Tag Archives: duathlon

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? 

Door Prairie Duathlon Race Recap

Sunday I completed what was the hardest race ever… a duathlon!  The Door Prairie Duathlon was a 5K Run, 20K Bike, 5K run.  Or 3 mi-12 mi bike-3mi run.  18 miles total.

I just finished the Illinois Marathon, so I thought this would be relatively easy.  I completed a 12 mile bike last weekend, and that wasn’t too hard either.  But this race was nothing like I had expected.

First off, the weather was COLD!  Weather was in the high 40s, low 50s, even though we’re in mid-May.  It was even 87 degrees on Thursday… what happened to the sun?!!! Cold, rainy for two days does not make for a happy Lauren (or a mud-free course).

I knew this race was a lot of things I wasn’t experienced in:  cross-country run, bicycling.

Our friends Peter & Dave (to-be-Ironmen!) came over last night so we’d caravan down to Rolling Prairie, IN.  A little more than 1.5 hours from Chicago.  We visited a friend’s birthday party, and then hit the hay early.

Wakeup call at 5:15 AM, and we ate a real breakfast! I haven’t had cereal prior to running in a looong time, but I also don’t usually drive so far for a race.  We were on the road at 6:15, and made it to the race site before 8 AM.  Checked in, decided what clothes to wear, set up transition spots (where the bike lives), and then listening to the “athlete announcments” – i.e. everything you should know about the race!  I actually did a short warm-up!

The race didn’t have the loudspeakers required for most Chicago races, so I was expecting to get time updates (10 minutes to start) and ran out of time!  I skipped my last bathroom break & missed taking a pre-race Gu when I realized the race was starting in less than a minute! 

First 5K Run:  the first run was OK.  I noted a 10:40 first mile, and then slowed down a bit as I realized that cross-country running is harder on the legs… more hills, uneven terrain, and potential for mud!  It was interesting that running through forest, you don’t always see the person ahead of you.  I thought back to my marathon, where even at the last miles I could usually see whoever was in front of me.  Sometimes being “alone” was serene, sometimes eerie (am I on the right path?).  Luckily the course was very well marked with orange paint, so I always saw the marker directing me in the proper direction. 

T1 & Bike:  I came back to the start and into Transition 1.  Here I had to:

  • put on bike helmet & gloves
  • switch from running shoes to cycling shoes
  • planned:  put on windbreaker for bike ride. (not done).

That was definitely a bit more challenging than expected, and I watched as some people just snapped on a helmet and jumped on their bike.  I got out, and made my way on the bicycle.  Clip-in shoes is still pretty new for me, but I was lucky to get clipped in fairly quickly.  This part of Indiana had more hills than Chicago, so I struggled a bit on getting up the hills, especially on the first of the two loops.  Overall, it was OK though.  I definitely struggled more the first loop, and 2nd loop had a better idea of what I would see coming up (i.e. where are the hills), what gears to use, and where to push. 

I had practiced earlier this week (in my Chicago neighborhood) on taking one hand off the handlebar when cycling.  While I experienced some success (could ride most of a block w/ only one hand on handlebars), I didn’t see it as much today.  Luckily, it was cold & rainy, and I didn’t feel the need to hydrate during the bike ride. Also good, because I didn’t have a bike-cage to hold a water bottle! 

T2 & 2nd Run leg: Coming in from the bike, I struggled to get my running shoes back on. I hadn’t untied them when I took them off @ T1, so I just jammed my feet in.  Helmet off, and jelly legs on a roll toward the hills! 

My legs were so tight in the beginning & I noticed my stride (distance run in one step) was laughably short.  I also noticed my hands tingling a little… hadn’t realized that I was gripping the bike’s handlebars so hard on the last climb!  I tried pushing as hard as I could, and I knew my legs were the limiting factor. 

I passed runners on their way back in as I was heading out.  High-fived to Dave, and then to Peter & some other random athletes.  After a little while, my legs loosened up, and I started pushing harder.  It was quiet as all the athletes had spread out… I only saw 5 people during this second run!  There was one girl I was doing my best to chase, if only my legs would let me. 

As we continued, I could feel myself getting faster.  You still had to keep a close eye out for the mud & puddles, and climb the grassy hills of the cross country course.  They had some HEED drink instead of Gatorade, which was odd and not strong enough for when I wanted it. 

By the end, I was pushing hard and it wasn’t my legs that were the limiting factor, it was my cardio! I couldn’t push myself any faster, regardless of what my legs would have let me do.  But since this 2nd 5k run was the same as the first, I recognized landmarks and pushed as I knew we were approaching back to the finish!

The official times aren’t posted quite yet, but here’s what I got out of my Garmin:

  • 5K Run:  33:46
  • 20K Bike: 55:27
  • 5K Run: 35:17

Lessons Learned:

I had a good time, and see that I definitely should practice more cycling!  I was a wimp on the hills – didn’t have as much stamina as I would like, nor a consistent mental technique toward pushing through the “pain” on the bike. 

I also need more practice with some of the techniques in cycling & duathlon: fueling properly, transition practice, etc.  I’ve signed up for the Chicago Endurance Sports triathlon summer program, so I’m looking forward to learning about things there! 

Have you ever done a Duathlon or Triathlon?  What tips do you have for a newbie?