We Meet Again, Mt. Rainier Duathlon

We Meet Again, Mt. Rainier Duathlon

Last year I bitched and moaned about having to do the Mt. Rainier duathlon because it was all the way over in Enumclaw and had a 2 mile hill that sucks ass to climb. Jason Jedi mind-tricked me into racing and I ended up taking 3rd in my age group. This year I did the duathlon again, and since I’ve been hitting my workouts pretty diligently and am training for a fatty Ironman, the race was one of my best ever.

This year to prep for the duathlon, I ended up riding the course four times in one day (gotta love those long long long training rides) and got to know the Mud Mountain Road hill quite intimately. I also did a bike ride with some girls over Teresa’s bachelorette weekend that included an absolutely absurd 6+ mile hill that took me an hour to climb. After wimpily conquering that, Mud Mountain Road felt like a piece of cake. Throw in some good track workouts to improve my runs and I felt pretty good waking up at the butt crack of dawn on Sunday morning to race.

Last year I raced a 1:36:37. My only goal this time around was to PR and to try and bike 50 minutes or under (I biked a 51:22 last year). Jas and I showed up and set up our transition areas. It was cold but sunnier than last year, and it ended up warming up fairly quickly so I just raced in my usual tri gear and threw on some arm warmers for good measure. Some of my training buddies raced in bike shorts, which I cannot fathom how comfortable it is to waddle-run with a huge cushy load near your ass and taint.

Not ideal for running

Most of my teammates raced the long course but five of us represented Team Shorty. We started the race and I pushed myself to run a good but not super strenuous first leg so that I wouldn’t feel like collapsing once I got to transition. After the first 1.6 mile run I grabbed my bike and embarked as fast as I could. I felt pretty good and kept mentally telling myself to push it during the bike part of the race. When I got to the Mud Mountain Road hill, I had my best climb to date. Don’t get me wrong, it was still kind of crappy and I got passed by better climbers, but I felt pretty good and steady and was able to scale it without feeling like I was going to crap myself afterwards. (Plus, I re-passed just about everyone who passed me on the hill, so suck it.)

When I got back to transition, a couple of my teammates who weren’t racing that day shouted some words of encouragement and told me, to my surprise, that I was the third female to finish the bike portion. I clickity-clacked into transition to rack my bike and pull on my Zoots, and Jason’s parents cheered me on. Jason’s mom said, “I think you’re the first female!” When I responded with, “I heard I was third,” she said, “Oh…those must have been some manly looking women then.” I chuckled and started run #2.

My pace felt a bit fast but steady, and I just kept thinking push push push. I still felt good and just wanted to have a good race. At one point I passed a female and got excited, but then another female went blowing by me and I never caught up to her. She ended up beating me by about 30 seconds. *shakes fist* Anyway, I was maybe less than a mile from the finish when I thought I heard someone shout “Bec!” I threw a side glance over my shoulder but didn’t want to turn around and lose momentum. Shortly after that, someone emerged beside me and said, “Good job, you’re doing great!” To my surprise, it was Jason.

“How am I ahead of you?” I asked incredulously. He should have been done with the race by now — I estimate he’d have finished about five or six minutes ahead of me. It turned out that Jas had a great first run and bike, but during the second run he missed turn #2 due to half-ass course markings. I guess quite a few racers missed the turn. Jason ended up running about six minutes extra (three out, three back to the correct course), which is a big oops when the run distance is only 3.7 miles. The competitive, non-chivalrous side of Jas didn’t want me to beat him, so he turned on the afterburners and passed me. I’m used to chasing him during runs, so puttering behind him wasn’t anything new for me.

At one point I looked down at my watch and noticed that if I hauled ass, I could finish in under 1:30, so I took it up a notch, Costanza style, and ran a bit harder to the finish. I clocked in at 1:29:36, sixteen seconds behind Jason and a seven minute PR over last year’s time. Huzzahowie! I later found out that I took first in my age group and was the third overall female to finish. This was a race to go down in Mediocre Athlete infamy, as I’ve never really legitimately placed well in my age group. Sure, last year I took 3rd in the duathlon, but it was out of 5 girls so it kind of put me in the middle of the pack (a placing I’ve more than grown accustomed to). One time I took 2nd in my age group at an Olympic distance triathlon, but that was out of 3 and the third girl never even showed up to race. Thus, my top finish was the first time I placed well and actually beat people who showed up. Pretty awesome.

Me with the 2nd and 3rd place age groupers

For winning my age group, I received the following trophy courtesy of what I’m assuming was the Enumclaw junior high woodshop class:

Yes, that is indeed a block of wood with a cassette gear shoved into it and a piece of chain crookedly glued onto it. My first homemade 1st place trophy! (I make fun, but I’m proud of it — it’s a fitting trophy for this mediocre athlete.)

When I got home I checked the official results and found that I had improved across the board over last year. Both runs, my transitions and my bike time were all faster (I biked a 48:15 and hit my under 50 min goal); in fact, my runs averaged out to be a 7:31 and a 7:25 minute mile pace. I’m not accustomed to seeing my run pace not start with an ‘8’ — it seemed as if I was stuck running in the 8s forever. I guess those track workouts are starting to work wonders for me.

The duathlon was a nice confidence booster for me and a good assurance that I was on the right track with my training this season. However, there is a downside to my good race — I know for a fact that Teresa’s going to make me do the long course next year, where all of a sudden I go from being a big fish in a small pond back to a mediocre fish in a pool of elites. Long course racers are pretty hardcore, so next year I get to look forward to resuming my regularly scheduled mediocrity. Ah well, for now I shall bask in my win until April 2011.

9 Responses to “ “We Meet Again, Mt. Rainier Duathlon”

  1. Teresa says:

    I am so proud of you!!! You did so GREAT!!! I think we said nothing is as hard as that ride you did bachelorette weekend! You are improving so fast and are going to do great at that fatty ironman!

  2. Teresa says:

    P.S. Jason’s parents are still talking to you in transition :)!!


  3. Rebecca says:

    Haha, yeah, they love the transition area.

  4. Bri says:

    That trophy is awesome 🙂 Congrats lady, you totally rocked it.

  5. Bri says:

    ps… did you ever learn this? (note to self: learn the fancy “run out barefoot and slip into your shoes while riding” trick sometime this season)
    I still need to

  6. Sara Keogh says:

    You moving from the 8:00 somethings to the 7:00 somethings fills me with admiration (and hope). Wonderful to see all of your hard work pay off. Kick-ass transitions, too!

  7. Rebecca says:

    @Bri I learned it my first year but haven’t practiced it since. Maybe we could do a refresher course with Teresa sometime…

  8. laura says:

    WOW, that is some impressive improvement…sounds like you’re on track for an awesome season!

    ps. now that I know you, I can totally hear your “voice” in your writing and it’s even funnier! 😉

  9. Johnna says:

    Good work last Sunday! It’s a great start to the season, and we’re going to get faster AND FASTER, yeah! You are one funny girl, love the race report and the Enumclaw woodshop trophy =)

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