Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Race Report: Every Woman's Duathlon

One of my goals for 2010 was to take part in a duathlon, just to expand my racing ‘horizons’, and on Saturday I completed my first one! The race was held in Bristol - Every Woman’s Duathlon - and was aimed at first time duathlon-ers. I entered with two other friends (one a duathlon virgin like me, and the other quite a bit more experienced ;o) ).

I’ve really enjoyed training on my bike over the past couple of months, and although apprehensive, I was looking forward to the race. That was until I woke up on Saturday to the hottest day of the year so far! We left at 7.30 to cycle to the race (only about 10 minutes!) and it was already sweltering. We decided to take it easy on the first run, and ran it at a comfortable pace, and finished the ‘5km’ course in around 22 minutes - a 7 minute improvement on my 5km PB ;o)

Getting my sweat on! ((C) 21C Photos)

Then onto the bike section. My mountain bike wasn’t the most ideally suited for the tarmac based route, my only goal was to complete the distance in under an hour. The cycle route was four loops, so it got a bit boring after a while, and with two 180 degree turns per loop, it mean slowing right down eight times over the course. Was very annoyed at completing the course in 62 minutes, but as I my average pace was around 14 miles per hour, I suspect the distance was a bit longer than the 20km advertised. Boo :o(

Cycling away! ((C) 21C Photos)

The second run was not fun, my legs were tired, and by this point it was about 1000 degrees (no really!), but it was nice knowing that I only had 3.5km to run rather than 5! I didn’t take anywhere near enough to drink with me, and was starting to feel quite weak half way through this run. After some walking, and stern words, I finished. My overall time was 1:48:05. Not really sure how I feel about the time as my goal was to finish in under two hours, which I wouldn’t have done if the distances had been correct, but it’s a PB nonetheless! :oD I also came third in my age category (whadya mean how many people were in my age category?!)

Finished! (At last) ((C) 21C Photos)

Overall a good race - brilliant for first timers (like me) and the option of two distances was nice as well (5km/20km/5km or 2.5km/10km/2.5km), just a shame about the distances. The race was well organised - everything was well explained (as for the majority of the entrants this was their first duathlon), free massage before and after was a nice touch and there were a fair few marshalls too - all of which were very encouraging and supportive. The goodie bag was really good (perhaps where the £36 entry fee was spent!), including a medal, t-shirt, magazine, keyring, pen and several food samples.

Not sure I’d be in a hurry to do another duathlon, but am pleased I can now tick it off my list. A certain someone is trying to persuade me to enter a triathlon next, but I think I’ll save that for next year!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Race Report: Guildford Race for Life

Yesterday I completed Guildford's Race for Life. This race had me in a reflective mood as it was my first race ever, this time last year (read last year's race report here), and was what motivated me to start on the couch to 5km plan, as I decided I wanted to be able to run the whole way. And now, here I am a year later, which a fair few races under my belt and several stone lighter! I think even the fact that I haven't had to 'train' to cover this distance (5km), shows how much things have changed!

Me at this year's race, and at the same event last year.

Although the purpose of these events isn't to PB, I wanted to make sure I beat last year's time of 35:00! My 5km PB (set in March) is 29:20, so allowing for the crowds I was really hoping for a finish of 31-32 minutes. I was prepared for the crowds at the beginning, so I set of quickly and weaved my way through the crowds - a bit too quickly it seems as I hit the first km marker in just over 5 minutes (25 minute for 5km pace!), I kept pushing it and got to 3km in 16 minutes, I realised I wouldn't be able to keep this pace up, but didn't want to walk, so slowed right down for 3 to 4km. Before I knew it the '500m to go' sign was there and I could see the finish, so I picked up the pace again. The only steep incline of the course is about 300m before the end - I ran to the top and thought I was going to be sick!

Just about to cross the finish line!

I glanced down at my HRM as I crossed the line, and did a double take - 28:15! I couldn't believe it - a huge grin spread across my face as I realised I'd PB'd and take 6minutes 45 seconds off last year's time! Now I have a goal to aim for the next time I go to parkrun (a weekly, free, 5km time trial).

Me, my sister and neice after the race (no, my 3 year old neice didn't run it, but they kindly gave her a medal as she ran the last 20 metres or so with my sister!)

It was nice to come 'full circle' and return to the race that 'started it all' - I feel I've proved (to myself more than anyone else), that I am a runner now - I've been doing this for a year now! I'm sure this is a race that I'll return to time and again - I've got my eyes on a 25 minute finish time for next year! :D

Sunday, 6 June 2010

parkrun: A Different Perspective

At yesterday's parkrun, rather than running, I helped out as a volunteer. For those of you unfamilliar with parkrun, its a free, weekly, timed 5km run open to everyone and anyone. You can find out more here and find your nearest event here.

It was my first time volunteering at parkrun. I remember being told the first time I attended a parkrun, that if every runner volunteered three times each year, that would be enough for the events to remain free and ongoing, so I decided it was about time I chipped in!

Runners walking to the start of the race

parkrun is a simple set-up and there are several types of volunteer roles including timer, marshalls, photographer, funnel management and handing out positions chips. I was in charge of scanning in runner's barcodes and position chips at the end of the race (which would later be matched up to give them their times).

It was really interesting to see the event from the 'other side'. And it made me realise just how fast some of the runners are! The first child came in at just uner 11 minutes 30 seconds (children run a 2.5km route) and the first adult runner (the full 5km route) came in at 17:45 - something to aspire to! :D

And the best part? You get your name in 'lights' on the website!