Thursday, August 20, 2015

Can I do the Dirty Du?

I've done a fair amount of talking about doing the Dirty Duathlon recently, for someone who had never gone on a mountain bike ride and who hadn't run on trails in almost nine months.

The latter part of that sentence remains true; the former has been taken care of. Cory and I spent at least an hour on the Center Trails last weekend, and (obviously) I survived to tell the tale.

I was in a bit of a funk when we started out, so I probably would've raved more in this post under normal circumstances if I'd woken up on the right side of the bed.

But still, even as a cranky perfectionist, I had to admit that the Dirty Duathlon is eminently doable, even if I do nothing more in the way of training this year.

The ride began inauspiciously — i.e., on a bit of an uphill with roots and other things that made wimpy little me nervous. I'm not an adrenaline seeker, nor was I very used to the mountain bike even on ideal terrain.

Over the course of an hour-plus and five or six miles, though, I slowly but surely got my legs under me. I definitely walked several portions, mostly sharp/bumpy uphills that I didn't shift for in time, or narrow, guard-rail-free bridges at the bottom of hills.

You know what I didn't do, though? Fall on the trails. (I fell later on smooth concrete while standing up and fully sober, for no reason at all. But not on the bike.)

I also didn't give up. I got nervous, I got freaked out by fast riders behind me, I got angry that I didn't wear bug spray, I got tickled by sweat rolling down my nose at the most inopportune time ... and I stuck with it.

And at times, when I wasn't convinced I was going to fall into a ravine, I enjoyed it.

Most of all I liked being in the woods; adding some higher-intensity exercise for a shorter period of time was a nice change of pace, too; and so was knowing I'd willingly ventured outside of my comfort zone.

The day after wasn't too painful. During our ride, I noticed the tension on top of my wrists and forearms fairly early on, but the next day just felt like I'd gone on a tougher-than-usual bike ride. Nothing special.

So it looks like I'll be doing the Dirty Du for sure, and I think I can even handle the longer distance. (Which is good, because I have a commitment that morning that would make the shorter distance's earlier start tricky.)

The plan now will have to be:

* Keep mountain biking.

* Go on a trail run.

* Bike to my trail run.

* Hit the trails with the bike first, then run.

* Sandwich a trail run around mountain bike rides.

Suddenly November seems very, very close. Even though my goal is just to finish, I should start planning this out soon.

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