Bustin' Balls - race report

mhowoodby mhowoodMar 5th 2012

Spring Ballbuster Duathlon 2012
8 mile Run, 24 mile Bike, 8 mile Run

My first time at this event, and it's one that I've been too intimidated to enter for years.
Maybe it's the fact it's that two 8 mile runs, interspersed with a bike leg that takes in several laps of Box Hill, that had my quads quaking.
Glad I finally manned up and did it though, and despite the fog and rain, I think we probably had some of the best weather the Ballbuster has had in years -if the photos on the HumanRace site are anything to go by.

After doing some research on various forums, the consensus seemed to be that it was as hard as a marathon. Common sense then said that it'd be all about pacing. Climbing the Zig Zag at the end of the first run would be tough, nevermind the last time before the finish. 
Knowing my average 170 HR from last years Brighton Marathon (Note: everyone should keep a training log - it really is indispensable), I settled on keeping it on the low 160s for the first run, hoping that being a bit conservative would off-set the energy required to climb Box Hill.
Given my HR and the fact I was hoping to do 3:15, 'as tough as a marathon' sounded about right.

The day dawned foggy and colder than I hoped, and the back of my car resembled the stock room of Sweatshop, with various changes of clothes depending on the conditions. Vicky Gill suggested what I really need was a clothes rail in transition.
As it turned out, a tshirt under a tri-top, tri-shorts and knee and arm warmers were plenty. That's not to say that I didn't see a few people looking like they were about to tackle the Eiger.

With no swim to worry about, the race started moments after the briefing with over 300 people haring off across a field and onto the roads around Box Hil.

I kept it steady and I tried not to let myself get caught up in the race, and found myself backing off time and again to keep HR near 160, especially on rolling terrain. It was to pay off though, as a few km in people started coming back to me, and on the downhills (why ease off - its free speed).
By the time we arrived at the base of the Zig Zag, I'd come to decide that the best way to describe the run is 'a 10k with a hill at the end'. That's all it is. True that hill will take about 10-15 minutes to get up.

T1 and I'd opted to put my shoes on prior to the bike, as I didn't fancy wet socks. So a full minute there!
The 1st lap - The bike was interesting, as after so many IM miles last year with a low HR, it felt strange to be putting some effort in. The descent between Headley to Mickleham was the highlight of my day. Loved it! Hanging off the seat, knee out in the twisties! Brilliant, it was like being on a race track again, and I collected a few more places. Even so, I took it relatively easy, saving something for the second run, and when I came to the Zig Zag, I kept my cadence high, around 90, and stayed seated.
2nd lap was more of the same.
3rd lap and the rain had started. By the time I made the turn at Headley, it was raining hard and the traffic had started to get heavier. I was cursing - couldn't see through my glasses and traffic was racking up behind slower riders.

T2 and back on with the running shoes (Brooks T7). I hadn't realised how cold I'd gotten but it took almost 4km for my feet to thaw - it felt like I was running on stumps. Ow. Slowly blood reached my tootsies and I picked up any places I'd lost towards the end of the bike. 
Despite the slow start, it looked like I was on course to evenly split my two runs... until reaching the Zig Zag for the last time. My legs wouldn't bend!
I was gutted, all the energy I'd been holding back was wasted. Even a shuffle was out the question, as I still needed to raise my feet as the road inclined. Those last 2.5km took an Age! I shuffled, I hobbled, I walked and I trotted but inevitably had to watch runner after runner come past.
Pulling it together I managed a surge for the finish at the last turn, and came home in 3:18:09, and 49th place.
Happy with that and confident I'll be back in November to take a good chunk off that.

So, what was all the trepidation about?! 
It's a great event, and I think the it fits well into a marathon training schedule. I was down for 20miles this weekend, but reckon that the Ballbuster more than covers it!

Great to see fellow Thames Turbos, James Ogilvie, Rob Knell, Ali G, Richard Gower, Brian Hood and the awe-inspiring Straggler there.
Team Thames Turbo PowerBar team member, James Ogilvie came 14th place and 3:01 in a Ballbustin' debut! 
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, May 24th 2012 13:50
Interesting about your HR. I also have around a 170 average HR and I was starting to worry that this was quite high. However, now I'm feeling reasured to hear that this is your marathon HR? is that right. So perhaps it is at my partner says and i'm just a high beater!
mhowoodby blog author: mhowood, May 24th 2012 17:12
170 average is correct, sarahleonard.
I ran 168 at Brighton 2010, and 170 at a trail marathon later that year.
Finish times were 3:00 and 3:17.
Resting rate is 46 (when fit) and 194 max.
Hope that helps.
sarahleonardby member: sarahleonard, May 24th 2012 18:35
Yes thank you :o) I am double reassured. My HR can get to 201, my resting HR is not a low as yours but then neither are my marathon times! Maybe one day! ;-)
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