Coniston 14 & 2UP Firefighter Duathlon Weekend
Day 1 Coniston 14
First I knew about it was Warren telling Andy Ratcliffe, “Karen doesn’t know about it yet but we’re doing a duathlon the day after Coniston 14.” To be honest yes I could have killed him and I thought maybe he was actually trying to kill me, but entry fees had been paid and therefore nothing I could do but suck it up. Warren was adamant that this was just what I needed, all part of my training,”just think of it as a long run over two days” he kept saying.
Up bright and early for Coniston on the Saturday to glorious sunshine if not a little on the cold side. But who cares about the cold, we are runners and its much better than sweltering heat. Met Andy and Gary and had a pre race coffee to settle the nerves before a mile warm up. Elizabeth was there to take the position of chief supporter and photographer for the day.
The start was very congested and it took time once the gun went to weave through people and try to get into a pace. Trying to get into a pace was also hindered by the fact that it is an up hill start. The course is undulating (Cumbrian for hilly) and in comparison to our other favourite Derwent 10 whilst the climbs aren’t as steep, there are more continual ups and downs with this course so less time to recover between climbs.
I started probably faster than I needed to, I went up the road from the start and turned left before Warren even passed me (so no change there then Dave). But I felt good and managed to keep a steady pace until the evil climb between mile 11 and 12 at which point I dropped a minute off my pace. It didn’t feel like a minute slower at the time it felt more like 2 or 3 but after the climb there’s a big descent into Coniston and I was back on pace.
Warren was further up the road, I never even glimpsed him for 13.6 miles. He had a time of 7 minute miles in mind which he thought was realistic on a hilly course. Once again the Harriers Sessions had paid dividends as he kept an average pace of 6:46 and only hitting 7:05 for that evil climb.
The worse part was the water stations with the massive cups, my first attempt at a drink what with the sun now coming out was disastrous. I don’t even think any of the half cup of water that I tipped towards my face went into my mouth, but i did look like I had just stepped from under the shower, I was drenched. I would have had more luck pouring the cup over my head and letting it trickle down into my mouth. I did improve my technique by the 2nd and 3rd stations as I eventually got some water on board.
Closing in on Coniston I knew I was on for a good time, I just needed to keep on pace for the last mile and keep Gary Wane within my sight. My right calf was tightening on the last mile and I was praying all the way to the finish line that cramp would not set in but I finished in a time of 1:43, just a minute slower than my half marathon PB. Warren finished in a time of 1:34 leaving us both feeling confident for Manchester……now all that remained was the duathlon.