A Jim of All Trades

Posts Tagged ‘Panasonic Sport-500


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This morning I did my first duathlon! Well, I had done a triathlon 3 years ago, so it’s not exactly my first time doing something like this, but it’s still technically my first one.

A duathlon, in case you don’t know, is an endurance race similar to a triathlon, but instead of swimming, there is a running portion first, followed by a bicycling portion, then another final running segment. The one I did is categorized as a “Sprint Duathlon” because it is a shorter distance. The first run was 1.5 miles, the biking segment was 16 miles, and the last run was a 5k (3.1 miles). It might be short compared to other endurance races, but it’s long to me!

The gym I go to organizes and runs it every year and over the winter I decided to do it. I really don’t have a reason why, I just thought it might be fun to do and it gave me something to train for since I don’t venture out to exercise as much in the colder months. They hold a triathlon at the same time, too, but I decided to do the duathlon. I’m not the strongest swimmer, don’t enjoy it that much, and swimming (in my mind, anyway) takes away too much from weight lifting, which is still very important to me. The race is open to the public – not just a gym thing – and quite a few people come for it; the triathlon is very popular and I think typically 150-ish people do it, but the duathlon usually only has about 20 participants. Today there were 25.

My total time was 1 hour 38 minutes and 23 seconds. My personal goal was 1 hour and 40 minutes, so I’m happy that I did slightly better. I’m honestly a bit disappointed at the same time though because I think I could have done better yet. I was able to do some of the splits a bit faster in training and think I left about 2 or 3 minutes on the table. That wouldn’t have changed my overall finishing spot at all really, I just think I could have pushed myself a bit hard. My wife is telling me I need stop thinking like this and just be happy since I met my goal and it’ll give me something to improve on if there is a “next time.” She’s probably right.

Anyway, I finished 11th out of 25 total, 9th out of 15 men, and 4th out of 5 in my age group. Not at all impressive comparatively speaking. I wish I would have done a wee bit better, but I knew I wasn’t going to be winning anything and I was better than my personal goal, so I guess I’m happy with it.

To train for it, I came up with my own schedule. Lifting is still really important to me and I didn’t want that to suffer on account of the duathlon. That’s what happened when I did the triathlon years ago; I lifted less and less while I devoted nearly all my workout time to swimming, running and biking, and though I got in great cardiovascular shape and lost quite a bit of unneeded weight, I got a lot weaker. So this time I trained for the duathlon Friday through Monday, and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I still lifted heavy. I always lift in the mornings; Mondays and Fridays I’d do my running and/or biking in the evening. I did 90% of my running and biking in the gym over the winter. I don’t like the cold and didn’t run or bike outside until the last two weekends; before then I always used the treadmills and stationary bikes in my gym, or an exercise bike we have in our basement.

My 4 day a week workouts for the duathlon usually worked out like this, though not necessarily in this order:

  • 1 day I’d only run, usually a “longer” distance (4-6 miles), though sometimes I’d do intervals
  • 1 day I’d only bike, usually 16 miles
  • the other two days I’d both run and bike, always mixing up the distances and which I’d do first

It actually worked out really well. I got in better shape endurance wise, but I didn’t lose much weight and I got stronger in all my lifts at the same time. I began training for the duathlon at the same time that I started doing the 5-3-1 lifting program I posted about a bit ago, and the two worked out well together. Since I was doing the duathlon exercises on 4 consecutive days, I could get a bit worn out by the last day, and lifting legs could be tough at times too. I do them on Wednesday so I can rest the days before and after, but I didn’t always feel as fresh as I could have. Still though, I’m pleased with my progress for both goals. It isn’t an ideal plan for getting GREAT at either one or the other, but works well enough if trying to BOTH lift and endurance train at the same time. Well, for me, anyway.

If I talk with my friends about doing this type of race they nearly always ask what type of bike I have, so I figured I’d cover that here too. My bike isn’t special at all, which many people automatically assume when you tell them you’re doing a race. It is an early 80’s Panasonic Sport-500 10 speed:

Panasonic Sport 500 side
Unless you’re a bike enthusiast, I bet you didn’t know Panasonic made bicycles, did ya?

It’s hard to date it, but I think it’s a 1983 or 84 – only 2 or 3 years younger than me! It was an entry level road bike back in the day and it might have been the oldest bike there today, that I saw, anyway. I got it used about six years ago and used it in the triathlon, too. I ride once or twice a week for exercise over the summers, and it’s been reliable and okay enough for that, but I’d really like to upgrade. It’s heavy, has out dated components, and is a little too small for me. I’m not sure how much faster a nice modern bike would be, but I’m sure it wouldn’t make me any slower. Bikes are expensive though, and when considering my other hobbies and lack of extra funds, I probably won’t be getting one soon. But you never know, I see deals for used bikes on craigslist…

Biking is definitely my weak area. I definitely could improve in running, too, but I got passed a lot out on the bike course. It’s something to work on I guess. And though I know my legs and conditioning are the root of it (strength in the gym does not necessarily transfer to being a good biker!), the old bike doesn’t help anything, and I likely won’t do another one of these races with this bike. I’d want to upgrade first. With all that said though, a lot of people were using less than ideal bikes. I even saw a few people on mountain bikes, so actually I probably don’t have anything to complain about.

I did have one small mishap in the race: Roughly a 3rd of the way through the biking leg I dropped my water (Gatorade) bottle. It just slipped from my hand while I was putting it back in the bottle holder, I tried to reach down for it quickly, and not only did I not catch it, but I shoved my hand down into the chain.

Cut Fingers

The cuts really weren’t that bad, it just took skin off in a few places and kept bleeding while I was biking, so till I was all done my two fingers were caked in dried blood. I didn’t stop or try to clean it up or anything, just kept on going. The worst part was having to do the rest (most) of the race without anything to drink. I did get a swallow of water at a water station halfway through the run, and I made it okay, but a drink would have been nice. Will have to be more careful, though I’ve never done that before.

Overall it was a good experience and I had fun. It’s funny how I can be satisfied with my overall time, but at the same time am upset at myself that I didn’t do a few of the things faster. That’s just my personality though, I’m hardly ever satisfied. If I were to ever decide to stop lifting my legs heavy, and get a decent bike, I could see myself getting into these. I don’t think I’ll ever be an exceptional endurance athlete, but I found this fun, and could see myself doing more.


Written by Jim

April 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm