Redemption

Is there a race that you have a love/hate relationship with?

I do. It’s the Ulster County Duathlon.

The Ulster County Triathlon/Duathlon was my first ever multi-sport race in 2010. It was back when I did not even own my own bike, nonetheless actually ride a bike. But, I thought it would be fun. I remember showing up at the race having no clue what to do–how to set up my bike–nor what the course was like. My mother was visiting at the time, and knowing she would be up early,I  gave her a call to see if she would come watch the race (in other words, I was scared out of my mind, and needed to borrow a watch to wear). The bike I borrowed was in okay condition, but I had numerous chain issues, and am pretty sure I had only ridden on it once before.  I finished it in a reasonable time, and despite the not-so-friendly course, embarked on this “journey” of multisport training. I loved it when it was over.

Finish of my first duathlon ever...Before I even knew they actually had triathlon shorts you could wear and not bike shorts...

Finish of my first duathlon ever…Before I even knew they actually had triathlon shorts you could wear and not bike shorts…

In 2011, I did the race again. Emotionally, it was the worst race I have ever completed (except for Mooseman). Now, looking back, I know why it was so miserable: lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and sheer exhaustion before you start a race is pretty much a recipe for disaster. It took me 43 minutes to run 3.5miles. I walked most of it. After the race, I could only beat myself up for the poor performance. I hate the course. I swore I would never do it again.

This year, I wanted to redeem myself. Prove to  myself that I could actually complete this race in a decent time (in other words, finish it in the time it took me the first year I did it). And redeem myself I did.

The course for the duathlon is tough in terms of sprint courses go. You start at the bottom of a hill, and the first mile is a sprint up the hill. Some athletes ran the mile a little over six minutes. I have no idea how that is possible, considering the fact you are running up. The bike is two 9-mile loops, with some rolling terrain. I think it might be the most difficult bike course out of the duathlons I have done in the area, plus the fact the transition area is at the bottom of the hill that you just ran down. (The bike course is also four miles longer than the other courses). The last run starts, again, at the bottom of the hill. Despite a decline, the majority of the first two miles of the 3.5mile out-and-back course is uphill. Sounds like fun, right? I’m pretty sure I complained about how much I hate this course half a dozen times with others.

I finished the race eight minutes faster than the first time I tried it. That may not seem very fast, but to me, that is an improvement…Where I found I improved most was on the runs, and for that I must admit it and thank Strava for keeping me running.  I finished the first mile in 7:42. May not seem fast, but considering I was sprinting up a hill, for me, that was awesome. Especially since I had a wire metal thing that decided to stick to the bottom of my running shoe mid-sprint and annoy the crap out of me (thankfully it fell off the shoe on its own).

Running back down to transition

Running back down to transition…And checking my watch.

The bike portion went okay. I think recent runs-then-bike rides on my days off helped my body become accustomed to riding right after running. There was one section where I was trying to pass another racer, who just would not give in. Finally, we reached a climb and I had to pass him. Of course, while doing so, he stated, “Maybe you need to clean your gears, sounds like shifting is a problem.” I responded, “Yup, probably.” As I sped up, I heard the guy exclaim, “You are making me look bad now!”

To that, I could not help but smile to myself and shout, “Sorry!”

Finishing!

Finishing!

I finished less than two minutes after the duathlon women’s first place winner. I could beat myself up for walking up the hills during the last run leg, or ask myself why I did not push myself more on the bike, but for the first time I decided to give myself a break from self criticism and say, “Good show, Mol. Good show.”

….And that is the best feeling in the world.

Second place overall for the Women's Duathlon

Second place overall for the Women’s Duathlon

A huge thank you to all of the race volunteers, law enforcement directing traffic, medical staff, and New York Triathlon organizers for a challenging but rewarding race.

And a big thanks to Mr. K.J.Young for being the best supporter out there, race swag thief, and official team photographer. 

Below is a link from a local newspaper regarding the race:

Area Athletes Score Top Honors at Healthy Ulster Triathlon, Duathlon

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