Health & Fitness.

Heel & Crank…Revisited.

So! Today I did the Heel & Crank duathlon. This was the race I did last year as my first multi-sport and I was TERRIFIED. I was working packet pickup yesterday and said, “I’m totally excited about this race! Last year I was having nightmares for days but I’m excited this year!”

But then – of course – I had some kinks in my excitement. First? Donnie pointed out my back wheel was “off true” whatever that means. He showed me what it meant – my back wheel was wobbling HORRIBLY, but I still didn’t know what it meant. I hadn’t had any problems riding it, but I had been going slow and flat. He had me freaked out, encouraged me to have it looked at in the morning, and told me to be careful about going too fast. (HA!)

That was one thing I wasn’t planning on freaking out over. It’s my WORST FEAR to have bike problems on a ride somewhere. Flat tire, broken chain, whatever…I’m terrified of those things. To go into a race KNOWING I had a problem? Was not ideal.

ALSO! My allergies kicked into full force yesterday. I didn’t sleep well last night and I sneezed 100 million times before the race. So! I was worried about that too!

But…I put my best face on and decided I’d run the first 3-miles as strong as possible (without overdoing it) so that I could walk my bike in if it broke down and still have time before the cutoff.

(Yes. I asked if I could do the course walking if my bike broke down. Evidently I could! And it would still count!)

As always – thanks to Gregg Gelmis for the photos!

I did my first 3-miles in 25:19…and felt great. I pushed hard but not too hard to not have anything for the bike. I love the bike run (sorry for the earlier error – duh) course on this race because it’s a dirt road/trail so it’s soft but it’s not treacherous like a trail run. I really felt great after that run, a good chunk of it is in the shade and it’s just gorgeous so I filled up my spirit on running joy to last me through the cycling terror.

I ran into transition and took a few deep breaths. I knew I needed to get centered before getting on the bike. No matter how much better I am than last year? It still terrifies me to ride it. Also, I hate the “mounting” part of these races because I do NOT function well under pressure. I try to pull off to the side and take my time because if I rush I end up wrecking and I’m terrified of causing someone else to wreck. So, I found a nice spot and took my time. I eased into the ride which is the only way I can do it without having a full-blown anxiety attack before I’ve made my first turn.

I got going smoothly on the bike and braced for all of the passing that would occur. Even on my best days I’m not comfortable on the bike, so I get passed. Add in a wobbly back wheel and I knew it would just be wave after wave. And it was. Non-stop supply of people saying, “On your left!” to which I always replied, “Thank you!” because I really appreciate when they let me know they’re passing me. I am a nervous wreck on the bike and when I get startled I freak out, so a warning is much appreciated. I tried my best to enjoy the gorgeous course and the perfect weather. I spotted my daughter with a friend as a course sentry at mile 8.5 and used their cheers to fuel my tank.

As always – thanks to Gregg Gelmis for the photos!

I counted down the miles one at a time, considering each one passed without a major malfunction on my bike, a huge victory. The wobbling was TERRIFYING on the downhills. I kept my brakes clamped down to try to maintain control but MAN, that back wheel was INSANE. On the flats and uphill though? I felt great. I did even pass a few people, maybe 1 cyclist for every 10 that passed me. As I made it past the 10-mile mark I knew I’d be fine because I could walk the bike 3 miles and still make any cutoff if I had too. I rolled in the last 3 miles for a grand total of bike time of 53:28. That’s 18 minutes faster than last year! I took the last turn towards transition and hollered to the photographer, “I HATE TURNING!”

(I do hate turning. Why can’t every ride be straight forever?)

I made it too transition and was EXHAUSTED. I grabbed my Gu and my water bottle and headed out. I got to the water table outside of transition and decided I needed a Gatorade. With the Gu and the Gatorade I started feeling ready to KILL THE THING DEAD IN THE FACE.

I did my second 3 miles 5 seconds faster than my first. I did it in 25:14! I felt GREAT. I was definitely exhausted, but I was SO happy to have that bike ride over and done with that I just wanted to get that 3 miles knocked out as fast as possible. And I did! 25:14 is a great 3-mile time for me!

I’m never going to podium at big races. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be proud of my improvements. Today was beautiful. The race was perfect in every way. Gorgeous course, beautiful weather, tons of joyful volunteers and well-stocked aid tables. I would have liked a non-wobbly bike, but other than that? The day was brilliant. Fantabulous. Awesometastic.

Much better than last year when I wanted to cry I was so anxious and terrified.

As always – thanks to Gregg Gelmis for the photos!

I hope to do one triathlon this season, if time permits, but if I don’t? If the only multi-sport I do this season is that duathlon from today? I will be beyond happy with that. I hope to do one or two more, but if it just doesn’t work out, I’ll be happy carrying today through the entire summer as my major multi-sport success of the year.

2 thoughts on “Heel & Crank…Revisited.”

  1. Greatest finish line photo EVER! I’m going to copy you – that is so great. I love reading your race recaps.

  2. Thanks so much for all your wonderful enthusiasm & spirit. I really hate I had to end up setting out H&C and BridgeSteet. Will definitely look forward to next year!!!

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