My first duathlon was a success. I won first place in my age group (45-49) and 62nd overall out of 104 competitors. My time was 1:13.
I must say, the morning of the race I felt like I did the first time I went into labor to deliver our first child-very nervous. My calm husband coached me through each of my labors and through my first duathlon.
The day before the race I rested from all of my training, but I did take a short ride on my bike. I wore my biking shorts, biking gloves, and helmet to make sure everything fit well. I stopped by a gas station to add air to my tires and discovered I do not have a standard stem.
I made a fast trip to the bike store to get a quick lesson on the presta stem. I also purchased a bike pump to fit on my bike. At the race, air pumps were posted at the transition station, but I did not know this until I got there the next day. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Check out your tires before the race.
I suggest arriving at least an hour early to your event. Even though you may have pre-registered, you will still have to sign a waiver. Arriving early will leave you ample time to become familiar with the course you will be racing. Since this was my first duathlon, I studied how people hung their bikes, how they laid out their equipment next to their bikes, and even how they pinned their numbers on.
I found the starting point for the run and bike route and ventured onto the path to warm up a bit. A few minutes before the race, I joined the mob at the starting line and listened to the instructions. The run would be two loops through the woods. The bike route was five miles down and back on the highway. Then we were off.
I had an unexpected release of adrenaline at the start of the race, and I knew I would have to calm down. Adrenaline would not carry me through to the finish. I found my steady pace after about the first mile.
As I finished running my second mile I wondered, “How will I ever find my bike?” And then I saw my husband standing near my bike, but outside the transition area. He was my landmark. We exchanged smiles and I put my helmet and gloves on, took a swig of water, and headed to the starting point for the next leg of the race.
The road was hilly, but since I had trained on my bike for the last two months, changing gears was easy and familiar. The five miles out seemed long. I did have the opportunity to pass a few people, and that was invigorating. The turnaround was well marked, and the five miles back went by rather quickly. I felt great. I told myself, “This is what you have been training for.”
We had to dismount our bikes to walk across the highway and into the transition area. I hung my bike as quickly as possible and began my last leg of the journey.I was tired, but when I saw I was close behind a few women who had passed me on my bike, I was determined to pass at least one of them. So, on my last lap, I put myself into passing gear.
In retrospect, I had so many fears that went through my head as we were driving to the race:
What if I fall off my bike?
What if I trip while running?
What if I get sick while I’m running?
What if I get a flat tire?
None of those things happened. And when it was all over, I felt I had accomplished something big. When we got home I took a soak in the hot tub at the health club and then a nap. I went to bed early, but woke up abruptly at 10:15 p.m. It had been twelve hours since I had finished my duathlon. My body felt rested and I think it wanted to let me know that it was ready for the next race.
“Stamina is mental staying power and endurance built through self-discipline and faith.” Mae Carden