Sunday, April 14, 2013

Double Race weekend (April 6/7th)

After adding all the numbers up, it's official.

I ran for longer than I slept last weekend.
I drove for longer than I slept last weekend.
I biked for longer than I slept last weekend.
And, let's be honest, I probably ate for longer than I slept last weekend.

While I would never recommend doing this, ever, it happened to work out in my favor.

(race recap from April 6-7 weekend)
Ryan and I race in Alabama every March to qualify for the World Duathlon Championships.  With Easter screwing everything up this year  being so freaking early this year, the Double Oak Duathlon was moved to the first Saturday of April (normally the last Saturday in March).

This was okay....until we realized another race we had signed up for, Shamrock Shuffle, was the next day.  So, we decided we would make a decision as to what to do the Thursday before the races as we know from experience how exhausted we are after putting on the Egg Shell Shuffle.

For whatever reason, this year wasn't as stressful or tiring as the past two with putting on the Egg Shell Shuffle, which is strange considering we were out of the country for the 6 days leading up to the race!  Regardless, our bodies recovered nicely and we were HUNGRY for some racing come Thursday.

Our plan was to leave Schaumburg right after I got out of school on Friday, drive until dinner time and then switch off driving every 2 hours until we arrived in Alabama.  This initially put us there at ~1am, which was okay as we had just planned to get up at 6:30am and would be sleeping in the car.

Not surprisingly, we hit traffic (I know, it's hard to believe that there is traffic in the suburbs on a Friday afternoon).  We didn't arrive at our hotel until 3:00am.  All we wanted to do was lay down for 2.5 hours.  Instead, we spent 15minutes waiting outside the hotel lobby for the Front Desk guy to wakeup? let us in the hotel. We arrived to an incredible hotel room....I had wished we could have actually spent time in the room as it had everything you could have wanted for a weekend trip!  [sidenote: the hotel was a Residence Inn by Marriott for all of you looking for an awesome hotel]

I had no doubts I would pass out right away...except that I didn't.  I kept closing my eyes and tossing and turning, having nightmares that my alarm wouldn't go off and our trip would be wasted (if we didn't race, we obviously wouldn't qualify for Worlds).  The alarm did go off, at 6:17am.  We got ready and headed to the Elite meeting at 7:30am just before assembling our bikes and putting all of our stuff in transition.

At 7:55am, all of the Elites were introduced and at 8am we were off!

The run course had changed slightly from last year, something I was suspicious of as my "5k" time seemed off.  On the first mile, you go straight up hill, which has been the same start since I've raced here.

We go up this probably 0.25mile hill and then straight back down it, just to go up another one, run some more til we hit the mile (6:01!) then go just a bit further to the turnaround and back....only we don't go back down the hill we originally went up; instead we head into the woods for some trail running....
This is the section that had a part added onto it.  I didn't think anything of it until I came at the 5k mark in almost 20minutes.  I realize that the trails and hills would slow me down, but last year I ran a 38minute 10k on this course, so to run half of that in 20minutes seemed a bit off to me....especially since I KNOW my run is better than it was last year.

Nothing I could do about it besides accept the fact that the 10k would be long, so I decided to push harder to widen the gap between myself and the second place female.  I ended up almost doubling my lead, but unfortunately she caught right back up on the bike.

The eventual winner was the Alabama state Time Trialist for biking (something like that is what Ryan told me, but basically what it means is that she's one of the fastest riders in the whole STATE of Alabama).  I knew coming into this race that 2nd place would have to be the goal as, after looking up the winner's races, my biking wasn't nearly as good as the first place female's.

However, I ended up biking 5minutes and 2seconds faster than I did last year, so I walked away from the race extremely happy and confident that my training with Coach Bill is paying off.

 At transition. Check out my sweet new bike!
Double Oak Duathlon top three Elite females.

I finished my 5k in 19:xx....., which is the pace I run for marathons, so I was pretty sure that was long as well.  In any case, I accomplished my three goals coming into this race:

1. qualify for the Duathlon Worlds team
2. have the fastest 10k and 5k runs
3. crush my bike split from last year

After the awards ceremony, we went back to our awesome hotel to clean up and grab a bite to eat before heading home.  Ryan had suggested the night before that we just leave straight from the race and  shower when we get back to his parent's house in Schaumburg, but I nixed that idea as I did not want to be sweaty in a car for 12+ hours.  

Bad idea.

Instead of leaving at 11:45 (right after awards), we left at 1:00....and almost immediately hit traffic.  We know to try to avoid I-65 if at all possible as the last three years there has been some sort of accident that caused 2+ hour delays.   My GPS showed us only being on I-65 for a little while before meeting up with I-24, so we figured it would be okay.


We ended up barely moving for THREE hours.  Yep, you read that right, we were pretty much sitting in traffic going 15mph tops for 3 hours.  About 40minutes into this horrible experience, I googled "traffic on I-65" and explored a few websites before finally finding this awesome chat board.  I was able to post questions and see what mile markers were bad.  One awesome person wrote what exit to get off and then the detour they took to avoid about 2 hours of just sitting in traffic.  Unfortunately, we had another few miles to go before we could get to that exit.  

We were supposed to arrive in Schaumburg at 1am, giving us approximately 5-6hours of sleep plus whatever we did in the car.  With the detour and huge traffic jam (which we found out was caused by an 18-wheeler that tipped over), we arrived in Schaumburg at 3:50am.  We didn't even bother taking our contacts out, as we'd just be getting up in less than 2hours anyway.

I had seriously thrown out the idea of just not racing the Shamrock Shuffle.  However, Ryan was dressing up as a "green guy" with his best friend, so I figured if he was going I probably should too.

We headed into the city at 6am, painted Ryan green and tried to jog over to our respective corrals.  It probably took us an hour to do this as EVERYONE wanted pictures with "The Green Guys."  

It was SO nice to get into the corral and tent with my teammates.  It made me recognize that my decision to come and run the race (despite not feeling like I wanted to, with only 2 hours of sleep and racing the day before) was a good one.

The Shamrock Shuffle makes all runners get into their corrals 15minutes early.....which doesn't make sense to SO many runners as we just spent this time warming up and loosening our muscles, just to come stand in a roped off area where we can't do drills or strides to stay loose?  So, we just considered this team bonding time and just hung out while waiting for things to get going.

My teammates (Columba Montes, Shannon Teunissen, Jessica Langford and Emma Keenan) and I used this time to strategize and decided to go out for the first mile at 6:00 or just under.  Sure enough, we saw the first mile split come in at 5:56.  Perfect.

Columba, Shannon and I ran together for the first 1.5miles-2miles of the race, which was SO nice!

 How sweet are our new uniforms?!
 Pushing forward with encouragement from Columba and Dave.
Columba just kept powering through and began passing people left and right.  I figured I'd stick with her for as long as I could as I knew my legs would fatigue at some point.  At about mile 4, there's a slight incline, and that's where I lost it.  My body finally realized that I had done a Powerman race less than 24hours ago and proceeded to sit in a car for 14 hours and sleep for 2 hours. 

 Luckily, I was able to hold it together and still finish in a PR worthy time.

The best part was seeing this guy at the end:
Ryan waited for me and I'm pretty sure his jaw actually hit the ground when he saw the time I ran.  

At Snow Fun Run (a 5mile race in Lake Geneva in January, with a few hills), I ran a to run a 29:21 ("gun time"....real time was 29:15) after the craziness that had occurred in the past 24 hours was just ridiculous.

Again, I would never recommend doing this to anyone as situations don't normally (and shouldn't!) work out this way, but I was very lucky.  I credit a lot of this to my new training.  Bill has us beat up our bodies for 3 straight weeks before getting a week of recovery (still running, swimming and biking, but no actual workouts).  Bill LOVED our idea of doing both of these races (though he, like us, thought we'd actually be sleeping the nights before our races!) as it is the kind of racing that fits perfectly into his plan.

Overall, it was a super fun weekend, but it took a few days for my body to recover.  My workouts this week were still actually really good and I swam some 100 PRs, but I felt just exhausted throughout each day.  

Lesson learned: sleep helps speed the recovery process and should never be avoided if possible!

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