‘Running a marathon’ was one of the things on my ‘things to do before I’m 40’ list. I got round to doing one at the age of 42, slightly off track – granted. I did it with a friend and I loved it! I was keen to do another, but my friend said that she’d rather shoot herself in the foot. Undeterred I hit the streets on me tod. Sadly I hit them rather too hard and persistent injury meant that I had to re-set my goals. So I bought a second hand bike, hit the pool and entered my first triathlon. I LOATHED it! The swim was awful, all and sundry were overtaking me on my ridiculously ill fitting bike and when I got to the run thinking ‘hoorah! I can do this bit!’ I found that I couldn’t stand upright, let alone put one foot in front of the other!
A couple of years down the line I’d completed a few more triathlons (as you do) and qualified for the 2013 GB age group team to race in the world champs in London. True to form I came out of the water way down the field of 108 competitors in my category, but by the time I crossed the finish line I’d worked my way up to 13th! Which got me thinking . . . if I ditched the bit I’m rubbish at and concentrated on the stuff I like (which, quite frankly, constitutes everything apart from swimming) what could I do? The following year I brought home a silver medal from the European sprint distance duathlon age group champs in Horst and a gold from the standard distance duathlon age group world champs in Spain!
I burst in to 2015 (my 50th year) with huge gusto and enthusiasm only to be stopped dead in my running tracks by a stress fracture. Better people would have used the opportunity to make improvements in the other disciplines, but instead I hit the settee and caught up on all the box sets that I hadn’t watched. I eventually dragged my butt off the settee and shuffled round the odd race and didn’t do too badly considering the distinct lack of training! Back on track in 2016 and I’m currently training for the European standard distance duathlon age group champs in Germany in April and the long distance event in Copenhagen in May.
I have a bit of a reputation for getting away with a somewhat less than nutritious diet. I take a multi-vit each morning and give myself carte blanche thereafter to eat what I like!! Typically race day nutrition has consisted of whatever freebies I’ve collected over previous months and a very ad hoc approach to pre and post race fuelling. I would always take a gel before a race and tape a few to the top tube of my bike for intra-race re-fuelling as that seemed to be what everyone else was doing! In every race that I competed in last year I was struck down with annoying stomach cramps as soon as I hit the run. I put it down to old age and generally being a bit decrepit. However, in February I received some samples of Mountain Fuel as part of my prize in a 10k trail race. I noticed on the website that the company didn’t advocate the use of gels which got me wondering if they were part of my problem. I decided to give the Mountain Fuel system a go at my pre champs ‘test’ race – Clumber duathlon – a qualifying event for this year’s world champs and next years euros. I was thrilled to bits! No stomach cramps, bags of energy and as an added bonus, no sticky stuff smeared across my face, dribbled down my front and snail trails down my legs from where I’d stuffed the gel wrappers up my shorts! Brilliant!!! I also managed to bag first place in my category (old birds) and second lady overall, so providing nothing goes ‘snap’ I appear to be on track for my target races.
Why I love duathlon
Simples – you don’t have to swim!
My best achievement so far
Ah – gotta be being able to claim world champ status even though I probably got a bit lucky!
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