Sunday, March 25, 2012

Doing the Du

I've competed in a decent variety of races over the years: everything from 5K's to marathons distance-wise with a few triathlons sprinkled in to mix things up.

I've also signed up for stuff for reasons that went beyond traditional competitive motives. I did the Monster Dash as an excuse to see some outlandish Halloween costumes and did the Warrior Dash last year because the obstacle course sounded fun and registration came with a free beer (to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what my time or placing was in either of those events, nor do I really care). Likewise, I signed up for RAGBRAI two years ago instead of triathlons because I was burned out with competing and wanted to do something different.

This spring, I'll be breaking new ground again when I race in my first duathlon on April 28 in Cannon Falls. I juuuuussst signed up for it today after spending the last 6 weeks or so trying to talk myself into it (sadly, the registration did not come with free beer). It's a 2-mile run, 14-mile bike and 3-mile run, in that order. I picked this race in particular for three reasons: 1.) It's relatively cheap, 2.) It's fairly close to Faribault and 3.) The distances seem pretty easy.

It's a little weird that it's taken me this long to sign up for a duathon. After all, the skills required for it fit me pretty well. Swimming has always been my weakest event in triathlons, and by weakest, I mean slow to the point of being embarrassing. I've never been much of a swimmer and, if given the choice, I'd go biking everyday, run every other day and let my swimming gear collect dust in the closet.

If anything, it's a wonder why I competed in five triathlons and didn't think to myself: "Wait, if I did a duathlon I wouldn't have to swim. That sounds much better!"

Truthfully, disinterest would be the biggest reason why it took me so long to come to that realization. I haven't done a multi-sport event in almost three years, instead opting to focus on road races (my ill-fated attempt to qualify for Boston's Marathon) and using my bike for more adventurous endeavors (RAGBRAI and my Kato-to-Lanesboro trip, to name a couple).

I didn't really have an interest in doing another tri unless it involved racing with friends or doing a relay with friends. It was getting boring doing the training by myself and I reached a point where I knew I could complete triathlons and do fairly well in them. I also had no interest in building up to something like a full Ironman (too much time commitment required for the training).

Really, I just wasn't excited about multi-sport events anymore. To quote B.B. King: "The thrill is gone."

It wasn't until I got an indoor bike trainer for Christmas (again, thanks mom) that I started thinking about competing again. With each passing workout on the trainer, I began to get that old feeling running through my head: the curiosity of how well I'd do if I signed up for a race. After that, it was only a matter of time before I got over the metaphorical hump and actually registered for something.

Signing up for a race is always a big step. It means you've advanced beyond the "talking about it" phase and moved into the "crap, I should probably train for this" phase. You've committed yourself financially to it, so you might as well get your money's worth and commit yourself physically to it.

To be honest, I have no idea how the race is going to go. There are a lot of amazing athletes in those races and I certainly won't be at an advantage equipment-wise (remember, I'm still rolling with an $85 road bike from the '80's, complete with all-steel frame).

But at the very least, I'm excited for it. Considering I haven't been excited for multi-sport events in a long time, that's saying something.

Here's to hoping for some good training rides in the coming weeks!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a challenging event to start out the spring/summer. Best of luck, I'll be following the race!