February 02, 2013

The 2013 Missile Man duathlon race report

I left my house this morning at 1:30 am to drive to White Sands Missile Range New Mexico to race The Missile Man duathlon. I really enjoy racing any of the multisport races held at WSMR NM. They have excellent post race meals of pasta, french bread, and Gatorade. During the awards ceremony they have a raffle where free race entries are handed out for any White Sands Missile Range race. There are showers available so you can get cleaned up before you drive home.  The WSMR races are held on a military instillation, so there's little to no vehicle traffic on the bike course; which is important to me since I freak out riding my bike near vehicles thanks to a very large vehicle running over me and giving me a traumatic brain injury in September of 2011.

If you interested in racing a multisport race at WSMR here's the link to their 2013 race schedule:

The Missile Man duathlon  was my 83rd multisport race, and my 19th duathlon. It was a 7k run, 28k bike, 5k run. I was nervous about this race, I wasn't sure I'd be able to complete it since I've done virtually no swimming, biking, or running, and have gained 75 pounds since the accident.

The last triathlon I raced in was in September 2012. It was my slowest race ever, so I knew I had to do something to stop the gaining weight. I joined Zia CrossFit in Santa Fe NM the 1st week of January. I was doubtful that doing CrossFit 3 times a week for 4 weeks would make me race any faster. But before I knew it, it was time to see....

I started out feeling good on the 1st run of 7 kilometers, or 4.34 miles. I finished the 1st run of the day in 45:01, which is around a 10:21 per minute pace. I was pretty sure I was in 4th place in my division (it's easy picking out who the Clydes are), but I wasn't sure if I could pass anyone later in the race when I'd need some endurance- did I still have any of that stuff called endurance?

The bike is an out and back 17.4 miler, the 1st half is a gradual downhill. On the first few miles I felt fantastic! I was passing people left and right! At mile 5 my left calf started cramping, I did my best to ignore it and focus on my effort rather than the pain. Eventually the cramping went away.... On the return route I started the long gradual (dreadful) climb back. Climbing is all about fitness and being at a low body weight, so I assumed I'd suffer and be slow coming back because I'm heavy and I was pretty sure I'd lost most of my fitness..... I surprised the heck out of myself by doing better on the climb than I did going downhill! I'm not saying I was fast, I'm just sayin' I was climbing fast for a guy weighing 250 pounds. I passed at least one Clyd on the way back to the transition area. Progress! Apparently CrossFit does build speed! Who knew? Well now I do that's who! My end bike time was a dismal 1 hour 19 minutes which is a 13.1 mph average, but it was still faster than my last race in September! Like I said, progress!

After the race I started thinking.... I raced on aero dynamic wheels and wore an aero helmet, and I only rode an average of 13.1 mph. A cyclist has to ride at least 19 mph to make riding on aero wheels or in an aero helmet worth while. I knew I was going to be slow, so why use aero equipment? Why wear out my expensive equipment when it doesn't benefit me? That was dumb. Really really dumb. I bet I looked stupid out there. I bet I looked a lot like the guy in this picture.

On the 2nd run I was a mess, both calf's were cramping up and I was fatigued like crazy, but I didn't allow anything to take my focus off of running as hard as I could to the finish. I knew the clyd I passed on the bike was right behind and I didn't want to let that guy pass me! The thought of missing a podium finish got my competitive juices flowing and I can get REALLY COMPETITIVE! I ended up finishing the 2nd run of 5 kilometers in 23:51, which is a 7:41 pace. Yup, I'm mighty happy with the 2nd run time! Run fat boy run!!!

I finished in 26th place overall, and 3rd place in the Clydesdale 39 and under. So like I said, I did much better than I assumed I'd do, but I'm still a very long way away from my strreak of top 3 overall finishes back in 2010. No, you didn't read that wrong. Top 5. I used to be lean and FAST! I know it's hard to believe it by looking at me now, but back in 2010 I finished 5 races in the top 5 overall. My average sprint triathlon times were 6:16 for a 400 meter swim, I'd average just shy of 21 mph on the bike, then still be able to run just shy of a 7 minute per mile pace. I realize I'm a long ways from where I used to be, but this is a life long sport. It doesn't matter where I am right now, what matters is where I'm going. Next step is to start off supplementing CrossFit with a little cycling and running.

With today's 3rd place finish I have 8 points for the South West Challenge Series. 1 race down, 4 more races to go until I hit the minimum number of races needed to qualify for The South West Challenge Series series, and 4 more races minimun needed to qualify for the Chasing 3 Open Water Series. Yup, I'm going to try and compete in both deries this year.

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