Race Report for: ITU Worlds Standard Distance Duathlon, Penticton, BC
Distance: 10.0 km – 40.5 km – 5.1 km
Date: Monday, August 21, 2017
Weather: ~20-25C, full sun with moderate NE winds
Description of Course: asphalt streets and interlocking bricks run, mostly flat with some false flat up and back down (Run 1 = 4 loops, Run2 = 2 loops, bike mostly flat, head/side wind out and tail/side wind back (2 x 20km out & back)
Actual Time: 2:50:40
|Personal Best Times:
||This Race Last Year
||2:38 Esprit 2013
||This is my only standard distance du this year
||2:58 but run and bike courses were a bit different
|Run 1: 55:00 (5:30/km)
|Bike: sub 1:20:00
| 1:20:48 (29.7 km/h for 40k per Sportstats, = 30.2 km/h for 40.5k)
|Run 2: < 30:00
Description of Race:
I had done this race course for Nationals last year, so I was very familiar with it. The only differences were that they changed the run course to take out the big Vancouver Ave hill, to make an almost flat course, the bike course was a bit longer, the transition area was a bit further away and the transitions themselves were a bit longer. With better fitness than last year, I expected to cut a fair amount of time off of my 2016 result of 2:58. 2016 was my return to racing after a lot of personal issues in 2014 and 2015 (my concussion, cancer death of very close friend, menopause, weight gain, plantar fasciitis) affected my training and resulted in next to no racing.
My training this year was affected by the illness and death of my mother in the winter/spring, followed by a viral infection that knocked me out for almost two weeks in July. I had intended to lose at least 20 pounds since my 2016 race, and I had lost 10 pounds by mid-March but stress-eating caused me to gain that all back by May. Once my training increased again after that, I found it very difficult to lose weight, and decided to just maintain my food intake to fuel my workouts, and deal with weight loss after Worlds.
Lead-up to race – We arrived four days prior to the race, which was enough to get settled and complete all the tasks required at a World Championship race, such as the Parade of Nations, run and ride course familiarization and team meeting, not to mention socializing. With this being my third Worlds, I knew what was involved in the lead up and I was determined to minimize the changes to my normal routine.
I was able to do my assigned workouts for these days although not exactly as planned, due to various factors. No excuses, but it’s not as easy to head out the door in an unfamiliar place, as it is at home. I felt good during the workouts since my quads were finally rested and my ongoing tight calves were no longer tight. What a relief. It made me wonder if that calf tightness might be related to my desk/chair position at work, and being away from work resolved it. Will have to look into that further once I’m back to work.
We stayed at a motel on the Penticton lakeshore strip and made most of our own meals to avoid sitting in crowded restaurants waiting for food, and having to worry about not getting the type and quality of food I wanted. I slept in every morning until I woke up naturally so I was getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night.
Warm-up – about 15 minutes of easy jogging on and off. All good, no hamstring or calf tightness. Nutrition good, bathroom good. I did my sighting of the Run In/ Bike Out/Bike In/Bike Out, which was a bit of a serpentine path.
Run 1 – We (Women 40+) started in a corral, about the fourth wave to go. I felt happy and calm at the start…. It had been a long journey back to being at Worlds, with my last one being Ottawa in 2013.
I always view the first 10k of a standard distance duathlon as something to be gotten through, so that I can get onto the bike. It always seems to go on forever and you have to push hard, but not quite as hard as a standalone 10k. This day, it went fairly well. There was a long stretch on each of four 2.5k loops that was a false flat uphill but this was followed by coming back down it, so I don’t think I lost too much time due to this. By the second loop, I could see that I was pretty far back in the pack, but this was not unexpected so I did not get too discouraged by this. I kept on at a steady pace, trying to keep my pace below 5:30/km. When I finished, my Garmin said 5:25. Sportstats says 5:30, which was my goal, so close enough.
Bike – I had my bike shoes on my bike already (new strategy for me this season) and had a fairly good mount. Not a full flying mount, but I got my left foot in, got rolling, swung my right leg over and I was off. Much better than running to the mount line in my cycling shoes as I used to do.
I was expecting my ride to be a fair bit faster than last year, as I am fitter, the course was the same and the forecast was for very low winds (last year 1:23:38, 28.7 km/h). I was a bit disappointed to only be 3 minutes faster in the results but given a couple of mitigating factors, I’m satisfied.
- The wind was definitely stronger than last year, which slowed us down on the out portion of the double out & back course, but it didn’t feel like we got a pure tailwind on the way back. My speed was only about 3-4 km/h faster on the south bound course versus north bound.
- Last year, we rode in the far right and far left lanes. This meant that the traffic was still flowing in the two inner lanes (and was halted at the turn around). This made for some scary moments when transport trucks passed us, but we were all amazed by the slip stream effect we got from them. It was almost like we were pulled along when they passed. That was definitely missing this year as they had us ride in the two lakeside lanes while the traffic was in the two mountainside lanes. It made for a much safer race course, but we all agreed that we lost a bit of speed that way.
- The course this year was about 0.5 km longer, with a dogleg near transition that required a real slow down.
My power number was a bit lower than we had hoped for but my average HR # was good as a measure of effort. As I finished the bike, my Garmin said 30.4 km/h. I was very pleased to be over 30 km/h, but Sportstats has me at 29.7 km/h, I think because they divided by 40km and the course was at least 40.5km. Either way, I am still satisfied as this is the first 40km effort I was able to do this season due to scheduling conflicts. I had feared that I would falter at 30km and end up with a 90 minute split.
Run 2 – this run was 2 loops of the run course, so I knew what to expect. I was aiming to go sub 6:00/km overall. I started out very slowly at closer to 6:30 but pressed on and eventually got my average speed down to about 5:55/km. I was able to hold this until about the 3.5km mark, when I really started to slow down. I tried my best to keep my speed up but the final uphill did me in, and I finished up with a 6:05/km average per my Garmin, although Sportstats had me at 6:01. I’ll take it!
Finish – I crossed the line and immediately felt very faint, which is pretty normal for me with my low blood pressure. Dan and my friends were at the fence and saw this and got me hooked up with a fellow Canadian finisher to hold onto me and guide me through the line. Once I got some food into me, I came back to life quickly.
We got a very nice medal at the finish line and further on, we got a duathlon finisher scarf which was a nice touch. The finisher area opened up into the spectator area and I was able to meet up with Dan.
At this point, things got a little weird as the solar eclipse was at its maximum. The sun clouded over, the temperature dropped quickly by 5-10 degrees at the same time my body was cooling off, and people were stumbling around with eclipse glasses and boxes over their heads. It was a bit surreal!
When I describe Duathlon Worlds to someone who hasn’t done it, I say, it’s like being the smart kid in your high school, then going to university and realizing that everyone else there is as smart or smarter than you, and it can be pretty intimidating. This time around, I knew I would be closer to the back of the pack than I was in Ottawa 2013. I purposely didn’t say, “I don’t want to be last,” because you don’t have any control over who else shows up, and really, what’s wrong with being last at this level of competition???
Leading up to the race, I was getting really sick of training and really tired of thinking about the race. I felt like I didn’t want to put myself through this very long lead up again. I also felt like, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could get myself fit enough to participate at this level again, and then maybe put this level of competing behind me. I purposely had not attended any qualifying events for 2018 Worlds.
However, a day or two after the race, I had decided that I wanted to at least consider qualifying for Worlds 2018 which will be in Odense, Denmark ….. but that’s a story for another day!
A big thanks to my family for supporting me emotionally and physically and for tolerating the bikes in the kitchen!
Thanks to my coach Mike Coughlin, of Discomfort Zone Performance Coaching, especially for that phone call in the final week.
Thanks to my training partners, especially the two Mikes.
Thanks to my technology guy, Spencer.
Thanks to my nutrition coach Michelle Goldrick for steering me in the right direction.
Thanks to Tracy my trainer, Dr. Tina my chiro and Andy my physio for fixing my broken body last year.
Thanks to the Girls Who Bike, 20 Minute Daily Groove, London Centennial Wheelers, Cycles London, Runners Choice and Nordic Cat CX peeps.
Thanks to all my friends, both athletic and not, who have pushed, prodded and propped me up, when I lost the faith so many times in the past year. It was so very much appreciated.
Cathy is a 54 year-old duathlete based in London, Ontario. When she’s not running and cycling, she’s a sole practitioner CPA and the co-manager of a family unit, aka a wife, and mom of two young adults. She is very excited to be entering a new age group next year!