The highlight of the weekend is the 1/2 marathon, for which I have signed up and will be discussing at a later date. There are a couple of reasons I call it the highlight:
- It really is the main event
- Thousands of people sign up for it
- It's only one of two of these events in the area
- I hate it with a passion, making it all that much more popular with the masses
In the past, I would have written up a full preview of the race. One of the nice things about the race director is that they didn't change much, meaning I don't have to re-write a preview for a race I previewed in the past since that preview would probably have been exactly the same as the last preview. You can read it here.
I am kind of a procrastinator. And, since I don't have a lot of money coupled with loosely doing the paycheck-to-paycheck thing, I didn't actually sign up for the race until this recent Tuesday. They shut down online registration allowing me to forgo the Active.com fee in exchange for gas money.
I show up, fill out the form, and hand it to the nice girl responsible for taking forms. She reads it over and checks my data. Then she looks at me and says, "Please give me money in the form of cash or check." I was dumbfounded.
Finally, with real money in hand (I had forgotten what that felt like), I was ready to start over. I hand my form back to the same girl, show her the cash, and she goes to work. She re-checks everything, asks for my ID and fills out her required information. This is complete with misspelling my name on my bib and the race results had a second spelling, still incorrect, of my name. I, however, was not tricked. I still believed that the bib was mine and the race results sort of matched the Garmin.
It was a bit chilly at 7:00 am race morning. Last year, I remember complaining about the sub-40º temps at race time. The normal overnight low is 41 so I shouldn't have had much to complain about. This year, the temps were 29º, very near the record low set back in the Ice Age known as the late 70s.
I saw several people walking with life preservers towards the river. There are a few races that I have done in the past aided by a river current but I suspect that life preservers will not make you a faster swimmer. Wetsuits do that. I saw no one with a wetsuit. That's when I remembered that there was no swim for this race. Duathletes don't like the water.
Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing in these events. I've done a grand total of 3 du's in the past. The first was a triathlon that canceled the swim due to unsafe weather. Rather than skip the first leg of the race completely, they forced us to run. It did not go well. The second was a race in the fall of 2010 which was a Formula 1 duathlon, which meant R-B-R-B-R. I did that race at the encouragement of the Wife, who wanted me to join the trail run. When given the choice to multi-sport or not to multi-sport, I'm picking an event with a bike. My third du was this race last year.
They let the paddlers, teams, and ladies start in earlier waves saving the Banter and the rest of the boys for last. Disclaimer: I <think> I understand why race directors do this. I still don't like it. I'd prefer to start the fast people first, then the medium people, followed by the slow people. Races don't seem to do this format. One on the reasons I don't like it was that there was this awkward 3 minutes when the race was just a bunch of dudes standing around in the cold wearing tights. Again. Awkward.
I decided to follow Alan and Keith. They looked like runners. We meandered through the running path, which was a great!! place to hold a race. There were a couple of bridges and many, many people from the earlier waves to navigate around (a sore point from both the passers and the passees). Keith and Alan were nice and kept me at roughly a 6:45 pace. My run time was a 21:29 or roughly a 45 second improvement on a year ago. Thanks guys.
This is where the trouble started. See, I am a selectively pansy athlete. I don't mind 30º and running. In fact, I rather enjoy it. Now that I'm all sweaty and gross, I have to bike. If it were in the 70s, I wouldn't think twice about it. Today, I thought long and hard. "I'll take care of you. I have my ways." said the Ego Gene. The Pansy Gene relented.
During the Pansy/ Ego negotiations, the two genes compromised that I would be allowed to put on a jacket and gloves during the bike ride. I don't really own a nice riding jacket, so I did what every warm-blooded American would do in my situation... I stole one from the Wife. She doesn't really have one either but she has several running jackets. Since she is a bit smaller than me, her clothes fit tightly. I did struggle getting her jacket on. No, not because of the fit, but because women's clothing is backwards. The zipper was on the wrong side.
The extra clothes, a wardrobe malfunction, and the team duathletes blocking space next to me caused for an exceptionally slow T1 time. My 45 second lead on last year's race was negated.
Went well. I was faster than last year. It was cold. There's not much more to say.
Okay, I did pass many, many people. I got passed by no one. Now, there's not much more to say.
Fine. The roads were awesome. So were the cops and volunteers. Satisfied?
Someone moved my shoes and placed a bag in front of my bike spot. Taking off sweaty bike gloves was more complicated than anticipated. Stripping out of the Wife's jacket proved just as difficult as getting in to it. My running shoes were kicked (possibly by me or my bike, I'll have to check the video). After all of that, it didn't do too bad. No where near the debacle that was called Transition 1.
The second run of the day sent us out in the opposite direction as the first. As a bonus, it was a different course than Run 1. That fact kept the course new and fun. As a double bonus, it was shorter. Only 2.8 miles of the proposed 3.1. Last year, I was a bit grumpy about shortened distance. I'm a year older and able to look a gift horse in the quadriceps (which is where I was felling the pressure).
Around the 1.75 mile mark, I developed a stomach problem. Let me give you an idea on what I was going through. Take your left hand and place it on your belly so that your thumb is right in the middle and touching your ribs. Now, notice where your pinky finger is located. Lastly, take a sharp object, jamb it into your flesh just below your pinky finger, and twist it repeatedly. I had that except that the sharp object was working its way out instead of in.
I got passed by 4 people on the run, which wasn't bad considering the circumstances. I was able to run through the embryo scene from Alien and still manage a decent run time. Sure, it was a little slower than last year but I am not unhappy.
I was tied for 26th place overall and 25th individual. There was a team competition and one teams beat me and one posted the exact same finish time. In my age group, I was 8th. Last year, I was in 25th place (posted pretty much the exact same time) and was in 4th place AG. People my age are getting better. I'd better get to work.