This past Sunday my husband and I teamed up for the Dirty Duathlon; I run and he mountain bikes.
I got up early and did my usual pre-race routine, if you’ve read any of my previous race recaps, you know the drill. For those who aren’t regular readers, this is my routine; eat my pre-race breakfast; a bagel with almond butter and orange juice. On the way to the race I drank a cup of coffee. About 30 minutes prior to the race start, I ate a handful of ENERGYbits® (about 30) as well as a pouch of Natural Vitality Energy 28.
We got to the race venue and picked up my bib and the number for Sean’s bike (we were #53) along with our t-shirts, some promotional samples of GU energy gels and race stickers. Sean likes the energy gels so I gave him mine to take on the bike portion with him. He’s also started to eat ENERGYbits® before his races (he eats about 50-60 of them!)
When we got back to the car Sean checked over his bike and went for a test ride. I taped my knee and did my pre-race stretching routine. I went for a brief run up the first portion of the race and then we met up in time for the race meeting. It had been chilly this morning when we left the house (55° F) but by the time the race started it was much warmer and humid.
The race starts at 10 AM with the runners going first. There are two options; race as a team or solo. Since we chose to race as a team, Sean had to rack his bike and then wait for me at the finish and tag me as I crossed and then take off on the bike. I ran the race in 44:05 minutes last year so Sean knew approximately when to get to the finish line to tag me. My goal was to improve my time of course, but 35-40 minutes was a good general guideline.
I lined up in the front half of the pack and got my music and GPS all set up. I bounced around for a minute while waiting to start. All of a sudden it was go time!
This course is no joke, the first 1.5 miles is straight up hill! Once at the top of the hill there’s a water station, then it’s into the woods briefly for even more uphill running. (The entire race is on a ski resort, so you’re running up the mountains the locals ski on in the winter.) Then it’s out of the woods, pass by a few ski lifts and back into the woods.
This time it’s single track with rock gardens, roots, switchbacks and no passing zones. We’ve had a very wet spring so the entire 4.2 miles was wet and soggy but the single track especially so. Roots were covered in wet moss and about 40 runners had already run the path ahead of me so it was beat up and squishy. There are brief moments where I had to run across a ski slope then it was back into the woods.
At about 3 miles into the course, it’s time to run back down the mountain! According to my GPS I was right about at 32 minutes at mile 3 and if I wanted to beat my time from last year, I had 10 minutes or so to get across the finish line. I felt like I was flying and bounced down the single track as fast as I could. Out of the woods I came and sprinted down the grassy ski slope, hit the gravel and pushed for the finish line. The clock read 42:18 minutes as I crossed, pulled my bib strip thingy and tagged Sean for the bike portion.
While my time was better than last year’s by 1:47 minutes, I had hoped for better. I had no issues with my knee and my energy levels were great. I think part of the reason that my time didn’t improve more was the fact that the course was so wet. It was soggy and definitely slowed me down a great deal.
I wasn’t sure how long it would take Sean to bike the course, but guessed about 45 minutes. The bikers have to do 2 laps and it’s the same course as the runners. I can’t imagine what it’s like for the slower runners to be out on the course and having bikers going 15-30 MPH past them on parts of that course, yikes!
While I waited for Sean I headed back to the car and got my drink and snacks I had packed for myself (no post-race hot dogs for this girl!). Then I found the EMT guy and asked for ice for my knee, just to be on the safe side. I also took my prescription anti-inflammatory.
Sean finished his first lap, 1:31 hours according to the timer. He shouted, “Sorry I’m so slow!” I told him to hurry up as he passed, but really, I didn’t care what place we finished in. There were semi-pros at the race and by the time Sean finished his first lap, the top 4 guys were already done! Plus, I like doing the race as a team with my husband, it’s the only one we get the chance to be a team for out of all the races we do together. Sean ended up crossing the finish line after his 2nd lap at 2:25 hours. That’s my run time plus his 2 laps of biking.
We stuck around for the race results and raffle portion of the event before heading back home. While we did not place (duh!) we had a great time together and I definitely want to race again next year.