Duathlon – Done!

I actually held to my exercise routine last week which looked like:

Weds – 6 mile club run (~1 hour)
Thurs – 1 mile swim (~43 mins)
Fri – 25 mile bike ride (~2 hours)
Sat – parkrun (~30 mins)
Sun – Duathlon (~2hr 10)

After 17 hilly miles last saturday followed by a bike ride and strength and conditioning on tuesday that makes for a full on week. I had also been sensible with my diet, so you can imagine my utter joy on Saturday when I realised that I had lost a measly 1lb all week, and I managed to put that back on this weekend so am now exactly the same as I was a week ago. And am currently eating a chocolate bar just to cap it all off. ARGH.

Anyway, club run wednesday was lovely, out on some trails and so nice to be off-road after the long dark winter of the soul. Good swim on thurs in a rather more crowded pool that I would like, but it certainly helped stretch my muscles. I didn’t want to go for a bike ride on Friday, I was tired, grumpy, and on the back of an upsetting exchange of words but dragged myself out with J and enjoyed the ride in the end, despite having to walk up my nemesis. Saturday’s parkrun was a celebratory affair with some clubmates reaching their coveted 50 and 100th parkruns, some other friends were helping pace a running colleague to 30 mins, that didn’t quite go to plan but I sneaked in just over 30 and the lady in question got a new PB so all good. New PB for J too – agonisingly just 5s or so off the magic PB but not bad when he wasn’t expecting anything! The rest of Saturday was sorting out wedding stuff, buying a new telephone and some plants, and watching about 14 zillion episodes of Masterchef New Zealand.

Sunday was the Duathlon, a local event (10 mins cycle from RunBakeSleepRepeat HQ, quite a nice change after last weekend’s 3hr journeys) and my first ever multi-sport event. The logistics of multi-sport events are quite a bewildering change from just putting on your shoes, strapping your Garmin on (unless you forget it like I did at the GNR last year, ARGH) and going. The transition from run to bike is littered with time penalties just waiting to happen; make sure you touch your helmet before your bike on the way out, but put your bike away before you touch your helmet on the way back; rack your bike up so the number is the right way round; make sure your number is on your front for the run but on your back for the bike, and so on). The number issue was particularly vexing since I only had safety pins and I wasn’t sure whether I would need to either repin the number halfway through (!) or some other such contortion, but it turns out that in the absence of a number belt (#1 on my Christmas list, especially as it comes in pink and will therefore match Pinky) simply pinning your number on your back and leaving it there was fine, phew.

The event had a briefing beforehand which contained another set of bemusing rules about putting your feet down at junctions, but fortunately it was a very friendly event and I knew a number of the marshalls who all reassured me that there would be help on the course where needed so not to worry. All that remained therefore to be worried about was actually doing the 5k run, 25k bike and 5k run and not coming last.

Things did not start well, I was plum last by the first corner and also realising that I really should have worn trail shoes as the ground was quite muddy and I was sliding everywhere in my road shoes. The course was three laps of a loop around the transition point, the first bit was muddy and hilly, the second on track but into a headwind before a blissful third bit that was downhill and not too muddy. There was a killer hill at the beginning of the lap which I did not like one little bit, especially when I realised that I actually had to go up it six times in total, since the first and last runs were on the same course. I managed to overtake someone on the hill the first time round but everyone else remained way out of sight until I started to get lapped by the frontrunners (only 5 in total got past me and not anyone I knew fortunately!). It was a bit demoralising since I knew I would be unlikely to make up many places on the bike ride, but I kept going and reached the transition point after lap 3 – around 30 min for the 5k I think.

First transition was ok. No shoe swapping required since me and clippy pedals do not get on, so it was a case of put helmet on, grab bike (from deserted transition area since everyone else bar one person had gone!), run with bike to mount point, chat to marshall about how 30 mins for an XC course wasn’t too bad, then set off. After the pounding of legs on the hill the bike was a blessed relief and I enjoyed the first 2 min coast down to the first hill. The chap who had been behind me in the run overtook me just after the first hill, so I was back to being last which was not ideal, but I could see a couple of people in the distance so got my head down and went after them. The bike course is nice but requires nearly all of the effort in the first half, so it was uphill most of the way for the first 6 or 7 miles, then you hit the hill (below).


It might not look like much, and in actual fact it is better than it sounds, it isn’t vertical steep by any stretch of the imagination but it does go on, and on, and on. I’d managed to catch and pass one person on a downhill part before the hill and was quite pleased to see someone else in front of me walking up the hill as I knew that if I just stayed on my bike I could get past them. Very slowly (I was doing <4mph!) I caught up and hurrah! went past them into third from last. I was determined that they wouldn’t catch me so pushed on through the next much smaller climb until hitting the joy that is the downhill section. There is nothing quite like the high from pedalling along at 30mph and I really enjoyed the downhill bit. I was also mindful of some advice I’d been given about keeping your legs moving so tried to keep them pedalling even in the downhill bits.

All too soon the hills were over and it was back to the transition point. I got off my bike rather gingerly and after stowing it back in its slot and taking off my helmet I rejoined the run course. I reckoned I’d knocked a few minutes off my bike time from the week before, coming in around 1:08 but that combined with a 30 min 5k meant that the majority of people had already finished by the time I started running again (the top 10 all finished in under 90 mins) so it was again a bit lonely out on the running course, but one of the rather nice marshals I know pointed out a couple of guys ahead of me who were struggling and told me to go and catch them. My legs were a bit odd at this point, the blood had pooled while cycling and they felt like lead weights, whereas my upper body felt as light as a bird, it was most odd. I ran as hard as I could though and caught and passed the two chaps on the second lap. There was a veritable cheer squad assembled by the third lap (club mates who had finished plus a spectator or two) which was nice, and I finally finished in around 2hr 08 (Garmin). Slightly disappointingly I have somehow managed to not appear on the results so have no idea what my final times were, but I had wanted to get somewhere near my recent half marathon time so can’t be too upset. J had a great debut finishing in just over 1hr 40 and his last 5k was only about 30s slower than his first, which is pretty impressive if you ask me.

Otherwise though I was pleased to knock a chunk off my bike time and still be sprightly enough to cycle back home up the hill. The rest of the afternoon passed in a tv induced haze as we watched the women’s T20 final (won by Australia, bah), Catching Fire and the remainder of Homeland 2 while eating snacks and congratulating ourselves on a job well done.

The week ahead looks like:

Tonight: hopefully 5k recovery run if I get home in time
Tues: lunchtime run ( no strength and conditioning, out for dinner and a show in the evening)
Weds: nothing (Eldest’s birthday so out for dinner then home hopefully in time for Man Utd v Bayern)
Thurs: nothing (going to visit a friend’s new baby after work so late back)
Fri: swim (maybe swim training…?)
Sat: parkrun
Sun: 12.5 mile fell race

So, a pretty light exercise week with lots of eating out – uh-oh. However if this week is anything to go by it probably means I’ll be 2 stone lighter come next Monday – one can hope.


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