"What a great day for our race". I could not agree with you more I said as I picked up my packet for the 2011 edition of the Sedalia Duathlon. Morning temps were in the 40's which is perfect for racing. I have come to really enjoy the duathlons over in Sedalia. Jeff and Maria Mittelhouser do a great job of hosting these very fun events. For a small entry fee of $25 you get a t-shirt, bike racks for the transition area, food (this time pizza), a safe well marked course, fast results, awards and loads of hospitality.
My goals going in were to basically do the best I could at both the bike and run. I wanted quick transitions and lastly I wanted to really put out an 100% effort and get out of my "comfort zone". I think I have become really "soft" as of late and have not pushed myself. Today was mainly about reaching a new pain threshold mentally. Like Roger Bannister said "The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."
A record turnout was on hand for this years event. A good crowd with a mix if athletes from Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield and of course Sedalia. We had a choice of long course and short course today. I would say the field was evenly split. Short course started off with a 2 mile run. Long course had a 5 K run to allow a little longer to warm-up before the bike leg.
The lead runners were long gone before I even reached the turn around on the run. My plan was to pace myself and save something for the bike and final run. It is all about averages in multi-sport events I kept telling myself, but with the lead I gave everyone on the first run I had my doubts that I would ever bridge up.
After a quick transition it was "hammer time"..... Some crazy chick came out along side of me (she is actually head of me to the right out of view) in the transition and actually proceeded gap me during the first 1/2 mile before we turned right and started to climb. I was like damn, I am in poor shape. Turns out she did not know the cardinal rule of pacing in a duathlon and soon blew up big time on that first climb out of town.....I had a solid bike and passed a few dozen running specialist to make my way up to 3rd overall. The field was really starting to spread out, but I could see Kirk Decker who was in 2nd not far ahead. The leader, Tony Rigdon, had checked out on the run (6:10 mile splits) and was about 2 minutes ahead. Time to test that new pain threshold.
I put in a very solid 2nd half of the bike leg setting the fastest bike split w/22:26 and came into T2 with a 30 second lead on Kirk. On the first run leg he was about 1 min faster per mile so I knew I was in trouble. I kept telling myself that Kirk also had tired legs and that it would come down to who was able to suffer the most. The question was can I still suffer? At the turn around he had bridged up to me and I wanted to quit. But I remembered what George Sheehan once said "It's very hard to understand in the beginning that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants to quit."
The final 1/2 mile was an all out effort for me. I made the decision to run until I dropped. Hopefully I would reach the finish line before I did, but at that point I did not care about that nor about the runner who was gaining on me. It was all about pushing myself and finding the ability to push past my current pain threshold. I reached the finish with nothing left and a great burning in my lungs and legs. Finish time was 46:35. I was able to stay ahead taking 2nd overall and earning the 1st Overall Male Maser award. Most importantly I did not give up and pushed myself to a new limit or I should say returning a little bit to my old limit.
Some pictures from the event: Sedalia Duathlon Pictures.