Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Apple Duathlon

Two Duathlons in six days!

After a fun day at the Gear West Duathlon, I decided to register for the Apple Du. For me, there’s no replicating the intensity and focus required on race day, and that’s exactly what I need right now to whip myself into shape. It was hard to believe that after a day of recovery, a few key workouts and then a ‘little’ rest, I was back on the start line for what turned into a great dual with my good friend Julie.

We were greeted by above normal temps and a light breeze-Ideal conditions in my opinion. There were a few unknown athletes on the start line, who all looked fit and fast. It’s amazing how intimidating those tiny girls can be! We started with the Elite men, and I knew full well that meant it would be a blistering pace. I’ve been around the block a few times, and knowing full well what happens when I try to climb a hill at sub 6min/mile pace, I cautiously settled into a more conservative pace. This worked to my advantage as I gradually picked up the pace throughout the first run arrived in T1 in 3rd. I was pretty happy with that run (averaged 6:20pace), and I didn’t waste any time in transition. I was able to catch Marlo climbing the first hill, and overtake the leader within the first mile (or two). Again, I was off on my own, which is not the best place for me if I’m looking for a great bike split. With a trailwind for the first half, I felt like I was flying (I didn’t have a computer or power tap to tell me otherwise), which made it easy to settle into MY groove… Well, that grove was short lived as Julie woke me up in a hurry as she went ZOOMING by just before the turnaround. She was flying, and I could do nothing to stay close to her. Thankfully, I was able to keep her within sight (~400m), which helped me keep the intensity dial on MAX. That 10 mile home stretch seems to drag on forever, and the headwind certainly didn’t make it feel any shorter. Needless to say, I was eager to hit T2 and see what I could do on the second run.

By the time I racked my bike, I could hear Jerry announce how wonderful Julie looked climbing the hill-I looked up and she was most of the way up. I HAD my work cut out for me to catch her, and I had no idea what was happening behind me. I figured even if I didn’t catch Julie, the process of trying would only help me stay ahead of those in the chase group. My legs felt like LEAD WEIGHTS as I climbed the first hill, and it’s a good thing I didn’t have any gadget telling me how slow I was running and how high my heart rate was at that point. It would have been easy to give up there, but instead, I just kept plugging along. Thankfully, there’s a nice downhill to help get the cadence back up, and it was at the bottom of that hill where I took my first split on Julie. I saw 40 seconds, and I figured we had about 2.4 miles to go… Oh man…. I tried my best to focus on quick feet, good posture and breathing. I could see Julie up ahead, and I hadn’t yet turned around to see who was in pursuit. I took another split, and noticed that I was now about 30seconds down. Although 30sec does not sound like a lot, she looked SO far away.… Eventually, with about 1mile to go, I took my final split. I saw 12 seconds…. I looked behind (nobody there), and dug deep. It’s sort of a bittersweet to make the move to pass your good friend in the final stages of a race, but I guess that’s what we train for. I knew we’d both be getting nice checks, which made it just a little bit easier.

I must admit that on the way up to the race that morning, I said to Merilee that my goal was to break 1:36. Although weather conditions make it impossible to really compare race times and make any kind of assessment of fitness/performance, I had that number in my head… When I crossed the line, I saw 1:35:57. Mission accomplished!!

I did my best to get home as quickly as possible as it was PROM day for Kiersten. I came home to the kitchen turned into YndeSalon, the smell of acetone and hairspay, and a flurry of last minute modifications to attire and accessories…. Shane (the BF) ended up wearing Kerry tux…. Karin did Kiersten’s hair, Kerry painted Kiersten’s toes, and I started digging through my jewelry to find earrings for Kierst, and cufflinks for Shane. It was a team effort to get the two cuties off for pictures… Here’s one of my favorites… Not until I got home from photos did I realize I still had and E on one calve and my race # on the other… Nice touch I know!!

Next weekend is Graduation, where Kiersten will walk across the stage wearing a special sash, and cords announcing that she graduated with Highest Honors… We’re so proud of her!