Yep, I Suppose I Still Make “Dumb” Decisions

OC Tri Duathlon
June 3, 2018 – Mission Viejo, CA
Masters 40-44 – 1st – 1:58:15 (3rd Overall)

Run 1 (2K) = 8:08
T1 = 1:47
Bike (40K) = 1:02:01
T2 = 2:00
Run 2 (10K) = 44:18

I had originally thought of doing this duathlon a few months ago, but opted not too since it conflicted–or so I thought–with the SCNCA State TT Championships. Well, about a week before the race, I found out that it was on Sun., not Sat.–as I had originally thought. Hmmm…why not do both? I had only run 4 times, since January, so how hard could it be! Ummm, yeah…

The first run was only 2K, so I knew that would be a breeze. Despite the TT the day before, I had done Santiago Canyon so many times over the years that I wasn’t worried about the bike. The big question mark would be the transitions and the second run, which was a hilly 10K.

I didn’t get back from the TT until Sat. afternoon, so I had a little time to pick up my race packet, get my bike ready, run to the Pearl Izumi Outlet, and finish packing before getting up at 5 AM the next morning. One interesting thing about this race is that it has separate T1 and T2s about 2 miles apart. Thus, I needed 2 pairs of running shoes., and have T2 set up on Sat.

I didn’t get much sleep either Fri. or Sat. night, so I was running on pure adrenaline Sun. morning. Thankfully, I was able to park near the start and get T1 set up quickly. I didn’t do more than a 0.5 mile warm-up though. When the gun went off, I was grumbling at how heavy my legs felt. However, they loosened up during the first mile, and I kept it at a conversational pace (I was talking to a friend who was also competing). My T1 was less than stellar, and I was probably towards the end of bikes getting out onto the road.

At this point, my bike training took over. I knew exactly how much to push it up on the first climb, then cruise through the canyon. I knew my power was going to be low, which is exactly what I planned. I wanted to save my legs for the second run. After a few miles, I eventually caught all of the other racers on the course. The nice thing about the duathlon starting the same time as the tri was that we were on the road before the tri folks (aka, less crowded)

Coming into T2, I was first overall. However, I got passed by 2 other guys within the first mile. I was slower than they were in the transition and they started the run out faster. The first 2 miles of the run were a gradual downhill, which helped my legs muscles transition from bike to run mode. Things got “fun” (at least from this runner’s perspective), when the course hit the dirt trails. This is where we encountered our first hill. My years of XC running came back, and I passed the next runner. He eventually caught me when the route went downhill again, but I now had the first 2 runners in sight.

As the course zigzagged on some bike paths, I ended up getting lost because it wasn’t marked well enough. Thankfully, I wasn’t that far off and ended up losing only  a minute or so. Once I got back on course, I encountered the biggest hill. Yikes! I had done this climb on the bike before and wish I was riding it vs running. I looked down at my Garmin and was cursing that I was only going 10 min. pace. Again, years of pacing took over and I picked things up knowing I had <2 miles to go. The rest of the course wasn’t that hilly. At this point, my feet were killing me–mostly likely due to the speed laces.

The last 0.5 mile was all downhill, so I turned on the afterburners. I knew that I had third wrapped up, but wanted to break 2 hours. I was tired, but pretty jazzed when I finished. The second run took a toll on me, but it was a familiar feeling from years of racing.

After I finished, I chatted with the guys who beat me, saw a few friends finish, and stuck around for the awards. Overall, a great experience, and it got me interested in doing some more of these–though I actually need to train for them. Ironically, while I won Cat 4 in the State TT Championships, I felt more proud about my duathlon result!

At the turnaround for the bike leg.
My second run. You can see the agony on my face.
I’m done! Happy with third place!

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