Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shoreline Duathlon Race Recap

I have to say, I was a little unsure about this race when Mr. R&R and I drove up to Concordia University yesterday afternoon to pick up our race packets.  There was a ton of construction going on all around what would eventually be the transition area and I was really worried about what effect construction debris would have on my bike tires and if there'd be a lot of dust in the air because of it.  I shouldn't have worried.  The race director was there and mentioned that he was planning to go out and sweep the transition area after the construction crew knocked off for the day!

On Friday night, we got our bikes ready to go, water bottles filled and cooling in the refrigerator, and laid out all our gear.

Multi-Sport events sure do require a lot of stuff!
In the wee hours of this morning, I went through the usual motions of showering and pulling on my race clothes and then there was an extra step - I had to take this little guy outside.  We babysat for my sister's puppy, Mason, last night!

After getting Mason settled in his crate, we loaded our bikes onto the back of the car and made the drive to the race site. 

Once we arrived at Concordia, we racked our bikes, set up our transition areas, strapped our timing chips to our ankles, and met up with our friends, Miss Placed, Yada Yada, and Texas.  After a little chit chat, it was race time!  Usually race waves are done by age group or predicted finish time, but this time they were divided by last name, which put Mr. R&R and I in Wave 4. When the gun went off, I started running and immediately realized that I seemed to be in a wave full of speed demons!  My pace for the first 1/4 mile was in the 7:30's.  It didn't feel bad, but I knew there was no way I could keep that up for 2 miles - especially on a cross country course.  I slowed to a more reasonable pace as we turned onto a wooded path.  I had been a little nervous about the cross country portion of the race, but as soon as we entered the woods, I loved it!  The trail wound through the woods and into an open field.  Somewhere just past Mile 1 I felt Yada Yada tap me on the shoulder as he sped by.   As I ran through the field, I saw some of the crazy fast racers from Wave 1 as they sped by on the bike. Another turn took us back into the woods, and then onto concrete and into T1.

Run 1:
Distance: 2.11 Miles
Time: 19:59
Avg. Pace: 9:29

I swapped my bike shoes for my running shoes, made sure my water bottle was in the 'open' position, jammed my helmet on, and hustled out to the mount line.

T1 Time: 2:13 (Gotta work on a faster transition.)

The first few miles of the bike course were really great.  It was flat, the weather was good, I settled into a good cadence/speed, and even managed to pass a handful of people.  After the first turn, that great feeling disappeared.  The pavement got really rough, the course turned into a series of rolling hills, and my legs started to feel kind of heavy.  Eventually the pavement improved, but the rolling hills continued.  It was the strangest feeling. At some points, my legs felt so dead and I could barely turn the pedals. At others, my legs were like pistons and I felt fantastic.  This pattern of highs and lows went on for the entire bike leg.  Around Mile 19, I ate a GU, hoping it would kick in as I started the final run leg.  Around Mile 20, Texas caught up to me and passed me.  I was about 10 seconds behind her coming into T2 and I decided then and there that there was no way I was letting her beat me on the run.

Distance: 21.31 Miles
Time: 1:19:54
Avg. Speed: 16.0 mph
Avg. Cadence: 78 rpm

I jogged (on spaghetti legs) my bike back to the rack, yanked off my helmet, and changed back to my running shoes. My cycling gloves were yanked off with my teeth and stuffed into the back pocket of my jersey as I ran out of transition.

T2 Time:  1:38

I gulped down a little Gatorade at the aid station and headed out on the final run course.  I actually felt pretty good at the beginning of the run.  My legs were turning over pretty fast and they didn't seize up quite as bad as they did in my first duathlon.  I ran up a hill and then out along the top of a bluff and I remember thinking that the view of Lake Michigan was really gorgeous.  The second run course involved running down that bluff and then back up a series of switchbacks. The run down the hill was beautiful.  The sun was sparkling on crystal clear water, there was a light breeze, and I felt pretty good.  Then I hit the switchbacks.  Each switchback wasn't terribly steep, but my legs hated them - a lot.  I would run about half way along each one and then walk until the next one.  It killed my pace, but it was better than walking the whole thing.


At long last, I reached the top of the bluff and knew it wasn't far to the finish line.  It was ass haulin' time.  I picked up the pace, ran down a small hill, took a hard left, and there it was!

Run 2:
Distance: 1.65 Miles
Time: 16:50
Avg. Pace: 10:12

Official Time: 2:00:45

The first person I saw after crossing the line was Walter & Spot's vet (aka Dr. Beast).  She gave me a hug, told me that I looked really good coming in.  She really does rock! (She was 29th overall, 4th place female, and she won her age group and the women's masters division).

I made my way through the post-race snack line (bagel pieces, pretzels, cookies) before locating Mr. R&R, Miss Placed and Yada Yada.  About 5 minutes after I finished, Texas (Yada Yada's wife) crossed the finish line. We hung out through the awards ceremony (Miss Placed came in 4th in her age group) and took a few pictures before heading back to transition to collect our bikes, helmets, and other miscellaneous stuff.  There was some talk of going out to brunch, but we all decided that we smelled too bad to subject anyone to sitting anywhere near us!

The Du Crew

Overall, it was a great event.  The race director did a great job working around and compensating for the construction. The volunteers were great (and plentiful). The course was beautiful.  This event is definitely on my short list of possibilities for the 2013 season.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hangover (Hank Aaron State Trail) 5k

I ran the Hangover Hank Aaron State Trail 5k this morning.

And this is what I tweeted on the way to the race:

But, before I recap the race, I should probably rewind to how this 5k became the Hangover 5k.  Last night, Mr. R&R and I went out to Balzac to indulge a serious craving for duck nachos.

Perfection on a Platter
Along with the duck nachos we split an order of Ahi Tuna Tartare...and a bottle of Viognier.

While we sipped and snacked, Mr. R&R mentioned that he was going to run the Hank Aaron 5k on Saturday morning and suggested that I join him.  A quick glance at my phone revealed that the weather was going to be a cool and breezy 62 degrees when the gun went off at 8:30am, so in my wine-softened state, I enthusiastically agreed.  Clearly, I am an idiot!

We got home around midnight and I slammed a glass of water and proceeded to get approximately 3 1/2 hours of broken sleep before the alarm went off at 6AM.

I stumbled into the shower, into my race clothes, and out the door; all while trying to ignore the fact that I felt puke-y.  I immediately scurried back into the house to add another layer - 59 degrees felt COLD!

Freezing and hungover - NOT a good combination

My next tweet says it all:

We arrived at Miller Park (home of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team), registered, donned our race numbers and timing chips, and dropped off all out extraneous stuff at the car.

D-Tag Timing

 I was originally going to run in shorts and a long sleeved shirt, but as the morning wore on, I made a last minute decision to switch to a short sleeved shirt.  It turned out to be a very good decision.

The Plan

The Reality

We worked our way into the starting corral, observed a moment of silence for victims of a senseless act of violence that occurred last weekend, listened to a truly dreadful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and finally the gun went off.

As soon as I started running, the puke-y feeling disappeared as I focused all my energy on finding a pace I could stick with since I knew there was no way I could run anywhere near my PR pace from last summer.  The first mile was awesome.  I ran about 2/3 of it with the Mayor of Milwaukee before he drifted back and then I met a truly awesome pace rabbit.  When the Mayor backed off, another man fell in next to me and began asking questions about the shirt I was wearing.  I was wearing the shirt from the 2008 edition of the Madison Half Marathon and it turns out that this guy (who was probably in his early 50's) is training for his first half.  We chatted about training plans, long runs, and the weather and I was surprised to see Mile 1 tick by in 9:22.  I bid farewell to my pace rabbit around Mile 1.5 and continued up a hill to the turnaround point.  I was feeling pretty good on the way back down the hill and noticed that there was a HUGE number of people still approaching the 1 Mile marker.  That never happens to me!  Mile 2 went by in 9:22.  I was stunned.  I never run even splits!  The last mile brought some unpleasantness. I was getting really warm and tired, and the course took a decidedly uphill turn. I tried to maintain a decent pace, but about a quarter of the way up the hill the nauseous feeling returned.  I ended up walking up the hill and trying to convince myself that I wasn't about to puke. Once I got to the top of the hill, I looked at my watch and realized that there was a very tiny chance that I could match or beat my PR, but it was really going to hurt.  I took a deep breathe and picked up the pace. I made one more turn and the finish line was in sight.  I dug down and sprinted in.  I gave it everything I had left and it wasn't quite enough.  My official finish time was 29:32 (Avg. Pace: 9:31/mile).  I'm not too unhappy about that.  I felt absolutely awful and still managed to come within 41 seconds of my personal best.  Not too shabby for being fueled by wine!

After I crossed the finish line, the pukey feeling returned full force.  I have never tossed my cookies after a race, but I came damn close today.  I knew then that I had definitely given it everything I had.  With the aid of a Sierra Mist, the feeling eventually passed and Mr. R&R (who PR'd by 5 seconds) and I crawled back to the car and went home.

Once I got home, I realized that the course had been just over the official 5k distance. I actually ran 3.14 miles today, which lowered my average pace to 9:24/mile!

After a shower and lunch, the official results became available online and here's what I learned:

Overall Place: 618/1701
Division (F30-34) Place: 25/104
Gender Place: 174/851

Oh, and my hungover self beat the Mayor!  His finishing time wasn't available (wonder if he ran bandit?), but Mr. R&R saw him cross the finish line several minutes after I did!  

I wouldn't recommend running a 5k (or any other race) hungover, but if you don't subscribe to the whole 'Do as I say, not as I do' idea, you might just out run the Mayor!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July Gone By

I think I say this every month, but the eff is it August already?   As the days tick by, my next race gets closer and closer and the next two weeks will be filled with intense preparation.  Meanwhile, let's look back over June and July's training numbers (since I completely failed at posting a June recap).

Distance: .25 miles
Time: Unknown

Distance: 0 miles
 -These numbers are a result of my delusions that I could possibly do a triathlon this season.  I'm not actually training in this discipline, so any amount of time/distance spent in the water is really just icing on the cake.

Distance: 112.54 miles (over 9 rides)
Time: 8:41:12
Avg. Speed: 13.0 mph
Avg. Cadence: 63rpm

Distance: 98.43 miles (over 10 rides)
Time: 7:03:35
Avg. Speed: 13.9mph
Avg. Cadence: 64rpm

-I fell off the mileage a little in July, but my speed increased and so did my cadence.  Both still need to be better, but I'm definitely feeling more confident on the bike and I'm really happy that I upgraded to clipless pedals!

Distance: 10.14 miles

Distance: 28.90 miles

-Obviously I failed at racking up anything that resembled decent mileage in June and I started to make a comeback in July.  It's been unbearably hot here for the last two months (multiple days over 100 degrees and humidity readings that made even sitting outside feel like I was trying to breathe under water), but I'm starting to find the ability to suck it up and run anyway.  My favorite running experience of the last two months was definitely the Warrior Dash

Next up: The Shoreline Duathlon on August 18th.  It's a 2 mile run, 22 mile bike, 2 mile cross-country run. This should be interesting!

Until then, I'll leave you with something my Twitter buddy, Cez, made for me: