Saturday, May 10, 2008

Best Race Yet, but not my best finish

How can you have your best race, but not your best finish? Well, when you're up against some tough competition, which includes several Elite (Pro) tri- and duathletes, finishing in the top 10 amongst them can give you your best finish, but not your best result.

Today was the Oakdale Spring Classic Duathlon. Its a 3 mile run, 13 mile bike, 3 mile run duathlon. It's not part of either of Minnesota's main multisport series' (MMS or Tri MN), but it is traditionally the first big du in the Twin Cities, helping to kick off the multisport season. In fact, its the 2nd largest duathlon in the state, next to the Iron Girl Du in October. This race draws many competitors from around the state. Todays winner was Dan Cohen (turned pro in 2007); second place went to Brendon O'Flanagan (30th at the du Nat'ls last month, going to Worlds in Italy), and rounding out the top 3 was Anton Pshon (Twin Cities Multisport Elite Team member)--so you can see what the typical age grouper like myself was up against. I don't actually stand at the starting line thinking I'm up against them as in 'in their league. Rather, I look around at all the ultra fit athletes and think, "Which one of you is going to win, and how will my results compare?" Today, however, I think I was competing with many of the events top finishers as I took 9th overall and had the days 4th fastest bike split (3rd place was 1 second faster!). Here's a little summary:

Wave 1 was men 39 and under so the gun goes off and the games begin. Cohen and O'Flanagan are soon out of site--literally, about 3 minutes in and they probably had a minute on most of us chasing them. It's unofficial, but I think I hit mile one at 5:30-5:35. My HR hit 184 at some point in run one, but averaged 176 by the end of my 18:17 first 3 mile run in which I was 22nd overall. (I guess you should know my threshold is around 176-178.) I knew I was going a little hard, but also knew it was a short race and would further test me for upcoming events in the MMS--I pushed on. My T1 wasn't too bad, but I was on the bike within 50 seconds to begin 13 miles of cycling. Right away I caught 3 of the 21 ahead of me. Just a mile to mile and a half into the bike section comes the one main climb of the day. Not a bad or long one, but its one you feel if you go too hard. I dropped to the little ring and spun up the hill. I picked up 3 more riders by the top. The course flattened out, I shifted to the big ring and stayed there. My HR remained in the upper 170's and I wasn't feeling too good. I think I wasn't feeling good because the number was telling me I shouldn't feel good above threshold. I decided to tune out the HR and assess how I really felt. After I thought about it for a few seconds I guess I didn't feel like I was in the high 170's, so I kept the speed up and began picking riders off one by one. In the last mile I shifted to the little ring again and began spinning the legs quick and light, hoping to rest them a bit for the final run. By the end of the bike, I would discover later, that I hit Run 2 right around 4th or 5th overall. T2 went slightly better at 43 seconds. My plan for Run 2 was to go out quick hoping that any pursuers wouldn't see me up ahead, thus not giving them a mouse to chase. I guess quick is not a word to describe my running ability. I managed to catch one runner at about .5 miles into Run 2, then soon after that about 5 caught me. The last of them to catch me was #30. I remember because I stayed right on his heals thinking that If I keep his pace hopefully no one else will catch me. That plan worked, but I was at the edge of collapsing. Seriously, I was gasping loud, it was painful--my whole being was suffering. I looked back and there was someone gaining. I just kept pushing until I could see that the finish line was closer than the chaser. I eased up a bit and watched the #30 get smaller and smaller, but I held off that last potential overtaker. Thanks #30. Total time in was 1:12:04. Beating my time of 1:14:19 in the 2007 Oakdale Du by 2 min 15 seconds.

Results by Overall (332 indiv finishers, 175 were male):
Run 1- 18:17 (22nd), Bike- 33:44 (4th), Run 2- 18:32 (16th): 9th overall finish

Results by Age group male 35-39 (which was the largest age group with 46):
Run 1- 18:17 (5th), Bike- 33:44 (1st), Run 2- 18:32 (3rd): 2nd in age group

Top 10 overall:

1. Dan Cohen 1:05:54
2. Brendon O'Flanagan 1:07:43
3. Anton Pshon 1:07:55
4. Derick Podratz 1:11:01
5. Aaron Koehler 1:11:12
6. Jesse Nelson 1:11:23
7. Clifford Owen 1:11:36
8. David Binsfeld 1:11:46
9. Mario Minelli 1:12:04
10. Mark Evenson 1:12:18

ALL RESULTS: Click this

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