Glentress winter duathlon - round 3

I absolutely loved the last two duathlons and couldn't wait for this one but by this morning I was questioning the wisdom of entering.

I was disgusted to pick up a swimming injury at the start of the week that was stopping me breathing fully (it was a chest-shoulder thing). So that pretty much ruled out any sport that involved taking deep breaths. I've never had a swimming injury before so I'm putting it down to some of the strange drills we were attempting and probably not doing very well. Then, yesterday, I was getting my stuff together and realised my back wheel was shoogily (technical term). So a quick (and really quite scary) cycle to the bike shop, praying it wouldn't fall off but Carl just couldn't manage to fit it in so I was resigned to riding the commuting bike in the race. I was feeling all very discouraged and woke up this morning with a sore throat and a bit of a pain in my hip. Maybe the world was suggesting that racing was a bad idea?

But then the sun came up and my lift appeared. Might as well give it a go then.

The race started with a 15km bike. A really fast start then bits of the black trail (including unintentional air time on the jumps), some slippy muddy stuff, swoopy singletrack, rooty sections, grass and lung busting fire roads. Just as I was struggling for some oxygen I opened my mouth to take a deep breath and it was immediately filled with mud. Could've done with some glasses too. Muddy but awesome.

Off the bike and the run gradient was pretty stiff. As I got closer to the top of the hill I watched for other girls to come down and didn't see so many. At least one was in a relay team - could I be second? I got to the top of the hill and carried on, into knee deep mud. Couldn't believe they were taking us through there. Only, hold on, when was the last time I'd seen any race tape? I had a quick look round. Nobody.

Back through the knee deep mud and I carried on, passing lots of girls going the other way. High five from Katy. Only, wasn't she behind me on the bike? It was all looking too familiar and I realised I'd started running back down the course rather than carrying on. Where was the turn around point?? I turned on my heel again and summoned up the energy to get back up the hill, passing the same lot of girls again, all with puzzled looks on their faces. Me again? My eyes focused on the 'turn around' sign and the box of clothes pegs that you were expected to pick up, to show you'd been at the top.

Third time lucky. And now nowhere near 2nd place. I did a bit of feeling sorry for myself (getting up the hill HURT and now it was all for nothing). Always worse when there's noone to blame but yourself. Then a lovely man from Edinburgh Road Club gave me the best encouragement ever.

You're only half way, you can still catch those girls. You're faster than them.

And I did. Not all of them but I fought to catch at least two. Forcing myself to run when my body didn't even want to walk anymore. 2hr is a brutal length of race. I caught Katy (who has beaten me in practically every race I've ever done). But somehow couldn't overtake her. We stumbled together along the roots, neither wanting to give up. At last, we hit the fire road and I knew we were near the end. Katy isn't so local and must have been lacking this boost. Somehow, as I got stronger, she faded a bit and I crossed the finish line in fourth place. Without the frustration at my mistake I doubt I'd have fought so hard. So, somehow, fourth place still feels fantastic. And I was second in the series overall. I must be getting faster. Or maybe I've just found the kind of racing that really inspires me to go faster. What a fantastic race series.


The German said…
Tremendous result but more importantly, tremendous approach and attitude to the event !

Keep writing about your adventure - it serves as inspiration to us all :-)

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