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Two of My Favorite Things: Running and Biking
As kids biking was a way to get to a friend’s house, enjoy the weather or get away from the parents. Running was what you did in gym class (that dreaded mile!). Often during the summer, when I lived in the Midwest, I would ride my bike to Sternes Woods Park (about 11 miles round trip), lock it up and go run part of the trails, come back to the bike and ride back home. Little did I know this was setting me up to be a duathlete.
I've been running since the 7th grade. It's very natural for me even though there are days when it is just simply not in the cards, but it is something I have always loved doing. At the end of 2012 I came down with an injury to my Achilles all because I stepped wrong on a simple four-miler and continued to run on it. Since I could not run for a couple of months I found a gym that had spin classes, because I heard that spin class was a great substitute for running. Once I was cleared in 2013 to do some light running I would run before spin class, spin and then get back on the treadmill for a couple more miles. Once again, not knowing that this was an actual sport!
Fast forward a couple of months: I met a wonderful guy and we had a connection right off the bat. He said that I should do a duathlon that I won an entry into in September of the previous year. Right before race weekend he passed away from a biking accident — his first time trial.
Stepping up to the starting line, I was racing in memory of my boyfriend. Everything in me was not willing to give up.
I ran the first three miles in 18:53, averaged 19 on the bike (without cleats!), and finished the last three miles in 18:41. My fastest 5k ever is 20:05. How I could run that fast, twice, blows me away! I came in first for the females and sixth overall. I was taken back with how the race turned out and soon found out that I love the sport because when I was on the bike it was like being with him again. The following month I won the Jersey Girl Duathlon, 12:35 for 2 miles, 18 average on the bike, 19:23 for 3 miles. Once again it just seemed so natural to me to do both of these events.
2014 comes along and Duathlon Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota, is brought to my attention. Instantly I wanted to do it. The goal? To win — in it to win it!
It may sound far-fetched to most people, but I love being competitive. Sometimes I am a bit too hard on myself when it doesn't come together, but I will work my tail off in order to make my goals come true.
I have been on the bike as much as I can — luckily I ride with quick guys, so they have definitely helped my average out a lot. When I'm in Pennsylvania there is a talented guy and we tackle hills, luckily he doesn't let up on me too much. I have no real structure when it comes to biking, because I feel like that there is no such thing as trash miles. I work and focus on shifting and pushing to the line because I don't want to be dropped. When it comes to running, I'm a bit more conservative because I know you cannot push the pace every day. Even though my coach has been telling me to train at reality pace, it is really hard to do. The best thing I can do right now is to be patient, focus week by week and not worry about the weeks to come.
See you in St. Paul!
To read more from Tiffany, visit her blog at tifferific.blogspot.com.