Sunday, March 1, 2009
I did it!
It damned near killed me, but I finished a duathlon this morning.
It all started when J-Man,Princess and I were chosen to be in a tv ad depicting a "real woman" completing a duathlon and her children being there to cheer her on.
On the way to the filming, J-Man commented, "You know Mum- this ad is pretty unrealistic...I mean, like *you* would ever do a duathlon".
I thought at that point, "I *will* do it actually..."You can't" has always been more of a motivator for me than "You can!". So, a combination of my (flawed) personality and a desire to be an example to my children was the motivation for my registering for the event.
I picked the one closest to home, and the earliest as well, so that I would have no time to really worry about it. I bought a bike- the duathlon is a 3.5km run/walk, 10kn cycle, 1.5km run/walk, and went for a ride the next day.
dh had put the bike together, but I felt it wasn't right- like the handlebars were on wrong. He insisted he had put the kitset together right, and that was that. I didn't feel particularly compelled to ride it again, but bought a toddler-seat thinking it would be fun to take Tombliboo out (or at least not quite as boring as going by myself).
But that got put on wrong as well, and so the build-up to the big day (today) was done with no cycling whatsoever...in fact, I may not have ridden a bike since I was 19 or so.
As far as the run goes, well I am not much of a runner- I like to sprint, but that's it. I went for 3 run-walks as preparation (Preparation!!?? Who was I kidding?)
It seemed the whole world was conspiring against my completing this duathlon...and I would have quit but for that little quote "As though *you* would ever do a duathlon".
If I decided I would run in the evening, dh would come home after dark when it was no longer safe. If I decided I would run in the morning, he would suddenly remember a meeting he had to get to, or I would wake up unable to move with a sore neck or back...there was always something. We made it to the day before, me knowing I had to do it, and desperately not wanting to.
There was a window of 4 hours in which to deposit my bike and collect my registration pack. I reminded dh over and over, but he mucked about and in the end turned up late and couldn't put the bike in or get my shirt and race details, etc. I was gutted...no, mostly I was madder than I have ever been.
We had to leave super-early to try to get that sorted before the race. I set my alarm for 6am, and planned to move fast, but Tombliboo woke at 5:15am, so I started the day then. This is another problem with my doing a duathlon- no training, no bike, and waking every 1-2 hours for the last 2.25 years. I am a crazy person.
I was still allowed to run, and we got organised pretty quickly. There were men checking the bikes, and they discovered (no surprise to me) that my front wheel was on back to front. Thankfully, they fixed it for me, and also pumped up the completely flat front tyre, and gave the back one some air too.
I was in the first "wave' of the race, being that I was so terribly excited about this event I must have been the 43rd person to register... I would have been earlier actually, but had to wait for dh to deposit money in our debit card. Keen as mustard (not!) and standing in a bunch of 650 women, some who did their last duathlon last weekend, and others who (more normally) hadn't done a duathlon before and hadn't trained as much as they would like. I met some lovely ladies- really encouraging, and so kind.
Actually, that was something I noticed all throughout the race, that people were encouraging each other- it wasn't a race against each other but against ourselves. There seemed to be so much love- it sounds cheesey- but that's how it was. And I felt it too- how wonderful that all these women- and not just super-thin athletes with little stopwatches strapped to their arms- all these women of all kinds of shapes and sizes and ages (one woman nearly 80!!) , had go up early on a Sunday morning to push themselves physically.
The first leg was interesting...I did feel greatness as the banners were proclaiming (lol), but it was shortlived. I stopped running at the sound of the second airhorn- 2 minutes after I began. From there I continued running and walking, mostly walking. I wasn't worried about the run-walk bits, because I know I can walk for miles- 6 months of no car, and I am very used to walking- usually with 2-3 reusable shopping bags on each arm, and sometimes a toddler in a sling.
The only real problem was that I realised I was thirsty right before the race began, but couldn't do anything about it. I kept staring at the dew-covered fields and wondering if I could maybe lie down and lick enough to parch my thirst. Naturally that would have been far too odd, so I didn't...I thought about the lesser option of lying down in it and rolling about to feel cool, but decided against that too.
I didn't have to wait to long for a water-stop, and it really wasn't so bad...Bear in mind I am saying that 5 hours after the fact. During the race, I was not feeling like it was "not too bad" at all.
I came in to get my bike, my family cheered, and congratulated myself for having the wondrous foresight to cellotape a choc-filled licorice stick to the middle bike bar. I also, thanks to my dh had a waterholder paid by him, and attached by the bike men. Unfortunately, I realised right away that the bike was not good.
The seat was too low, and the brakes seemed to be touching the wheel. The gears didn't respond well either, but I got going nonetheless.
The next thing I noticed though, was that while I had my bike in the hardest gear and was pedalling as fast and as hard as I could, other women sailed past me as effortlessly as as one would expect rockets to go whizzing by. I know I hadn't trained, and I am not particularly fit, but I was surprised at this.
I finally saw a sign with a big 2- hooray...only 2km to go. But alas, it was a sign to say I had completed 2km! I couldn't believe it...8km to go...crap! 20% is all I have completed...remind me never to do this again!
One of the kind ladies I met before the race had said to me "Remember if you keep pedalling you will get there in the end". I remembered that a few times, but still stopped once when I thought I couldn't stand it any more.
Groups of 10 or so would pass, and then another, and another, until well over 100 women had passed me. It seemed so unfair that I was giving it everything, and I was still hopeless at it. One lady who passed me had the biggest bottom I've ever seen in real life, but she whizzed past me too. Sure it must be the bike??!!
I stopped again not long after the 6km mark, and heartily wished I could dissaparate to the finish line. A few ladies called out as they passed me, Are you ok?"..."Yeah sure", I said, "Just tired". Then a man pulled up beside me to see if I was ok...I said I was really struggling and felt like I might come last. I told him how it seemed like everyone else was having an easy time, but I was going as fast as I could and still getting passed. I said how hard I was finding it with a low seat and my knees nearly touching my chin, and how I had to just about stand up to make the bike go right. I thought I would burst in to tears.
He said, "Oh yes- I see that- I'll fix it for you", and the heavens opened up...
He was still rummaging in his backpack for the required tool when another man came by and found the tool right away, fixed my seat and sent me on my way...wow! What a difference.
I still felt like the bike was a piece of junk, but it didn't feel so hard to pedal any more, and I made the next 2-3 km relatively easily...all was well with the world, and then I remembered the race wasn't going to be over when the cycling was.
Again I felt like bawling ,and there were my family cheering me on again...dh taking a photo, oh dear, and me looking like I basket-case.
I felt like I was having an asthma attack, but I think it was trying hard not to cry in front of all these people. I came right, and noticed that nobody was running, everyone was walking the last leg and that suited me fine. I thought about how good it was that I was doing this, how glad I would be when it was done, how noone can say I can't.
With 200m to go, I began to run...I got to the blue carpet, and looked around for my family, and when I couldn't see them (I thought the kids would want to run through the finish line with me) ran ahead. I found them eventually, and we had to do a second crossing the finish line for the camera.
We stayed for free ice creams and to see if I'd won a spot prize (no such luck), and then went home as quickly as possible for dh to take Nana out to the races (I won free tickets!) for Auckland Cup Week.
I'm feeling pretty tired now, and have a massive headache...but so glad I did this, that it's over, and I did it. I may even (no, I think I could be really crazy now) do another one in 2 months and see if I can beat my time...but really, I think I'll wait until Tombliboo sleeps a bit better first.
(From the ad and photo shoot)