Saturday, September 12, 2009

Harvest Moon Long Course Duathlon - Race Report

9/11/09 - First a thanks to all the service men and women in the US for all their sacrifices!

Gear was mostly packed, but I didn't have time to load the car before work, so I left work a tad early to get home, load the car and make it up to Aurora for packet pickup. The interstate was a little slow-going, but it's been worse. Made it to my exit in about an hour. Then it took me at least 5 minutes to get off the interstate. I-225 and Parker Rd must be a popular exit on a Friday evening! Then it took me at least another 15 minutes to get to the Red Lion Hotel - the map shows that it's right off the interstate, but what you don't see is that the access is via a service road. That was a bit frustrating, since I really had to pee! But I found the hotel, then found the bathroom. Then got my race packet - back to the car in less than 10 minutes. Goodie bag was pretty sweet - t-shirt, headsweats visor, 24oz water bottle, plenty of samples and coupons.

Headed a couple miles up the road to the hotel I found for $51 on It was one of those extended stay places so it had a small kitchen. Checked in and then drove around to find a place to eat. Plenty of chain places to choose from - I picked Boston Market. After my belly was happy I went back to the hotel to get my race stuff ready. Got all my nutrition bottles ready and put them in the fridge, put my race number on the bike (#705) and packed everything I would need in transition. Put lace locks on my shoes - first time using these instead of elastic laces, but I think I figured out how to use them! I was in bed by about 9:30 - set my alarm. Good thing I double checked it, as I set it for 5:45 when I needed to get up by 4:45am to leave by 5:45!
Slept relatively well for pre-race night. Woke up a few times, it seems people go in and out at all hours in this place.

Race day - 9/12/09
4:30am I'm awake so I might as well get up. Feeling pretty well rested and some of the back of the throat congestion that I'd had the last couple days was mostly gone. good. Breakfast was oatmeal with peanut butter and a banana. When I took my bottles out of the fridge and they were frozen! Not competely solid, but enough to not be good when it is 50 degrees or less out and the high might not even hit 60! So thank goodness for the mini-kitchen sink and some warm water. Got 'em thawed enough pretty quickly. phew. 5:45am I had the car packed up and headed to the Aurora Reservior. Very little traffic so I made good time - that is until the turn to the park. The gate didn't open until 6am (I got there at 6:05) and there was only one entrance that I know of, so you can imagine the line of cars for ~600 racers. Another 15-20 minutes later I had a front row parking space to transition. Don't think I'd ever been that close before!

Transition is set, got my timing chip and body marked. It is cold! (my girls heart rockets illuminite jacket kept me warm!) The race staff announced the water was 66 degrees. That would feel warm to all those swimming, as the air temp couldn't have been more than 50. Glad I wasn't swimming! The du start was in the last wave, about 35 minutes after transition closed, so we hung out by the port-o-potties (the race staff said to meet there - pretty convenient, I'd say!) Chatted up a little with the other duathletes and tried to keep warm!

Run 1 - 5k
Official time: 25:37 (8:16 pace)
run rank - (8/21 females, 21/38 overall)
GPS data
We started a few hundred yards up the path from transition. A guy on a mountain bike was our lead. I was wearing my TNT kit (purple, black and green) and my bright blue arm warmers, all under a white long sleeve tech tee. Got a tad warm, but really not to bad! HR probably a bit high, I meant to take this leg ~8:30-8:45 pace, but the pace felt good so I went with it. Also I had set up my GPS for auto multisport and for some reason it had the first sport as 'other' instead of running, so it gave me speed and not pace. I don't know about you, but I didn't feel like converting 7.1mph or whatever it was in a race! Caught up to a few people and hit T1.

T1: 1:14
Fastest transition of all the women! Oh yeah!
Took off my long sleeve shirt, put on my bike helmet, decided against the gloves, grabbed my bike and jogged to the bike start. nothing eventful here.

Bike - 56 miles
3:02:55 (18.4 mph)
Bike Rank (6/20 females, 14/37 overall)
GPS File
Since I've been training for the marathon, I've not spent as much time as I would like on the bike. Been on a few long rides, but not as much as I would like, and I've not done any bike-run bricks. So...time to "take it easy" on the bike leg as much as I could. Focus for the bike leg:
1) get the HR back down
2) nutrition - eat and drink!

Started drinking right away, went through my aerodrink in the first hour and also ate about a third of a clif bar. Perpetuem would be my main source of calories, and I had spiked it with endurolytes. Took a couple endurolytes every hour and that certainly gelped my calves when I felt they were cramping.
The first 12 or so miles of the course contain long rolling hills on an out-and-back along Quincy Ave. Heading out was nice with a tailwind. Heading back wasn't so nice, but not awful. Then we turned north and it was a nice gradual downhill. I looked at my average speed over the course and I was ~19mph. Once we crossed over I-70 (thanks to the cops monitoring that intersection!) we turned east. At mile 30 I was near 19.7mph average! way faster than I was planning, but it wasn't taking much effort. I was also more comfortable by this point in the aerobars. When it's windy and the roads aren't the best, I prefer being in the drops. Something to work on! Aid station #2, around mile 30 I ask for water - I was going to top off my aerodrink that I filled with bottle#2 on the bike. I taste it and it's watermelon HEED. Don't mind that, but I wanted water. I also didn't toss my empty bottle, so I pitch this new one. The roads start to get bumpy with expansion cracks and I get heed all over myself. yay. water wouldn't have been sticky. oh well. Though when I look back, I should have tossed the empty bottle and kept the HEED. On one part of the road, a garbage truck slows behind bikers and doesn't want to pass. Of all vehicles to get stuck behind!

We turn south and the hills and wind are a bit more noticable. Got to gain that elevation back somehow. This road was awful with the expansion cracks. Saw a lot of people fixing flats. Very glad I wasn't one of them! More HEED splashing on me, so I better drink up! Still sipping my perpetuem, too.

With about 20 miles left, we turn west onto Quincy again. And let the fun begin. Long rollers with overall elevation gain. So much for spinning on some of these hills and also gaining momentum on the downhills. Some were OK, but others got the big *URG!* Maybe should have dropped into the small chainring, but with compact gearing, I didn't want to and was stubborn. At mile 45 we hit aid stationg #3 - I ask for water but all they had was gatorade! Boo! So didn't quite take in enough fluids on this bike. But due to the cooler weather, I had to pee! How frustrating to fight headwinds uphill and have to pee. Oh well. On the road back into the reservoir, I finally do shift down to my small chain ring to spin out the last mile. Then I hit transition - decided to just unclip instead of taking my feet out of the shoes - because I had to pee and also wouldn't have gotten the feet out in time.

T2: 1:10 - fastest T2 of the women! score!
Tried to go fast!!! About pulled my quad getting my right shoe on (lace locks aren't quite the same as elastic laces!) But I got my shoes on, got my hat and grabbed my fuel belt. Headed out of transition and went straight to the port-o-potty! And did I have to go! but the port-o-potties were outside the timing mats so it's part of my run time.

Run 2 - 13.1 miles
2:02:22 (9:21 pace)
GPS file
Run Rank (5/20 women, 12/35 overall)
After my bladder was now empty, I headed out. Temps were still cool and still overcast. My plan was to run 8:45ish, then 8:30, then 8:15, then finish the last few miles with 8:00. Would have been nice to do a 1:50. Not in the cards today. I sipped on my HEED from my fuel belt at the start, then took a gel at mile 1 (water from aid station). Mile 2 I took a couple endurolytes. Was checking pace, usually between 8:55 and 8:35 - not bad. Mile 4 in ~36min, so that would be 9:00pace, took another gel. My hands were a tad swollen, then I realized I had an elastic hair tie around my left wrist. hmmm. also get cold, red hands easily (Reynaud's) so could be related? Found it hard to get my heart rate/breathing under control. My legs felt fine, but needed more air. I hit the turnaround at about an hour into the run. Ok, time to pick it up. Or not. Just couldn't seem to get below a 9:00pace, even though I'd just been running uphill at the faster pace. The 2nd half felt a lot more downhill, but my legs were just not cooperating. Kept up with the endurolytes every few aid stations, and gel at mile 9. The time on the course passed quickly, but the little rollers on the run (and the big rollers on the bike) must have taken their toll. I'm sure I could have had more to drink. I went through ~12 oz heed and then maybe 12-16oz of water with my gels and endurolytes. Probably not enough. My right hip (IT related) also started to tighten up. And my quads. I was feeling my quads! Really slowed down mile 11-12, but then saw the short downhill to the finish line so at least I crossed the finish line with a strong pace.

Final Time 5:33:16
Overall Ranking : 2/6 in age group, 5/20 female, 11/35 overall
Got my finisher's shot glass, a bottle of water and then walked back to transition. Packed the bike and my stuff in the car, got my change of clothes, and then the rain started. Stretched a little, but decided to head home. Stopped in Castle Rock for some Chick-fil-A and got a stuffed cow from the staff. They asked how my day was, so I told them what I just did. Guess I earned a cow! woohoo!

General race comments:
I didn't taper for this race, and am coming off a 40 mile run week last week, which is a lot for me. After the race I'm at 46 for this week. I haven't been on the bike much, let alone long bike-run bricks and could definitely feel the cardiovascular system. Though I didn't do as well getting what I hope to be my marathon pace in October on the run, I did get some really good training miles in! This is a good race with a difficult course. Weather can be hit or miss due to the September timing.