I like running…I really do.
So it was with some caution that I decided that 2015 would focus on building up to Duathlons and Triathlons as well as the usual running events that I’d be taking part in.
I’d decided pretty early into 2014 that I would focus hard on pushing my limits a bit more and I’d earmarked the Carlisle Triathlon in August as a potential starting point. But, a few hard events had taken their toll which meant that everything was pushed back until 2015.
I’d mentioned to my buddy Rob that I was signing up to Blenheim Triathlon and I was quite taken aback when he said he would join me.
As such we decided that one of the key things to get involved in as part of our training would be the Carlisle Duathlon.
The duathlon was based in Kirkbampton about 5 miles outside of Carlisle. We’d been for a training run out to Great Orton and some of the bike route would take us back over part of the route we’d covered while training.
The event was organised by Carlisle Tri Club and there were also a whole host of DH Runners marshalling at the event so, for me, it was pretty much a family affair.
Sadly, I’d already signed up before I realised that March 15th was Mother’s day. As such I was leaving the ever suffering Mrs C with the two younglings for the morning. She deserves a medal for what she has to put up with, she really does.
Sunday morning arrived and it meant an early start, as these events usually do, of 6:45am. Before I knew it Rob had arrived at 8am and we’d hooked the bikes up to the car for our short journey out to Kirkbampton.
On arrival we got registered then racked our bikes and stood in amazement at all the professional looking people that were rocking up with £1000’s of pounds worth of gear on hand. Here was I with my little Peugeot with a steel frame that I’d bought for £100 and done about £200’s worth of work to. I felt a little bit like a fish out of water.
The last few times I’d been out on the bike my hair had gotten into my eyes. So I decided that I would stick a bobble in it and get it out of the way and also wear a bandana while I was at it. Apparently I looked like an eco-warrior although I’ve been called worse, usually by Andrew. The question I keep getting asked is; why is your hair getting so long Steve and what is up with that beard? I usually retort with a witty answer but the truth is this…I’m growing my hair out until I can get it fairly long and then I am going to get this bad boy shaved off in aid of raising funds for the charity I’m supporting (Cure Rett). I’m 35 now and I know I have a receding hairline and I know it looks ridiculous when I put it in a pony-tail but I’m old enough and ugly enough to take a bit of ribbing on the chin if it means I can raise some money in the process.
Anyway, enough of the hair, back to the duathlon. The event started at 10am and we’d got there around 8:30am so there was a bit of waiting around to be had. Most of the time was put in going back and forth to the toilet and, when not doing that, having a chat with friends. The race briefing was at 9:30am which was also the time Mrs C had rocked up with the offspring. I wasn’t expecting them to make it to be honest but I was glad they had, it was good to see them. A bit of stretching later and Rob and I were on the start line ready to get off.
“Make sure we’re hitting 8 minute miles to start off with” was the last thing Rob said to me before we set off.
The first run was a 2 ½ mile anti clockwise loop which took us out of, then back into, Kirkbampton before picking the bikes back up for the next leg.
“Are we on pace?” Rob questioned.
“We sure are.” Was my reply as I looked at my watch and realised we were running 6:45 minute miles. To be fair, Rob looked comfortable and I felt steady too so I thought it best just to keep going at this pace for as long as possible. We ended up knocking out the first run in 19:41. Not bad going all in all.
Next up was the bike leg. This was two identical laps taking in Wiggonby and Great Orton before heading back to Kirkbampton and then continuing on to a second lap.
We were on the bikes fairly sharp and, as we’d agreed, we stuck together but made sure we weren’t drafting. A new discipline means a new set of lingo to get used to. Previously I had never heard of drafting but, as it was explained to me, it’s the process of gaining speed from the bike in front. Essentially it means you are using less energy to travel at the same speed as the cyclist in front. Anyway, the point is that I was making sure we weren’t doing this by keeping a fair distance away from Rob but making sure he was still in my sights. For a good proportion of the first cycle leg I actually took the lead out of the two of us which surprised me as during training I was the more cautious cyclist but the competitive nature of the event seemed to bring out a more aggressive cyclist.
Rob advised me later that we were travelling at around 16-17mph on average which was loads better than our previous 13mph training runs. Coming up to the second leg confusion reigned in my head as I got it into my head that I was stopping to get off the bike. I don’t know why I thought this but the process had already begun in the head and the braking had already begun on the bike. A few people started shouting that I had another leg to go and then my brain kicked back in and my legs started motoring again. Rob was well away in the distance at this point and it was going to take some considerable effort on my point to catch him back up. But catch him back up I did, little over two miles later he was back in sight. Coming up to the finish of the second leg I rounded the corner back into Kirkbampton to find Rob on his arse. He told me later that he wasn’t sure where he was getting off and someone shouted “dismount” and he panicked and ended up in a heap on the deck.
The bike leg in total was 55:41. We were looking fairly strong with only a 2 ½ mile run left.
The plan was to stick together which, to be fair, we did for about two miles. But with the last half a mile to go my legs were ticking over and it was getting difficult to slow my pace so I just carried on to the finish. I knew Rob wasn’t too far behind me at this point so I knew he wouldn’t mind if I left him to his own devices for the last stretch.
The final run was 23:45. This ended up with a race total of 1:38:57. Rob wasn’t far behind with 1:39:25.
Having looked at previous years results I estimated us to be between 1:45:00 and 1:50:00 so I was more than pleased that we’d beaten both those targets. There were points where I thought to myself that I could’ve gone faster on both runs and the cycle leg so I would estimate that another crack next year might see us more towards 1:30:00.
I thoroughly enjoyed the event all in all. I was dreading it to begin with but a solid first run and a good outing on the bike gave me enough confidence that I could have a solid stab it again next year and hopefully surpass myself. So I guess I can call myself a duathlete now.
Next up is going to be the Trimpell 20 Miler setting off from Salt Ayre leisure centre in Hest Bank. This is where both the Three Bridges 10k and Lancaster Half Marathon sets off from so it’s fairly familiar territory these days.
Wish me luck.
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DREAM, BELIEVE, TRAIN, ACHIEVE.