The structure of the race was 1.5 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run. (View the course map.) Since it was my first duathlon, and it was at Disneyland (!!!), my overall goal for the race was just to have fun. I had a general idea that I wanted to finish under 1 hour and 30 minutes. That seemed achievable based on my training. But I didn’t have any larger “reach” goals in my mind.
1.5 mile run
I started off at my “regular” race pace around 10 min/mile or a little under. Since I started right at the front of the corral, I was getting passed left and right at the start. There was a girl in my corral dressed as Alice in Wonderland (I think). She was the only one I saw in costume, although there were some people with princess accessories. Now I wish I had thought to dress up, but at the time I was just focused on all the details of the race itself. I used “Alice” to pace myself for the first mile or so before I finally passed her.
From Main Street, the course took us behind the castle then wound around most of Disneyland Park. After seeing me off at the start, Troy walked over to the park exit to snap this photo of me (in the pink skirt). After leaving the park we ran down the street back to the transition area.
I wore my Garmin for the race. It was helpful to get a general idea of my pace during the race, but I didn’t do a great job hitting the buttons right at the timing mats. So I’ll go with my times from the official results…
Run 1 – 14:29 (9:39 pace) – rank 205/560 finishers
Looking back, it was only 1.5 miles and I probably should have pushed myself to run faster. But that day I was more concerned about not tiring myself out with a 10 mile bike ride still to come. Oh, well. It will be something to work on for the next race.
I ran into transition and continued to jog over to my bike rack while adjusting my Garmin. When I run I like to wear it with the face on the underside of my wrist, but when I bike I wear it like a regular watch. The first and most important step was to put on my helmet. I decided to pass on my sunglasses because it was still early and not that bright out. I took a few gulps of water, un-racked my bike, and I was off.
Transition 1 – 1:32
10 mile bike
We had to walk/run our bikes out of the transition area before getting on. There was quite a crowd and I got stuck behind a lady who was having trouble clipping into her pedals. That was frustrating, but once I was finally able to start riding I had a blast. It was awesome zooming along so fast on the bike (as compared to my running speed).
I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that this was definitely a great race for beginners. I saw all sorts of bikes from full suspension mountain bikes to fancy racing bikes with covered wheels.
Before the race one of my biggest concerns was the no drafting rule. I’d never been out riding with a group of people and had no idea what to expect. But it turned out that I had worried for nothing. Some of the roads were closed for traffic, and those that weren’t had at least 2-3 lanes blocked off for us. With about 600 participants, there was always someone near me or at least within eyesight during the bike ride. But it wasn’t so many people that the roads were crowded. There was plenty of room for all of us to spread out across the road.
No one was really following the rule to ride on the right, and I have to admit I didn’t either. At first I tried to swerve back and forth as I passed people (yes, I was actually speedy enough to pass some people!), but then I gave up and just sort of stayed to the middle of the road.
The course was two loops around the parks and through the nearby streets of Anaheim. It was mostly flat except for a small dip where the road went under Downtown Disney and a larger hill up an overpass to cross I-5. The first time around I forgot how to shift correctly and struggled a bit climbing uphill. I was glad that there were two laps so I had a chance to do everything right the second time.
After the first lap I pulled out my GU Chomps and ate four… yummy! Troy took this photo of me starting out on my second lap of the course.
I have no idea where this official photo was taken. I look very focused. I feel as though there’s something wrong with my form on the bike, but I don’t know exactly what it is that seems off.
After 9 miles I was starting to get tired but kept telling myself “just keep going… you’re almost done… less than 5 minutes to go”. Even though I hadn’t planned on it, I decided to take two more GU Chomps just for the heck of it. Finally I reached the turn in from the road to the transition area and slowed down in anticipation, but it turned out I wasn’t quite done yet.
I hadn’t looked at the course map closely enough and assumed that we would enter transition from the front and exit from the back, just like the first time after the run. That way everyone would have almost the same distance to cover in transition. Instead we did a big loop around the parking lot and entered the transition area from the back. That ended up working nicely for me since my assigned bike rack was third from the back.
Bike – 42:20 (14.1 mph) – rank 283/560 finishers
I was happy to see Troy waiting for me when I got back to the transition area, and it was a good thing he was there. I racked my bike and grabbed my water bottle, ready to take off for the final run. I was so eager to get going that I forgot something very important… I almost ran out of transition with my bike helmet still on! Luckily before I got too far Troy yelled at me to take it off. Whew, that would have been embarassing.
Transition 2 – 00:44
2 mile 1.6 mile run
As we ran out of transition, there were volunteers handing out packs of Sport Beans. I didn’t take any since I had already fueled up with my GU Chomps. For this segment we ran over to California Adventure, through the park, then back to the finish line which was set up just in front of the transition area.
My legs felt heavy coming off the bike, but I knew that was normal since I experienced the same feeling during my brick workouts. It seemed like I was moving in slow motion, but I was actually going at a pretty decent pace. I passed quite a walkers. And I even managed to smile for the photographer!
It was neat running through California Adventure. It was actually my first time ever in the park. Hmmm, maybe the walkers had the right idea after all – a slower pace means more time to enjoy the sights and theming. The only thing that I really remember seeing was the Hyperion Theater where the Aladdin stage show plays.
As we left the park and ran back up the road to the finish, I remember looking at my Garmin and thinking we still had about 1/2 mile to go. Then out of nowhere I realized I had reached the finish chute. Even though it was a bit too late to matter, I made a last minute sprint to the finish.
Run 2 – 15:41 (9:48 pace) – rank 190/560 finishers
I’m pretty sure the race results were adjusted to take into account the shortened course, which is how I figured that it was 1.6 miles instead of 2.
I was so thrilled to have finished my first duathlon. My overall time was 1:14:48, well within my goal. (Although it would have been closer to 1:20:00 if the second run had been the full distance.) It felt like I had been out on the course for much longer than that, probably because of the distance we’d covered. A one hour bike ride always seems to feel longer than a one hour run.
The low point of the event was the crappy medal. I wasn’t expecting anything along the lines of a Disney or Rock ‘n’ Roll medal. But I would have appreciated something more than this to mark my achievement.
Afterward Troy and I stuck around awhile and I snacked on the various refreshments – oranges, pretzels, and animal crackers among other stuff. Helzberg Diamonds was one of the race sponsors, and periodically they would announce giveaway winners. I didn’t win any diamonds, but my name did get called for a prize from another race sponsor – MassMutual Financial Group. I got a Vera Bradley bag and some random books about female athletes and financial planning. It was a nice gift to wrap up the morning.
So with that, it was time to leave and head back home to Phoenix. It was a short, but very fun trip. In regards to the race, I think it was a good choice for my first duathlon. If I lived closer to Anaheim I might consider doing it again, but as of now I don’t have any plans to repeat it. I do plan to keep doing duathlons though. There’s one nice and close in North Scottsdale on October 18…