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Getting my run on.

Minneapolis Duathlon 2010 Race Report

It’s been a few days since the Minneapolis Duathlon.  I didn’t rush right over here to tell you all about it because, well, I’m conflicted.  I’m still not sure how I really feel.  On one hand – GO ME!  I did a big race only four months and one day after having a baby.  That right there shows that I have some level of physical fitness.  My body bounced back pretty well from nine months of limited activity to riding my bike for an hour, to running a 5K, to not being a complete couch potato.  Those are all good things.  I’m proud of myself, as I should be.

And yet.  There’s always a but, right?  I’m not 100% pleased with my performance.  I had to walk briefly during my first run.  This was a 5K, 18 mile bike, 5K course and I couldn’t even complete the first leg without taking a break.  I may be doing well on my way back to physical fitness but I’ve got a ways to go yet.  The bike actually went quite well.  I completed 12 miles in 48 minutes which equates to a 15mph bike.  That’s actually as fast or faster than I was biking last summer during my first few duathlons.  Woo-hoo!  Go me!

Wait – 12 miles?  Didn’t I just say the race was an 18 mile race?  Yeah, that’s the part that I’m most conflicted about.  I was only allowed to complete the fun course for the bike (six miles out and back) instead of the full course due to time.  They had a 10:35am cut off time (due to closing roads and city of Minneapolis rules) and if you didn’t reach the fun course turn around point by that time then you were automatically asked to turn around and cut your bike short.  The problem is that my wave (Wave 12) didn’t even leave the starting line until after 9:35am.  Wave 12 was supposed to start at 9:30am but the race director didn’t want too many people out on the course in bunches so he was breaking up the waves into even smaller groups of no more than 35 people.  So, my half of wave 12 was not allowed to start until after 9:35am.  I then had to complete 3.1 (actually 3.2+ according to Kris’s Garmin) miles, a big T1 and 6 miles biking in less than 60 minutes.  If this had been last summer I might have had a shot – might – but this summer?  Nope, it wasn’t going to happen.  I mean, let’s look at the facts – a 10 minute mile pace would have meant 31 minutes running.  Kris estimated a fast transition would have been 2 minutes given the area was so large.  Then biking 6 miles at a 14mph pace is another 26 minutes (22 minutes at a 15mph pace).  If you add up 31 plus 2 plus 26 you get 59 minutes.  59!  An average athlete in wave 12 has BARELY enough time to make that cut off time.  An average athlete in wave 12 has a very good chance of being shorted in this current race format.  Guess what?  I’m not an average athlete right now. I’m a slow athlete right now.  My first 5k was 37 minutes long.  I was running  over 12 minute miles.  If I had been able to maintain a 2 minute transition and the 15 mph on the bike I still would have been at 61 minutes.  I would not have made it.  Instead, it was even worse for me.  The bike racked next to mine kept blowing off the rack and into my bike (I witnessed this happen twice while I was standing nearby).  When I got to T1 I realized that my rear tire would not move, probably from this problem bike hitting mine.  It took two race volunteers and 1 bike mechanic (outside of T1) to fix my bike and get me back on the course.  My T1 time was over seven minutes.  At this point I had almost no chance of making the cut off time.  And I didn’t.  I completed the 12 mile course instead.  I was heartbroken and frustrated and my bad attitude carried over to most of the rest of the day.  My poor husband bore the brunt of that.

Sunday night I contacted someone with the race to express my frustrations.  He offered that next year he would guarantee that me and my friends and relatives could all be in wave 2 together to ensure we had a great race experience.   My frustration only mounted.  I felt like that didn’t really address the root problem at all and he was just trying to placate me.  So I wrote him back and laid it out (nicely – I promise I was nice) – the average athlete can not compete in wave 12 as currently structured.  They are going to get shorted on their races.  I offered up alternatives like ask people for approximate paces during registration to put faster people in later waves, don’t have waves start so close to the cut off or even restrict registration (if worried about crowding on the course) so no wave 12 is needed.  I’m sure that last suggestion will be dismissed as they are trying to go as big as possible.  All I got back was a “thank you for your thoughtful analysis.”  Who knows if they’ll make any changes for next year.  I doubt Kris and I will sign up to find out.  Kris is pretty upset at how they screwed up my race and I’m not very happy with the race or feedback either.  I did receive a finisher’s medal on Sunday but I feel like I have to put an asterisk on this year’s race.  Sure, I completed 3.1 miles on foot, 12 miles on the bike and another 3.1 miles on foot.  But that’s not what I set out to do at the starting line.

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