Ugh, running. As The Velominati’s Rule No.42 states, “…one should only swim in order to prevent drowning and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture.”
It is in the harsh light of this very clear rule that I must confess to having gone running this morning. But, I protest, there is a clear logic to this most illogical of behaviours!
Firstly, I am putting myself through something we cyclists find tortuous, for someone else. As some of you may know, as a gesture of solidarity, and in an effort to raise additional funds for various friends’ cancer-fighting sporting initiatives this summer, I have decided to “mirror” their charity bike rides this summer. So far I have done so by mirroring my friend Saskia’s Ride London 100 mile effort in the Garrotxa mountains outside Girona, and riding around aimlessly and alone along the Costa Brava for 230km a few weeks ago, doing my friend Elisabeth’s 2-day Enbridge Ride for Cancer (in Canada) over a single day.
One of these rides, it turns out, if I consult Rule No.42 once again, not to be a ride. “If it is […] followed by a run, it is not called a bike [ride], it is called a duathlon.” But, I continue protesting, my old friend, riding partner extraordinaire and Halo colleague Sébastien, is going through a tough time, and doing a duathlon. Without wanting to belittle the efforts of anyone else whose rides I have been mirroring, what gets me in the throat about Seb’s effort, is that he is doing a cancer-fighting charity effort, because his Mum is fighting cancer now. NOW. And he is running…as a cyclist.
Seb is also the one who bought me the Velominati’s book of The Rules of Cycling, so if he is running and cycling, and breaking the rules I feel I can too. [Plus – it’s just a silly book to be taken with many grains of salt, in case my tongue-in-cheekness is not getting through.]
Having lost my Dad to the big C almost 17 years ago now, I would have thought I would have something clever to say, and a repertoire of helpful strategies for Seb to aid in the coping. Not so. Everyone suffers the fear of loss of a loved one differently, and 17 years is a long time to try to remember what it feels like. Plus, well, helplessness is a really hard emotion to fight. Thus, I am running and riding a duathlon – I felt like I had to do something!
So for what it’s worth, I am training up to mirror Seb’s effort at the London Duathlon on September 18th, from now. A week on from riding the longest ride of my life for Elisabeth’s cancer effort, I rode La Purito, the hardest sportive of my life (harder than my very first Étape, despite my completely different fitness to 2007), last weekend, in the mountains of Andorra (see insanely vertiginous profile, below). Having had a week off, I am ready to begin.
I have compressed an off-the-shelf Duathlon training programme by about 50%, with a focus on developing my running, and approaching the cycling from more of a maintenance of muscular fitness perspective. Having ridden many endurance rides between 150 and 230km this year, as well as done some race pace efforts of up to 140km, developing my cycling ability will not need to be a key focus area.
So here I go! The
ride – I mean, run (how odd to say that) data from today is below. Hopefully no rogue knee issues will crop up, and there will be lots more of this running “fun”. And I say fun seriously. I get pleasure from knowing that I am doing this for a good cause (You can see Seb’s JustGiving page here, to read his Mum’s story, and donate), but I also do, other than the pain, enjoy running around La Bruguera. Straight out of the gates I did a nice 3km trail run, at an easy pace, and came home happy enough, but definitely hoping it gets less painful as the old running musculature gets used to being recruited.