Sunday, June 15, 2014

Holiday Lake Triathlon and Iowa City Duathlon...Racing Back to Back

Not the ideal setup, but I raced two events last weekend.

Holiday Lake Triathlon

The past two years I've participated in the Holiday Lake Triathlon.  It's such a great event.  The money raised goes back to the Holiday Lake community, and therefore the community really helps out to put on the race.  They also have a great selection of post-race food, including pizza!  The start time is 9am, which allows for a little sleeping in.  In previous years we've taken the camper up (we can camp there for free), but since we wouldn't be staying Saturday night I just drove over myself.  Thankfully one of the people organizing the event, Ebe, is a friend and has in-laws that live on the lake who are VERY nice and let me crash at their house.  The race site is only an hour from our house, but it's nice to not have to rush in the morning and make the long drive.

The race is pretty small with about 100 total registered with only 25 being women.  With so few women, it wasn't too difficult to figure out the competition.  With Jenny Lorenz only swimming and biking due to a injury, I figured I just needed to stay ahead of her and I was good.

I'm trying to do better at getting in a decent warmup before races.  Today consisted of a half mile run, 15 min bike, and I swam the course.

There are two swim waves for the race.  The first was men with the second being women and teams.  I lined up a away from the rope so I wouldn't get caught up in it.  Next to the rope was a former swim teammate from high school, Eric Greving.  As I'm sprinting the first 100 yards or so I realize I should have started next to him so I could draft.  But, it didn't matter as I passed him before we got to the turnaround.

Jenny heading out on the bike.

Out on the bike I kept an eye on Jenny.  The route heads east out of the lake area, then south for about 5 miles, turns around and leads north past the turn to the lake, then turns around again to head back south towards the lake (kind of like a T with transition being at the bottom of the T).  This gave me two chances to see where the women were.  It looked like Jenny was keeping the same distance, but I was gaining a decent amount of time on the others, so kept my watts in check for pretty much the entire bike...with one exception.  A few miles before the second turnaround I caught and pass one of the men.  Shortly after that he passed me, I passed him, he passed me again, and I made my final pass and push to keep ahead of him.  By the turnaround I had gained almost 30 seconds in those few miles.  I'm guessing he didn't like being passed by a chick on a pink bike.

I saw Jenny's runner (and Ebe's son), Sage, in T2 waiting for her to arrive.  We talked a bit, and I let him know she wasn't far behind me.  He was super excited to be racing, and it was pretty cool to see a kid that young running the 5k.

Sage and Ebe.  Love the mini Gear West uniform!

The run is full of short, steep hills.  I cruised through the first half, and counted back to see where I stood.  I saw Sage before any other women.  With the duathlon being the next day, I took it pretty easy to the finish line.  Ended up in first place by over 4 minutes.  Good stuff!

Final descent to the finish line.
Ebe and I with our awards at his awesome post-race party!

Iowa City Duathlon

I knew the Iowa City Duathlon was going to be a tough race going into it.   It's a series of three races with this one being the second.  For the first one at Macbride I came in second place.  The first (Jen) and third (Joanna) place women were also racing, and didn't have a race the previous day.  The Iowa City race had a longer bike and shorter run, which was an advantage for me as Jen is an amazing runner but I can out-bike her.  Joanna just got a new bike and has increased her speed to the point that she's right with me.

My warmup was about a 20min bike followed by a 5min run with Joanna to check out the north side of the run course.  Not much soreness going on.

The first run was a 2-mile all-out sprint for most people.  I held back a little not knowing how my body was going to handle everything.  As I was heading into T1 Jen was already out on her bike and Joanna was at her bike.  

The bike is 20 miles as two 5-mile out and backs.  With the last run being the same distance as the first run (2 miles), when you get to mile 10 of the bike the race is exactly half way done.  At the first turnaround at mile 5 Jen was still pretty far ahead and it looked like I was catching Joanna, but it was very slow going.  For the next 5 miles I wondered if I even had a shot at passing either of them, but I didn't give up.  Just as I approached the half-way point of the bike, I passed Joanna and just after that passed Jen.  All 3 of us were within seconds of each other and were were exactly at the half-way point of the race.  Things just got interesting.  I hoped my endurance was better than theirs.  I spent the final 10 miles of the bike trying to gain as much time as I could on both of them.  Joanna and I traded places a few times, but I was finally able to pull away, but not by much.

Getting ready to!

Joanna was heading into T2 as I was changing shoes.  I didn't see Jen until I was out on the run course, but knew she could still catch me.  I spent the final 2 miles running scared.    The run is a big loop around the lake, so no chance to see how things are going behind me.  With about a half mile to go I saw Jen's husband, Jeff, waiting for her.  Just after I went by him I thought I heard him cheering for Jen, so assumed she wasn't far behind.  I picked up the pace to whatever I had left in me....and, it was enough!  I crossed the finish line, looked back, and I had plenty of time to spare (26 seconds to be exact).  I saw Joanna with Jen so close behind her and closing the gap!  I yelled at Joanna to GO!!  She made it across the finish in second place with Jen only 3 seconds back.  

It's rare that I wear my garmin in a race, but had done so for this one.  It was fun to see my exact paces for the two runs.  The average pace for the first run was 6:38.  For the second run, my average pace was 6:32 pace over the 2 miles and 6:07 pace for the last half mile.  On the bike, my watts for each 5 mile segment were were 198 (don't think I have a chance of catching), 211 (I'm actually catching them!), 203 (passing took a bit out of me), and 205 (need a bigger gap!).

Overall I'm extremely happy with this race.  I was able to negative split the two runs, and the negative split the second run.  My watts for the duathlon were the same as the Pigman triathlon, even with a 5 mile longer course and racing the day prior.  In the past I've mentally given up too early, and I didn't do that.  Today hurt, but it was so much fun at the same time.  Can't wait for my next challenge!

Women's Overall Podium

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