Monday, September 5, 2011

Minneapolis Du - To Du or Du Not. Question Answered

My last post involved me musing about the possibility of attempting a Du and then running off to work a full day's shift.  For those that still follow my mostly sporadic blog, here is the race report.

The day started early, and I mean early.  I was up by 4 AM running around the house waking up roommates making sure that I had all of the things that I was going to need.  Race number, bike jersey, sweats, towel, 3 liters of water, and my newly acquired tri shorts. (I broke one of the primary rules of racing several times over during this event.)  I slung on my race attire before heading out: bike jersey (a stylish team jersey purchased the previous day at the expo that was pro Team Ortho), Tri-shorts (Pearl Izumi purchased the previous day as well when I was attempting to find size 12.5 wide running shoes.) with a pair of shorts over the top (not quite brave enough to go straight spandex yet) and my standard running shoes.  Also in tow was some Gu roctane, not in tow was my water bottle.

The morning was nice and cool.  I wore a sweatshirt over my bike jersey while setting up my transition area and stretching.  It was about 6 AM when I arrived at the race site and the place was already a buzz of activity.  Setting up the transition area was a breeze.  I had ridden my bike over from where I had parked and remembered to set the gears into a more favorable starting position than that of its highest gear.  I popped my helmet over the handle bars and went to set my water bottle into its holder....  only problem was my water bottle was waiting patiently for me back home on the kitchen table.  I knew that was going to bite me in the ass somewhere.

7:20 AM:  Race Wave 3 Start time.  After watching a Jeep that had been parked along the side of the road, dead center of the start corral, get towed off by one of the local tow companies, my wave began.  5k start distance.  The cooler morning temp hid one thing that was really going to suck.  It was humid.  Water wasn't until mile 2.4 or so of the 5k, so my body had plenty of time to regulate its temperature (a.k.a : Sweat!).  I am not a small man, nor do I freeze to death.  The combination of those two facts means I heat up quick and sweat a lot.  I took Powerade and water at the first stop.  I knew that my bike wasn't going to be the refueling station that I had planned.  I was already mentally kicking myself for my own stupidity.

7:50 ish T1 in sight.  I ran up a ramp that they had leading to T1 and high fived one of the volunteers that I knew.  5k down and only 35k left to go.  I grabbed and downed a water before taking my first Gu Roctane.  Mixed berry or something of the like.  It was tasty and didn't give me much for difficulties.  I knew the bike was going to be hard without water, so I grabbed a 2nd and 3rd cup of water after downing a 2nd Gu.  I drank on cup on the way to the bike and threw on my helmet and riding gloves.  I am still new to the whole multi sport thing, and I knew that the bike was going to be a mixed bag.  I knew that I had a decent enough bike to easily pass the commuter and mountain bikes, but the serious bikes were on a whole different planet.  I downed the third cup before running my bike to the bike out area.

Open road ahead of me I jumped on my bike and slid my feet into their cages.  There was a woman ahead of me on a commuter bike that was starting out and was already a block or more ahead of me.  My first goal of the bike portion pass her BEFORE the massive down hill at the end of mile 1.  I hammered down and over took her quickly.  My legs protested a bit but settled into biking quickly.  And quick it was. 20 mph leading up to the hill, and I wasn't used to the type of speed that was in store for me down that first hill.  Between timid glances down at the computer perched between my hands and shouting "On your left" at the bikers that had no intention of following the "ride right" portion of race etiquette, I managed to top out somewhere around 35mph.  Unfortunately on this course what goes down, must also go back up.

The bike portion followed West River Parkway along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  It is a route that is know for a few things.  Gradual hills, beautiful scenery and tire swallowing pot holes.  I was cautious not to hit any and my average speed showed my caution.  After my rocket start down relatively new pavement, began my slower (avg of about 15 mph during the bike) trod through the pot holes.  Everything fell into a rhythm and the miles markers slid past.   Around mile 8 there was a slower u-turn along Minnehaha Parkway that was on solid tar.  Nice and easy, one could still take it at a relatively decent speed and not think much of it.  However, around mile 10, there was the U-turn in a cul de sac. This beauty is where my heart rate spiked.  Not do to the exertion that I was putting my body through, but because there was a bit of loose material on the top of the road way that my rear tire happened to find.  I don't know how, but I managed to pop my left foot out of its cage and kick it down to execute (had it been planned) a pretty amazing u-turn. I fumbled with getting my foot back into its cage and needed to look down to see what was going on.  A small adjustment to the cage while still in the saddle, and I was on the home stretch.

8 miles worth of home stretch.  While on the ride out after the first major hill, it had been a net elevation gain, and on the home trip was where I could make up for some of that speed that I lost getting my massive frame up that gain.  The last 8 miles of the bike were great.  I did more passing than getting passed and everything was going my way.  I made it back to that initial hill that I was able to fly down; this is where me and gravity got into a bit of a disagreement.  Gravity thought that it would be fun to keep pulling constantly.  Gravity has been know to do that in the area and seems to have the stamina to keep it up.  I am not one that shifts into those lightest gears easily, but I needed every single one of them.  After cresting the beast that was so exciting to bomb down and rounding a corner, the bike in was visible off in the distance.  Less than a mile before running again.  I finished off the bike where I was greeted by a volunteer shouting, "Dismount and run."

T2: The revenge of the T's
I never thought about how my legs felt after any one of my brick work outs BEFORE I listened to that volunteer's order, but I remembered quickly the second shoes hit pavement.  I have never jumped into a pool of Jello before, but I can now imagine that feeling even now while typing this.  My legs weren't just feeling like bricks; they just weren't feeling.  I shuffled my way towards where my transition supplies awaited.  I grabbed my final Gu and went towards the water table.  Downing the Gu along with 3 cups of water I walked out of the transition area.

The final 5k:
Hardest 5k in my life.  I know now what not to do for a Du.  Fill and stuff that water bottle into your race shoes if you have to, but DO. NOT. LEAVE. IT. AT. HOME!  My prediction of less water that I should have was about to bite me, but it bit me in the left quad instead of the ass.  I got about 1/4 mile in, I thought that some light jogging might help to wake up the needed leg muscles, but my left quad decided to cramp up.  Not in a small way either.  I stopped my jog and started to stretch it out.  I was finishing this thing.  I wasn't going to back down.  I managed light jogs here and there while pausing every 1/2 mile or so to stretch out the quad.  At the mile 2 marker of the run, I felt the effects of the Gu and water take full effect.  I was able to run more and made it to the final water stop.  I took in more water and dumped some over my head so I could cool myself down a bit.

The final portion of the run was filled with small challenges.  I had taken in what little water I had at the final stop poorly, and my body was telling me.  I got a small side stitch and walked.  My calves felt like they were on fire, but as I saw the finish line after a small turn I sprinted.  Pain be damned; I wanted to be done.  Personal congrats from the announcer on completing my first Du (that was a nice little bonus for knowing a lot of volunteers) and my spirits were lifted.  I walked through the area for post race goodies and grabbed my bag and an extra banana.  Muscle milk was there too and handed out a sample. 

I got my bike out of the transition area and started walking it to my car.  Now some of you readers might remember the 3 liter bottle of water at the beginning and realize I have yet to really mention that specifically.  That was how I showered.  I am not too proud of it, but I smelled respectable and felt much better after first sponging off using a wash cloth and then dumping the rest over myself to provide the final rinse.  A quick towel off, I was off to the nearest gas station to change into my work attire after loading my bike.  I made it to work in time and also had no complaints about smell or odor.  Most of them just looked at me like I was crazy for doing the event before work and still arriving early.

Reader participation:
What is the weirdest thing you have done after completing an event?

I am out of here before my battery dies on my laptop.  Thanks for reading.


  1. I probably should have broken that up some after reading through it, but we are mainly distance athletes that can buckle down for the long haul.

  2. For all the challenges that you faced through your first duathlon, you still finished it. Congratulations! I wish I could have been there to cheer you on!