The weekend before this race, I had taken my turn catching a head cold, and wasn't sure that I would be 100% for race day. As the week progressed, I felt better and better each day. Even so, I was still worried that my cold might affect my race performance. The reason I signed up for the duathlon was to test my current speed and strength, and I wanted a fair gauge of my fitness.
The day before the race, I completed my pre-race ride and run feeling well and ready.
Saturday morning we got up before dawn and drove the two hours to Lewiston with our friends Nate and Merissa who were also racing. Such a fun way to start a race day!
We've done races on the duathlon course several times, as the race director puts on at least three races per season that utilize the same bike/run routes. In all my past experiences on the bike course, I did not perform well. As such, I had several small goals for the race: 1) treat each race segment as a separate entity...2 mile sprint run/12 mile sprint ride/2 mile sprint run. I was not going to "save" anything for a later race segment. 2) use my power meter to ensure that I didn't coast down any descents, and didn't over-ride any of the inclines on the way out. Essentially, the bike course is an uphill/headwind out and a downhill/tailwind back. Saturday was an exception, as we had no wind at all during the race. 3) I also wanted to leave no doubt in my mind that I had indeed raced as hard and smart as I am capable of right now. 4) get in and out of T1 and T2 ASAP, since there was only run and bike gear to deal with.
Once on my bike, I put my head down and rode into the middle of zone 4 for the duration. I maintained my power on the descents, exactly like I planned (and just like my coach told me :). I finally had a decent ride on that course.
After I racked my bike and ran out of T2, my legs quickly realized they would have to work extremely hard to maintain low 7 minute miles for the last run of the race. I ran as fast as I could and ended up with a major PR on that course, second place in my division, and sixth woman overall. I was relieved that my cold hadn't affected me afterall.
It's a good feeling to know that I'm getting stronger and experiencing a higher level of fitness so far this season. It's even better to have the privilege of sharing these experiences with my amazing friends and teammates: Greg, Nate, Erica, Merissa, JK, Ginger, Craig, Jarod, Meghan, Matt, and Timmy.