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Final Duathlon Recap: A 5k Shuffle, Hobble and Walk

Posted Sep 13 2012 4:00am
<--- Pre-Race Recap

<--- 10k Recap 

<--- Bike Recap

5k: 39:00 [yes, that's a new PW - personal worst]

As I headed out for the last leg of the race, I was tired but set on finishing (obviously!). I was pretty much at two hours at this point and was still hoping to finish in about 2:30, instead of the original 2:20 for which I'd aimed.

People around me had definitely gotten friendlier. Or maybe more delirious due to the heat. I was exchanging the odd banter here and there and when I checked my time I was going a comfortable 9min/mile. (Too bad I couldn't do that the first time around...)

Less than half a mile into the 5k however, my left calf completely cramped up again. And then my left quad went as well. Whoop, we were having a right ole' party, getting all tight and cozy...
To cut a long, agonizing story short: I continued to run-hobble-walk-stretch my way through the remainder of the race. As ever, the hills and heat didn't help, obviously. 
When I reached the last drinks station and stopped for my 1 billionth stretch, one of the very helpful and kind volunteers pulled me aside and told me to lie on my back with my legs propped up against the side of the tent.

He re-filled my water bottle and told me stay like that for five minutes, minimum, to let the lactic acid flow out of my muscles. FIVE MINUTES?? No way. I knew at that point that even my downgraded goal of a 2:30 finish was evaporating, but I wasn't gonna sit around for a full five minutes.
Off I plodded, with the occasional stretch and hobble and the odd chat with friendly strangers along the way. I definitely wasn't the only person struggling with cramps or even doing some walking, which, although it's no excuse, made me feel a tinsy teeny bit better. You see, the heat definitely had something to do with this!
Despite all that pain (and them cramps hurt, lemme tell you!!!), I was just filled with a HUGE sense of 'I can't believe I'm doing this, I'm actually gonna finish this sucker!!!' I had so much energy and was wishing I could've put all of it into my running, instead of hobbling about with cramps. Nevertheless, I had a MASSIVE smile on my face for the whole second half of that last leg and just enjoyed being there and suffering through (yes, I was enjoying it regardless of the pain, I really mean that).

Check out that smile!
I don't know where the sense of achievement came from (I didn't even get close to what I set out to do and know that I'm capable of doing) but the minute I got to the finish line and they called out my name, I was just feeling so, so, so HAPPY. I had done it. Me! I'd made it through my first ever duathlon. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't fast. BUT I FINISHED!
Happy, happy, happy!

Cramped muscles? Where?

Action-finisher shot. Oh yeah baby!!!
And I don't care what anyone says, this was by far the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my life on a strictly physical level. Originally, I had thought this was going to be easier than a half marathon. How wrong I was... Sure, the heat didn't help and maybe at a cool 14 degrees it would have been easier. But temperatures and cramps combined, this race was the toughest race I've ever done. But I did it.
I am a duathlete. 

Overall time: 2:41:24
I found G, who finished in a very respectable 2:19:35 (and would've been even faster had he not waited around for me in TR1 and farted about in TR2!!!) in the Maximuscle tent where they were giving away bottles of recovery drinks. Yes, I'll have one of those (or two, as a matter of fact)! I downed mine in one go and then headed to the stream nearby, where G and I spent a good five minutes with our feet with in the ice-cold water. Bliss!!!
When I grow up I wanna be cool like G!

We even paused to do some stretching before getting our race shirts, picking up our bikes and heading back to the car. 
I'll leave you here for now, but fret not, I didn't forget about this week's Wednesday Wisdom. All that important insight will be brought to you tomorrow so stay tuned.
Proud finisher and happy to be out of my shoes...
Have you had any race mishaps or tough races? Have you ever felt that happy just to be done with a race?
What's your biggest race achievement?  
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