The lovely Kate has allowed me a guest spot on her blog to write a race report from my duathlon on Monday.
First, some background about me. Although I play a lot of competitive sport, and am a semi-regular gym goer (not as regular as I should be) I am no sort of endurance athlete. Maybe as a consequence of being forced to run regularly while at boarding school, I shunned running, etc, for nearly 7 years. In fact, for at least 6 I stopped playing much sport at all, and got particularly unfit (and got to nearly 33 pounds more than I am now). I started playing reasonably high level sport again about a year ago, and have gotten relatively fit, although I still didn’t (and don’t) run much (probably less than once a week). I started road cycling about three months ago, and really enjoy it, but am still building up some sort of base fitness (including just getting my legs used to it). Also, I am far from ideally built for endurance events (definitely a fast-twitch type of guy, and I have a bit more upper body bulk than is ideal for running/cycling).
So, it was with some trepidation that I entered my first multi-sport event. The race was a medium length duathlon (I really can't swim very well, so a triathlon was out) which was run simultaneously with the medium length tri. So, instead of a 500 metre swim, I did a 2.5 km run, followed by a 20 km cycle, then a 5 km run.
I started the first 2.5 km (1.25 km out and back) at what I thought was an ok pace, but when I got out in there 5.5 minutes into a strong head wind, realised I'd gone a bit quick. Finished the first run in about 11 minutes, but felt pretty good.
I'd never done a transition before, but have watched quite a few, and did this one in about a minute or less, which I was pretty happy with, then was off on the cycle. I went out fairly well, but probably pushed a bit hard. I passed quite a few people on the way out, but was passed back on the way back. I was comparatively strong on the hills, but as soon as I hit the wind, lost a lot of speed (I have real trouble with wind, and I'm just not sure why - particularly given much bigger people than me were doing better). But all in all, I did ok, and finished in about 40 minutes. This was quite good, given the course (a coastal course which I've ridden a few times before) was MUCH windier than usual.
Second transition wasn't super quick, but not too slow (maybe 1 - 2 minutes), but I did manage to hit my back wheel on a curb as I wheeled it in, which I later realised had caused a puncture! As I took off for the second run, I realised that it was going to be hard. I had only once before run of the bike, and I found it REALLY hard. My first 2.5 km (same 1.25 out and back) was very slow, certainly slower than 5 minutes km. Partly this was because there was a slow guy in front of me, and I found it comfortable to stay at his pace. Then, at the start of the second lap, another guy passed me, and I realised I could keep up with him (legs started feeling much better). Then I realised I could go quicker than him, and eventually I was running very quick, and passing all sorts of people. My final 1.25 km would definitely have been my quickest of the 6, including a big sprint at the finish (the one advantage of my body type), albeit that the guy I caught up to and passed was actually heading to a second lap. I did pass another guy a bit earlier who clearly runs a lot, so that was pretty satisfying.
Final time, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Not too bad at all given the lack of experience, training, and the mild food poisoning (more on this to come).
Kate was going to be doing the medium tri, but she was feeling really ill, so decided (given it was my first race) to be my cheer squad (which, particularly after the first run, was really appreciated!). I was also not feeling great (although a bit better than Kate) and decided (despite numerous trips to the bathroom and nearly throwing up a few times) to go ahead. Unbeknownst to me, Kate had emailed some of my friends to see if they could come along early in the morning (it was a public holiday, so they really should have been sleeping in) to support me. I'd seen one on the cycle (he was jogging along from the bus stop), and then two more were there at the finish line, which was great!
All in all, I'm reasonably pleased, but know that with even a modicum of training, I could do better. Having thought about it, I think I would like to do more events, so will train a bit harder next time (in any event, I'll certainly keep on working on my cycling). Having seen the results, I finished (including triathletes and teams) 31st out of 99, and was the 5th 25 - 29 year old male, so not too bad at all.
If you've read all the way to the end, sorry about the length!