Race Report: Woodstock MultiSport Canada Duathlon

My duathlon season opened and the summer sun beamed down on all the athletes in Woodstock, Ontario last Sunday. Dare we say it? Winter is gone, summer is here!

I've now been training with Ignition Fitness for almost six months, running outside through the sub-zero depths of the Polar Vortex and spending many, many hours on the indoor bike trainer. I joined Ignition with the specific goal of improving my ability in duathlon and had seen great results in my running so far. But finally, I had my opportunity to test my cycling fitness and put it all together in that painful, yet exhilarating combination of run, bike, run.

Race Report

If there's anything that runners, duathletes and triathletes like to do as much as race, it's analyzing our race results. So when my coach Roger asked me to reflect and consider what went well and where I could improve, I had a few thoughts...

  • I squeaked out a new 5 km PB on the first run, shaving 5 seconds off my last time. 
  • I maintained myself in the aerobars for basically the entire bike segment, even when I hit speeds of 43 km. That's an accomplishment for me as my mind plays tricks on me and I get nervous being down on the bars at higher speeds or in windy conditions.
  • My second transition was pretty quick (third fastest overall), as I had practiced and successfully did a smooth dismount.  A spectator actually yelled, “Great dismount!” 
  • My second run had a negative split, meaning I beat the pace of my first run, which is something Roger urged me to push toward achieving. 
  • I placed 9th overall with a time of 1:09:37 and second in my age group, which meant I took home a medal.
  • My asthma flared up on the runs, which felt like bricks on my chest preventing me from taking full, deep breaths. It may have been the combination of heat and humidity from running alongside the reservoir on this, my first hot run of the season. This is definitely something to watch in the weeks ahead, as my asthma is usually under control, even during exercise.
  • As a result, my first transition was slower because I took my time to use my inhaler and catch my breath
  • At the outset of the race, my legs were somewhat sore and I found myself rubbing them before the gun went off, trying to knead out knots/tightness.  
Areas for improvement:
  • First and foremost, pushing myself harder on the bike! After a winter spent in the saddle, I need to tap into that strength. Roger suggests that will require getting comfortable with the pain. It sounds like a mental game. For example, I love running and cycling up hill, whereas most people despise it. My goal now will be to mentally prepare myself for the lactic acid build up that comes from cycling hard.
  • First transition - I’ll be ready to try a running bike mount at my next race. I didn't want to do it for this first race, especially because the mount line was situated just metres from a large hill to climb. That turned out to be a reasonable decision, because there were multiple people wobbling about on their bikes at the mount line, trying to do up their shoes, and I passed them all.
I capped off the day by cheering on some of the other competitors as they crossed the finish line. Whether you come in first, last or somewhere in between, we're all united by the sense of accomplishment for completing this challenge together. I'm particularly inspired by the first-timers and hope they'll all be back.  

Other Ignition Fitness ambassadors were in fine form, with fellow duathlete Jesse Bauer taking first place with a commanding time and near total domination in the runs and on the bike. Coach Roger also raced the duathlon, managing a speedy bike split, despite the unexpected challenge of his rear tire beginning to self destruct around the halfway point!

And now, the strategizing begins for my next race, the MultiSport Canada Binbrook duathlon, on June 7, 2014...

Heading out from first transition onto the bike course 

Sprinting the final few metres toward the finish line.