Doing Duathlon’s – that’s Real Stockton

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I am no natural exerciser. I don’t make it look easy and I certainly don’t make it look fun.

At school I pulled every excuse for PE; the idea of the exertion alone revolted me. Add to that its agonisingly public nature, all dressed up in the tennis skirt get-up they used to make girls wear (as heaven forbid we lost our femininity while running), and my horror reached heights only expressible via expletives.

I have ever since been incredibly attracted to the idea of being fit whilst simultaneously being appalled by getting fit– I dislike (in no particular order) when I hurt, ache, get out of breath, sweat or go red. I am also a perfectionist (in recovery). This does not mean I do everything brilliantly, rather, if I can’t be the best at something, or if I’m not amazing at it right away, I wind up prostrate.

Then I got sick. Then I got better. When I did I saw my body in a different light- as my sole transport system for my time on Planet Earth so one I should probably take better care of.

So, I battled some demons at home about being embarrassingly crap at exercising, then I battled them more publicly at the gym, then I confronted them running about Stockton. Never did I dream about leveling up that war though. Even as I actually got to the point of ‘not utterly hating every second’, which was quite far on, I wouldn’t have dreamed about competing in an event. In public, with people who were really good at stuff.  People that were on leaflets like this:

Stockton Duathlon Real Stockton 2014

I don’t look like these people, I am not one of these people.  The only thing I ever would need to know, I would have patiently argued, about Stockton Duathlon was when they were closing the roads.

Then I met Andrea Hogg at Stockton Council.


I had already planned to talk here on Real Stockton about what an incredible opportunity this is, what an amazing event it is and how we are so lucky to have it right on our doorstep. I didn’t even own a bike so was perfectly insulated in my excuses. Not so though as lovely Andrea offered the opportunity to loan a cycle.

The following were my quickly set goals for the race:

  1. Do Not Fall Off Bike
  2. Do Not Cry
  3. Do Not Give Up
  4. Do Not Run/Cycle Around Course Backward

By the morning of the race I was fairly convinced that I had goal one covered and, as I chatted to others as excited/terrified/unsure as me, I felt goal two beginning to look more possible.  Goal three I had drilled into myself over the preceding weeks by not stopping on the multiple occasions I wanted to on trial runs. Goal four however was something else. 

Run, cycle, run- it doesn’t sound too hard to work out in terms of ‘how to’ does it? But then neither does walking, and yet before both my wedding and graduation day, I lost serious amounts of sleep over whether I could manage it without tripping over. There were RULES to remember to Duathlon, pretty harsh when I already had to remember not to cry, not to fall off and not to stop. These included where the bike bit starts, where you can be on or off it, when your helmet should be on and the number of meters to drop back if another cyclist over-takes. In my head the Benny Hill theme tune played as in slow-motion as a funeral march. This was going to awful.

Do you know what though IT WAS FAB. I have never been cheered on before. It feels awesome. I have never had a medal before, that is equally awesome and finishing it was such a bloody sense of achievement I feel like a star. I didn’t go backwards as there are exceedingly cheerful and approachable people everywhere helping you out. I cannot even begin to recommend to you how much to do it. I have learned a thing or two- about me and about showing up and taking part. I didnt even do too bad! You can click here for novice event finish times.

I owe this sense of achievement to me as I did it BUT it would not have been possible without Stockton Council and most of all the lovely Andrea (click here for her Duathlon thread on  twitter so you can keep abreast of Stockton Duathlon goings on) so I’m a million billion times (to the power of ten) grateful to them. I’m doing it again next year for sure but also I am going to take my new found freedom from the demons known as ‘you can’t’ and ‘it’s not for you Katy’ to maybe think about more Stockton Events including MAYBE the Rat Race if I can encourage someone to join me.  You can check that out alongside other offerings here.

Elite Athletes and Not-Crying Goal Setters participating together – that’s Real Stockton.

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