When we were planning our racing schedule, we knew we wanted to do the Flower City Challenge. Last year we couldn't do the half because it was the same weekend as Seneca7, but this year they were one week apart!
We signed up for the Double Du which meant that we would do the duathlon on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Great training for our Half Ironman in July!
We got to the transition area around 6:15am and got our chips, we had to wear these tyvek bracelets in order to get our chip and they had to put them on us when we picked up our packets. We picked ours up on Wednesday so by today my bracelet was a little mangled.
My new friend the last few days
We picked an area close to the bike exit/entrance because we didn't want to have to run with our clipless shoes for too long. We saw Laura and her fiance, John, while we were setting up our stuff and then we hit the port-a-potties. While we were checking out the run entrance/exit, we saw one of our friends from college, she was on the swim team with us, and her husband.
After chatting for a bit it was time to get ready and then head to the start. Since there was also a triathlon (paddle, which is why we didn't do it) they had staggered starts. At 7:30 the triathlon men went off, 7:33 the triathlon women and teams, 7:36 the duathlon women and teams and at 7:39 the duathlon men.
We saw our friends Amber and Greg right before it was my turn to start the race, have I mentioned how amazing they are? The rest of the photos in this post are from Greg, and they cheered for us the entire race!
Run Leg 1 (5K): Jamie - 24:25, Mike - 22:22
After the first two groups went off, it was my turn! I lined up with the rest of the women and a few relay teams and at 7:36 we were off! Since we are running the half I didn't want to go too fast but I also wanted to try as hard as I could.
The run legs were all run in Genesee Valley Park along the Riverway Trail, other than a few bridges and small inclines it was primarily flat. The first mile came in at 7:49 and I was running with one of the guys who was on a relay team.
Right before we hit the halfway point, the guys from the men's duathlon wave caught up to us. I didn't know if I would see Mike at all, but he didn't quite catch me on the run. After getting some water at the water stop the second mile came in at 8:23 and I knew that the transition area was going to come up soon.
While the duathlon was advertised as 5K, 20 Mile ride, 5K, the first run leg was a little short. I saw the transition area come in and hit 8:43 pace the last .93 miles. My watch time was a little faster than my official time coming in at 24:18 which is 8:18 pace.
Transition 1: Jamie - 1:29, Mike - 1:04
As I was running to my bike, I kept thinking about what I had to do when I got to my spot. As I was putting on my helmet, I heard Amber say, "smile, Jamie". I was focused!
Since we are new to clipping in, this was the first time I had to change my shoes during transition. I got my running shoes off as quick as possible and then put on my biking shoes. As I was unracking my bike, I saw Mike coming in and I took off!
Looking at Mike running in
Amber told him to smile too
Changing his shoes
All set to go!
Bike Leg 1 (20 Miles): Jamie - 1:21:41, Mike - 1:15:35
As soon as I got to the mount/dismount line, I got my weak foot clipped in (success!) and then I took off. It did take me a few seconds to get my right foot clipped in but at least I was moving.
The route was a loop that left the park and went out to Henrietta/Scottsville and then back. The first half was pretty hilly, although I told Laura beforehand that it wasn't that hilly - oops!
Mike passed me at about 1 mile and he wished me luck as he went on his way. I could see him for a little while and then he was gone! I passed quite a few people in the beginning and other people passed me as well.
At mile 5, I drank some water. It was a little bit of a struggle to get my water bottle out but it wasn't too bad. The hills were pretty monstrous and some people, who weren't clipped in, were walking up them. I also saw some people who had to pull over because of flat tires.
My plan was to take my energy gel at mile 10, but when the time came I was I having some trouble reaching for it. I put it in my back shirt pocket and I was a little afraid of riding one-handed while clipped in. I gave up for a few miles, and after the worst hill (which is also when a truck scared me after it slammed on its horn at a car in front of it) I tried again. This time I was successful! I ate my energy gel and got some more water.
The last 7-8 miles I was going a lot faster. The route was relatively flat with some downhills and I was picking up speed. Eventually, I got to mile 19 and that's when I knew it was almost time to run again.
Right before turning back into the park, we went by a speed sensor sign and I laughed as cyclists passed it and it told them their speed. When I went by it said 15 mph, which I felt good about.
Coming in to the mount/dismount line
Smiling because I didn't fall
I made the final turn and dismounted without any problems. I ran into the transition area and made my way for the final leg of the day.
Transition 2: Jamie - 1:36 , Mike - 1:29
I racked my bike and as I was getting ready for the final run, Amber asked me how I felt. I told her I felt good, and she said that Mike looked strong.
Changing my shoes
Laughing about how I had snot on my face, ha!
As I was leaving I told her that this run would be a test of how I actually felt, and I was off!
Run Leg 2 (5K): Jamie - 28:33 , Mike - 25:23
The final run leg was in the opposite direction of the first leg, but the same exact route otherwise.
I could tell my legs felt like lead, which is an indication that before Keuka Lake in June I need to do some more brick workouts, but I hoped that the feeling would go away soon.
I passed quite a few people who had passed me on the bike and I made my way along the river. You could see the kayaks and canoes participating in the triathlon, and it was a nice distraction. Mile 1 came in at 8:19 pace.
As I was running I could hear the announcer saying names of people who were crossing the finish line and I wondered if I would hear Mike's name be called (he told me later that he was pretty sure he saw me from across the river).
Mike at the end
Running into the finish
I got to the water stop and then ran over one of the bridges, I knew my pace was slowing but I worked hard to keep it under 9 minute pace, mile 2 came in at 8:56 pace.
The last mile or so I thought about how we would be running on this route again for the half marathon, and I thought about our upcoming marathon and how I would need to push in the end even when I was getting tired. My pace got over 9 minute pace for the first time and even though I tried really hard to get it below, I just couldn't. Mile 3 came in at 9:10 pace.
The second run leg was long, which balanced out the first leg being short, it ended up being 3.26 miles according to my watch.
The end is near
As I got close to the finish, I saw Mike, Amber and Greg cheering me on and I gave it all that I had. I ran toward the finish line and I was done! The last .26 miles were run at 8:25 pace.
Happy to be done!
Making the final turn
Finishing Times: Jamie - 2:17:45 , Mike - 2:05:54
Overall, I am really happy with how this race went! For the first multi-sport race of the year and our first race using clipless pedals, I think it was a success. It definitely gives me a baseline to use so that I can improve in our upcoming races. My goal is to get to faster than 15 mph, today's race was 14.9 mph, on the bike.
Now we're just relaxing and getting ready for the half marathon tomorrow!