November 16th finally came around. The day of my second ever duathlon. This time though, I hadn’t spent all year getting ready for it. Since my first duathlon in September, I’ve still been cycling a fair bit but running on average once per week and no multisport stuff!
I turned up, and really had no expectations other than to not come last. I realised there and then that some of the participants were taking it seriously – they had aerodynamic helmets and all. Okay.
Simply organised, we got ourselves labelled up before we headed to transition to drop our bikes off (one sticker in seat post, one wristband, one sticker on helmet – check).
The event took the format of run-bike-run. The first run being a 2mile (2 lap) run then a 10mile (10 lap) bike section before finishing with a 1mile (1 lap) final run at the Olympic Velopark. It was also chip timed with medals for the places in 16-19years, 20-39years, 40-49years and 50+years age bands.
The weather was kinda perfect! Dry and chilly…but I knew I’d soon warm up when I got moving.
I set off on the first run with the group (about 40 strong). I soon realised how fast everyone was. Faster than my comfy run pace. The course was up and down, man made hills but hills none the less.
I focused on my breathing which was tough to start with the air being so cold. I also didn’t run with music (probably not allowed anyway) but I’ve gotten so used to being present to my run and not drowning out everything with the latest tunes!
I ran into transition to pick up my bike and bike shoes. Last minute I decided I would use my clip in shoes – I could do with the extra help on the hills. 10 laps of the course was fascinating; I spent most of my time thinking about which lap I was on as we had to count ourselves and keeping an eye out for Anneleen (friend and colleague I’d asked to compete with me) and Georgina (of Fitcetera).
You know when you are racing and find that one person who seems to be at about the same pace / level of fitness as you?! Maybe, just maybe a little fitter in some cases! …You keep your eye on them and vow not to let them out of your sight. Well I’d spotted mine.
She was on my heels for the whole cycle after I just about shook her off in the first run. Then when I came to cycle my 10th lap I noticed she was running already! I knew she’d skipped a lap and this knocked the sails out of me completely as I thought the timing chips didn’t count each lap.
The final run, just one lap was the toughest. I had to stop briefly to walk a couple of times especially after the major hills. Anneleen and Georgina had finished by this point and cheered me on as I dragged myself past them.
The end of the duathlon involved running through the transition zone (which I thought was the finish line – past my bottle filled with nuun) to a medal. We stood and cheered on the few runners behind me before collecting our belongings and watching the medal giving for the top 3’s.
Anneleen surprised herself (but not me) and picked up 3rd in our category – aged 20-39! I was so proud of her – this being her first ever duathlon!
Here are my stats:
Overall postion: 25th of 31
Run Mile 1: 8:37
Run Mile 2: 9:55
Cycle (total): 41:05
Run Mile 3: 9:47
This event was the perfect place to spend an active Sunday morning! Sadly I can’t make the next women’s event which is on 15th March (as I’ll be running a half marathon that day!)
This was also the first event I completed using my own road bike! I realise I still have a lot to learn especially when it comes to working out the gears. I’ll be looking out for bike maintenance workshops over the next few months to get to grips with everything!
What did you get up to last weekend?!