Monday, June 28, 2010

Metlife Duathlon

2010 is the year of 3rd's, including the third year I've done the MetLife 'Race Around the World' Duathlon in Tinley Park.

The race consists of a 2 mile run, 11 mile bike, and finishing leg of another 2 mile run.

The race is conveniently held the same weekend the Marathon training group does a (small) 5 mile run, so I tend to take a pass on Saturday morning's run and get ready for race day on Sunday.

Jim's parents, Tricia and my parents come to watch this race. It's great to have their support.

I go through a cycle of emotions with this race - excitement, fear. Although I've placed in the top ten of my age division the last two years, I'll still think of the short running distances and worry that I can't compete with my slower run times.

But, the key to the duathlon is the bike. Somehow I forget that.

Jim's been competing in this race for a number of years, including taking home 1st in his age division the last few years. He's the one that talked me in to signing up for the race shortly after he'd talked me in to the road bike.

Jim's all about getting to the race early. Like, three hours early. The bike racks are set up around 5:00 and sometimes he's the first one there. Getting a prime position on the bike rack (preferably an end) is ideal. For the most part, I've followed suit in getting there early(er) as well. Once you've set up your bike, you can watch as others come with their bikes and size up the competition.

In general, my thought process is something like this:
The more expensive the bike the more likely I'll be beat.
A roadbike in general = direct competition
Mountain bike? I'll be passing you soon enough.

Then the race starts - It's done in waves - Men under 40, then over. Women under 40, then over, then teams. Each with a two to three minute gap in between.

I'd say I tend to be towards the end-of-the-middle part of the pack, maintaining around a 9:15-9:30 mile.

Coming in to the transition, I can't wait to get on the bike. I tend to ride hard from the get go. I pass many on the 11 mile ride. I pass by some of the younger guys who had a 4 to 6 minute start on me. I tell myself the better lead I can get on the bike, the better off I'll be when I get off of it.

By the time I'm out of the second transition, Jim's already finished with the race - and I have a two mile run ahead of me. It takes a few minutes to get your land legs back from the bike. At this point in the race you just have to push though.

This year had was hot at the start. People were breathing hard coming up on the first mile. Coming back in to transition, I was concerned about the heat myself. I figured getting some wind on my face would help. Shortly after jumping on the bike, clouds moved in and the wind picked up. Toward the end of the ride, it looked as if the skies were going to open up any minute. I was riding harder thinking of how bad it would be to be stuck on the bike in a downpour. Luckily, I made it in to T2 and was out running for a few minutes before the storm moved in. The last mile was a complete downpour.

2008 and 2009's finishing time were within :30 of each other, right around 1:17. This year, with the crazy weather as my excuse, I came in a little more than a minute behind at 1:18:54. [13th in my age division]

No comments: