Why you Should Consider a Multisport Event – Iron Girl Duathlon Race Recap
Sunday was the first day of fall and it was perfect for the 9th annual Iron Girl Duathlon in Bloomington. For those of you who haven’t participated in a multisport event – a run, bike, run can be the perfect way to break into the sport.
I arrived at the venue around 5am ready to race my 7th year at this event. Multisport events are different from run only races due to the need to provide participants a space to transition from sport to sport. That means early mornings that allow enough time to ‘get racked’ before the race begins. Two and a half hours after arriving, I headed to the start line.
The race is the largest women only duathlon with nearly 800 participants. Because of the large number of racers, we were sent off in eight waves which started 5 minutes apart.
2 Mile Run
The 2 mile run is a beautiful trek around Normandale Lake. As the course heads out along East Bush Lake Road, participants get the rush of spectators lining the street, holding signs and cheering. Although encouraging, I must admit that my favorite part is the secluded second mile that travels back through the trees which are just starting to change color – a beautiful little run for sure.
22.8 Mile Bike
After we made our way through the transition area to our bikes it was time for the challenging 22.8 mile ride. I say challenging for two reasons.
One – as the course heads south on Normandale Boulevard, there are a few significant climbs to contend with. There is little reprieve before heading to the back side of the course for a few more small climbs along Bloomington Ferry Road.
Two – the course is an 11.4 mile loop that once you finish, you get to do it all over again! Honestly, climbing those hills once is enough.
2 Mile Run
Back into transition to rack the bike and head out for the second loop around the lake. It goes without saying that the second run leg is always tougher than the first.
There is a balance between pushing it too hard on the bike and saving your legs for the second run. It can sometimes take a good ½ mile to shake the funny feeling your legs have moving from bike to run – not so great when it’s only a 2 mile course.
But, hearing the announcer, the music and the cowbells as you wind back through the woods is just the oomph you need to make it to the finish line.
The Iron Girl Duathlon is part of the Athleta Series of women only events and is amazingly well run. The safety and security of the race is phenomenal. No one gets in or out of the racer’s area without a wrist band – ensuring that equipment is always secure. Police volunteers are at nearly every intersection directing traffic – providing racers with the utmost safety throughout the event.
From the expo, the event communication, the announcing and the post-race breakfast and awards women of all ages and levels of fitness leave feeling encouraged and empowered to be active.
I had a set a specific goal for this year’s race wanting to break 1:08 on the bike. I pushed it hard on the second 11.4 mile loop and came in at 1:07:56! Multisport is such a balance and although I just made that bike goal, my second run suffered a bit. But, my total time at this year’s event was 1:36:37 – my fastest time so far, so I’ll take it.