I'm Back!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finally, I'm back on the multi-sport race scene!

I was reviewing the past races when I realized that my last multisport race was NAGT AAV super mini-sprint on October 16, 2011. While I did join a couple of foot races after that - including a very fun half-marathon in Macau - I did miss the multisport race scene.

This morning I did the Powerade Duathlon Series (Leg 2) in Evia, Daang Hari. The familiar pre-race mix of jitters and excitement was still there. Stirring my pre-race jitters was the difficult decision of which bike to use: my new cross-country mtb hybrid which I bought, used and loved a day before the 7-11 100K charity race in SCTEX, or my tri-bike with newly installed basebar, stem and aerobars. I haven't ridden the new cockpit for longer than 20K and I was still experimenting with the bike fit. In fact, I just shortened the stem from 110mm to 90mm the day before the race. Saturday dusk I test rode the new set-up on a 4K spin around the village. Verdict:  this will do I think.
So I loaded my tribike into the vehicle and did my pre-race check-list. Nakaka-miss rin yung routine and taranta. Gels: check, tire pressure: check, race belt: check, helmet and Camelbak hydration: check. I was ready.
I woke to my alarm at 4am. I still am not the morning person a multisport athlete should be, but I managed. Good thing I was just 10 minutes-drive away from Daang Reyna. Thankfully I was not late.

With my still heavy weight from work and stress, I ran conservatively. Coach Patrick Joson has been teaching us this pose method of running with the key principle of using gravity as propelling force. If I could just lean sufficiently forward without falling flat on my face, and I could balance that with quick, light steps, I may actually survived the run parts without my calves and thighs cursing me after.

Well, I did survive. I was slow but I did not care. I was just glad to be out there racing against the stresses of life. It was nice seeing a lot of familiar faces. That has always been a major draw of multisport - the camaraderie. I finished the 6.2k first run in 50+ minutes, third from the last. Pathetic time, yes, but the legs were still good to be actually excited to ride.

Bike leg next. This is it: time to test if I could actually tame this black beauty of a tri-bike. I call my black Ceepo Venom "BB" or bebe. I was dreading the bike traffic and the aggressive peloton, but because I was slow in the run, somehow the bike traffic has spread. Good! I was initially cautious about using the bar-end shifters (I still have to master them) but I managed somehow. 
I was on basebar the whole 30kms of the ride. I knew I would be faster if I used the aerobars and that my back would actually welcome a change in body position, but I was wary about the crowd and my familiarity with the shifters. I haven't practiced shifting on aerobars. I initially planned to assume the aero position on my 5th or 6th bike loops, but in my concentration to keep spinning I forgot about that strategy. Next time, haha.

All I wanted was to finish the race within 3 hours at 9am as I had to lecture on Dog Owner's Responsibility in a village nearby. I targetted to finish the bike leg no more than 2hrs30 minutes into the race and have the last 30 minutes to complete the last run. Yeah, I had low expectations. But to join and finish was enough satisfaction for me that time.

My light bike spinning and occasional forward lean to take advantage of gravity and less drag helped me finished my bike leg by 2hrs 12 minutes into the race. Yehey! Still within my personal cut-off time.

Just one more run loop and I would be a duathlete once again. My legs were not cramping nor so tired from the bike, but fatigue has set in. I guess my lack of long distance training has been asserting itself. On the run, I was debating within myself between using that forward-lean-let-gravity-do-most of the-work style and my usual surge-forward-propel-from-the-core style of fatigued running. I was so tempted to do my usual style - be my obstinate self - but I owed it to our team coach to give the lean a try. When I lean though, I felt like I would fall down. My theory was that I was too tired that my proprioception or ability to discern space and time and balance was compromised. Again I resisted the urge to purposedly propel from the hip and lean a bit to the most angle that my tired self could sustain. I took a mental note to give this feedback to my coach, ask for a scientific explanation, and maybe learn a new insight. I must congratulate myself for being a good coachee; stubborn me could be obedient pala :)

How did I do?  I was third from the last on the first run, second to the last on the bike leg, and dead last on the run leg I think. I think I could have forced myself to be 2-3 notches higher on the bottom-feeder class, but ranking was the least of my concerns. The guy I was following was a newbie on mtb barely able to run. He was a nice chap and deserved a better ranking on his debut. Me - I was out there training. Perfectly content just to be there. To be back. No cramps. No tight calves, thighs nor hamstrings. Just the good kind of tired that generates endorphins.

It was nice to be back. It was a pleasure too sharing my doggie experience with the friendly people of BF. In my haste to make it to my seminar commitment, I did the talk on my Endure bike shorts. Astig and kapal ng mukha. Haha!

Till the next multisport adventure!


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