Back in December when I was planning my winter/spring race schedule I got a few emails from Esprit de She because I was a founding finisher after I ran the 2013 Esprit de She 10K in Tempe, AZ. I remember seeing emails about the Tri/Duathlon last spring but I was training for multiple half marathons and I didn’t have a bike so I figured that wasn’t really for me. Plus, I am a horrible swimmer, I had a really bad experience in swimming lessons back when I was like 5 and while I can get by, underwater, back-float/stroke, treading water, the basics, I can’t do any strokes. So I figured a duathlon was probably more my speed, I can run, I think I can still bike and regardless it’s only a total of 15 miles so why not give it a whirl. 🙂 I re-read this and remember, yeah, crazy marathoner here, 15 miles is nothing, LOL. 5k running 12 miles on the bike, piece of cake, or so I’d like to think ;).
But at the time I was coming off my injury, a possible bulged disc in my very low back, and stationary biking was helping so I decided I wanted to at least try the duathlon this year. At the time I entered the race, December 31, I didn’t even own a bike so talk about crazy, I spent $94 to register for an event that I didn’t even have the right equipment for.
So what did I do, being on an extreme budget, like not wanting or having more than $100 to spend on a bike & hopefully a helmet too, I started scouring craigslist for bikes. Most of them were mountain bikes or crazy expensive road bikes but I was able to find someone who was selling an old, Trek Multitrack 720, that was in great condition. The first time I looked at it, it was listed at $150, then it was down to $120 with a make an offer so what the heck – I figured I’d go out to check it out.
It was in great condition and I was able to get him down to $80 so I am now the proud owner of a new bike.
Well flash forward to May 3, about a month after my last marathon and a month when I was totally not motivated to really exercise at all, so I did maybe 3 total bike rides, the last one for 10 miles 4 days before the race and no brick workouts. I was nervous but in the end this was all for fun so I headed out to the expo to pick up my packet and to drop off my bike which you were required to do on Saturday.
As I mentioned earlier, I was a “Founding Finisher” since I did the 10K last year so they had a separate line for packet pick-up. There were a lot of founding finishers so the line there was 3 times as long as the other lines, but it moved relatively fast.
After picking up my packet and getting my really nice race shirt, a Moxie Cycling commemorative shirt and a reusable Athleta bag with goodies inside, I took my bike over to the transition area.
There were 2 tags that we had to add to our bikes, as we know, I’ve never done anything like this so I was just watching everyone else, one lady was telling her friends to make sure the purple tag was in a spot where it wouldn’t rub on their legs so I stuck mine at the top, and then they had d-tags that had to be zip tied to the top of handlebars.
They had special bike races for the founding finishers so I raced my bike and then headed back to the expo area to listen to the safety meeting. It was really hot out, like a 100 degrees, so they had added some extra tents and handed out bottles of water. I’m glad I went to the meeting, I had no idea about some of the USAT rules. As I was listening to them talk about some of the common violations, bike helmet strap not clipped in transition, staying 3 bike lengths from the next bike, 15 secs to pass someone, etc. I kept thinking, I guess I better go online and read these rules.
The meeting lasted about 45 min and then it was time to rest and relax for the big day.
I arrived at Tempe Beach Park around 5am on Sunday. I was really early, but I’ve been there for PF Chang’s half marathon and the parking can get really crazy so I wanted to get their early. Since I was doing the duathlon, I didn’t have much to layout in transition, so I just kinda took in the whole scene. I ran into my friend, Kate, who was doing the Sprint Relay with another friend Jen, so we chatted for a while :).
I got marked, I thought it was interesting that they asked you your age at the end of the year and put that on your leg instead of your current age. I have to say though, that it took me forever to get the sharpie off my arms & legs. I had to use my dad’s Goop to get it off after washing it 3 times with soap. LOL.
The Olympic distance triathletes started us off at 6:30a with a floating start. There were swim waves every 3 minutes and then the duathlon started at 7:00a.
I was so ready to just start after having been down there for 2 hours. The first run portion was 1.5 miles and off we went. The first half was on the dirt path and then after the turn we were on the concrete path with some rolling hills. I was able to do really well in this portion, finishing in 12:18, 8:09 average, which put me at 23/131.
I headed into the first transition, hopped on my bike after 1:38 and headed out. The bike was what made me nervous, but I just did what I could do. I think I have a small problem with my bike though, maybe it’s out of alignment? I’m not sure, but it felt really wobbly when I took my hands off the handle bars so I wasn’t able to drink as much as I would have liked. The bike course had a few hills but I thought it was pretty fun, I liked racing down the hills more than I thought I would. I finished in 49:39 avg 14:99mi/hr to put me at 81/131. Considering I really only road 3 times in the last 20 years before this, I’m pretty happy with that :).
Transition 2 was a bit longer because I mixed up the row where my bike was supposed to go but after 1:58 I headed out for the second run (1.79mi). This is where things went a little downhill because I was extremely dehydrated by this point and so unbelievably hot. It was only 79 but with sun beating down on us, I was really feeling it. I ended up having to walk a bit of this part and dumped water over my head on both sides of the water station. I was feeling pretty bad towards the end and walked up each of the hills. I heard my coach, Charlie, who was there for another one of his athletes, cheering me on in the last 1/4 mile and I pulled out a fast finish. Crossing the line, I felt like I was going to pass out &/or be sick, but after getting my medal, some water & Aspire, I felt better.
Something nice that they did that I haven’t seen at any of the other races I’ve personally done was having a tape for all the finishers to go thru. As someone who is more of a middle of the packer, this was a nice touch and definitely made me feel good.
After going thru the tape, I was given a medal, it’s pretty nice, duathletes got a purple ribbon and triathletes a red ribbon, a bottle of water, a bottle of Aspire sports drink. They also had orange slices, pretzels, animal crackers, I think, and chocolate milk.
I saw my friends, Jen & Kate after I left the finish line area and we had to get a commemorative photo of the 3 of us.
There was a finish line party after the race, with the “Bubbly Bar” which had mimosas, I don’t drink when I have to drive, so I didn’t try them, but they were served in cute little Esprit de She glasses. I got some brown rice, egg white, pico di gallo casserole from My Fit Foods which was really good, drank my water & my Aspire sports drink. This was the first time I tried Aspire and it wasn’t bad. Didn’t taste like it had as much salt in it as my Gatorade but it tasted pretty good.
After a few snacks I grabbed my bike out of the transition area and headed home to recover in the pool.
All in all this was a great race and I would definitely do it again.
I learned a few things though…
1) I need to get my bike fixed so that it’s in alignment and doesn’t wobble
2) Brick workouts!! Definitely need to ride the bike and then run, the 2nd run kicked my butt
3) Drink more during the event, I was seriously dehydrated and that played a part in the 2nd run portion
I’m really excited to have been able to help kick off the 2014 Esprit de She season in Tempe and I’m looking forward to running the 10k again in October. If you are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale general area and want to join me, you can register here. Please put EDS62 in the promo code box. It’s not a discount, but it will let them know I told you about the race. 🙂
Disclaimer: I have been chosen to be a 2014 Esprit de She Ambassador however, I did pay for my entry to the 2014 Tempe Duathlon and was planning to do this race and the 10K in October even if I wasn’t selected. All thoughts and opinions are my own.