Brooklyn Duathlon Recap
I awoke just before 5:30am, a little surprised that even a local multi-sport race required an ungodly early wakeup. Fast forward to arriving at Prospect Park: Prepping the transition area was only slightly simpler than I expected, which still required two transitions but with one less discipline. I told myself that when returning from the first run, I couldn’t just toss my shoes willy-nilly like I would fling my wetsuit. There were upsides, however. An overcast sky meant no glasses to worry about, and even if I did, I would start and finish the race with them. There would be no wet feet either. In fact, I could wear my socks the whole time! Instructed to start the first 2-mile run like a 10k, I did exactly that…if it was a downhill 10k or a 10k wearing rollerblades. Running solely on feel, I ran a 12:00 with no way to gauge my pace. When teammate Brian Sica passed me after 100m, that may have been a hint, but I was not aware of his race plan.
I ran into T1 to grab my beautiful baby (no, not my boyfriend; he made sure he was far away from transition so I wouldn’t be distracted) my Cervelo P2, on its 5th or so ride outside ever, for the bike portion - 10 miles, or 3 loops of Prospect Park. Gathering information regarding my placement from Coach Cane for just a few seconds each time I passed the transition area, I also learned the course better with each loop: where the road gets rough near Grand Army Plaza, the varying grades of Zoo Hill, the point at which I should switch into my small ring, and where it was flat and desolate enough to grab a quick sip of white cherry Gatorade. The headwind on the west side was strong enough that I never felt the need to brake or slow down, a potential drawback for more reckless competitors but a boon for my cautious, newbie self. I could hear my boyfriend’s words of encouragement and Jess Purcell’s shouts at much-needed sections of the course, teammates both out for their runs. Their words helped me focused when it felt like I was wandering in times I had to ride on the far outside of a turn while passing pedestrians and avoiding people wandering in the crosswalk, but for the most part the going was smooth and non-competitor’s paths predictable. I biked a 31:50 split, short of my goal of averaging 20 mph and not indicative of the progress I’ve made on the indoor trainer this winter – but that’s just that: an indoor trainer.
I hopped off my bike before the “speed bump” into the transition area. The usual heavy-legged feeling was more pronounced than what it felt like in my brick workout. I felt like I was jogging with a backpack full of books. Textbooks. Made of titanium. I was so desperate for some idea of my pace which I figured to be around 7:30 that I tried to estimate by watching a guy running in the opposite direction of me, which proved fruitless. My breathing felt like I was running 5k tempo pace, nice and steady, but my legs couldn’t go any faster. Most people describe the 2nd run as “running on stumps,” but it was more like being in a rowboat with someone who’s purposely rowing in the opposite direction from you. Or like playing “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots” with your non-dominant hand. I was shocked when I entered the finish chute and saw the clock that I roughly calculated to prove I just ran around a 12:00 second 2-mile run (it was 12:05 to be exact). Then I saw the only thing better at the end of a race than the finish clock – the race volunteers stretching the finish tape for me, indicating I was about to win the women’s race. I crossed, put my arms up, and smiled. Seconds later, I was embraced by my boyfriend who had also woken up at 5:30am with me, carried equipment, planned his long run for 7:00am to spectate, and cleared the evidence of a failed attempt of a mid-ride snot rocket from my shoulder. I saw my City Coach compatriots cheering for me and other teammates crossing the finish line. I then realized that the only thing better to see during a race other than the finish tape is your loved ones at the finish line.