Ten Penny Ale Duathlon! Race Recap

The morning after the race, I was laying in bed awake at 4:15am.  I should have been exhausted, but I was exhilarated and I couldn’t stop replaying the events of the race the day before, over and over in my head.  It’s unlike any other post-race feeling I’ve had, in that I keep thinking the outcome is somehow going to change.  I think it’s because I just cannot believe what happened.


Pre-race I talked a lot about the mind-body connection.  Since I was a little girl, and competing in gymnastics, my dad has always said to me “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  I was intently focused on my mental game going into this Duathlon race – which was a 3 mile run, 16 mile bike and then another brutal 3 mile run.  I had to borrow my coach’s bike because mine needed to be shipped to Spain, two days before this race.  With mounting pressure and logistical nightmares, I knew I had to be at the top of my mental game going into the race on Sunday.

On Saturday, I looked up the results from last year’s race to see what times the top finishers had, in comparison to mine.  In doing so, I knew to maybe get third place, I would need to shave 1 minute off my first 5K, 3 minutes off the bike and another minute off the second 5k.  Now, to someone who doesn’t race, that may not seem like a lot but remember, racing is a game of seconds (as you shall see), so taking off entire minutes is setting pretty lofty goals.

I’ve been training harder then I ever have before.  Because of CRS (Coach Rocket Scientist) I’ve bee cycling more miles then I ever have in my life.  I wanted desperately to believe in my training, but there’s always that tiny little doubt creeper.  If I was going to succeed in shaving off all that time, I had shut that creeper down.


I was up at 5am.  I was less nervous then I usually am, but I took that as a bad sign.  That’s just what I do.  I got to the race without incident, and set up my bike and all my gear in the corral.  I chatted with some friends, saw CRS (who said very little to me which was good!), and started my warm-up 15 minutes prior to the start.  Just before the gun went off, I went though what I needed to do: 1 min off the first 5K, 3 min off the bike and 1 more min off that final 5K.  GO!

CRS' husband told me I put the "Rocket" in Rocket Science.  Love that guy!

CRS’ husband told me I put the “Rocket” in Rocket Science. Love that!


I took off, and then pulled back a bit.  I noticed that there was only one woman in front of me and she didn’t seem to be pushing the pace, so I held back just a touch.  As she got further away from me, I turned up the speed and hit mile 1 at 6:11.  Perfect.  Mile two had a few little hills, but I pushed to a 6:09, and the last mile (with one last hill leading to transition) clocked in at 6:27 for a 19:43 first 5K.  Last year?  20:28. First goal – accomplished!

As I came into transition, I was thinking of Tara Newman screaming “You’re still racing!” and I got my gear on as quickly as possible.  How quickly?  I was in and out in 48 seconds.

The blonde girl ahead of me was still in transition as I was headed out on my bike.  All those brick/brick sessions I did at my house just paid off for the first time.

As I mounted my (CRS’) bike, she was standing there and said “Have fun.”  What she didn’t say was “You’re the first woman out of transition.”  This is yet another reason I love her.  She knew what to say to me to keep me calm and level headed.  It was just what I needed to hear.

There was no time to stop and smile.  This was taken days before the race.

There was no time to stop and smile. This was taken days before the race.

THE BIKE: 51:29

The bike in this race has been my nemesis.  As you know, I have struggled with calling myself a cyclist.  Part of the reason is that I bolt out of the first 5K (usually in the top 5 women) and then the passing begins.

I knew the course better this year then I ever have and rode it twice before race day.  I’ve been racking up mileage on my bike like a mad women and when I raced down the first part of the bike it was game on!

I kept waiting to get passed by women, but though mile 10, only guys passed me.  AND, the guys that passed me mostly had fresh Ironman tattoos on their calves (which were the size of my head), the pointy helmet, $10,000 bikes and were wearing (what look like) unitards.  If you’re in that get-up – you had better pass me.

Around mile 11, I was passed two women.  Then at mile 12, I was passed by another two.  One was the blonde from the run and another was who I called “pinky” since she had on black shorts and a bright pink top.  I passed pinky again just before transition, as I headed in with a time of 51:29.  My time from last year? 53:37.

Second goal – accomplished!

Once again, as I headed out of transition, the blonde girl was still there.  I got her again.  My second transition time was 39 seconds.


Embarking on yet another 5K after all of that, in a word, sucks.  My legs felt numb, my mind was racing and all I could think about was getting to the finish line in one piece.  Because of the numbing feeling, it’s hard to tell just how fast you’re going.  I felt like I was moving around a 7:30ish mile but it was more like 6:30.  Thank God for Garmin!

I passed one girl pretty quickly and saw another up ahead.  I have to be honest, at that point, I really didn’t care if I passed her.  I was calling up mantras (Can’t stop. Won’t stop.), thinking about my kids and dreaming of the finish line.  I was giving my all, but I was not intent on passing the girl who seemed too far away.  But, then she got closer and closer and, around mile 2.5, I passed her.

That’s when the volunteer on the bike pulled up next to me.

I'm glad you can't see my face in this picture because I was DYING at this point!

I’m glad you can’t see my face in this picture because I was DYING!

THE FINISH: 1:34:22

My heart was pounding, my legs were aching and my mind was begging for it to be over.  I was pushing as hard as I could and then the volunteer on the bike reached over to the two-way on his arm and said:

“I’ve got the lead women – bib number 1810.”

WHAT????? I’m the lead woman?????  I honestly did not know!  That whole time I thought for sure there was at least one more women who was so far ahead of me, that I couldn’t even see her.

Then shit got real when the bike guy said:

“First and second women are only about 20 feet apart.  We have ourselves a race!”

Good Lord NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!  I had no idea how I was going to hold onto this lead.  I knew I had a little over a quarter mile left and, if the woman behind me had a finishing kick, I wasn’t sure I could answer it.

I rounded the final turn to the finish, which is on grass.  Someone from the sidelines said “GO!  She’s right behind you!” and I reached into my guts and pulled out whatever I had left.  In that moment, all I could think of was crossing that tape!  The grass was wet, my stride was ridiculously horrible, my left hamstring and groin were begging for mercy and then…


My last three miles: 6:20, 6:30, 6:00 – nothing like a little incentive to have my last mile be my fastest mile.  When you think you can – you will!



The first thing I saw, after breaking the tape, was my aunt (who just had meniscus surgery) jumping up and down, crying and screaming “You did it!  You won!  You won!  Oh my God Allie, you did it!”  We had one of those power hugs and I felt every single pent-up emotion just drain out of me.  I couldn’t have been happier.  Aunt Carla may have been more excited then I was.  It was hard to tell in the moment.

Me and my biggest fan!

Me and my biggest fan!

Hartford Marathon Foundation put together a video all about the race.  My interview is at 3:49…and was right after I crossed the finish line!

These past six months of endless training, sacrificing, watching my diet, my fluid intake, my weight – juggling time in the pain cave with time on the track, waking up early everyday of the weekend, being sore, tired and hungry all the time, fretting over every single piece of equipment and scrutinizing my training logs was ALL WORTH IT.

The first time I raced this Duathlon in 2010, my overall time was 1:44:30.  Last year, with a time of 1:38:40 I came in 7th overall and won my age group.  Seventh!!!  This year, I finally conquered the beast, with my best overall time of 1:34:22.

It was the greatest feeling, knowing that all my hard work is working.  And, I won this:


And yes, I've been bringing it with me everywhere.  Wouldn't you?

And yes, I’ve been bringing it with me everywhere, and eventually, I’m going to mount it on my wall.

...and, of course, CRS had to knight me.

…and, of course, CRS had to knight me.  Yes, that’s a beer in my hand.  Ten Penny Ale never tasted so sweet!

That night, I went out to dinner with my family and ate a cheesy BBQ chicken appetizer with tortilla chips, a succulent filet with rice and sautéd spinach, two glasses of wine and a chocolate torte for dessert.  It was friggin’ awesome.  My husband said “Welcome to the way everyone else eats.”

Celebratory dinner with my boys!

Celebratory dinner with my boys!

I’ve never been more ready for Spain.  BRING IT!

What’s the coolest thing you ever won?

What would you eat/drink to celebrate an accomplishment?


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  1. What a celebrity!!! You are such an inspiration Allie! Although I still don’t ever want to bike race- spin class is perfectly fine with me!
    Emma @ be mom strong recently posted…Stop being scared of cycle!My Profile

    1. Never say never Emma… 🙂

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Allie that just brought such a big smile to my face! You work so hard, and you are so committed, and all while being the most wonderful supportive person! You TRULY deserve this, and I am SO happy for you! That recap was wonderful to read! How fantastic, but I am not surprised! You did so well, and all that hard work paid off! Enjoy every second! Oh, and I always wake up early after great races for the same reason……its funny, but you want to cherish every moment of the celebration like you should!

    By the way, I have never broken tape in a race! So you got me 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted…3rd Place Finish at the Brooklyn Half MarathonMy Profile

    1. Oh Tina – thank you so, so much for everything you said!! And, the only reason you haven’t broken the tape YET is because you’re in a whole different league my friend! I believe there’s some Olympic gold in your future so who needs tape??
      Truly – thank you so much and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who relishes a win the next day…and the next… 🙂

  3. OMG I am jumping up and down just reading this recap! So freakin’ awesome!!! And you got a sword…how cool is that???!!!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Spirit of Recovery 5K RecapMy Profile

    1. That just made me SMILE!!!! Thank you so much Angela. The sword is the coolest.

  4. Seriously, I am so happy and excited for you, too reading the backstory. I knew you had won, but I loved hearing the actual events leading up to. You totally deserved it and huge congrats to you again!!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Potty Training with Patience and Perseverance — Tips for SuccessMy Profile

    1. Thanks Janine! I couldn’t resist posting the news on Sunday b/c I was just so stunned and excited 🙂

  5. Congratulations!! You are one badass, fierce mama runner AND cyclist!! Way to go, Allie! You killed that race, and you are going to do the same in Spain. So proud and excited for you!!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…Mothers are Elite Athletes: A Guest Post at Jill ConyersMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much Nicole. That “cyclist” title has been hard earned – as you know, but now I own it!

      1. P.S. That pic of your killer quads? Total mama crush! You are my hero! My cross country coach used to call it T.P. Total Package! That’s you. Fierce competitor while still putting fam & friends first! T.P.!!!

        1. That is the best compliment EVER! Thank you Nicole. I’m going to hang onto this one for sure 🙂

    • Jess on May 21, 2014 at 8:01 AM
    • Reply

    This one brought some happy tears to my eyes, what an amazing accomplishment and all your hard work paid off, looking forward to celebrating with you this weekend!

    1. Aw Jess, thank you so much! I cannot wait to celebrate with you both this weekend.

  6. AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME … Can I admit that I actually looked you up because I couldn’t wait for the recap…I knew you would kill that race!!!!!!!!! I love your ambition on the last 5k passing all those women (pinky) and just going for it at the end. It takes a lot to mentally get there but you DID IT. Congrats on the Win…and #1 Allie!!! All that hard work paid off and will continue to 🙂

    1. I’m laughing Holly!!! That is too funny. Thank you so much. I know you can totally understand how to finish a race strong!

    • Sue Hayes on May 21, 2014 at 8:48 AM
    • Reply

    You are such an inspiration and I count myself lucky to be on team HMF with you!!! Congratulations on such a kick ass performance!

    1. Oh Sue – that is the nicest thing and you just made my day! Thank you so, so much teammate!!! Looking forward to seeing you again 🙂

  7. Omg…Omg…OMG!!!!!!!!!! WHOO HOO!!!!!! I felt like I was holding my breath reading this! I felt so tense as it was unfolding then “I’ve got the lead women – bib number 1810.” OMG!!! I started tearing up!!!
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! YOU WON!! YOU WON!! YOU WON!!! And not even on your own bike!! (I knew you would put all of that bike anxiety to good use!!)
    I am so, so proud of you. What an accomplishment!! You are unstoppable.
    Watch out, Spain!!! XOXOXOX Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted…Old Granny Is Still DirtyMy Profile

    1. I’m tearing up reading this!! You and Ashely have been HUGE cheerleaders for me for so long now. I hope you both know how much I truly appreciate it!!! xoxoxo

    • Chris on May 21, 2014 at 8:54 AM
    • Reply

    I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!!! And no dull interview for you…you were so happy and it showed!! I loved it. Can I be one your honorary aunts, so I can brag about you to everyone?? Aunt Chris…sounds good to me. LOL Seriously, you deserved this win and I can’t wait to see how great you do in Spain.

    1. Aunt Chris has a very nice ring to it!!! If anyone is an “honorary” aunt – it’s YOU! Thank you for always believing in me and encouraging me when I need it most!!! You are the best!

  8. Yeah!!!! I am so happy for you! Congrats on this huge achievement! You deserve it with all the hard work you put in! You got Spain by the balls!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Buffalo Greek Fest 5K RecapMy Profile

    1. Ha ha haha – love that so much Kris!!! Thank you!!!

  9. I am sitting in a coffee shop between clients with tears running down my face. When I read “that’s when the volunteer on the bike pulled up next to me” I got goosebumps. Amazing, Allie!!!! I can’t describe how happy I am for you! You ROCK!!!!!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted…Brooklyn Half Marathon 2014 – PR Baby!!My Profile

    1. Can I just say I’m so happy I met you a few weeks ago? That is the only thing stopping me from driving to Brooklyn right now to hug you!!! Your words mean so much to me, my friend. “Thank you” doesn’t do it justice but THANK YOU!

  10. OMG!!! WooHoo!! I’m jumping up and down clapping and cheering in my house (good no one is around!)!
    You totally rock!
    Reading about that last mile and the bike volunteer radioing in that he had the lead runner, my heart was beating fast for you – I love that you dug deep and gutted it out.
    You are amazing!! I can’t wait to hear about your next race – you are fxing to crush it!!!!!
    Kim recently posted…You Know You’re a Runner When________________My Profile

    1. Ha ha ha that is awesome! Thank you so much Kim. Just picturing you doing that is making me so, so happy!!!

  11. Holy moly! That is an AMAZING story! That guy on the bike is kind of hilarious. He’s like your own personal announcer/motivator. Even though I already knew you won, I was reading this like “Omg, what happens next!?”. Those transitions really helped you a lot I think. Good for you! I love that sword. Amazing!

    Were there any other competitors there that you knew (aka kicked their butts!)?

    The last time I did a race was my first triathlon and I felt so sick afterwards I could barely eat anything!

    P.S. You are very fast.
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…The 99 Days of SummerMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! It’s kind of crazy when you get the “bike escort” to the finish. That’s only the second time that has happened, and the first was in a small 5K so this was insane!! The woman who won last year (who I beat in the 5K in April) did not show up. I’m not sure why, but I’m just so glad because I don’t think I would have beaten her, based on her time from last year (1:28!). And, I only beat the second place girl by 10 seconds! Whew!!!
      P.S. You are awesome 🙂

  12. OMG!! I got goosebumps reading this!!! SOOOOO excited and proud of you!! You are amazing and definitely an inspiration to me!!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Are you a Runner or an Athlete?My Profile

    1. Thanks so much Sue!! I had to call upon my inner Shalane. If only I had your socks!! 🙂

  13. Wow – congrats! That was so much fun to read! And I loved the interview! I can’t wait to hear how you do in Spain!
    Michelle recently posted…Sideline Parents, Take it Easy on our Youth Referees!My Profile

    1. Thanks so much Michelle – and thanks for watching the interview. It’s kind of funny how calm the male winner was compared to me!! I was just psyched 🙂

  14. WHATTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!! You won a SWORD LMFAO! I AM OBSESSED. Well, nothing I have EVER WON can match that amazingness!!!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Miss Matcha Has Met Her MatchMy Profile

    1. Yeah baby!!!! Coolest.bling.ever! Clearly, someone should have given you a sword at some point.

    • Janie on May 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM
    • Reply

    So so proud of you!! Spain will be great!!!

    1. Thanks Janie!!!!

  15. Woo hoo! You rock!! Congratulations!! Let this be some motivation to carry you into your big race coming up 🙂
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…The Simplest Exercise to Do While PregnantMy Profile

    1. It’s just the thing I needed. Thank you!

    • Marisa on May 21, 2014 at 2:29 PM
    • Reply

    Allie aka Miyagi aka Wonder Woman

    You are proof anything is possible, when you work hard enough to achieve what at times may feel impossible :-))


    1. You know it Marisa!!! Thank you so much!

  16. Um, where was your Sherpa calling out your splits??? See, if I was there you would have know where you were and how far off the 2nd and 3rd women you were.
    Tara Newman recently posted…American Zofingen: A Sherpa Wife’s TaleMy Profile

    1. That’s precisely why I need YOU there!

  17. Oh, gosh, Allie! I was so freaking excited and I’m reading this in a recap! Your Aunt Carla must have been about read to pee her pants from excitement seeing you cross that line. Sometimes being the spectator has its own rewards. Awesome! You’ve got Spain covered for sure.
    Carla recently posted…Summer To Do List 2014My Profile

    1. She absolutely was! She said she jumped up out of her char so quickly, and her poor knee needed ice when she got home from all the jumping 🙂 She loves being the “spectator” for sure. Thanks Carla!!

  18. ha! I LOVE what your husband says about the way everyone eats. Or I love just that you loved it. You could have eaten chocolate torte and not loved it, and that’s not as fun.
    I usually celebrate with homemade popcorn or ice cream, depending.
    Loved the video. Loved the whole race description.
    Somewhat related, during my first horse show I was brushing my horse after the show. A girl came up to me with a blue ribbon and trophy and before she could say anything, I said, “Oh, I don’t know where the winner went!” Well the crowd started screaming, “It’s YOU! YOU!” I had no idea but I won! I must have been so convinced I didn’t place that I missed the loudspeaker call my name for first place!
    Tamara recently posted…How You Know Your Youngest Is Nearing Two.My Profile

    1. OMG that is totally related!! That must have been such an amazing feeling. Good for you!!
      I also loved that I loved that meal and I think my husband is hilarious. I’m looking forward to whatever the equivalent of chocolate torte is in Spain 🙂 and eating one every other night!

    • Erin on May 21, 2014 at 9:16 PM
    • Reply

    Thanks for taking us with you on your awesome adventure and WIN through this play-by-play article! It was so exciting! Hard work surely pays off! … and I can only imagine how impressed your boys were with your loot! Congrats!!

    1. Thanks so much Erin! The boys are beyond excited about the sword. They just can’t get over it, which is the best part for me.

  19. Look at that huge smile on your face as you’re coming to the finish line!!! That just made my day.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Trust the process / The journey is hardMy Profile

    1. Thank you Christine! It was the biggest smile I’ve had in months – that’s for sure. That’s my “it all just paid off” smile 🙂

  20. I just loved reading every single minute of this race ALLIE! I am soooooooo happy and proud of you. It is such a great way to lead into SPAIN! Its almost here but you should have all the confidence in the world that you are going to represent for the US of A and kill it out there!! Girl I can’t wait for you to do it so that we can celebrate in Savannah! I am so happy for you my friend. xxoxoxoxoxoxoxo
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Dumbell Chest PulloversMy Profile

    1. Oh yeah baby!!! I cannot wait to get to Savannah – not that I’m rushing Spain but just so glad I have that to look forward too. Thanks Nellie!

  21. OMG, congratulations Allie!!
    So proud of you, and you know what, not surprised. Everything was leading up to this win, and next, Spain!!
    (also, freaking cool sword!)
    Alison recently posted…Through The Lens Thursday #21: StreetMy Profile

    1. Thanks Alison! The sword is really just too cool 🙂

  22. Super mom ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is so awesome and such an amazing racing race!!!! Unbelievable 6 min last mile!!!!! That is crazy awesome! You are SO ready for Spain and it will be the trip of a lifetime! Go get em!!!!!
    Jen@milesandblessings recently posted…How do you Fuel your Better?…and try it for yourself!!!!!!My Profile

    1. I just love how excited you are Jen!!! Almost as excited as I am – I cannot wait. Thank you so, so much!!

  23. This is awesome!! Congratulations!! So pleased for you, the win was very well deserved!!! (Hello 6 min mile!!) Loved your excitement in that video, btw! So many people forget the fact that it’s supposed to be something that you love to do and with you, it clearly shines through! Well done! Roll on Spain!! 😉
    Hayley @ Oat Couture recently posted…Best Foot Link Up – The Challenge EditionMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you can see my love and passion shine though. It absolutely is what I love to do and (even when I’m suffering!) I’m having FUN. And, what’s more fun then a surprise win?? Thanks again!!

  24. Congrats, congrats, congrats! That is super exciting! Enjoy the sword, what a fun prize!
    Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! recently posted…Friday Five: Five Places I’d Like To RunMy Profile

    1. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to check out your blog too 🙂

  25. I felt like I was right there with you! Great recap! And CONGRATS on a phenomenal race! All that hard work pays off…you’re proof!

  26. This is amazing!! I read it as we were leaving for our Memorial trip and thought of you as I was laying in bed last night, remembering I had never commented. 🙂 So I just wanted to add to the many congrats here- awesome, awesome job!! How fantastic to see all that hard work pay off, and especially your improved times over the last few years. So impressive!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Why I runMy Profile

  1. […] them because my BFs write them (that’s blogging friends). When Allie did her recap of the Ten Penny Ale Duathlon, I changed my mind about these recaps. I was so excited I was jumping out of my chair. You should […]

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