Run Your Race, Find Your Strength

Race Recap: New Year’s Duathlon

Wednesday night I began researching races near me in the month of January because although I am pacing the Hot Chocolate 15k in San Francisco on January 12th and running a 10 mile trail run called Frost or Fog on January 25th, I still wanted more. Shockingly, on Thursday my wish came true!

I saw someone post in the local Tri Club group that they had a bib for a duathlon up for grabs. (I’m not an official Tri Club member, but I probably should be.) You know me, I’m totally willing to run a last minute race (just like my half marathon 2 weeks ago) so I quickly said I was interested in the duathlon bib.

Shortly after I said that I was interested in the duathlon bib, my next thought was, “Oh, I need to dig my bike out of the shed, dust the cobwebs off, put air in the tires, and figure out how I am going to transport it to the race.” Fortunately, it actually fit in the back of my Toyota Prius (with the seats folded down of course)!

On race morning, I woke up at 5am, got ready, and drove for an hour to Folsom Lake.

When I opened the garage to back out, guess what I saw? … Rain! (Hubby dearest has silenced our gutters, so I didn’t hear that it was raining outside.) The funny part? … I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “What if it rains?” I checked the weather app, and saw only a 30% chance of rain, so I figured it wouldn’t rain. Luckily, I grabbed my rain jacket as a “just in case”. I’m not a big fan of running (nor biking) in the rain.

It ended up raining my entire hour long drive to Folsom. Once I arrived, I checked in, picked up my bib, and then returned to my car. I had all fingers and toes crossed that the rain would stop before the race started.

I had hoped to be able to walk around prior to the race starting to help boost my total step count for the day, but that obviously didn’t happen. (I am currently participating in a step challenge with my fellow BibRave Pros. There’s a $100 Amazon gift card and a pair of Brooks shoes up for grabs!)

About 15 minutes prior to the start of the race, I decided to use the restroom one more time then head to the starting line. Fortunately, at this time the rain seemed to have stopped. (Thank you Jesus!)

I’ve ran TBF races before at Folsom Lake, so I knew kind of what to expect… the field of runners would be small, the run would be mostly on a trail, and the biking portion would be the opposite of flat and straight. Even with this knowledge, I was still surprised by what came next.

During the first two miles, I felt pretty good. So good that I decided to pass the hydration station at mile 1… first mistake. I would not encounter another hydration station until after the bike portion. Perhaps this was my mistake. Maybe I was suppose to bring my own hydration for the biking portion. 🤷

I started the race wearing my rain jacket, but knew I’d be ditching it probably within the first mile. Sure enough, by mile 1, I had taken off my rain jacket and tied it around my waist. I was still thankful, however, to have my rain jacket because I was able to blow my nose with the tissues I had stashed inside the pockets of my rain jacket… yup, cold season.

Coming in to the bike transition, I blew my nose one more time and headed out. If you’ve ever done a triathlon or duathlon, then you know that the goal is to try and transition as quickly as possible because every minute you take in transition, counts towards your overall time.

During the first part of the bike portion, I again felt pretty good. That is until I came upon the first incline. Was I even moving forward?! I felt as though I was at a standstill!

It felt weird to have no grasp of how many miles I had biked or how fast I was going. Were we done yet?

I would consider myself to be a rather savvy person. I, therefore, began noticing what other bikers were doing around me and tried to imitate them. One of the things I noticed was that many bikers were downshifting on the inclines, so I decided to give this a try. … Fail! My chain came off!

As I pulled to the side to reattach my chain, quite a few bikers passed me and one sweet female biker asked, “Are you okay? Do you need help?”

In an effort to act like I knew what I was doing, I replied, “I’m okay. Thank you.” On the inside, however, I questioned my ability to reattach a bike chain.

Fortunately, I was able to remember back to my family’s bike rides growing up and reattached my chain fairly quickly. The only downside (besides losing time)? I now had grease on my hands. Everytime I went to wipe the snot coming from my nose, I tried to use parts of my hands that were not covered in grease. The last thing I wanted to do was to get my brand new BibRave long sleeve shirt stained!

Here’s a picture of me that was captured by Bixxel Media. I was a little flattered that out of all the pictures they took, they chose this picture of me as the album cover. ❤️️

The bike portion seriously felt SO long. As I came into the transition area for the second time, I asked, “That was 100 miles, right?” The volunteers didn’t seem to be amused by my comment.

My legs felt like lead as I made my way out for the second time on the two mile run course! I knew that my time on the second lap would not even come close to my time on the first lap! (My mile times were: 10:16, 10:39, 11:42, 12:10… I have a bad habit of starting out too fast and then slowing down.)

In the midst of being exhausted, I decided to snap a quick selfie and appreciate the sites and sounds around me.

Going in to the race, I thought my final time would be about 1.5 hours. Since I tracked my two runs on my Garmin, I knew that my total run time was 47:07 for a total of 4.23 miles, which averaged out to 11:08 per mile. As said before, I had no idea how long I was on the bike for… it felt like at least 4 hours!

Once I crossed the finish line, I put my rain jacket back on so I could prevent myself from getting too cold and have easy access to my Kleenex. I then headed over to the post race meal area where I picked up a hot cup of tomato soup, a bag of chips, an orange, and a cookie. The hot soup was exactly what I needed!

Before grabbing my bike and heading home, I made my way over to the results table to see my total finishing time… 1:21:16. Considering I thought my time would be more like 1:30:00, I was happy. I was also happy that I did not come in last. There were 22 finishers in my age division and I came in 12th! Not too shabby for an undertrained runner who hasn’t picked up a bicycle in years!

Overall, it was a great day! Hmmm… maybe I’ll have to run this duathlon again next year. 🤷

Until next time,


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Christian, wife, mom/stepmom, no meat athlete, runner, teacher

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