My first duathlon (crash and burn)


There was no planning, no training. I had forgotten I had registered for a duathlon. I saw the mail a few weeks ago and was too late to start training now. I had to decide if I should really do this. I had cleated shoes with paddle locks that I had tried only once many weeks ago. I still went with a yes. I trusted my endurance for long runs and thought I should be able to do this.  I showed up to pick up my packet and realized I had registered for the olympic distance not the sprint distance. “we could change” the friendly man at the counter said. I asked him if the biking course is hilly. He wavered his hand and said “meh..no, not really”. Can I bike 22 miles? Yes. Can I run 9 miles? Yes. So it was a simple math right?Sure enough and dumb enough, I did not change it. I looked up some equivalent miles for biking and running and came up with abt 15 miles total. I had done a half last weekend. 

what I totally disregarded was the fact that I had very little training even for that half. and I had to do these things one after the other

After the initial 5K run, the biking seemed brutal. 3 loops for 22 miles. First loop, I was angry at the man who told me it was not really hilly. The crowd was awesome as always. They pretty much cheered me up a hill until my legs no longer listened. Second loop, I was laughing at myself, then started making weird loud noises. I had to stop at a couple of uphills and then go again and while doing so fell. Twice. I could not get the shoe off in time to stop. I fell to the left. Then I stood up and started uphill again, did not work. Fell to the right..Bruised my knee and elbow. My bike handle had turned in a weird direction as it had hit the curb. But the gears worked fine. So off I went again. Not wanting to fall again, I had my cleats locked on only one pedal. This was hilarious, pathetic and painful all combined. Had I been in such situations before? Yes, but not with a bike on the road. Third loop, I wept. Really? No matter how strong I am there is a vulnerable spot in my brain somewhere that gets activated for unknown reasons at unknown times, oblivious to the surroundings but also somehow triggered by it. I was not even sure if it was the crowd that petted and pampered me, joy of almost competing the brutal biking loops or just the dumb move of getting myself into this. Tears, sweat no one knew. How in the world will I run a 10k after this? When I entered the transition area, I felt so happy that I can run now, can stop turn stop whenever and however I wanted to. Drained out, but in control, not feeling stuck in my feet. Now it was a 10K. I had taken so much time for biking there was no way I could make for it now with my exhausted body.

I finished last, but I finished. It is not the kind of first duathlon I had planned for. But it is what it is. As I was running my last loop of run, I saw a couple of people who sympathized with me. Or at least it felt like it. What did they know? This was more than I could handle, and more than what I had expected myself to do. I learned a lot of what not to do. It was like going into a battle unarmed and traveling without a toolkit. Note to self: Never again. I want to turn away and walk the other direction when I see a duathlon along my way. But I will not do that. Next time, I will train before I do it. Until then I will stick with daily routine of minimum required exercise and stay away from registrations for runs and bikes. 

When I returned, I had to round at two hospitals and do what I do best, then cooked something tasty for dinner and slept like a dead animal.

 

Next morning I was reborn 🙂 with a limp 😉

Should I make a public blog post out of this as if the pain on the course wasn’t bad enough, I wondered. Yes, to this one too. It left me bruised, hurt, embarrassed, shocked, exhausted, numbed. But it is still my first duathlon and will probably be the most memorable one 🙂

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