Monday, May 5, 2014

Let the Du's Begin! Benny Bulldog Duathlon 2014

I love me a good Duathlon. Some may see them as races for triathletes that can't or don't swim. But that saddens me. These are there own awesome form of multisport. Running, then switching to the bike, then switching back to the run again. Whew, makes me tired just typing it down. These events take a lot of grunt, grit, endurance and hatred of your legs. Anyway, the first Du of the season has just passed by, the 4th almost annual Benny Bulldog Sprint Duathlon, a fundraiser for a local girls running group called Girls Gone Gazelle.

This year do to road conditions, the bike portion was cut down from 28ish km to 24.5ish km. in length. The runs stayed the same at 4ish km in length of pretty flat crusher dust trail.

So I awoke to see a sort of decent sky. The forecast had been mentioning rain leading up to the event and I was not looking forward to that. It was still chilly and I had packed my bag the night before with about 40 versions of my duathlon outfit. I really had no idea what I was going to wear, but I would be there early enough to make any changes I had to.

I racked my bike, and chatted with many of the familiar faces. I opted for a shoes premounted to the bike kind of race. So those were in place. And I decided now was the time to try out the new New Balance 1400's in race conditions. So light, so fast, so yellow.

Not my actual shoe

I also had put in place my new Xtenex laces. With only one real run in them, it was interested to see how well they would hold up. (Hint: they held up fine).

A mere moments from race start and the sun started to break. I decided to keep my arm warmers on at this point, though I opted to remove my gloves. Luckily I was wearing a bike jersey, so I placed them in my back pockets, just in case the bike ride was going to be frigid. 

 The 49 of us hardy competitors lined up for some last minute instructions. Garmins and Polars were beeping as they locked into satellites. Then we were off.

I had been fighting a pulled muscle in my back over the last 2 weeks that had lead to not a whole lot of training runs. And the morning off, there was still a bit of a twinge. I had no real idea how well things would hold up. I also had no idea, 1: What my speed would be like, 2: What my endurance would be like. But I did know that there was a lot of fast people around me, both runners and cyclists. I knew that to be even considered in contention I would ave to push hard in the first run. So I did.

As one runner took off way in the distance, I quickly settled in second spot. My sense of pace was off so I had to rely on my Garmin to help me a bit. It was obliging. My pacing was a bit all over the map (well within 10 seconds here or there), but I held position.

I came into T1 still in second place with a run time of 15:17 for the 4km run. That felt nice. And it wasn't a maximum effort either, which is also good to know.  One of these Benny's I'll dip below 15 minutes on that first run.

Helmet on, arm warmers ripped off, bike in hand I ran to the mount line. Quickly up on the bike I went and off I rode.

The first place rider was way ahead and I couldn't even see him at this point. But I rode on, pushing the pace as best as I could.

Within a few minutes I was passed for second though as Kevin Besner rode by. Turns out he was on my tail in the first run (good for him, that was fast), and I would never pass him back (well I should have put spoiler alert there, sorry). After a few more kilometers, I was passed by another rider, Nick. He was flying on that bike.

So here I was in fourth, not at the turn around for the bike and I dared a look back. No one there. Whew. And I could finally see another rider up ahead. It was Graeme, the uber fast runner. I was reeling him in. With about 2 km before the turn around I passed him to take back third place. I made the turn and was headed back.

With about 5 km to go, I was caught by another rider. This time, though, I knew I would be able to stay with this guy. I watched as he was pushing really hard to stay ahead of me, his legs shaking a bit. Our pace was still fine and at the top end of my comfortably hard zone, so I stayed put. He pulled away slightly as we headed to T2.

 Not my actual bike

I flew off the bike, ran into tranisiton, and made a very quick change. Those Xtenex laces I mentioned made slipping back into my shoes a breeze. Then I was off.

Within the first 0.5 km I passed the third place guy and took off. I pushed as best as I could and right before the turn around saw first and second running back. That kind of lead was not going to be over come on my legs, as the lack of endurance from my lay off was starting to set in.

As I made the turn around I came across 4th and 5th place. Graeme was making some good headway with his uber speed and I realized I need to push as hard as I could. Finally with less than 1 km to go I looked back and Graeme was closing in. I found that tiny bit extra in the legs and ran across the finish line in third.

I'd lie about my time, but uh.....

Seven seconds ahead of 4th place at the end. Whew.

A good race overall. Not unhappy with my placing. Glad to know some speed is still in the legs, now to get some endurance back. And speaking of backs, mine is doing much better. Which is also very nice.

By the end I had the second fastest runs in both legs and the 4th fastest bike leg. Against this tough group, that is pretty nice.

Huge thanks to Luke and Andrew at Aerobics First for humouring me while we tried on 10 pairs of shoes to find the right ones. Those NB 1400's are very fast.

Huge thanks to Sheldon  at Sportwheels for helping me get my bike all tuned up and ready to race. 

Thursday is massage day to get any lingering kinks out of the system. 

Oh and the Friday before the race, I donated plasma. It really should have no affect on your fitness level for more than a few hours. So if you are on the fence and worried it might affect race performance, it really doesn't (while blood does which is different). 

Hopefully we raised some good funds for Girls Gone Gazelle.

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