Chequered Flag Series 2 Duathlon

1501299_759047394203267_8311287623378255292_o At the end of a busy week, if I am being completely honest this was the last thing I wanted to be doing.  I was shattered and hadn’t trained all week, recovering from Tough Guy The Original 2015.

But my best mate had said I ‘better not pull out’ after many of the rest of the team had pulled out.  So naturally and just as I had been telling clients and TMT competitors, help each other be accountable.  Be that positive friend, support each other to achieve more.  I am so glad we went!

 

This was incredibly different from the series 1,  we knew this was to be the cross-country event as it were, but little did we realise what we had let ourselves into.  For me, this was a fun event, one that I signed up to do to support the team I had entered.  Without the pressure of trying to really drive, its been great fun, just taking it all in and interacting with others.

Registration was smooth as could be and it was great to see some of the Alloa bootcamp crew (fellow Tough Guy competitors)  who were marshalling.  We prepped and set up the bikes and did something that resembled a highly inadequate warm-up.  Yes, I know shocking, this should highlight where my head was at.  But I was there and that was the main thing.  Again, everyone looked very serious, however, it was their sport – Triathlon – Duathlon.  Well equipped, wearing all the right clothing and there to do well amongst their peers.  Nevertheless, this is not to say it was only those who were serious about the event.  It was a very friendly race, everyone chatting and encouraging each other.  Shouts from the sides from those who knew you and those who don’t is always vital I think to help push you on when you are feeling tired.

 

We lined up in front of the Knockhill Race track lights . . .  then we were off.  I felt heavy-legged and stiff, not surprising but it still felt great to get out there and run.  It didn’t take long to run.  It is definitely an undulating course that had some tough hills which take it out the legs before you realise it.

 

Twice around the race track before getting to the bikes.  Despite the fact it was cross-country series, we still had the heaviest and potentially most beginner type bikes for want of a better description, for this event.  I hadn’t been on my bike for some time, potentially even going back to the Coast to Coast/ last duathlon.  As soon as I started the first lap of the route I knew it was going to be pretty daunting, the tracks were really muddy and you constantly felt like you were sliding laterally . . . .  not even sure if it was my imagination or actually I was?????

 

The cycle route itself was 5 laps of an off-road circuit – tough – very tough! Lots of inclines, twists and turns, which for those of us that don’t spend much time on a bike, is pretty tricky.  You think you are trying to go one way but end up sliding in another direction.  I was very proud to say I didn’t have to get off and push once, not once on the tricky off-road climb.  The grooves and tracks, which I thought would make it easier actually made it harder to get a constant cycle going.  Coming back around to complete my first lap, I actually felt physically sick and believe I may have swore alot.  I couldn’t see much as the mud sprayed my face.        10923709_759041674203839_8392248298838804033_o

5 Laps later, I have never been so glad to get on the running section.  It was the final lap of the track and it appeared that practically everyone had finished already from the bikes missing in the hanger.

The legs were protesting at having to run the last lap but I managed to get into a good groove and plug it out.  It was great!  Felt good to cross the finish line!

 

 

 

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Naturally, I supported my fellow teammate and bestie round her last lap – ‘No-one gets left behind’.  Massive well done to Karen, I know she found it tough and daunting at points but she never gave up.  That is the right attitude!

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The marshalls at this event were simply fantastic, the weather was on our side, everything was smoothly run making this event very simple and easy to take part in!

Highly recommend series 3 folks:

http://www.entrycentral.com/event/103037

Part 1: 2014 The Lows

The start of 2014 was an unhappy one with the sudden death of my dad.  I dealth with this difficult time by running, getting out in the cold, fresh air, not my best running but putting one foot in front of the other, it made me feel better.

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My first race of the year was Brooks Hellrunner ‘Hell Down South’.  I felt really emotional at this race, but I wanted to do well to make my dad proud.  But there were times I seriously wondered what I was doing.  It was a toughie, more of a trail racers world with the steep and constant climbs, natural obstacles as it were.  Seeing the front runners going up and down the same hill you have just descended was torture.  The in-famous ‘Bog of Doom’ lived up to its name, I had a period of ‘FREAK-OUT’, my then coach Michael Cohen of Team Wild Forest Gym, pulled me back with a ‘Keep it together’, stern but what I needed.  Without his interruption Im not sure I would have made it.  Then with words of encouragement I was off up more hills.

Michael was fantastic, he gave me motivation at the start line as I pulled on my team shorts – nae shame!  I was the only team member running that day but Michael still came to support me on such a difficult day.  Encouragement, support and motivation, all in the right amount that day – Thank you!

I managed 6th female finisher out of 520, not bad considering, despite the emotions coarsing through me.  It was a bitter sweet finish.  I had my medal engraved to my dad, the engravers, after hearing my story, gave me a spare medal.  Kindness can be found in the strangest places.IMG_5619

Even writing this, I can vividly remember the emotion.  People that know me, will know I am not the most obviously emotional person.  But at times the tears welled and the chest was tight which all made dragging my legs up those steep inclines all the harder.

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OCR was going to be a way I could see my dad more often, most races had been in England, so it seemed natural to me that we might be able to send more time.  Dad wasn’t one for prioritising and you know, maybe I didnt even realise until it was too late.

Its taught me one thing, the old adage, ‘lifes too short’, really is true.

Thanks to Sue and family, Dave and Denise, Michael and Karen for their unyielding support.

My next race was ‘The Nuts Challenge’, I’d chosen to take on the 4 laps.  my teammates at the time, Caine and Mark (Team Wild Forest Gym) had on Saturday, placing extremely well, No pressure!

The course was wrecked underfoot from the Saturday racers, and the wind was already brutal, nipping through your layers straight to the bone.  The race started you off runnig into a field, to thin the group.  I remember trying to be careful not to get sucked into the sprint start, pacing myself was crucial I had decided.

You have no idea, my level of excitement when I realised i’d be able to say, ‘I’ve run through a real corn field!’  The simple things.  The first lap went ell, I felt I made good progress and stubbornly pushed myself to do the bits I hated.  Particularly, the ducking of the head under the loop into water.  My 2nd lap I slowed, alot, my head went down on hamburger hill but lifted again back around to the obstacles.  Somewhere, between here and being pulled out by the marshalls my body decided – no more.

The marshalls at this event, showed an understanding hypothermia I hadnt seen in previous events.  The constant reminders of the symptoms and what to do, could not be faulted in the slightest.  The marshalls, themselves again were outstanding with their constant checks to see how you were getting on.  The first aid guys were second to none, checking my vitals and monitoring me throughout my time in the tent.  I was stripped and put in a sleeping bag still surrounded in my foil blanket.  All being honest, it wasn’t until I felt better that I realised that I had actually not been in great shape.  Again, a massive shout out has to go to my coach and teammates who looked out for me and ensured I was okay after the race.  All despite Thomas splitting his lip during his own race.

Definitely one to put on the list.

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