I du!

Laser-like focus...sorta.
Yep, last weekend's race confirmed it, I'm quite smitten with the duathlon!

5 days ago I woke dark and early for my 3rd ever run-bike-run race, the Grand Haven Duathlon (sprint distance, 5k - 20k - 5k. There are also 2 triathlons, sprint and olympic distance). I had a great time, even though I again had embarrassingly slow transitions. Slow enough that if they'd been as fast as the transitions of the 2 other women in my age group AND if I'd pushed to knock even 30 seconds off my time I could have taken first in my AG...hmmm... I'm learning the hard way that transitions are still part of the race. The clock is still running. Transitions can make or break a person's race position.

Part of what's slowing me down is messing around with swapping the Garmin from wrist to bike and back to wrist. Even with the quick-release base I'm wasting time changing modes. So I think I'm going to pull my old, flaky Forerunner 305 out of retirement for my next race. I'd wear that for the run portion and leave it on my wrist...having the newer device already set to go for the bike leg. Perhaps someday down the line I will look into a dedicated bike-specific Garmin or even get my hands on a cheap 205 for running (and reserve the 305 specifically for the bike), since I wouldn't need the wireless capabilities.

But I also find myself in transition trying to catch my breath and taking too much time leisurely going through the shoe change, helmet, etc. And, the biggest dumbass move from this race, untieing shoes that I had double-knotted in my sleepy morning haze...that was really a boneheaded move! I may get my hands on a pair of Yankz laces before my next race. That should help cut some time on the running shoe changes.

My run splits for this race were really bad...slower than some of my training runs. But at race start it was already pushing 80º and humid. So far I am batting 3/3 on steamy races in Grand Haven. I really held back on the first leg, as I am so prone to heat sickness and cramping (my Scandinavian and Scottish blood doesn't lend to heat tolerance--especially since we've had so little heat to acclimate to, this Summer).

The bike leg was fabulous. I was first in my age group on the bike leg by almost 2mph pace (23/46 on the bike for the entire duathlon race field...and this is including super-speedy people on dedicated time trial bikes with wheels that cost more than my entire bike). As crummy as my runs were, I actually moved up quite a few places in the field of 46 for the 2nd run (from 41 to 32), even though my pace was slower. The heat was really getting to people and it's pretty obvious that some of the field blew-up.  Perhaps some folks don't embrace the brick workout, either.  I loves me some brick workouts.  The more I do them, the better that transition from bike to 2nd run feels.  Leaden quads are not conducive to running.

My bike split was 1.3mph pace faster than my bike split from my previous duathlon--granted that was a rough race, early in the season after an endless Winter that cut into my training, brutal headwind for about a third of the course, and with foot and calf cramping issues from shoes that were too narrow.

I'm really looking forward to my next duathlon, on Labor Day.  That one is a 2.5k - 22k - 5k.  I like that it's relatively bike-heavy.  Though I'd love to see the Grand Haven race offer a 10k - 40k - 10k duathlon option.  They could easily do this, since they have the Olympic distance run and bike courses already laid-out.  They could almost bill it as a Powerman duathlon (though the bike leg would be about 20k to short to really do that), which would be a really excellent goal...though maybe not in the middle of July.  The folks coming in from the Olympic distance tri were in pretty rough shape by the end when the temps were well into the 80s.

Before the next race I REALLY want to drop at least 5#s.  I've totally slacked on my weight loss efforts.  And the few pounds I lost this Spring have returned.  Last Summer I lost weight without even trying, but I think this was in large part due to throwing a new sport at my body.  Now that my system is accustomed to the rigors of cycling the pounds are going nowhere fast.  Just losing a few pounds will make me faster for the run legs and faster on the uphills with the bike.  I really don't want to be last in my age group, next time.  And I'd like to have a whole bunch of race photos that are order-worthy.  Right now the majority of them are pretty humiliating.  Fat looks especially bad when photographically captured in-motion during a race.


  1. Great job! Which Garmin do you have? I have the 310xt but don't have a quick release system for it. For duathlons, the watch stays on my wrist the whole time, even on the bike. It's inconvenient some times because I can't see how fast I'm going to sort of a blessing in disguise. I want to race by feel, and not being able to see how fast or slow I'm going sorta prevents me from trying to match a number that I think is where I should be. I mean, if I'm already going as hard as I can, I can't really go faster becuase the Garmin says I'm going 1mph slower than last time.

  2. Thanks! I have the 305. And I think you have a point about racing by feel. I really need to try that at least once...to see what happens. The worst that happens is that I have a crummy race and learn not to do it again. But I could be pleasantly surprised.

  3. I am so worried about the transition zone at my upcoming aqauthlon. I think to make my life easier I'm just going to wear my old Timex ironman watch for the swim and run instead of fussing to get my Garmin on. I figure that will ease the stress of my first ever transition.

  4. You know, I have an old Ironman watch that I should use for my runs, too. Though the battery is dead. Probably cheaper to just buy a new low-rent running watch.

    Transitions are so important. It took me 3 races to really wrap my head around this. I lost a podium spot at my last duathlon to bad transitions and a wicket cramp in my right foot. This time I could have had first in my AG had I not been so casual in my approach to the transitions.