Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kevin Gillotties duathlon preparation for the World Championships in Spain

So in the last month I raced the 2 final duathlon races in San Diego – Solana Beach and Imperial Beach (a.k.a. Surf Town). I have been on a heavy training block of miles and speed work to try to get ready for worlds in Spain in September.
Things have been coming around, but with all of these miles and speed work and little rest, it can leave one a bit fatigued.

I went into Solana Beach right in the middle of one of those training blocks with little rest and downtime, and it robbed me of the turnover I needed in the end as I was overly laboring from race start to finish. I tried as hard as I could to stay strong out of T1 onto the bike and opened a nice gap, only to have it pulled back in at the end which left me having no cushion coming into T2. I then had try to redouble my efforts and try to get some speed out of T2 into the final run, and just did simply not have the leg turnover to make it happen. Thus, I was caught and passed and simply could not respond to the surge by the ultimate winner. The best way I can explain it, I have to keep in mind the bigger picture and goal for 2012 – worlds in Spain representing Team USA – and therefore decisions have to be made about training and those decisions can and do effect race day performance as I just cannot justify and afford rest and taper weeks for these local races as I then loose a week of valuable training and that has a compounding ripple effect. Therefore, I looked at Solana Beach as a bit of a sacrificial lamb for the greater good. I wanted to win, I felt capable of winning, I have won there, but I was just to fatigued to turn it over and paid the price for it. I had no gears and no turnover to call upon and just felt flat enough the 30 seconds I lost by is all it took to damage me, and there was nothing I could do about it on tired legs. But that’s cool; it is a decision I made for the greater good, I knew the potential downside, and I can live with that (though in the moment, it is irksome that you can’t get the body to respond).

Now this weekend, at Imperial Beach, I was rested and the results show just what rest and a taper can do for performance. This race came at the end of a block of months of pushing and I took a well deserved rest this week which timed perfect with this race. I felt way more control in terms of heart rate, I had several gears in the legs (both run and bike) I could call on and maintain, I had the turnover I needed and mentally I was fresher and and I just put it on the line to see where I was – against the clock first – as this is my last duathlon before worlds and I very badly wanted a win inside so I could mentally go into worlds coming off a win. It was a good day and I had the zip I hoped for. From first run until final crossing of the finish line, I was in control of my heart rate and was able to find the push and gears and turn-over and the body responded with no overly labored efforts. I calmly went into T1 second but came out first, went out on the bike and opened up a pretty good lead, came into T2 and out in first and really put the hammer down on the final run. At the turn around cone I had :53 seconds – so nearly 1:45 when doubled – on second place and rather than easing back with a “comfortable” lead (as comfortable as these 100% red line sprint races can be) I opted to try to find yet another gear and see if I could manage to elongate the gap. In the end, I crossed the finish line at 48:41 and won by nearly 2:20 which means I was able to open the gap a tad bit more. I felt very strong mentally and physically and it turns out my time of 48:41 is the exact time – to the seconds – of my winning finish time the last time I raced this race in 2008.... That is a once in a lifetime matching of numbers you never see, but nice to know 2 years later and 2 years older and 2 years off competitive duathlon, I can still match a past time. That is a good feeling and shows me the training is coming around and it is nearly time to start to hone the final sharp edge of my training in these coming final few weeks.

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