FREEZER BURN: Charlotte Duathlon

I entered the Charlotte Long Course Duathlon for it would give me the chance to break out of my base phase and get in some race type conditions in testing my fitness.
I figured it would be a good way to run hard twice, with a little bike ride thrown in between to measure fatigue. It would then give me the measures I need going into March.

As the days approached, all the weather forecasters were calling for was a “soaker”. Preparing for temperature is one thing, add in a very cold ENE wind and rain – lots of it – and strategy changes.
Gina and I had everything set. Sure enough we left in mild 55 degree weather, but on the drive up to the Whitewater Center, down the rains came.
We got there and we must admit – we didn’t expect it to be so dull. Sure it was the off season, but we can see why this place can get packed with traffic in the summer – it’s so small.

Only 100 or so people showed up and we at least could be sheltered by an outdoor shack where most of the setup and transition area was. As Nick Frank mentioned to me in the parking lot – “this kind of rain’s gonna sting.” (he later won).
But he was right on. Gina stressed saftey and more safety on the bike – no risks since the Lubbock race is our main goal and no use getting hurt now. The run was a double out and back course on what would be best for cross country running.
By now it was all muddy and wet. I made the decision to stay in my CWX 3/4 tights and was layered 3 deep in tights up top, including a Schwalag waterproof jacket. I also decidied to ride in my flats since I would be trashing them after this mess.
Melissa from IOS needed help on the run course handing out water so Gina, all ponchoed up, volunteered. She would get soaked all day as well.

On the line up we go and everyone seemed ready to just get this one done. When the organizers stress “use extreme caution on the bike” at the prerace meeting, you take note.
Off we went and I tried to get out in front. I wanted to run hard and truly gauge my first and second run times. I also wanted to reduce the amount of mud that was kicked in my face from those in front. That didn’t matter.
It was a 2 mile loop done twice, so you saw everyone (even Gina who was easily woman-handling the station herself). I made my way into 3rd and was totally a mess – but surprisingly very very warm in a blitz of 23:40. 

Now onto the bike. I just put my helmet on and took off. It’s an honest course, one big loop through several counties, and nice roads, but a good mix of hills/downhills, and flats. But by the time I reached the halfway point the chill set in.
Trying to stay aero didn’t help me much since the spray from the front tire easily soaked me and negated any hand warmers I had in my gloves (which helped since I listened to the Ironsherpa). I tried to stay warm any way possible. And the FELT was getting so soaked, I shunned. 
Spin in an easy gear, focused breathing, push the hills. That worked only for a minute. But then I started to smile.
Actually it wasn’t happiness – my teeth started to chatter. “C’mon – you get it done – get it done” is all of what I could muster – that a few too many F bombs. The mental ipod was on TILT. Then I heeded to the IronSherpa’s message – “Be careful, don’t risk it yet.”
Seeing the 25 mile marker on the road helped. I just started to ride well and breath deep. Prepare for your run and complete the race. The ride was all about the mind indeed. A great struggle (one that would take the rest of the day to recover from).

Back I was and safe finishing the 30+ miles in 1:45. Time to get dirty again but one problem. I couldn’t get my helmet off. Screw this – why waste seconds now. I ran WITH MY HELMET ON!!
It was all about getting feeling back in the feet, but once you hit a puddle of mud, that took care of that. Pumping my arms and taking tangets unheard of, I joined the messy masses finishing the race. Gina was still there strong and gave me a boost.  
I hardly noticed my helmet and now it was all about finishing -  fast. I didn’t drink much at all the whole event except for a swig of water at G’s station, but finished the second 4 mile run in 26 minutes! WITH MY HELMET ON and about 5lbs of wet clothing. 

I placed 32nd overall with splits of 23:40 / 1:45 / 26:10. my run times were 3rd and then 7th overall. Finish time was 2hrs and 36 minutes.  Full results are at

WORD!! That was easily the wettest, coldest, and dirtiest race I’ve been in – including the Noreaster in Boston.
But it also was fun. Given my times, heart rates, paces, and bike ride in old school sneaker-style, I’m pleased – very pleased. Mentally drained for now – but an ideal test of inner will. Passionate.
To avoid the shiver I quickly grabbed a drink and headed to Gina who stayed on the course until everyone finished running. She told me to change and I promptly listened. It took a while to get to the car, change while carefully placing soiled clothing in a bag and put the bike back.
I got some coffee/swiss miss lattee (the BEST type of “lattee”) and headed back to G until she was done. The key was for us to move around but the shiver was in. You went from hot to cold to hot / cold / warm / cold.  Everyone was a mess. The staff and crew did a great job however making sure everyone came in ok. A big Thank You to that FSSeries staff.   
Melissa came back and she took was soaked. After trying to warm up with no avail, we made our way back home. Recovery was now in session as rest would have to wait.

Gina brewed a pot, we stretched, showered, and had a quick homemade brunch – something we haven’t done on a Saturday in over 2 months. From there it was off to Mass finally food shopping, THEN finally home to rest and feel the warm “burn release” from the day. Repair is in session.  
Gina also got me hooked on her apple martini’s and it made for a perfect dinner together to recap and laugh about it all. It was too be horirble all weekend, so we looked forward to our quiet typical Sunday. Lights out by 10.

Now’s it’s on to March and continuing with Lent. Big THANK YOU to Laurie at EPEC for the nutritional hookups.
Daylight Savings is next week and with that a sunrise of 6am!!! Yes! Perfect for this next phase in prep for the Racefest Half Marathon. The key is not to get sick and try to not overwork myself this week. Listen to the Sherpa. She even has a doc appt set up for me soon.


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