Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Smiths Falls Duathlon: In The Books!

Amy of Amy's Quest reminded me today that I really need to get on with blogging about my Duathlon.  I'd love to tell you that I was waiting on something, but I really wasn't.  I'm trying to heavily remind myself that it was the first of many and the only thing that matters is that I crossed the finish line.

Part of my Fit for What? page, when I finally get around to it, will mention the fact that the reason I turned the healthy eats and exercise engines on overdrive for the last 2 months was the fact that I had decided to do the Smiths Falls Classic Duathlon.   I knew I couldn't last 33k of biking and running if I wasn't at least 90% on my diet and exercise.  Though the goal was 100%.  I also knew that while I do like running, I needed a new goal to stir things up, and to be honest, the idea of a half marathon sounded more tortuous than fun.  So I choose to do the hometown duathlon.

On Friday night, Gregers and I loaded up the Mazerbatty and set off for Smiths Falls.  My nerves were starting to kick in, but the long drive (I drove) kept my mind off things.  And to be honest, I was just scared the bikes were going to fly off on the 401.  Luckily, Greg distracted me just past Kingston with a lot of cursing in the passenger seat at 8:50pm.  Someone forgot his runner's in Toronto.  Whoops.

Luckily the race was on Sunday, so Saturday morning we trucked into Ottawa to pick up some new runners.  Unfortunately for my wallet, Running Room Merivale had these beauts in stock and I couldn't walk away from them.  I've been wearing Saucony Hurricanes for almost 8 years, and I can't pass up a pair that's my favourite colour!

Saturday, I spent some time out on my parents' deck with a bottle of water and a book, trying to get my nerves to settle.  I was jumpy and jittery.  Not only was I doing something new, but I was doing something new in my hometown.  I couldn't hide.  I couldn't fail.  My parent's were going to be able to watch me for the first time, and who knew who else I would run into?

I didn't sleep well the night before.  Saturday afternoon my dad had driven us the bike route so Greg could get a peek at the course, and I could figure out where the hills would be.  Unfortunately, that made me have nightmares about crashing down hills and not being able to get up others.

Soon enough, 7am came and it was time for us to get up, eat, and head over to Lower Reach Park.  I have to say, this was the first race that minimal morning of travel was involved, and I loved it.  It was great to know I had lots of time to compose and not be stuck driving, or bussing, or cabbing.

Tying up my shoes, I picked a spot to rack my bike, spread out my extra water and food, and wait.  Unfortunately, being that early meant that we had to wait about 45 minutes before the start.  Which was probably a good thing since it felt like every 10 min I had to pee.  Because it was such a small course, the line up for the bathroom was only 10 people and I was able to quickly get in and out when I needed to.


I knew the first 2.2k was going to be all mental.  I'm catching up on being a terrible runner over the last 2 years, and while my endurance is improving, my speed is only slowly catching up.  The problem with small races is that you can't hide.  If you're as slow as me, you'll probably be the last in the pack.  I started off running fast then I have in a long while, way too fast, and it was HOT.  I kept it up for the first km, and realized I needed to settle in before I destroyed my legs for the bike.  In doing so, I watched the person in front of me slowly get farther away, and it was Greg and I left at the back.  At this point, I'm almost ashamed to say the kids running the Wylie Run beat us.  That said, we did 2.2k in 14ish minutes, which beats what I had been training at by close to 3 minutes.
I slowed down, and walked into the transition area, grabbed a swig of water, and hoped on Minty.

 Just a couple k in, I passed by where I spent most of my summers, Old Slys Lockstation.  There were my parents, beaming, and the staff, including my old boss, Jack.  Inside jokes abound when you spend a lot of hot and sweaty hours working a manual lockstation, and as I passed I screamed "There's not I in Slys" with a huge grin on my face.  Not long after, Greg pronounced his need for a beer.

With that, I rounded onto the highway and started the worst part of the bike.  It was hot.  It was all pavement.  There was no shade in sight.  Just when I started to doubt myself on the bike, my parent's neighbours drove by honking and yelling.  Maybe doing a hometown race wasn't so bad.

Things got a bit tense as I crossed the Kilmarnock bridge and stared down the hill that I knew was going to be a breaking point, and cursed myself up it.  I should also mention that a few kilometers prior to this hill, the staggered Tri participants were starting to pass us, and my confidence was dipping.  Just a few more kilometres to the other highway I told myself, and that the last of the horrible hills were over.

At about the same spot, both Greg and I got into some trouble.  My right hip flexor seized and I started praying I could make it through the bike.  Luckily, changing my form helped out and I was okay.  Greg was not.  His calf started to spasm but he was a trooper and kept biking, and I didn't know til we hit the t-zone.

 As I climbed off Minty, my legs were jello.  I knew that I had to fight through it and just go for it.  I looked back and realized Greg was struggling, and for the first few 100 metres we tried to run.  Luckily for me I was staying apparently VERY safe, and totally forgot to take my helmet off, whoops!  I threw it on the ground and kept going.  But it wasn't looking good for Greg, every time he ran, his leg worsened.  I decided that we were in this together, and the two of us would walk it out if it took an hour and the finish line was already down.  Walk we did.

Just past 3.5k, we rounded a corner to again see my parents.  We may have been walking but they didn't care.  They were just happy to see me.  Some sweaty hugs later and we were off walking.

 Greg let me know that if I felt like I could run, to just do it, so I started counting pylons and running 4 walking 4.

I was about to start walking again when I realized that the photographer was just up ahead so I willed my legs to keep moving.  Just after, I started thinking about walking AGAIN, only to see a high school teacher cheering at the sidelines.  I was going to do this.  I was going to finish.  And I was going to do it again one day. 

Hot and sweaty, I didn't even want the food.  All I wanted was water, and a cold shower. 


And maybe a beer.  Or two.

Am I going to do it again?  Heck yes!  And it looks like Greg and I will have company as Amy has decided to join the Duathlon crew and hit up the Ottawa Fall Colours course!  I can't wait!  And I'm determined to do better.  The course is slightly shorter 2.8/16.2/3.1 but apparenly hillier.

Luckily, I've got a few months to plan! 

(Also, Amy, if you've made it this far, I'm planning on getting out another post soonish with what I'd do differently ;))

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