I signed up for a sprint triathlon but with a couple days to go, due to poor water quality they changed the event to a duathlon format. I picked this event as a little tune up for a race the following week and came into it with no expectations carrying a lot of training fatigue. With a fairly relaxed start of 9:30am, there was no need for any early starts. Setting up in transition things looked quite sparse with only my bike and helmet needed. I genuinely had no idea how my legs would fair, but the goal was simple; just do the best I can.
Run leg 1
We started with a 5km run. Starting with the run I set off at a decent pace taking an early lead and got into my rhythm as soon as I could. About 500m into the run I was passed, and rather than go with them I just maintained my pace. The gap increased to about 10m and then held steady. We kept running through these swarms of little bugs all around the lake; we were running alongside. Each time I just prayed I’d not swallow or choke. My sunglasses did an outstanding job at protecting my eyes and although my mouth was wide open like a throttle body when you stamp on the accelerator (just without the filter), somehow I didn’t swallow or maybe just didn’t feel any bugs go down.
With 2km to go I wound my pace up a little, and the gap started to rapidly close. I passed back into the lead with 1km to go, and my opponent sat just off my shoulder. I was just focusing on my form, but I was finding my pace was continuing to improve. Being just in the lead, I got the inside line into transition. Run split was 16:54.
Transition was good. I had the presence of mind to multitask, taking my shoes off with my feet while also putting my helmet on. I ran out of transition in 26 seconds and jumped on my bike.
Time to suck it up and push. I didn’t linger getting up to speed and got into a bit of groove. Rather than focusing on power, I found it more motivating trying to get my speed higher. Sucking in air, pushing with my legs, and tucking my body. I wondered whether I had any drafters but decided I really didn’t care. I just needed to do my best. I could see my heart rate dropping somewhat, so I tried to keep the effort there to keep it up, but I was suffering. My speed still stayed pretty constant throughout the 4 laps, even with some gusty winds. My average power decreased as the laps past, but my adjusted power stayed within 1W. My bike split was 29:33.
Going into the second transition I wondered whether I’d cramp in my hip flexors like my previous race. Thankfully, even though I pushed more power, I had no such issues and was out on to the run in 36 seconds.
Run Leg 2
The second run was only 2km, well that’s what was mentioned in the email about the change from a triathlon to a duathlon. However, in the race briefing there was some mention about maybe it being 2.5km. Anyhow I chose to just focus on the shorter distance (2km), I thought less than 7mins, you’ve got this. I got into a solid rhythm and before I knew it the first kilometre had ticked by in 3:33. Reading the signs (something I’ve failed in the past) I realised the turnaround point was further ahead (2.5km run I guess!). I pushed as best I could, making sure to accelerate out of the u-turn. I was uncomfortably comfortable, and my lead over the rest of the field was significant. However, I kept pushing all the way to the finish to just give my best I had. I finished the final run leg in 8:48. Total time was 56:17.
It surprised me at how well I could still run when feeling pretty average. To be fair, my long ride and long runs in the day’s prior were a little shorter than I’d typically do, but I’d still banked >1400TSS week of training. However, this seemed to show on the bike leg, where I really couldn’t pick up the pace when I wanted to. On the run, it thrilled me to sit into a groove quickly and am hopeful to do the same in my next race. This is something I’ve been focusing on trying to improve over the past month, so it was rewarding to execute. Overall, (aside from all the bugs) this was one of the smoothest races I’ve had in some time.