San Diego Duathlon 2014

Last Sunday, I checked an item not only off my 30 Before 30 list, but also my bucket list… I completed a duathlon! I found this race by searching randomly for events this fall to keep myself active. They had a registration deal going, so I convinced two others to join me. I honestly didn’t train a lot but just stayed active for the last few weeks. Another bonus was that packet pick-up was up in Encinitas on Friday night so I didn’t have to drive south twice! Sunday morning I got up at 5:45 am, jumped in the car, and headed down to Mission Bay for the race. On the road, I met up with Brian and Tom and we all parked together. We then set about getting ready for the race. I snapped the quick selfie below looking out over Mission Bay toward Fiesta Island where we would be biking 45 minutes later. It was so foggy!


It was weird not having to get into a wet suit and lay out my change of clothes in transition. Guess that’s just the triathlete in me 🙂 But it was also weird to think about how I was going to switch from running shoes to biking shoes back to running shoes. Oh, I guess I should pause and explain the race! We would be running 1.5 miles, then biking 12.4 miles (three laps around the island), and finishing with 2.5 more miles of running. This race was in the same area of the bay where I’ve done the SheRox and Esprit de She (2013 and 2014) triathlons, so I’m quite familiar with the flat terrain.


Myself, Tom, and Brian hooked our bikes up (from left to right) and just hung out while we stretched and tried to stay warm. Tom had never done a multi-sport race and Brian did his first triathlon this fall. I knew there was no chance I would keep up with them, but my goal was to not be lapped on the bike ride by either one. I also wanted to finish in 1 hour and 30 minutes, while being fairly conservative. My left knee has been quite painful for the last few weeks so my goal was to not push too hard, as long as I was under the 1:30 bar. I love my road bike so I was really just excited to ride it again and have fun with the race!


Once transition was closed, the 300 athletes wandered over the to the start line and soon, we were off! As expected, there was quite a bit of pain in my left knee bones as I started. Fortunately, I could run in the packed dirt and mulch next to the pavement for most of the 1.5 mile loop. I ended up running this first leg in 13:27 (9:04/mile pace) which was right on where I wanted to be. The boys had already left transition, but with the fairly short run I guessed that they were 3-4 minutes ahead of me. I also knew I was more towards the back of the pack, but that’s where I like to be at the beginning of a race.

On the bike, each loop was four miles of pretty flat pavement around Fiesta Island. I settled into a good pace but didn’t push myself. I was quite happy to feel that my knee didn’t hurt nearly as much on the bike! But I wasn’t thinking quite clearly and didn’t use my gears as well as I should have (something I realized post-race). I wasn’t passed by hardly anyone on the bike and I managed to cruise past a good number of people too. With the triple loop, there were people faster and slower the whole time so I was never alone. I did a mini celebration in my head when I turned toward loop three since I hadn’t been passed by the boys! Results show that my bike time for the 12.4 miles was 45:04. I really should have gone faster on my road bike, but again I know I need to practice using gears more aggressively while racing.

Rolling back into transition, I switched back into my sneakers and mentally prepared myself for the run. One downside to this race was that headphones were discouraged on the runs. Reasonable, but I perform way better when I can’t hear myself breathing as I pound the pavement. They did have a jam band playing that we could hear from most parts of the course. My knee was hurting at this point, but I just told myself that it was “only” 2.5 miles and that I was doing well time-wise so I could just enjoy the scenery and soak in the experience. I didn’t love the park of the course where we had to loop out to the boat ramp and back because it was a downhill (ow!) and then an immediate u-turn back up the hill (woof!). My time for this leg of the race was 21:23 (8:33/mile pace!). I think I ran faster to get it over with because I remember telling myself that it was going to hurt just as much no matter how fast or slow I was going, so I might as well rock it out and finish. I didn’t see the boys at all during this run, which was fine by me because it meant they had finished the race!


IMG_4715The above picture was taken before the race, but there we are 🙂 I heard Tom and Brian cheering for me as I finished… not quickly or with a strong surge, but finishing nonetheless. My official finishing time was 1:22:57, way under my goal! My biggest disappointment with this race was that there was only coffee and Powerade right by the finish line. So we didn’t hang around too long, but wandered back to the transition area for water to re-hydrate. We weren’t too concerned about staying for awards since we weren’t really in contention and we had already left the finish area. So we grabbed our bikes and headed back north to rest and recovery. Tom’s reaction to the race was that he would stick with single-event races in the future and Brian was pleased he had finished as close to Tom as he had. Overall, it was a fun event and I would do a duathlon again for sure! Especially since race results posted online and it turns out that I finished third in my age group 🙂 So I’ll get a medal in the mail in a few days and I’ll be sure to add a picture when it comes in so you all can see it!

As a brief afterthought, I went to the doctor on Monday after the race and have been given exercises to strengthen the muscles around my knee to help pull the bones back on track so they stop grinding on each other. I’ll be limiting running and high-impact sports for a few weeks, but I’ll still be biking and swimming and yoga-ing and building my muscles!



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  1. Trackback: Revised 30 Before 30 Project | Rays of Funshine

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