim to Marlo’s bike prowess before, I immediately realized she was off her best form. This woman typically bikes with the big boys, so it’s a rare treat to actually pass her on two wheels. I tried to stay strong, but she passed me back about halfway through the 18 mile course. We flip flopped a few times, and came into T2 together. I blazed through T2 (for the fastest T2 split of the day in :21sec), and immediately gained a 20 yd lead. I knew it wouldn't be too long before she passed me, and I was basically just waiting for it. I also knew there were at least four very strong women close behind, leaving me with no room for a slowdown. The second run is only 4K but still XC style. Marlo passed me halfway, and she immediately put 10yds on me. Due to the twisty, woodchip terrain, she really could not build up her usual speed. Although I stayed within 10-15 yds of her heels, I never thought I would catch her and I was just trying to run hard to maintain my second place position. Just before the final 500m homestretch, there‘s a super steep 15 yd climb. It’s the nemesis hill for many, and when I finally caught my breath at the top I realized that the climb took a toll on Marlo. For the first time, I looked ahead I thought…THERE’S A CHANCE! I started running a little faster, I started gaining on her, and with about 100 yards to the finish I really went for it...This is totally out of my character (I'm not much of a fighter on the run), and took the Win at the line. Our times were the same in the results...1:26:01, but the official timer said I had Marlo by 1/100th of a second.

I was shocked. Of course it’s great to win and pick up a winner’s check, but I'm primarily excited that I didn't give up. Here are a few shots to get a feel for the finish (Thanks Greg!).

Of course I can't end my post without reference to the yummy cupcakes I enjoyed post race. I commented on Julia's decadent Birthday cupcakes on FaceBook a few weeks ago, and what does she bring us today...SUGAR BLISS. Thanks Julia, and GREAT job out there today! These DU's make triathlon seem like a piece of (cup)cake!