So, in a moment of “brilliance” a few months ago, I decided it might be fun to complete a duathlon. The Bridgeman Duathlon is a local event that consists of a two-mile run, a ten-mile bike ride, and another two-mile run, which sounded like a good way to try a multi-sport event without having to fully commit to the swimming training needed for a real triathlon. However, due to the break-up, the end of my nursing semester, and moving twice in two months, I ever really committed to any kind of training that I needed to do for the race. Whoops. I suddenly realized that the race was a month away and maybe I should do a bit of preparation. I mean, how hard could it really be, right?
I already had a bike and I already had feet, so I figured I had all the gear I needed. I was wrong. I went out for my first bike ride (8 miles) a couple weeks before the race and felt fine afterwards. My legs were a little sore, but other than that, nothing immediately jumped out at me. Then the following day I could barely sit down. My butt was so sore! I quickly hopped on amazon.com and ordered a pair of bike shorts, you know, the ones with the padding that help to cushion your tooshie from a very hard bicycle seat? Turns out they are a life saver on the bike, and actually very comfortable to run in, so there was one problem solved.
Next, I ordered myself a helmet (safety first!), and made sure to get one that matched my bike colors, because color coordination is obviously one of the keys to becoming a successful athlete.
Now I at least looked the part. I spent the couple of weeks before the race doing some cycling and some ginger-jogging with Pepper, and as race day approached I was feeling a little better about myself. After topping up my tires with some air, I almost felt prepared.
This race was a great race to do as my first multi-sport event. It is a small race, only about 400 entries, so I wasn’t over whelmed by a huge crowd and was able to learn the ropes pretty easily. My strategy was to take the first two miles fairly easily, take my time in the transitions, do as well as I could on the biking portion, and then just survive the final two mile run.
For the first two-mile run I hung back in the pack and averaged an 11 minute-mile pace, which was exactly what I was aiming for. As I grabbed my bike and rolled out of the first transition stage, I was feeling pretty good. The first portion of the biking was great- nice, flat roads and I was able to get up to a good speed and start passing people. Then I got to the bridge. Yikes. A large portion of the 10-mile biking leg was over the Crescent City Connection bridge that crosses the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Needless to say, the bridge is rather tall, and therefore biking the incline on a fixed gear bike was a bit of a challenge to say the least. I just took it slow and steady, and pushed through up and over the bridge to the turn around, and then back up and over the bridge the way I came. I completed the bike portion in 42 minutes, which was much faster than the hour I had anticipated it would take me. All in all, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I did make a mental note to get a bike with gears before I attempt to do another race with hills!
The last two miles of running were a bit rough. The run was along the Mississippi River levee, and by this point the sun was blazing and there was little to no breeze. I walk/ran the last two miles, but still managed t average 13-minute mile pace, which was better than I expected.
My total time was 1:32.34, which gives me a good benchmark now of times to beat. My goal was to complete the race in less than two hours, and I never thought I would be close to 1:30:00, so I was very pleasantly surprised by my time.
I had a great time and really enjoyed participating in a multi-sport race. Until now, I had only ever completed 5k’s and half-marathons, so this was a fun change. I think it’s safe to say I have caught the triathlon bug, and now have my sights set on a short triathlon race at the end of July In Baton Rouge. This one will include the swim portion, which will require some additional training, as well as some additional gear. Luckily I have convinced my friend Pam to do the triathlon with me, so now I have a friend to keep me accountable for my training. And, of course, Pepper is keeping me on schedule with my ginger-jogging, so I’m hoping to be much better prepared come July.
I will keep you posted on my training, but until then, here are some shots from the race last weekend.
P.S. Special thanks to my Marine chauffeur and photographer for the day. It does tend to make you try a little harder when you have a Marine cheering you on!