Thursday, April 28, 2011

Race Preview- Flower City Double

Up next on my calendar includes a whole weekend of racing. 

The Duathlon
First, on Saturday, is the Flower City Duathlon. This multisport event is a 5k run/20 mile bike/5k run and my first attempt at this race. Truth be told, I really dislike duathlons. For 1, I am perplexed how they are sanctioned by the USAT (rant on this topic later). They should be governed by the USAD, but alas, this organization does not exist. For 2, my perplexity leads to my real distaste, no swim. In the Flower City defense, it's a tad bit chilly here and not many of us are willing to do an open water swim at this time of year. We could swim in a pool, but not me (again, later rant). Regardless, my multisport strengths are swim, bike, run, in that order. Remove my top strength, replace it with my worst leg and my athletic edge drops significantly.

Despite my emotional state, I look forward to the race. I made the goal of hitting 7:30 mile pace for these events and my recent training tells me that this goal is achievable. My fear in this race, ironically, is focused on the bike. Since I do not recommend cold weather biking, I haven't gotten the bike out of the basement much this season. I have no barometer as to my bike fitness or speed. I haven't allowed a lack of data to stop me from setting goals in the past and I can't see why I'd let it start now. Therefore, based on last season's data, I want a minimum of +20 mph (originally I thought 22 mph, but seriously, I have no idea and I'd prefer to set myself up for success).

I am hoping to finish the entire RBR in 1 hour and 45 minutes. This gives time for 7:30s all around, finishing the bike under an hour, and transitions. I am allotting time for putting on gloves and cold weather gear. The overnight low is projected in the upper 30s- low 40s. With a 7:30 am start, I doubt it'll be much warmer than that race time.

The Half-Marathon
2010 Race Splits
On Sunday, the Flower City Half-Marathon is slated for its second appearance in on my race calendar. The race is sanctioned by USATF at 13.1 miles. My Garmin, a year ago, placed the jaunt at a bit longer, confirmed by several others with Garmins. Apparently, the USATF santioning guy uses a non-Garmin GPS type technology. Loser. Last year, I had an average pace of 7:39 over the course of 13.3 Garmin miles. 

The run hits several of the communities of our town. The most challenging hitting around the 6.5 mile mark through the 8 mile mark. The challenge of this stretch is 2 fold. First, the hills. It's got some steep rollers going up quickly to more than 125 feet (horrifying). The rest of the run is almost completely flat. Second, the stretch is through Historic Mount Hope Cemetery. If you are not creeped out by running through the graveyard, you might be tempted to stop and look for the famous dead people. Some of the infamous resting here are Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb (the Bausch & Lomb guys).
There's a cemetery buried in those hills.
I hope to improve on my time from a year ago. At 7:30 pace, I hope to finish in under 1:38 or a 4 minute gain. Last year, only 2 spits chimed in at under 7:30, not including the sprint to the end.

The Plan
If you read my last race preview and results post, you'd know that I had a plan and totally biffed it. Despite not adhering to my plan, I still achieved my goals. I am hesitant to make a new plan for this weekend but habit is trumping good sense. Since practice makes perfect and I'm not one to allow a minor failure to barricade me from trying, I'm going for a more strategic and less prescriptive approach.

In the duathlon
  • Focus on my goal pace and ignore the others around
  • Don't hammer on the bike. (Ok, hammer a little, I might will be cold)
  • Even if I'm feeling great and people are passing me, focus on my pace
  • Just in case this wasn't clear, pace not place
In the Half
  • Conserve early, focus on pace (see a theme yet?)
  • Remember, my skills are downhill not uphill
  • After the cemetery, go for it
FYI- there is a funky triathlon associated with this weekend. Should you wish, you could opt out of the duathlon and do a run/ bike/ paddle. Not the fraternity house kind of paddling, but the canoeing/ kayaking kind. It's seems like a good time that I will not be doing. Mostly because I do not own nor have I trained on a canoe or kayak. Plus, the event still does not involve swimming. The race site is unclear if a run/ bike/ paddle is sanctioned by USAT or it's phantom, sister organization called the USAP (for paddle).  It is also unclear if you are allowed to bring your fishing pole on the boat.

Note: The race organizers are concerned about the volume of water passing through the Genessee  River. For those of you not living in the area, this may illustrate the kind of spring we are having here. A quote from the boss:
"Currently the water flow situation is as follows:
a. Average river flow for this time of season is 4620 cfs (cubic feet per second, which is about half a million pounds a second).
b. River flow for the event last year (April 24, 2010) was 1880 cfs.
c. Today’s flow is  up to 10,000 cfs and is expected to continue to increase. (to 11,000 or 12,000 cfs) (about 3 ft per second velocity)"
So, my weekend of sleeping in will be replaced by 19.3 non-Garmin miles of running, 20 miles of biking, and no swimming or paddling (which may not happen anyway). The race organizers promised a separate award category for participants who compete in both the Du and the Half. They call it the Double. I have absolutely no idea how many people this applies to or what sort of award they are offering. I'm guessing it'll be akin to a couple of slaps on the back, handshake, and a "Job well done!" which would put them near the top of the list for coolest race prizes. Check back in later, I'll give out a full review and let you know how things went.

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