Sunday, November 2, 2003

NOVA Duathlon

So on November 2nd I ran the 7th annual NOVA Duathlon. The weather was perfect as a storm earlier in the week brought incredibly warm weather but alot of rain. This was my last race of the season and 2 month since my last race so I had to try hard to stay motivated. As with all of these, I apologize for the length I have waaaaay too much to say.

The Skinny:
Results can be seen here

The race was a 2.3 Mile Trail Run - 8.3 Mile Mountain Bike - 2.2 Mile Trail Run

I finished in 1:26:11 which shockingly was good enough for 2nd in 25-29, and 11th overall. Needless to say I was completley thrilled.

Pre Race:
Before the start of the race we were told this would be the last NOVA Duathlon at Wakefield park. Partially because people want to b3 able to walk their dogs in the park and not have bikes ride by them and partially because some of the course was vandalized between the saturday setup and the sunday race.

Run 1:
I ran with my friend John Julius (who just did his first marathon, MMC, in less than 4 hours...nice). The race started like all others that I have done with a lot of commotion, hooting and hollering. Oh wait that was just me, I guess that is why every race sounds the same. Started out the run with a really fast pace, at least for me, trying to keep up with John and those at the front of the pack. Somehow kept it going and felt strong, I was trying to not listen to my breathing which seemed a little heavy. John gets in front of me by this time and I am just trying to keep him close. As usual, yelling up to him trying to make it amusing.

Exited 14th. 1st transition was pretty fast. I really like putting my bike close to the exit of the transition area. Makes for a real quick getaway once you are set to go. Not too many people to avoid. I also started wearing my gloves on the run for one less thing to put on and worry about. All in all I liked that strategy. Anyone else have good advice?

It was a 3 loop race. They seemed to have you go up every hill on the Wakefield side of the park, I dont ever really remember going downhill at all...I that possible? The first lap was murder. The first time up the steep the powerline hill killed me for while. Not only did I fall off but I wasted my 2nd 3rd and 4th wind. I told myself that it had to get better, not really sure if I believed it. There was a bunch of mud and some of the mud puddles were pretty deep. For some reason I dont think that was mud I was smelling either...eww.

By the second lap I was hurting seriously. In my small chainring nearly all of the time. Some of the hills I was sure I could have walked up faster...but for me that wasn't the point. This was a bike race and and I was gunna ride those hills if it killed me. It almost did.

At this point I thought I was having the most awful race, I had been huffing and puffing on the bike. I felt like I was way in the back of the pack. I just wanted to finish strong and keep pushing myself as hard as I could. Trying to motivate myself I thought of everyone that had ever doubted me and basically finishing strong was how I would prove to them they were sooo wrong...ok, ok I was delirious at the time..but somehow I got my 35th wind and this one stuck. I was tired as hell, my head was hot, and my legs were burning, but I was still able to attack when I saw someone in front of me so I felt I should just go for it..I mean the offseason is across that finish line right?

When I got to the transition area and I only saw 10 or so bikes I thought something was wrong. This could not be? but who am I to argue so I threw on my shoes as fast as I could in case it was a dream. Exited the bike 12th. In passing I asked a spectator how many in front of me and he said about 10 or 11...maybe I wasn't dreaming....but damn are my leges tired.

Run 2:
My legs never fully got off the bike for the whole run. I had to just keep pushing, I past one guy right in the beginning offered some words of encouragement and kept running as if someone was chasing me...turns out quite a few people were. There were 2 painful hills on the run, one about 1/2 way through and one that leads up the finish line. The first hill I was defintely walking up although my body was making exaggerated running motions, but I assure you the pace was no faster than a walk.

After the hill I looked back over my shoulder and saw someone gaining on me. I was determined not to let him pass me. Keep pushing. Every few hundred meters I would look back over my shoulder and see him a bit closer. Keep pushing. At this point I thought my legs were not even part of my body, maybe they were remote controlled. In the clearing before the final hill he was not 10 feet behind me. All sorts of thought are in my head. NO way can I shake him now, in fact chances are real good he'll pass me, I was sure he would. We hit the last hill and I give it everything I've got. I hear him right on my heels but I can't look anymore I just put my head down and try sprinting up the rest of the hill but my legs wont go any faster. Keep pushing. Finally I see the finish line and glance over my shoulder and realize that I put about 30 feet between us by the top of the hill and I cross the finish line not sure if I will be able to stand much longer.

After about 5 minutes I regained my ability to walk and talk and breath at the same time and start congratulating finshers and cheering bike-to-run transitioners. The weather was great, the race was great, fun course, and really nice people. The post race euphoria is excellent though and one of the more addictive parts of the whole process for me.

This was my second Triathlantic race that I have done and all in all I think they do a good job organizing these races, collecting split times, marking the course etc. Oh and the post race tuna salad is great :-)

thanks for enduring.