Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dooby Du 2016: ENELL Ambassador Update

Before the race, well-supported in my limited-edition Biscay Green ENELL SPORT
ENELL paid my entry for the Dooby Du and has given me some great merchandise as part of the ENELL Ambassador program. All opinions here are my own. All photos were taken by my one-man support crew, .

I'm listening to a great audiobook: The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles (not an affiliate link). Despite the title, the book applies not only to creative pursuits, but any activity that requires us to do what is easy instead of what is hard. A lot of the book is about resistance -- that inner force that keeps us from trying to achieve our goals so much of the time.
“Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of sh*t.” 
I definitely experienced some resistance out on the course today, and I used quotes from the book as part of my mental battle to keep pushing forward.

The Dooby Du is, like the name implies, a sort of double duathlon. It's a 2 mile run, a 6.5 mile bike, a 2 mile run, a 6.5 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. The race organizers describe it as "fun," and "low-key." In my experience, this is a serious start to the race season, and most of the people who show up are the local age-group superstars. In terms of Toledo-area triathlons, it's small, and the people who stay home are the back-of-pack people like me. This is my second year doing it and my second year of being a little concerned that I would end up in last place. This year, there were three women who did it together and actually treated it as a fun, low-key race, so I was saved from being the final finisher. They were the only three people who finished after I did. You can see the results for yourself if you'd like.

But I knew all of that going in. I was hoping to shave some time off my previous year's finish. For me racing is about challenging myself, not winning. I also think this race is a good way to check in and see what mistakes I'm making, and correct them before any of the bigger races that I care more about.

I lined up toward the back, and heard the women I mentioned before talking about their time goal of 2:30, and felt a little relieved that I would probably not be last. You can see me in this start video: I'm the one in the blue headband.

You can also see what a beautiful day it was. Last year it was cold and windy. This year, it started out a little chilly, but by the finish, it was 70 degrees. As we started the run, I noticed two hot-air balloons overhead and it made me really happy to see them. My first run was pretty good. There was one woman who had started near me that I talked to for a while, but she got ahead of me on the run. In transition, I saw her run out with a mountain bike and thought I'd probably be able to catch her. I didn't, though I came close. She got further ahead of me on the second run, and on the second bike leg, I didn't even see her.

The most challenging thing for me about this race was that there was no one in sight for most of it. There were some out-and-back stretches on the run, but on the bike legs, I saw two people on the first loop and was able to pass one. The rest of the field was out of sight, and on the second loop, the only people I saw were all the wonderful staff and volunteers who were out there to keep us safe, hydrated, and on course. I really appreciated seeing them and made sure to thank them for being there.

I struggled with resistance all the way through, from the first run when the pack pulled away from me to the second bike leg when my bike computer stopped working and I had no idea what my speed or cadence were. In my case, resistance suggests I should either quit the race or at least not push myself too hard. I kept repeating lines from the book, "resistance is always lying and always full of sh*t," and my own mantras, like "finish what you start."

The last run was murder. My toes were giving me some trouble and I just was running out of gas. The heat was getting to me too. I probably should have taken salt tablets, but I had no idea it was going to be so hot when I finished. I was hungry and tired. I couldn't run the whole last leg -- I had run the first two, only walking at the water stop so I didn't choke. On the last leg I did a walk/run routine, and just kept moving forward the best I could. I was pretty sure I was not going to beat my time after all, and that made me feel discouraged. I said, "resistance is strongest near the finish line," and added my own geeky touch, "resistance is futile."

Post-race, sweaty and relieved!
Once I could hear the noise of the finish line, I was able to push a little harder. I sprinted the finish, just happy to be done. I had several friends at the race but I wasn't much of a conversationalist -- my mind kept wandering. I was just glad not to be moving anymore.

I finished in 2:14:25, last year was 2:13:18. My rough splits were 24 minutes, 26 minutes, and 29 minutes on the runs and 24 minutes and 23:30 on the bike. I had transitions of about 2 minutes each.

I didn't eat much of the post-race lunch, a few pretzels and some chips. All I really wanted was salt. I could feel the salt on my face and neck and I know that I need to do better on hydration next time. I have been taking it easy since then. I'm proud that I finished and that I pushed myself the whole way. Thanks, ENELL, for supporting me through this challenging day!

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Sometimes it snows in April: ENELL Ambassador Update

My first multisport race, the Dooby Du duathlon, is a week from tomorrow. Last night Toledo got the biggest April snowstorm in history -- almost 8 inches of snow.

It's pretty snow, though. My nephew, my mom, and I made a "snow lady," and it was the most perfect packing snow. I'm not sure when the last time I made a snowman was, and my nephew, who is 4, had never made one before, so it was fun. We also were going to have a snowball fight, but he didn't like having snow thrown at him so we did target practice instead by throwing snowballs at the shed.

In Toledo, we rarely get snow and sun at the same time, so it was a treat to go out and run on a snowy day with the full sun shining, no wind, and relatively warm weather. I am guessing that if the weather cooperates, I'll have a better time than my first time doing this race last year. I have ridden that bike course dozens of times since last year, and I have been doing more running than I was last year at this time, mostly in walk-run intervals. I know that I walked quite a bit of last year's runs, too.

ENELL is sponsoring me for this race, so I'll be in my cool new gear, including the new Biscay Green ENELL SPORT. Like all limited edition colors, when it is gone, it's gone, so if you are a green fan like me, you should get yours while you can. Besides the ENELL site, you can find them at online retailers like Bare Necessities (currently having a 25% off sale) and other online retailers, as well as some in-store locations. Green is one of my favorite colors, as evidenced by my favorite running jacket.

I'm hoping for dry roads and low wind -- both of which would mean the weather this year will be much better than last year -- but I have to be ready for anything between 70 degrees and sunny and 27 and windy. Toledo weather is like that.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07