6 March 2017 0 Comments

A Busy Couple of Weeks

Yesterday was my first race of the 2017 season. I had intended doing the Grizedale Trail Race at the beginning of Feb but I forgot to enter and by the time I remembered it had sold out. Ho, hum. As it turned out, I had a nasty cold and a calf strain in the week before the race so would have performed badly if I’d made the start line at all.

Since then, training has picked up considerably. My New Year’s resolution was to swim at least once a week every week and that had been going really well, to the point where I was even considering joining a coached club session at the ungodly hour of 6:15am on a Monday morning! Cycling, too, has been going well. I’ve been picking lumpy routes locally and charging up the hills while cruising between them. I’m noticeably stronger and have started to set pbs on quite a few Strava segments lately. The only thing that hasn’t really got going on an upward curve is the running. I strained my calf caused by falling off my bike on a patch of ice a few weeks back stopped me for a while. Since then I have started to run again reasonably regularly. So, by the beginning of March I was considerably ahead of the game on both swimming and cycling, but behind the field with running.

Last week I had to have a minor op to remove a mole. It turned out that the procedure was a lot more invasive than I expected and I now have ten stitches in two inch cut on my chest. When the surgeon asked if I had any questions I said, “Can I swim?” The answer was an emphatic, “No.” In fact he advised no exercise at all for a few days at least. I hadn’t bargained for that, and with this weekend being the Lancaster Duathlon I had planned a full week of brick sessions in preparation. I tried a steady run on Tuesday but i could feel the stitches pulling so kept the pace steady. A couple more days off left me itching to get out so despite Saturday being race day I turned the pedals over for a swift 35km in “Belgian” conditions on the Friday. I would be starting the first race of the season without a single bike/run session under my belt.

My one and only duathlon (run-bike-run, if you are not familiar with the format) was at Oulton Park back in 2012 and I suffered so badly that I swore never to enter one again. I’m not sure quite what motivated me to enter the Lancaster Duathlon, but here I was at Greenlands Farm near Carnforth on a surprisingly pleasant early March day with a clutch of other COLTs ready to go. The run is on a mix of surfaces but quite a lot of it was muddy track and fields, so with the wet weather in the build up we knew it would be a challenge. In fact, the first run leg wasn’t too bad. It was only the second time around with the passage of many feet that left people slipping and sliding around, losing shoes and struggling for grip. The 24km bike course, too, was quite a challenge with a number of testing small climbs (I measured it at 225m of ascent). I pushed hard on the bike and hauled in a fair few of the faster runners (the only person who overtook me on the bike I caught on the 2nd run). I think I wrung the maximum out of the bike leg judging by my heartrate stats and estimated power output, so expected to struggle badly on the last 5km run leg. After the first kilometre (uphill across fields) I was surprised to find my running legs coming back and I picked up the pace once more. In fact my 2nd 5km run turned out to be marginally faster than the first so I think I paced it just right.

MyTri Events are a local event organiser who put on a number of low key and well organised events in the north Lancashire area and beyond every year. I’ve done a number of their events and can’t fault them for the friendly, no frills and good value approach they take to their races. I especially like the fact that they provide event photos free of charge (see slideshow below). The Lancaster Duathlon was in a similar mould to previous events and although my finish time was not earth shattering (1:48:55, 44th overall and 5th in my age group – about halfway down the field) I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The good weather helped!

[slickr-flickr type=”galleria” search=”sets” set=”72157681153975515″

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