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Meet Christy Rice, Experience Life’s long-time project manager and most recent circulation coordinate. She’s training for her first duathlon and is starting with the Espirt de She in August 2013! Check back regularly for updates on her training progress.

I decided a couple of months ago that I was going to do my first duathlon this year. I really enjoy running and biking, so why not marry the two together?

The race is an Esprit de She event in early August. I’m already a few weeks behind with my training since our weather in Minnesota has been really uncooperative (dreary, cold and rainy). I’ve been doing my usual running, and I’ve been doing my usual studio cycle classes at Life Time, but I’ve never combined the two together.

So, the perfect day finally came for my inaugural run/bike/run! Sunny, high 60’s, a bit windy, but brilliant for a long training regimen! I looked at my duathlon training schedule and decided I should run 3 miles, bike 1 hour, run 2 miles. A lofty goal, I know, but I am behind with training so I figured I should try something fairly big to see how I would fair.

The first 3 or so mile run was great! I felt really good and I was enjoying the sun that we’ve missed dearly here in Minnesota.

The bike portion of the training was a bit challenging. I live on the outskirts of town and have beautiful country roads to bike on, but there is nothing to break the wind. The first half hour of the bike was ok, but then the second half hour hit. I really had to push myself to keep my speed up. Going up hill into the wind is a lot different than sitting on a bike in a studio pedaling away. It was challenging and I kept wondering how on earth I was going to complete the next run portion of this little training experiment.

When I arrived back home from the bike I quickly changed into my running shoes and started to, well, move in a forward motion. Was it running? What was it? It felt so strange and foreign.  My legs were so heavy and it felt like I had been horseback riding all day. I felt like this little darling:

How I felt running after an hour bike ride
Above: How I felt running after an hour bike ride

But, I kept moving and kept thinking “This has got to feel better soon. Doesn’t it?”

At about the 1.25 mile mark my legs were worse! It was as though I was running in water…or trying to run in a dream (you know the feeling of trying to flee and your legs won’t go fast?). But, I kept going with this awkward, forward moving stride thing.

(I know…you’re so inspired to do a duathlon now, aren’t ya? Keep reading…)

My mind was daunted for the entire run by knowing what was at the final stretch of the run. My home happens to be on top of hill (which makes for an easy warm up on the way out, but a challenging final stretch).

I still needed to complete about .25 miles by the time I reached the first leg of the hill home. If I turned right at the top of the first leg of the hill, I would be closer to home but have a longer, steeper climb to the finish. If I stayed straight the hill flattens, but I would need to circle around the block, which would add on distance. Decision time!

I decided to stay straight because I did not want to attempt running up the second leg of the hill. My legs were still mush and I had already been doing this crazy experiment for 1 hr and 50 minutes.

But, the strangest, most wonderful thing happened when I got to the top of the first leg of the hill. I had a huge surge of energy and my legs and body felt normal running! It was great! I thought “All right! I can do this! I can get this last .25 miles done!”

It took me about 2 hours to complete this training experiment (3.25 mile run, 1 hr ride, 2 mile run). It was challenging physically, but mostly mentally. Trying to push through those moments that I wanted to bail, and over coming the frustration of running with heavy, awkward legs were really hard. It would have been pretty easy to say forget it and head back home for a dish of ice cream, but I knew I’d regret not finishing my trial attempt at the duathlon training.

I’m looking forward to my next combined run/bike/run training, as I know it should be easier since my body has experienced this process now.  Plus, I just found out that the duathlon I’ll be doing is run 2 miles/bike 10 miles/run 2 miles, which, I think, is considered a sprint duathlon. I was working off a regular duathlon training program which is geared towards longer distances (run 10K/bike 20K/run 10K, or run 5K/bike 30K/run 5K)…oops! So the shorter distances and new, shorter distance training plan will be very welcome for this duathlon newbie!


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