Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Spring Sprint Duathlon

This past weekend Amy, Laura, and I took on the Spring Sprint Duathlon at Smolak Farms up in North Andover.  This was my return to multisport racing after a 16 month hiatus (Last race was the Hyannis Sprint 2 Triathlon in September of 2012).  This was also Amy's first multisport race since having Neil and Laura's first multisport race ever.  I figured a run centric race would play to my advantage with the training that I have been putting in.

Location: North Andover, MA
Date: 5/4/2014

Distance: 3.1 Mile Run, 13.3 Mile Bike, 1.5 Mile Run
Goal Time:  Run Sub 6 min pace, Bike over 18 mph
Actual Time: 18:14 (5:53), 43:32 (18.3), 9:27 (5:59)
Place: 3 / 6 AG, 16 / 120 OA

We found out about this race when Amy and Laura did a Computrainer race at Breakaway Cycling over the winter.  The owner / coach of Breakaway (and race director for this race) seemed really cool and Amy and Laura were both looking for an early season race to get going, so we said why not.
This was slight change from my ultra racing, but I figured it might help me focus on getting in some more cross training (which I definitely need more of).   I was originally hoping to get some more focused training in on my time trial bike starting about three weeks before the race, but between rain, a sleepless child, and pure lack of time it just didn't happen.  I was able to get out for an 11 mile ride to East Somerville and back (with a 6.5 mile run in the middle) a few days before the race so I wasn't going in totally raw.  Plus I'm an ultra runner, so I figured I can withstand pretty much anything endurance wise, it just might not be that fast.  

Jump ahead to race day: We left our house around 6:15 for the drive up to North Andover.  Neil spent the night with my parents, which was a huge help, so we were able to get going pretty quickly.  

We arrived at Smolak farms shortly after 7am and after getting checked in, taking the obligatory porta john break, and setting up our bikes, we were good to go.  You couldn't have asked for much nicer weather as it was low 50s, sunny, with a little bit of breeze (that turned into a full on head wind during the bike). 

The course was a pretty simple one.  The first run was an out and back going out the rear entrance of the farm.  The bike was a clockwise loop from the main entrance and the second run was a traversal of the orchard (you literally went up and down some of rows of trees). 

My goal for the day was a pretty simple: Kick ass in the running legs, and rest / hold on for the bike leg.  As we started the race I moved up close to the front, but settled into the second pace group (of 4 people).  Right around the 1 mile mark (clocking a 5:56 -- new fastest mile ever in a multisport race) the group I was running with slowed way down.  I dropped them and continued on.  Around the two mile mark I closed in on the 3rd place runner and thought it would be pretty cool to go into transition in 3rd place over all (this has also never has happened before to me in a multisport race).  

I flew down the final hill with a smirk on my face and quickly discarded my running sneakers for my cycling shoes.  37 seconds later I was on my bike and flying down my first hill.

The main issue I ran into on the bike was I just wasn't comfortable in my arrow bars.  I kind of expected this having not really used the bike much over the past year and a half, but I buckled down and pushed onwards none the less.  

The first competitor caught me within the first mile and the second (my friend Frank) about a mile later.  I wished him luck having told him before the race that my cycling ability was no where near where my running was.  Around mile six as we started to turn into the wind is when the main field started to catch me.  At that point I was around 8th or 9th place.  After this I just lost count.  After fighting through a tough hill at mile 12, we finally turned off the main road and coasted back into transition.  Not sure what I had left in my legs, I quickly transitioned back to my running shoes and headed back out. 

I started the second run at almost a full sprint.  I caught my first person within the first 10th of a mile and managed to catch another 6 before the half way point.  I was now hungry to see how many people I could knock off.  This was an off road run and I was finally back in my element.  The run started off on a dirt road then zigged and zagged through an orchard.  As I was passing people, they looked like they were struggling with the terrain.  I kept hammering.  As I passed my 9th person and turned the final time my heart rate was so high I could taste it.  I sprinted through the finish in a time of 1:12:45.  

After a quick bottle of water I jogged over and got my cell phone and was able to snap a couple of picks of Amy and Laura finishing the bike, heading out on the run, and coming through the finish.  

All and all I had a great day and a fun return to multisport racing.  3rd OA first and second runs, 16th OA on the day, 3rd AG.  

Amy got 4th in her AG and Laura got 3rd in hers and the brunch after the race was wonderful. 

Next Up:
Mom's run on 5/11 (with Neil in the stroller)

- The Multisport Maniac

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