London Duathlon You v You!

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Well today was the first of my 7 duathlons booked between September and December. Bloody typical that a few weeks back I said “I bet sod’s law its really hot on the day, and we won’t have had a regular spell of heat to train in” !!!!

Hmmm they say be careful what you wish for!
We had 28degrees and very little shade at Richmond Park!

I did this duathlon, all be it the 10k run, 20k bike, 5k run about 6 years ago, when I did my last block of duathlons……but this year I was back again, but doing the 10k/44k/5k ….hmmmm!

So an early arrival of 7:15am led to registration, bike racking and a stroll around.

After a warmup by myself, Ipod in, I was already sweating, and the warmup was in the shade! This was gonna be tough!

The 10k run starts off with a gradual incline, before flattening slightly, and then a view of a nice hill to climb. I certainly didn’t remember this last time!!! At this stage I was feeling alright, but the hill certainly got the breathing going. From here there was a little bit of shade, but the course was generally undulating!

I was a bit concerned with the running side, as truth be told I haven’t really put many 10k runs or tempo runs in, to build speed on the longer runs. This became evident after about 5k I was already 2-3 mins down from my usual split, and I seemed to have just one gear for running! It didn’t help that a lot of the run course was a “clear long sight” meaning you could see where you were going, and was quite distant……not great at the best of times but equally in the heat!

Here’s the start of the 10k and looking ready!!


Finally made it round to transition, not feeling too bad, but in at about 48mins….about 4 mins off my usual 10k pace.

The bike leg is usually my favourite, but the heat soon put pay to that!! There’s a lovely little hill about 2k into the bike leg, it’s a real “low gear” one! Being slight of build I’m usually like a whippet up hills, and to be fair I felt I coped well on these, getting up reasonably well, overtaking a few, but still breathing hard at the top! The rest of the course really is a combo of ups and downs with some long steady inclines that drain the legs. With 1 lap to go (4 in total) I was pretty glad to be reaching the end! I think I finished the bike leg in around 1hr 26 which I was quite happy with.

Bike – starting to hurt;

Upon reaching transition I was blowing but the legs felt good. Those that have ridden and then run straight after know that you often lose the connection between your legs and what you want them to do, due to muscles being used differently between the 2 events, and one being weight bearing, the other not! Mine seemed ok, until I reached about 300metres in! They started to get heavy….my quads literally felt like liquid cement had been poured in, ohhh and we were back out in full sunshine about 2 hours into a race! MAGIC!

This 5k was a real plod especially with about 2k in there was another bloody hill! This was cruel! After that I really struggled. I kept trying to “real” my subconscious mind in which was telling me things like, “stop, walk a bit… I feel sick? Yes I do!! Well, I’ll wait and be sick after the finish!!!” Strange things happen when you are out by yourself!!

This is why events and the alike really are a challenge against yourself and your mind – your subconscious will play the emotional strings with you, putting thoughts of doubt in, and it CAN be hard to push those away.
With about 1.5-2k to go I was really struggling, I rounded a corner and was greeted with a “Mark! Go on!!” It was Johnny (from twitter land) and the funniest thing was another guy in front of me, also called Mark, stopped, turned round and took a few steps backwards “Yeah??” he said questioningly, almost as if he was totally shocked someone was here to support him!!! That’s as funny as it got as I was struggling big time.

Heat? Definitely?
Hitting the wall? I really don’t know as I’ve never experienced it before, but my legs were heavy, my breathing was real hard, and my heart rate was racing.
Not as much now, as I know I did the best I could on the day, but at the time, I’m ashamed to say I actually walked. Yep, I walked for about 40secs, ran for a few mins and then did it again. I’ve NEVER stopped and walked during a run/event, and personally almost feel like it’s defeat, but I just wouldn’t have lasted, my body was on overload. After that I saw in the distance the finish line and picked up the pace…..and a little too soon I’d say as it was probably about 1k away! I crossed the line and collapsed in the shade at the feet of some St Johns ambulance guys. “You ok?” said one a little concerned! “Oh yeah…magic! Nah, I’ll be good in a bit” I said as I took off trainers, socks, cap and lay on my back, in the cool for about 3 mins!!!

To show it hurt;

and then worse;

The funny thing with events is at the time, if you’re challenging yourself, and pushing yourself it’s a bloody battle, it’s You v You.

I like to think “I’m leaving it all here….I can rest when I get home. There’s nothing worse than finishing ANYTHING and thinking….hmmmm, if only I did a little better/quicker/faster with that part”.

And that should be a rule with most things in life. Do the best you can when needed. Don’t leave things in the balance, that further down the line you think you could have done better, as you CANNOT change the past………but you can change the current!

Equally, as Jessie J sang in Who You Are , and I’m taking on board for the 5k section….. “It’s OK not to be OK” ……don’t beat yourself up over anything. A mistake is never that. Only if you don’t learn or aim to improve from it.

Anyway, I’ve got another duathlon next Sunday………. Redemption 😉

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