Race Report: Barkin’ Dog Duathlon

Yesterday marked my first official race of the season. Racing Underground put on the Barkin’ Dog Duathlon, the first of a 3-race duathlon series known as the Mile High Duathlon Series. Held in Denver’s Cherry Creek State Park, the course was a 5k run/30k bike/5k run, along gently rolling paths and roads. Friday night, I had everything ready; transition area towel, helmet, bike shoes, race belt, and apres race outfit were carefully set aside in my race bag. A bottle of water and a bottle of Perpetuem were chilling in the fridge, next to my coffee/banana/protein/soy shake, ready for mixing. I had various layers ready, as the weather looked iffy. As I lay down to sleep, everything was ready… except my alarm clock.
At 5:25 am my phone was ringing. I snapped out of bed… I was supposed to have picked up some guy from my tri club 10 minutes earlier. I told him I would be there ASAP, and completed what felt like T1 in my bedroom… I simultaneously peed, stripped my pj’s and brushed my teeth. I threw on my clothes, blended my smoothie, fastened my bike to the roof rack and sped to his house. We got to the race with plenty of time. It was gorgeous in Boulder but it was pouring at the race venue. Brrrr.

I picked up my race packet and found my first omen of good luck (yes I tend to be superstitious especially when it bodes well for me). My race number was 401, which is also the area code of the state of Rhode Island. My second lucky token was the last piece of toilet paper in the port-o-john (which I did announce to those waiting in line as I exited).

The rain finally stopped and I settled on an outfit; tri shorts with thin leggings on top, plus my green longsleeve wicking top with a pocket in the back, gloves, and sunglasses. I was freezing as I waited with all the other 34 and under women at the start, but I knew I would eventually warm up. Finally it was time to go. I hadn’t thought much about how to pace myself except that I hoped I could hold 7:30’s for the run and at least 21 mph for the bike., although this was a stretch. I hit the first mile mark at 7:15, feeling good, but thinking I had probably gone out too fast. I slowed down and hit the 2nd mile mark at 14:44. The 5k was done before I knew it in 22:49 (7:22/mile). I got on the bike feeling sort of tired, hoping my legs would feel normal soon, and they did within the first 5 minutes or so. I felt good, passing lots of women and some men, but then somewhere around the last quarter I eased off, thinking I had been pushing pretty hard and I still had a fair chunk of the race left to complete. I finished the bike in 55:04, (19.5 mph), just as the wind was really picking up. I started the 2nd run into a headwind that made me feel like I was running into a wall. After the course curved around out of the wind, I still felt like I was running into a wall. I then changed my race plan from “Demolish Anyone in Path” to “Survive.” I just ran out of gas but I knew I would get to the finish line eventually. Women kept passing me like I was standing still and I didn’t have the oomph to even consider putting up a fight. I finally crossed the finish line, exhausted in a total time of 1:45. Which wasn’t so far off from the 1:42 I was hoping for, but I felt a little blah. My time for the second run was 26:01 (8:24/mi). I don’t know why I felt blah, especially considering my time for the 2 runs combined was only about a minute slower than my PR for a 10k.

Beside feeling a little blah, I noticed that I wasn’t as happy as I usually am when I race. I only smiled one time and I only waved at or encouraged other people a few times, which is not like me. I remember thinking at one point, “What’s going on here, this is FUN, remember?!”

I did greet and congratulate a couple of the gals with whom I’d been leap frogging during the race, after I crossed the finished line, which was nice. I didn’t hang around because it was freezing, my jacket was wet, and the guy whom I’d given a ride was ready to go. Even though he’d won his age group… Apparently that is par for the course for him. I can’t even imagine what it would be like for the novelty and excitement of a podium finish to wear off.

I got home, iced my achilles and took a nap. I woke up to find an email from a woman in my tri club who told me she didn’t get to say hello but that that she and I took first and second in our age group… What!? I checked the results and it is official, I took 2nd in the Female 30-34 age group (I am still 29, but they use your age on Dec 31st). Wow! I also found I had the fastest bike split in my age group. I felt a lot less blah after I discovered the results.

6 thoughts on “Race Report: Barkin’ Dog Duathlon

  1. Natalie says:

    It’s funny how data can change our perspective, congrats, I am sorry I did not ask about it when we talked last night!! This is just the beginning of a great season.

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  2. rob says:

    P, way to knock it out the park and earn that podium spot! What a way to start the season. To top it off, I know B-town has some freaking incredible athletes so the competition has gotta be strong up there.

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  3. spinz says:

    hey pam, found your blog. good job on the race. i’ll warn you that those expectations can be a killer and can take over your life and ruin the fun of ameteur racing. i had to readjust my goals for the season when i started feeling bad about every performance b/c it wasn’t as fast as i wanted it to be. fun is way more important. miss you.tina

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