At our house, the weekend after the big turkey day is usually spent visiting with friends and family, watching football, and maybe raking some leaves. This year, however, we added in a new tradition- the Turkey Sandwich Duathlon. Some of my friends and I were chatting one night about the lack of duathlons in our area. We are part of a large women’s only running group and many of the ladies in the group like to bike and/or swim. We started talking about the overall lack of duathlon options in our area, which jump-started the idea: “Why don’t we just run our own self-supported duathlon in November?”. My friend quickly came up with the concept- a 12-mile bike out and then back, with a 10K run (at Turkey Run Park) sandwiched in between. And, voila, the Turkey Sandwich Duathlon was born! We settled on a start time and then put out the call for other ladies in our group to join us.
The morning of the race, the weather was great-a sunny 45 degrees with a slight breeze. We gathered at the trailhead start with a little chatter and bike check and then we were off! The 12-mile bike out to our transition area is mainly flat with a few smaller ascents and one larger descent. Our members broke up into packs of 2 or 3 and chatted as we made the ride out. One long, flat part of this route is called “The Strand”, personally one of my favorite parts of the park to run in, and we took in all of the beautiful scenery this portion of the ride had to offer as we made our way through.
At the transition area, everyone waited for the last rider to come in, we racked our bikes and then took off for the 10K portion in Turkey Run. This part of the course had the most elevation change and our legs were feeling it! I took off with the lead pack at a swift pace but ended up pulling back after the first major hill to a more comfortable pace. The sun was out and it started to get warm, so I took off my buff, gloves, and jacket to get more comfortable. At this point, I was running by myself and it was nice to have some quiet time in the sun, just running and enjoying the morning. At the 3 mile turnaround, I caught sight of the runners in front and back of me (thanks, hills) and made a detour to the Silo at the top of the hill–I climbed the silo and yelled out to my fellow runners below. The view was stunning! On the run back to the bike racks, I ran back with my husband and we saw several large deer. We both agreed it was a beautiful day to be out at the park.
Once back at the bike racks, we waited for all runners to come in, and then we jumped back on our bikes for the 12-mile return ride. At this point, my legs were getting tired and I wasn’t sure how I felt about the ride back! I reminded myself that it was mostly flat and I had done harder things and off we went. Little did I realize, when we were in the hills running, the wind picked up. I was glad I put my gloves back on before we started the windy ride back-it seemed we were riding with a cross-wind now. Then we hit the first larger ascent! The lady I was riding with and I were laughing so hard because we were having so much difficulty getting up that hill! I think we were slightly delirious because it was no laughing matter–it was some hard work, for sure. We did make it up the hill and then only had 6 miles or so to go, thank goodness. Our last half mile, we hit the second larger hill and promised ourselves we would not walk the hill. And we didn’t! I was very proud of both of us, considering this was my first “longer” ride in 2 months, I had completed a two-hour spin class two days prior, and this was the first duathlon my friend had completed!
Our finish line party was quite the soiree, complete with pizza, beverages and finisher medals! I look forward to making this an annual tradition. Not only was it a great way to get out and challenge ourselves after the holiday, but also it was great to do this with such an amazing group of women and athletes. (Oh, and we forgot to pack leftover turkey sandwiches as part of the finish line party, but there is always next year!)