Sheryl Jesin

Race Recap – Orillia Duathlon


Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you are right. – Henry Ford

I participated in my first multisport event this past weekend – the Subaru Series Orillia Sprint Duathlon. My brother and one of his friends were participating in the event, and they convinced me to join them.

I have been cycling casually for about a month or so, with my rides averaging at 8-10km in length. Cycling has been a method of cross training and injury prevention for me as I am training for my second half-marathon, the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October. When my brother asked me to do the duathlon with him, I honestly wasn’t sure if I could do it. The duathlon consisted of a 2km run, followed by a 33km bike ride, ending with a 7km run. I knew that I could run a total of 9km easily, but the 33km bike ride scared me.

One week before the race, I decided to test myself on the bike. I rode 22km on a hilly route on a very hot and sunny day and I had no problem. I followed the ride with a quick 5min run, just to see how I felt running after a long ride. My legs were a bit wobbly at first, but the long ride gave me confidence that I could tackle the 33km ride at the duathlon.

So I prepared my body the week before the race by tapering. I only ran once and cycled once. I kept a strict gluten free and dairy free diet to avoid any GI problems during the race. I went to bed early. I drank tons of water. Although I hadn’t specifically trained for the event, I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

I was REALLY nervous the day before the race. I drove the run route and the bike route – they both seemed SO long and SO hilly! I contemplated backing out. My brother convinced me not to.

The morning of the race I woke up at 5am. Had my usual pre-race breakfast of Vegan Overnight Oats. Drove to the race (just a 20 min drive from our cottage) with my brother. When we got there, I felt very out of place! I was using my husband’s old mountain bike, and the vast majority of the athletes there (including my brother) had fancy schmancy road or triathlon bikes. There were a lot of VERY fit people there…in particular there were a lot of men!

The duathlon started and ended in Couchiching Park. The transition area is in a beautiful grassy area near the beach. The Orillia Triathlon was happening at the same time. One plus to this race is that in addition to portapotties, there were actual bathrooms, and the lineups were not crazy!

We found parking easily, and picked up our timing chips. We then were body marked. This all happened very quickly – no lineups. My brother helped me set up my bike and gear in transition.

My plan for my gear and nutrition/hydration was as follows:

1st run – hat, sunglasses, Amphipod Hydration belt (without bottles, just to hold my iPhone).

Bike – helmet, sunglasses, Camelbak, 2 Vega Sport Gels

2nd run – hat, sunglasses, hydration belt with two bottles filled with Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, one Vega Gel.

It was time to start the first run. There were 78 people signed up for the duathlon. Compared to my last two races which had thousands of people, this felt so tiny.

The first run was 2km. It was fine! It was an out and back and there was even an aid station that we passed twice. I took some water, even though I didn’t really need it.

My time for the first run was 13:09. I could have gone faster, but was worried about the bike ride and wanted my legs to feel fresh.

After the first run, we entered the transition area to start the bike. My T1 time was REALLY slow – 3:18. I need to work on this! All I did was take off my hat, put on my helmet, take off my hydration belt, move my phone into my Camelbak, put on the Camelbak. There was no need for this to take over 3 minutes.

Then it was time for the bike ride, which took me 1 hour and 49 mins. The ride took us out of Orillia, across Hwy 11, and then through some lovely country roads. There were a lot of hills, and little shade. I passed a total of 2 people during the bike ride, and many many people passed me.

I spent most of the ride alone. 1 hour and 49 minutes alone, without any music (it was prohibited during the race, for safety reasons that I can understand). I didn’t feel like I was in a race. I felt like I was going for a very long bike ride by myself. The first half or so went by pretty quickly. The second half felt long. My legs were tired, and there were a lot of hills. Then I reminded myself that this wasn’t supposed to be easy. If I wanted to have a relaxing morning, then I shouldn’t have signed up for the race. I signed up for the race because I wanted to challenge myself.

I was pretty happy once it was time to get off the bike. I was proud of myself for completing 33km, my longest ride ever!

When I got off the bike, my legs felt like wooden blocks. I tried to run my bike into transition but they just couldn’t move quickly. My parents, Jake, and my sons came to watch the end of the race and they saw me in between the bike and the run. It was fun to see then. However, it was also a bit disheartening because when I was finishing the bike, many people (including my brother and his friend) had finished the whole race.

Nevertheless, I racked my bike, took off my helmet and CamelBak, put on my hydration belt and began my run. My second transition time was just over two minutes.

The second run was 7km, an out an back, with 3 aid stations that you pass 2 times each. There were some very minor uphills, some shade and a lot of hot sun. I drank a cup of water at each aid station and also dumped a cup each time on my head to cool down.

I was tired by the second run but still ran most of the way, with some walking during the aid stations. The 7k took me 50:41. I was hot, tired and thrilled when I crossed the finish line.

The whole race took me 2 hrs and 58 minutes. I came in 76th out of 78 participants. I note the numbers even though they are unimportant to me. I am proud of myself for completing the race. I am proud of myself for going way out of my comfort zone and completing something that was both challenging and frightening.

Have I been bitten by the multisport bug? Definitely yes. I want to become a competent swimmer and participate in a triathlon next summer. Perhaps a half ironman is in my not so distant future…

Muskoka 70.3 2013…

anyone want to join me????


2 thoughts on “Race Recap – Orillia Duathlon

  1. I want to do Muskoka 70.3, was going to do it this year but figured I didn’t have the time in the saddle
    Good job on your race… Excellent job!

  2. Congrats! You know, I just saw a cargo bike (just like mine) on Craigslist… wanna join me on the ride to school? If you can ride a child-laden cargo bike, a regular old mountain bike is nothing.

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