In the picture from race day, did you notice the “R4HG” on my arms?
Her name is Heather Grand and she is one of the most beautiful, strong, courageous, and inspiring people I have ever known. At 30 years old, Heather went into work one day, had the first seizure of her life, and woke up in the hospital. Very shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. She had approximately 30 tumors on her brain and was given 4-6 months to live.
That prognosis was 3 1/2 years ago. Talk about tough!
Two days before race day, I received news that Heather’s 3 1/2 year long battle with cancer is nearing it’s end. She is not doing well, and from the sound of it, it will not be long now before I receive the news that no one ever wants to get.
I will be “Racing 4 Heather Grand” for the rest of this year. The “R4HG” on my arms is a reminder to me to never take for granted the days I have on this earth, or the abilities I have. To never stop appreciating the fact that I can get out there and run. To always be grateful for running. R4HG is a reminder that on a day when I am enjoying the challenge of a race, somewhere, someone can not.
Well – Google weather was correct when it predicted a 100% chance of rain! What it failed to mention was the 30+ mph cross winds I would be riding into for the bike portion of the Spring Classic Duathlon – but I’ll get to those in a minute.
Going into this race, I had a goal of running the 2nd 5k as fast, or faster than the first 5k. I anticipated I could run the 5K’s somewhere around the 21 minute mark, but was not sure, since I have never ran a 5k race!
I started off (in the rain) and the legs felt great. I settled in at a nice cadence of 182 spm, with my heart rate around 168 or so. The course was mostly flat, so I was pretty sure I could maintain that cadence and heart rate without expending all my energy reserves.
FIRST 5k RUN:
Mile 1 and my Garmin 910XT beeps vibrates to inform me of my split time: An adrenaline fueled, blazing 6:27! Mile 2 came in at a 6:38 and Mile 3 split was 6:56. I was incredibly pleased with my first 5k.
My transition was not nearly as good as the run – a fact I would regret later when looking at the final results.
15 MILE BIKE:
I mounted the bike and set out. This course was very flat. When I registered for the race, I was looking forward to flat and fast for the bike portion. That went out the window as soon as I rounded the corner onto the very exposed Airport Drive and was met with a 20 mph cross wind.
The cross wind continued to plague me, at times gusting so hard it almost knocked me off my bike!
On the last 5 miles, the cross winds picked up to what I estimate to be 30+ mph. It was blowing so hard, that I looked at the rider ahead of me, and he was riding his bike “tilted”, leaning into the wind. I knew I was doing the same, and I really wished there would have been a course photographer at that part of the course, because that picture would have been awesome! 🙂
I continued along – in my lowest gear! Thanks to the wind, this “flat” course was like climbing a hill for the entire bike portion. Oh well, it was a blast.
2nd 5k RUN:
After another sub par transition – I set out for the run. The legs felt surprisingly well considering I had just climbed Mount Everest on my bike!
Mile 1 split came in at 7:08. I immediately adjusted my initial goals. 🙂 Now my goal was to negative split every mile for the last 5k.
Mile 2: 6:49 – still on track for my new goal.
Mile 3: 6:47 – Goal Accomplished!
All in all, I am VERY PLEASED with how this race went but learned that I need to work on my transitions. Both of my transitions were approximately 1 minute slower than the 3 guys that finished ahead of me in this race. Guess how much time difference there was between my 6th place finish and the 3rd place guy? 2 minutes! If I was faster at transitions, I would have been in the middle of a battle for 2nd to 4th… and I love a good competition. Oh well – next time.
Lastly – This race was also a test of my new Low Carb High Fat way of eating. As an athlete, I have been concerned with cutting out the carbs and how it would affect me on race day.
From what I have been reading, LCHF athletes are good as long as they don’t do all out efforts. That was not my experience at all. I will write another post about that, but I will tell you that my pre race fuel was 3 eggs, an avocado, and 5 pieces of bacon. I used nothing but water on the course, was racing at my peak, and I was fine. I will keep pushing the limits of LCHF for athletes and let you know when I bonk (if I bonk).