Report from Howard Jeffrey:
As part of the training I have been swimming and biking as cross training.
Late last year I entered a couple of triathlons in Leeds and was able to succesfully contest my age group, being the only one in it at Roundhay Park!… still had to finish though.
I saw the Rutland Water Duathlon, Leicestershire (10K run, 46K bike, 5K run) advertised as a European Qualifier so I entered, in a patently senior moment, unaware it was also the British Age Group championships! As it turned out they announced later that there would be no European Duathlon championships but it was still a World Qualifier! Maybe a bit more of a competition than the local ones then.
My bike training over the winter consisted of 45 mins or so on a Turbo in the warmth and shelter of the spare bedroom in front of the DVD player and effectively a perfectly level surface and the only air movement my struggle for breath as I pushed the pace for a minute or so at a time! Never mind I thought it would be fairly flat round Rutland. Indeed the water is perfectly flat but the roads around, for the 46K bike ride were anything but! I made the (retrospective) mistake of reccying the route in the car the night before and with hindsight I think ignorance would have been bliss!
The whole point of the race was to have a hard workout prior to Lisbon which I did and there are a couple of positives from the day which I will come to. Conditions were perfect, sun rising over the water, low breeze, cloud cover. 800 entries 600 finishers (100+DNS’s). The first 10K I did in 40.35 with gas in the tank and was around 6th in the age group out of 26. First third of the bike felt leaden, some uphills and downs (hit 37mph down one), noticed the real cyclists powering past, the numbers give away the age group, middle third fairly level and felt good so blasted along passing people. Final third oh dear! Very hilly, going up one of them at 3 mph! I could have walked quicker. Didn’t hit the wall but felt the strength all but gone. The 5K run I managed in what I believe was a respectable 21.28 after the previous efforts. (93 mins for the bike)
So the positives: I was not last in the age group 23/24 finishers (2DNF’s) and about midway overall. About 8th in overall run times and going at a rate of between 1.25 and 1.28 for half marathon, which is the target for Lisbon.