The locals will know what I’m talking about when I reference the Turkey Creek loop at Umstead. It’s a 9.5ish (depending on where you start & finish) hilly route mostly on crushed gravel. It starts with about a mile and a quarter down hill, losing easily 200 feet of elevation, followed by a moderate climb for about a mile, then more elevation loss to about the 4 mile point.
Then it gets difficult with twists, turns and short descents followed by longer, steep climbs, leaving one feeling a little ravaged by the time the long descent starts at around 6.5 miles. You get to work the footspeed down a mile long hill, crawl up another climb followed by another big descent. Then don’t forget the big hill at the beginning that you get to climb back up to finish.
Over the years, I’ve used this run as an indicator by doing it as a long tempo / finish hard effort. If I average around 7 minute miles, my run’s in good shape. Generally, when I do this workout I’ve been doing longER runs at easier pace, but these days my longest runs have been only 11 miles and I only did that a couple times.
So I didn’t expect to hit the old targets. Still, I wanted to see what I could do with what I had. I hoped to keep it under 7:15, because if I went slower than that, the problem was in my head. I definitely have the fitness to do at least 7:15′s.
I brought out my secret weapon– my Kenyan neighbor with whom I wouldn’t want to start too slowly because I wouldn’t want to look like a slacker and would also know if I was slacking off at the end. That back half of the run was tough. The final couple miles were brutal.
We averaged 7:02. SWEET. Now I have zero excuses for not going guns ablazing at Duathlon Worlds. Too bad some of the fastest amateur duathletes are in my age group.
No. Good that some of the fastest amateur duathletes are in my age group. I’ll be motivated and not favored to win. That combination should pull a great performance and some decent run splits out of me, which is what I want more than any particular placement.
Although, if I could medal, that would be awesome.