It has been a rough “spring” here in MN to say the least. 2 snowfalls in May…what? So, when the forecast was showing rain and temps in the lower 30’s for our Duathlon last Saturday, we shouldn’t have been surprised.
The Cinco “du” Mayo Duathlon is always held the weekend closest to Cinco de Mayo in Stillwater, MN. There are 2 courses to choose from – the long course, consisting of a 5k, 20 mile bike ride, followed by another 5k, or the short course – a 2 mile run, 10 mile bike, and another 2 mile run. For the 2nd year in a row, Mike and I decided to do the short course.
We woke up Saturday morning to a balmy 33 degrees and rain. Started the day off on the wrong foot when our bike rack broke while trying to mount it to the car. Somehow Mike was able to finagle it to function well enough and we were on our way. We arrived in Stillwater about 5 minutes before they were scheduled to close the transition area. Lucky for us, the race coordinators were pretty lax on the rules…probably on account of the nasty weather we all had to deal with.
Run leg #1: 16:06
It was so chilly, we were all jumping around trying to keep warm and just couldn’t wait for the race to start so we could heat up. I started out my personal blunders by failing to double-knot my right shoe, which came completely untied after the first ½ mile. I wasn’t about to stop in the middle of such a short run, so I just dealt with the loose shoe and hoped I wouldn’t fall flat on my face. I finished run leg #1 in 16:06, or 8:03/mile avg…a pretty decent clip for me.
This transition was a disaster. If I really cared about my time, I would’ve kicked myself for how poky I was being. The quick run had warmed me up enough to remove my bulky jacket. In doing that, my headphones and phone got stuck around my race belt and I spent far too much time untangling everything. Plus with the ground being wet from the rain, I spent entirely too long taking off my running shoes and hopping around on one foot like an idiot to get into my cycling shoes. I’m sure the spectators found it pretty entertaining.
Bike leg: 38:55
As soon as I crossed the mount line, I clicked in and started going, only to have my pant leg catch in my bike chain. Whoops. I had forgotten to put on my ankle strap (probably because you shouldn’t have to wear PANTS to a race in May!). So I had to stop, click out, get off my bike, put down my kickstand, and attach my strap…then get back to it.
This bike course is considered “highly coveted” training grounds for triathletes, due to its many rolling hills. Man, they aren’t kidding. The cold temps, combined with the wind and the hills made for a tough ride. Over the short 10-mile course, we climbed almost 500 feet in elevation. And for some reason, it seemed as though what went up did NOT come down. It felt like we were climbing hills about 80% of the time.
I averaged about 15.5 mph on the course. I feel like I definitely could improve my speed here. I foresee hill training is in my future…
Another sluggish transition…although I did make sure to double-knot both of my shoes this time around!
Run leg #2: 16:42
Coming off such a hilly bike ride, my legs felt like lead for the first mile or so on the run course. This is another one of those things I really need to force myself to practice if I plan on doing an Olympic triathlon. It felt like my legs were independent of my body for the first 10 minutes, then I got my momentum back. 36 seconds longer than the first run, but still managed to average an 8:21 mile. I closed the gap with a super speedy girl in front of me (who I later met and found out is a marathon runner), but couldn’t manage to pass her and ended up literally crossing the finish 2 seconds behind her. I was thankful that I was trying to pace with this chica or I imagine my 2nd run would have been much slower.
My first “Win”
I ended up finishing the race in 1:15:53, which is about a minute slower than last year. But when the race results came in, I was surprised to read that I had actually WON my age category, and took 5th place overall female! Of the top 4 women, 3 of them were 35 and one was 48! Looks like some things do get better with age.
I was pretty stoked to get my very first ever race “trophy” – an etched margarita glass – which we promptly filled with a celebratory margarita when we got home!
This was a fun, laid-back event and a great start to the spring, despite the yucky weather. Plus, you can’t really go wrong with free tacos and post-race margaritas 🙂