Harlech Duathlon 2017

Roll back to ‘Black Friday’s 2016. Dave is busy booking events. He comes across Harlech Triathlon while booking his others. It didn’t have a black Friday deal on it but it was a good price.

I had been saying I was going to take swimming lessons for the last few years. Luckily I walked in when I did, Dave was about to sign me up for a triathlon. A triathlon.. but I can’t even swim… I’m not confidant in a bike and bit much good at running. I could learn to swim but don’t want the pressure of an event looming. I didn’t get a choice in the matter so I was signed up to a duathlon. Well if I am doing a duathlon then my brother can too. Let’s sign him up and he can do the duathlon with me while Dave does his triathlon.

Right what do I do now? Well watching the videos of the 200 steps up to storm the castle was not the right idea. If I wasn’t scared about doing a duathlon before then I am now. This wasn’t an easy one to pick as the first and maybe only one. I might as well look at the rest of the course. Erm.. maybe not. Sand.. Sand? I can’t èven walk on sand how am I going to run on a beach, oh well That was the easy bit. I need to run over the sand dunes to get to the beach, then I need to get off the beach too. 

Oh well it’s done now I will have to deal with it. I need to go out on my bike but the weather isn’t good. I’ll do it in a few months and just keep up with my running.

2017 is here and I have a duathlon in 3 months. How on earth did this happen? It’s too hard.. I can’t do it. I should have been on a few rides by now but I haven’t. Dad said I can use his road bike so just need to make sure I can actually ride it. A ride down the road to make sure I can stay in it and the a few laps round the block to see if I can change gear. I survived. Sorted. I will be fine. Erm well bit really I actually need to go for a ride. Let’s plan one in. Me Dave and Gareth will go, then I will be safe and it will be ok.

The day of the bike trial has come going to make it into a mini brick session as Otis my last chance. Me and Gareth go for a mile run while Dave makes sure everything is ready. Off we go on my 10 mile loop I have done many times when younger. It felt comfortable so I was happy and this bike was so much faster than my hybrid so a good decision. Just needed to build confidence on a road bike again after not riding one for 17 years. I haven’t got time for that but just getting out has boosted my confidence. Back from the bike ride and another mile run to finish off the training.

That’s it now, there is no going back, training albiet minimal was done, not great training but enough to convince me I can do this. 

A lovely drive down to Harlech we made it registration. We collected our race numbers, t-shirts and castle passes. The campsite was only over the road, and we had a nice large pitch. We set up and went for a walk up the steep hill to the castle. Grateful that I wouldn’t have to run up there tomorrow we went for lunch in the cafe before heading down to the beach. The sun was shining as we walked along the beach looking up at the castle where we will be finishing. It was hot. Too hot to be running, hope it will be cooler tomorrow.

Back to the campsite for a BBQ and drink before a relaxing night ready for tomorrow.

Oh no tomorrow is here I need to get dressed, Dave’s triathlon starts in a couple of hours. Our duathlon starts at 11am, Dave will probably be finishes by then. We all walk down to transition and rack our bikes and set everything up. This is very real now. 

Time for Dave to start so we make our way to the pool to watch. It was a quick swim so I run out to see him get on his bike for the the bike leg. Got a bit of time until he will be back so a walk down to the duathlon start to get our timing chips. They are not ready yer. We can’t get them until just beforehand start so time to head back, drop off my hoody as it’s cooler than yesterday. Dave is nearly back so I will wait in tramsistion for him. 

He is back. It seems weird being in transition next to his bike. I’ve never been able to get this close before as transitions usually close but I’m not normally allowed in anyway. It’s an open transition so I wait close by to see him off. I make sure all my stuff is sorted ready to start and hope I can see him heading back up the beach road before I go.

Hopefully Dave will be back soon, so I can see him before we set off. We started walking back towards the start and see him heading our way. We cheer him on and head down to the start. We get our chips and have a talk to a few people. I’m going to be last I know I am. Oh well it’s my own fault entererung an championship event. Everyone looks like that have done this before. I don’t belong here I’m not good enough. The men set off. Ladies are starting in 10mins but it’s dropping cool now. We are off. Everyone us so fast, I have lost sight of everyone before I even get to the end of the car park. Oh well I will plod along and I can do this. I’m no quitter. Heading up the coastal road to the lap of the field I spot Dave. He finished and he got his camera he is here to support me. I get to the field, I spot a girl ahead walking, if only I can catch her maybe I can run with her. I catch her, she is still walking I run past. I get to the road and Dave is there, he has put his camera away to run with me. I ask if the girl is catching me back up, she is running again but not catching me. I not last at least not yet. The dunes were so tricky and the beach slightly better. Everyone was so supportive as I run. Getting of the beach was hard the sand was so soft I was just sinking. Eventually I make it off the beach back to transition, I’m on my own now. Keep calm take it slow and off on the bike I go. I’m so scared. I’ve never been on a bike ride on my own before, I don’t know where I’m going and I have to go up a big hill to get to the castle. I can’t even see the castle, the weather is setting in, it’s so cloudy the castle is hidden. It’s kind of spooky. The ride is not easy it’s a long slow uphill. It isn’t really steep just long. Will I ever make it? Everyone else is going the other way, shouting words of support as they pass. I’m not last the girl I passed never caught me back up and I just passed someone on the ride before I got to the start of the hill. Where is the castle it must be here somewhere, there is nobody around. This is so lonely. I made it in at the top I’m here now I just need to go back down so I can run up. I thought I was scared before but what goes up must come down. Oh no this is bad I don’t like going downhill or fast. These tyres are only narrow. How much grip do I actually have? Keep calm, keep breathing and keep safe. Oh I just past two more people, they didn’t have road bikes so couldn’t go down as fast as me. I’m back on the flat now, well I thought it was. It appears it’s all up hill from here. I make it back but the marshals have gone so nearly missed my turn. I get to transition, nobody is there. I get off the bike and the marshal says the last rider is back on the radio. I tell him I’m not last. The BTF man comes over to talk. He talks me through what to do next, where I am going and keeps me calm. I can do this now. Just 3k to go and I’m done. My legs are like jelly but I can do this. I can’t be last. I can’t let them catch me. I get to the field I’m doing ok. I run round the field and look back across to see 2 girls entering the field. I exit the field and just got to do the last road section now bwforebthe steps. I get to the turn around point on the road to head back to the castle. Dave is there. He runs with me for a bit, the fun run has always set off but he is going to join the back of them when we reach them. We get to the campsite. Dave joins the back of the fun run and I just have the steps to do. This is so hard how am I going to make it to the top.  Just keep going the castle is here the finish is in sight, well not really but this is 200 steps then I have done it. I have made it. I will be a duathelte. I hear someone shouting me. I look up, my brother is at the top. I can do this I can see him it can’t be far. I start running again. Up the last flight across the path and fly up the big steps into the castle. Oh my god I have finished. I survived.  Oh a medal.. pretty. Chocolate did you say chocolate? I will go get me chocolate, biscuits and water then I’m off for my bacon butties. YES…. I did it and I wasn’t last. I have past 4 people and they never caught me back up. Bonus, not only did I complete my first ever duathlon (not an easy one) but I wasn’t last. I did get a bit of help from Dave on the run, well I would call it company. I could have done this on my own I know this. I’m not as useless as I thought. I’m so proud and so pleased.

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