Newbie Again: Pre-NYC Duathlon
My first duathlon is tomorrow and first raw open powerlifting competition is in a week -- no pressure?
Tomorrow morning, I will be in Central Park like most of my races but this one will be different. I'm doing my first duathlon. Maybe you think that I said TRIATHLON; nope -- duathlon. For anyone who isn't familiar with the term, a duathlon is a multi sport event that's typically comprised of running and cycling. Despite my loving pseudonym Running Fat Chef, I am a neurotic little adventurer who enjoys a good athletic challenge that makes my uncoordinated rhythmless nation body twinkle. And if I didn't give myself enough pressure, I quite literally woke up one morning and expressed interest in power lifting "one day" to a power lifting bad ass by the name of Morit Summers. Within a few days, I woke up freshly signed up for the Iron Maiden's Raw Open with only seven weeks to train versus most people's ten to fourteen weeks. Maybe I forgot to mention that these events are literally six days apart AND I have about 10 - 20 road and trail running events left on my calendar. I think it's safe to say that I'm a bit impulsive and extreme. This admirable quality has me shitting bricks as I nurse myself in Vicks Vapor Rub and a bunch of CBD based products from iKOR Labs because I'm sick. It's only been a week since I finished the Hood to Coast Relay. No pressure -- no pressure at all kids. Since I'll be limited in my fitness after Sunday, I'll blurb about my ridiculous anxieties about power lifting on another day.
Why Did I Sign Up for a Duathlon and Things to Consider
âSince my duathlon is tomorrow, I'll start my rambling off here.
I've been itching to do a triathlon since coming to the realization that I love doing crazy ass fitness adventures and I could combine two of my favorite cardio based things in the world: Running and endurance cycling. Unfortunately my fear of the water is beyond ridiculous. Last year, I faced my fears of drowning in three feet of water -- joking but not joking. Through the skilled guidance of Miss Sharon, a woman I call The Water Whisperer, a blubbering sap like me is open to embracing my fears of going to a pool. Although I made a decent amount of progress, I am not proficient enough to comfortably move around 8 feet of water on my own and certainly not a lake nor ocean. My dreams of being a triathlete are being placed on the back burner for now. But if you lived in my brain for 72 hours, you know that I haven't stopped thinking about it. I opted to scale it back a bit and looked into duathlons. Surely I cannot drown on land unless it's in the form of a water bottle or hydration bladder.
Completing a duathlon will help me be a stronger Pokemon - insert memories of 90s television war cries here - to take on the epic battle of triathlons. I searched for credible ones in New York City and stumbled across the New York City Triathlon organization. I saw a few events on their page, noting two events at Central Park and peered at my pretentious calendar intensely. The New York City Duathlon spoke to me more than any of the other events. It's 2.2 miles of running, 12 miles of cycling around Central Park and another 2.2 miles of running.
Thinking about running before and after cycling makes parts of pelvis scream in pain but not like the sound of my credit card screaming for help. Make no mistake -- if running costs drive you mad, duathlons and triathlons might make you want to have about four cups of coffee before talking to anyone. Thankfully I have a pretty decent Specialized Dolce II road bike that costed me a pretty penny after someone stole myhybrid Giant bike in Union Square. My Dolce II is a little bit on the heavier end for a road buddy but she also cost me around 700.00 USD and that's only because my neighborhood bike shop gave me a bit of a discount plus; they even threw in some stuff that was damaged and stolen from my hybrid Giant bike. Eventually I'll have to upgrade her to a stronger performance bike but that will not be happening any time soon. Feel free to donate to my broke cause because these things can run well over 1500.00 USD. It doesn't help that with owning a bike. it means you should have knowledge on how to change out a flat tire, bicycle laws for your city to getting it inspected once in a blue -- something that can run you from 50 - 100 bucks depending upon where you go.
And because cycling is just one layer of the duathlon, you have to cover the rest of the necessities. Along with a proper bike purchase, you might want to invest in padded bike underwear or shorts. Some people even sport a decent tri suit. If it was a touch cooler tomorrow, I'd wear this pretty dope one from R. Sport since they make stuff for a plus size gal like me. Instead, I'll probably layer up with some Superfit Hero shorts, some padded underwear that I picked up from Amazon like a year ago and wear my HOKA ONE ONE Rincon sneakers since they're a touch lighter than my Clifton 6s with the same amount of magic. I never made that leap over to bicycle clip ons but I'm taking baby steps.
If you're going to cruise around to go shopping to doing an event like this, you kinda need a helmet. And if you're going to do an event at all and didn't think it through in advance to volunteer for a shift for a free entry, you're shelling out a pretty penny that can range from 60 - 150.00 USD for these type of events. If you desire things like shiny bling, you might want to read the details on the website. This particular event provides a finisher medal but quite frankly, this only matters to me because it's my first.
Training for a Duathlon While Juggling
Thankfully I had about three or more months since I used my trigger finger to sign up for the 35th New York City Duathlon but my focus has been drastically divided by a sea of running events, traveling, speaking engagements, family life and power lifting. Exhaustion isn't the proper word to describe what my body physically felt and how many times my mind hit Ctrl+Alt+Del.
Here's the thing about any endurance event: You need that balance of proper fueling, training, rest and mental recovery. Whatever that is for you might be different for me. I can honestly say that I only mastered that formula three times maximum a week; the other four are drinking Tequila and Lime in Tijuana.
In hindsight, I wish I could've told myself to slow down just a bit. Being an athlete with moderate level anxiety, a sleuth of health issues and a chaotic schedule can be overwhelming. For years, I've been that person who function better with bursts of high stress situations and sprinkles of weekends off to sleep off the adrenaline hangover. Whether it's an ultrarunning event to a five miler, learn what makes you tick and the things that make you boom.
These last few months forced me to learn new layers about myself. As I stated several times, I love lists for my erratic brain so here it goes:
There's other things that were helpful that I don't need to apply to listacles like removing the pressures of social media. I drastically reduced how much I posted up my activity for the summer. It was starting to feel like a job and I didn't have any room for outsiders critiquing my form or pretending to be my therapist -- I actually have two coaches and a great talk therapist! I stopped recording a bulk of my runs on Strava for my mental health for a stint. It helps me not compare myself to my fitness buddies and to not hear from others to 'speed up.' I don't know their goals and they're not privy to all of my personal high fives or lows. Being candid with my running and power lifting coach was the best thing that I could've done. When there were days that I needed to mentally unfuck myself from burnout, I had a good talk from one or both of them. Without Coach Morit Summers and Coach Megan Roche, I would've abandoned everything without looking into ways to make any of my calendar happen.
T'was the Day Before the Duathlon
Aside from talking to you guys on this open diary, I am washing a fuckton of clothing because I have to be a productive human being AND I'm searching for tomorrow's look. It's helping me channel my nerves of possibly being DFL -- dead fucking last. Feel free to sub that term for freaking if you're not a laced potty mouth like me. Unlike most running events that I participate in, this event will be drastically smaller -- like a cap of 300 participants. I feel comfortable in saying that I'm scared but ready to see what I'm capable of doing.
Tonight, I'll be making about 20 empanadas for dinner, pairing it up with some rice and watching a good comedy special before going to sleep. I'll need to be at the event around 6:30 in the morning to pick up my bib, place my bicycle in the proper rack and line up for my 7:30 AM start. Similarly to how I trust my race day ritual in running, I'll be using the bathroom about four times and will need to wake up around 4AM. My family will probably hate me for about two hours because I'm going to get on their nerves - never intentionally - but more than anything, I'm going to have fun. The only thing that plagues me is this nagging cough that I picked up while flying back and forth from Portland, OR. I trust my body enough to listen to it if it asks me to slow down and I believe my training is great enough to push me through tomorrow. If all goes well, tomorrow I'll be a duathlete. I actually don't think that's a word and that's quite okay by me.
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Latoya Shauntay Snell
For my pretentious ass bio, check out the about me page but for anyone interested in who I really am, make me a good meal at your house and I'll tell you a dope ass story.
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