Week 14 brought my season opener. I hit training really hard Monday through Wednesday. I had run 27 miles, biked 86 including intervals on Tuesday and the toughest 50 mile group ride I can remember. We started the group ride with 45 in the "A" group and I was in the lead group of 5 at the finish but it took a HUGE effort and left my legs quivering on Thursday. I had my biggest swim in a long time Tuesday at 4,600 yards with a main set I call "Goal 50's" where I swim 30x50 on 1:00 and have to hold under a goal time or take an extra minute rest before continuing. I was alone which normally leads to slightly slower times for myself. I wanted to hit all under 38 and was sure I'd have to take the extra minute a couple times through the set. I started fast in 35...too fast. I was still holding 36's through #15 but then slipped to 37. With 10 to go I dug deep to avoid anything showing 38 and I was able to complete the set without having to take the extra minute. I had my lowest weigh in since last July after the group ride when I saw 156 on the scale. Thursday-Saturday was terrible. I barely trained and did not fuel well...understatement. Saturday night my legs were logs and I knew I needed to get a run in with some fast efforts to try to shake out the stiffness. I set the alarm for 5:05 AM and hoped to be out the door heading for Lake McBride (near Solon, IA) by 5:30 on Sunday morning for a duathlon. The duathlon is put on by Just go Faster race productions and has a nice incentive thrown in by Scheels. They have 3 races as part of a series with points accumulated at each one. The series winner gets $1,000.00.
Sunday morning I awoke to a dream that someone made a big iHope donation...I won't say who...but obviously my mind was on trying to place well enough to make some money for this foundation I am passionately racing for this year. Awarding 2 gifts to children this year and seeing how it can make a TREMENDOUS impact on their lives has me inspired to race well enough to make more money for the foundation so we can continue to change lives. I shut the alarm off and had a quick breakfast and loaded the car. I then had to grab my "mapquest" directions. Yes, you saw that right. A few weeks back I was thinking with my iPhone 5 I would never need mapquest again. I even checked earlier in the week and Siri was able to find me directions to Lake McBride upon my request. Unfortunately Friday was AIM (Adolescents in Motion) day at our school and my group went disc golfing in the morning. I borrowed a disc from a student in our group and proceeded to throw the disc into Duck Creek on hole # 3 which parallels the creek. I suck at this game. I felt terrible for losing this kids disc so I said I would go into the creek and get it. The problem was that I forgot my iPhone was in my pocket and Siri got "mad pissed" when I entered the water and decided never to work again. I tried the rice trick and when I attempted to turn it on my poor phone gave one last breath and has been gone without a heartbeat ever since. I am back to the LG Rumor Touch that I used from 2002-2007. It's a pretty sweet phone...but I lost all my contacts. Anyways...back to the race.
Mapquest got me to the race site. Due to lightning in the area the race got delayed about 25 minutes. The duathlon consisted of a 2.5 mile run on trails, 18 mile bike ride, and 5k run again on trails.
RUN 1- I always try to stay near the front on the first run but never want to go too fast on the first run in a duathlon. I won't try to build a big lead on run 1, however I also don't want to get far behind either. When the race started Jonathon Estabrook from Ankeny, IA took off. I knew he was a great runner. He was a former state champion in the 3200 in Iowa and still runs really well. The lead grew to about 30 meters and it hovered there until about the mile mark when I was able catch him. We ran together through the turnaround and then I gradually built up about a 20 second lead going into transition. On my GPS watch my run pace was 5:45 and I had the course measured at just over 2.5 miles. I was really happy with both transition time after seeing the results. They better be good because next week I'm hosting a free transition clinic at 8:30 AM at Healthy Habits in Bettendorf, IA. We have lots of sweet giveaways for the clinic so it would be great to get a good turnout.
BIKE- I was really excited for the 18 mile bike ride. I haven't done anything more than about 10 minutes of sustained hard riding at a time. Although I have just started doing intervals on the bike after doing them all winter a year ago I feel like the weight lifting I've done has me strong for the bike. It was not quite as strong as I hoped for. Although the conditions were windy we had the wind at our back for half of the race and I was only able to average 24.1 mph. I did not ride fast in the first mile through the park as I was pretty careful with wet roads. Just after going through the town of Solon we turned west and a couple minutes later some guy turned onto the road and was ahead of me. I was positive I had not gone the wrong way. As I passed him I said, "I think you took a wrong turn somewhere" since he had come out of nowhere to grab the lead. He confirmed he had gone the wrong way. At the turnaround of the bike I was hoping to have a couple minutes but I was only ahead of Jonathan by about 50 seconds. I learned he is also very fast on his bike! I pushed hard on the way back because I really was hoping to take the 2nd run easy so I can get a big week of training in. I've learned the hard run after the bike is what puts the hurt on the legs and makes for a longer recovery. My bike split was the fastest of the race.
RUN 2- When I got off the bike I was a little worried because my lower back was tight the last 5 miles of the ride and that has ruined some runs for me in the past. It was not an issue on the run. Early in the run we went down a big hill and then up a different long hill. I was getting really small cramps in my hamstrings and I knew if one of those small cramps turned into a big one I could be in trouble. I decided to get into a good rhythm of about 6:00 pace and see where things were at the turnaround. After the mile my legs felt good and I was running 5:45 pace. After the turnaround I realized I was in the lead by about 2 minutes so I eased up and cruised in without doing any further damage to my legs. My overall time was 1:18:26. I ended up with the fastest 2nd run split as well by just a small amount over race runner-up Jonathan Estabrook. I cooled down with he and Steven Davis from Iowa City and that was great to get a good chat in with those guys. These multi-sport races are filled with awesome people. The complete race results with splits can be found by clicking here.
I was thrilled to find out that in addition to the race series payout the race also paid $150.00 to the winner so I would have something to bring home for iHope. My parents are matching race winnings to the iHope Foundation so today's race funds over half of a gift. I was thrilled by this. It also leaves me in a tough position. The next race in the series is on June 15th which happens to be the same day as my hometown triathlon, the QC Triathlon. I won this race last year and love this race because so many locals are here and it's a close one for my family and friends to come watch. I also know if I race at QC I'm giving up a chance to make a HUGE difference for iHope by going after the series win in the Scheels Duathlon series. I'll have to do some thinking and praying for guidance on this decision. It's been a couple slow weeks for iHope so I'm hoping my race winnings from the Lake McBride Duathlon can start a good week as we come close to the end of the first school year that iHope has been around. If you would like to make a tax deductable contribution to iHope click here. I would be honored by the support but more importantly some GREAT kid will feel the difference of your contribution.
Although I was excited about winning the race I'm a long ways from where I hope to be in a couple months. Neither my running or biking were close to where they were at this point a year ago. I have a lot of work to do but I'm excited about how healthy I feel and know I will race my best when the bigger races roll around. I've got a few weeks until my next race so I'll be putting in some good work over the next 2.5 weeks. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!