If I was given one word to describe Saturday it would be: Tired. I have not slept well or very much since last Thursday leading up to Ragnar. Between the getting up early for Ragnar, competing in Ragnar, getting up early to fly to KC, and just overall disrupting my sleep schedule I averaged about 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night over the 9 days leading up to Saturday. Oh, and let’s not underestimate pre-race jitters and their lovely affect on my sleep… causing me to continue my 4 hour sleep pattern Friday night – so needless to say, Saturday morning I was not feeling great. Which I was hoping would work out somehow since the Fly by Night Duathlon was not until 6pm Saturday, but sadly it did not.
|CTB Coffee to the Rescue!|
I spent most of Saturday morning lounging around and having a delicious homemade brunch of blueberry pancakes, eggs, turkey bacon and coffee. Then around 1pm myself and A packed up the car to head to Ithaca and then Watkins Glen for the race. All day I kept waiting for the morning coffee to kick in, but around 3 pm I was still dragging. At this point A and I grabbed a late lunch (eating and prepping for a 6pm race is weird) at Collegetown Bagels (CTB) at the Commons in Ithaca and some more coffee. CTB is one of my favorite sandwich and coffee shops to eat at – both A and I obtained some seriously delicious lunch Saturday. I had the California Dreamin’ which includes turkey, avocado and coleslaw and A had the Patrick Ewing that had turkey, brie, apples and some seriously amazing spicy honey mustard sauce on it. I wish I had remembered to take a pic of these sandwiches – they were masterpieces and I really need to learn how to make them at home!
|Bikes & Gear – Ready to go.|
When we got to Watkins Glen for the race, it was a crazy mess for entering the speedway and registering/checking in for the race. I really was pretty unimpressed with the whole process. You would think that after running this event for 9 years they might have a better system. However, in the chaos of registering, I did bump into my Coach and spoke to her for a few minutes about the race, how my calf was doing and a bit of strategy of how to run the event. We agreed that we would try to meet up at the start line after we got the bikes out of the car. However, it turned out there was no need to meet at the start line because when we got back to the car, we discovered that Coach K was parked next to us!
|With Coach K and a couple of my teammates before the race.|
After assembling the bikes and grabbing our gear, we headed over to the start with enough time to grab a quick loop on the bike course. The bike course for the event was the Watkins Glen speedway. MJ had competed in the Fly by Night last year and warned us that some of the corners and climbs were a bit tricky so we wanted to see what we were in for and get a quick warm up in. I have to say I am very glad we did the lap – I discovered I was having shifting issues with my bike so I knew that I was going to have to be a bit careful during the race when I wanted to downshift. I also discovered that my bike computer was not registering, I tried to fix it before we started the race, but did not have enough time.
At the start of the race, I have to say I was pretty nervous. I did not have a great lap on the bike, I knew my computer was not working, and I felt dead tired. Not a great way to start off. Additionally, I had never competed in a duathalon before and this one did have a challenging format of Run/Bike/Run/Bike/Run (Formula 1 Format). Yes, that is 5 segments with 4 transitions. And no, I did not remember to grab my quick tie shoelaces (another fail).
As we started the race, I took off too fast (Guilty. Every. Time.) I tried to taper it back once we rounded the first corner and started to climb the hill, but that just caused me to feel even more tired that I had at the start. At this point, I started to psyche myself out and actually considered dropping out of the race for a few (very few) seconds. Which I must admit did scare me since I’ve never considered just dropping out before. I’ll spare you the blow by blow of my mind games – but I mentally struggled the entire race. I spent about 95% of the 1 hour 47 minutes of this race working to continually keep psyching myself up to keep going. This is not something I have experienced before and I would say it adds an entire new element of energy expenditure during the race. After my few seconds of contemplating how I would feel about a DNF, I decided it was time to just relax and do the best I could with my tired body and to enjoy the race the best I could.
|Fly by Night Bib# and Shirt.|
Luckily, the course for the Fly by Night Duathlon is definitely a unique, interesting, and challenging course – which is a good thing since you run 3 laps of the run course and complete 6 laps of the bike course during the event. The run course included pavement, gravel, grass, a underground tunnel and a bleacher tunnel over the race track. The bike course included twists, turns and hills which took me about 5 laps to fully get a grasp on how to handle each segment. All in all, I would love to return to this event next year when I’m less tired to try it again since it really was a fun location and format!
After the race, I was truly feeling drained. I definitely left everything I had on the course yesterday – which I suppose means I accomplished my task, but I really know it was more of the overall state of my body. I didn’t even bother to look at the results before I left (which I think my disinterest surprised my coach). I knew I had completed around 1 hour and 47 minutes and that I had finished both bike segments in approximately 30 minutes and that was good enough for me since I felt like I had not done as well as I could have and I was honestly ready to just hit the road and get back to ‘cuse. Also, it didn’t hurt that I had my heart set on a Dinosaur BBQ pulled pork sandwich that sounded much more amazing than the hot dogs and burgers that were being served after the race.
Spoiler: Dino BBQ was in fact just as amazing as I had hoped. Even if I did have to wait a couple hours to get my hands on it.
Today I started to wonder how I really did yesterday and I kept searching for the results. Around 9 pm tonight I saw that they had finally uploaded the results. Not expecting too much I started to browse for my name around the 1:47 mark and started to read across the line. The result? Complete and udder shock. I actually started to question the official timing results and starting to tear apart each segment because I placed 2nd in my age group and 16th overall for females. Also I ran some seriously crazy (for me and my tired legs) splits yesterday. I couldn’t believe it to be true but all the splits check out:
Crazy right? Overall, the time results tell a much different story than what I just painted for you. I actually had a decent race despite feeling tired, my bike issues, and the uphill mental struggle that I fought with myself (ignore the ugly transition times).
I am definitely amazed and the moral of Saturday’s race story is:
1) Never ever give up
2) Don’t leave the race before checking the results
3) Get more sleep before racing, you’ll be a happier person for it. – I would argue that this last one is true for much more than racing… I really do love getting enough sleep. Although I don’t think I’ve had the “proper” amount of sleep since before my grad school days…
Seriously, I’m stoked, surprised and shocked. I also am looking forward to my next segment of training which is going to be the most intense portion of the 70.3 prep. I have some pretty crazy workouts coming up the next couple of weeks, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Right after I get some more sleep.