"I will go through a lot of pain to beat someone. If there's pride and ego on the line, if I'm desperate, then I'm willing to go to a place where it hurts a lot more."
-U.S. Marathoner Shalane Flanagan
...Well that may be a bit of an overstatement for my situation. I'm racing a small local Sprint Duathlon this weekend, and there are no prizes on the line, no glory at the end, barely a blip on anyone but the racers radar, but dammnit I still want to win :p
I've been learning how to race, instead of just time trialling. Back in Texas the road was so pancake flat you could run your pace and you were more racing against the clock and yourself. Sure that made it fun because I would win most 5k's as long as I didn't indulge in beer and mexican food the night before (trust me, terrible, terrible idea). Here in Scotland, there are hills, hills make planning pace near impossible unless you know the course. So since I cant predict the course (elevation charts are not provided at these local races) I've tried to keep the lead female in sight and try to hold on, while staying within myself so I dont blow up, and then pushing it in the last mile or so. The multisport aspect of Duathlon I wasn't quite sure how to make that play out.
This is a three race series, which is great. I have a habit of racing a distance only once and moving on wanting to try them all, the only distance I've done more than once is 5k running races. Which is a blast, buut you learn a lot the first time you do a distance and I havent gotten around to actually using that knowledge and improving my times on other distances.
Also great they ease you into it. First race was 3 mile run and 12 mile bike, the next one will be 3/12/3 so the run on the end will make it more challenging and a true duathlon.
I'm excited to give it another shot, the first race I raced all out on the run, which obliterated me on the bike. It was my first week that I had a power meter so I didn't realize how low my watts were on the bike, all I knew was I felt like crap during the bike portion. Which vetted me a 2nd female overall, I had the fastest run but at the end of the day it cost me first place. I've had a string of 2nd place results and its getting kind of old.
First step a mini Duathlon training session. Best way to hammer it into my head that if I take it sub max on the run, and dont burn myself out pushing as hard as I can from the get go on the bike, I should be able to put out some decent watts on the bike. Soo dont race it like a 5k...check!
Race Day Tactics:
Line up with the leader, I ran faster last time, but this time keep along side so I dont burn myself out. However if she's taking it easy, keep it a step ahead to push the pace to where I want it to be and mitigate the damage she can do on the bike by causing more fatigue. This should set me up better for transition, last time I was crushed from the run and slightly unstable trying to get on the bike, costing me time. Then hit the bike hard trying to keep her in my sights. Mentality being its only a 5k run (slightly short) at the end and I can survive that after beating myself up on the bike. Again try to stay along side and then break away about a mile out.
It hinges on me being able to keep up on the bike against some very strong cyclists, but hey, what fun is a race if there isn't a real challenge :p I cant wait. I love going into that place of pain racing, where half the battle is in your head, your body enticing you to quit. I'm learning to race the competition and not just the clock. It makes it easier in a way to have that target in front of you, but challenging to hold back where necessary and deal with not being able to completely control the race (but I'm going to try ;D).
At the end of the day though its a C race, high intensity above lactic threshold effort in the middle of a base period full of zone two miles. So if I dont win, it will be a fun race and bit of speed to shake things up on my road to Ironman :)