MT back on track at the Battle of Ballinspittle Duathlon
Saturday, 18 April 2015 | Admin
Battle of Ballinspittle Duathlon – 6th April 2015
I’m always nervous the morning of a race. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fun run, club race or national championship. The butterflies flutter incessantly, my hands shake & I inevitably spend a vast amount of time queuing for the toilet/port-a-loo or searching for cover in the least conspicuous ditch. I wonder does everyone feel like this?
On Easter Monday, as I gathered my race kit & headed to Ballinspittle for the first race of 2015, that familiar feeling engulfed me. I was extra nervous having spent the vast majority of 2014 injured & unable to run, only racing briefly at the beginning & end of the season. Beginning 2015, I was very cautious, taking the minimum risk & only starting to run again about 6 weeks ago.
I glanced around as I left the registration table in Ballinspittle. Everyone seemed calm. I’d been battling with my trembling hand, trying to appear likewise as I signed myself in. I dared not attempt to pin on my number in front of anyone. No point in drawing attention to myself.
I also still feel like a novice. I’ve raced a good bit over the past few years but I still have that feeling that it’s all new. I’ve rarely raced the same race twice, not so much by design as just by chance. Every race is different. Every course has it’s challenges. You never quite know what’s up ahead. Maybe that’s the draw of racing. In training, I’m a creature of habit. I like to repeat the same sessions to measure progression. I find comfort in the repetitiveness of my training schedule. It keeps me focused & fuels consistency. Racing is completely different. There’s a freedom in it, an unpredictability that makes it exiting & worthwhile but also scary & nerve wrecking.
The Battle of Ballinspittle definitely fits this description! I wasn’t expecting the hills (I wish I could describe them as mountains- as this is how they seemed during the race-but that might be stretching the truth just a little!) The first 3k road run was a gentle prelude to what lay in store. As the field took off up the first hill at speed, I settled in to what I thought was a steady pace. In truth, I wasn’t quite sure of my pacing but I knew I’d find myself in big trouble a few km’s up the road if I started too hard. I’ve been really lucky to have had the use of an ElliptiGo for the past few months while rehabbing injury & the strength sessions paid off of this course.
The descent back to T1 in Ballinspittle was fast. I’ve always loved downhill running & made the most of it, passing a girl who had been running strongly ahead of me on the ascent.
Transition was small but well laid out & I exited efficiently having decided against attempting a flying start! Now for some fun (& pain!)
I hadn’t rode the route beforehand but I’d looked at the route profile & was acutely aware of a significant hill a few kilometres from transition. It was a 2 lap course so at least I’d know the route the second time around! The hill was tough! I actually really enjoy climbing once I get into my rhythm & looked forward to the second lap. My least favourite part of the race was the short steep descent that inevitably followed! I spun out my legs as much as possible, getting used to being back on the tt bike which I’d taken out of hibernation the previous day. Keeping an eye on my watch I knew my HR was pretty high. I was working hard. My legs felt tired but I tried to enjoy the discomfort (strange but true!).
By T2, I was fairly happy to get back on my feet again. My glutes were complaining about the extra workload the tt bike was inflicting on them. They'd rather the road bike!
Only a 5km trail run to go. Again I was thankful for having spent hours on the ElliptiGo, when otherwise I would have had my feet up, unable to run. The trail climbed steeply before levelling out through the shade of the forest roads & finally descended sharply towards the finish. I didn’t have another gear, so I plodded along fairly contentedly, once the customary stitch abated.First race of the season done & dusted! A great race, really well marshalled in a beautiful location & a nice bonus to win. Thanks to Kinsale Tri Club for providing a true test of early season fitness.
Trusty Training Partner!