Duathlon Rookie

After “quitting” running last fall, I have taken up ballet following a 20 year hiatus and started Dailey Method classes to get my muscles toned, but I’ve been missing the cardio high I used to get from running.  The spinning classes I’d like to attend are so popular that I seldom manage to secure a spot so I dragged my old mountain bike out of storage.  I haven’t ridden my bike since my 5 1/2 year old was in my womb!  So I rode with the kids and felt good – keep in mind they’re not going far or fast so this is no indication of my physical fitness.

While dropping my bike off for a tune-up, I saw a flyer for a local triathlon/duathlon and stuck it in my purse.  A few days later, I found it again and asked my husband “how long do you think it would take me to bike 20km?”  I mapped out a 10km route and hopped on my bike; at a leisurely pace it took me about 30 minutes.  Good? Bad? I have no idea; I just know it didn’t hurt.  Knowing I could easily run 5km, I figured I’d challenge myself to this duathlon – the distances were reasonable:  5km run – 20km bike – 5km run.

I would casually mention the event to people and gauge its difficulty by their reaction and their level of physical fitness.  One friend said it’s very well-organized and I shouldn’t have any trouble at all.  A gal from my book club told me she did the triathlon at the same event and the cycle route is “uphill both ways” but again, encouraged me to go for it.  I looked to my husband for reassurance that I could do it and wasn’t crazy to try.

And then I signed up.

One week prior to race day.

I know better; you’re supposed to train for an athletic event or race.  I’ve run marathons, half-marathons and completed two sprint-tri’s.  But I haven’t done a duathlon before and, on a whim,  signed up a week before the event.  Obviously, this means I didn’t train enough, but . . . my goal was to finish.

At this point I decided I should at least get “slicks” put on instead of my knobby mountain bike tires.
I laid out what I thought would be appropriate attire, packed some transition gear (water bottle, towel, snacks and my jacket) and then forgot to pick up my race package.  “No problem” I thought to myself, “I’ll just pick it up on race day.”  My start time was 11am, so there would be plenty of time for me to get there, park, and get organized without rushing.

Except . . . I forgot about daylight savings time the night before so when I set out at 9:30 to head up to the race site, I was already running an hour behind!  With my adrenaline already pumping, I “warmed up” and rushed to the Start line.  After a few course rules were reviewed our race officially started.  The 5km run was easy,  an out-and-back that was scenic enough to keep me interested without any real hills.  I was on track to meet my goal of 30 minutes and got myself through the transition to my bike in a leisurely fashion.  I even changed my shoes so I could clip-in to my pedals – every bit counts, right?

The bike was a double loop of reasonably flat out and back.  I found myself relaxed in the saddle, enjoying the scenery, I counted 5 bald eagles overhead and then as I was passed by 2 people I had passed while running, realized, I should focus.  As I embarked on my second lap, I was a little envious of all the people on their road bikes.  They made it seem effortless whereas I could feel my suspension absorb just a little of every pedal.  Or perhaps, they had trained for this race?

Coming around the final loop to the water station, I spotted a kid that looked like my eldest, then my husband, and finally my little guy.  Is there anything better than being cheered on by your family?  I actually tear up when I see other families en route, even though they’re not there for me!  I was overjoyed.  Stopped my bike for some slobbery kisses and encouraging hugs and then pedaled  away to the transition zone to run the last 5km.  Which were a little harder.  Somehow there seemed to be more uphill.  But I finished without injury or tears.

Later that night, checking the race results, I was thrilled to see that I beat my goal time of “under 2 hours” by a couple of minutes. 27:50 – 1:00:48 – 29:06  for a total of 1:57:42.69

I didn’t finish last overall as I had feared I might, but I was slowest in my division.  Perhaps next time I’ll train.


6 Comments so far
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love this post, so funny! congrats on a good race well run (and cycled). a little training & starting on time wouldn’t go astray…


Comment by bubby

Considering the next one is mid-July, I may even get in a pool and see if I can do a Tri this time!


Comment by mypostcardsfromhome

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Pingback by 5k Taper Plan: Abstinence vs Doing It Properly And a Duathlon Variant « the5krunner

Looks like some useful tips for my next training plan – thanks!


Comment by mypostcardsfromhome

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Pingback by 2012 The London Duathlon in Richmond Park – New distance! « the5krunner

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