I did my very first duathlon on Sunday! I’ve been wanting to try a duathlon for a while now, since I got my pretty bike. Once I bought a bike rack for my car, I decided it was time to try one! I chose the Open Options Shawnee Mission Triathlon and Duathlon. This race is over 30 years old, it is held at Shawnee Mission Park every year; there was a long course and short course triathlon and a duathlon. As of now I have no desire to swim, bike run, especially when the swim is in a lake, but I did want to try the running and biking. The duathlon consisted of running a 5k (3.1 miles), biking 13.5 miles, and then running another 5k.
Saturday afternoon, I picked up my race packet and went to the information meeting. I got everything ready to go, including my bike and helmet number.
Sunday very early, Amy came over (my support team!) and we headed to Shawnee Mission Park. We parked at the Theatre in the Park, and walked about a mile down to the lake. I got body marked, which is a duathlon/triathlon thing. They marked my arms with my bib number, and marked my calf with my age group. So I ended up having my number on 2 arms, my bib, my bike, and my helmet. And also on my ankle timing chip. They sure didn’t want to lose anyone.
I racked my bike in the transition area, used the bathroom, and watched the triathletes walk down to the water, and everyone finish up in the transition area.
Soon, it was time for the duathlon to start. There ended up being about 30 people total in the duathlon. I think there were about 400 people doing the triathlon. I knew there would be more people doing the triathlon, but I didn’t quite expect only 30 people in the duathlon!
And then we were off! For the duathlon, we started off with a 5k. It was warm, but not terribly hot yet. Towards the end of the 5k, as we were running across the dam, I caught a glimpse of the long course triathletes swimming away in the lake. I came into the transition and saw Amy smiling and cheering me on. I knew the easiest part of the day was over, and was getting ready for a hilly bike ride.
I spent about 2 minutes in the transition area, getting my helmet on and bike ready, and then I headed out onto the bike course.
The bike course was 3 loops around the lake, on the park roads. It starts with a huge hill, called the dam hill (ha, get it? it was a damn hill, and it happened to be the hill at the end of the dam). Let me tell you, that’s a hill, folks. I ended up walking my bike up the dam hill the second two loops, because it was just a massive hill and I was tired!
I was instructed, by Kristen, to try to get in some nutrition on the bike. It’s hard to eat a luna bar while biking! I managed to get most of it down, and also get my gatorade down. The bike course was supposed to be about 13.5 miles. My bike computer showed about 11 miles, but it may have been off a little? I finished the bike quicker than I thought I would, which leads me to believe the course was a couple miles short.
I finished the 3rd lap of the bike course, and headed back into the transition area. I was in transition for about 2 minutes, racked my bike, ditched my helmet, and grabbed my gu. The second 5k was much harder than the first. It was much warmer, as I had been out on the course for about an hour and a half already. We began the 5k by once again going up the dam hill, around the course, and then finishing where we started, near the transition area. I walked quite a bit during the second 5k, which I expected. I wish I would have pushed myself a bit harder and ran more of it.
I came across the finish line (up another hill, naturally), and was cheered on by Amy and lots of spectators. I received my medal and a water, and sat down with Amy to catch my breath.
We made our way down to the finish festival, and I had a delicious chocolate milk and a cup of orange tang. With only about 30 people doing the duathlon, and most of those people men, I had a feeling I may have won my age group (won, as in, I was the only one in my age group). After checking the results, I was the only female 30-34, so, by default, I won my age group!
There was a short awards ceremony, and I was presented a really nice plaque! Amy and I saw a few other people from the running club, and celebrated our accomplishments.
I went back to get my bike and walk the mile (ughhhh!) back up to my car, and ran into Tammy, who is a fellow running groupie, and she crushed her long course triathlon.
Amy and I finally made it up to my car, got my bike hooked up, and promptly went to breakfast! I’m now a duathlete!
I’m not sure if I’ll be doing any more duathlons any time soon, but it was a really fun learning experience, and I’m really glad I did it. The course and race itself was very well set up and organized, and the volunteers and race directors were fantastic. I was worried about the logistics, getting confused on the course with so many different people doing different things… none of those fears came true. It was easy to navigate the course with their help, and everything went very smoothly.
Have you ever done a duathlon or triathlon? If so, you’re a badass!!