I got an email from Sam and Chris about doing the Saturday Wool Market Duathlon. This race was not in my schedule at all. I was planning on doing the Saturday group ride. Anyway, after some coaxing I decided to commit.
Getting ready for a duathlon is so much easier than getting ready for a triathlon. I’m not sure why. Down in the south you rarely get to wear a wetsuit so the extra gear is just a set of goggles. But it seems like so much more preparation.
Since it was a duathlon I decided to wear tri shorts and a tri top instead of a tri suit. I also got to wear socks! No need to run sockless this time.
The Wool Market Duathlon series is super low key. There is not preregistration. You just shop up and pay your $10 (no shirt option). There is no chip timing – it is timed like a small 5k. They take the tab off of your bib number and give you a sticker with your placing. I have timed a bunch of 5k’s this way. Quick and easy.
These Wool Market races have grown over the past few years (just as every multisport race has grown) and it is bigger than its transition can hold. Bikes get propped up against fences, benches and just about anywhere you can put one. I found a nice place next to a brick flower bed. I was able to stand my bike vertical by using the pedal on one of the bricks. No towel in my transition – just a helmet and set of bike shoes.
The format of this race is a 2 mile run / 11 mile bike / 2 mile run. Both runs are out and back and the bike is a loop. The out of the run is mostly downhill which means that you have to run straight back up that same hill.
I wanted to run a steady 6:30 pace for the first run. Hammer the bike. And then give it everything for the last run. Did I mention that it is also towards the end of May in Mississippi? It was hot and humid. The entire drive to the race the air was extremely dense. It was difficult to even see.
The sun came up quickly and the heat came on instantly. Everyone was sweating prior to the race even starting.
The race started right on time. I quickly knew that I was going too fast. Heck, everyone was running too fast. It was because of the downhill. I looked at my Garmin and we were cruising along at 5:30 pace. I was just behind Sam and Chad – both from Hattiesburg. I closed the gap with Chad and said a grunted ‘hey’. But the pace was too fast and I dropped back a little bit.
At the turn around I was able to at least maintain the intensity. I ended up passing Chad and entering transition right behind Sam. My transition location was about the farthest from the run / bike line. That might have cost me a few seconds.
Since the race is not chipped timed and I did not want to mess with timing transitions I do not have my exact splits. I clicked the lap button as soon as I mounted the bike and was on my way.
The first run was completed in a total time of 13:46. Looking at the Garmin file the first mile was 6:00 and the second was 6:37 plus another 1:07 (includes transition). My heart rate averaged 178 and peaked at 188.
I jumped on the bike and was thankful that it went down that same run course, meaning it was downhill. Since I cooked some of that first run the soft pedaling helped immensely.
On the bike I could not look at my Garmin. I was wearing my 305 on my wrist. I never saw Sam or Chad on the bike. Sam was in front of me and Chad was behind me. Chris however came roaring past a few miles into the bike.
The bike was a little quicker for the first half and I could see that I was averaging just over 24 MPH. That would slip to 23 and then to 22. I passed a group of 6 or 7 on the bike. They were riding pretty wide and I crossed the double yellow to pass. I let my frustration get the best of me. I burnt a match or two making that move and the group passed me back pretty quick. I dropped back from the group and watched them slowly pull away. I did see Chris again on the bike walking down the highway with a flat. Tough luck again.
The 11.2 mile bike was completed in a total time of 29:27 at an average speed of 22.8 MPH. This once again includes the transition. My heart rate averaged 171 and peaked at 181.
When I started the second run I could see the group in front of me. I took my time (perhaps too much time) closing the gap. I was trying to bridge the distance between them but no blow up in the process. Just as I was within about 10 feet someone passed me. At the turn around I passed two people. It was hot and they were starting to fade. I was able to keep up my pace. They were just fading. Running downhill the first mile and then back up the hill I was able to negatively split the run. The first mile was 6:44 and the second was 6:41.
I did not run the first mile fast enough. There is no way that I should have negatively split this run; it was downhill for the first mile.
This run was completed in a total time of 13:38 (the first was 13:46 with transition time). My average heart rate was 182 and it peaked at 195.
It was a very hard effort and a very well ran race. I ended up getting 16th overall and 3rd in my age group (Sam got 1st in my age group).