Boom! I finished my duathlon (DualX #4) on saturday, yay for me. I had to write a few things down because I have a horrible memory, this is mostly a brain dump so don’t expect an easy read :P
Organization and generic issues
Organization for the event was really well handled. I received my race pack about 2 days ahead of time which was a nice point since friends that were taking part in the event had not received their packs for previous events.
I left for the event super early expecting all the usual issues that I experienced from previous races. But getting to the event, there was no traffic , no queues for the bathrooms, plenty of parking and a very central start location. The spacing of the race batches was almost perfect and it was amazing getting to see the elite start their race and try and glean some tips from their actions. Even though it looked like the spacing was great I am pretty sure I encountered people from other batches during my ride. The next time I do one of these events I am going to need to make sure I get a better seeding.
The heat @ 9am is much hotter than what I expected and trained at. I had done my daily training @ around the 3pm mark , which while hot was not nearly as hot as a cloudless 9am Saturday Morning.
The First run
The first run went surprisingly well, I managed to get a front of the pack position, this meant I wasn’t really blocked by anyone during the run.
I had been training @ a 6:10 pace and as expected on the day I went much faster (5:30) without feeling completely exhausted. When I hit the transition zone I was a little worried that I may have pushed to hard.
The terrain on which the run occurred was pretty awesome, the run went through some plantation field which had sprinklers on and there was nothing more awesome than being cooled off by those sprinklers. The terrain was not overly technical and consisted of some nice long flat sections which allowed you to push some speed.
This was also the first race that I had taken part in using my new barefoot shoes. I wont lie, I was a little worried that it might be an issue on the uneven ground, all my previous trail run training was on the spruit which is much smoother terrain than what I encountered on race day. Overall, the barefoot feel was awesome for this run of the race and provided amazign grip on the wetter parts of the run and only picked up minor pieces of junk.
It should be pretty obvious, but I am not an elite athlete so I wasnt expecting a 30s transition. I had practiced transitioning while training and had it around the the 3-4 minute mark. This involved changing my training type on endomondo, changing pants (I dont have tri shorts :( ), changing shoes, putting on gloves and helmet and get some water/recovery drink. I had trained running with my cycling t-shirt so that I wouldn’t need to change my t shirt and to get used to the feeling of having my phone in the cycling shirts pocket (its bounces a little but its manageable).
While I may not be an elite athlete, it doesn’t mean I treated this as anything other than a race where I wanted to do my very best. Bearing this in mind I changed a few things from my training. I did the first run with my cycling gloves on. I stopped my run on my watch but I didn’t change to the cycle mode (its way to fiddly trying to do this), I had my cycling shoes, cycling pants and helmet setup for minimal time. When the time for the transition actually happened this planning worked out exactly as I wanted with no time spent idle.
Based on some really bad calculations , I took around 1 minute for my transition, this is the time from when I got to my bike stopped my run and started the app for the cycle part. Its not ideal, but until the race organizers release more info its all I have to go.
Take more water than you think you need. Tied back to the heat, I had trained needing a specific amount of water which was effectively a full large water bottle. On the day the crazy uphill climbs combined with the heat meant that I consumed much more water than expected. I did have my camelbak in the car but figured I would not have needed it.
In hindsight this was wrong and I am super happy that there was a water station at the transition zone, this meant that I could at least get some water before the run. The problem was mostly out of my control, I hate taking extra water because its a fair amount of weight to lug around. I feel that if the organizers posted a route map I could have been better prepared for this.
In a series of firsts , this was also my first race where I used cycling shoes that require clip in. I have had just under a month of training with them and I was fairly confident using them. They did increase my transition time a little but it feel like it was worth it. My foot placement wasn’t ideal because I felt a bit of pain in my foot early on in the race. This was mostly due to my foot angling down for way too long causing my foot to squeeze into the front of the shoes which is not how I normally position my foot.
The sandy sections on the ride (especially the uphill) were just horrible, the best way to describe it was like riding through deep beach sand. I am mostly used to riding in this kind of sand because we have sections like this on our weekly rides , but the sheer distance meant I just couldn’t sustain through the entire section (it was a good 2-3km’s).
Saw a lady fall during a particularly tricky single track section around the mid point. After that I had a horrible ride because I was constantly worried about falling as well. I also accidently turned of my camera at this point so I lost a ton of video recording between the ladies fall and when I recognized it was off.
There were two river crossing, both which I had to dismount mid way because I wasn’t in the correct position because as usual there were people bunched up at the entrance and exit.
Thanks to the river crossings I had wet socks for the run :(. While I had planned for this and had a second pair of socks at the transition ,I ended up running with the wet socks because of the heat.
I dismounted a bit early possibly on the transition from the bike to the second run because I saw a line on the ground and wasn’t sure if that was the mark of the transition start zone. It should be noted that you have to dismount before entry into the transition zone because you are not allowed to ride in the transition zone.
The Second Run
Transition into the second run went reasonably well, I managed to start the run on my phone and end the cycle session but I couldn’t bother to fiddle with my watch again. I managed to get some water and pepto at the transition table which gave me a bit of a pick up.
Even though the last run was short I didn’t want to push the speed too much because of the heat and the fairly hefty obstacles (they were just mounds to climb and decent), but the combo of the heat and run had already drained me.
Overall the event was as good as I could have hoped for, this only has me more amped to do my triathlon. At the same time I know where I stand fitness wise and can see how much more training I need to handle the increased distances. It should be noted that I did the shorter duathlon which is fairly easy. The full duathlon would have been more of a challenge to me, but because of other commitments there was no way for me to train sufficiently for the full duathlon.