Huffing and puffing till the very end we each find our own way to the finish. Sometimes it takes only a few short painful minutes. Other times it feels like an eternity. However you get there you dig and fight your way through the discomfort, and you arrive at the finish-line. Gasping for air, hopefully smiling from ear to ear.
This weekend in an attempt to keep the season and summer alive I raced a local duathlon. Having no idea of what my pace should be I was determined to finish at the very least gasping for air. I figured to accomplish that I would run a strong 7:30 pace for the first 2 miles (forgetting this was over some hills) I thought to myself “ahh screw it, go for it, worst case you learn that you went out to hard and have to drop back during the bike till you recover.” Always learn something from your training or racing.
That said I ran faster than I wanted and covered the 2.12 miles in 16:00. With a surprised look on my face I jumped on the bike and held back for the first mile. Spinning out my now heavy legs. Once, I found my cadence and cleared my lungs with plenty of fresh oxygen I put my head down, tucked in and proceeded to get to work. Knowing I had plenty in the tank for the bike I pushed my pace on the first loop, 6.2 miles down in under 17 minutes I thought to myself, “you can give more, 16 minutes or less!” I would have been late if I was a pizza deliver guy I push and pulled my way back to transition after the second loop for a total time of 33:02 the 7th fastest bike split on the day and one hell of a big smile!
Finally, all that remained was another 2.12 miles. Feeling sluggish but excited I pushed myself through it. Fighting heavy legs, crowds of marathoners out for their long runs, I speed towards the finish-line. Practically falling down hill, I always let gravity do the work for me whenever possible, I crossed the finish in 16:05.
Having only run slightly slower than the first run portion I was pleased. Stopping the Garmin, as it held on for dear life with a safety pin, my total unofficial time was 1:06:36 apparently good enough for third in my age group and 13th (my lucky number) overall.
Finally, after catching my breath, here are my “lessons learned,” Don’t be unnecessarily serious, schedule fun races too. If I had taken myself too seriously and had been zeroed in on this race with a time goal I probably wouldn’t have done much better. I certainly would not have had as much fun. Besides, having spent the last few days enjoying the fall weather, riding to doughnut shops, drinking Oktoberfest beers, going to brunch, and chowing down on some burgers was worth more to me than keeping to a pre-race routine. There are A races, training races, and there should be fun races too. If you aren’t having fun it is time to stop.
Major thanks to Sasha and Dan for coming out to cheer me on despite their hang overs. Special thanks for the photos guys and especially the high quality YouTube video! You guys are hilarious, next round is on me.
Thanks to Staci for having hot coffee and first brunch ready when I came home and for then going to a boozy second brunch “sunday-funday” afterwards.