Long and Slow to Short and Fast

OUCH!  After a winter of training long slow distance, and racing Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico in March, we decided it was time to notch up our training and add some speed.  What better way than to jump into an early season sprint duathlon!

Such was my husband, Ken, and my thinking prior to the Wrentham Duathlon.  I like long slow pain, he prefers short and intense.  We usually compromise which basically means we do whatever I want.  This time, however, Ken and the promise of beautiful weather won and we found ourselves heading to Wrentham on Sunday morning.  

We arrived early, got registered, racked our bikes and headed out for a warmup.  The shorter the race and the older I get, the longer the warmup needs to be.  The flat and fast run course led to a quick start.  There were no mile markers along the route, but I gauged my pace by how far ahead Ken’s blue shirt was getting.  Not too bad, despite the fact that several “older” looking women ran by me.  A glance at my HR monitor confirmed that my only hope was to catch them on the bike.  I had a quick, smooth transition and was out on the bike course in less than a minute.  Someone lied to me though…. that course is not flat!  It was not severely hilly, but I found the rolling hills both challenging and fun.  My HR didn’t recover much, but I pushed hard and knew that I had moved up a few spots.  Now for the final run…. OUCH.  Oh my gosh, I forgot how much a 2 mile sprint can hurt.  I thought I was running fast, although my split shows otherwise.  I did manage to hold off my competition and Ken and I were thrilled to place first in our respective age groups.

Age group competition in triathlons is awesome.  Ken aged up this year (60-64) and although I missed it by 8 days this year, I look forward to entering the 55-59 age group next year.  As we stood at the awards awaiting our turn on the podium, we debated which would be more challenging… stepping from the 3rd place box all the way up to 1st or taking a big first step onto 2nd, and saving some energy for the final push up. This may sound silly, but for us older athletes, it was a legitimate concern.  Fortunately we both made it and are looking forward to the next challenge.

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