Saturday morning came early after a late night Friday at a football game. I woke at 4 am to get ready and to make the 2 hour drive to the coast for the race. Usually, I wouldn’t run a race further than a 20 minute drive from me, but I have been wanting to do this duathlon for 2 years now. The Yak a Du is a 3 leg duathlon featuring a 2 mile run, 2 mile kayak, & another 2 mile run. We arrived in Long Beach just after 6:45 & after a quick yard sale detour found our way to the race site for registration at a few minutes past 7 am. I added my kayak to the lineup and took a few warmup runs and stretches. I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only person with a leisure kayak and not a $3,000 fiberglass, 15′ boat. I knew going in that the kayak was not going to be strongest part of the race evacuee of the disadvantage I was at just dealing with the boat.
We lined up for the start just after 8:00 and the buzzer sounded. I started out quick and intended to run hard in the first leg. The 2 mile out & back run wrapped around the block on to the bay bridge. This was a heavy incline right at the start of the race and quickly burned on my quads. I stuck close to the couple guys around me, the 2 leaders distanced themselves from us. I came into the park are for the first transition and grabbed my boat quickly.
I had to drag it around other boats and pushed off into the water, soaking my shoes on the way, and started paddling.
I kept a close eye on my Garmin Forerunner to monitor pace. I settled in at around 4.3 mph. I passed by the handful of guys in smaller boats like mine and continued to drive forward. I watched as those kayaker a with boats built for racing came barreling past me with ease. I was in the top 6 coming into the water and closer to 15th coming out of the boats.
Once I hit the pavement again I felt strong and was moving fast. The run was the same as the first leg so I knew exactly what to expect along the way. I kept a little reserve going up the bridge and pushed hard coming down the other side as I passed one person after another and sprinted to the finish.
I finished 7th overall out of 42 finishers & 1st in my age group with a total time of 54:52.
Leg 1 – 2 mile run – 13:13
Leg 2 – 2 mile kayak – 28:37
Leg 3 – 2 mile run – 13:01
I had a great time at this out of the ordinary event. How many race trophies do you have with a boat on top?