I did my first duathlon and yes, I’m hooked!! I did the Maryland Women’s Duathlon put on by Rip It Events, an outstanding organization!
I supposed it would have made sense to do more run-bike-run training or RBR at it’s known. However, with my schedule, it was hard enough to just get a brick done on Sundays. Fortunately, I had enough base training, and since I’ve been biking a lot of hills, I wasn’t worried about the 13-mile bike course…until I got on it. To say LOTS OF HILLS is an understatement. And not just on the bike course, on the run course too. I was laughing about it with someone at the race and they said “this is Maryland — we got hills!” Yup!
I got there early to pick up my race packet and to set up my bike in transition. I wanted to get the lay of the land since the bike and run entrances and exits were on opposite sides. Tri pro Suzy Serpico had great advice about counting the number of rows from each entrance so you don’t lose your bearings, especially if you don’t have a fixed landmark. I also bought the De Soto Transition Pack VI. It not only holds everything, it also folds flat so it doesn’t take up too much space. I set my transition pad on top of it. It also has straps for my bike pump and space for everything including my bike helmet. This way my hands were free and I only had to carry it while I steered my bike to my space.Since I didn’t know the run course I ran with a friend. I wasn’t planning to push it anyway since the IronGirl Columbia try was in 2 weeks and I didn’t want to cook my legs too much. No worries because I made up the time on the bike course. It was already hot and sunny by the time we started at 7 am. Thankfully there were more than ample water stops on the run course.
Transition went pretty smoothly. It was my first one, but I spent time in the Celebrating Heroes transition watching racers. I picked up some good tips and had in my mind the order I would do things. Off I went to start the bike course.
I’m very lucky that bike is my best sport. After lots of time riding with my Coach Ben Bartlett I’ve learned how to ride hills, to anticipate when to shift, and I’ve gotten really strong. Plus I had some extra time practicing on hills when I biked to work. As a result, I was able to bike up every hill. WOOT! This was no small accomplishment because there were a lot of hills and most of them were pretty steep. I had a blast going downhill and my lower drops made me very aerodynamic.
One downside of the heat and hills is I got terrible cramps in both calves and had to stop around Mile 9 to work them out. It took only a couple of minutes (felt like forever), but fortunately, I had salt tablets in my SPI belt from last summer. PHEW. I still had some problems with cramping on the tail end of the bike course and really wondered what the run would be like, but hung in there. Mental focus really came into play.
Another upside to hills, is since I can ride them, I can pass a lot of the people and make up a lot of time. I have to admit it felt good especially since these people passed me on the run. Not PC, but hey – you have to have a goal, right? Kinda like lassoing people while running. It also gave me something to focus on instead of how steep of an incline I was riding. Funny thing is the probably passed me on the second run leg. Hahaha
When I got to the second transition from the bike leg and happened to see Pro Suzy Serpico. I asked her what to do about my calves cramping (I could barely walk into transition). She suggested that I take my bottle of Heed with me, and then walk as needed. I’ve never run holding a bottle, but I would have pulled a wagon full of fluids if necessary. I also had two more salt tablets that I took just as I was leaving transition. My second transition was even better than my first and I was almost 1:30 minutes faster. According to the results, I was 16th in my wave. Now if I can only transfer this speed to the run and bike legs. 🙂
Surprisingly the run wasn’t horrible. I went faster than the first run leg and had a really strong finish. Was totally excited at the finished line — not when I was handed the medal (although that was good), but rather when I was given an ice cold wash cloth. I even got an extra one. Priorities 😀
This was a great training race for my first full tri in 2 weeks. Plus this is a harder bike course so that’s good. I’m feeling good about IronGirl Columbia, especially the bike and run legs. I feel confident about the bike course and my runs off the bike have been faster than when I just run.