I’ve been away from racing since the NYC Marathon this past November. I have some great and some not-so-great excuses for why I left the training behind for awhile, but I won’t bore you with those. I was SO ready to get back to the racing, though, so I chose an event at Goleta Beach (Santa Barbara). I chose a duathlon event–instead of SWIM/BIKE/RUN, you RUN/BIKE/RUN. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to train for the swim, so I stuck to my two favorite events instead.
If you want to medal, compete in duathlon events at a medium-sized race. It’s apparently not as popular as I imagined, so even though I misjudged the length of the event (I thought I was going to be running 1 mile/biking 11/running 1 mile–it was more than double that) & was not at all ready for the distance–I got 4th place overall female! 2nd in my division, though let me mention that first place was a PRO. She was literally a PRO for Team USA. I’m just going to keep saying “I was second to a USA PRO.” I will not mention the fact that there were only 2 people in our division. I got to stand on the podium and everything! Looking at her in her USA jacket, I was thinking, “Is this the Olympics? I would’ve french-braided my hair or something if I had known.” The most hilarious thing is that there is no third. If you were there, you could’ve been third. At least make it look like it was a real race.
The real thrill is just getting back out there. The bike route was amazing–all bike trails the whole 22 miles. I love going fast on my bike. The run was less than thrilling (multiple loops are always hard on me mentally), and you can’t fake being well-trained for a run. The heat got to me, as did the volunteer who kept shouting at us, “How many more loops do you have? See you again soon!!!” I usually can finish with a sprint, but I did not have it in me this time. This is what training is for!
They provided us with burgers and hot dogs after the race, which is always a big PLUS for me. Anytime you have a chance to do a race with this kind of “small town” feel, I highly recommend it. The race director kept on joking that if you stick around for the award ceremony, you will most likely get a medal. He even sent out an email after the race that any first-timers could email him if they wanted to have a medal. This guy is just giving these things away!
Oh, and let me give a big shout out to this event–the DUATHLON is amazing. Truth is, I don’t really love swimming in the ocean or in lakes. It is really dark and murky most of the time, and half the time I spend in panic or in exhaustion. I can DO IT, but it is by far my least favorite part of the day. It’s nice to give myself a break from the nerves, the stress, and the people kicking me during the race. I’m happy that more triathlons are offering this option, so I can plan a whole season around it. I already found my next one in September.