Duathlon – Got to be easier than a triathlon, right ?

On a cold and frosty morning in September I loaded my shiny new bike into my car and tootled off to the Brownlee Centre to take part in a duathlon. A couple of weeks ago I did a Triathlon so this would be OK, I’m a runner and I can ride a bike, I’m not that good at swimming and there was no swimming involved,  so how hard can it be ?  It was hard, very hard. The distances were – running half a parkrun, cycling to town and back, then another half parkrun, nothing I haven’t done before. Just not all in just over an hour, probably not even all in the same day, or probably even a week.

The event was organised by Go Tri, I entered on the Leeds Girls Can wave. We arrived at the Brownlee Centre stupidly early, I set off to allow for traffic through Headingley and getting lost time. At that time on a Sunday morning there was no traffic anywhere, we did get a bit lost but it only delayed us by a few minutes. We loitered around for a bit, sussing out the facilities and where to go. While we were waiting I spotted a familiar purple car and was delighted to see my friends from Lakers, Betty and Ray. They came to support me because I was worried about being there on my own, I went from thinking I was going to be by myself to having three cheerleaders.

There were a few familiar faces from other races and running clubs. One lady approached me and asked if I was the one that had written about the triathlon, fame at last ! Paul from Bramley Breezers did some fantastic cheer leading and a dodgy video of me on the cycle track.

The first section was the run, I had expected it to be a running track but it was on grass. The grass was quite long and very wet, within seconds my feet were soaked and obviously the extra weight of the water made the running harder. I ran with a lady who had only completed a couch to 5k program a couple of months age, she did fantastic. We stuck together for a little while but then she went ahead when I needed to walk. There were tractor tracks in the mud and I was quite worried about hurting my ankle again, I did slip a couple of times but I survived. At the end of the first lap we missed the markers and went the wrong way, only I could get lost in an empty field. The marshal spotted us and soon had us back on track. I dragged my waterlogged feet around the second lap and followed the directions to the transition area.

Getting lost in an empty field Transition

There are strict rules around transition and I was concerned about doing something wrong, I didn’t need to worry, a marshal gave me instruction. I left the transition area and set off, this was easy. I tazzed off and even overtook someone, yay, I could catch up a bit here. Until I got to the hill. The first time was not too bad but I didn’t realise that the track went around a corner and even more uphill. The new bike did make it a bit easier and the gears were easier to use than on the old bike. I had a little rest freewheeling down the hill and by the third lap my legs were burning. By this time there was no one else near me so I took the racing line and tried to get my knee down, I did resist the urge to make motorbike noises. At the end, I was supposed to run my bike back into transition. That didn’t happen, I tried but after a couple of steps it slowed to a walk.

Walking back to transition

I walked back to the start line to complete the second run. I also walked the first bit of it, apart from the little run for the photo shoot. I decided at this point to run/walk and used the route markers as focus points but that didn’t go really well so I started counting. Run for 100, walk for 50, that worked. As I approached the football pitch I thought that one of the kits looked familiar and I got closer and realised it was Hunslet Club. One of the players kicked the ball towards the goal and missed by a mile, it wasn’t so far away from me though, it nearly took me out. I don’t know who won the football but I heard that Hunslet were winning.

Running for the camera

The last lap was completed using the 100/50 counting method, I think I should copyright that. At the end I was cheered on by everyone and a few pictures were taken. The next wave were ready and waiting to go, they all looked very serious with tri suits and all the proper gear. I think their start was a bit delayed because they were waiting for me to finish. I collected my Go Tri t-shirt to add to my collection, one more event and I can claim a t-shirt with gold writing. It’s pencilled in for November.

Finally, the finish line is in sight

As usual, I hated every second while I was doing it but am so glad that I did. I have some slight aches but nothing like the aches I used to get when I first started running.

Go Tri t – shirt number 3.

Thanks to Ray and Simon for the photos.

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