The first ever cave start duathlon

San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
A long day at the San Antonio Rock & Roll (full and half) Marathon
November 15, 2010
Big Bend Ultra Marathon
Ultra Running Weekends
January 23, 2011

Natural Bridge Caverns LogoThe Natural Bridge Caverns Duathlon was one I will not soon forget. Put on by Redemption Racing, it was an experience I will cherish. I signed up to give some direction to my training. I thought it sounded like a great idea and who could pass up a race put on by Brian, Rich and their crew.

I got online and noticed there were not one, but four races available. I was surely not up for an off road mountain bike duathlon, so I entered the next best thing. The T-Rex race was advertised as very challenging. Hmmmm, what better way to shock my body and push to the limit? So, I entered! I had not spent as much time on my bike as I would have liked, but tackled the 5 mile run 26 mile bike and 2 mile run with gusto.

We started in the cave and run out! Even though you shouldn’t be worried about the scenery during a race, I couldn’t help but take in all the beautiful sites as I was running uphill letting my legs scream before the real race even started. The competitor in me was constantly worried about the women in my age group who were behind me. Because of the staggered start in the cave, it was difficult to tell how close there were and if they were going to catch up enough to beat me. Grrrrrr! We made the turn around and mile 2.5 and the HILL. Yes, we got to go down the hill, then immediately back up the hill. Again, the legs were screaming. I watched for the women in my age group and I had zero room for mistakes. They weren’t far behind, but I was unable to tell if they were making up time.

The bike course ended up getting cut short due to misty conditions and slick roads on a sharp corner with a descent. I was happy about that only to find out that the bike wasn’t really too much shorter than 26 – but I survived. I was on constant lookout for my opponents but kept pushing has hard as my legs would allow. Then, it happened…… a dropped chain up a hill that I could not get back on track. I got off my bike knowing there were a few girls just seconds behind me. Luckily, none of them passed, but I know they made up some time. I made it to transition with my legs wobbling like a newborn calf. My hands were shaking which made getting the shoes tied a little difficult while Brian (my boyfriend and support crew chief) was yelling at me to get out of transition as he usually does. The girls in my age group weren’t far behind but one of them couldn’t find where she had racked her bike. (Been there, done that!) I ran out as quickly as I could, down a hill and around a corner to all the wonderful volunteers on the course reminding me that I was almost done. “Not soon enough” was all I could think. Two miles on any given day is a piece of cake, but not after a 5 mile run with a hill and an undulating bike course. I struggled to keep a pace that I could be happy with and had to stop to tie my unruly shoelace. I finished just in time to turn around to see another girl in my age group, who started after me in the cave, finish the race. I THOUGHT she started 40 seconds after me and she finished just 34 seconds after me. I congratulated her and told her that she may have shut me out by six seconds.

Now, to wait for results….. WAITING and waiting, and talking and waiting. I met a wonderful woman who came from Wisconsin to race. She was also in my age group and had somehow found me online, was interested in my story, and I was humbled to find out that she wanted to meet me when she came to the race but didn’t know I was doing it. So cool to talk to people and hear their stories. I always get to meet the best people at races. Finally, the results were in. I went over to the board to find out that I won my age group – by nine seconds. WHEW! Someone was watching out for me. Redemption Racing and the Natural Bride Caverns teamed up to put on a top notch race with beautiful awards.

A small side note about helping out a fellow duathlete. A DEA officer somehow dropped his wallet complete with badge on the road. I was able to turn it in and he got it back. Glad I could help out #330. That would be a horrible thing to misplace. This race proved to have many great things going on and I was honored to a part of all of it. I can’t wait until next year to do it again. It is time to go ride my bike.

What do I do now? The tri season has come to a close and there are just a few duathlons left for the year. What in the world do I do now? I can’t just eat myself into unfit oblivion. I have come up with a plan. I have some wonderful crazy “no limit solider” friends who like to challenge themselves whenever they can. My next challenge comes in January. I have decided to join the ranks of the crazies and will be doing 3 races in a week. No problem you say? Well, these aren’t just your run of the mill 5k races. I have decided to do two 25k races(15 miles), and one 50k race (30 miles) over the course of two weekends. Yep, I have officially lost it. This will be my first official ultra race, although I have tried to convince ultra-runner/friend/No Limit Soilder/coach that I am not so sure a 50k quite counts since it is just barely over 26.2. But I guess I will take it and see what I can do. For more information on the races go to www. I will do my best to write post race blogs and keep you posted on my journey of insane running, pain, and fun.