Wednesday, June 6, 2012

2012 Navy Duathlon - Let's Go

Okay so the start of the Duathlon season has now come and gone. Navy was this past weekend, and this is always a great race to start the season. For one, it is close to home (though I still need to get up at 5:30am, yuck) and two it a very straight forward course (well with laps, but you can always win).

 For this year things changed a little bit. The run course was (as usual) the same for both the first and second run. But this year it was extended to 5km each rather than the 3.5km or 3 of the past events. I liked this as my run has definitely become much stronger over the years. Also the run was a single out and back and not laps (that is nice as counting hard), along a flat crusher dust trail.

 The bike course was slightly altered, but only in the approach to the runway portion (the bulk) of the course. I think it was better and lacked the extra bumps of last year. 

The start was slightly delayed, but that happens. Anyway, by 7:30 we were lined up and ready to go.
And we were off. Now this year I had pre-planned my run. I was going to use the power of my buddy Garmin to hold a steady pace. Being 5K I knew that I would have the tenancy to start off a bit fast and then run out of steam near the end. So instead I held back, knowing that 20 minute 5K would be about right for me.

Well at the halfway point I was in a solid 3rd position and quite happy with it. I know that Alan and Shawn are faster than me so no need to blow up now. I was holding a 4 minute per km average pace and right on target.  By the time I hit T1 my Garmin said 20:18 for 5.08 kms. So yeah.

Transition went well, and I crossed the mount line to begin the hill climb to the runway, where 3 laps of wind awaited.

The hill to start is always a fun thing after your legs are all rubbery from the run
I held 3rd place until just reaching the runway at which point I was passed into the headwind. And what a headwind. Nice and strong. But that also meant a great tailwind. I held my effort fairly steady and was eventually passed by 2 others, but I held them just in my sight and relaxed. I figured at this point if I gave it my all I would just end up with a bad second run.

The start of the downhill to the run. Yippee! 
So it was the start of the big downhill that ended at the dismount line where I decided to actually go forward with my plan for a flying dismount. Now nothing too crazy, just a rolling step off was the plan. And why not go for it at this point I thought. So I slipped my feet out of my shoes and began to pedal hard (that sounds weird doesn`t it). As I approached the line I stepped onto one pedal, slowed slightly and stepped off. And low and behold it worked. I ran past the dismount line and didn`t fall on my butt.

Alas, my shoe did become unclipped from my pedal and and I ended up having to go back for it. So time saved was nil. Oh well, it was fun anyway.

I got to my racking spot in T2 to get my running shoes on and ditch the bike but someone had decided to put all their stuff there. So I quickly crammed my bike in as well as I could, dug around for my running shoes, and finally managed to get off for the second run with a slow T2 time. This probably also affected my overall second run time as it would include this fumbling around. Anyway, I manged to bike the course in 40 minutes according to my leg chip at an average speed of 30 km/h or 31 km/h according to my Garmin. With the top speed of the day being 33.8 in the duathlon, you can guess that the wind played a role here as the the 180 degree turns twice a lap.

After the debacle of the second transition, I was off. Ed Parker had been hanging around me for most of the race so far. I had nipped him on the first run, and he finally passed me on the bike on the final lap. He was a bit up the trail from me, so I decided to pick up my pace and attempt to bridge the gap.

In doing so I passed another duathlete (and a few triathletes as well, but they were in another race of course). I finally caught and passed Ed by the 1.5 km mark and kept running. I managed to hold a fairly steady pace and was hoping to hang in for another 20 minute 5K. usually for me the second run is a few minutes slower.

By the turn around I was still in 4th place overall, but with 1 km to go or so Ed picked up his pace a bit more and surged past me. I seriously contemplated seeing if I had anything left, but my legs were not willing to answer that call. I picked it up a bit hoping that maybe Ed would falter, but alas it was not to be and I crossed the line in 5th place overall, 3rd in my age group and with a time of 1:21:54. So more endurance training is in my future to get that second run even stronger I see.

My official second run time includes my second transition, and is listed as 21:34 for the 3rd fastest (again!). My Garmin has me running 5.06km this time in a time of 20:56 for  an average pace of 4:09 km/min. Not a sub 20 minute 5K but a time I am happy with.

Now on to Cyclesmith and the hardest Du we do. Hopefully my legs still work.

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