Monday, June 14, 2010

Greenwood Duathlon 2010

Well another Sunday another race. This time down to the Valley and the Greenwood military base for a duathlon 5k, 20k, 5k(there was of course a triathlon happening but who wants to get wet on such a nice day). Yes, it was a nice day, perhaps too nice. Great hot sun and little wind. Hearkens back the nice day we had for the Bluenose 10K (yeah I guess it was a marathon as well).

Well the drive to the race was fun. Up a 5am to get ready, almost 2 hour drive, and finally arrival. My knee was already stiff from sitting that long. But I had some time to move around, stretch and warm up (a good reason to arrive early).

Well race time was finally upon us. I knew only 2 other racers, Kurt and Alan, both of whom are much better runners than I am. The other I had no clue about. So my plan was stick with Kurt and Alan as long as possible and go from there. Okay, so that is my usual plan, stick to the leader as long as possible and then fade to a comfortable pace.

So the race started and we quickly got up to speed. I stuck with Kurt for probably the first 1.5K, with Alan already taking off. I then settled into a slightly slower pace (one my knee was comfortable with) and continued on for the rest of the first 5K. Heading into the first transition I was comfortably in third, ahead of fourth by close to 2 minutes with a 22:32 run. A quick switch to bike shoes and helmet I was off to the bike portion. This was a great ride for speed, with the only turns being at the ends of the laps (3 in total). The course itself had a slight curve that didn't amount to much and only a slight "hill" barely worth mentioning. Also practically no wind. Nice. I finished the 20K ride in 37:46 which also included both transitions. My bike computer showed an average speed of 34.2 kph which was nice with those slow turns at the end of each lap and an impressive 56.03 kph top speed (also nice with no hills or wind). With both transitions added (and I took my time stumbling with my helmet) my avg pace on the bike drops to around 32 kph, but I was happy.

Heading into run 2 I had a sizable lead over fourth (almost 14 minutes). But take nothing for granted I say and who knows Alan or Kurt could have faltered for some reason. So push on I did. The knee was achy to start out and I was baking hot at this point. At the run turn around the kind volunteer pointed out the gel pack I dropped during the first run. Thanks. I plodded along and finally the finish line came up. I zipped across as fast as I could in typical Ian fashion (don't get in my way when the finish line is in sight) and finished in 1:24:23, 7 minutes behind Kurt in second and 8 behind Alan in first. I was happy,and since I have had absolutely no run training this year due to my bad leg/knee that really looks great for the future when this issue is finally sorted out.

So I ended up in third place overall and first in age group 30-39 (same as last year, though no Mike Milloy to fight against this year).

Okay the field was small compared to the Du it for Shelter event and the Cyclesmith Du (and inevitability for the Riverport race in the Fall) but it was a great fight and I feel quite happy in what I achieved. One of my goals was an age group win for the year and another was a top three result. So heck, lets get that done in one race.

Now time for a rest.

Big thanks to the volunteers and TNS officials at the race for the help and words of encouragement and to Sarah Wood for standing on the corner of the run and cheering us all on. That always helps.
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Cyclesmith Duathlon 2010

Well another weekend another Duathlon. This time the venerable Cyclesmith Du held at Lawrencetown Beach. I must say it was looking like shades of last week, at least weather wise. Buckets of rain, cool temps and fog were all being forecast, not to mention heavy wind. Yipee! Of course unlike last weekend, the weather took a turn for the good. The rain stopped before the race started, the fog lifted enough to make the course visible enough and the wind died down. Wow. The pavement even dried up.

So there I was, once again hoping my knee would survive the onslaught of what is the most grueling Duathlon in Nova Scotia. A 5K road run to start with a decent hill, followed by a 34K bike ride on rolling roads (with a few mini climbs) and finally a 6K trail run. But I was prepared with my new Brooks Dyads which I had fitted the day before at Aerobics First. Yeah, I know, never wear a new pair of shoes right before the big race. But alas, my "new" shoes I bought before Christmas were actually far too small for me and probably a good reason my knee went wonky in the first place. So I figured better go with shoes the right size rather than the devil I knew.

The "go" was sounded and off we went. I hung the the lead group for the first 1.5K then started to ease my pace to something slightly more comfortable. In the end I finished the first 5K in 20:43 for a 4:09 pace. I was pretty darn happy with that seeing as it was 3 minutes faster than last year. Then on to the bike.

As usual my bike goal is to ride as hard and darn fast as possible, kill the legs and go for broke. I know, there is still one more run, but the run is my weak point so I like to make up my time here. With my new Devinci CX I managed a great time of 1:00:53 for an average pace of 33.5 km per hour (the 15th fastest time and on a non-time trial bike and including T1). I came barreling into Transition 2 very excited and well away from most of the riders behind me (all of whom were much faster runners).

A quick switch to my new Dyads and off I went. Now normally at this point my legs turn to jelly, thick knotted jelly. But darn if they didn't hold together for that first kilometer. Wow. I kept my pace easy but my stride long, as this seems to be best for my knee. Well, eventually 3K in to the run a few people started to catch up to me. I couldn't risk pushing my pace but kept going as best I could. Eventually the finish line was in sight and one last runner was catching me. I heard yells and cheering, alas not so much for me but for the runners on my heels (at least the yells I could hear). I picked up my pace to keep the other runner (happened to end up being Heather Doucette) at my side, then with a few hundred meters of race left I sprinted with all my might (see above photo) and took 20th place by 4 seconds. My final 6K run time was 31:43 for a 5:18 pace (including T2).

Now I am nursing my worn and tired knee but pretty darn happy. Last year I was 42nd, this year 20th and with little to no practice. And my running is actually not bad but I can't wait to see how much better it can become. Now one more Du this Spring before a big rest and the final one, the Riverport Du in October. So next up, the Greenwood Du. But first, time for a rest.
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