Remember when I said all races are learning experiences (if you have read any of my posts that is)–how at every event, you learn something new that you can use in the future, see what you can improve upon and what you have improved upon since your last race? Well, it has been a year since I competed in my first multi-sport race (my first one was the HV Duathlon last year!) and my knowledge of both multi sport racing, and training, has increased dramatically since completing my first duathlon. And it is safe to say I (finally) learned some very important lessons at the race yesterday, ones which perhaps a normal person would have figured out months ago (hey, I’m just stubborn, okay?).
Yes, (a little more than) one year ago I competed my first duathlon. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I used the second hand Giant bike which was a piece of crap (don’t get me wrong, I love Giant bicycles, just this one was old). I had no idea what I was doing or getting myself into. I had gone on maybe three long bike rides on the bike–at that time I did much more running–now it’s actually a bit of the opposite. I signed up for the race three days before the event. What a first duathlon, too. It starts at the bottom of a slightly steep incline at Ulster Landing Park next to the Hudson River, which, if you do the duathlon, you must go up three separate times with the sprint, then the bike, then the last run. The first leg is a one mile up (literally) and back sprint, then a 18 mile bike ride which is actually two nine mile loops up along Route 32 and through Glasco–if you are familiar with the area then you know where I’m talking about. Then the last 3.5mile run is another up (and another literally going up) and back sort of deal. This race is put on by the New York State Triathlon Organization, which I must thank for all their volunteers and work, especially yesterday in the heat/humidity/downpour/ultimate weather grossness that we had. I actually am thankful for the rain, because it made the bike sprint more bearable. I also thank my rides in Dutchess County and the Catskills for preparing me for the nasty start of the bike race.
Post my attempt at Mooseman in June, my training somewhat dwindled a bit–that, couple with insane work hours just left no real good time to train. And after the race yesterday I finally realized (yes, it has taken months as I said above) that my body just does not like me when I make it do things on 1)two hours of sleep and 2)when it’s exhausted and wants to be sleeping. I know I never let my work schedule affect whether or not I do races. But in the midst of the last leg of the run my body just said, “enough not listening to me when I’m exahusted. Enough. Enough.” I ended up with the slowest 3.5 mile run time that I have ever had in all the duathlons I’ve done (okay, all four of them– I haven’t really done that many.) And, yes, my body talks to me when it’s angry at me, which it seems to be more and more often now a days.
So, dearest reader, please listen to this advice, and take it to heart. It’s not smart to force your body to compete in multi sport races, or any races actually, when you got two hours of sleep the night before, and average 3-4 hours of sleep a day for the past week leading upto the race. Your body has had NO time w-h-a-t-s-o-e-v-e-r to relax and replenish and rebuild muscle and strength if you’ve also been continuing to train (ça c’est moi). There is just so much pushing your body that you can do. And, make sure you are physically well before the race, and not have GI issues the day before/day of the race. When I started the bike portion I thought, “man, I can’t do this! My intestines/ stomache ache so horribly bad.” But, once I got over the wave of cramps and riding 5miles per hour (which definitely affected my bike time), I got back into the rhythm of cycling and the ride was great. I like rolling hills. My new Aero Bars came in handy too. I’m not used to sprinting on my bike- as most of my rides are greater than 30 miles, and I don’t sprint on those rides, but I do go up nasty hills, so the burning sensation you get in your thighs is just like that of when you cycle uphills.
All in all, the race was okay. I feel if I pushed myself harder (which my body would hate me even more for) I could have done better on the last leg of the run. Despite a time longer than my time at last years race (then again, at that time I was still working a day shift job), I did manage to make 1st place in my age group!
My next race is the Timberman Sprint, which will be my (second) triathlon. Hopefully in the next month, I’ll 1)have more than 2 hours of sleep the night before the race and 2) have energy before starting the race and 3) have a normal functioning immune system.
I hope you all were able to stay cool this past weekend- it was somewhat warm!