The Ful on Duathlon

My preparation for this race was less than ideal.

Friday – the theory

Leave work on time, chill out in the evening, have an early night.

Friday – the reality

Leave work on time, spend 90 mins cutting the grass. The first cut of the year so very long and almost three bags of cuttings. No early night.

Saturday – the theory

Easy session as per Mark’s plan (short run and little spin on the turbo) early in the day and then relax, relax and relax some more.

Saturday – the reality

Up early to sort out the garage, two trips to the dump to get rid of all the rubbish, scrub the trampoline and the climbing frame, tidy the garage after the clear out, build garden furniture the wife bought and shop for tools and a trip to B&Q to get a new lawn mower. Because of being on the go all day I made the decision to not do the 60 mins exercise as set by Mark.

Now this isn’t ideal as the actions the day before a race, but I am not a professional athlete (yet!) and well, life has a nasty habit of not stopping just because I have a race the next day.

So on to today – and the race.

The usual, tried and tested breakfast: bowl of porridge, jam on toast, decaf tea x 2 and a banana.

Off to the event in plenty of time, with the Sat Nav and the instructions to get there printed out courtesy of AA Route Master. Good job to as Gloria (the Sat Nav) plonked me in the middle of nowhere with the words ‘you have reached your destination’. So Plan B (no not the rapper) but to the old days of manual directions.

Got there in time to register, racked the bike, sorted my stuff and had a 10 mins warm up. The first wave – the young and the fit – set off 30 mins before us, the Vets. And it reminded me of how fast this event is. Not the course, which was (I later found out) pancake flat, but the participants. They are just really fast and it’s a really competitive race. Three or four years ago Tim Don raced at this event!

So off went the klaxon after the shortest race briefing ever of ‘ have a good race guys’. The plan was in my head – run the run at my pace, don’t get sucked into going off too fast and pay for it later. Let them go and do your own race. Aim for an OK first run, a comfortable bike and then go for it on the second run especially the second and last lap of the final run.

So off went the klaxon and off everyone went. There was I at the back, second to last in fact. The pace was brutal. I ignored it, I settled in at 11.5 kmph (just under my 10K pace of 12 kmph) and tried to keep that pace.

I felt good, very comfortable as I turned the first corner (I reckon 1 K) and hit a head wind, after the next corner (another 1K) I had caught and past one person and this bought me back to the start of the second lap – a time of 13.52. I was feeling good and there was a small group up ahead so I pushed the pace a bit. by the end of the second lap I had passed another 4 people as I hit T1. I did not catch the guy in the red top who I was aiming for on the second lap.

T1 was a fast one for me in and out in 52 seconds (and out before the guy in the red top!)

Out on the bike, and I must admit I have missed out by doing loads of turbo rides over the winter and less ‘on the road’ rides. The bike was OK and just OK. The positives were I was consistent lapping the five laps as: 10.08, 9.48, 9.44, 10.12 and 9.53. The guy in the red top over took me on lap one and I had him in my sights every lap but I just wasn’t at his pace. I passed some, some passed me. It went real quick, the 5 laps were over before I knew it.

T2 was a bit slower at 1.20 but I did come out before red top guy!

The final run – two laps – same as before. I was feeling the ride, not badly but it took 500 metres for me to get my running legs. I was going fast (ish) a bit too fast so I slowed a bit and found a good pace at 11 – 11.5 kmph. I passed a few and the wind was starting to pick up or was I just tired?

The first lap was good, I felt strong, very comfortable so I pushed in the second lap and targeted a guy quite a way ahead as my target man to catch and pass before the finish. As I turned the last corner (still 1K to go) I upped the pace some more and ended strong, passing the guy way before the finish and crossing the line on my own.

A total time of 1 hour 49 mins 40 secs.

The tale of the tape is as follows:

The run (6K) – total time of 27 mins 57 secs as:

Lap 1 – 13.52 (ave speed of 12.9 kmph)

Lap 2 – 14.05 (ave speed of 12.7 kmph)

T1 – 52 secs

The Bike – Total time of 49 mins 48 secs as:

Lap 1 – 10.08, lap 2 – 9.48, lap 3 – 9.44, Lap 4 – 10.12, lap 5 9.53

T2 – 1 mins 20 secs

The run (6K) – total time of 29 mins 40 secs as:

Lap 1 – 15.16 (ave speed of 11.7 kmph)

Lap 2 – 14.24 (ave speed of 12.5 kmph)

What this means is, the first 5K of the run was an unofficial PB of 24 mins 02 secs and the final run was very strong, especially the final lap, where I was running a pace just shy of the pace in the first run.

I am very pleased. Where I came in the race I don’t know nor do I care. I achieved all that I set out to achieve. Run strong before and after the bike but more importantly run my own race and not be caught up in the atmosphere and out pace myself. The Darren of old would have spent the first lap trying (and failing) to keep up with the main pack in the first run and had a torrid time for the rest of the event. This is a massive leap forwards. To be able to run at above 10K pace for the bulk of both runs is also evidence of how much my running is progressing.

I need to focus on the bike, mainly getting out on the road. The summer finally being here and the Tri Topia boot camp only two weeks away and with Mark there too, I am sure the cobwebs will be well and truly blown away.

My reward for doing so well in the race this morning ….. a 2 hour turbo session this afternoon – thanks Mark!

Thanks for reading.

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