10k Run 40k Bike 5k Run - Temperature 3oC
I had picked this race out for three reasons- it was a 10 minute drive from my house, the field would be deep and it provided an opportunity for a work out at an intensity I simply don’t get in my training. When it’s not an A or even B race it’s easy to find reasons to not turn out on the start line. Things have been pretty busy at work so training has been compromised, my hamstring has been unhappy (causing me to be off running for three weeks and worried the race could potentially put me back) and the weather was forecast rain turning to snow, developing winds, dense fog and freezing temperatures. So Friday night I had my excuses lined up.
Saturday morning and there was almost no rain, low winds and the previous days dense fog had lifted albeit it was pretty chilly. Most importantly I was very relaxed, my objective for the day was to complete a hard work out and come away without any significant injuries.
I ran for twenty minutes before the start to try and ease the hamstring and generally to raise my temperature but when the gun went I remembered why I had stopped doing duathlons, 10k all out from a dead start is a pretty brutal way to kick off a race, give me a gentle 3.8k splash in the sea any day.
I got on my toes and pushed close to threshold but careful to keep checking my hamstring wasn’t about to pop. All good when I hit the turnaround and pleased to be towards the front of the group. Of course I mispaced it badly but didn’t slow down too much on the return leg to T1. Popped on my bike shoes and out the gate to start the 40k loop. I felt really good but kept a cap on my power, I was gunning for around 1:05 as I had ridden 2:15 at the Vitruvian (twice the same loop). Five miles in and my calves locked out, only released by me slowly pushing my heels down until I felt the tension subside – I contemplated pulling out as it was clear I wouldn’t be able to push as hard as I wanted. The only thing that stopped me pulling the pin and riding home was the fact that in ten years of competing I have only one DNF to my name and that was down to a double puncture. I eased off to a level that the calves didn’t completely implode and just pushed my heels down as much as. But it was down to me this happened, not on the start line in the right shape, running too hard on my toes, cold weather and no coverings on my legs. No wudda/cudda/shudda, my fault and I got the time I deserved.
Off the bike and into T2, unsure if I would be able to get my running shoes on but I sat down, gingerly pulled them on, rather pathetically rolled over onto my knees and eased myself up. No worries though, a k into the run and all was good on the calf front so I pushed on and don’t think I was impacted at all by the cramp, even managed a little charge for the line.
On reflection I was pretty happy with the result, after all, the cream of the Olympic distance duathlon world were there and as an iron distance triathlete I had acquitted myself well. Frustrated yes, but satisfied all the same. Might just put my name down for another one of these in the next week or so……