Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Practice Duathlon

About Four O'clock this morning, I was awakened by a distant, but loud booming sound.  At first it sound like they were doing some ordinance testing at a nearby military base (something they do on occasion).  A few minutes later however, I heard the unmistakable sound of driving rain overhead.  This was quickly followed by enough flashing light and loud thunder to send our 8 year old scurrying into the bedroom.  For the next hour, the storm hit with unusual fury for an early season rainstorm.  The rumbling thunder pounded the air and the house shook and vibrated.
By the time dawn broke, I'd decided that today's practice duathlon was probably not going to happen, but when I got up to make the coffee, the rain had stopped, and it didn't look to be such a bad day after all.
Kind of chilly, but not as bad as I'd thought.
While I wasn't keen on riding on wet roads with temperatures hovering around 45 degrees, I decided that I'd go ahead and do the practice.  In addition to adding a long sleeve base layer, I decided to switch to my road bike which would give me a bit more control than the tri bike I'd planned to ride today.  Within a few minutes, I was on my way over to the campus and the start of practice.
The practice duathlon serves two purposes.  First, it gives our local tri club the chance to test out all of the timing equipment for the upcoming Ordinary Mortals Triathlon that will take place in a couple of weeks.  Second, it provides a semi-organized way for members to practice the course as well as transitions, etc.  When I arrived at the student recreation center, I was surprised to see about 15 folks there, ready to participate.  This wasn't terribly different from a year ago and I guess I'd expected to see just a half dozen or so participants given the weather.  The club had set up one row of bike racks and I quickly got my bike and the very minimal amount of gear I'd brought in place.  After a quick meeting about the route, we lined up at the end of the parking lot, and we were off.
The 5k course around the university is deceptively easy at first.  A long gradual downhill had most of our group running well under the 7:00 min/mile pace for the first quarter mile.  The course stays easy through most of the first mile and I was pleased to be running comfortably along and chatting with others, all while averaging under 7:30 min/ mile.  Just shy of a mile, the first hill on the course appears, and it's a steep one.  This made a pretty good dent in my pace, but I still felt strong.  Before long, the group had spread out, and I found myself climbing a second hill and turning back towards the transition area.  My time through the first three miles was 23:04 according to the official timing.
HR was definitely higher than my typical workout!
The bike course is an out back route of about 12.5 miles.  I made the transition onto the bike and enjoyed the downhill and the wind at my back for the first half of the trip.  My average speed through the first 6 miles was right around 23 mph.  In contrast, my average speed going uphill and into the wind on the way back was a mere 15.6 mph.  Amazing what an 18 mph wind can do for your speed in either direction!  My overall time on the bike was 42:16.  In 2012, I did the course in 40:37 (under much better conditions).  I think that with slightly different weather, and a tri bike underneath, I can improve that overall time significantly.
By the time I'd returned to transition, I was the second rider in (with no sign of the first, who was several minutes ahead).  I didn't rush myself too much, and actually had two other cyclists pull into transition, just as I was getting ready to head back out onto the run.
The transition from bike to run is a lot more of a challenge compared to the run to bike.  I immediately felt it as I moved back out onto the run course.  This time, I would only have to cover two miles of the run course, but this did include both of those hills.  Ignoring my pounding heart, I motored up the first hill and hit mile number one in 7:43 seconds.  I continued to push the pace on the second mile and made it back to the transition area at a 7:39 pace.  My overall moving time for the practice was 1 hour 21 minutes and about 10 seconds.  The official time (this included transitions was 1:23:37).
The details via Strava
Overall, I was satisfied with the outcome of this practice.  My run times were strong and lead me to believe that I can average close to seven minute miles in the upcoming triathlon in two weeks.  My ride, while not the greatest, was at least solid and not too far off previous attempts.  If I can make up a minute or two on the run, and another handful on the bike, I think I can finish the OMT in a little over an hour.  A lot will depend on the weather that day and how much wind is out there, but if the weather isn't as extreme as it was today, I'll have a good chance of that.  The other piece that I will need to do is really focus on my transition times of course.  It's been quite a while since I've raced a sprint triathlon, and so my transition times are a bit slow (1:16 and 1:37 respectively).  This is something that I'll need to practice in the coming weeks.

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