The announcer getting in on the Mermaid spirit. She kept calling us "Mermaids" which I found a little disturbing.
Today marked my first foray into the multi-sport arena. The Mermaid Duathlon is an all-women race with a 1.5 mile run - 11 mile bike - 2.5 mile run format.
I woke up this morning at 4:50 am (shoot me). The duathlon wave was the first to go at 7:30 am. When I first arrived, I left Ferdinand in the car and went to get my race number. Wow, this duathlon stuff is different! Three numbers! One for the helmet, one for me, and one for Ferdinand. Plus, there was the ankle chip AND the body marking. I'm a little confused as to why the duathletes needed numbers written on the back of both our hands, one shoulder and the back of a calf, but it made me feel hard-core (and it came off easier than expected) so no complaints.
I got my transition area set up which was pretty simple since it was only a duathlon. I have clipless pedals so had my cycling shoes and helmet ready to go. I had some shot bloks there, too so I could munch on one as I changed shoes the first time. I made sure Ferdinand's crank was set in such a way I could clip in quickly, too. I got the lay of the land from a volunteer so I had an idea of where I'd be coming from and where I'd be going. Then I headed down to the "beach (really, it's a lake, but it had sand like a beach)" for the start.
If you look at the above picture, we started the first run under the orange start/finish and ran all the way across the beach to some trail/fire-roads that start towards the top of the picture. I was not expecting this beach run start. The sand wasn't nice and compacted down. It was loose, deep, and shifty. It would have been hard enough to walk in, let alone run. I've had bad luck with sprained ankles lately and was so scared I'd twist one. I was also thinking I'd probably do a face-plant in the sand, too (but at least that wouldn't hurt).
After the hellacious sand start, the rest of the first run was pretty unremarkable and fairly enjoyable. I never really run only 1.5 miles at a time anymore so the distance seemed quick. Of course, the shorter the distance the faster you should theoretically be running, but I'm not so good at that concept.
I got back to the transition area and found Ferdinand. Helmet on, Cliff Blok in mouth, running shoes off, put on my cycling shoes...All set! I did a brisk walk to the bike mount area. Figured there was no need to attempt to run in the cleats.
The thing I was most worried about was getting on and off the bike. I'm not yet so fluid and graceful with this. Sometimes my feet clip in right away without looking and sometimes I fumble for the pedals. Things thankfully went pretty well and off we went. The bike course was a three-loop circuit described as "virtually flat." I got up into my big gear and stayed there the entire ride. I was pretty sure I would be passed consistently and constantly during the ride, and I'm pretty tickled to report that I passed quite a few people! Don't get me wrong, I had my share of people yelling, "On your left!" to me, but it was nice to get in on the passing action, too.
Overall I felt very good the entire ride. I had a lot of fun out there since I didn't have to worry about traffic. I think this will be the best thing about taking Ferdinand out for events! I even got to use my cornering skills I learned at the Bike Skills Clinic I took last month. I definitely could have pushed much harder but there were a lot of times there wasn't room to pass or someone was coming up to pass me when I wanted to move over to push. The whole last mile I got stuck behind another rider and didn't get to put in any final sprint.
The three-loop circuit was on the honor system. After the third loop I pulled back into the transition area. The bike entrance was all the way across the transition area from my rack. At first I did a brisk walk but broke into a run halfway across. It sucks running in cycling shoes.
I took off the helmet, took off the cycling shoes and got my running shoes back on. I was able to jam my left foot into the running shoe without undoing the laces but couldn't do it with the right. I most recently sprained the right ankle and certain motions (apparently jamming a foot back into a tied shoe being one of them) still give me twangs. So I had to undo that side and lace back up.
At first my legs felt super heavy and strange. But I wouldn't say they were tired. It's just a funny sensation because I feel like you have no real sense of what pace you're putting down. You feel much slower than what you're doing. The whole run I was dreading the run back down the beach. When I finally hit the sand I felt like one foot would slide one way, the other would go in another direction.
It was really difficult. It was also very disheartening because that whole adrenaline rush to the finish line was pretty much squashed. The finish line wasn't even underneath the orange arch. As I approached a man said, "Turn right and keep going until the grass." You can see it in this picture. You actually had to cross under the arch, continue fighting the sand, turn right and keep going until you hit a mat that was placed right before the grass started. Talk about a crappy finish line set-up!
But after this I hit the vendors at the expo.
First I got a Headsweats hat from the event. I love Headsweats hats. I would wear a hat to run that said "Rabbit, the other white meat" if it was a Headsweats hat! So you can imagine how happy I was that they had them with the event's name (and it says "duathlon" in addition to "triathlon").
I also got a bike jersey and a set of arm warmers that were 40% off. Yay!
And now, the ever important race swag report:
Not bad if I do say so myself. I wasn't even expecting the finisher's necklace. This one is much nicer than the See Jane Run pendant. It even has a silver chain. Maybe I'll string the Jane pendant on the chain with this one.
Last night I discovered the "Auto Multisport" function on my Garmin. I was really psyched when I realized it would even know when you were in the transitions versus running or biking. But when I uploaded the info to TrackRunner it seems that the transition time is added onto the time for the previous leg. So, my run time has both the actual run time and the transition time included. I'm not sure if this is what the Garmin does or if it is just TrackRunner being retarded. But my overall time per Garmin was 1:22:03 and I'm pretty sure that'll be fairly close. I'll update once I get the math sorted out (if you recall I woke up before the sun did today), figure out how to read the raw data from Garmin directly, or the official splits are posted.