London Ultra Distance: 20km run (12.4 mi) / 77km cycle (47.8 mi) / 10km run (6.2 mi)
Total Time: 6:55:55
Overall Place (Female Finishers): 7th
Age Category Place (25-29): 1st
When I first heard of the London Duathlon, I knew I wanted to do it. Also, I knew I wanted to run it for charity. Then there the issue of the length. The London Duathlon ran 4 different lengths (run km/ cycle km / run km):
Super Sprint - 5k/11k/5k
Spring - 10k/22k/5k
Classic - 10k/44k/5k
Ultra - 20k/77k/10k
I knew I wanted a challenge. I remember thinking at the time that the bike length for the Ultra was the only bike ride that seemed a reasonable. (I prefer long rides.) For some reason all the extra running was not exactly registering at the time I was signing up. I was a little disappointed that running for a charity meant that I could not wear my beloved Sheclismo tri top, but I would still ride with the Sheclismo spirit.
The race was pretty incredible. My event started at 8:45 in the morning and I needed to be at Richmond Park at 7:30am. I looked up the train times and I knew there was no way that I could get there on time using public transportation and I was not going to cycle 14 miles will all my gear the morning of such a long event. Thankfully I have a wonderful co-worker, Jochem, who lives near the park who offered to have myself and Piper stay at his place the night before.
|Waiting for the race to begin and rocking my Eyeskull socks. (I always try to carry a little Nebraska with me when I race.)|
|30 minutes before the race|
|I was in a really good mood at the beginning of the race. (Little did I know what the day would hold.)|
Like all endurance events, the start is never really that fast. I remember that I could not stop smiling. I was so happy that my day to run was finally here. The 20k run consisted of doing two 10k loops. I am not a particularly fast runner, especially compared to people that normally take on this type of distance. I am happy if I can run between 10:30 and 10:50 mile on long runs. I was well on pace during this race, however it not long before I was trailing at the rear of the Ultra pack. This did not bother me much. I am happy to run my own pace and I was pleased with how well it was going. The only issue I was having was little stomach pain, which is not unusual for me when running. The first loop seemed to fly by. I did see one sad event. The woman I had started next to had collapsed about 8km into the race and had gone into shock. It is always a little heartbreaking to see someone have to pull out so soon into a race.
|Getting Ready to high five Jochem (I was really in a good mood on this first lap)|
I enter the transition zone about 2 hours and 13 minutes into there race, (the fastest I have ever run a 20k in an event.) I was relieved to be done with running for a little while. My bike was one of the few remaining in the Ultra section so it was very easy to find. My transition is an example of everything not to do. I made a frantic grab for my helmet and gloves. I fussed with my camel pack and sunglasses. I pulled off my running shoes, (I love those elastic tri laces), and jammed my feet into my cycling shoes. I took another Gu and thought about eating something else, but my stomach revolted at the idea. I took my bike off the rack, and somehow made it out of there in 2 min 30 sec. I walked my bike to mount line and climbed on top.
My knees practically sang with the relief of being stretched out with pedaling motion. I growled as I took off. I am more of cyclist than a runner. The bike route is 7 laps around the Richmond park, an 11km circuit. This terrain is mostly undulating and there is one climb, a 1km hill with 40 meters of climb and a 12% gradient at the steepest point. (That's right, I am going to do that 7 times.) I reached the hill about 3km into the first loop. In my training, I practiced doing standing climbs to give my legs a break. I took the hill standing up. I felt so thirsty and light headed and worse, my stomach was in full revolt and I felt like I was going to be sick. I pulled over at the top of the hill to settle my tummy. I knew I would have difficulty recovering psychologically if I vomited during the race. I got back on my bike and did another couple of kilometers, the more issues. My calfs began to cramp. I could barely pedal. I pulled over at the Ultra water station and tried to stretch them out. One of the volunteers came over and had me lay down so I could be stretched out. I told it was only my first lap and I had never cramped like that in training. It turns out my electrolytes were low and I had not properly hydrated during the run to be prepared for the bike ride. I started off again furiously sipping the electrolyte water in my camelpak.
|Going around the park (I really was not that tired when this was taken)|
|Climbing that stupid hill (This was climb number 6)|
|The last run really hurt|
|Finishing was very emotional. This is not a pain expression.|
|Thyla and I - Medals in hand|
The Ultra Duathlon is by far my favorite race I have done. I feel like I have finally found an event that is perfect for me. It is so sufficiently challenging. I am planning on doing it next year and I am hoping to take 20-30 minutes off my time. I have already planned my training schedule and have included a few other events to compete in over the next year to help me prepare, including a sprint triathlon. I will be able to save a lot of time, but not needing to pull over from a cramp and I know my running is only going to get better. I need to thank everyone who encouraged me along the way.
|Post Race Beer Never Tasted so Good|
This post is an abbreviated version of a post originally published on http://justmeandphysicshere.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-london-ultra-duathlon-race-recap.html by the same author.