Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dubuque Duathlon 2013

One of my goals this year was to try and do harder races. I picked this one because I've never done an entire duathlon by myself. I had participated with a team in one and that was fun.   What is a Duathlon?  It means you Run some, Bike a bunch, then Run some more.  All duathlons are not created equal.
I wouldn't have known what a duathlon was 4 years ago.  In fact if you would have said to me that I would even bike further than around the block 4 years ago, I would have laughed and said NO WAY.

I've only really been biking about 1 year and 6 months.  I tried it a couple years back, but didn't have my own bike.  Last Spring I got my own bike and that made all the difference.  So if you are going to start biking, I recommend you go to a REAL bike shop that will fit you properly for a bike and get your bike there.  IF the bike shop ignores you or acts like you shouldn't be biking by taking a look at you, then turn around and walk out.  A real bike shop that wants you biking doesn't care what size you are and wants you to love biking.

To prepare for this race I would suggest you do hill repeats and lots of them.  Just like in running, if you don't ride hills, then you will not be able to complete this particular race.  I would also suggest riding about 50-60 miles a week or more and make sure you don't forget to do hills on one of your workout bike days.

Before signing up, I mentioned on Facebook that I wanted to do this race and asked if anyone had done this.  One lady said she had and it was hilly, but fun.  Ok, great, so I signed up.

For this race you had to run 1.2 miles, then get your bike and bike 15 hilly miles, then put your bike away and run 3 more miles.  My GPS watch at the end shows 19.14 miles, so the race was off by .06 miles, or my watch is slightly off, either way the race was hard.

The run portions were almost completely flat and for Dubuque, Iowa this is awesome and really unheard of.  The bike portion made up for that.  You started out by climbing small hills at first.  Then the big hill hit.  It was a mile climb of almost 400 feet.  Very steep.  I've never biked anything close to that.  Seriously hard.  Then it flattens out a bit and then you climb again for another 100 feet and then some more, then the sweet ride downhill for over a mile at a 6% grade and it's awesome. I achieved a new speed record of 40 mph on the downhill.  I almost screamed going down because it was so fast for me and I was a little scared.  Super cool.

The bad part is you have to do that loop twice, so back to the mountain.  Well by the time you get to the 2nd loop, you are a bit worn out.  You are on mile 8 by this point and ready to die.  Especially if you are like me and only biked small hills in Iowa City.  Now we have our share of mean ones, like on Rohret Road and on Benton Road, but seriously until you have ridden a bike in Dubuque over by Sundown Ski resort, then you don't know hills.

Here I am on the 2nd climb up this (I called mountain) large hill and I actually started praying outloud.  I asked and then pleaded  for help. I knew I couldn't do this by myself.  I was struggling.  My bike computer said I was only climbing at 5-6 mph and that my friend is slow, very slow.  I could have dismounted the bike and ran up faster, I think.

After the bike was over you put your bike away and run again, this time on some actual running trails and then some blacktop road.  Not bad and a great run.  There were at least 3 water stops on the final run.  The race was extremely well organized.

The weather ended up being perfect, like 65 degrees and NO humidity, so for July that is awesome and I'm not sure how I lucked out.  I would recommend this race to others.  I have a bunch of pictures:

Before the race.

My friend Deb and  I before the race began.  I was so glad to have
her there with me.  She was a great support and it was awesome to
have an entire morning to talk to her.  Also because she was there
and had my camera, she got some awesome pictures of the race in action.

First part of the race is running 1.2 miles.  Here I am finishing that and coming in to
get my bike.  I was happy to be done with part 1.

This is me after getting my bike, you had to walk/run it to the mount place.
Then off you went.

Me returning from the bike portion.  It was 15 very hilly miles.  I was so happy
to be done with part 2.

putting my bike away.

Me starting the final run portion of 3 miles.  I had
just put my bike up and felt sick for a second.  I was
moving quickly.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to run
very fast.  But ended up running less than 10 minute
miles, so that is really good for me.

My favorite picture ever.  Finishing is the best part.  I was so incredibly happy.
I felt that this race was just as hard as some of my half marathons have been.
During parts of the bike, I wasn't sure if I would finish or not, so to be completely
done and to this point was very emotional.  Super cool.  So glad Deb captured this moment.

I had the surprise of finishing 2nd in my age group.  I took a picture because I couldn't believe it happened.
Such a shocker and because that happened, I received a medal for my efforts.  Wow, it totally made my year.
Here I was just happy to finish this hard race, so the medal was awesome.

After the race was over, before changing into clean dry clothes
for the drive home, sporting my medal.

This is a picture of my Garmin GPS watch.  It shows the total
distance traveled which was 19.14 miles, my time of 1 hour
44 minutes.  I was a second too late in turning it off.  My time
was really 1:43:59 and the bottom number shows my running pace
as I was sprinting in to the finish.  I don't think I've ever run
that fast. I was trying to catch a guy that passed me in the very
last 100 feet.

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