Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WOW this seemed like a good idea when I signed up

So, with the humid little Rock N Roll half marathon in the distant past (by 6 days), I decided for a little back-to-back fun this weekend, starting with the San Antonio Bar Association Run for Justice 5k.  Not bad, but very humid and quite hilly near the end.  But, that was the easy part.  No sweat. (well, a little sweat)

On Sunday, I tackled the Cave Bear Duathlon.  It sounded super cool - start in the belly of the Natural Bridge Caverns (big cave), run out and 2 miles, then bike 15.5 miles, then run another little 2 miles.  No sweat. No sweat, right? 

Well, first off, this was my first duathlon - I really don't know what transition is, or body marking?, or what to do, really.  Next, I haven't ridden more than 5 miles at a time in years.  Then, there's the fact that my bike is an old hybrid, hunk of steel with and inch of dust on it.  No sweat, for sure.

So, I arrived SUPER early, because I needed to get my mind around transition. body marking, and all the other strange stuff.  And then, it started hitting me that I had not prepared for this and it was, in all likelihood, going to take me over 2 hours to conquer the Cave Bear - on half a Tri3bar for nutrition.  Oops - prior planning FAIL.

But, I racked up my hunk of steel bike next to bikes worth more than my car (and maybe my house) and told myself "I am CAVE BEAR."  So, we got our pre-race briefing...

and headed down into the cavern (single file, by distance and by speed - my buddy, Tammy - on the left above - did the max distance of 5 mi/26 mi/2 mi for the T Rex, which started first) - I was in the wayback. 
No sweat, right?  Except that it was about 70 degrees - even in the cave - and 99% humidity.  And we climbed down and waited and waited.  The first runner started at 7, with each of 360+ runners starting individually about 5-8 seconds later - and, as I said, I was in the wayback.  So, I started around 8 - running, slipping, and climbing out of that crazy cave.  And I was sweating.  (cool cave race pic to follow)

And I emerged from the cave for the little 2 mile run on some rocky trails with some hills - already sweating.  As I ran the trails, I thought, I can't wait to get on my hunk of steel bike and just spin.  So, I flew through transition (easy to do when you have no real gear to change) and jumped on the bike.  And realized that my seat was too low - but it was 'only' 15.5 miles, so I could manage.  No sweat, right?

And, for the first six miles, it wasn't - nice rolling hills that I pedalpedalpedaled up and wheeeeee'd down.  Until we turned and the headwind started affecting me.  (Here's what the pros looked like riding it - yes, they are standing up pumping on their superbikes)

And I pedalpedalpedaled and pedalpedalpedaled and pedalpedalpedaled up the hills, and 15.5 miles seemed REALLY DAMN LONG.  And I was hungry.  And I was SWEATING. 

I won't lie, two hills got me - I ran out of gears (and maybe leg strength) and got whizzed by fast road bikes.  It took a lot of sweat to push that hunk of steel bike up those hills - and get back on it.   As I biked back to transition, I thought, I can't wait to get off my hunk of steel bike and just run.

And I flew through transition (easy to do when you just dump a hunk of steel bike and a helmet) - and started trying to run - in the ittiest bittiest steps ever.  But I kept moving my legs and felt pretty good/tired, until I saw a gal in front of me with "39" on her right calf. 

I was not competing in this race - I was just participating.  Until an age-grouper was right in front of me (our age was 'marked' on the right calf).  So I sped up my ittiest bittiest steps and passed her - victory. Until I saw the "34" ahead and couldn't remember if the age groups were in 10-year increments (they weren't, but I couldn't risk it).  I ittiest bittiest stepped as fast as I could turn my legs over until I got past her.  Ane then, I saw the "50" in front of me - and ran it in to the finish with her, nice and easy.  Looking like this -

Yeah, that was not NO SWEAT at all.  A little bike and multisport training would probably have helped quite a bit - and some realistic preparation.  But it was cool - who gets to run out of a cave?

Here we are - true CAVE BEARS.  (The sign, like the registration, was wrong - it was not a 12.5 mi bike - I could have totally rode that, no sweat, right?)

Thanks to Priscilla, Darlene, and Earl Roberts for the pics - hopefully some cave ones (the whole reason I did this crazy du) will follow!

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