Do the Du

2nd triathlon of the season- done! Well, sort of.  We have gotten a lot of rain in Virginia…I mean, a LOT.  So, the river was 10 feet higher than normal and the swim was changed to a run.  I’ve never done a duathlon before so I was really excited at this change- in spite of the fact that the run is now my weakest discipline.

After packet pickup, I spent the afternoon mulling over my game plan. I suddenly wanted to go all out on the first .9 run and then just see how it went the rest of the time.  Well, just a couple hours later I get an email from my coach asking how trashed she thinks my legs would be if I tried the first run all out.  I was like- we’ll find out because that was how I was thinking of doing it, too! So, that was the plan for race day!

Here I am right at the start. My husband and daughter came to watch me and luckily ran over to snag a “before” pic because I had completely forgotten to take a selfie.  I never forget! Look how cute this Smashfest Queen one piece is! I was so pumped to wear it, even though there was no swim.  And, of course, my favorite BOCO Gear visor to match.

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I don’t normally warmup at every single race, but to go all out, I couldn’t skip it.  So, I dropped off my stuff at transition and did a half mile to get warmed up.  I think I could’ve used a little more, but it didn’t really matter because pretty much as soon as the wave started, it bottlenecked.  I have this awful habit of being like “oh pish posh, I’m so slow I should be in the back.” I did it in my half ironman swim, too, and had to spend a lot of the swim trying to get around people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not winning any awards any time soon, but I was looking to do a mile in the early to mid 8s so should have been farther up than I was.  So, I got stuck trotting back a bit.  The run was through the woods on this narrowish trail and then a little after the halfway point found the paved trail then dumped out onto the street that lead into transition. It wasn’t until about halfway through the run when I was able to pass on the side and dart forward.  It ended up still not being a bad effort at about a 9:08 mile pace.  I love this picture because I was so focused I didn’t see the camera.

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Next up, the bike!  This bike course is kind of neat because you basically spend a lot of time climbing in the first half (leading up to a crucially steep hill) and then can fly down the second half.  I spent my time trying to kick it the best I could up until the terribly steep climb so that I would already “be ahead” on the way back down since I have a bad habit of being brake-happy on downhills. I didn’t this time and hit a speed of almost 35mph heading back down the steep hill. It was super scary, and I can’t believe I didn’t brake at all.  Worth mentioning- right before I got to the big climb, about 20 feet ahead of me, I spied what I thought was a frog. As I came closer and rode past I realized- IT WAS A FROG-SIZED SPIDER.  Horrifying.  Last year on this course I averaged 15.6mph which was pretty quick for me at the time.  This year, 17.5mph.  Over the course of the year I have managed to improve nearly 2 mph! The climbing half was about 16.5mph and the descending half was about 19mph! I was so excited.  A time improvement of about 7.5 minutes.

The last run is where this whole story gets a little weak, though.  It was hot.  And humid.  As soon as I started running I was dragging.  The run is like 70% trails so as soon as you entered the woods it’s like this corridor of trapped, terrible air.  No matter how hard I tried to push and push I just couldn’t move any faster.  I had walked a LOT last year so my brain finally settled on the goal to “run the entire time”.  Ended up with a 32:48…about 50 seconds worse than last year and probably my worst 5k in the last two years. But, albeit slowly, I had run the entire time.

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I did manage a last-minute “kill” coming in to the finish line. Luckily, both my husband and the finish line photographer managed to grab evidence of this effort! Thanks, whoever you are, for the last second boost of energy!

The Robious Landing Triathlon is such a fun race and so well put together.  Thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard at the event, and thank you to the race director and everyone involved in planning for making the swim decision so quickly and substituting the run so seamlessly.  I will definitely be back again next year….hopefully with an even more improved time!

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