I did it! I completed the Ballbuster, a race which was stuck on my throat since 2010 when I was not able to finish due to the unbearable pain and lack of preparation.
This year is the year I am pushing for the Half Challenge Barcelona and hoping to do a full sometime later in the year or early in 2013, so this was a great experience to see where I am with my training, what my threshold is, and what I need to do to get where I want to be.
I was up at 4:45am as I couldn't sleep anymore! I got all my lycra ready, prepared my bag, drinks, gels, and headed out to get the bike's tyres pumped and racked up. All seems nice and easy now, but racking the bike up on the car again after the race was another story (details later).
I got to Box Hill and the fog was tremendous at that time in the morning. You could barely see anything and it was freezing cold. I proceeded to the registration room and got my chip and numbers.
I went in to rack my bike and started warming up to get some blood circulating. A few stretches later and it was time ti line up for the start. As the gun went off I was actually feeling pretty good but I decided to save myself for what was to come. The run was going well and I actually felt good all throughout. The first 2-3Kms were a bit conservative but I then decided to chase a group in front of me and I pulled away. I finished the run in 59 minutes and then was time for me to get on the bike.
The bike section was fine most of the way. On the downhill I almost went face first with an oncoming van, but I managed to brake with enough time to avoid it. The hills on zig zag road was what completely killed me. I absolutely need to do more hills to strengthen up these legs. At this point, I was quite happy to have managed to have already done better than what I had previously done in 2010, which was one run and one lap of cycling! But when I got out of the bike my legs started cramping like crazy. I was ok for the first 500m, but then it really hit me hard. I had to walk for about 3 minutes, stretch, and then I was able to pick it up and run for about 45 minutes non stop. Close to zig zag road I got some more cramps and had to walk, until Jamie, a fellow competitor, passed me and decided to cheer me up and chat with me for a while, and we cramped (not crapped) together a few times before the finish line.
The last 500m were too much for me and I walked up most of zig zag road. The incline was too steep and the cramps were too much for me to handle, but just the thought of having finished what is considered to be UK's toughest duathlon was a great feeling.
All in all it was a good race I think. It was my longest ever race/training session so it is good preparation for the half IM in May. Now, all I gotta do is keep those miles going until I land in Calella, and I have quite a few races in between to keep me in synch and pumped.
Total Time: 4:05:29
Run 1: 59m:45s
Run 2: 1h:26m:01s
Some more photos from the race: