The race in Arlington, contrary to what I heard, was NOT flat and it was windy. I was a little worried about my 16 minute expectation... Good competition though, with Robbie Wade and Steve Crane leading the way, and recent rival Justin Fritzius in the mix as well. I went out in the first mile as planned, in 5:15. Good start. I brought the 2nd mile down as expected as well, to 5:06. I felt great, ready to pound out a similar 3rd mile. However, mile 3 was a hill. The whole thing. Try as I might, I couldn't keep it below 5:20, which ended up being around my average for the 3rd mile. A sprint to the finish brought me to 16:18 and 5th overall... so not quite at my goal, but a 7-second PR nonetheless in unfriendly conditions. Crane finished just under 16, so that told me that it was a slow day for just about everyone... Michelle just barely missed her goal of sub-18 but finished 3rd. Despite our disappointment in times, we were both happy with our placements (despite my menial prize of $15 to Pacers stores!!!). We both worked hard and raced smart and that was comforting.
BUT we couldn't remain glum for long, as a super-brick awaited us at her house. The plan: 5x10 minute zone 4 (race pace) intervals on the bike with 5 minute recoveries, 20 minute warmup. Followed quickly by a 4x6 minute zone 4 (race pace) interval run, with 2 minute recoveries and short warmup/cooldown. We both pounded through the bike, dripping with sweat and determination. Michelle, without too much experience doing bike intervals, really put forth a strong-willed effort and that kept me focused.
The run was really tough, and I cramped up in the first interval, but again we pushed ourselves forward and finished strong. Her hip acted up, but was able to run over a mile back home. She doesn't quit!
We realized soon after that what we had just done was pretty remarkable... raced all out in the AM, biked all out no more than 3 hours after, followed by another race effort run. Sounds to me like a duathlon! A Duathlon Nationals length duathlon! Something tells me that we're going to do great there. Top 10 for Michelle? No question. Age group for me? Looking good.
And with that, I'm done for the day.