This past March I completed the Blue Norther Duathlon at Texas Lutheran University with some of my Team in Training teammates. We ran 3.1 miles, rode 14 miles and then ran 3.1. I have never done anything like this before. Usually I just run 5K’s; to do two in one day and then bike was way out of my comfort zone.
Nutritionally my race was perfect. I had been struggling with what to eat and how much, but now I finally know what works for me. Nutrition does not start on race day; what you eat and drink days before the race makes a huge difference. Keeping a food and exercise journal really helped me pin down what works for me, I highly recommend it.
This has become one of my favorite training breakfasts
The morning of the race I had a bowl of oatmeal with some almond butter, hemp seeds and maple syrup. I had a Vega gel and water about ten minutes before we started the first run. I also carried a handheld water bottle with me and sipped it as I ran. In the transition area, where we switched from running to biking, I felt really good so I didn’t eat anymore until after my bike ride. I did put some Nuun tablets in my water and I drank the whole bottle on the bike ride. When I came back from the bike ride and transitioned back into running I ate a Vega bar and drank plain water. I was very happy with how I felt during the race and afterwards.
By the time I finished the race I didn’t feel overly thirsty or beyond hungry. Although my nutrition was spot on; the race itself was a not easy.
That’s my bike, the only one that’s not a road bike.
I was relaxed during the first 5K because it was familiar territory to me. I was able to keep my mind on what I was doing and not worry about the bike race. As I finished and headed to the transition area where my bike was I began to panic. I am new to bike riding and at that time new to riding in the street. I had a really old department store bike I borrowed from my mother-in-law. It makes funny noises and doesn’t have many gears, therefore not very hill friendly.
My teammate’s transition mat. This is how a pro transitions!
When I got to the starting line where I needed to mount my bike I saw a big arrow that pointed to the street. I didn’t want to go that way so I stayed on campus for a bit. I needed to ride where I was comfortable for a minute and give myself a pep talk before I took off for the right direction. I know I wasted some time doing that but I was in a state of panic and really needed to calm down.
I finally got on the road and focused straight ahead and just followed the signs; which by the way are not frequent enough for slow riders. The problem with being slow is that most of the time you are the only rider in sight. The only reassurance I had that I was going the correct way during those times was to talk to the police or the safety car.
About 1/2 way through a strong wind kicked in and I had to push against it as I rode. This of course made things even more difficult for me. A few times it was so bad that I got off my bike and pushed it just to take a break and have a drink. It should come as no surprise to you that I am not comfortable drinking and riding at the same time.
While I was riding I had moments of feeling like I could finish and moments where I wondered what I was thinking signing up for a race like this. The last four miles were the most exhausting and seemed to never end. I told myself that I already did ten so I should be able to do this last bit. When I finally got to the end I saw a group of my teammates and my coaches cheering me on. They made me feel so good and gave me a new burst of energy as I ran my final 5K.
This is what the end of a race looks like, unfortunately I have 3 more miles to go
It’s easy to get discouraged when you are a late finisher but I knew I had to keep going until I finished. Just when I was starting to lose hope I ran (OK fine I walked) into one my teammates Megan! She had a knee injury so she couldn’t run at all. She struggled with the running and I struggled on the bike but in the end we came together.
Thanks for taking this picture Coach Carrie
I felt a special bond with Megan that day; one you can only experience after going through a tough physical challenge together.
My teammates and I at the end of the race
I am so glad that I did this with my teammates and I look forward to doing more.
P.S. don’t forget to donate to my fundraising page, I can’t reach my goal without you.