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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Duathlon Nationals

Today I raced my first peak of the season: duathlon nationals. The junior race was a 5k run, 13k bike and 2.5k run. I knew that it was going to be an excellent race whenever my daily 'successful people' calendar, which usually involves an inspiring quote, had just one word for this weekend: "Excellence."
We arrived in Richmond at bike check in around 4 p.m. on Saturday to find 70 degree temps with ominous skies threatening rain. My race was at ten the following morning, which gave me plenty of time to get up, eat a leisurely breakfast, and basically try to control my excitement as the event for which I had devoted the past 5 months, sacrificing my track season to prepare for, quickly approached. Race day temps were around 65 or 70 without rain, but the previous night's rain made for a wet and treacherous bike course. I began the first run very relaxed, settling into a good rhythm while a let two eager competitors speed out front. Ryan Peterson, the defending champion, and I basically ran the first mile together and slowly regained the time on the two guys ahead. By two miles, I was about twenty seconds back of Matus Kriska, sitting in second place a few strides ahead of Ryan Peterson and Hunter Honeycutt. By T1, our order hadn't changed. Once onto the bike Ryan and I dug deep and pushed the pace to gap Hunter on the challenging and technical bike course. Ryan slowly pulled away from me over the next few miles, but I reeled in Matus in the late stages of the bike leg. However, he stayed close and came out of T2 ahead of me. Fortunately I didn't experience the dizziness which I had encountered at Azalea and Cool Breeze, but I did have to deal with a painful stitch in my right side and both of my shoulders. I focused on running efficiently, but my legs just didn't have the pop that I had been feeling during the past few weeks' hard workouts, but I may have gone too hard on the bike. Nevertheless, I maintained third place until I crossed the line. Unfortunately, that course took a lot out of me and my typical finishing kick was almost nonexistent. I ended up about 15 seconds back of Matus and a minute behind Ryan. Hunter finished fourth. I think that our second runs were about equal, because the time differences at the end were similar the gaps at T2. It was an awesome experience with some top flight competition, and though I would have liked to have won, I know that any of the top four guys might have won on a different day.
I have so much to thanks to give for the help, love, and support I have received on the journey to this race: to God, for giving me a passion and talent for multisport and giving me good courage and strength to race to the best of my abilities; to my parents and brother for unwavering love, patience, and first class cheering on race day (not to mention the practicals of driving me to/from training, making sacrifices to accommodate my schedule, paying for enormous amounts of quality food to help me refuel, and offering as much guidance as they can); to the TMS-IOS elite multisport team, for comping my race fees and supplying me with a super cool race suit, helmet, and training apparel. Speaking of the team, Kristin Villopoto used the age group race as a tune up for the White Lake Half, coming into it pretty beat up from some hard training, but still finished an impressive 7th overall and 1st in her age group.
Next up for Team Boyles are the Half (for dad) and sprint (for my brother Jackson and myself) at White Lake next weekend. After that, its time for me to get back into the chlorine and rediscover my inner swimmer, because I will be racing my first draft legal triathlon at Junior Nationals in San Diego this August.

Until next time,
Train smart and race hard!
Mason Boyles