Last December my running group was looking for something that would be different, challenging and still incorporate running when we decided to sign up for the Esprit De She duathlon in Tempe. We knew we could do it, I mean most of the course would be on bikes – and if we have ran several half marathons (13.1 miles – on foot), wouldn’t it be easier to do most of it sitting down and with wheels? The first 1.5 miles is a run, followed by 12 miles cycling, then finishing with a 1.86 mile run.
I mean, how hard could it be?
Turns out pretty freaking hard. Here are a few humbling things the duathlon taught me.
- Guess what? 12 miles is just as far on a bike as it is on foot.
- Going uphill on a bike is actually harder than running because you can roll backwards. Or as what happened in my case, come to a complete stop while standing on the bike and mashing down on the pedals with all of your strength and not moving forward another freaking inch. No matter what blasphemous curse words are panted out loud.
- Even though most of me is round- I really DO have a bony ass.
- Regardless of whether or not you wear choneys or go commando, about mile 3 you will have a cervix-deep wedgie.
- The inability to rescue your cervix from the cruelty of the dual-wedgie will drive you mildly insane. It will stay lodged there, creating intense discomfort because if you take your hands off the handlebars you will wobble enough to worry about doing an “endo” (flipping over your handlebars while the rest of the bike follows you to the ground to complete the humiliation of a fall by smashing you into the pavement while spectators YouTube it).
- If you are able to miraculously free one hand to rescue said wedgie, someone will be there to witness it.
- There is a BIG difference between a shitty Walmart “hybrid” bike and the race bikes. Pretty sure my tires weighed as much as some of the other bikes.
- Those “real” bikes sound like the Tron cars roaring past you- both up AND downhill.
- Mile 6 is a motherfucker. Coincidentally is also when my chocha decided to give up the fight and just go numb in protest to being in the saddle. Mile 6 is also only the halfway point of the bike ride. Then we get to run 1.86 more miles! YAY!
- The reason you aren’t allowed to have any music or headphones while doing a duathlon is so you can count the times you hear “ON YOUR LEFT!”. Pretty sure it was a world record. Hearing it, not saying it. I can only recall actually saying it once. Well, grunting it once. I was able to pass one lady. That lady had a shopping basket on her bike containing towels, water bottles and Gatorade. She may have been last, but she was comfortable!
- No matter how many of those same ladies yelled, “On Your Left”, each one made sure to follow it up with “Great Job! Keep Going!”, or “You’ve got this!”. Very motivating when you want to throw your bike off of the next hill- but it’s too heavy and you’re too tired.
- There is some mysterious, geographical phenomena happening in Tempe, AZ. Somehow there is an astronomically high amount of uphills compared to downhills. Makes zero topographical sense.
- When you get off of your bike to walk it, your legs may not support you any more, and the chances of plummeting face first into the pavement are very, very real.
- After transitioning from bike to run, remember to remove and stow your helmet- or the other competitors will make fun of you for running with it on. Don’t judge me! I was not about to carry the damned thing! So on it stayed…until we got close to the cameras. Then I carried it.
- An all female event has a few amazing perks- little to NO wait time at porta potties, TOILET PAPER, and hand sanitizer! WHAT?!?!? Oh, and Mimosas at the finish line. YESSSS.
I only had two goals. One: Finish it. Two: Don’t come in last. NAILED IT!!
I won’t lie- this was HARD. But I did it- and now I wonder what next year’s time will be? (It’s a sickness)