Just realised I titled this my first ever duathlon which would give the impression that I may do it again – maybe I will?
On Saturday I headed to Dorney Lake with my friend Helen as we were both taking part in the F3 Events Autumn Classic Windsor Duathlon. It meant another 5am alarm call, which is never welcome though over the course of this year Helen and I have taken part in so many events it seems the norm to work all week and have an alarm call that early at some point over the weekend for an event we have signed up to.
So it was early and it was cold, very cold.
The event is held at Dorney Lake, which a lot of people will know from the Olympics where the rowing events took place. I’ve been there a number of times before to support my husband in various triathlon events and so knew the course would be laps and go up and down or around the lake. The benefit of this venue is that it is closed roads all held within the ground and for a first duathlon attempt this seemed to make perfect sense.
There were three distances, super sprint, sprint and standard. I was originally signed up to take part in the standard distance though found out afterwards that there was a cut off time and so I decided to reduce the distance to the sprint. This meant I would do a 5k run, 20k bike, 5k run. I’d never done anything like this before where an event is multi discipline and so transition would be a first for me also.
There were quite a number of serious looking athletes, a number of Team GB participants and a whole transition area full of impressive TT bikes. I felt pretty intimidated. But I was there and would take part and complete, of that I was sure.
Normally in a run event I get caught up with the group and start off too quickly, at a pace I cannot maintain, but was conscious that I would not do this on Saturday and was not overly fussed about my time or pace providing I completed having run both legs without any walking breaks as i have been struggling a bit with my running.
The run leg was a 2.5k lap and so I had to complete two laps before I could get on my bike. The first lap was fine and I was not surprised, but impressed, to see the runners at the front taking quite a lead and I even smiled when I saw my friend Helen and she shouted and waved hello.
I finished my second lap and took my time taking a quick drink as I had stupidly forgotten to fill my water bottle so knew there would be no drink for me (silly mistake but not a huge deal with the distances I was completing) then headed into transition. Now this was an odd feeling! I put on my helmet, I had run in my gloves and glasses and started to unpack my bike before realising I needed to put on my cycle shoes so with some pretty cold and numb fingers I took off my trainers and put on my cycling shoes, turned on my garmin and was reminded by a kind marshall that transition time was counted to which I replied “I know’. Having never done this before I was going to take my sweet time so I didn’t make any stupid mistakes.
The bike course was four laps and although it is flat and closed the wind made you work for it for sure. I genuinely thought it would be much easier than it was but soon got my confidence as I overtook a number of people and got into my stride on the bike.
Coming off the bike and getting ready for the final leg was funny. I almost forgot to take off my helmet and then nearly left transition in my cycling shoes. Again I took my time and with even colder fingers got on my trainers and headed out for the run. I say headed out for the run but I walked out of transition fiddling with my watch.
I left transition at the same time as another man and after one lap he was still behind me but came up to the side and asked if it was off putting that he was just behind me, to which I said no and if I am honest if he was not there I would probably walked at some point so I was grateful. As I said it was my first duathlon and I have never done a brick run either. A brick run is a run straight after being on the bike and it was an odd feeling. I felt like my legs were not my own and made of jelly and it took a while to settle into a slow and steady rhythm whilst still focussing on running the entire thing.
The guy I was running with was called Tim and he was a cyclist and this was also his first duathlon and we stayed together for the rest of the run crossing the finishing line together. I had completed it!
Duathlon done! Maybe not the quickest but I am pretty pleased with that and it is another goal for 2016 that I can tick off my list!