Monday, April 12, 2010

Dansby's Duo Recap!

The Dansby's Duo is a duathlon, where you run a 5K, then bike 12 miles, then run another 5K. You could do this on your own or as part of a two-person relay team; my husband Jeff and I partnered up to do the relay, with me running both 5K's and him doing the biking.

Thoughts going through my mind during the first 5K:
  • I wonder if a police car will be coming around to offer me a ride to the finish line, ala Kelly's first experience doing a 5K?
  • Why in the world did I let Jenny talk me into doing this and where is she when I need her? (answer: at the opening ceremonies for Little League with her son...but still!)
  • If I can catch up to that woman in the pink shirt, can I get her to tell me that I rock and that I can do this, ala MizFit, when she ran her first half marathon?
  • There is no way I can do the second 5K. Jeff can do the bike ride and then we'll slink off.
  • What the hell?!? I cross the finish line and I have to keep running to the transition area?!? Don't they know I'm done???
Yes folks, I was DEAD LAST while running the first 5K. I wore my apparently prophetic shirt emblazoned with the words "If it weren't for me you'd have nobody to pass" on both the front and back, but I didn't think I would actually BE last! This was a different group that I was running with - these people were the real deal. No fun runners here. I guess when you add in a biking component to a race, you weed out the *ahem* more casual would have been nice to know this ahead of time, as I got quite a shock when the race started and everyone began running...and I do mean RUNNING! Ho-ly crap. I was being passed up on all sides - and while I heard lots of "great shirt" comments, I could not believe what was happening. I was running next to an older man and thought "well, ok...I'll keep this man company" - and the next thing I knew, he took off and left me in the dust.

Finally, I didn't hear any more footsteps behind me, and I became filled with dread. You see, this was early - like less than half a mile into the race. We were running on a dirt berm that edged the lake, which was a little tricky - not the smooth pavement that I'm used to - and when we got to the end of it, there were race officials directing us to turn into the park. I caught one of the official's eye and he called out "Great job!" In return I said "Please tell me there is someone behind me" and he just clapped his hands and said "You're doing great!" I was LAST. All alone. It was the worst feeling - I kept checking my pace on my Nike+ Sportsband, and it was decent (for me) - but I was so far behind everyone! There was one woman in a pink shirt ahead of me, and I kept thinking I would catch up to her but that never happened. When I got to the water station, which was at Mile 2, they had already started cleaning up the cups that were littering the road! I took some water, but felt bad at the prospect of throwing the cup onto the road (which is one of my favorite parts of a race - sanctioned littering) so I ended up tossing it into the trash can a little way up the road.

I just kept running, planning how I could talk Jeff into leaving after he rode the bike part, because there was no way I was going to be able to finish the second 5K before the race course was closed.

Finally, back on the dirt berm heading toward the finish line, I caught up to a woman - not the one in the pink shirt, but a woman in a swirly-patterned tank top. It wasn't that I had sped up; rather, she had slowed down. I was able to pass her with about a quarter mile I ended up coming in second-to-last for the first 5K portion of the race. I knew Jeff was wondering if I was ever going to finish - he had to stay in the "transition" area where the bikes were, and I had to run there to transfer the timing chip to him, since we were a relay team. He strapped it onto his ankle and took off.

I think I was a little shell-shocked after Jeff rode off. In all of my previous races, I was nowhere NEAR last...and there were always plenty of people around me, not to mention that I had somebody to run with which makes a HUGE difference! Just having someone to say "we're doing great" and "we can do this" to is so nice and I really missed that with this race. Being last wasn't so much a blow to my ego as it was I really been running these past few months? I thought I was doing ok, and actually improving - but this let me know that I am waaaay behind the true runners.

Brad and Kelly (another of his clients) came over to talk with me and try to help me regroup. I got some water and my package of Shot Bloks - if there was ever a time for physical and mental energy, this was it! Brad ended up going back into the transition area to wait for his partner to come in on the bike. Kelly stayed with me and I have to give her a lot of credit - she talked me down from the ledge and I began to think that I could do the second 5K. Pretty soon her partner, Rina (another client) came in on her bike and off Kelly ran. Rina and I chatted and watched the first relay team finish while we were waiting for Jeff to come in. Anyway, I mentioned how much harder I found this to be without a running partner, and without batting an eye, Rina said "I'll run with you" - can you believe that?!? What a relief - just knowing that even though I was going to be last again, at least I would have someone to run with made a huge difference - my feet felt lighter and my spirits were definitely soaring!

Jeff came flying in on his bike - I ran over to get the chip timer and he told me that he passed several bikers, which was great news! Rina and I took off running down that dirt berm again, but it was a whole different experience this time. She cracked jokes and we talked and it was wonderful - she kept up a running (haha) commentary on the other runners and where we were in the course. It was funny when Kelly, who was running toward us (coming in for her finish), saw Rina - she was all "what are you doing out here?!" but I'm sure she figured it out pretty quick. Rina and I ran and ran - it's weird to run the same course again, btw. As we rounded the last big loop, I looked behind us and saw no one and said "son of a bitch, I'm last again!" (but really, I didn't feel as bad as I did the first 5K) - and what do you know...all of a sudden, we saw another runner who was way behind us...and then another one, and another one...Rina kept count - there were twelve people behind me! I WASN'T LAST!!! What a relief! Back on the dirt berm again (say that in a Forrest Gump voice for maximum effect), we were running toward the finish. Kelly had come out part way and ran in with us. Jeff has also come out with the camera to take some pictures...and I ran toward the finish line with my posse! Now that is the way to end a race!!!

Oh...and guess what? I ran the entire second 5K - which means that I ran both 5K's without walking - woohoo!!! Stats: first 5K - 37:00; bike - 46:52; second 5K - 37:34. Crazy how even the two 5K's were, right?

I know this is a long post, but of course I have to put in some pictures. Thanks for reading this far - now you get to the easy part!
Obligatory pre-race porta-potty stop (please note the black strap around my ankle is not a house arrest monitoring bracelet but rather my timing chip!)
Right before the first 5K - how did I not notice that these people were actual runners?!?
Here is the older man who I was going to be kind to and keep company - NOT. Lol, I just noticed he had a knee brace and I still couldn't keep up with him!
Me trailing pink shirt to the finish...Running into the transition area - NOW pink shirt walks? She couldn't have done that for just a tiny bit during the 5K?!?
Sad, sad sight...Jeff's bike, another bike, and two riders getting ready to leave.
Pedal fast, Jeff!Jeff coming back in - um, yeah, lots more bikes compared with the other picture!Rina and I coming down the dirt berm toward the was a loooong dirt berm!
Look - there are runners behind me!Finished at last - Rina and Kelly behind me - thanks, ladies, for the encouragement!!!Rina and I - I cannot thank her enough for running that second 5K with me!Kelly and I - she made me believe I could actually do the second run...Did I mention that Rina and Kelly WON the female relay category?!? Way to go, ladies!!!
Done - what a relief!!!


  1. Shelley you should be darn proud of yourself: you did it girl!
    I'm so proud of you!

    I ended almost last (left 1 person behind me) last year at my first 10K. At that time it didn't bother me because I finished the run but later when I thought about it I decided I didn't wanted to be last ever again, it's just not good for your ego. So we'll see next Sunday when I have my second official 10K how I will be doing.

    Again: great job sweety!
    And Rina is the best!


    You know that I simply could not do this.
    sure YOU said yet.
    I say ever.

    you beat out manymany of us who were/are too timid to join you.

    loved the post.
    not at all too long :)

  3. I loved this post!! You are doing awesome and you are a RUNNER no matter where you place in the field! I think its cool how Jeff rode the bike part and your friend ran the last 5k with you!!
    Go Shelley Go!!! You rock!!

  4. Congratulations! You didn't just finish one race, you finished TWO! And you ran them both! And you kept your pace up for both of them! Hooray for you (and Jeff too)! Way to go! You should be extremely proud of what you accomplished this weekend :-)

  5. Hi there, I've been reading your blog for a bit, but just had to write and tell you how much I loved this post and how proud I am of you for doing the 2nd 5k!

    This is such an inspirational tale and I'm definitely tucking this into my brain somewhere to draw on.

    Thanks for sharing

  6. This post brought a big old lump to the throat. I am so proud for you! This truly is an awesome accomplishment - not only the physical aspects, but the emotional ones as well. Good on you!

    RE: Finishing last - you know, the person who DID finish last finished ahead of everyone one of us who didn't compete. Competing and finishing is incredible!

    Have a wonderful week, Shelley. Wallow in this victory!

    Oh, and BTW - had I been running, I would have finished behind you. Your times are faster than mine were.

  7. First of all, two 5Ks equal a 10K which is the longest you've run, right?

    Second have you heard this?

    DLF > DNF ET

    That means:

    Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish. Every Time.

    Congrats Shelley!!!

  8. Congratulations!! The duathlon crowd is different than the running crowd, I found that as well.

    Doesn't this make you want to do the bike portion, too? Pin this race for next year to do the whole thing yourself!

  9. WOW WOMAN!!!! WOW! I have been in a similar race situation only swimming a mile in the ocean a couple years back. You are encouraging me to just go do my thing at masters swim meets soon though where the swimming is more competitive than a triathlon where it is just the warm up. You had a great support team too they rock!

  10. This post makes me want to stand up and cheer! Shelly, thanks for your example! You are offically my HERO!

    The fact that you ran the other 5K just makes me so proud to call you a friend. I know I could never have done it.


  11. LOVE IT, Shelley! LAUGHED OUT LOUD at your Forrest Gump comment (thanks for typing that out) and now am teary at the beauty of friends who were willing to help you out along the way.

    And I am sure the irony of Miz's post this morning is not lost on you. You are a bigger winner in so many ways that the judges just couldn't see.

    Plus, I just plain admire you for doing something I just don't have the gumption to do.

  12. You've got me misty with pride girl! Competing is something I'm just not very good at, but I do realize that these events are just ways of organizing personal challenges instead of competition against others. You won by participating and next time, you'll see if you can better your time. Simple as that.

    I'm way impressed with what you are doing!

  13. Well I think you did a fabulous job!!!! I wish I had the courage to even sign up for a relay like this.

  14. You are awesome! I am so proud of you, girl!

  15. Shelley - I am so proud of you and Jeff - way to finish strong!! I agree, it is easier when you run with a buddy - otherwise your thoughts can get the better of you.


  16. Way to go...You did wonderful and I am so jealous, I am still walking on my 5k..

  17. Oh I LOVE this post Shelley!!! What great friends you have, and good for you for believing in yourself enough to finish that second 5k!! YOU DID IT GIRL!!...and you weren't LAST either!! lol Very proud of you! And it's so cool that your hubs participated in something like this with you....I can't get Dwayne off the damn sofa, lol.

  18. I am so totally impressed. Loved your stream of consciousness narration. A really fun read.

  19. I know. I love and hate small races. I don't like the craziness of a big race. But I also don't like being that close to being last. (I run about the same pace as you)

  20. Thanks for sharing your experience! It made me smile and feel so proud of you. I can't believe you ran two 5K's in the same day! Woo hoo!


  21. Congrats! I totally felt like this when I ran my first trail run. It was rediculous. Those people were "real" runners.
    But I finished, and then I was one too, you are a "real" runner.
    It's all mental sweetie. You did it.

  22. Woohoo!! are amazing and should be totally proud of yourself! ...yay Jeff more making up a little time :) Rina and Kelly are so cool! Congrats to them too :)
    Great job!

  23. Congrats on RUNNING TWO 5k's!!! Most people can only handle one at a time, so you're already a "true" runner, even if you don't think so.

  24. Shelley, this was a fun post! I'm proud of you and you are a RUNNER girl! Cute pictures and thanks for clarifying the black "band" on your ankle. I was SOOOO worried(not!). Too cute.

  25. Great job!!!

    Yeah.... it has been my experience that anything more than a 5K weeds out the posers!!

    Again- Great job!! Very impressive!

  26. That is so awesome that he did it with you. I know how it feels to be amongst those "true runners" and yes, to be last. Way to push through and conquer the race! Congrats!

  27. You have to think about how you are DOING it when you are out there...doesn't matter if you are first or last, you are doing it and that is really all that matters.

  28. oh wow! Congrats! I'm so impressed that you ran the second 5k! Way to go! Wooo!

  29. This is great thrilling. Riding 12 miles would be easy (it wasn't up a mountain was it?)

    My fave photo is of you standing in the latrine line. You look like a total runner.

  30. You did it!!! Congrats to you on doing such an awesome job - I can only imagine your frustration, but what a wonderful person Rina is to run with you!!

  31. I think you are totally amazing, and so brave. That you kept going even when you were feeling most low is a testament to your inner strength -- and the physical strength you have built up over this time! Congratulations, this was a MAJOR accomplishment.

  32. THE CROWD ROARS!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow, Wow, Wow!

    Shelley, I had so much fun reading this post. I gasped. I cried. I grinned. I cheered. Wow! You did an amazing job, friend! And what awesome ladies, Rina and Kelly, to work through it with you. I have to tell you, when I got to the part about Rina offering to run with you, I thought, "Note to self: always spectate prepared - w/ running gear - in case you need to help a fellow runner out." Lesson learned!

    And I love the pics! Well done! As for those 'real runners,' yeah, no, that's NOT me yet either! :)

    robin/turtle runner

  33. Great race recap. Good for you for hanging in there! I also came in towards the last at my very first 5k. It was on the road and this stupid car would not pass me every time I got over to the sidewalk. Finally I looked back and realized it was the "pick up" car and I was the last runner (so I know that dreaded feeling you had!!!) I didn't finish last but it sure motivated me at my next race!!!

    I enjoyed your interview over at the Turtle blog. Keep up the great work!


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