Some of you reading this may already think I’m nuts! This isn’t about my craziness, although you may think i’m crazy for wanting to do it in the first place, its about the mental challenge I faced in my first ever duathlon.
I entered the duathlon (run, bike, run) with only 7 weeks to specifically train for the event. Knowing I’m fit (thanks to my job) and knowing I could complete all distances individually I planned my training out including the dreaded ‘brick training’ sessions to ensure I could complete the race. I set my target time for each discipline and overall time and told myself that no matter what happened on race day, stick to the plan! Ha!
Sticking to the plan was harder than I planned for!!!!!
As we arrived at the race I immediately panicked (first stage of plan – gone). All the participants had fancy road bikes, you know the ones with the fast wheels, carbon frames, etc, I had my mountain bike with road tyres on! The others didn’t only have fancy bikes they had the proper triathlon suits to match, they looked professional! I was totally psyched out!
So, trying to pull myself together I lined up with all the other competitors (serious male testosterone competitors) and waited for the whistle. The whistle went (not that I heard it) and so did the runners. I knew they would be faster than me in the first run (I’d planned for it!) so I carried on waiting for the first km marker, which never came! Plan out of the window again! How was I going to know my pace if I didn’t know the distance. Panicking again I carried on with only a few people behind me, totally disheartened and losing 3 minutes off my planned time.
Arriving at transition area and hearing my supporters encouragement (i’m pretty sure I had the most supporters there) I carried on! I got lapped on the first lap by several competitors, feeling totally downhearted about the whole situation I wanted to stop, but after giving myself a good talking to I carried on! I then went through the mental challenge of wanting to stop, really wanting to stop, twice more on the bike, particularly on the big hills, and telling myself to carry on!
Carrying on, the bike actually went almost to plan! I made it back to transition area to dump the bike and set off on my final run. I’d told myself if I get back to transition before 1 hour 30 mins I had to do the run, it was 1hour 28mins so off I went despite the heavy legs and heavy heart I carried on! As I passed the marshall I shouted I’ll be back in half an hour (that was the plan), I completed the whole of the second run pretty much on my own (most had finished already) having the mental battle of wanting to stop (yes, again) along with the physical battle of a stitch and tiredness, I made it to the end!
I made it because I carried on!
This race taught me more about my mental strength than my physical strength, like I said at the start I’m physically fit but am I mentally fit? I am now! I completed it despite all the negative thoughts and mental barriers, and have registered for another! Yes I’m mentally strong and I’m mental!!!!!!