It’s that time again! Duathlon season in the Hudson Valley (semi) officially started this past weekend in West Hurley with the Trooper Duathlon, a duathlon dedicated to three New York State Troopers who lost their lives in the line of fire. It is different than other New York State Triathlon series event because it is a time of reflection of those who perished, and a time to really reflect on how fragile life is. Before I begin, I would like to thank all of you New York State Troopers, Police, and other emergency responders for everything you do. You are the reason we are safe today, and also a big reason to why I drive my car within 5 miles per hour of the speed limit.
After competing in the duathlon as a team last year, and wanting to continue the legacy of the Valley Girls, at first I was on a quest to find a female I know in the Hudson Valley area who would enjoy being on the team with me. Little did I know, there are not that many people I am aquainted with who were willing or able to do this race. (My teammate from last year was out of town).
Then I thought about Kevin’s sister, Meg, who is a Collegiate Cross Country coach. Tada! A runner! When asked if she would do it with me, she said yes!
Now, all you internet readers, remember how a couple posts ago I said that Kevin had running in his genes? Running IS in his family. This girl is a running beast–in the positive sense of beast. You immediately know this when she is off doing her stretching.
Hardcore warm up and stretching
She finished the North Face Endurance Challenge 50mile race last year, which is, like the name, an endurance challenge. During her college running career, she ran in the NCAA Championships, and awarded a bunch of awesome titles, that you can read about here. Thank you, Vassar Athletics webpage for allowing me to stalk info on your coaches.
My stretching…Not sure what zone I am in.
Meg finished both two mile segments in about 13minutes each.
Having competed in this race twice before (last year with S.Z.B. and in 2011 as a one-woman team ), I failed to remember how absolutely horrible Dug Hill Road is. If you are unfamiliar with this road in West Hurley, thank your lucky stars, because unless you have a vehicle, or are being towed by something, you do not want to know it.
Face of determination…starting the bike
It is basically 3 1/2 miles of uphill. The first three miles are straight uphill. Okay, okay, the first couple hundred feet are a rolling incline. But then it goes up. And up. Even when you think you are at the top, it is still rolling in an upward direction. The first eleven miles are fine, and you can even build speed, boosting self confidence. On numerous occasions, as my lungs flamed (why? who knows), I found myself thinking, “Man, this is a piece of cake.” Come Dug Hill, all positive self-talk plummets. Inbetween labored breathing come grunts and groans. And bless John McGovern, who played his bagpipes half way up the hill. But, really? I love bagpipes, but in the middle of Dug Hill, when I am already spewing every curse word know to man, you decide to play the bagpipes? Who, who, who enjoys hearing bagpipes when they are near death trudging up a goddamn hill? It’s as if tricking you to think you are at the end of the bike course, when you still have miles to go.* We are in West Hurley, not riding into a Scottish sunset with the theme of Braveheart in the background.
Face of defeat by the hill, completely oblivious to troopers cheering me on
Hence, I forced myself to the finish, bronchospasming, with remenants of my breakfast inching up my throat. I felt that no rides this season have helped prepare me for this. To be honest, I’ve spent more time running this year than years in the past when biking has taken priority. Marathon “preparation,” i.e. running, has a hold of me, full grip. The only thing keeping me from walking up Dug Hill was knowing an athlete was waiting for me, so that she could start her last leg of the race. To my surprise, I beat my best time on the hill by one minute.
Meg (pink) looking strong
Meg finishing strong…(I’m not hurling to the side, I swear!)
Another differing aspect of the race than other races I have been to is the post-race food spread. A BBQ, salads, sweet foods, beverages…If I was not still feeling ill from the ride, I probably would have indulged in the amazing food.
Lo and behold, we took first place for the Women’s Relay Team. The Hudson Valley Girls did it again! (S.Z.B, you were missed)
First place Women’s Relay Team
A fellow mountain biker and incredible athlete asked me how my training was for the marathon, and if I felt prepared. I’m pretty sure I just stared at her, as my “training” for this marathon (in less than two weeks, mind you) has encompassed six mile runs and a couple 13 milers. She said my training should be “winding down” now…And, I guess if the last time I ran longer than six miles was the half marathon in April, then, yes, my training is winding down. To be fair, I have developed an even greater love of mountain biking, and so on days off, I’ve wanted to save leg strength for rides as well.
Basically, my training for the past couple weeks can be seen below, in the exact same sequence:
Wake up, inhale coffee, catch up on The Real Housewives, or other Hulu classics (What WAS Tamara thinking inviting Vicki to her gym?
Go for a run…Attempt to Strava the run, give up on Strava, and use Map My Run instead
Drink more coffee–usually iced, usually black
Go for a mountain bike ride, or road ride (I need to start spending more time on the road, as it is duathlon season)
Attempt to blog, but end up browsing potential races instead, then realize I have loads of errands to do
Meet up with Kevin and go for mountain bike ride #2 or walk (depending on my legs)
One would think that these upcoming races will be pieces of gluten-free cake, right?
Well, we will see….That is, if I survive this marathon.
*It was a nice touch, though. And, John McGovern is a triathlete wonder. In retrospect, it was pleasant having my attention diverted from the pain I was in.