Lining up at today’s USAT DUathlon National Championship race in St. Paul, Herndon trial lawyer Doug Landau had 2 goals: to break 95 minutes and qualify to represent the United States at the 2015 World Championships.
With the Mississippi flooding last week, the Minnesota race course was changed to a 4.6km (2-lap) run, a 31km (3-lap) bike ride on bumpy roads and then a 4.4km (2-lap) run. So as not to get into too fast of a pace at the outset, Landau started at the back of the corral. The 50-59 group was one of the last to start, so the path on the levee and the bike course would be crowded. As he had seen them compete from the sidelines in Tucson Arizona last Fall (due to his double concussion), Landau knew that there were some very fast runners in his group. Despite running hard in the opening run, the Herndon lawyer found himself in 18th at the first turnaround. By the time he got on the bike, he was in 36th ! However, he fought hard on the bike to pass a few in his category.
Both transitions were fast, as he had practiced them on the course over the past 72 hours. However, as had happened in several other championship DUathlons, 150 yards out of T-2, his hamstring seized, and he had to stop running. Stretching the muscle, contracting the contralateral quads, and kneading the knot helped slightly. As he saw several of the racers he had passed overtake him, Landau did an imitation “Forest Gump” shuffle, using his right leg almost exclusively. Once back up on the levee, he was able to shuffle a bit more quickly, and after the first mile, he was down to a 6:20/mile pace. Because he could not run “full out,” he was not tired or sore after the race.
At the finish line he was given receipt indicating that he was 16th in the 50-54, with the top 18 automatically qualifying for the World Championship next year. However, as Landau is 54 years old, the “age up” rules applied, and since he will compete at Worlds in the 55-59 group, he was given the ticket for 9th place in that group ! While Landau was pleased with the result, he knows he could have gone faster than his official time of 1:32:05. Still undecided as to the USAT Sprint Triathlon National Championships next month in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Landau had his best finish in a DUathlon National Championship and intends to get in top shape for next year’s big race to represent the “Stars & Stripes.”