Tinley Park MetLife Duathlon Race Recap

This morning M & I competed in the Tinley Park Duathlon!  It was a somewhat last minute (i.e. last week) decision, but I had a really good time!

This was my 2nd duathlon ever, and was comprised of the following:

  • 2 mile run
  • 11 mile bike
  • 2 mile run

It was a bit shorter than my first duathlon and also set up for some better weather & fewer hills, so I was looking forward to seeing whether I’d like this one & make some overall judgment on the duathlon sport.  My training with CES also made me feel a bit more comfortable in doing this (and in seeing where I can improve from this event).

Tinley Park is a 45 minute drive from Chicago, and we made good time in driving out there this morning.  After packet pick-up, we dropped our bikes off @ the transition and set up our transition spaces. 

After we went back to the car for round 2 (e.g. make sure we’ve got what we need for the race, get that water bottle you forgot to put on the bike), M & I split for our warmups.  I jogged back to transition to put that waterbottle on, stop by the portapotties, and then got almost a mile of jogging in.  No matter how slow I tried, I couldn’t get over an 11 min pace… that’s a change from earlier this year! 

Then I headed back and got in port-a-potty line again.  Do what works for you, that’s what I say.

The race started in waves by sex & age.  I was in the 3rd wave – under 40 females.  Our group headed out on the run and I just went with the flow.  2 miles is very short for a run, so while I didn’t want to sprint (remember that Bike & Run #2?), I did want to put in a lot of work, thinking I’d get some sort of a break on the bike in a little bit.  I ran the first 2 miles in 19:10 – and if you go by my Garmin, just faster than a 9:35 pace. 

I don’t remember much from Transition #1 but it seemed to go smoothly.  Looking at my time & ranking in comparison to the other participants, I lost a lot of time on this transition. 

Transition Lessons:

  • Hook the front of the bike seat up on the rack.  Set your bike shoes out in front of the bike.  You’ll run in & get the bike off from the front, wheel it out of transition.  Open your bike shoes up as much as possible
  • Put a bright bag or towel out to mark your spot. 
  • Carry your cycling gloves with you on the run, and put them on as you come into transition.
  • RUN!  I don’t think I did this enough, and that’s probably where I lost some time.  Also – did I need to get some water?  Can work on getting hydration while riding on my bike. 

On the Bike, we put in 11 miles.  Overall this was a pretty good ride: relatively flat, and I was also able to apply some of the techniques I’ve recently learned about in my tri training:

  • shift gears – I cycled more in a higher gear this time than on my first duathlon.
  • Start & End ride in a low gear:  spin for first few minutes in the bike, and last few minutes before end of ride.
  • Try & keep a consistent cadence as the terrain changes – shift gears to help make this happen.

There was a guy who we kept bouncing back & forth on the ride, which helped me to maintain a decent pace. He was on a road bike, but it looked a little funny (maybe a little to small for him) and it was easy to keep an eye on him from his distinctive ride – almost like a clown on a kiddy bike, legs out to the side as he was cycling.  He ultimately finished ahead of me, but that’ wasn’t the end of him! 

I came into Transition #2 and was ready for this to be done!  It’s hard to mentally switch into “sprint” mode at this point, but having M there (finished his race) yelling at me “You’re hardcore! You can do it!” helped.  I gulped down some gatorade/water, pulled off my cycling gloves, put on my running shoes, and was off! 

I felt like I was going relatively easy the first few minutes at the end, with my goal to let the blood drain from my quads (biking muscles) to be redistributed throughout my body (hopefully to the hamstrings – get me running NOW!).  As we got into the run, I was passing quite a few people although there’s always that annoying person who you can’t quite pass.  I did pass my “rabbit” friend from the bike ride, and as I encouraged him to push ahead, he indicated that the run was definitely not going to be something to push on.  I left him.

I thought I was getting faster as the run went on, and as M pushed me at the end, but my Garmin chart indicates a relatively even pace throughout. 


The slow spike down in the middle was the turnaround & water stop, so I did a quick walk through the 3 feet of turnaround, and you do see my pace pick up @ the end when M was cheering me on again, pushing me to sprint pass some older men to the finish.  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t beat those guys (although in reality, I did because I started 2 min behind the masters men). 


As I finished, I don’t look quite as bad as after some of my longer races.  I’ve got a straight posture and am not as obviously heel-striking. 

My total time at the race was 1:24:22.  Post race, I had some Gatorade 3 (the recovery drink – different than actual gatorade!), piece of a bagel, and some Culver’s custard!  Mad props to the race that brings out Culvers for everyone! 

Goals for next time: 

  • Reduce transition time – this really got me down and dropped me some 40 spots in ranking that I was making up throughout. 
  • Increase my bike power/speed – goal to get to 16.5 mph average speed for an 11-13 mile bike ride. 
  • Practice taking fuel on bike ride – I’ve just started this in the last week or two, but practicing grabbing my water bottle to take hydration or fuel while riding. 
  • Work on the 2nd run leg – how exactly should I be running just off the bike? I don’t want to lose speed, but want to get faster!  Today’s run did get easier as time went on, but I didn’t really get any faster…

Anyone in the Chicago area up for a bike ride on July 4? 


4 thoughts on “Tinley Park MetLife Duathlon Race Recap

  1. Courtney

    Great job! I did this race last year and had a lot of fun. I thought about signing up last week but when I checked out the website it was full already. 😦 Too bad I didn’t know you were doing this one, could have come and cheered you on. Oh well……next time

  2. kilax

    Awesome job! I love that you signed up kind of last minute 🙂 And your transition tips are really helpful. I have never done a tri/duathlon, but will be asking lots of questions when I do. Why do you say to use lower gears at the beginning and end of the bike portion?

    1. Lauren Post author

      Using lower gears is generally a bit easier to pedal (or faster to pedal) so as you start off to get settled in. Then I switched into some higher gears to get more power out of my pedaling (although it was a bit harder). As I approached the finish for the bike I switched lower to loosen up my muscles a bit in preparation for the transition to RUNNING!

      This week I’ve learned a few more tricks to finishing the bike ride that I’d like to practice before the triathlon. Stay tuned!


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