Monday, April 29, 2013

My First Duathlon

I'd been talking about it for weeks,
I knew this weekend was going to be an experience.
Saturday was my first ever multi-sport event, followed by a tough half-marathon Sunday.

So Saturday...
Flower City River Challenge Duathlon
(5k run-20 mile bike-5k run)
My first duathlon......

I was up around 5 AM,
drove down the road to Dunkin Donuts to get coffee and a bagel,
it was good to get some fresh air and check out the weather.

I had gotten my stuff all ready the night before:
Sticker # on helmet
number attached to bike & bib belt
gear in my bag
multiple outfits laid out (depending on weather)
tires checked and full of air. 
But I still felt like the biggest hot mess.
Nervous doesn't begin to describe it.

John was my support, and thank goodness for that.
I knew he was going but I told him to sleep in and come a little later.
Nope, he came with me bright and early & 
stood outside transition talking to me as I got my gear set up.
Pre-race transition setup
Let's play I-spy...where's Laura's coffee

John kept me pretty calm before the race,
just talking to me, being supportive,
and reassuring me I wasn't going to die(I was sure I was going to).
We also got to chat with Jamie and her hubby Mike
before the race, which was a nice treat.
They are doing many of the same races as I am this year,
seeing as we have the same goal race (Musselman 70.3) in July.
They were much more calm than I prior to the race,
unlike me, this wasn't their first rodeo.

(Note: they both did awesome!!!
It was a first race using clips for them and they were both successful!)

After a short jog around to warm up,
John and I headed over to the start line.
I was more nervous going into this race, than any of the marathons I have done.

I was going into the race with 3 goals:
DONT FLAT (tire)

At 7:36 we were off (men followed at 7:39)
I knew going into the race I had to bank some time on my first run,
because I knew I was going to get passed A LOT on the bike.
I went sub-20 for my first 5k.
I didn't realize this until after.
I didn't look at my watch at all, I just focused on getting to transition.
I was 3rd female coming off of the first run.
(believe me when I say, I knew that wasn't going to last)

Transition 1 (Run-bike)
Threw on my helmet, grabbed my bike and I was ready to go.
I rode in my running shoes
(I don't clip yet)
This was nice, because I had a 39 second transition.
No flying mount, but I didn't fall so I'll take it.

The bike course (20 miles)
I was extremely nervous for this, first time racing on a bike.
I knew I was going to get passed a lot,
and I knew I was going to struggle on the hills.
My expectations for the bike were low, which was a good thing.

It took me a while to find a groove.
I finally started to get in one and the hills came.
I went slow and steady and stood up when I needed to.
I was actually somewhat impressed with myself on the hills,
people were passing me, but I was also passing people.
Around mile 10ish(?)
I got the worst calf cramp I have EVER had.
I made a turn and was holding back tears from the pain.
I held steady riding with one arm, rubbing my calf with the other.
Then grabbed my water bottle and took a few huge sips of Gatorade.
I started feeling a little better, 
when I went to put my water bottle back in the fell.
I can't describe the expletives coming out of my mouth at this point.
I kept going, knowing I wouldn't have hydration the rest of the race.
Oddly enough I started feeling better shortly after this, 
my calf stayed calm, 
and I started picking up speed.
 In the last little bit of the ride before transition I saw John,
which made me unbelievably happy.
He was cheering and yelling and I needed it.
All I could think is:
"Just get me off the bike, I want to run"

I took a deep breath and blew out a huge sigh of relief.
I had survived the bike.
(this photo was right as I was blowing out the deep breath,
even though it looks like I am about to lose my breakfast.)

Transition # 2 (bike to run)
I was really happy with this transition.
I did a flying dismount (YAY!!!!)
and came in quick.
I knew I lost about 10-12 places on the course of the bike.
So I needed a fast transition and a fast 2nd run to make up some ground.
(I didn't go into the race planning on placing [at all], 
but I also wasn't going to stop trying if I had a chance)
Helmet off,gloves off, pull down belt, rip off top
and RUN! 37.1 seconds.

Run #2 was rough, but that's to be expected.
My legs felt drunk, tired and wobbly. 
I kept staring at my watch, 
I couldn't figure out how fast I was going.
I was convinced my watch was lying.
I passed quite a few people at this point.
It was one of those "thank goodness I'm a runner" moments.
I caught a few girls which gave me a boost 
(the same ones that FLEW past me on the bike).
Coming around the last corner seemed to take forever.
I crossed the finish line, I DID IT.

My final time was 1:54:45 (I had a secret goal of sub-2)
Run #1- 19:47 (6:22 pace)
T1- 39.33 seconds
Bike -1:11:01 (16.9 avg mph)
T2 -37.1 seconds
Run#2 -22:40 (7:17 pace)
I finished 11th female and 4th in my AG. 

 My transition area post-race

 Transition Post-race

 My baby:) She served me well!

First Duathlon DONE!

* I can't wait to do it again, I will feel so much less nervous and enjoy it a million times more.

*I don't regret being so focused that I didn't smile as much or have a ton of fun, it was important for me to focus on what I needed to do, stay safe, and make it through my first duathlon. 

*The bike course was the kick in the ass that I needed to remind me to ride more hills, and just get my bike out more in general.

*I am a runner, it is my strength and it makes me happy. 

*I was humbled by this race, but I think it was good for me. Being a newbie again makes you appreciate the hard work and dedication we put into these things.

*I was (and still am) extremely emotional about this race. I legitimately almost cried while walking back to transition to get my things. John told me not to worry if I cried though, because people were only going to notice the fact that I was wearing tall compression socks with flip flops (I changed into these right after finishing), it may have looked odd but oh well.

*I'm very happy with my time, and I did better than I thought I would (by a few minutes!), but I will was hard being passed a lot. I have grown into a pretty strong runner and although I am far from the best I have a lot of confidence in my abilities, I cannot say the same about my cycling.

*I need to find my "beast mode" for cycling. I have it for running, that ability to dig deep, run without fear and just push my limits. I don't have that on the bike, I held back a lot due to inexperience, and to fear (falling etc.). 

* 2 burgers, some fries and a frosty are the best post-duathlon foods ever. I'd show you a picture, but I inhaled it so fast there wasn't time for it.

*I do want to take a moment to thank everyone for encouraging me and putting up with my nervous whiney self the last few weeks. I was in shock to finish the race and grab my phone to see a TON of messages. Between Facebook messages, email, twitter, and text messages my inbox was overflowing with "good luck", "I was tracking you and saw you finished! Great job" etc. (There was a part of me hoping that people wouldn't see you could track the race, just in case I DNF'd or something)

*I know there is so much more I am I said though, this race was a lot to process and I'm still trying to figure it all out!

This was Day 1 of a long race weekend....
tomorrow I will recap the Flower City Half Marathon(Day 2).

Have you ever been really emotional after a race (regardless of it being a first, or best, or worst)??

How do you deal with nerves before a race?


  1. Wow. That's incredible. I don't think I could do all of that running and biking at once that fast! I can't even get back to my sub 20 5K right now on a track! Great job- can't wait to hear about the half :)

  2. Sounds like you had a good time! And placing 4th in age group in an event you had never done before is super awesome!!!!!!

    I am looking in to getting a bike loved riding as a kid and now my oldest wants to ride more so I need to research and find a decent bike so we can ride together.

    1. I rode a ton as a kid. What amazes me most is how much faster you can be on a road bike. I need to work on getting a the comfort level I had on a bike as a kid. I am much more timid now.

  3. Well done. I remember feeling emotional for a couple of days after my, first and only, sprint triathlon race. Unfortunately, I was also thinking of what I could have done better.I guess experience in similar races is important. Just the fact that you have done it again and you know that you are able to finish it is really crucial information :).
    I just recently discovered your blog and I gotta say you are really good.You also give sound advices. Keep it up.

    1. I'm still replaying the entire race in my head...looking where I could have improved and things I would do different. I do that with all races though, but much more with this (there is so much more to consider adding the bike element ).

      Glad you like the blog, hope you keep reading!

    2. You got me hooked so don't worry about it :)

  4. Great job Laura!!! SO proud of you!!! Can't wait to read the half recap tomorrow!

  5. Holy flying dismount, batgirl!! Go you!! You can be proud that you a) are obviously a FAST runner, not just 'a runner' b) matched my *best* bike pace ever after 6 years of this sh** and c) only cried once?? I cried after finishing my first few triathlons. It's the adrenalin rush. I actually love it; as a performer the triathlons fill my adrenalin junkie habit. Now when it comes on right before the swim it makes me smile; I know it's going to be a good race.
    One note: Get a second bottle cage for your coffee ;) You won't miss your water so much... (kidding, obviously....) (for race day)...
    Can't believe you are committed to a half already!!! My first is this Fall and it's scaring the sh** out of me!!

    1. I'll be 100% honest and say the flying dismount was the thing I am most proud of myself for. I definitely mumbled a "hell yeah" when I did it. haha.

      I am already working on a way I can have coffee on my bike, if there is a way I will make it happen! (I need a heat safe camelback).

      Which half iron are you doing this fall?

  6. !!!! so glad your hooked. I was a flippin' mess before my first one cause there's just so much going on in duathlons. it's not like a a just running race- your thinking so many things and having everything set up for transition. My first duathlon is what got me so hooked and loving it in the first place i really was overcome with emotion after my first one it was that fun strength is much more on the bike and that is where I try to most of my work passing people. I get passed on the run a lot, but thanks to these cycling legs, I can use the bike to my advantage. Just wait til you clip in! you will notice a difference. I never thought I would be able to but I caught on easily (after a fall or 2 oops) Oh and I've seen SO MANY people have their water bottles fly off their bike so now worries haha it happens. Sometimes during races I've had to dodge a few on the bike. GREAT JOB GIRL! I was so glad you updated twitter to btw! ~KatieMoves

    1. I was so nervous, add in the bike elements means there is so much more that could go wrong...and I have Murphy's law hovering over me all the time so thats just no good.

      I know I am going to fall a lot clipping in, I am hoping to start that sooner rather than later (I'd like to be clipped for my first oly tri in June, but IDK we will see, if not I will definitely make sure I am ready for my 70.3 in July.

      I updated twitter because I am sure there were people like me thinking that I might be dead at the end LOL!

  7. Great job, Laura! You did great for it being your first multi-sport event! Hopefully you enjoy your first triathlon, I know you will!

  8. Great job, Laura! This is such an exciting recap and a huge milestone. A great stepping stone for your 70.3 this summer :)

    I want to get into tri's real bad but $$ and the whole no road bike situation are a problem ;)

    1. Stepping stone for sure, still have lots of nerves for the 70.3 though!

      It took me a long time of saving to get into tri's because I knew I was going to drop a lot on bike and gear... trust me.. it didn't happen overnight!

  9. Great Job Laura!!!!!

    I want to do one! I will some day soon :)

    1. Thanks!!!

      You'd do awesome at one! Ms Fit!

  10. Wow, Laura!! You did amazing!! I did my first sprint tri last year and felt similar to you- so many nerves and unknowns, but it went better than expected. I'd love to do a duathlon and skip the swim! Awesome job on placing 4th, too!!

    1. Yeah... running is my strong point so I kind of wish the 70.3 I was doing in July was a Run bike Run LOL!!

  11. I really enjoyed reading. Thanks for sharing.


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