Saturday, 21 March 2009

First race of the season...done :)

Gone in the blink of an eye! It’s so scary how fast time goes as here I am, yet again, writing the blog from the passenger seat of the car having raced The Ballbuster (a hard duathlon in Surrey.) This is the fifth time I’ve done The Ballbuster so I knew the pain that was in store. It’s an 8 mile (hilly) loop that you run first, ride three times then run again. That second run is such a challenge and in the past few races I’ve been very good at pacing them fairly evenly. That sounds like today I didn’t pace it so well but actually I think I did details to follow.

Going into the race I was a little apprehensive. My tendonitis which plagued me last year and stopped me running for six months has started to rear it’s head again. I think that trying to change my foot strike from heel running to mid-foot has been the culprit. So after a physio session on Wednesday I was told to go back to heel striking to stop irritating it. Shame because I’ve managed to get to a point where I can run faster and feel straighter through my torso by learning how to mid-foot strike. Still, I’d take being able to run slower over not being able to run through injury any day! My running in training therefore hasn’t been going great and I’ve felt slow and sluggish and not really been enjoying my long runs at all finding them a real slog in fact. Weird because I used to not enjoy riding and it seems I’ve started to enjoy that so much more, I guess it’s because I’m seeing the improvements those extra bike miles are making!

So, the gun went at 8am on Saturday morning as the sun was rising warming up the course, making the conditions just perfect for racing. I like to start off very much within myself (mostly to let the tendon warm up.) And that’s exactly what I did. I felt very comfortable (heart rate a little higher than usual – about 168) but I wasn't breathing hard and just enjoyed my work rate, the weather and the fact that after a couple of miles I started to pick my way through the field. Because my running hasn’t been going well all I wanted was to be able to match last year’s runs or come very close. Last year’s first run was 56mins this years run was 56 mins. Onto the bike and really what I wanted was to see an improvement here, are those bike miles making a difference? I felt good and really strong. The drawback of this course for me though is it’s a very technical course with fast off camber decents, narrow roads (with too many cars on them) and those combinations turn me into a right girl ;) The men that were around me were overtaking when we got to a technical part with girly me chasing behind. Catching them wasn’t hard but staying with them through those tight bends was, so I feel I was a little inconsistent in effort. Still I did improve my bike split from last years long 1.28 to this years short 1.26. Not much but in the right direction and given I felt I could have gone harder if I'd been braver round those corners then that's a good enough improvement for me. As I pulled on my trainers in T2 I was feeling good. I’ve always ran well off the bike (not necessarily fast but I don’t find running off the bike a problem.) I felt really strong and was enjoying working hard again and hoping to match my first run. I’d got off the bike feeling fresh, the hill work we’ve been doing and the hard work in Lanza meant today’s hills were like little humps so while I was on that second run I didn’t feel like I’d mashed my legs at all on the bike. Until I reached said little humps (no longer little or a humps) and then I knew my legs were cooked ;) 59 mins (3mins slower than the first run) and I finished in 3hrs 23mins 33 secs.  Having tired legs on that last section is no surprise, however my leg fatigue was more to do with the lack of long run intensity I've been able to do rather than pushing myself too hard in the first run and then on the bike (and being a few kilos heavier than this time last year.)  This I'm pleased about because those things I can work on and carry on the good work in the bike area too.

I’m really pleased. It’s not a pb (I did 3.23 last year) and I’ve run faster in previous races but my aim was to see improvement on the bike and I felt really strong, so that’s great. Like I say I am heavier than I was this time last year and I think this makes quite a difference in terms of running so hopefully by the time I get to Lanza I’ll be at race weight and ready to rock!!

A great day in the office with an average heart rate of 161 so I know I worked hard, and I have the sore legs to prove it☺ oh and I came fifth so £40 better off too ☺ ☺ A huge well done to my husband who pb’d and as always gave his all, and to Pauly P who also pb’d. Well done boys ☺

Time to kick back and enjoy a well earned rest day.  

And as usual here's this weeks pix (Week Seven.) 

H. x


Mama Simmons said...

Sounds like the work you're putting in is paying off! Nice work out there... that's a long run for a short bike!

Anonymous said...

Well done on a great PB H and brining home some winnings. At least someone in your house is earning the cash at races;-). Ozzer