Last Wednesday I completed my very first duathlon. It's called the Lake Whittaker Splash n' Dash (click the link on the left), held every Wednesday during the summer by local triathlon coach Sheri Fraser.
You can read about our first visit to the lake itself here.
The duathlon went really well, except for one major issue: I forgot my camera.
Instead, I will highlight this narrative of the experience with pictures of the gear I use to swim.
Old swim suit from high school that I discovered in a drawer about a month ago.
There were between 20 and 30 people there, all of whom seem to know Sheri and train with her. Everyone was really welcoming, and the whole thing is a lot more like a group work out than a race. We started in the water and swam in a sort of misshapen circle around two giant buoys in the lake. My very poor eyesight kind of freaked me out during this part. I thought everyone was way ahead of me and that I was the last one to complete the first loop. I clung to the blurry image of a couple of guys about 15 yards ahead of me, since there were times when I couldn't see the second buoy.
I opted to swim only one loop, which ended up being about 900 meters (a little more than the official sprint triathlon distance). Others in the group got out of the lake and hurried back to the starting line for their second loop. I got out to start my transition and realized that I'd actually finished in the first third of people. Apparently my nerves helped me complete the swim leg really quickly.
Swim time: 15 minutes.
I was nervous about the transition (the part where you put on running shoes and go on for the second leg), but it actually went by really fast. I wasn't rushing myself, since it's only sort of a race, but I made it out of the transition with few issues.
Bungee goggle strap courtesy the Park Forest Swim Club lost and found, 2001.
The next leg was running. The distance for the run varies by week at this particular event, and can be anywhere from 5 to 7k. For this week it was just 5K and I was relieved, since I've been running much longer distances and I knew I would be able to handle it. Since a lot of people were still swimming their second loop, I had the road to myself for a little while. Gradually people began to catch up with me, but I was still one of the first few to finish the running leg (again, I only swam one loop, so it's not as if I was blazing by people with my super fast running...).
Silicone swim cap - for a few more bucks, you get a cap that's WAY easier to put on and more comfortable.
At one point I got confused about where the turn-around spot was for the 5K, and that cost me some time. The actual distance was about 5.2K, since the finish was a little ways past the start. I was hoping to run a sub-30:00 5K , but with the confusion and the extra few meters, I was a little over that.
Run time: 31:15.
The total time was about 50 minutes, which I'm pretty happy with. After the run, Sheri set out a bowl of watermelon pieces, a big cooler of water, orange slices, and peanut butter/honey/oat/nutella bars that were delicious.
I enjoyed getting the experience of a multi-sport event. It forced me to try "brick" work outs - where you go right from swimming to running, etc. - and that's been pretty great. It turns out that I'm in good enough shape to do that now.
I don't think I'll participate in either of the last two dates for the Splash n' Dash, since it costs about $34, and we don't get paid again for over a month. Next summer I'll consider buying a pass to the conservation area where it takes place, since I think John and I would probably go there from time to time to run and swim. You can buy into the duathlon series for $100 for the whole summer, so it makes the whole thing a lot more reasonably priced.
Part of my motivation for the duathlon was my interest in joining the Western Triathlon Club at school, and maybe trying a sprint triathlon. I have a handle on the swimming and running segments, but I have basically no experience with cycling and I don't own a bike. So that might take a little while to develop. In the mean time, I have some good cross training swimming ideas for my 10K training. I'll be running the Halloween Haunting 10K in London in October, my first time racing anything longer than 5K.