Well the muddiest gear west duathlon i have ever done has come and gone. I have only done this race twice, and the 1st year it was COLD and last year it was HOT. But it was dry. When we had ongoing monsoon rains for 3 days prior to sunday's race i knew it was going to be an "interesting" race. This is a primarily "off road" duathlon ( runs) that is 5k 30k ( or maybe its 28k, not sure its about 17 miles) and then a 4k. The 1st run has 1k on the roads then you turn into the fields and the marsh area and its all grass and wetlands. This year it WAS VERY WETlands!
It wouldnt be a taper week and a rest day saturday without some Julia drama. I woke up and had the worst upper calf pain. It was like someone had kicked me in the medial gastroc behind my knee. I was super freaked out and not sure what to think. I did my spin ( inside, it was pouring rain) and it felt tight. But running was fine. I wore compression socks and ran on the TM ( did i say it was pouring?) and i knew that if i had torn or hurt something on my rest day, you know, working my normal job, which requires heavy standing around and rigourous teaching of senior balance classes and attending meetings ( do you sense my sarcasm?) well i know rest days can be evil. I chalked it up to?? I dont know. Later i did remember i walked into the bike rack behind my car, but i didnt remember that till after the race. So anyways I was totally a mess saturday. Again thinking i bruised easily from nothing.
So Anyways onto the race. I swore i wouldnt be one of those "people" who wore compression socks, espc white ones:) On a muddy day, but sorry for that comment bc I wasnt taking any chances. It wasnt that hot out so it was fine. And no, they are still really dirty:)
We started in the elite competive wave and there were a few women that took it out SO FAST I was like "Whoa, who is the track star?" I held my own knowing that my heavy breathing was likely annoying the person who i was behind, but i kept at it. This year they shortened the course a tad bc part of the trail was under water, so instead of climbing the giant hill and heading into T1 you had to do a lap around the gravel track. IT was fine on lap 1 and for some reason i didnt think much about the fact that this could become a track race with a 400 ++ sprint to the finish.
I came into T1 right behind Diane who is in this picture with me. I race with Diane alot and i know how fit she is early in the season. She went ot Bous with me last fall so we were at it again! She got out just ahead of me but i was hot on her tail!
Special thanks goes to Hannah who was my fashion consultant prior to the race, when i sent here a pic of my kiwami openback with a VERY stylish and awesome run swiftly SS t shirt UNDER the suit she said : I mean this in the nicest way, but that looks DORKY! Yup. I was just afraid of the cold and I mean that bc i have not ridden outside this spring in anything but knee warmers arm warmers a vest etc..its been that cold. But Sunday was HUMID! So i went for it. I was fine by the way, likely didnt need the arm warmers but as soon as the sun came out it went under so i just left em on. Not overheated at all.Exiting T1.
photo compliments Nick Morales
The ride was great. I did my best to stay on top of things and not let her out of my sight, but i would gain on the uphills and she would pull away on the descents. The story of my life:) but it was nice to have her and Julie Hull, too, out there in my sights. Then about mile 13 she came back to me, but two other women came up on us too. We had a bike race! ( legally of course) we had to juggle a bit to keep it that way and at one point Sue ( another awesome masters athlete) sat back then surged ahead. Sarah ( another masters athlete and super biker) was right near me and as the last hill approached i gunned it and got away. Sarah later caught me into T2 but i was really happy with my legs on that ride. They were there and they did it legally.
So Diane and I hit the trails again, and i felt bad bc I was breathing SO HARD. I think it must have been annoying. The only real "blooper" to this race was that i thought they were handing out water as we left T2 but they were handing out Heed, or somehow i got that and if there is one thing I CANNOT drink its Heed. Especially that awful MELON flavor. Oh boy I had to make sure i didnt swallow that bc I had a green apple powergel already sitting in my stomach ( you can see the wrapper in my top, LOL i forgot about it till i got home!) but it ended up all over my face and suit and hands. ICK.
I ran and i ran and about 1 mile in i just felt like i didnt want to settle on her pace bc I knew Sarah and Sue and Jan ( yes another masters athlete, dang!) were close behind. So i went ahead and paved the trail. But at this point it was SO BAD that there was no line at all. Every step was squishy and the grass just sunk as you ran. Here on one of the trails I got caught with a naughty comment. Sorry. I just saw it and said what it looks like i am saying "SHHH, quiet back here guys there is a race going on." hahaha. And yes I had to jump in eventually.
photo compliments Denny Johnson
There are enough out and back sections that you can see who is chasing you and in my opinion its REALLY hard to tell if they are gaining on you or not. So i just kept on pushing. This is right after climbing the big hill and "usually" you run straight on in about 150 yds to the finish. Not this year. You "got" to run a lap on the gravel track. Oh joy. I was too afraid to look so i didnt. I just ran ran ran. I kept thinking " this hurts like crazy, and it probably hurts more than the last 6 mile of an IM and its going to be over in less than 2 minutes so just GO HARDER."
I have no idea, but with my first IM coming up i had to think about it and use it to motivate me.
Finally I made the 400 and Kevin, the owner of Gear West Triathlon and Bike and my new team sponsor said " YES JULIA, you are pulling away from the women......( pause) but...Sue looks strong." That was enough to get me to kick it in like there was someone right next to me. I sorta wanted to look but at that point i was just going to RUN. and not the most photographic pic of me, but i got there in one piece.run and T1 photos compliments Steve and Sarah Stenzel ( and baby)
One of the nicest things is meeting new people at races and i met a few new people who are also masters women. I am so impressed with the level of women racing here in the midwest. It's pretty awesome. Then I also want to give a shout out to Julie and Erik Hull. Julie was ahead of me but how in the world that girl has the lungs to shout my name more than a few times on the last run is beyond me. I read that her HR went into the 180's, i bet if she werent so nice and supportive she could run in the 160's!
I on the other hand was proud that i didnt have a tea party in transition, and that i didnt talk to everyone and try to greet them as they passed me on the bike:) Yes I know, I have good manners. That is what the after party is for I know!
Kort, Me and Karen ( yes another super masters athlete) showing off our mudlines. Kort took 4th OA and KAren placed high in our 45-49 AG.
I hung around long enough to watch the dark clouds come in, the tornadoes start to form to the north of us ( yes, really, not a good MN weather day) and earn my first paycheck for top masters! I was 6th OA behind a strong field, including Julie who was 5th. I am quite happy with the race and the fact that my leg was fine. It felt bruised but i could run on it so i know there was no muscle tear or damage.
And of course...what would a race be without a cupcake? And not just A CUPCAKE. THE BEST out there from my sister in law's bakery SWEET. If you chose post race to be on a diet that is a shame bc the banana cupcakes are literally to die for. Melt in your mouth goodness with none of that fake banana flavor, these are real bananas. Oh and no these are tennis cupcakes bc the other ones all got eaten. And Yes I do have a cupcake sponsor, which is a dangerous thing, trust me.
I would be very very remiss to not mention my hubby's FANTASTIC duathlon debut. He rocked it and had a smile on his face on the track that last lap. What a sport. He finished 4th in his AG and yes, there were more than 4 people in the AG( he wants everyone to know that!) his bike was the 2nd fastest and he managed the run like a star. So our basement looked alot like this today:
Thank you so much to Hannah, Kevin, and ALL the Gear west Staff and all the volunteers, what a great day. Oh I lied I did thank the corner marshalls bc in the rain that is a pretty awful job standing out there watching us whiz by on bikes. Thanks to Heather, my PT at New Heights who puts up with me walking into things and to my finicky glute muscles ( that have decided to report to duty again thankfully) and to my lovely hubby. Who actually thinks i am crazy but loves me even more bc of it. Wow too many people to thank, Jen ( of course!)Wade at Folske Spine and Rehab for ART and Michelle for being so fantastic....ok I will stop but i just realized how many people in my life keep me in one piece. Yes you think 40 yo is rough, wait till you hit 45:) LOL. kidding ( not really)
How about some time on the yellow brick road with my homies Chrissie and Renee? Sounds good to me!