After a long night Friday, I awoke early with a slight hangover Saturday morning to carry furniture for the majority of the day for my cousin's big move into their new place. Then I headed home for a quick shower before getting on the road for my 2.5 hour drive to Columbus to spend an evening with my old college roommate, Liz, who had offered me a place to stay before my Columbus event the next morning.
After dinner and falling asleep during a movie, I made my way to bed. I was exhausted!!! However then I could not fall asleep and even when I did manage to finally fall asleep, I awoke to the heavy rain. I was not sure if the bed was harder than what I was used to or if my nerves thinking about the race were just making it difficult to sleep.
Finally just before 5 AM it was time to get up and drive to the event. I was a little nervous as I got there and there were so many people there. It seemed like such a process to get our packet, then our chip, then the bodymarking. Lines were sort of long and everything took longer than I had anticipated. I chomped on a 90 calorie Special K bar as I waited. I was also nervous that I was not able to go to the bathroom that morning as it was a long event and the food I ate the night before was probably not the best.
I ended up with very little extra time so I really did not get my typical warm-up in which was probably not good.
As we lined up for the start (the International Du was the first to go off), I noticed that with all the people there, not many were doing this event. The triathlons were definitly the big draw. With all the rain overnight everything was wet and slick and it was sprinkling on and off throughout the morning. The temperature felt plenty warm.
With the 7 AM start, I was off. I was towards the front of the little pack and fell in behind a bunch of guys. We headed down the sidewalk and then made a left onto a grassy path. This stretch was about 1/2 mile long and had some rollers which seemed mainly just uphill. I was trying to be careful of my footing and thankfully they seemed to have slippery roots and holes spray painted well. As we hopped onto the road I was feeling pretty good but wanted to be somewhat conservative with my pace as I knew it would be a long race. At the turnaround I saw the nearest female and she was about 20-30 seconds back. I kept with the pace and felt OK and as we came back through the park, my thoughts were shifting to what was ahead.
They announced the first female triathlete is now crossing the mat just as they announced me as the first female duathlete right behind her. 5K Run one- 21:03 (6:46 pace) I made my way out of transition (1:06) and for some reason I had the ugliest bike mount ever, which I think drew a couple chuckles. It was one of those in which you don't have the pedals where you want them you just kind of sit and try to get going.
Anyways...! My breathing and legs were all getting into a groove when about 4 miles in I got passed by the female duathlete who had been a little back in the run. She passed me with authority and while I tried to keep her in my view, it was not happening. The course was basically a big square and was wet. I was definitely being very conservative on the corners as I just did not want to have any trouble. I was trying to keep one of the males that passed me in my sights and that seemed to help me stay focused and push a little harder. I think 3 other female triathletes also passed me on the bike and with each lady, I resolved that I must spend more time to get stronger on the bike.
About 10 miles into the 24.4 mile course, my back was killing. Perhaps it was the furniture moving or the hard bed, but in any event, I was uncomfortable. I started shifting around in my seat and trying to stretch it out periodically. I was taking in water from my Profile design bottle in my aerobars which was so refreshing with every sip as I was so thirsty!
The 2 loop, 12.2 mile course was pretty flat with only one .25 mile, grade 6 climb which was back to Alum Creek State Park, which we did twice. By the end of the bike, my adductor (groin) muscles start to ache horribily. I cannot figure out why I had a pain there. The only thing I can think of was that perhaps in my shifting around, I had started started to bring my knees inward and was pushing outward with my feet. Who knows!! In any case when my feet hit the ground, it felt like both sides were about to seize completely. Oh the pain! Bike time 1:13:18 (19.8 mph)
With every step into transition I was whincing with pain. I took the extra seconds to stretch a little before pressing on. T2 time 1:24 I grabbed my last drink of race, a couple sips of gatorade before heading out.
As I got going I knew I still had a 10K to go and while the groin pain was easing slightly, it was ever present. I was taking things very conservatively and as we neared the turnaround I saw the girl I thought was in the lead a good ways in front and thought she was too far ahead to catch, so I might as well take it easy. However then I saw another girl that was not that far ahead of me with the same jersey and I thought she might be the duathlete lead woman so I picked up my pace slightly. I was gaining ground and was only about 100 yards back at the 5K mark.
On the second loop of the cross country course, it felt even harder than the first. As my legs were hurting (primarily I could feel tight groin, hamstrings and piriformis /sciatic nerve) I actually thought about Jodi and if she could go an ironman distance, the least I could do was to suck it up a little longer. As I was finally able to read the lady's leg in front of me I saw she was in the tri, so I just fell in behind her and eased off the pace slightly. My stomach was also beginning to twist. Not good! I definitely knew I could have pushed harder but since I knew I was not going to catch number 1, I just took it easy as my groin was not my friend either. I coasted into the finish line with a time of 48:44 (7:50 pace) which was well off what my pace should/ could have been. I finished with a time of 2:25:35 nearly 7 minutes behind the lead female.
Overall I am happy anytime I place in the top three so I was pleased even if it was a tiny field that ran the du. My take aways are that I am not stretching nearly enough and really need to start spending some time on it. My piriformis /sciatic nerve has been bothering me for awile, nothing serious but always there. Also more bike time is nescessary because I really don't care to get passed on the bike by other females.
Overall I wanted to be under 2:30, so at least I accomplished that. However, I am definitely intent on putting up a stronger performance next time around on 7/22!
After the race I enjoyed catching up with a Team ER teammate who tied for second overall male in the sprint tri and talking with ALW. After watching the awards and treating myself to a cheeseburger I was back in the car for the drive home.
Monday I rested and moved around some more furniture, this time at my own house for a change!