On a hot Thursday evening I joined my fellow crazies to put ourselves through hell. It was the first South Leeds Duathlon at Cross Flatts park and it was marshaled by some of the South Leeds Lakers. It was my 7th (I think) Go Tri event. They are all really well organised and not at all intimidating. It will not be my last event with them.
I was escorted through the streets of Beeston by the infamous Ian Pickles and we arrived in plenty of time. I racked my bike and loitered around for a bit taking some pictures and trying to batter Ian with a stray football. I have quite a powerful right foot, my left foot, on the other hand has no sense of direction and sent the ball everywhere but where I wanted. It was a nice atmosphere but it didn’t stop the nerves kicking in. I took myself off to hide for a little while and hugged a tree.
The race briefing gave details of the routes and number of laps, I spent the next half hour wandering around muttering 3, 4, 3. That was the number of laps run, cycle, run. Interspersed with this was panics and checking with random people that I had the right number of laps in the right order.
The kids came first, some of them looked like real professionals in their tri suits with their road bikes. I knew a couple of them from parkrun and Lakers. Thomas is a lovely lad and has followed the example of the grown ups giving support to everyone, I’m impressed with his ability to remember names. He came second in his race, watch this space for a claim to fame in coming years!
The This Girl Can wave and the mixed wave started at the same time, the ladies did a slightly shorter course. Not being a lady, I did the mixed wave. Run 3 laps of the top of the park, cycle 4 laps of the bottom of the park and run 3 laps of the top again. The route was outlined in the briefing but I couldn’t remember any of it, including where the start was. I just followed everyone. That was the whole of the race, following everyone. Nothing new there.
It was strange running the top loop of the parkrun course the wrong way round. The downhill bit was uphill, how dare they? Betty and Sylvia were near the top gates cheering everyone on. I’m not sure if it was a deliberate attempt to boost my confidence but I overheard Betty making really positive comments about my pace and running form. The marshals and kids were all hanging around near the finish line and ready to be cheerleaders every time I passed, yes, all 6! times.
In training I have been running 10 minutes and walking for 2 so when I checked my watch and had completed the first lap in just over 5 minutes I decided to run the whole thing with no walking. That was easy enough, I felt pretty good at the end of the first 3 laps. I collected my bike from transition and set off, the wrong way around the parkrun course.
Flying feet, no idea which lap this is.
Ok, this wasn’t to bad. Yay, I’m overtaking people. Until I hit the uphill! Ouch, ouch ouch. I got part way up the hill and decided that there was no way I could do this 4 times, not a chance. Second lap, I rested while I freewheeled down the hill and shouted abuse at the marshals, sorry Karen and Claire! I wanted to cry as I pushed up the hill and told Kevin that I couldn’t do it. Lap 3, going downhill I gave myself a good talking to and told myself that after this lap I only had 1 more, I’ve got this. Until I got uphill, my thighs were burning and my bum was hurting (not just my bum but we won’t talk about that), I really can’t do this again! Head down and gears down, I made it to the top. One more to go. The fourth lap was equally as hellish as the other laps before except for the really steep bit at the end which was twice as bad. But I made it, I pushed through the desire to get off and walk.
Claire and Karen
I dismounted ready to enter transition and nearly fell over. I know there are a few dodgy people hanging around in parks but seriously, who nicked my knees? Jelly legs is not the word for it. I dumped my bike in the first place that I saw and decked half of my bottle of water, tipping the rest over my head. My head and legs were telling me that I couldn’t do another 3 flipping laps. Ha! I showed them.
My fantastic cheerleading team did not let me down, they provided water, didn’t punch me when I threw bottles at them (thanks Rikki). The ever reliable Paul joined me for my last lap, keeping my pace steady and singing to me. I did my usual porn star noises going up the hill and used lots of naughty words that I didn’t really mean.
As I was heading up to the second corner I spotted Nigel in front of me, walking. I was going to have him! We passed the third corner and I was slowly gaining on him until the last corner when he started to run, how dare he! I gradually picked up the pace using lots more naughty words and making very loud piggy noises. I hit my sprint pace and passed him, there were kids about so I had to try really, really hard to keep my mouth shut. I crossed the line to the cheers of thousands of supporters, guzzled some water and collapsed flat out on my back. Richard and Julie provided some ice packs, they were a total godsend. I need to remember this for future races.
Time to cool down
After I had recovered and signed a few autographs, I cycled home. Thankfully it was all downhill.
My time was a fantastic 55:49. I’m so pleased that I managed to do it all without walking and even managed to use my multisport setting on my watch.
Perfect post race meal