Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you. ~ Satchel Paige
Years ago, when the River Trail was new and the Riverside Duathlon was too, I signed up to try my legs at this event called a duathlon. I had been running with some friends at work and I had gotten a road bike a few months before and thought it would be fun; it was.
A few days ago Joe asked me if I was going to participate in the duathlon this year. Last year I stayed on the sidelines to help him take photos and maybe cheer a few friends on. This year it was time to get back in the action. What difference a year makes in the number of people we know at local events. It is a beautiful thing to be able to walk into an event knowing that I have a number of friends and acquaintances for whom I can cheer and those who are more than willing to cheer me on in return. Like my friend Simon, my absolute favorite model when I’m doing the photography, handsome ham that he is. He always has an encouraging word for me.
This year I had a full view of the starting field as I stood to the side of the pack. While we waited I was kvetching to Beast Master/ Tarzan Rides/ Yogi Kurt Searvogel about my lack of speed training in favor of long slow distance trail runs. “Stop lifting heavy and do yoga” he says. He’s probably right. As we take off it isn’t long before I’m being passed. Again and again. Over and over. I admit it’s a bit demoralizing but I came into this knowing that the bike would be my only chance of keeping up, much less gaining. For now, my view would be from the back.
The cheapest seats in the house at the theater or concert venue are the ones in the back or up in the balcony. Sometimes I enjoy the cheap seat because you get to see the big picture, see everything that’s going on instead of just what’s right in front. The problem with that view is that you never get to see the details. Lucky for me the run portion was an out and back so I got plenty of detail, even from the cheap seat, because I could see all those faster runners coming right back at me. Scott Stanger who ended up 3rd overall, Kurt and Simon all blew back by me a little more than halfway in with my 9 min pace to their sub 6 and sub 7 minute pace. There was a wave from our friend Michael Chaffin which given the place of our first meeting, only reminded me how good a lunch stop at the Capital Bar and Grill would be when I finished. Grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich anyone? I got to joke with Jamie Moon just before the turn around as she ran by me with a big smile. Then my cheap seat turned into orchestra center when I approached the turnaround and there was Emily Hartman, Ironwoman, waiting to cheer us on with her big SEXY!!! poster. It’s always a great feeling to have people out there cheering you no matter how much you paid for your ticket. I ran into the transition area passing volunteer Lori with a shout of “BIKE BIKE BIKE”, I was ready to get my wheels on.
The bike portion was so much better for me. It felt like I had snuck into a better seat after intermission. I even started passing a few people, knowing they’d probably catch me on the run, which they did. I passed Emily again and screamed “Please, let me stay on the bike another lap instead of running!” I think if it were up to her, I could have gotten away with it but no, the race directions required that I give up my beloved Cannondale for my running shoes.
By the time I got out of the transition my view was so cheap, the floor was sticky. I see that Scott has finished already and is on the sidelines chatting. Kurt must be done too though I’m sure he’s out watching for his young son who was just in front of me. The field left on the course is small and one by one I think all of the people I passed on the bike manage to get back by me on the run. But it’s okay, my view may be from the back but it is unobstructed and I still get to see the whole show.
And when I am done there is no shortage of “good job” and “way to go” and Simon even goes to get me a cup of cold water as I get a chance to say hello to his lovely bride. Yes my view may have been from the back but as far as I’m concerned, it was the best seat in the house.