Sunday, 28 September 2008

From the sublime to the ridiculous...

Yesterday I took racing to a completely new and completely different level! What has she gone and done now you all wonder?? Swam the Nile? Cycled round the world in a weekend? Or run from here to Timbuctoo? Endurance is definitely my forte and going long has always suited me. Going short has always been painful and as I'm discovering, really not any faster than my going long speeds!

So, what is it that I've done?...

Well yesterday I took part in my first cycling TT hill-climb...and it was, are you ready for this... 1200 yards long!!! See now you're having to go back and re-read this to look for what's so amazingly different... yesterday, I raced for just over 4mins!!! I mean 4 whole minutes (4.19 to be exact.) I felt like I understood Naomi Cambell when she said she wouldn't get out of bed for less than a bazillion pounds. How on earth was I going to get my head round starting a race that's finished before it's even begun?! I'm so used to those first few minutes being the time I use to get comfortable on my bike and getting settled into the race. Then I engage my brain, start thinking about the tactics of the ride/race and how I'm going to deal with speed and distance etc. It was weird, really, really weird but actually I really enjoyed it and don't get me wrong it wasn't in any way easier just because it was ridiculously short compared to my usual races.

As Tom and I rode to Weardley Bank where it was taking place I was quite thankful that my brain and body were only going to have to concentrate for such a short space of time. The season has been long and I'm well and truly ready for October's month of rest and recovery. There were about 30 riders and each one knew the pain they were about to go through. Tom & I knew it would hurt, and hurt it did, in a very short lived way. The hill was broken into two sections so there was a slight reprieve in the middle just before the last push to crest the top. A whole host of people's family and friends were there to holler support at the riders and I have to say the atmosphere in the cycling community is second to none. I had a good few 'Go on lass' shouts as I rasped my way up the hill and I loved it. It's a community I'm proud to be able to be part of. It's inclusive, it's supportive and it's real. Oh, and I came second last ;) I reckon that if I'd have been doing the climb as an interval session I'd have probably got faster along the way such is my endurance, it appears not to kick in anywhere near the beginning of any race, (although having ripped the lining of my throat out on the first attempt I don't remember suggesting I did it another few times!!!)

Riding back home having raced for a whole 4+ minutes was just the oddest thing, my legs and heart were fine, completely oblivious and probably relieved it wasn't another long, long race, but like I say the wheezy feeling in my chest and the burning throat from gasping so much up the hill were the sharp reminder of just how much you can push your body in such a short space of time and distance. It's a talent to be able to belt out of the gate and get straight into race pace and there were some quick riders there yesterday and Tom & I enjoyed watching them envious of their strength as they powered up the hill.

This morning on my run before we went off to do the photography for the Ilkley Triathlon I was reminded yet again that I'm just not set up for speed over a short distance. Both Tom and I warmed up on our way to the Hyde Park Time Trial (5km run race) course so we could get a short sharp session in as we head quickly towards the Great North Run (a week today in fact.) My first two miles (of only three!!!) were slower than the last three or four miles of my 16mile run on Thursday, what's that all about?!! I find it very bizarre that I can actually get faster as I run longer. Something I need to look at a bit closer me thinks, but that's for another day.

The Ilkley Triathlon went really well today and Leeds Bradford Tri club put on a great show, very organised and great fun and something else I'm very proud to be part of.

But right now, all I want to be part of is the land of nod where I can dream about what it might be like to be sprinter instead of a snail :)

H. x

P.s...To all of those we know preparing for the big day in Ironman Mecca a.k.a Hawaii, soak it up and live the dream, we'll be watching you every step of the way. x

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