Sunday, 16 March 2008

First race of the season...

16 weeks of base training. Hours on the bike in the cold, in the wind, in the rain. Hours on the turbo in the garage staring at the back of the garage door. Months of rehabing my injured foot and back into the swing of running and km's and km's in the pool. Over the last 16 weeks I can definitely say I've become stronger and fitter. But the real test is how you race, are you improving... the race stats tell the truth.

Yesterday was the Ballbuster Duathlon which is an 8 mile loop (very hilly) which you run once, ride three times (24 miles) and then run again. Last year I did 3hrs 20mins, had a great race, particularly in the two runs. After my 6mth running injury I didn't expect to be running as well as I was this time last year, although I'm not far off. However, after putting hours and hours of effort in on the bike while I was injured I had hoped to have made a marked improvement on the bike.

Last Tuesday at run club I had a long chat with my good friend Jackie about the race and it really helped me take some of the pressure that I appear to have piled onto myself over the last couple of weeks. The outcome of our chat was that as long as I've done my best I can't be disappointed and if the result isn't what I had wanted my head isn't going to fall off and the world won't end, but I have to look at the results and learn from them. It helped me a lot and I went into the race feeling calm and ready.

The trick to this race is not to go off too hard on the first run because the long up hills and hard down hills batter your quads and if you mash them too soon you're in for a painful day. I had a very comfortable first run (I wonder if it was a little too comfortable) 56mins I got into transistion. It was very foggy and drizzly and the visability on the bike section for the first 30mins wasn't great. I got out on the bike and not having ridden my race bike on the road for a while it felt good to be down on my tribars and on a light fast bike. Unfortunately for me the bke section is very very technical with twisty fast descents and tight sharp bends. The recent bad weather meant that there were a million huge pot holes in the roads and road works had left terrible grit, mud and loose stones on much of the course. I think I hit the same pot hole on every lap, cursing as I was jolted over it and clinging onto my tribars trying to maintain my balance. Don't take your mind off a single pedal revolution were the words that were ringing through my ears. Words that Tom had said to me in the car on the way there. Today I was going to see my marked improvement on the bike. Today was not my day :(I could feel I wasn't fluid or consistent on that ride at all. Something I really have been working on. There are a few things to note here that were out of my control... the conditions weren't great it was slippy and wet on the course and it is very technical meaning I'm much more cautious on bends than a more experienced rider. However, the biggest tell of my bike leg was my heart rate data. It's like being shown the truth...the road surface and the weather were partially to blame but my work rate is there in black and white. Now I felt like I was giving my all, but I was incredibly aware that I wasn't riding well and when that happens my heart rate gives me away because it drops. But physically I have the endurance and so I was looking forward to getting back out on the run where I ran a very consistent 56mins again (chasing down my mate Spaniel (Sam) who had overtaken me on the bike but not realising I'd overtaken him back in second transistion! The overall time was 3hrs 23mins. I was 3 mins slower than last year. My runs were both slower than last year by about a minute but as I said earlier I had expected that. My bike was a whopping 13 seconds quicker!!! And this is what I was disappointed in. The good thing is that Jackie & I were right. My head didn't fall off and the world hasn't ended. I was near as damn it the same as last year and last years conditions were dry and clear.

Now I can see my heart rate data I need to work on getting that working at a more consistent pace instead of letting it plunge to pedestrian depths. THIS is my next challenge. I know I have the fitness, I know I have the capability but it's locked away in me and somehow I need to find a way of releasing it because when I get to grips with it I'm going to make such an improvement it's going to make a huge difference to my times. And that's quite an invigorating thought, it's a bit like when I couldn't swim. I was excited at the thought of one day being able to get into the pool and do front crawl like other swimmers. Soon, when I've found out how to unleash the cyclist in me I'll be riding like the girls who I can run with and they won't be leaving me when it gets to the bike section because I'll be right beside them!

All in all I think I've come away with a positive. Thank god for data, numbers and the truth that races tell or how would we ever improve?! Well done to my inspiration Tom who is always amazing & to Sam (we've become a double sided pigeon Spaniel, you on the run, me on the bike!) who didn't enjoy that last run but conquered it none the less, and also to Pauly P who entered the world of the multi-sport event for the first time yesterday and did incredibly. Hope your legs are on the mend boys.

Right now I have to take my body which is full of soooooo much chocolate it's practically streaming out of my eyes, in fact it very well may have replaced my blood I've eaten that much, and as from tomorrow it's back to a healthy, normal and no added sugar lifestyle. Me and chocolate are out of bounds for a while, I've eaten enough to make Bella Emburg look under nourished.

Night kids.

H. xx


Jevon said...

It's a great start to the season. Tough conditions, good race. Keep up the good work.

H said...

Thanks J, I'm feeling a lot better about the whole thing these days, a lot less serious is the key me thinks!!! After all I'm hardly going to be winning these races so I might as well remove all of the pressure I appear to be able to put on myself and go into them with a big :) on my face!!!