My last official ‘race’ of the season: having been forced to pull out of the Jekyll and Hyde Duathlon due to rolling my ankle, I was looking forward to one last run out before getting properly stuck into winter training.
The week running up to the race was far from ideal. Having had a lovely weekend cycling in Poole, I must have picked up a winter vomiting bugs, and spent all of Monday evening by the toilet. This meant a day off work, a couple of days of just eatting pitta bread, not being able to train and generally feeling a bit rubbish! Fortunately I started feeling a bit better towards the end of the week, but hadn’t been able to run more than about 20 minutes without feeling exhausted, so I was quite nervous about actually being able to complete the duathlon!
The morning of the race was a gorgeous winter’s day. . . . Not! Could not have been a more miserable day for the race, and it was bringing back the memories of being fairly cold and wet last year. Racking at the top of the hill, in the most exposed and bleakest part gave a taster of what was to come, in terms of the cold, driving rain. Having mustered a quick 5 min warmup it was time for the race to begin.
Run number 1:
Setting off fairly near the front my main aim for this first run was to treat it like an endurance training run, so not push too hard and try and have even run splits. It is probably the most relaxed I have been in a race, with no expectations and just seeing what happened. I found myself in first place towards the second half of the run and decided to just see how long I could hold on without pushing anything hard. By now it was raining quite heavily and I was nervous about the bike leg having opted for my TT bike this year.
Having put my ‘waterproof’jacket on with difficulty, as my hands were so cold, I gingerly set off on the bike laps. The Surrey roads are notoriously horrible in bad conditions – lots of wet leaves, some tight turns, traffic. I was very conservative and just had to keep motivating myself to keep going – from the 2nd lap I spent most of the bike leg shivering and trying not to shake myself off the bike! I kept telling myself that if I at least got to the final run I would warm up.
Run number 2:
With cold, numb limbs, the first 10 minutes of the run was fairly interesting, just trying to get some feeling back into my legs! I kept my now completely sodden jacket on in the hope it might help with the warmth, but it didn’t feel like I reached a normal temperature until I was long home! Considering I had been doing very little running since rolling my ankle, and being ill that week, I felt pretty good on the second run, other than the cold.
I couldnt quite believe that I managed to hang onto first – being 6 minutes slower than last year. Hopefully one year I can come back fully fit, and with decent weather to really do the race justice!
Its now time for some proper winter training – the turbo has already been well used, i feel less like a brick in the water, and with the help of some physio the running is coming back. My main focus will be the swim and making sure I get the gym sessions in to help prevent injury next year. I am looking forwards to the different challenges Ironman distance will bring.