Train Hard, Race Easy

Ready for action

or rather don’t train and hard race, yesterday I completed the London Duathlon (run 10km, bike 44km, run 5km) around the closed roads of Richmond Park. I learnt a whole lot in the process. I received a much needed kick-up-the-arse as I have become slightly complacent. Training takes consistency, racing is always hard. It is harder when you know that you aren’t performing at your best and you have no-one else to blame, nowhere to hide.  There were no excuses I have been consistently skipping training. In the last 4 weeks, my longest run had been 5km.

My day didn’t start off great after receiving a mosquito bite, thankful Stuart Amory came to my rescue with some bite cream. We were set of in waves of about 10 athletes and the first part of the run was on the road. The camber of the road wasn’t a great surface to run on and I was struggling to find a rhythm. The route turned into the middle of the park I couldn’t believe that I had never ventured into the centre. I tried to take it a km at a time, and kept on being tempted to walk but couldn’t give in.

When I got into transition mine was one of the last bikes to leave. The bike was 4 laps of RP clockwise I knew Broomfield Hill is short and sharp and not one of my favourite hills. The first time I rode up it 2.5 years ago I barely made it and it was also whilst descending the hill that I separated my shoulder. The bike was fun, the wind in my face, no traffic to worry about, no speed limit to be concerned about (on the descents) and the sun was shining, I was thankful I had remembered to put suntan lotion on. They had even thoughtfully put up some crash barriers on some of the corners. I knew I wasn’t going very well but was focused on finishing and not giving up. I started to get cramp in my calves and thought that I could ease it off on some of the decent, it helped somewhat. On the third lap I lost my rhythm totally and got off and walk up the Broomfield. The last lap I was determined to not walk and didn’t.

Pretty medal


When I had gotten back from the bike leg some of the guys who started at a similar time and had already finished their final 5km. I am someone who doesn’t give up I just keep trying to plug away. The final 5km was more of a walk than a run, not my fastest 5km by a long shot but I finished, even managing to cross the line with my arms aloft and actually choked up by the support along the finishing shoot, even a call out on the tannoy. The medal is amazing. 

I am currently signed up to do the London Triathlon Olympic plus distance (1.5km swim, 80km bike, 10km run) I know I could do all the disciplines separately but yesterday taught me that combining disciplines is a whole different matter. Racing is always going to be tough mentally and physically, but I think that if I did the London triathlon there is a really strong chance I would break my spirit and that is hard to fix. Also with a 6.30am start + 90 min set-up ie 5am  + a friend’s wedding on the saturday I have decided this year is not my year.

my bike may have been ready, the body not so much

After breaking myself the past two years this is my first full year of training and racing  I think that I was a little over-ambitious. After completing the London to Paris I then went headfirst into gamesmaking at the Olympics . I was working in the morning, then going to velodrome in the evening which was physically demanding in the hot velodrome and also involved a 5 hour round journey. I didn’t really appreciate how much it would take out of me. After the olympics I saw Garry Palmer for a sports test. He gave me two options for my poor numbers, exhaustion or under-training, I took the combination of both. One of the reasons I go to see him is he is someone who I listen to and doesn’t sugar coat the truth, he also described me as a kid in a sweatshop. There are so many things that I want to do, that I know that I am now capable of doing. However this is on the proviso that I train properly for them. You can’t try to do everything at the same time and be succesful at all of them

03:45:47 is not a great performance, but I learnt important lessons and had a smile on my face (for most of it).


About marystumbles

These are my thoughts as I stumble through life.
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5 Responses to Train Hard, Race Easy

  1. Are you any closer to deciding upon doing an Ironman?
    I’ve just found your blog and you remind me so much of me and my best friend. Weight isn’t such an issue for me, but I lack any natural sporting ability. I’m now down the gym 3 times a week to help my depression and my long term dream (and possibly unrealistic goal) is to be able to swim 400m and then join the local masters swimming club.
    Anyhow, fab blog and I shall be following it and recommending it to my friend. Blog on!

    • marystumbles says:

      Thanks for your message, not really any closer at the moment.

      I am going to try and take it as it comes and make a plan for next year with 1-2 major events and better plan my year!


  2. What you’ve achieved is amazing and you shouldn’t lose sight of that and the medal is awesome, keep up the good work :o)

    • marystumbles says:

      Keep up the good work yourself – it isn’t always easy but it is worth it! I sometimes have to put on my old clothes to make me stop and remember just how far I have come.


  3. kittenkirst says:

    Thats so impressive Mary, I know you’re not happy with the lack of training, but having the determination to take part and finish is just admirable :0)
    Very proud of you! X

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