I am no fairweather runner, yet on reading the weather forecast for last weekend there was little to do except a last-minute entry into the Connemara Adventure Challenge.What this 32.5km race might lack in distance, it makes up for in attitude! The race's significant off-road aspect awards it the status of an authentic adventure race. Indeed, I found myself on first name terms with at least two bogholes, and I am still smiling at the memory of the tooth-rattling bike dash across the forest. But I loved every minute of it, and know that I squeezed every inch of performance from myself.

So, what did I learn from this race?

Unfortunately, the transition from bike to run is a torture like no other. Not because of pain or injury, but because your two legs, that a mere hour or two earlier were the epitome of strength, are now as useful as two bags of sand in a desert. On speaking to other competitors; and of course consulting Google; I discovered that this sensation is very common in multisport racing.

Fortunately, akin to most things, the effects can be lessened through practice. I have begun to include at least one session per week, when I cycle for at least half an hour then transition to a run, with as short an interval as possible. I am hoping that with repetition, I can future proof my legs for race day. Don't say I didn't warn you!

I have already spoken of the shared sense of community at these events. I am delighted to report that last weekend's Connemara Adventure Challenge was no different. While the pre-race nerves were palpable, not a single person seemed to regret their decision to participate. Meanwhile, our warm up routines were punctuated with training and raceday tips, as we all sought to support one another.

This comradeship did not stop at the start line, as competitors shared words of encouragement throughout the route. I was lucky to pedal my last few kilometres with an immensely experienced racer, whose uplifting conversation really refuelled the fire in my belly. Thanks Billy!

 

Never forget that a simple cheer, or a motivating few words can mean the world of difference to someone else. These alone can restore their self-belief as they march or cycle towards the finishline.

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