Sunday, August 8, 2010

Race Result: Columbus (Nebraska) Duathlon

Event: Columbus Duathlon
Date: Saturday, August 7
Location: Columbus, Nebraska
Results: Results

Personal results

Goal: 01:00:11
Actual: 00:57:54
Overall: 5th (68 total); top 7.4%
Overall Male Age Group (45-49): 1st (6 total)

The Recap

Something is up with my bike effort. Maybe it is I'm not a spring chicken any more. Maybe I'm over training. Maybe I need more bike speed workouts. Maybe I need a bike speed makeover. Maybe I need to see a sports psychologist. But with my run improved over this time last year, and my bike slipping...I'm not a happy camper. If any one has advice for me, please send me your thoughts, workouts, motivational speeches!

I've already checked out doing a bike speed makeover at Gear West. And I may well do that. But I'm already riding a 53 chain ring and not sure the move to a 55 is wise. Keep in mind I ride 650 wheels so moving to larger chain ring (or new cassette) may be the wise move....but I'm on the fence.

Add to this, I now am starting to dislike duathlons. At this time last year I was also lamenting how hard duathlons had become for me. Back in the late '80's when I first started indulging in multi-sport events, running was my passion and biking my new love. I jumped into any duathlon I could and excelled. Triathlons were the evil duty. I hated swimming. Swimming cut into the time I could be running or biking. And I sucked at the pool..I suppose that may have been the driving force at the time.

But over twenty years later, competing in triathlons has leap frogged my love of duathlons. I'm now estranged and dancing with a new partner one might say. So why?

In a duathlon, one basically runs the first leg as if that is the only event you are doing. By the time you get to the bike you are on fumes and by the time you get to the second run you are questioning your own sanity. That is, if you do duathlons like one should.....Prefontaine style.
'The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.' Steve Prefointaine
In Nebraska the first run was fine, albeit a bit too fast, but I was out for blood. Then I bonked on the bike with less than a mile to go and the second run was pure agony. This event hurt, and I wasn't even very good. To work so hard and not have a good result....not good for the ol' psyche.

I do recommend the event. It is tightly run, adheres to the schedule, and is f-l-a-t. I liked it. A good event for a rookie or seasoned pro. I recommend the Holiday Inn Express in Columbus should you consider the event for 2011.

Let's get into the race segments. Note - this was not a chipped event. Times were done by computer and race number with volunteers noting your bib number as you mounted your bike out of T1, hit the second run, and then finished. The official results do not include transition times. So, that is why I include my Garmin times. Feel free to visit to view this race via my Garmin results.

Run One - 2 miles (per race literature); 1.91 miles per Garmin
Goal - 13:00 (6:30 per mile pace)
Actual Time - 11:38 (6:06 per mile pace); Garmin time 11:39 (6:06 per mile pace)
Overall Rank - 4th (68 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (6 total)

Here's a secret. I wanted to go sub six minutes per mile on the opening run. I knew my chances would be slim, but why set a goal that is easily achieved? A true goal should be tinged with impossibility written all over it.

The weeks preceding this event my run training was going well. And I had done a Mario Minelli taper. I mean, I cut waaaayyyy back on my workouts. I had a extended warmup and the legs felt very good. I was feeling very much like a caged animal by the time I was toeing the starting line. And for a while, it seemed like I could do it. I could average sub six minute miles.

The run course at Columbus is about 1/3 on paved road and 2/3's on a gravel path. I raised an eyebrow at this the night before when I was checking out the course. But the event is put on to raise money for the Columbus Area Recreational Trails organization so it made perfect sense to include part of the trail system. And truth be told, I rather enjoyed it. It took some pounding off the old legs.

I hit the turn-around at the one mile mark at 5:50. This was a quick glance and I failed to make note of the actual distance so it could have been a hair short of a true one mile, especially since the Garmin registered 1.91 miles for the first run. I lost some speed on the way back but was still picking off people who had gone out too fast. To be frank, I thought I had my goal in the bag the only thing throwing me off was the actual run distance. Oh well. To run that close to sub six for me was probably the highlight of the day. It gives me confidence going into the upcoming fall running race season. This is because I still hope to go below 19-mins for a 5K (6:06 per mile) and below 40-minutes for a 10K (6:26 per mile) yet this year. See impossible goal reference above.

Goal - 1:00
Actual Time - 1:13 (Garmin)

The transition area was similar to the setup at Cornman. A single row of bike racks curved along one area, in this case a traffic island.

Transition was uneventful, save for feeling totally gassed. I sipped some of my HEED mix from my bikes water bottle before unracking, if only to calm myself just a tad and mentally get the HR under control.

Bike - 12 miles (per race literature); 11.26 miles per Garmin
Goal - 31:51 (22.6 MPH)
Actual Time - 32:55 (includes transitions); Garmin time 30:34 (22.1 MPH)
Overall Rank - 8th (68 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (6 total)

I drove the course the night before and took video with my phone. The course was out-and-back so the video only shows the return from the turn-around point. Watch if you have 6:30 minutes to spare...or are curious on the course and want to consider for 2011.

The bike started out well. I was averaging 23.4 MPH for the first quarter of the bike leg. I picked off a small group of four riders shortly before the first turn leading to the main part of the course. My confidence was building. But it didn't stay. I offer no excuses. The wind did pick up and was stronger than expected but it wasn't gale force and really should not have bothered me. But by the time I reached the turn-around my speed had fallen to just over 22 MPH average.

I kept composed thinking that with the wind now over my right shoulder I should be able to raise my speed back in the neighborhood of 23 MPH average. It just didn't happen. I got passed by two riders before we turned back for home. And now we were going directly into the wind. I was truly gassed and for abut 45-seconds considered mailing in the rest of the race. But I didn't drive 450-miles to just give up. And I could see the two riders who had passed me were struggling as well. So I kept at it.

Again, I'm just not sure what is going on with my recent bike efforts. But I'll try to rectify it before my next two triathlons.

Goal - 1:00
Actual Time - 1:14 (Garmin)

Nothing of note. It was starting to get warm. I was glad I had picked out a spot in the shade!

Run One - 2 miles (per race literature); 1.90 miles per Garmin
Goal - 13:20 (6:40 per mile pace)
Actual Time - 13:19 (includes transition); Garmin time 13:11 (6:57 per mile pace)
Overall Rank - 6th (68 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (6 total)

I had to keep reminding myself I only had to run for two miles and it was over. I marked a group ahead of me and made an effort to close the gap. However as I alluded to earlier in this summary, this second run was really starting to hurt. I had closed the gap a bit by the time I hit the turn-around, but I didn't have anything left in the tank to draw on.

With about 300-yards to go, I was 75-yards behind one runner. I thought about just letting him go and not making an effort to pass. Out of some dark recess of my mind came the urge to suck it up and go. So I went for it and went up one more position. I was sprinting but the legs were not at all striding easily. The legs were dead. This was a personal pat on the back, to at least dig deep for one more effort. Otherwise, I would have been fighting that demon all the way home.

For my efforts, I did strike gold. A nice healthy sized gold medal to be exact. Here I am with race director Jason Buss who was very patient with all my inquiries and questions leading up to the event. One does not drive 900 miles RT without first making inquiries.

And since the medal wasn't in the shot, here it is. Again, medal of substantial size, unusual for an event of this size:

Next Event: Young Life Triathlon (sprint event) in Detroit Lakes, MN on Saturday, August 21, 2010.



Mario said...

Did I read two re-caps combined as one? You didn't have a good race, but comparing apples to apples, you were 1st, 2nd, and
1st in your AG (Run, Bike, Run)in your AG with an AG win; 5th overall; you had enough to 'kick it' near the very end; and you beat you goal time by over 2 minutes. You don't necessarily need a psychologist, but you do need to consider other factors and look at this objectively (good thing I was a psych major and consider myself objective). First off, your 'feelings'(mental and physical) about how the race went/pain you suffered during it are inconsistent with reality. Reality being your results. If you felt great, had no problem with the 'kick' at the end, and the result was the same, you'd probably be happy with it, right? About Tapering... I wish I could take credit for the "Mario Minelli" taper, but the way I taper is the way almost ALL training sources/coaches advise--difference being is that not many people actually follow the advise. I look at it as a license to take time off, but mentally knowing that I am getting stronger. Tapering is planned recovery/re-strengthening. Mentally, that is hard for people to deal with and believe. They just can't believe the fact that resting is when you improve--not during the training. That being said, tapers don't always work or the timing doesn't land right. Another thing is that you drove how far? That does something to the mind and body. I think your result would have been the same even if the race was out your front door, but you would have different feelings about it.

I would suggest that you now take a week off of tri/du training, and do other forms of exercise (yoga, eliptical, trail hiking, etc). This will give you a physical break from the repetitive training of the same-ole-same-ole and a mental weight will be lifted off your back. You can get a fresh start next week.

Also, read again how Chisago vs. Waseca went for me. Yes, Waseca was baby food compared to Chisago, but Chisago was an 'A' race, Waseca was a race after doing pretty much nothing all week. Timing...

Columbus Duathlon said...

Thank you so much for driving all the way from MN to Columbus, NE for our event!

Your training blog is a great resource for triathletes and duathletes, I love the detail! Surely this information will help us as we strive to improve the event year after year.

Thanks again for racing with us!

Jason Buss
Race Director

Mario said...

That was my 'reality' based comment. Here's my 'guy' comment.

Congrats! You killed it! You better be feeling like crap after that sweet finish. Quit being a whiner you sissy. Get a 6 pack, make your boy fetch em till they're gone and hide out in the man-cave tonight, watching some MMA or UFC shit on versus.

bwheat said...

First of all congrats!! On kicking cornhusker butt! As far as your bike is concerned, all I can say is getting old sucks. I feel your pain. Although, if we as atheletes were satified with our times we wouldn't seek improvement and just be mediocre. If we wanted to be average we wouldn't be doing these events to start with.