My First Duathlon

Wow!  Time sure flies by when you’re busy and having fun! I just looked through my archives and realized that I haven’t posted a about my triathlon (that became a duathlon). I guess I’ve been pretty busy with the August, and now the September Blogging Writing Challenges, solo parenting, kids soccer games, a trip to Boston (which I just realized I haven’t recapped yet), and getting everyone ready for school (which starts tomorrow up here in Ontario, Canada).  That all said, I also was busy fitting in my triathlon training for the Ontario Women’s Sprint Triathlon – the race was last Sunday, so here’s my recap:

My First Duathlon

As many of you know, I’m not great at the whole waking up before 7 am thing. I love sleep – I’m really good at it :) Unfortunately this isn’t very helpful when I race, because most races start pretty early, and require a bit of a drive to get there. I chose this race because it’s only about 20 minutes to my house, but even with a short drive, I needed to get there at least 90 minutes before my wave, in order to get body marked, and set up my transition area before the very first races started, an hour before mine. So I set my alarm on my iPhone:

Time to get up!

Note: The message I put on my phone says “Duathlon” because the day before the race we got an email stating that unfortunately the race had to be changed to a duathlon because Kelso Lake’s bacteria levels were too high for us to swim in it. So instead of a Sprint Triathlon, the race was going to be a 2.5k run, 20k bike, 5k run Sprint Duathlon.

I still didn’t manage to get up until 6:35 am. Which of course, meant I was late and had to get my gear, and my bike organised quickly. After eating a quick breakfast that would make only Tony the Tiger proud (Frosted Flakes), I loaded my van up, and headed over to first the bank machine, then to Starbucks for my morning wake me up:

Mmmmm Starbucks coffee!

I then drove to Kelso Park where the race was being held, and pumped up the tires on the bike that my awesome friend Emma lent me for the race:

I then walked over to the race start, and found the bike racks for my age group in the transition area and set up my transition area:

My transition area.

Then, just as I finished setting up my transition area, they played Oh Canada, so we stood for our National Anthem:

Oh Canada

After that, I headed over for my body marking, then found another racer to take my picture before the race:

Ready to race!

I then learned I had a full 45 min to kill before my race wave started, so I stood around in the transition area watching the super sprint duathlon racers come through where I learned the transition rules like:

  • You can’t unrack your bike until your helmet is on.
  • Put your helmet on forwards (yes, I actually saw someone put it on backwards in her hurry).
  • There’s no running or riding your bike in the transition area.
  • You can’t mount your bike until you cross the mounting line.
(I’m glad I watched the race for awhile, otherwise I would have made numerous mistakes.)
I then found my friend Deb (@kidsgummymum) and stood and watched the racers with her, wished her luck, then did a warm-up run with her friend Janicke.  Finally it was time for my race to start!
When my wave went off, I realised I was lined up too close to the back and quickly dodged through the other runners.  The first leg of the race was only a 2.5k run, so perhaps I went out too fast, but I figured I could flush out my legs on some of the downhill portions of the bike.  The first run was really hilly, so I filed that in my mind for after the bike because we still had to do that 2.5 k loop two more times during the 5k run after the bike.  Although I went out strong (5:15/km pace) I still got passed by the lead racers in the wave that started after me.  I tried not to let that bother me, as I was still able to pass some racers from the wave that started before me.  I finished the run still feeling strong, and headed towards my bike.  I carefully put my helmet on the right way, drank some of my water, and carefully unracked my bike:
Transition 1 – Heading out for the bike

I felt strong on the bike, but got my butt handed to me because there were many other racers there with VERY fancy & expensive bikes. Unfortunately no amount of training would have made up the difference between their equipment and mine. My average pace (which includes both the T1 and T2 transition time) was 25.4 km/h. I tried my best to hold my own, but was sure to flush out my legs on the downhills so that I could try to make up time on the run.

Heading out for the last run

As I got back to the transition area, I debated carrying my water with me for the final 5k, but in the end decided against it because I remembered seeing a water stop about 1.5km in, and there was also water set up right at the start of the run. I’m glad I chose not to carry any extra weight because my legs were DEAD! I felt like I was trying to move BRICKS. No wonder they call a bike/run workout a brick workout. It was then that I was kicking myself for not doing any – though it’s really hard to do that when you don’t own a bike… I ran my butt off on the hilly course at a pace of 5:44/km and tried to catch up with as many as the cyclists that passed me on the 20k bike.

Finally the race was over!

Finisher’s medal

I finished in an overall time of 1:29:01, and placed 49th overall, and 17th in my age group. It was a fantastic race, very well organised and I’ll definitely do it again next year – hopefully as a sprint triathlon instead of a duathlon.

Have you ever done a Duathlon?

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