Last summer, I made the leap from running and cycling to runningandcycling and can now add duathlete to my resume.
It was a pretty crazy experience and I learned a lot that day - about myself and about the wacky world of dus and tris. .
We arrived and began setting up our transition area. Luckily Doug has experience with such things because I just kept looking around thinking "how the hell am I going to find my bike?". He walked me through how to lay out my shoes, my helmet, my gloves. I set up my mini diabetes station (glucometer, juice, gels and other emergency snacks). Once organized, I stood back to survey my creation. My personal oasis felt very insignificant in the huge sea of bikes.
Of course, any fear that my bike would get stolen during the run was laughable as I took in the expensive, state of the art masterpieces that surrounded my trusty Trek.
So, as I triple checked my blood sugar, I went over the important details in my head.
Detail number one: Don't go all out during the first 5k. There is still a 30k bike rike and 5k run to do.
Detail number two: Don't waste time in the transition zone. Precious minutes can be lost fumbling with shoe laces, helmets etc. So my cycling shoes were untied, open and ready to be slipped into in mere seconds. Must remember where the bike is...
Detail number three: It's going to feel weird to run after being on the bike for an hour. Just keep moving. It will get better.
So, here's how it went.
I ran all out during the 5k and finished it in 31 minutes (that's fast for me).
Apparently it's not fast for most people because there was absolutely no problem finding my bike. It was the only left in the transition zone when I arrived (this is going well).
I was panting and shaking like a leaf but managed to only take 1:46 to transform from a runner to a cyclist and burst out on to the street, clipped in and ready to ride. Luckily I'm a little stronger on the bike so I managed to pass people and move from dead last to not quite dead last.
It was crazy though because all of a sudden there were super fast riders whizzing past me. Where the hell did they come from??
Oh right, they're the elite triathletes who have just finished their swim.
I finished the 30k ride in 1 hour and five minutes which was pretty damn impressive considering my normal pace is about 24k/hour.
Coming back into the transition zone, I found my stuff despite all the bikes that were now parked everywhere. Only 1:49 to transform back into a runner again.
Three steps into running and I thought I was going to pass out. I felt completely nauseated, shaky-legged and weak. My first thought was my blood sugar. I checked. It was 9.6 (I still remember that a year later). Sugar's ok so what the hell is going on?
Ah right, detail number three. Running after cycling is hard. Just keep moving. I did. It was hard. It got better a few kilometers in but it took me 36 minutes to finish the 5k. I just couldn't find a rhythm and felt like I was running on sand. Rubber legged for 5k - fun!
I finished my first duathlon in one piece with a personal best of 2:16:03. 76th out of 82. Nothing to write home about but it was fun and I learned a lot.
So, I've signed up for the same race again and will be doing the Welland du on Saturday. Let's see if I can speed up the transition zones a bit and have a better second run.
- that there be more than one bike left when I finish the first run
- that I finish the second run a little faster than last year
- that I can knock a few minutes off my total time
- try to keep up with this guy