Woodson YMCA Duathlon Race Recap

I realized when I was looking over the race preview that I wrote for this event, that I didn’t include any goals for the race!  How can I possibly go into a race with no goals?

Well, I had goals, but I just forgot to post them for the masses to see (all three of you who are reading this!).

My initial goal was to finish in under 2 hours total.  I also had a stretch goal of finishing the bike portion in under an hour.  I managed one of the two.

Tim and I left our house before 6:00 a.m. to head over to Wausau for the race.  (Thanks for waking up early and hanging out with the boys, grandma!)  The bikes actually both fit in the back of Tim’s jeep, which is great because I hate messing with the bike rack.  I never feel like it is secure.

The weather was cool and overcast and there were going to be some intermittent showers throughout the morning.  Not exactly perfect racing weather.  I don’t mind running in the rain, but riding my bike in the rain makes me nervous.  I feel like I could easily slip on wet pavement and end up on the ground.

We got to the YMCA in plenty of time to pick up our race packets and get our bikes set up in the transition area.  And, of course, visit the bathroom.  I love that the transition area was set up next to the parking lot of the YMCA because it meant that we were really close to real bathrooms and didn’t have to use any porta potties.  Now that I think about it, I don’t even think there were any porta potties!


This was a relatively small race.  There were 116 individual finishers and 8 relay teams.  The race had a very encouraging vibe.  It was obvious that many of the participants knew each other from other events or from group rides.  There was also a huge variety in the ability level of the participants.  There were people with there several thousand dollar triathlon bikes wearing their singlets with the logos of their sponsors.  There were also a lot of people who appeared to be trying this for the first time, riding a relatively old mountain bike.  I love that there are events that also people from all parts of the fitness spectrum to be involved.

The weather was cool and overcast.  It had sprinkled a bit as we were driving to the event and more rain was predicted.  Just as we were getting ready for the pre-race announcements, it started raining again.  It didn’t last too long, but it did sprinkle on and off throughout the race.

I realized as I was setting up our transition area, that I had left our water bottles at home.  So, I’m glad that it wasn’t too warm.  I knew that there would be a water stop on each of the run sections, I was just worried about the bike portion.  Seventeen miles is a long way to go without some water.

After the announcements, everyone lined up at the start line for the National Anthem and then we were off!  Literally, I don’t think there was more than about 3 seconds between the end of the song and the start of the race.  I think it caught most people by surprise. 

My Garmin actually worked (yippee!) but when I have it set in multi-sport mode, it doesn’t give me the current pace.  I need to work on the settings.  You’d think after having this watch for 3 1/2 years, that I would actually learn how to use it.

Since I didn’t have my pace, I didn’t really know how fast I was running the first run section.  When I got to the first mile marker in 7:49, I realized that I was probably going out a bit fast, but I thought I would try to hang on as long as possible.  That seems to be pattern lately!  Tim was able to hang with me for about the first two miles and then he started to fade.  I knew he would catch me at transition, because he didn’t need to change his shoes. 

I was overall very pleased with my run time.  It was supposed to be a 5K, but it measured a little short.  I am still amazed at how often that happens…especially on an out-and-back course.  That should be the easiest course to measure accurately.

I can’t believe that I held that fast of a pace for the three miles.  I kinda wish I had a 5K coming up to see what I could pull off for a PR.

I hate that I am so slow in transition.  I look at the split times of some of the other athletes and I’m amazed that they can get in and out in less than 30 seconds.  Then I realize that they are probably hard-core triathletes who clip their bike shoes into their pedals and then just slide their feet in once they get on their bikes.  I would most certainly fall down if I tried that.

I got my shoes changed and headed out on the bike.  The beginning of the bike course was pretty flat and I was pretty much on my own for the first couple miles.  I saw a guy ahead of me and I tried to catch him.  I finally got ahead of him and within half a mile he passed me again!  I worked for a few miles to try to pass him and finally did.  Within a minute or so, he was ahead of me again.  I never saw him after that.

Biking is definitely a weakness for me.  I only managed to pass 4 people on the entire 17+ mile bike course.  And I got passed by many more than that!  I just can’t seem to get my legs going fast enough.  The hills may have had something to do with that. 

I had hoped to be able to finish under two hours, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  I’m pretty happy with the 16.8 mph average speed.  When I go out for my ‘training’ rides, I usually average around 15 mph. 

When I came in for the second transition, I had a very hard time getting my shoes changed.  Not only were my legs like jelly, but I couldn’t get my fingers to work when I was tying my shoes.  My hands were so used to the death-grip on my handle bars that they started shaking when I wanted them to work.

The second run was less than two miles and my goal was to just give it everything that my legs could handle.  I still can’t get over how awkwardly my legs move after the bike.  They just don’t seem to be responding to the commands from my brain.  I always feel like I am standing still.  But, because my legs are used to the rapid turnover from the bike, I end up running faster than I think I am.

As I was heading out of transition, I saw my friend Penni coming in.  We have done a couple duathlons and we always seem to finish right next to each other in the standings.  And we are in the same age group.  I believe she is also doing the other two events in the Central Wisconsin Duathlon Triple Crown, so I know we will get to race against each other again.

The second run course ran around a subdivision.  There was a short out-and-back, with a water stop that I was very grateful for, and then we finished by running around the block and then back to the finish line.

As I was heading toward the finish line, I saw Tim heading out to do the second run.  He didn’t look like he was having much fun.

I tried so hard to finish strong, but my legs were pretty much spent.  I think it is interesting that my second run had a faster average speed than the first one.

I race in a very popular age group.  I placed 13th overall for women, and 8th in the 30-39 age group.  What does that mean?  In the 19 and under, I would have taken first.  In the 20-29, I would have taken 2nd.  In the 40-49, I would have taken 4th.  In the 50-59, I would have 2nd.  Even if there had been a 35-39 age group, I still would have ended up in 6th.  Now, the reality is that I don’t race to win.  I race against myself and I really enjoy pushing myself to see how my body responds.  But it can be a bit disheartening to do relatively well overall and see that it is your age division that dominates.  I hope I can continue to do well as I get older.


*Pretty course.  Even though the running sections were through a subdivision, you still felt like you were out in the country.  It might have had something to do with the horse farm right next to the YMCA.

*T-shirts.  While I’m not thrilled with grey, I love that it is a tech shirt and I do like the design.  Maybe next year, they can let us know if they are doing general or gender specific shirts so I can order the appropriate size.

*Transition area.  Everything was well organized.  There were enough volunteers and plenty of room.

*Post race food.  Chocolate milk, bagels with cream cheese, granola bars, bananas, nuts, water, juice.  I wish I would have gotten there before the muffins were gone.


*Could have used another water station on the bike course.  Maybe this is just because I forgot my water bottle at home.

*No race photos.  I saw a photographer at the finish line and thought that maybe there would be some pictures posted on the race website, but I guess that photographer was from a local newspaper.

*False advertising.  The course is quoted as being mostly flat.  Unless ‘flat’ means ‘constant rolling hills’ this description is not anywhere close to accurate.

*Inaccurate measurements.  If you have an out-and-back run course, there is really no excuse for getting the distance wrong.

Overall Grade: A

I would probably do this event again.  I’m not sure if I actually will, just because there are a lot of other events going on the same day.  But, I feel that the event was well organized and a lot of fun.  I look forward to the next two races in the series.


3 thoughts on “Woodson YMCA Duathlon Race Recap

  1. Pingback: Run, Bike, Unite Race Preview | (G)O'Donnell

  2. Pingback: Hub Cities Duathlon Race Preview | (G)O'Donnell

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