I finished competing in the USA Triathlon Duathlon Nationals in Bend Oregon. I raced the standard distance course, which was 10K run, followed by a 40K bike and finishing with a 5K run. It was a cold start, near 40 degrees so I wore some light arm warmers for the first run and bike. I was nervous at the start because I didn’t want to over do the pace. The first wave was all women over 55 and all men over 60 so it included a rather big group.
Shortly after going through the start gate, the course had us make a right turn onto a running path on the side of the road. It was too congested and the guy right in front of me went down, nearly taking me down also. I was lucky that I was able to jump over and to the side and keep on running. I had decided to keep my first run to a 9 min/mile pace. Not very fast but about what I figured I could do and still perform well on the rest of the event. I kept track on my Garmin 920XT GPS device and resisted the temptation to go faster, even though I felt I was falling a bit behind. When I finished the run and got on the bike, I was then in more familiar territory. It was a 20K out and back bike look which we repeated twice. Each lap included 900 feet of climbing, with the grades up to about 6%. I found myself passing many riders on the second lap where we were now mixed with younger age groups doing their first lap up the hill.
My second transition time was too long. I had put an endurolyte tablet in my tri box on the top tube and I was worried about cramping on the last run so I wasted too much time trying to retrieve it. I finally gave up and started the run. It turned out I did not cramp, although I was probably running the first mile a bit slower that I might have. It had warmed up quite a bit so I shed the light arm warmers before the final run.
There were a total of 20 in my age group, males 65-69 but one had a DNF as I mentioned when he took a fall shortly after the start of the first run. Several of the 65 year olds did very well the prior year in the 60-64 age group so I knew there was no chance to get a top finish. My running was just not like it use to be with spending only a couple of months of training, with the groin sprain to deal with, make it difficult. I was thrilled when I found out I came in 10th place. Looking at the times, I can see that my strong suite was biking, which is quite the reversal of several yeas ago when I was running more strongly. I could have done even better on the bike, but had cut way back doing speed work on the bike so I could focus on running, which turned out to be the right choice since I still placed 6th overall on the bike leg, partially due to it involved 1,800 feet of climbing which was better for me.
As in most all races, I was very glad when I finally came across the finish line.
My time was good enough to qualify for Worlds in 2017. I have already registered to hold a spot on Team USA. It is being held August, 2017 in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. I am excited to go because I have never been at a Worlds Championship. Picking a sport like the duathlon, that does not have as many participants, coupled with being in an older age group, allowed me to get a slot.