Monday, November 14, 2011

A Tale of Two Sports (San Diego Duathlon Recap)

Today, after 1 billion years of just running, I finally ventured into something new.

Yes yes...the rumors you heard on TMZ are true...I did a Duathlon.

I was nervous as all hell the night before.  I started Googling things like "first duathlon" and found blogs talking about all their brick workouts, their hard core biking, and how much more awesome they were than me (ok...that was not in their blogs).
Basically a lot of stuff I didn't do.  I imagined all worst case scenarios and decided that not getting a flat and not killing myself or others would be....a minor success on it's own.

This morning, I woke up at the hour 4 AM.  Actually, I woke up at 3:30 AM to some drunk kids coming back to my apartment complex.  I thought "wow. that used to be me. Boy am I uncool now.", and rolled over and went back to sleep. Before I left, I took this picture.  I like to capture pre-race looks because a sleepy and terrified picture in the dirty bathroom mirror is worth a thousand words.
Yes, I am aware that my arms are way smaller/skinnier than the rest of my body.  No I don't know why.  I should do push ups or something.

After a 70 mile trip down to San Diego, I picked up my packet and put my bike on one of the racks along with all of my stuff.  One thing I noticed as soon as I got there, is there is none of this running skirt / tulle / costume stuff in du/triathlon-land.  I was wearing a sequined headband and felt somewhat ridiculous even in that.  The du / tri landscape is still dominated by dudes and non-flashy women which honestly was kind of nice for a change.  My bee suit from the LA RNR Half probably would not have been quite as welcome ;-).

After warming up for a bit, we were all herded to the start and then we were off!

RUN - Leg 1.  Quick 'n dirty. 
The first run was just 1.5 miles.  I think I ran them in at 6:50 something pace although the official splits aren't online yet so I'm not sure.  When I finished the loop, I went to the transition area to get my stuff for the bike leg.  Of course, I couldn't find my I jogged back and finally found it!  Transitions = hard, yo.

As soon as I hopped on the bike, something was wrong.  The pedals were moving like the bike wasn't in gear.  Turned out, somehow the chain had popped off the big gear of the bike.  Murphy's law, right?

I freaked out and spastically asked a volunteer for help.   Poor guy put the chain back on and probably got his hands all disgusting and full of oil at the same time.  So nice of him.

Hey Volunteer Dude:  If for some reason, you ever see this blog entry...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!

This adventure probably added a couple minutes to my time, but that's nothing compared to the billions of people getting flats on the loop course.  It rained like mad the night before and so the path was still pretty messy.

The bike was the best part of this race.  The wind rushed by, and I didn't get my butt kicked quite as much as I thought I was going to!  One girl in grey kept on passing me and I'd pass her back.  You're not allowed to draft which is why I think we kept doing this.
Although it got kind of awkward after a while:  "Oh hai again other girl who is riding the same pace as me..."

Here're the Garmin Splits from the bike portion!

I think my average pace on the 12.4 mile bike was somewhere 19.5 mph without the chain issue at the start which I think took 2 minutes.  Probably more like 18.5 mph factoring it in.   I'm (somewhat) ok with this!  Lots of work to do to get over 20 mph comfortably, but I was passing plenty of people, so I think with a little more biking dedication, I can start to not suck!
*edit.  Garmin pace = faster than race.  race recorded like 18.2 mph /19.2 mph. I think it's different because we were all riding on the outside of the loop in order to stay to the right.

Run - Leg 3 - Cramptastic. 
This transition went smoother.  I put my bike on the rack, chugged some Gatorade and started running.
I usually train with Nuun because it is lower cal, just as tasty, and they are nice enough to send it to me (I'm a brand ambassador...see that product plug?  ;-) ), but I thought having a sports drink with sugar in it would be better for the race.

As soon as I started running, I developed a cramp.  I know...this is becoming a reoccurring issue.  I need to figure out how to stop stomach cramping.  It sucks.  And it makes my times suck.

Also, running off a bike is WAY HARDER than I thought it would be!  My legs felt like they were made of jello.   At the beginning I even saw a current pace beginning with "8", which is not so good when I wanted to keep all the running under 7.  Oy.

The girl in grey passed me back and I told her to go get it.  She did.  I believe she got 14th woman!

My full mile splits were 7:30 and 7:15 on the Garmin.  Half marathon pace, anyone?  I was thrilled to see the finish on the second loop, and booked it in for the last few seconds.
(*edit ...uhhhh....turns out my official pace was like a 7:50 assuming this portion was 2.5 miles.  yikes!  hopefully they marked it long.)

Total Time: 1:14:59.  16th woman.  It was a small race though, so I don't think there were more than 50- 80 women total.
*no splits besides the finish time are up yet so sorry if they aren't 100% accurate. 

I celebrated by drinking the recovery drink of champions:  Oh bubbly aspartame, I love you so. 

I stuck around the awards ceremony (top six got real silver and gold awards! jealous! )
Feels pretty cool to have done one of these, and I want to get more into these multi sport races!  I am now going to force all my coworkers to refer to me as "du-ath champ", not "Margot" for the day.

Of course, I've got a ton of learning to do.  Major lessons learned are....
1) Make sure the damn bike is ready to ride.  Like chain on gears.
2) Rack my bike early so that I am in an easy place to find!
3) Practice running off the bike.  Train more (obviously).
4) Figure out what's going on with my abs / stomach.  Come on body!
5) Sign up for as many du's / tri's in 2012 as possible.


  1. 1. YOU ARE A FAST CYCLIST. I'm lucky if I hit 15 mph.

    2. Goooo Nuun! I bet the stomach cramping was from the Gatorade. :P

    3. Great job!

  2. Congrats!! I cannot believe how good you did for your first Duathalon. You are an athlete girl. So inspiring. If I can learn to ride a bike maybe I'll have to try it someday. :)

  3. Best part of the whole thing?

    You didn't fall :)

    Congrats on your first Du!

  4. Congrats on your first duathlon!

    And that's a great pace on your bike, sweet! And while running too of course, but we all know you're an amazing runner, so that's no surprise there.

    Cheers to many more to come. I see this as a new leaf in your book, I could see you really dominating the duathlon scene. Maybe I've missed this before, but have you thought about doing triathlons? Can't remember if you love the swimming part or not.

  5. Great race report! You make me want to do one of those. No tris ever, but dus I could do. Especially if there are no skirts or tulle.

  6. So jeal! This looks fun! I have a bike will you teach me to ride it? Then we can go on play dates and leave SR behind ;))

  7. That sounded like so much fun! You've sold me on the DU.

  8. Soo proud of you girl for getting out there and trying something new. You'll get the hang of doubt!! Congratulations on your first duathlon!! :)

  9. @ sarah oual - YES LETS BE BIKING BUDDIES :). I think you'd love it. Do you have a road bike?

    @neon blonde...thanks girl! I haven't signed up for a tri because I can barely swim :(. I am hoping to learn and do one this spring!!!

  10. incredible!!!! so awesome that you were brave and got out there and tried something new! congrats!

  11. Bikes scare me - major props for completing a duathlon! It's like my brain can't process doing more than one sport in a race. Also, I don't have a bike, so, makes du's and tri's kind of hard!

  12. Great job!!! I am definitely interested in doing one. Way to go!

  13. Congratulations! That's pretty dang awesome!

  14. Congratulations!!! That is awesome!! Next up a triathlon!

  15. dang, way to go!!! arms are oddly smaller in proportion to my body too. oh well, we can both rock the hummingbird arms. ;)

  16. congrats!! that's great that you put yourself out there and tried something new!