I woke up in no shape, and with no desire, to race. Can’t I just curl up on the couch instead? It was a local race, the first duathlon since July, and my last chance to race a duathlon before heading to France for the World Championships – so it was a no-brainer to go gut it out. I arrived at Speedwell Forge, just north of Lititz, and found a great number of YMCA volunteers with big smiles ready to help. I arrived at the best possible time to get a great spot in transition, and with plenty of time to warm up, as much as I didn’t want to. The temperature was mild, but with humidity at 100%, the air felt thick and I could almost feel what little energy I had escaping me. I knew in the back of my mind that once the race started, I wouldn’t have time to pay attention to how bad I felt, and would be able to turn out a good race. Now I just needed the race to start…
They sent us off on the first run and we looped around the transition before heading out onto the road, and a long gradual climb. I was right – I was feeling okay now and just had to race smart. 2 men quickly stole the lead, and were out of sight probably before the 1/2 mile mark! There was another male in between us, and I tried to keep him in sight. After a few more rollers, we turned right onto what appeared to be a fairly flat road, and I was so thankful for this. Even though I train on roads like this, I wasn’t feeling those early hills on the run today. Suddenly the road turns into a pretty steep downhill, which only meant one thing – we were coming back up. Although the gap from the guy in front of me grew, I made it into T1 in 4th place with an 18:35 split, and was happy to get on the bike…so I thought…
We headed out in the same direction of the run, but this time made a left turn. Then…climbing. My legs were not ready to cooperate after that run! I struggled up what seemed like an endless hill – and was happy to hit the steep descent on the other side only to come to a T and make a sharp left. Now we were onto a nice flat road and I tried to get into my rhythm. On this stretch the first guy passed me, but I tried not to let it get me down. Despite my lack of power that day, the bike course was actually great – we did two loops on some nice country roads which included some rollers, a couple of climbs where I got out of the saddle, and some technical turns. It definitely wasn’t my strongest bike, and I knew it was because I wasn’t feeling well, but as each guy passed me I felt more and more defeated. There were a few times where I felt like I was really riding strong, but they were always preceded and followed by periods where my legs just wouldn’t cooperate with what my mind was telling them. Frustrating, but we’ve all been there!
I came into T2 ready to get this 2nd run done and be finished! I quickly passed 2 of the guys who passed me on the bike, which lifted my spirits a bit. Once I climbed out of the valley and made the left for the last mile, the lead cyclist was waiting for me and rode beside me for a while and we chatted a bit. The distraction was helpful. I could then see where the next females were in the race, and knew that my gap was huge. And yes, I think that made me ease up a bit, as much as I hate to do that. Coming into the finish it was time to kick, but there was nothing left. Oh well, I made it! 1st overall female and 8th overall competitor for the day. I was feeling better than I had at the start, and confident that in the next 2 weeks, I would be ready for World’s!
Run 1 – 18:35
T1 – :23
Bike – 1:09:25
T2 – :24
Run 2 – 20:33