Several years have passed since the first attempt at one of the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon races where I finished 2nd overall. A different course, different day and much different fitness level, I had signed up only last week for the first in the 2011 series. 12 lbs heavier than when racing Ironman Hawaii in October, about a half dozen runs and eight or so bike rides since then, with a smattering of the one-off swim and visits to the weight room, I put the uncertainty aside and plopped down $30. A small series with several hundred athletes in the winter time to stave off the competitive hunger, the Chilly Cheeks Duathlon series is nothing short of a painful yet fun time, as races should be--all for a decent price. There are no race shirts or awards, only competition. It isn't unusual to find a pro athlete or two showing up at these races.
Held at Cherry Creek Rez, I parked at the high school a few blocks away and saved $9 in parking. Coasted downhill to the start and did my warm up in Levi blue jeans and a hooded cotton sweatshirt. Pretty sure I was the only one who looked like a spectator during warm up without all the fancy lycra-clad folks out there. It was indeed a "chilly cheeks" morning so since the laziness of not wanting to dress like a racer during warm ups was so overwhelming, I used this as a way to keep my goals in check which was not to get my butt kicked too much while being grossly out-of-shape. While 155 lbs isn't "fat" it IS heavy compared to my 143 just a few months prior. The reasoning for racing this last minute was that if I did get my rear kicked (you always like to put on a decent showing at races), it would be motivation to quit the procrastination and start training again. Although I'm not sure what it is I'm actually training for as 2011 has lined up to be a few select fun races that are close/nearby except for Oceanside 70.3 in April.
The race started (yes, the Levi's were now off as was the hooded sweatshirt), soon I found myself running in 2nd place with a few yards on the lead pack. Concerned the pace was too quick for my fitness--I backed off to about 4th place and held it for the first run. While a tough pace it wasn't my "maximum" output as there was still a 10 mile bike ride after the 4 mile run. The leader was several minutes up on me at the start of the bike but luckily I had the fastest transition in the entire race and was soon on my way. Bike fitness is quick to lose and it sure showed up race day. In short it was quite the Snot-Fest by the time I finished. Not much power and kept looking down to see if my tire was flat. Nope. It was just me being slow! By the end of the bike I was still in 4th place but had nearly caught the run leader...missing by about 16 seconds. The guys who did place ahead were an elite duathlete, pro triathlete, and former world championship AG runner-up in duathlon. Not bad for a chubby out-of-shape athlete. Time to get out the door and do that exercise stuff again--what do they call it? Oh yeah, Butt-Kicked Prevention!