You may have already read my Instagram version of a duathlon race recap:
Sometimes you need a bumpy road to shift gears.
👆This is not a metaphor.
Eight miles into my ride when I began to settle on “this is not my day” I hit a bump in the road, causing my bike to shift into the big ring—where it should have been from the start! My left shifter was pointed upwards, I was puzzled by my abnormally high cadence & thought it was just the headwind slowing me down.
Once properly geared I “collected some cookies” and was able to ride 20+ mph, finishing with the fastest female bike split.
A little more about the race, it was a 2 mile run, 20 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run in Dousman, WI. They call it a 20 mile bike ride, but every year I’ve participated the 20 mile marker is at least a half a mile from T2. My Garmin has recorded it as 20.7 and 20.5. I raced this one in 2017 and 2018, and have set a course PR each time. It’s a fun, after Ironman, short distance event to throw down my all-out efforts. This year I PR’ed by four minutes!
2017: 16;23, 1:25, 1;05:51, 1:15, 18:51 = 1:43:48
2018: 15:00, 1:34, 1:04:54, ???, 15:31 = 1:37:54 (T2 is not listed on their results link)
2019: 14:37, :56, 1:01:20, 0:42, 15:51 = 1:33:27
Above listed in order: Run, T1, Bike, T2, Run, total finish time.
The thing I really want to remember and share from my race day experience this year is: do not make any outcome decisions early on in the race. I went into the race with a gutsy goal of trying to place as an overall female winner, I was sixth after the first run and due to my gear mishap I wasn’t able to easily pick anyone off in the first half of the bike ride. When my bike rattled itself back into the big ring I got into plot-twist mode and went for it, slowly picking off a few of the women ahead of me. I didn’t know it at the time, but learning later that I had the fastest female bike split was proof of this lesson. Don’t settle early on, give it your all until the finish line.
In the second run two females passed me, seemly easy as I was hyena-breathing and doing all I could to hold on. It’s just two miles, pull your shit together! Getting passed could have made me crumble, pull back and wonder why bother. But instead I decided “who knows?” I had no idea what their age group was and that was enough to keep me moving as fast as possible. In the last quarter of a mile there’s a slight right turn before the finish chute, giving me an opportunity to peek at who might be behind me. Two other females. Seriously, run, do not regret the last tenth of a mile!
I made it to the finish line as fifth overall woman and first in 35-39 age group.
I also need to take a moment to toot my horn about the these fast(for me) 2-mile splits:
Run 1: 7:09, 7:37
Run 2: 8:07, 7:49
What I am discovering about racing at a competitive level is how kind the athletes are during and after the race. When I was passed in the second run the woman said “good job”. It’s amazing how nice that feels when it happens. I’m glad she wasn’t hyena breathing like me and could say it. At the finish one of the women ahead of me took the time to say “great race” and we chatted a bit about the course.
I’m also happy to absorb race day mishaps as more positive learning experiences. Every race is a chance for me to train my head to stay in a good place. For so many years I raced in a bad headspace. I often beat myself up and wondered “why bother?”. Now I’m motivated by competition with myself, and the race field. I’m hungry to keep pushing not only my limits, but what society says I can or can’t accomplish as I create my own road map.