1st Overall at 2005 Topeka Tinman Duathlon

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it did and now I’m sitting here with my calf on ice. I think this is how it happened…

On Friday I headed to Smithville Missouri to work on the bike and run courses for both the USAT Age Group Nationals as well as the US Half Championship. Working on the bike course meant driving various roads with a GPS unit, trying to find loops that are ride able and equal to 24.8 and 56 miles. Figuring out the run course involved riding the various options on my tri bike, measuring them with both the GPS unit and my bike computer. Consequently, by the end of the day I had ridden around 26 miles, however, I had not brought my bike shoes and so all of this riding was with my running shoes on speedplay pedals. So perhaps it was the unusual pedaling position and technique used all day Friday…

Friday evening I arrived in Topeka Kansas. After previewing the race setup and courses, I found a nice little Italian restaurant and had a great dinner. Finally, around 10:30 I retired to the local Super Walmart parking lot.

After arriving at the race site at around 5:15, I got everything set up. After Miki gave me a hard time when I told her I typically didn’t warm up before an event, I decided that maybe I ought to in order to avoid injury. After spending about 10 minutes or so warming up with some light jogging, I decided I was ready.

The race started out at a reasonable pace. One athlete moved to the front and was setting a reasonable pace so I moved in behind him and decided to follow him. About a ¼ of a mile into the race, just when I thought the run was going to be easy, it happened. There wasn’t any type of noticeable pop or ripping, just one second my calf felt fine and the next second it felt like it was ripped. Kind of like that feeling the morning after you get a really bad calf cramp at night. The kind where your calf locks up and it takes everything you have not to scream out in pain. But this wasn’t after getting out of bed, this was in the middle of a race and I had no idea what was wrong. My immediate thought was I would have to DNF, that I didn’t want to risk permanent injury. I decided to stick it out, maybe I could run through it…

Despite the fact that every time my left foot hit the ground my calf hurt like hell, the race was going decidedly good. We had reached the turn around and the two of us had put a considerable lead on the rest of the group. A mile and a half later, we were just about to transition one. I had dropped back a little, but decided to catch back up and lead into the first transition, a little psychological ploy. I had measured the course the night before, and it had come out at 3.2 miles. We came into the first transition in 18:28, a 5:46 pace which was a huge surprise for me with how my calf was feeling.

Knowing that I was in the lead, I knew all I needed to do was not get passed by anyone on the bike. I passed a ton of people from the triathlon, but wasn’t passed by anyone.

Coming off the bike, my leg had gotten tight. The first half mile or so was spent with a definite limp, but finally I was able to at least break into a normal stride. I checked behind me a few times and couldn’t see anyone behind me and it wasn’t until about a minute after the turnaround that I saw the second and third duathlete. By this point my stride felt fine despite a steady pain that I was able to ignore. With a two minute plus lead, I knew despite the bum calf I would hold on for the win, the question was however, was it worth it? I still had Rec Plex to race the following morning and the rest of the season to complete…

Congratulating 3rd place finisher Steve Wathke

posted at 23:10:44 on 06/21/05 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race Reports


Steve Wathke wrote:

You were great that year. I bet you still are. Thanks for including me in your article. I’ve been working on swimming but man I am still terrible at it.
-Steve Wathke
10/18/07 23:24:26