A duathlon is a multisport event. They consist of a run, a bike ride, and a run.  I did the short course, so it was a 1.38 mile run, a 7.25 bike ride, and a 1.38 mile run. I did the event and completed it. I am a duathlete!

I want everyone to know right now that I rate this event as 5 stars out of 5 stars. It was great!

Was it fun? You bet! But for me? It was fun in so many ways more than just participating in an event.

The Prairie Punisher Duathlon was held in Lamar, Colorado on the morning of April 14, 2012. Now, if you did not know it, my birthday is April 14th.. Yes, that’s right –  The date that Abraham Lincoln was shot and the date that the Titanic struck an iceberg. A friend of mine bought my entry into the race as a birthday present.

We arrived in Lamar in the afternoon of Friday, April 13. Lamar is the county seat of Prowers county in Southeast Colorado.  Colorado ranching and melon growing country –  At least that was my perception.

We checked into the hotel, then went to get some supplies (water, coffee filters). While at the hotel, I asked the desk clerk if she had ever heard of the Prairie Punisher Duathlon. She hadn’t. I asked the grocery clerk if she had ever heard of the Prairie Punisher Duathlon. She hadn’t. Based on that information, we decided to go to the park it was being held at (thanks for the wonderful GPS systems we have available to us now). There was not a clue of anything happening the next morning. I began to have some trepidation regarding the event.

We discussed healthy options for Dinner.  There were many places that we could eat.  We decided on Pizza Hut. Pizza hut restaurants in smaller towns are a throwback to a great family restaurant. Every Pizza Hut in the Denver area seems to be ‘take out’ oriented. We’ve lost something. Both of us had salad bar and shared a medium pizza. It was great. So good, that I probably over ate.

We made it back to the hotel and settled down to all of the events that one engages in on the night before an event.  After that, a little TV viewing, then sleep.

5:30 AM comes earlier to a man that works the swing shift. I set the alarm to be loud and it was! I got up immediately, started the coffee and got dressed. As does happen with these events, the heart started to step it up a bit.  The hotel had a continental breakfast, so I went there to get something to provide the energy needed.  I was disappointed that this breakfast did not have oatmeal (the true breakfast of champions in my opinion). I had some Kashi cereal, some apple juice and a bagel with cream cheese instead.

When we could not find much information the night before, we went back to the website again. It said that the event would start at 8:00 AM. To be prepared, we got ready and got to the swimming pool parking lot by 7:30 AM.

I travel with my dog. She shares the car, the hotel, and sometimes events.

Sami Brown Chair

We planned on taking here and putting her in the back of the car as we competed. She is a good dog, good with people and patient with children. We let her out of the car with the leash on her, but soon it came off.  She was even watched as we ran.

As soon as the table was set up for registration, I was greeted by an older lady that really wanted to meet the guy that does this on his birthday. That is a fun start!

After I registered and got my number 70, I watched as others set up. Some duathlons are a lot like professional triathlon events. I was prepared with a towel to lay stuff on. I observed that most people just put their helmets on their bike shoes on the ground. Their bikes were hung on the bike rack.

For the first part of the event, I made sure my running belt was on with the number attached, with the cell phone and the car keys along with a pack of Peanut Butter GU in the pouch. I set up tracking software on my cell phone (There’s an app for that!) I was ready to go.

A crowd gathered of both participants and supporters. we were called together and were informed of the path for the runs and for the biking parts. By 8:05, everyone was registered. They called us over to the start line. The countdown started and we were off!

It was a small crowd. all were ready and looking forward to it. We laughed and joked, but you could feel the anticipation as an under current. The starter yelled, “Go!” and we were off!

We ran the perimeter of Willow Creek park for both run parts. Starting at the swimming pool parking lot, we ran South to start. With every run, people eventually their place in the pack. We did that, too.

Willow Creek Park

I made good time on the first run. I entered the transition area, and found other bikes still there. I felt optimistic.  I put my helmet on and was able to change shoes quickly. I grabbed the bike and walked it out to the street. I got on and headed North, starting the ride portion of this. The course was around the park again but clockwise this time. At the southern end, we headed south on Memorial. We rode that until the road turned to dit. We took a short jog to the west where we headed North on Main street. During the ride, I was able to pass 3 other riders.

At the ‘Taco John’ restaurant, we turned east on Memorial again. Soon, Willow Creek park was in sight. I headed up the West side of the park and got off the bike at the street next to the transition area. I walked it in, took off the helmet, changed shoes, and took off for the final run. I was starting to drag and felt it. But to my surprise, I was able to make good time. When I crossed the finish line, I completed it in 1 hour and 20 seconds.  That is just about where I trained to finish. I was very happy with the results.

My benefactor for this bit of fun was Tom. I found out that Tom finished the short course in 53 minutes.  He was at the finish line ringing a cow bell and encouraging other runners as they finished.

Both Tom and I were tired. We discussed leaving prior to the Long course finishing. I went to the judges table to say goodbye. I was informed that I just had to wait for the awards ceremony. They were not going to let us go early.  I like that kind of attitude.

It was good that we waited. It ended up that Tom took the short course men’s adult first place!  He was overjoyed.

Tom 1st

At the end of the ceremony, everyone sang happy birthday to me.  It was a great time and I would compete in this kind of a small town event again!