Sunday, August 02, 2009

My first duathlon!

Although by the end we were all so wet it might have well have stayed a tri. Philadelphia had some pretty bad thunderstorms this morning. The first started around 7am, right when I should have been getting out of my car and getting my bike to transition. The thunder and lightning didn't actually produce much rain at this time, so I got my stuff and rode down, got my body marked, got set up in transition. Then the first (of many) downpours. Luckily there was a really nice woman two bikes down with a big umbrella, and she shared it with me. We chatted, turns out it was her first triathlon, her family thinks she's a little nuts for doing it, she was nervous, and she liked me giving her a little pep talk. Unfortunately for her her best sport is swimming. And after keeping us hanging until about 8:15 (race start time was 8:00), race officials canceled the swim. Now, I was not unhappy with that at all, but I know a lot of women were, and I feel badly that so many first timers can't quite call themselves triathletes yet (including my umbrella friend). But, with all the branches and debris floating in the Schuylkill, plus that whole lightning thing, I was happy.

So the course for the Philadelphia Danskin/SheROX Triathlon was now starting out with a 1.5 mile run. Nice! I was wave 10 (out of 16), so it was still like another hour til I started. I knew I was going to be hungry...I didn't bank on the start being delayed by an hour plus. Oh well. While I was watching the other waves start the run, in the first was a little girl (8, 9 tops) with a prosthetic leg (the cool running kind!) who I think was part of a relay team. She was running with an adult woman who also had the same prosthetic leg. It was cool! I passed her in the second run and had to tell her she was amazing. There was another little girl with a regular prosthetic leg, and an older (maybe teenager, maybe 20s?) girl with two regular prosthetics. It was neat that they were competing, although I think it's too bad there weren't more was a little weird that the 2 little girls were the only 2 kids in the whole thing.

My results.

Run 1: 1.5 miles, out and back. I set up very near the front of the group, and stayed with the first 9 people for probably half a mile. Then I slowed a little, but I did push this one and finished in 11:27 (7:38 pace), although I didn't have a watch and didn't know my times til I got home. Still, I figured it was a sub-8 pace, it hurt.

T1: Although I didn't let myself walk (it was a ways from the chip mat to my bike), I did take it easy to try to catch my breath! Had to change shoes, everything was muddy. I was slow.

Bike: Yay! So I love the bike part. Tris (and now dus) are the only time I ever race my bike, and I just love it. The course was 2 loops, fairly flat but with 2 good hills and some other smaller grades. There were plenty of nice bikes out there, lots of bikes with tri bars (and a few bikes with baskets on the front too!), but not many fast riders. The first loop, I was not passed by anyone and pretty much passed everyone. It was really annoying that a number of riders did not stay right and I had to yell and slow down a few times. I felt super hungry (I had one Gu I took in transition) but around mile 4 I settled down and felt stronger. It started raining around mile 6 or so. I NEVER ride in the rain, but it was awesome!! The second loop, I hear someone behind me say, "On your left." My immediate reaction was,"WTF?" and I sped up. Then I looked to see who it was, and in a glance I knew she was allowed to pass me. We actually rode side by side a few times and chatted, nice woman. And faster than I, and though I meant to remember her number so I could check her time, I don't. I almost dropped my chain on a hill, and was passed as I settled down and reshifted, but I passed her back easily enough (though she remembered me in Run 2, we chatted, and she passed me then!). Then there was some 23 year old chick on a neon green bike who passed me. We leap frogged for a bit, I was really annoyed at her (come on, she had sneakers and cages, she should NOT have passed me), but I did realize that she was on her first loop, so that made me feel slightly better, as she eventually stayed ahead. There were a number of crashes on the course. It was slippery, raining, there were lots of turns (and turnarounds), and a couple downhills. I would have had much more fun and gone faster had I a) not had to avoid crashes (including one woman sprawled in the middle of the road halfway down a hill around a curve...ugly), b) not had to slow to avoid slow people riding on the left, and c) not remembered that I drove Fred's car to Philly and had to have 4 working limbs to drive a stickshift. Anyway, 15.5 miles, 51:03, 18.2mph. I had secretly hoped for 20mph, but that might have been a little unrealistic in the best conditions, which these weren't.

T2. Why am I so slow?? I had to pour water out of my running shoes, and I couldn't get my right bike shoe off for the longest time.

Run 2: 5k. At this point, I am happy with what I've done, and as long as I don't walk in the 5k, I will consider it a success. Way to set the bar low! But seriously, I was there for the bike. And my 5k time reflects that! 30:01 (9:41 pace). Not even the progressively worse (and, frankly, scary) thunder and lightning could get my brain to force my legs to move faster til the very end. And it seemed everyone was slow, as very few people passed me even at that pace (and with wave starts, it's not like all the fast people were already finished). As I was coming into the chute, I heard them announcing that the officials were closing the course, not letting anyone else start the run, and presumably not letting everyone who had started finish. So at least I can say I finished the duathlon, some people not only lost the tri but also the du! Bummer, but the weather was totally scary.

I bee-lined for my bike to get the hell out of there, but before I could (remember how slow I am in transition!!) TORRENTS of rain started coming down. Seriously, I have never been outside in rain like that. There were lots of spectators (many with small kids) whom I felt really sorry for, and I was super glad Fred and Andra stayed home (and had a great time, by the way!). The walk/ride back to my car (I saw a big tree branch crack and fall on a car) was miserable...rivers of water running down the road, standing water in the roads, hail-sized drops (but luckily no actual hail).

For me the downside of today was that with the closed course I have no way to know how I ranked. The results appeared to place me #303 out of 1000+, but after looking at it more closely I realized that that is not accurate as some people's times were calculated with an incomplete 5k (meaning, if they were 3 minutes into the 5k when the course closed, their total time counts thier 5k time as 3 minutes making them appear super fast even though they didn't get to finish the race), and I think that those in the later waves who didn't even get to start the 5k weren't given finishing times at all. I wish they had also not given finishing times to those who didn't finish the 5k so at least I could see how I did compared to those who were able to finish (though again, it would've been a mix of fast and slow, and I'm sure there were fast people in the last waves who were cut off).

BUT, I like duathlons! I knew I would.


Debbie Martin-Consani said...

Well done, Clare. Sounds like quite an adventure. Actually with all that rain, it sounds like Scotland :-)

Natalie D said...

You did great - what a crazy day for a tri/duathlon!!

Angela and David Kidd said...

Sounds like an epic day. Congrats on surviving those conditions, and more importantly, finishing.

I love du's as well. I wish there were more of them.

Leah said...

It was an epic day for racing! Congrats on finishing in such adverse conditions! Sunday I was also doing a tri-turned-du about an hour north of Philly and we had the same problems. But I've never felt so proud of a finish.

Nice job!

X-Country2 said...

Congrats on your first du! What a crazy race report. Bummer that the weather didn't cooperate. Sounds like you were ready to race.

I have so much to learn on the bike if I want to take this tri business serious. I'd love to be as confident and strong as you. :o)

ValleyWriter said...

Awesome! Sounds like a fun, albeit crazy day. You never cease to inspire me!

Mnowac said...

Congrats on your first Du! i've always wanted to try one. Sounds like it was a tough day to be out racing.

D10 said...

Nice job out there. Sorry to hear about the bad weather, that really stinks. But, at least you got to finish.