Saturday, May 7, 2016

Falls Duathlon 2016 Race Recap

Falls Duathlon 2016 Race Recap

Hey there! Just popping in to do a quick recap of a quick and fun race last weekend!  There are always good stories that come out of races and this one definitely had a few highlights!

 The Falls Duathlon in Cannon Falls had been on my radar for the last couple of months, but I held off registering early due to the inevitably variable and sometimes dicey weather this time of year.  I had heard reports of rain, wind, and even sleet at this race and for a warm weather-loving girl -- this sounded miserable! Running in the wet and cold? Tolerable. But biking? No thanks!  However, the weatherman predicted the rain would hold off the morning of the race and in a stroke of luck, I found out a few days before that several friends were planning on going, including RBM!  Fantastic!  With no pressure to win (with RBM there is no competition!), I thought it’d be a lot of fun to see some friends and see what my legs could do in a short race!  And in even better luck -- my mom, sister, and two nephews could make it to come spectate!  Having them stay with me the night before and being able to look for them on the course always makes the whole experience that much better. #nighttimecuddlesforthewin

 The 2 mile run,14 mile bike, 3 mile run course was intimidating.  While I had some pace goals in mind, I knew that with these shorter distances there would be no chances to ‘get comfortable’ and it would be a push the whole way! Not to mention I was going to have to try to keep up with the predicted competition!  RBM (a machine of a pro) and Jenn S. (a nationally well-decorated duathlete soon to be pro) would be no one to mess with!

Race Morning

 With a forecast of 40-45 degrees and clouds, I made a last minute purchase of knee warmers and was happy not be be chilly at all while setting up - a great buy!  After chatting with friends and other competitors setting up in transition (and drinking my good luck beet juice), we were off to the start line before I knew it.
RBM, Peter, me, and Dale excited to start!

Run 1

 The first mile clicked by a bit faster than I was expecting, but I was feeling pretty good. Nevertheless, I was fine with slowing slightly the second mile and was happy entering transition not too far behind RBM and the lead guys still in sight.

Clearing having a horrible time.

The Bike

 The out and back bike course had us battling the wind on the way out and flying in on the way back!  I tried to keep RBM and Peter in my sights, but could tell they were gaining on me, so I settled for holding my own going back and forth with another male (wearing wildly colored shorts on a road bike -- I was not going to let this guy get me!). The cooler temps were making my hands a bit stiff and it was getting hard to shift toward the end, but I managed to push the right buttons my Garmin (barely) and came off the bike still the second female. I knew Jenn S. wasn’t too far behind, so it was time to hold that lead on the last run!  
Bike Start

Transition 2

 Unfortunately, this is where the most excitement happened.  All I needed to do was simply remove my sunglasses and helmet and get my run shoes on.  It turns out; however, numb fingers do not function normally (or at all) and I spent almost the next two minutes! trying to unclip my chinstrap and get my helmet off!  This may not sound like a long time, but when you’re standing completely still fumbling with competitors flying by, it feels like an eternity!  My mom’s cheer progression mirrored the growing frustration and hilarity of the situation perfectly: “Way to go, Ruth’s only 2 minutes ahead!”... “You’re ok, take a deep breath and pinch!”... “Can you pull the whole thing off over your head?”...  “Geez! Just run with it on!!!”  Finally, a life-saving spectator yelled at a volunteer in the transition area to help, and after a quick snap, I was free and took off just in time to see Jenn S. come flying in off her bike!
"Get this thing off me."

Run 2

 I flew out of transition trying not to swear too loudly and slapped a high-five to my nicely mittened sister and nephews (not jealous at all...).  My goal was to hold the best pace I could knowing it would be over shortly.  I had fun seeing how the race was unfolding in the front of me thanks to the out and back course and being able to watch everyone at the turnaround.  RBM was flying and not surprisingly picking off all the boys and I got a good shout of encouragement to “push it” by Peter - and I needed it!  I was a little tentative given how my legs felt in my last ‘my legs tried to fall off’ run in Texas, but I was able to manage negative splits and had some juice to kick it into the finish.  
I <3 Running.
 Crossing the finish line and rehashing the details of the race was a blast and I was ecstatic to set a female amateur course record.  Mostly I was happy with a strong finish and to gain a little confidence back.  I’m excited for my upcoming season and am hoping to continue having the time of my life.  Even when things get hard, I remember how much I truly love pushing myself and seeing what it brings.

Yes, I finally got my hands in those mittens.
Best spectators ever!
*Note 1: Although I was gaining ground on him during the last the run, the wildly colored shorts guy must have retained his finger dexterity and didn’t waste precious minutes in transition, out-doing me by a mere 8 seconds in the end.  Hoping we cross paths for some redemption soon!  

*Note 2: Bananas and a Costco-sized jar of peanut butter should be served after every race. Thank you Final Stretch and Gear West for superb refueling! :)