The previous weekend I turned to Gary and commented that I hoped it wouldn’t be cold or wet at Du Nats because that would be miserable for racers and spectators. Me and my big mouth. Well, I got my wish. Record high temperatures descended upon Richmond last weekend as if mother nature had time warped into August instead of staying in late April. High’s in the mid-90′s? Seriously?
Yes, seriously. To make the day even more interesting, the large field (for a duathlon) was spread out by age group over several hours, with the oldest age groups starting at 7:30am and the youngest about 5 hours later. When the mercury is rising rapidly, it makes a big difference whether one starts at 8:15 or 10:15 (like I did) or even later like the 20-somethings did. Then factor in the unfortunate train stoppage the 30-34 age group men and women experienced on their opening run, and you realize that overall results are virtually meaningless. Each age group was a race unto itself, which is fine, because it’s age group nationals.
I woke up at 6:20am because that’s when Remy woke up, which gave me ample time to get pumped, dressed, baby attended to, etc. It felt very strange to not feel the least bit rushed. Our hotel being walking distance from the race site helped smooth out race morning w/ baby too. I went ahead to get numbered and chipped up while Gary followed after one more feed and change and whatever else. I’d say things went smoothly and that there will likely be pre-race mornings later this year where I look back fondly upon this day. Gary’s quite the amazing Dad and support system.
So the race. Oh my gosh it was so much fun seeing friends (at least those in my age group) as we warily contemplated the unseasonably hot race day. My original plan for the opening 10k run was to cruise it controlled and conservative around 42 minutes. With the heat, I wasn’t sure how that would play out but hoped that the first run wouldn’t be too terribly warm yet.
It was. Terribly warm, I mean. Maybe it was a lack of acclimatization (probably) or I’m still carrying extra weight (probably true too), but I really wondered if the fact that I’m breastfeeding made a difference. No, not breastfeeding during the race, silly. That would be quite a feat.
Anyway, I kept my run relaxed as planned and still got hot in the face and figured what the heck, if I have to do this thing in 45 minutes to keep from blowing the whole race then that’s what I do. I just need to squeeze in top 12.
How many women are up there disappearing into the distance? Including all of the ladies I used to be able to run with (sigh). Patience, self, have patience. I’ll make up some ground on the bike. I hope.
So I finish the first run in 43 minutes but I don’t know this because I don’t wear a watch during races. This situation is a perfect example of why.
Off onto the bike and, wouldn’t you know it, it still feels hot. Geez. I thought the faster speeds on the bike would cool the jets a little, but no such luck. I try to put the impending suffering of that last 5k bake-run out of my mind.
I ride a steady pace and begin passing lots of people. I loved the bike course. There were ups and downs and some nice, blind curves where you can hold your speed even though it looks like maybe you shouldn’t. I know this from doing Worlds in ’07. I figure that since I’m a putz runner now, I need to take every advantage I can on the bike. I pass assertively, letting people know I’m coming. Heck yes, I even pass during turns, around corners, up hills and down. Doesn’t matter. I’m a passing machine. You know what else? I don’t remember anyone passing me. Ha! It’s good to feel a little like a bada$$ still.
I lost track with the three loops and other waves mixed in, but I think I only passed two ladies in my age group, one of which re-passed in transition. T2 was rough. I could barely get my legs to jog the bike to the rack. Yowch. Now for the oven run 5k. Nice.
During the second run I moved up one position because Gail Kattouf, who would be a zillion minutes ahead of me if she weren’t having a disaster of a day, was, well, having a disaster of a day. And that was it. It was hot. I was barely moving, it seemed, but who cares. I was just grateful that I was still moving and not bonking like I did at Worlds ’07 on those very same paths. Running slowly is better than walking, I assured myself.
No one looked “good” at this point. I mean, no one. Eventually, I made it back to the finish and even did a sort of pretend pace increase. You know how it is– the sooner you cross the line, the sooner you can stop.
My run split says it was a sub-20 minute run, which is incontrovertible evidence that the run was short. Very short. Not that I felt shortchanged in the least. I’m fairly confident that there were very few people out there saying, “gosh darnit, I really wish I could have run a little bit longer in the ridiculous heat”. Just sayin.
So the deal is that I got 5th in my age group, which turns out to be pretty stacked with talent. Overall’s are kind of silly to look at, but last I checked it was 13th. It’s patently unfair to compare times across age groups for the difference in heat alone. There are some debatable bike splits in earlier waves, and, oh yeah, the 30-34 year olds with their train break factored in. So I’m pleased. If I were in 2007 shape, then I would be setting my bar a little higher, but 5th is good.
So I’m going to Worlds. Look out ladies. I hope to have my run back by then. (Please).