First real race of the year for me took place in a small typically Irish rural village and by “typically Irish”, I mean (a) blink and you’d miss it and (b) the village basically consists of a post office and a pub. I love Narraghmore. The duathlon races hosted there every Spring are meticulously organised by the Athy Triathlon Club every year. Not only is the course very accurately measured and suitably challenging, but the people are so helpful and friendly, the support turnout for such a small race is huge and afterwards, there’s buckets of soup, tea and coffee and mountains of sandwiches and biscuits, all of which is completely free. As if that weren’t a kind enough gesture to welcome racers to their home town, the solitary pub which I have already spoke of, Molly O’Looney’s open their doors for use by racers which means a snug, warm place to shelter in before and after the event, complementary physio rub-downs, lots of toilets (and loo roll!) and a friendly place to assemble with your competitors to share tales of the roads. They really couldn’t do any more. There are three races in total and today was race number one.
I had done the usual 5km parkrun yesterday morning and went out with a good effort, making a new P.R for 2015 of 24:54 so I wasn’t expecting to be very nippy today. The plan was simply to go with how I felt and go from there. The run section was an out-and-back 1.5km starting with a nice downhill to get you fired up and finishing with a tough uphill (because what goes down must come back up!). Buzzing, as always, in the first few minutes after the gun went off, I completed the first 3km leg in 14:23. Then quick transition (well, quick for me because I am the slowest person in the WORLD in transition) and off we went on the bikes. There was a strong wind and temperatures were pretty low so I basically went like the clappers because I quite simply was in no mood to freeze on the bike! Cycling is not generally my strong suit, if I do indeed have any, and I haven’t had a proper cycle in months so I was not expecting much. After flying along for the first 15km, I started to tire and the last 5km were an effort. Once again, the loop finished on a tough uphill climb so I was grateful for the support from the crowd at that point :). The watch said 47:52 for the bike leg. Nearly forgot to change my shoes when in T2 which would have been not good and very embarrassing but I’m gonna go ahead and put that down to being fairly wobbly after I dismounted from the two-wheeler. Out of practice with transitioning from one event to the next, my head was spinning a bit and it took about 1.5km for my legs to stop wobbling and for me to find my running feet. Maybe the lack of physical feeling is a good thing though because while I was just telling myself to keep moving forward, I somehow managed to finish the second 3km in 16:23.
All in all, the 3k – 20k – 3k took me 1:22:17 (14:23 – 1:50 – 47:52 – 1:48 – 16:23). I was freezing at the beginning and was having of moment of wondering what I had been thinking of when I signed up to a race in February, but I’m so glad I did because I had a great morning. Great race, great people and I’ll be back for the next 2 races and looking forward to both.
Off the elevate the weary legs and finish (I hope to God…) Feast for Crows which I’ve been reading since January… I love these books but the the time commitment makes marathon training look like child’s play. Just as well I’m addicted to both ! 😜