My First Duathlon – The Bedford Duathlon

Hi, my name is Isabelle and I joined ELT late Spring 2017. Each year the club creates a list of events that they wish to race called the Grand Prix. I dutifully entered the Bedford Duathlon, immediately forgetting what the distance was. Shock and horror, with about 4 weeks to go I realised I had not entered a sprint event but the standard distance event….

Race Briefing

I kept a brave face when people reminded me that it consisted of 10k run/40k cycle/5k run. I do like a challenge me!! Over the winter I ramped up the running to about 20k a week, I used my indoor cycling solution and took any opportunity to cycle when the roads were not frozen over!

Was I ready on the day? The answer was: to a point! Adding to the fact that work had been hectic with financial year end and we were losing an hour sleep with the clocks going forward… So my lovely partner, a friend, and I arrived suitably last minute in a state of dazed panic. What do you mean I don’t have the time to go to the loo?

Dazed look at my support team!

Before I knew it, the race had begun!

My aim was to go steady throughout and finish! A few days before the race, I had downloaded an app compatible with my Garmin watch, so I could keep an eye on my pace and the distance ran/cycled. I have to be honest, I very quickly felt lonely on the track. As one of the slowest competitors, soon the elderlies and the birds were my only companions. I was overtaken repeatedly by super-fast athletes but still, I stayed in my zone and finished the 10k pretty much at target pace.

This is me in transition to cycle, not hindered by the presence of anyone else!

The transition to the bike was quite shocking; I couldn’t find my shoes, my helmet had been moved to another bike and I ran in my socks to the start line and got my feet wet before being on the saddle, yay! Once on the bike I just carried on a 25k/h pace or more when I could.

In hindsight I should have put more clothes on for the bike leg. There were parts of the circuit exposed to a strong icy wind which was unpleasant and made my feet like blocks of ice on the transition to running.

My furry support team!

In short, I am proud of myself for taking part in this. My time was 3 hours and 8 minutes, not too bad for a first shot. The first person in my age group managed in 2h16! So I will aim to be closer to this next time.

Lessons learnt: it is better if you can compete alongside athletes of similar abilities and I need to be better prepared for transitions. I am going to be 50 in May… next event the ELT Dragon Slayer.

Isabelle