US Duathlon National Championships Head to St. Paul #USATDU14 #triathlon

running-advice-bugNearly 650 athletes from 44 states and Washington, D.C., are on the start list for this Saturday’s 2014 Life Time USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, held in St. Paul, Minnesota, at Harriett Island Regional Park. The race will be held on July 19, 2014.

Joe English will attempt to repeat in the Sprint Distance Championship in 2014

Joe English will attempt to repeat in the Sprint Distance Championship in 2014

After a three-year stint in Tucson/Oro Valley, Arizona, St. Paul will host the best duathletes in the country this weekend and again in 2015. Age-group duathletes and paraduathletes will race their way to national titles in both standard-distance (4.6-kilometer run, 31.2-kilometer bike, 4.4-kilometer run) and sprint-distance (2.9k run, 20.8k bike, 2.7k run) events. Races will begin at 7:30 a.m. CT on July 19 with the standard-distance race, followed by the sprint race at 11:45 a.m. CT. Visit usatriathlon.org/du14 for complete event details, and follow the race live at usatriathlon.org/du14coverage.

Twenty-three returning national champions highlight the field in Saturday’s races:

Sprint Defending Champions
Michael Ashworth (M30-34, Jersey City, N.J.)
Margaret Bomberg (F75-79, Chico, Calif.)
Celia Dubey (F40-44, Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Joe English (M40-44, Hillsboro, Ore.)
Terry Habecker (M65-69, Ithaca, N.Y.)**
Janet Jarvits (F45-59, Pasadena, Calif.)
Heysoon Lee (F70-74, Morristown, N.J.)**
David Morrow (M60-64, Tarpon Springs, Fla.)
Patty Peoples-Resh (F55-59, Redlands, Calif.)
Kristin Villopoto (F50-54, Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Timothy Winslow (M19U, Elk Grove, Calif.)**
Standard-Distance Defending Champions
Andy Ames (M50-54, Boulder, Colo.)
Donald Ardell (M75-79, St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Jason Atkinson (M30-34, Alamogordo, N.M.)
David Burkhart (M60-64, Brighton, Mich.)
Kirsten Chapman (F50-54, Edmond, Okla.)
Kerry Mayer (M65-69, Brookfield, Wis.)
Robert Powers (M90+, White Bear Lake, Minn.)
Erica Ruge (F40-44, Rhinebeck, N.Y.)
Jennifer Scudiero (F30-34 and female overall winner, Eagan, Minn.)
Dave Slavinski (M40-44, Point Pleasant, N.J.)
Chelsea VanCott (F20-24, Oceanside, Calif.)*
Keith Woodward (M60-64, Stowe, Vt.)

*Indicates athlete is racing in the sprint event
**Indicates athlete is racing in the standard-distance event

Duathlon Nationals is the sole qualifying event for the age-group 2015 Standard- and Sprint-Distance ITU Duathlon World Championships in Adelaide, South Australia, on Oct. 14-18, 2015. The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place, will qualify for Team USA.

Team USA is comprised of the nation’s top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Visit usatriathlon.org for more on Team USA.

In addition to the weekend’s races, USA Triathlon and local St. Paul shop TrüBerry Frozen Yogurt have partnered to collect unwanted sneakers this week through July 19. Donated shoes will be given to Listening House of St. Paul, a day/evening shelter and community resource center that provides hospitality, practical assistance and counsel to people who are homeless, disadvantaged or lonely. Shoes may be dropped at 949 Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and those donating shoes will receive a buy one, get one free item from TrüBerry.

Source: USA Triathlon
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Duathlon — Parish and Kattouf Take 2012 National Duathlon Titles

running-advice-bugORO VALLEY, Ariz. – Patrick Parish and Gail Kattouf clinched overall national titles in the standard-distance event, while Greg McNeil and Patty Peoples won the sprint-distance race Saturday at USA Triathlon’s 2012 Duathlon National Championship, presented by TriSports.com.

Patty Peoples wins 2012 Sprint Duathlon Championship (Dave Sanders, USAT)

Parish (Bloomington, Minn.) was the top U.S. finisher on the 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course with a time of 1:23:06. He finished 12 seconds behind overall winner Lionel Sanders of Ontario, Canada, who clocked in at 1:22:54. Matthew Payne (Columbia Heights, Minn.) was third in 1:25:42, and last year’s overall champion Dave Slavinski logged a time of 1:25:50 to finish fourth overall and round out the national championship podium.

“I knew a few people would take it out hard,” said Parish, who ran at Duke University in college. “I just wanted to relax through the first run, and catch everybody on the bike and see if I could close.” Parish also claimed the 25-29 age group title and posted a 49:03 bike split, which was the fastest bike split of the day in the standard-distance event.

Defending champion Kattouf (Greenville, S.C.) bested the women’s field by nearly three minutes, taking the tape with a time of 1:37:00. She led the women’s field after the first run, with a 5k split of 19:02.

“Today I left it all out on the course,” Kattouf said. “I was really pleased with how the race went down. I knew going into transition I had a couple minutes lead, and then I cruised on the run.” In addition to her 2011 national title, Kattouf won a world title and plans to defend later this year in Nancy, France.
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Commentary — It Doesn’t Always Work Out & That’s Just Fine

running-advice-bugIt’s been awhile since I’ve told a good yarn of a racing tale. Well, I’ve got one for you today and it’s a ditty. But before I get into this story that requires embarrassing myself beyond belief — almost as badly as the time I mistakenly used the women’s bathroom to change my clothes — I will back up and share with you one key learning that I want you to gain from my misfortune.

Someone Much Faster Than Me

I often tell people here in this forum that the should mix it up, try new things, and take detours here and there. If you keep doing the same things over and over, how would you know if you were really good at something else, I might ask. And, mixing it up keeps things fresh and fun. I routinely pick out a sport and spend a whole season doing nothing but that — be it ultra-running, duathlon, trail-racing, or whatever — because by focusing on a new discipline it allows me to learn things that I can apply to my other endeavors. If I hadn’t, for example, decided to focus on short-course duathlon last year, I wouldn’t have know that I was so good at it. And that’s the kind of thinking that I used to get myself into the event that I was competing in this weekend.

It started a couple of weeks ago when I was doing my schedule planning for the year. I have sorted through dozens of races trying to find a race schedule that sounds fun and interesting. My one big problem is that the USAT Duathlon Nationals falls within a heinous period of travel for me. In five weeks, I will be in five different countries with Nationals right smack in the middle of that. So if I wanted to try to go to World’s again, the only way to do it would be to try to get to Nationals somehow. In looking at this, I thought of some other options. I thought, for instance, that I might try Sprint Triathlon Nationals instead. And this is what found me pondering what off-road triathlon might be like.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m find myself signed up for an off-road duathlon. I didn’t really even realize that it was an off-road duathlon when I signed up for it. I actually thought that it was just a winter season on-road race. But about a week before the event I was looking on-line at pictures from last year and sure enough people are riding through the mud and snow. Hmmmmm I thought to myself. Well, I guess I could get myself a mountain bike and give it a try. As I just wrote a minute ago, I do encourage people to try new things and all.
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Multi-sport — Coach Joe Races the World in Gijon (part 2)

running-advice-bugI came blasting into the first transition with a lead of almost 30 seconds. I knew that this lead would evaporate quickly. My strategy would be purely defensive from here on out.

Coach Joe on the Bike in Gijon

Running through the wet grass, I looked for the landmark that would point out my bike in the sea of pricey bicycles sitting, waiting for their riders. My landmark was a speaker on a stand, poking up into the air about half-way down the row. All of the bikes were there in the transition. The most expensive bikes from Cervelo, Specialized, Guru were there, all decked out with the most expensive wheels and componentry. I was guessing that this array of bicycles was worth easily over a million dollars. I was just hoping to stay on top of mine.

I pulled my racing flats off, put on my helmet and then pulled on my cycling shoes. That was all that needed to happen. I ran down the grass toward the exit. This was an area that I have struggled — not pushing hard enough in the transition areas in races. I liked to treat the transition as a break between two sports, but it isn’t a break. People at this level will grab big time from you if you’re loafing along through the transition. So I sprinted as fast as I could for the exit, being careful not to fall coming down onto the velodrome surface. I could imagine that would not look good to crash before even getting onto the bike. Once in the saddle, it was time to start warming up the legs for the climb that would come early in the course.

My strategy for this race had been developed in two steps. First, when I learned that there would be a sprint course, I immediately opted for that distance. This was a strategic decision in itself. As one of the fastest runners, I wanted to go as fast as possible. And as a not-so-great cyclist, I wanted to limit the amount of time on the bike. I was a decent flat road rider and a good climber, but not a great descender. The second part of the strategy came from looking at this course itself. The course started off flat for just a couple of miles and then rose quickly in a long, curvy climb into the hills overlooking Gijon. After that, the route descended over a screaming 4 kilometer drop around tight corners to get back down to the beach. This would be my problem area. I could envision people taking huge chunks of time out of me on this descent. So my plan was to run hard and then go as hard as possible until the top of the climb, after that it would just be a matter of holding on.
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Multi-sport — Coach Joe Races the World in Gijon (part 1)

running-advice-bugMy footsteps were the only sounds breaking through the night, pounding out a frantic rhythm on the broken pavement flying past under my feet. There was no wind and little moon. The darkness would have been nearly complete had it not been for the small head-lamp pointed out from my forehead at the undulating road ahead. My eyes couldn’t make out the track of the road, but I could see red and green flashing lights on the backs of runners ahead of me. They were moving slowly and I was catching them at a brisk pace. I used their position relative to me to guess which way the road was going to go next.

If I had looked at the time, it would have been just after four in the morning. We had traversed nearly 200 miles of highways and back roads from Mt. Hood toward the Pacific Ocean, this being the closing stages of the Hood to Coast Relay. My legs were tired. They were aching from almost a half-marathon that I had run earlier that day and night. Now I was trying to push myself through the last seven miles of dark country roads to finish my part of this effort. I was only about half-way through this section of the course, which meant I had another three miles or more to go.

Nearly at the point of cracking, my mind was starting to tell my legs that they could give up. And that’s when it happened. I closed my eyes. I closed them and kept them closed. I focused. I quietly commanded myself to breathe the pain out with each exhale. “Push it out, push it out” I thought. And there with my eyes closed, rumbling through the dark, I turned off the pain in my legs and started running even faster.

Not long ago, I began practicing yoga. Quite honestly, I didn’t understand why I took it up. I understood that it would be good for my body, but I didn’t know what it would mean for my mind. I quickly learned that there is great power in having control over ones thoughts and the ability to control mental anguish, to shut off pain, to turn one faucet on while turning another off. I was starting to see how this could be useful in controlling the pain and torture that I had already been good at inflicting on myself in my racing.

Coach Joe at the start in Gijon

Now I was standing at the starting line of the ITU Duathlon World Championships in Gijon, Spain. With just a few minutes to the start of the race, the officials moved us up into position. Standing under the arch, I looked around me at some of the world’s best multi-sport enthusiasts. Hailing from countries all over the planet, these were the best in this quirky sporting outpost in which we run and bike and run again, just to see how fast we can go.

The past week had been full of moments when I wondered what I was doing among these men and women. Looking out my window at the road by the beach, I would catch a glimpse of a couple of guys busting out five minute miles and think, “wow, those guys look fast.” Then I’d see another group sizzle past on Cervelo P4s and I’d hope secretly, “maybe they’re pros?”
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Interview – Duathlon National Champion Dave Salivski and Carrie Salivski (Episode 3-24)

running-advice-bug2011 USA Duathlon National Champion and 2010 Duathlete of the Year Dave Salivski sits down for an interview with Coach Joe English at the 2011 Duathlon National Champioships in Oro Valley, Arizona. Third-place medalist and partner in crime Carrie Salivski joins the conversation as well.

In this interview we talk about bike problems and how they can impact your mental game; how the two-some balance their family and racing; and whether Dave plans to turn pro.

Thank you to Dave and Carrie for sitting down with us on the day of their incredible performances in Tucson.

Click here to link to our video series home page:

To visit our video pages with links to all of the episodes in our last two season, go to:
Season 1 Video Page

Season 2 Video Page

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Multi-Sport — Athletes Redefine the Term “Hard Body” in Arizona

running-advice-bug“Excuse me, your obliques are showing,” was exactly the thought that was going through my mind. I was sitting next to the pool at the Hilton El Conquistador resort on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona and I was feeling wholly out of shape. The pool was crowded with multi-sport aficionados who had come to Tucson for the USA Triathlon Duathlon Nationals and their bodies were on display.

Don’t get me wrong, this was not some MTV Beach House kind of thing. People weren’t hitting on one another or walking around with their drawers drooping down to their ankles. Far from it. These people were mellow, cool, collected and very, very in shape.

I looked across at a 51-year old doctor from the East Coast who was reading a copy of the journal “Nature”. He was wearing a black Speedo. Not the swim-racing kind of Speedo, but the “I can wear a boy-short even though I’m 51” kind of Speedo. I asked him what he was hoping to do in the race and he looked at me as though I was asking him to explain Tolstoy. “I hope to do my best, have a great time and kick some ass,” he said and then he went back to reading an article on structures in the brain that help keep memories sharp.

I’m not what one would normally call out of shape. I exercise daily and would in fact place in the top-25 at Nationals here the next day, but this was a crowd of fitness over-achievers. These people were not only in shape, they lived it. Scanning the pool deck, I understood for the first time the meaning of the phrase “a chiseled physique.”

I walked over to the “Springs” – a portion of the pool that included both a hot and cold plunge and struck up a conversation with yet another 51-year old whose body I felt I had seen sculpted in limestone, perhaps in a museum in Rome or Paris. ‘What were these people on?’ I thought to myself. They were so unassuming and confident, yet humble. I asked the limestone-bodied guy how long he’d been involved in multi-sport, “oh for decades” he said. He went on to tell me that he had done the Ironman in Hawaii six times when he was “younger.”
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Multi-Sport — National Champions Crowned at 2011 Duathlon National Champs

running-advice-bugORO VALLEY, Ariz. – Nicole LaSelle and Matthew Russell captured the elite national titles, and Gail Kattouf and Dave Slavinski were the top overall age-groupers Saturday April 30th at USA Triathlon’s 2011 Duathlon National Championship.

Mathew Russell Leads the 2011 USAT National Championship

Russell (Austin, Texas) claimed his second career elite duathlon national title and first since 2008 with a time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 38 seconds on the 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course.

Competing at Duathlon Nationals for the first time, LaSelle (Dayton, Ohio) was the second female elite to cross the finish line in 1:36:08. Germany’s Angela Axmann, who resides in Phoenix, Ariz., was the overall women’s winner in 1:34:10.

Russell was sixth – and 35 seconds off the pace – after the first run. He grabbed the lead on the bike and held on to the advantage with a 17:03 5k on the second run. He finished nearly three minutes ahead of Canada’s Lionel Sanders, who was the No. 2 overall finisher in 1:25:23. Justin Hurd (Boulder, Colo.) finished third overall in 1:25:54, and Joshua Merrick (Alamosa, Colo.) crossed the line fourth overall in 1:26:16 to round out the national championship podium.

“I wasn’t sure where my speed was,” said Russell, who has raced four out of the last five weekends. “My strength is my bike right now, so I pulled away and that’s where I got the win – off the bike.” Russell caught the leaders on the first 2-3 miles of the bike and slowly pulled away heading into T2.


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Multi-Sport — Stellar Field Headed to USA Triathlon’s Duathlon Nationals 2011

running-advice-bugCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Several defending national champions are among the 500-plus multisport athletes slated to compete Saturday at USA Triathlon’s 2011

Duathlon Nationals will feature national championships for elite athletes, paraduathletes and age-groupers on a 5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run course. Action is slated to begin at Ventana Medical Systems at 8 a.m.

Among the elites scheduled to compete is Matthew Sheeks (Woodinville, Wash.), who captured the 2010 elite duathlon national title in Pelham, Ala. On the paraduathlon side, 2010 World Championships medalists David Kyle (TRI-3, Athens, Ala.) and Lamar Brown (TRI-6, Bronx, N.Y.) return to defend their national titles won in Richmond, Va., a year ago.

In addition to chasing national titles, age-group athletes also will be competing for spots on Team USA for the 2011 ITU Short Course Duathlon World Championships in Gijon, Spain, on Sept. 24-25. The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place, will be eligible for a Team USA berth. Team USA is comprised of amateur athletes who represent the United States at each ITU World Championship event.
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Multi-Sport — The Challenge of Duathlon

running-advice-bugIt’s no secret to my friends and readers that I like to specialize in a particular sport from year to year to really get “into” a particular discipline. Over the years, I’ve focused on the marathon, trail running, ultra-distance running and the Ironman distance in triathlon. I like to do this, because it allows me great focus on that specific sport and to learn the methods that work in some depth so that I can write about them here in this forum. For 2011, I decided to make it my year of the duathlon and now, on the eve of the Duathlon Nationals in Tuscon, I am reflecting on this sport and what makes it challenging.

Coach Joe at Spring Classic Duathlon 2011

For those that don’t know about this lesser known sport, duathlon is a sport that is quite distinct from its cousin the triathlon. It requires particularly good speed out of the runners and a unique blend of strength to be able to run at high-speed multiple times in the same race. Although some people might think of duathlon as a “triathlon without the swim” this somehow implies that duathlon is easier than triathlon, which may in fact not be true depending on the athlete. Runners should “like” this sport, although they need to be equally proficient at cycling if their going to be successful here.

What is a Duathlon?
Duathlons can take on several different forms, but the most common is what is called the “run-bike-run” format. In the most common type of these run-bike-run events, athletes would run something like 5K, ride 40K, and then run another 5K. There are shorter and longer duathlon events, as well as events in which the runs are different lengths (e.g 5K then 10K). Long-course options can take athletes as far as half-Ironman and Ironman distances as well.

Some triathlon organizers will offer a duathlon “option” in which they remove the swim and have the athletes do only the bike and run. This really is a triathlon without the swim and doesn’t offer the unique blend of challenge that the run-bike-run format provides, but these can still be fun events especially for those that don’t have the time or resources to work on their swimming and want to participate in a particular triathlon event.

What makes the duathlon unique?
First, as with any multi-sport race with shorter distance runs, a sprint or Olympic distance duathlon requires great speed and intensity to be competitive. Any time runners are faced with a 5K run, the most competitive athletes will run these at speeds competitive with other 5K road-races. At last year’s Duathlon Nationals the age-group winner ran the first 5K in just 15:19. That’s a pace of 4:56 per mile. That’s screamin’ fast. Similar to the sprint triathlon, the top athletes need to be competitive in each sport individually to be competitive in their multi-sport counter-parts.
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