Monday, June 07, 2010


I'll be the first to tell you that the time you see up there is pretty meaningless since this was a duathlon and, from what I can gather, the distance and/or events included in a duathlon are consistently inconsistent from one to the next.

Here I thought they'd be all consistent like with running where almost all races fall neatly into the 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon (13.1M) and marathon (26.2M) categories, but no. In fact, even the next duathlon hosted by this same group in the fall is a different distance. So, there's no comparing times from this year's Mermaid Duathlon Alameda to, say, this fall's Mermaid Duathlon Santa Cruz because LO their bike distance is different. Whoops.

And sometimes duathlons aren't even called duathlons. Sometimes they're called "Splash and Dash" because they're swimming and running instead of cycling and running and there's no cycling word that rhymes with "run" or "dash" I guess. Though, "Bike and Hike" could work, right? Anyway, I'm not here to invent new multisport events.

No, I'm here to tell you that, despite my predictions, I did not kill anyone as a result of my improper bike handling or use of clip-in pedals.

So proper.

I also didn't make a public shame of myself so if you're here only to see a news clip of me being forcibly hauled off the bike course for taking out an entire wave of racers single-handedly, you can leave now and know you're not missing any gory details. There was zero bloodshed (on my part) at this event. Sorry, sados!

Feigning chaos. There was none.

There were other fun things though! Like lots of different sized participant bibs coordinators starting races without the use of starting guns or buckets!

Yes, I said blue buckets. Or, more specifically, Blue Bucket.

See Donk! That's for you!

See, my dear friend Kelli, who had a pivotal role in me actually deciding to sign up for this too-soon event, shared some multisport advice she'd received prior to her half ironman - get a bucket.

Like, a smallish one that can hold your bike shoes and a small towel and your helmet and gloves, if you're into that kind of thing. And then, when you get to the transition zone and you're all setting up your crap on your little towel, turn the bucket over and set it at the end of the towel so that you can sit on it to change your shoes when you are coming in from the run and going out on the bike and vice versa.

This was cool even though it looks like I'm taking a shit right there. I was not.


Now, I will admit I had my hesitations about showing up with all my shit in a bucket like some sort of toddler going out to make sand castles, but I thought through the process and determined that even if no one else had a bucket, at least one person would see me sitting on it while easily changing shoes without having to balance on one fatigued leg to do so, and would be thusly jealous and/or impressed with my multisport savvy.

And, aside from the one girl I saw carrying her shit in an old milk crate, there weren't any bucket sightings on my watch. So, it's possible that everyone thought I was Some Douchebag With a Bucket, but I felt really smart or at least smarter than I would have felt if I'd foregone the bucket and then taken out the bike rack while I tried to balance and put on shoes. Because you know I would have fallen and knocked over someone's $6000 Tri bike or something.

Anyway, it worked out, the bucket. Thanks Donk!

Also on the It Worked Out Even Though I Doubted It List: the clip-in pedals and bike shoes.

I think I smiled like a horse's ass the whole time because I was happy not to kill anyone.

So, you know that I was originally planning to do the bike portion of this race with my heavy platform pedals and running shoes. And you also know that Bubba got wind of that idea and was found five minutes later in the garage, changing out my platform pedals for the clip-ins. And that he shamed me into using them, "because why else did we buy them if you're not going to use them in a race. Come on."

And, really, had I ignored him and used my old heavy pedals and running shoes? I'd have been hating my life.

I'll just say it now, so that it's out there in Official Internet Land: the pedals and shoes made a difference. Not one I can substantiate with comparison times or anything, but definitely one I felt when I was able to crank on the pedals and get the benefit of continuous momentum only possible when you can push and pull the pedals because your feet are attached to them.

Pedals + Shoes = Score. Thanks, Bubb.

And while I didn't necessarily doubt the bib belt apparatus in theory, I did sort of doubt how much I *needed* one for this race. But then I realized it was only a few bucks and I was mid-shopping spree at REI, so why not just get one and try it out and I didn't regret it.

It was nice not to have to safety pin my bib to my top all straight or whatever and then, when I got on and off the bike, it was easy to turn from front to back and vice versa per the rules even though I was the only one following them.

For anyone wondering which socks I settled on - well, I went with a random pair of cushioned running socks that don't give me blisters if I keep the mileage in the single digits. They're not cute like the bee ones or all Company Man like the branded store ones, but they also don't give me blisters while they DO go up over my bony ankles and therefore got my vote for the race.

And let's just say that I didn't need any more distraction going into my already wild outfit of neon green top, spandex shorts, red headband, blue shoes and orange bike. Yikes.

So, what about the race itself? SO FUN.

Which is probably what I should have started this whole post with, but we all know how involved I get with color coordinating and obsessing over things like buckets and crashing, so sorry.

The first thing Bubba asked me when I crossed the finish line (after my congratulatory hug and kiss even though I was all sweaty and nast) was whether I'd do one again and my immediate answer was something like, "Hell yeah that was fun!", and I wasn't even lying.

As it turns out, for short attention span people like myself, multisport events are a marked improvement on single sport ones. Like, during each of my half marathons I've had moments where I was thinking, "Really? Are we still running? This is boring. I want to do something else." No matter that, "something else", was really mental code for "get a beer and sit down", but whatever.

At no point in this race did I think, "Gee, am I still running/biking? I'm bored." because as soon as I might think such a thing, it would be time to run back to transition or get off the rapist bike seat to run again or WHOOPSY we're all finished here.

Best ever!

And to be all This Is A Race Report, for those of you who like that kind of thing, here you go:

Run 1: 13:36, Pace: 9:04
This was a 1.5 mile run that started when the tiny race coordinator girl yelled, "Ready, Set, GO!" without the help of a bullhorn. Sort of anti-climatic and "We're really more interested in the triathlon" of them, but it was fun in a casual kind of way and I took off with my 100 other duathlete friends. 

My pace for this short leg was right at 9 minutes, though, had I known how much gas I'd have in reserve, I would have pushed it harder and locked down a pace in the 8s. Fast, fun and it was so foggy I could feel the drizzle. Nice.

Transition 1 (T1): 02:54
I told Bubba and anyone who'd listen that I was going to take it slow and easy in the transitions so that no one got hurt and TEE DAH, mission accomplished. Also, I felt vaguely superior as I swiftly scooted the bucket under my bum and easily swapped shoes, snapped on my helmet, ripped on my gloves and headed out of T1.

Go Bucket!
Bike: 46:44, Rate: 15.4 (I don't know what this means)
So, if I felt like a rookie loser before this event, the bike portion alone helped boost my ego a little since, as I was exiting T1 and mounting my bike, the woman behind me was folding up her pink raincoat and placing it ever so carefully into the handlebar basket of her fixed gear cruiser.

Extreme Athlete Alert.

Getting out onto the ocean view course helped a bit more, since it was flat and fast and had a fun turn that I could pedal into and get that fun WHOOSHing effect from as I passed the cops standing guard on the course. 

There wasn't much to report about the course itself, since it was only 12 miles of flat travel, but there were a few chunky parts that gave my jawbone a good rattle and I got to entertain myself by TEE DAH passing some people and working through the gears that are smooth as smooth thanks to the recent tune up. 

Thanks, funny German! I won't embarrass you!

When I was reading the race material and they were all, "When passing bikers, it is customary to call out 'Left' to alert other cyclists of your intentions." I thought, "Yeah, well, that's nice. I'm not going to be passing anyone." And then I totally did. Pass people, that is. Lots of them! And not all of them were riding purple cruisers so shuttup.

Transition 2 (T2): 02:35
This was where I was really happy to have the bucket because my legs were noodley from the bike. Even though I could have pushed harder and been noodley-er, I was still happy to sit on the bucket for a minute to change shoes and then stand around like a retard looking for Bubba to take my picture. 

I told you - I was taking it easy. 

Run 2: 24:54
I took off out of T2 right behind another gal, which didn't bother me until she decided she was going to slow down so we could chat.

Folks - I don't run and chat. I find it extremely annoying. To talk while running AND to hear other people talking while they're running. I've covered this before.

Anyway, this woman wanted to talk and I didn't want to run faster to ditch her because my legs were noodley like I said, so we talked for about a mile or so about her running the Paris marathon and some other stuff I can't remember and I'll admit, it wasn't horrible. I mean, I annoyed myself the whole time because it's hard to get out a full sentence when your legs are all noodley and you're still trying to keep your pace in the 9s, but I did find that this first mile of the last leg went far faster than the second mile and a half that I endured on my own after handing this gal off to another runner at the water stop.

And then I hit the finish line and Bubba took me out for brunch.

Race Booze.

OK, so that's not a very detailed race report, but it seems you're all more curious about what kind of post-race sodium boost I pair with a duathlon rather than a run, so I've decided we'll move on here to those more important things.

For the duathlon, I had my famous and usually-reserved-for-after-the-race Race Fries on Saturday, as my pre-race sodium boost (the race coordinator said to have salt! Really.) and then for my post-race sodium, I had pulled pork over grits and a huge Bloody Mary for brunch which I think really caps off the whole sodium situation.

I'm still bloated from this. And it was so worth it.

In sum, Running = Race Fries and Duathlon = Booze + Pork.

I feel like that makes total sense.


  1. Yay! I'm glad you didn't die. And I love your blue bucket. Is it bad that I carry a bucket in my van because I always seem to need it as soon as I take it out? AND it does make an excellent potty seat for two year olds. Handy.

    I think we should experiment with race booze ON the bike.

    And by "we" I mean you. ;)

  2. Woo-hoo!!! Congrats to you for not killing anyone!

    I do love the bucket idea. Kelli is a smarty.

  3. Yay, Finny! You are an Official Multi-Sport Athlete. Impressive.

    P.S. I really want your post-race brunch. Not the race itself, just the brunch following it.

  4. Congratulations and I'm glad to hear you also had fun. I think there are a lot of good tips here for me to consider for my first real race in August (bucket and so on) although my whole thing will not include the kind of stuff you've been doing. But it's helpful for me anyway, especially the bib number thing.

  5. You're so adorable! I love all the pictures. And it was totally worth waiting around so Bubba could get them.

    And your pre and post race food sounds so yummy, well, except for the bloody marys. Barf. But I think I'm alone in that assessment.

    I was reading a running website on Monday (once again, craziness, and I believe you're to blame) and someone was talking about burning calories and eating food and weight loss and said something along the lines of no one would exercise just so they could eat more high calorie foods. They are wrong because the idea of your race foods is the only reason I ever exercise.

  6. that bucket idea is genius, and I'm totally stealing it for my first sprint tri in August! Congrats, and thanks!

  7. How is it that I am so late to this post? THE BUCKET WORKED! And you totally rocked that race. I knew you would. So proud!!

  8. Sara - I wonder if the race coordinators check water bottles for, um, things other than water...

    lera - Total smartie! I mean, if I were really cracking and trying to nail down a super fast time, I might try to work on the shoes already in the pedals thing, but I'm pretty sure I'd kill myself, so for now, the bucket is ideal.

    Kris - I wish there were more multisport events here that didn't involve swimming, but that's OK. I'll hold out for the next run/bike/run. Meanwhile, I'll perfect the post-race brunch. SUPER GOOD.

    Junie - I love the bib belt - super helpful. I think I'll actually use this in future road races since pinning the thing to my top is a pain in the ass.

    Wendy - I can't believe that I have influenced someone else into running. That is craziness. But, I'm proud of us regardless. Look at us! Running around!

    Dana - Steal it up, girl! We're going to revolutionize multisport with the bucket. :)

    Kell - I'm telling you, friend, you're revolutionizing the sports world. WOO!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.