Race Report : Nordonia Hills Duathlon

If you’ve been looking at my 2013 race calender, or have been talking to me face to face, you would know after I skipped Forget the PR at the end of April, there wasn’t anything planned for me in the world of racing until May 18th when I take on the Recovery Challenge 5K. Of course I finished my 5 by the 5th 5K via treadmill last week, but that wasn’t really a planned “race” per se.

It took me by just as much surprise as it may some of you to know I completed a duathlon this weekend. 5K run, 10 mile bike, 5K run.

Back in 2007, I took part in the Nordonia Hills Chamber of Commerce Duathlon for the first time. Back then they also had a 2 mile fitness walk and I opted to come out and try that on for size. I was mesmerized and enchanted by the multisport athletes. Watching them in their skin tight kits I never imagined being able to do such a thing.

Then in 2010 Gale and I decided we would try out the duathlon part on our own. It was the debut of my Marathon Bars kit and I was on cloud 9 being able to be dressed like the cool kids! I finished barely under 2 hours that day and was devastated and in pain. Multisport is no joking matter.

This year, many of my teammates for Grunt Girl Racing were talking about doing the race. I didn’t have anything planned, and I remember it being a decent event. I also remember there being Chick-fil-A at the end…and I really wanted to come out and see the team. I was beyond nervous, but also excited. My bike has not been ridden in over a year. I couldn’t take it in to be looked at last week, but I checked the tires, chain, and brakes myself and everything seemed to be in working order. I loaded her up into my car and on a cold and rainy Saturday morning I drove off into the sunrise.

Registering day-of is not something I like to do. Normally it means you pay more and won’t get a shirt. It also means you (aka I) might back out at the last minute. I’m never really impressed with the shirts at this event though, and even day-of pricing isn’t bad. When I felt how cold it was, all I wanted was to crawl back into bed, but I had teammates waiting for me and I really wanted to be a part of the fun. See I have FOMO. Once I arrived on site I think I was literally the only person not wearing pants, but I found my GGR girls and started to feel a lot better. Fast forward a lil and we were all supporting each other and sending well wishes before the event.

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Being a freeze baby I layered my jersey with a long sleeve tech shirt. Being someone who starts sweating 1/2 a mile into a run, this wasn’t the best idea. Also, no denying it, the thing was tight when I ordered it 20 pounds ago, so yea, I don’t look amazing, but whatever.

Of everyone on the team I was the only girl not doing a relay. For the relay one person does the run leg (2.5 miles) then the next person does the biking (10 miles) then finally the first person does the run course again. This means I did all 15 miles of event on my own. WHOA.

Let’s break it down. On the first part of my run I was annoyed because my Ipod was not working. I tested it at home, but apparently it got tired on the 20 minute car ride over. My quads were killing me and I cursed myself for attending Zumba the night before. As I trotted along I felt good, I felt strong, and I felt sad as I watched so many people gallop off in front of me. Garmin chirped at mile 1 and I reluctantly looked down. 10:18. A smile broke out across my face. I have been running at 12 and 11 minute paces forever, I was so thrilled to be running 10 and for it to feel comfortable. Maybe everyone else was faster, but I was doing my own race and I was doing just fine! I kept my stride and moved forward as best as I could. The 2.5 mile loop essentially goes down along a road before turning and heading up a portion of the Towpath (biking/hiking trail). At the end it turns again and leads back to the transition zone.

Near the end of the Towpath I saw Mickey, who cheered me on and gave me a boost of confidence. I ran past 2 girls on the downhill finish and made my way to my bike. The other GGRs who were now done running were standing there to cheer me along. I finished in about 25 minutes which was 5 minutes faster than I expected. Within 90 -120 seconds I was on my bike and out of the racks.

The bike course is a two loop course on the roads. Around mile 2-3 there is a rather hilly section. When I reached this portion not too many people were near me and with great shame I got off the bike to walk a portion of the hill. With tears in my eyes I stood near the top and decided the race wasn’t for me. I was a fool and I should drop. Behind me a voice said “That hill was a killer, huh?” or something to that effect. A girl walked past also walking her bike and smiled. I glanced behind her and saw a large group of bikers also walking up the hill.

I decided maybe I wasn’t doing as poorly as I imagined, sat back on the bike and put the wheels in motion. Along the way I passed a few other ladies and cruised into loop two with a song in my heart. Of course I walked the hill on the second loop, but this time I didn’t feel any shame. At the end I breezed into the transition zone, jumped off my bike and was again back on the road to run in under 2 minutes.

Same run course as before and I planned to walk, then I heard my GGR friends cheering my name and started to attempt a run. I reminded myself bricks were hard and mind games and to keep running even if I felt awkward. I did and I was rewarded with a 12 minute mile. Nothing great, nothing embarrassing either. One of the girls I passed on the bike passed me in the final mile, but I didn’t care, I was giving 110%.

I neared the finish in disbelief I didn’t give up or back down. The whole team was waiting for me and cheering for me so loudly, how could I not smile? My goal was to finish in under 2 hours, my fear was having the course closed down on me! I passed the clock as it read 1:55:xx. I’m not sure how everyone else feels about these types of things, but for me a 5 minute window from my goal is HUGE. I was ALL SMILES.

The other ladies gathered around and congratulated me. They were so proud I managed to do the whole thing on my own. Me too! Many of them placed for the relay teams. YAY ladies!

Some things I’d like to note:

I owe so much SO SO MUCH to weight training. I’ve never taken it seriously, but I do now. I really do now! In one month I improved my treadmill 5K time by 10 minutes. For the first time in months my legs and feet didn’t go numb or feel heavy. For the first time EVER I was not shaky on the bike, my back didn’t hurt and my wrists didn’t go numb. I know this is from the weight training and the work I’ve been putting in at the gym. If I can see these types of results in only one month, I can’t imagine what’s ahead for this year.

Next month is the Twinsburg Duathlon. I have never done that particular race before, but I know if I keep up with my training and I have my friends by my side, it’ll be an awesome experience.

PS. Thanks Stacy for taking the photos! You’re a good friend and a wonderful team leader.

5 thoughts on “Race Report : Nordonia Hills Duathlon

  1. Love your post. Getting ready to do my first duatholon in two weeks. Haven’t spent much time on my bike so I am nervous about it. Thanks for the inspiration. Now I know I will just get out there and do it!

    • That’s great! Good luck and really just remember to have fun. Stop back over when you’re done and let me know how it went

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