Sunday, May 1, 2011

Race Review and Results- Flower City Duathlon

First- A public service announcement. You may have noticed that Tri-Banter has a new look. Every once in a while, I like to change things up a bit. This is normally externally motivated. In this case, it was a rant by The Wife. She was (literally) yelling at her computer about people who's webpages have black backgrounds with white fonts and how it migraines her. She may have blurted out something about, "... and that's the reason I don't read your blog." I'm skeptical. I am sure there are many reasons she not a follower, I can at least resolve the background problem.

Now, on with your regularly scheduled blog post.

This weekend marked the first time I've done 2 races in the same weekend. This is the first in the series, the Flower City Duathlon, Part One of the Double. I had some lofty goals for this race and I may have set myself up for failure. As with any failure, I need a scapegoat. Therefore, I thought of a list of reasons why I would do bad even before the race began. There are lots of reasons I came up with for a poor performance.
  • I've only ridden the bike outside 3 times this year.
  • 3 days ago, it rained while riding. 2 days ago, I had to clean off the rain gunk and goo. In doing so, I pulled a muscle in my back.
  • I was so distracted by the woman's race winner that I swallowed my tongue as she ran by in her pink shirt and lycra shorts.
  • The racetime start temperature was lower than my normal threshold for biking.
  • I was distraught that the race organizers had to cancel the paddle-triathlon. All those competitors magically became duathletes and my race grew in size.
  • I had not put on my race wheels.
  • I am a pansy
  • I was over-rested. Due to the back problem, I did not exercise on Thursday or Friday. My legs were not ready for the effort.
  • I was under-rested. I did not go to sleep until about 11:00 pm, which is a good 90 min after my normal bedtime. Couple that with the earlier wake-up
  • Still, even with the early wake up, I did not get out of bed until 5:30, which was only 2 hours before race time
  • Because I woke up so close to race time, I couldn't eat much. I didn't want my stomach bogged down with slushy goo. I maybe had 500 calories.
  • I hate duathlons. I miss the swim. Therefore, I had a bad attitude going into the event (especially when you add in the all the other bullets)
Each of the above is completely true. Each of the above is completely valid. Any one, or a combination (depending on the seriousness), of them could be used in the event of crappiness. Here's how the day panned out.

I did get up from a groggy nap at 5:30. I spent most of my evening neurotically packing the car with the necessities of the race. Bike. Race belt. Rubbing the pulled muscle in my back. Blah blah blah. Everything except for the clothes I was going to wear to the race and my bike shoes. The bike shoes were still wet from being stuck in a torrential down pour during Wednesday's training ride. I had hoped to get in a 20 miler but mother nature laughed at me in her own way with horizontal rain and winds on 40 mph gusting to 55. It was a good way to practice bike handling skills and get in a good forearm workout (IE hanging on for your life). The shoes were placed in the basement in front of a fan. They dried out by morning.

Race time temperature was a whopping 38ยบ. If you ignored the thermometer, the day was as beautiful as it could get. Sunny. Slight breeze out of the north. A couple of fluffy clouds scattered in a backdrop of blue. Good running weather.

My run goal of the day was a 7:30 pace for the entirety. That meant hitting a 5k in under 22:00. The second wave of the race went off a full 3 minutes after mine. It took the lead runners all the way until mile 2 to catch me. Despite their awesomeness to my suckiness, I was able to hold a 7:20 pace. My time: 22:17. If you are good with numbers, you'd know that I'm giving you conflicting data. The problem was that the early session was not a 5k. It was more like a 5K + 400 yards. That makes my run 1 time all that much better. So far, so good. I'm on target and ahead of schedule.

I felt like I was painfully slow in T1. Run shoes off. Bike shoes on. Ear covers. Helmet. Sunglasses. Gloves. Run away. I accomplished all of that in about 90 seconds. I should have done it in under 50. I knew I had a few seconds to space on my goal time and therefore was in no real hurry.

On to the bike. Good mount. Good cadence. I was able to hold just under 21 mph for the ride (thank goodness I changed that goal). There was an unexpected stretch of about 7 miles that was straight into the wind the entire time. It was during this stretch when I was passed by 3 of the 4 guys that were going to pass me. They were all wearing aero helmets and had disk wheels. It's possible that they were better bikers than me. But, since I'm in the mood of making excuses, I'm blaming their equipment.

T2 was a bit better than T1. I had to undo everything I did on the way out. I left the shoes on the bike and did a flying dismount. I kept on my gloves and ear things to slowly remove during the run. With speed laces, I was able to slip on my Mirages. When I compare my T2 times with the field, I was rather efficient at 53 seconds.

Run 2 surprised me. Since I had very little calories on the day (I took an additional 100 calories along with some water on the bike), I was expecting to die at any time. Death did not come for me. In fact, quite the opposite. I felt great. There were a couple of hills that ascended up to 8 feet while going over river bridges. One of the hills may have been as great as 10 feet. They were intimidating. (I know that sarcasm is difficult to write, but you had to have caught that one, right?) It was near the last hill that I got chicked. She flew by and I was helpless to her prowess on more than one level. Still, I was able to hold a 7:00 pace. Negative splits on the day. YES! My R2 time was 19:28. Again, if you are an amateur mathematician, you'd get that there is something askew in my numbers. This 5k was a good 400 yards less at 2.81 miles. I guess they needed balance. Aside: The Garmin, in its infinite wisdom, had my average moving pace way fast. Maybe I'll start training for the record.
The Pros for the Race
  • Good time of year (woohoo, first multisport event!)
  • Well organized (good transition area, good finishers area, good venue, parking a bit further but plentiful)
  • Nice courses for both the runs and bike (good path, good roads, bad cow smell at one point but that's not their fault)
  • Food spread post race (cookies, fruit, and hot dogs. Seemed a bit early for hot dogs but I was ravenous)
  • Awesome volunteers (I can't say enough about these good people. They control traffic, hand out water, steal timing chips from sweaty, dripping monkeys. They are the heart and soul of these races and better people than me.)
The Cons for the Race
  • Temperature (When will RDs figure out how to control the weather?)
  • Different distances in the runs (I'd prefer the consistency)
  • Worst Swag Ever (Nothing. We got nothing except one lousy coupon and a bunch of advertisements for other races. Oh, and a grocery bag.)
  • Race Results (The pdf gave name, age, run, transitions, bike, overall time, and for some reason USAT status on the report. No places except overall. No paces. Better results include a breakdown in each category of your overall place, gender place, and age group place. They tell you the official pace in min/ mile for the run and mph for the bike.)
  • Tearing down transition before racers finished (Even though my bike was out long before this point, there were many bikes and such in the transition area when they broke down the fences. I understand that you guys want to go home, but how is that secure for the late finishers? Wait a little bit more, please.)
Springer's Banter's Final Thoughts
I will, most likely, do this race again next year. I am guessing that the race organizers will have figured out how to control the temperature a little bit better. Plus, if the record books have anything to say, spring of 2012 is guaranteed to be dryer, warmer, and more biking friendly.

I wanted a sub- 1:45 for the race. I clocked a 1:42.09, making this my Flower City Duathlon PR (yes, this was my first attempt, thanks for pointing that out). I finished in the top 25 overall (read, I was 25th). I was 4th in my age group. All of my excuses for a bad performance were not necessary and I hate it when I do unnecessary work. To live and learn. Due to that effort, they gave me a nice metal pail with a marigold (which The Wife is allergic and refused to accept). They also gave all those who crossed the line a nice "finisher's medal."
(Short rant here but I find that, for a race this distance, finishers medals to all is a bit silly. I don't feel it was that special of an accomplishment. By handing everyone who finished a medal, it sort of dilutes it. We all got t-shirts. Did we really need medals too? Sure, there are those that disagree with me. Personally, I think that making a reward challenging and not giving it to everyone makes it all that much more special when you do earn it. Either that or spend less money on medals and give out more swag, which for some reason, seems better. End Rant).

Stay tuned. The Flower City Half Marathon Race and Results soon to follow.

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