I swear that’s what my hips and legs said to me today when I started the Tough Cookies Duathlon this morning up in Copperas Cove, Texas. I only told a handful of people I was doing this race because I didn’t want to hear to the, “Why are you racing and trying to injure yourself even more” lectures. I signed up because frankly I only have about two months left of “race freedom” before I’m laid up for about five months and I want to eek every little ounce of ooommmph I have left before May 19th. Today, it wasn’t a lot of oomph, but it was still good for 2nd Place overall and 1st in my age group. I’ll take it especially since I’m coming off four days in a row of hilly and painful bike rides.
On Wednesday, I ran 9 miles at an overall pace of 8:22 and went to bikram. Thursday, I hit the Computrainer for 1.5 hours of the Oceanside 70.3 hills and a little bikram to stretch it all out. Brutal, I tell ya. On Friday, I went to T3 Swim Workout in the morning and then I met the Austin Cycle Camp Friday hookie ride for 25 miles of more hills around Austin including Scenic, Pecos, Balcones, Far West, Dry Creek, Mountain View and a lovely trip up Mt. Bonnell for the hell of it. Those were just some of the climbs I remember. Definitely not a fast ride for me, but a confidence booster in the hill department.
Saturday was another self-punishing 60 mile Austin T3 ride through the hills. Thank goodness for my friend Jerry for keeping me company out Fitzhugh. The T3 Pain Train started off a bit too fast for my leg and I couldn’t hang on for all of Southwest Parkway. My poor right leg felt like it was on freakin’ fire, which is generally how it feels for about an hour until it warms up (or tears more–I’m not sure). I just wish I could adequately describe the pain other than to say it feels like it’s just locking up, burning, full of lactic acid and otherwise useless for a while. Lovely feeling, eh? Instead of doing Bee Caves or the Dam Loop, Jerry and I decided to just stay on Fitzhugh out 30 miles and then head back to town. Fitzhugh is an awesome road full of plenty of climbs and rollers with a lot less traffic than most roads in town. Shawn hung back too for a while, but when Jerry and I headed home, he headed towards Bee Caves. Thankfully, we had a decent tailwind for some of the ride back. When I returned to my car 60 miles later, my leg felt better, but I was just generally sore from the other workouts from the week. Ya think?
Today’s Race–Tough Cookie Duathlon 2k run/10 mile bike/2k run
The race today wasn’t about winning or trying to win. It’s not a very competitive race in general. It’s about 125 women, most of whom are trying multi-sport for the first time. I didn’t wear a Garmin and I didn’t have a computer on my bike. It was all effort driven and mostly dictated by what my leg decided to do.
I lined up at the front and was in 2nd place pretty quickly. The 1st place runner and eventual winner was a total Austin badass, Glenda Adams. She was definitely the Chrissie Wellington of the day and the rest of us were average schmucks trying to get it done. I’ll be damned if my right hip and leg didn’t start to lock up. I have no idea what pace I was going, but I was pushing it. Sadly (or patheticly), I had to walk at the water station because I had no feeling in that leg. It just really wouldn’t work properly. I held onto 2nd for a little while longer until some 9-year-old came flying by me. Seriously, she was nine and I was lame. Coming into transition I heard Shawn say, “You’re getting beat by a 9 year old!!” Um, yeah, I was aware of that, thanks. My only response was, “Well, she has both of her hips!!” My legs f*ckin hurt getting on the bike, so I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty.
Roads were slick and we battled some drizzle and hefty headwind for the first five miles. I did pass the 9 year old on the bike, thank you very much. Although, I’m willing to beat she’ll be winning a ton of races in just a few years. She had a freakin’ Kuota K-Factor decked with a Garmin Edge 705! Serious bike porn for a youngster. That should be illegal. Actually, both her cycling coach (yes, she has one) and her Dad were riding alongside of her. In the first five miles I was passed by two women which then put me in 4th at that point. I was in a lot of pain and struggled on the bike. Lots of rolling hills and a headwind did not a happy cyclist make. I don’t know if my positioning on the Kestrel isn’t the greatest, but I just couldn’t seem to get comfy. It seemed like I was forcing every hill. Whatever. These were just mental notes and something to file away for later. Bottom line–I felt like I was struggling too much for what I was doing. My hip doesn’t allow for a whole lot of time in aero these days. I just kept telling myself, “You’re better than this.” Then I would remember that this is my fourth day in a row of some tough riding. I did end up passing one of the women who passed me at the beginning, so I came in off the bike in a very close 3rd place.
Glenda was literally in the finisher’s chute when 2nd place and I left transition just steps away from each other. I passed her within about 20 yards and held that position until the end of the race crossing in 2nd place overall in 59:38. My goal was sub 1:00. Yahoo. As per usual, my leg felt much better by the 2nd leg of the run and that split was actually about 30 sec faster than my first split. I’m so glad I did it as every race is a celebration of life and fitness. I was rockin’ my Erin Baker’s kit and always feel proud to represent them when I can. Because it was cold at the start, I made the switch from my tri jersey to my bike jersey with arm warmers. It was a good call because I never really got too hot.
Now, it’s time for a serious recovery week and taper for Oceanside 70.3. Yes, I plan on tapering because this is actually an “A” race for me, whatever that means in this pre-surgery abyss of competitive inconsistency. I leave Tuesday morning for Tucson for my USAT Coaching Classes! I’ve gotten a preview of the courses and can’t wait!