Lucille Ball Does a Duathlon

Months ago, when March seemed very, very, far off, I signed up for a duathlon in Central Park on 3/24. It is the New York Tri Club’s March Madness Duathlon, and it’s pretty short – 2.2 mile run, 12 mile bike, 2.2 mile run. A “starter” duathlon, if you will, so I thought it would be fun and a good way to get my feet wet riding in a large group, particularly since it seemed so far off when I signed up for it. Far enough off that it might never even come…

Fast Forward: it is March 19, so the duathlon is no longer far off. No sirree. Even though we got 5 inches of snow last night and spring is nowhere in the forecast. Forecast for race day is a low of 31 and a high of 45, which is actually not that bad given what we have dealt with lately, but the race kicks off at 7:30, so I think we’ll be closer to 31 than 45. Nice running weather for me, but dang, I find it miserable to cycle in the cold!

To say that I am unprepared for this race is an understatement. Think of Lucille Ball trying her hand at a duathlon after working in the chocolate factory – that is me. I did just pick up an approved helmet, so I won’t get kicked out for that. I do have a bike, which will be enormously helpful during the cycle portion of the race. I have no cycling apparel other than bike shorts, but no one will know this anyway, since it looks like I will be wearing a jacket. (It can stay our little secret.) I do not have cycling shoes or clipless pedals or clips, straps or anything of the like. Not sure if you even use them in duathlons, since you have to run? Or do you change shoes between bike and run? Just one of my many questions. Irrelevant for me anyway, because I will be cycling in my Brooks Glycerin 10’s, since they are what I have. If anyone reading this is at the race on Sunday, you are welcome to laugh at me. I know I’m a hack. I am a hack who has read the rules, however, so I do know to stay to the right, pass on the left and no drafting or headphones. Do they ever allow headphones in bike races or rides?  I hope not. That sounds like it would be awfully dangerous.

Back in the Stone Age when I registered for the race, I figured that I would have months of riding under my belt before taking to the big, bad roads of Central Park. Thanks to Sandy, Nemo and all the other storms that have blown through here this winter, that did not happen. I did get to log a lot of time on my bike inside, on my bike trainer, though, and have gotten pretty comfortable riding my bike.

Or so I thought. After my initial outdoor bike ride last Wednesday, which was a nice, long, meandering, ride, I decided on Sunday that I should try to ride a route similar in length to the duathlon, and follow it with a 2 mile run to see what it feels like to transition.

The good news: the transition went well – I had little problem transitioning from bike to run, ended up running closer to 3 miles and still felt good at the end.

The bad news – and it is “wicked” bad news, as we would say in Boston: I am really scared to ride fast on the road. This is quite the unfortunate epiphany, given that I have a duathlon in 5 days and 200-mile bike ride coming up this summer. Oops. It took me a long time to complete the 13 mile route. My area is really hilly, and I not only go up hills slowly, I find that also brake most of the way down hills to avoid picking up speed (oh, my poor brakes!). I’m too spooked to let go and fly. I’m sensing that this may become an issue in a duathlon, where I think everyone is expected to try and go fast. Right? Do they issue DQ’s for going too slowly? Is there a cut-off time for the Pan Mass Challenge?

Unfortunately, incompetence and fear are not on my list of legitimate reasons to skip a race, so I will be there on Sunday, bike in hand and running shoes on feet. As a bonus, I’ll get to see Jenn, a good friend of Colby’s and mine, whom I haven’t seen since December. She is a longtime cyclist and a runner, but recovering from a bruised tailbone, so we may be a perfect match for the race. Plus, I resolved this year to try new things and to do things that scare me, so I’m at least fulfilling two resolutions with one scary race.

The upside – and there is always an upside, isn’t there? – whatever my time, it will be my PR for duathlons. And if I like competing in the duathlon itself, it will set a nice low record for me to beat next year! 😉

9 thoughts on “Lucille Ball Does a Duathlon

  1. Is it bad that I haven’t bought a road bike yet because I can’t commit to wearing their gear…it was hard enough becoming a runner…thank god for Lululemon. Do they make cycling gear?

    • I’m obviously the wrong person to ask, but Colby will chime in at some point! I think they might. My cycling “wardrobe” consists of 3 pairs of Pearl Izumi bike shorts, so I’m not familiar with what is out there.

      • Yes. Yes dear friends. They do make cycling clothing. At least for chicks. They also sponsor the Specialized-Lululemon Cycling Team. Again. For chicks. I’ve been trying to get my greedy little paws on one of those kits for a while. Alas- nothin’.

        Oh Lucy. I love this. I love that you’re a hack. Mostly because you’re always so prepared. You’re never a hack! AND I LOVE IT!!! This is going to be FUN!! Straight up FUN. It’s the same as my snowshoe race and look how that turned out- 3rd in my age group and a kick ass time. I wish I could come but alas, I will be running 22 miles- probably in a snow storm.

        And ps…I’m ALIVE! Blogging to follow. 🙂

  2. @ Colby – I do think it is going to be fun. I do not, however, expect the same stellar results as your snowshoe race. I’m actually wondering if my time would be better if I just ran alongside my bike for the cycling portion. No matter what, it won’t be boring!!
    Probably too late to ask this, but is it horrible that I don’t have a toolkit or extra tube? Or are they more important for long rides (this is two 6 mile loops around Central Park, so you’re never far from civilization)? I don’t know how to fix a flat anyway, so I’m figuring that if I get a flat, even if I had the tools I would have to take a DQ because I wouldn’t be able to find someone to help get it fixed and get going again fast enough to finish within the 2-hour cutoff. I will asbolutely sort it out before doing long rides.
    While you are running through sleet, snow and hail on Sunday, think of me braking my way down the CP hills in my black and pink running shoes and pink running jacket – and laugh!!

  3. Pingback: Optimal Cycling Cadence In Triathlon / Duathlon | the5krunner

  4. Hi seetinarun, I came across this post the other day and knew I had to reply. My name is Steve and I work for an organization called the Lucy Desi Center for Comedy, based in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, NY. We have two museums honoring both Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, as well as an annual comedy festival on the weekend closest to her birthday of August 4th (this year’s festival goes from the 1st to the 4th if you’re curious).

    The reason I write you however is that we just announced our first ever Lucy Town Half Marathon and 5K last month. While you might have felt like Lucille Ball at the duathlon you ran, I guarantee you’d feel even more like Lucille Ball at this one hahaha. The races are going to be on Columbus Day weekend, and the website with all the info is Maybe we’ll see you there!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s