Murihiku Women’s Duathlon: race report 🏃‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️🏃‍♀️

This was a very special day for me.

The last multisport race I was able to take part in stood up on two feet before today was in 2012 (my last world champs – in Auckland) That’s also the last time I was really able to run. Ten years is a long time, and in reality I have not been back running very long at all.

Once upon a time this race wouldn’t have been a challenge for me at all. Today it was a giant challenge indeed.

⭐️ first multisport event on two feet post amputation (till now I have used the wheelchair)
⭐️ first time using the running blade in a race event situation.

Race distance: 500m-9km-2KM

Run 1 🏃‍♀️ 500m

The fact that I only run 50-70m at a time in my interval training meant these two run sections were going to be the hardest and I was almost certainly going to be slowest. Aaaaand we had to walk 500m to the start line as well! No big deal if you have two feet.. a giant big deal if you don’t!

It was also on undulating gravel, and the blade angle was changed just 2 days ago. A lot of factors to take into account.

I run- walked this section, it felt really bloody hard (on the lungs, not the leg!) and I came into T1 (as expected) in last position.

T1:

I had a bit more of an idea what I needed transition to look like this time, having done it as a Paratriathlete a few times now)

Towel – walk leg under the chair for post race, bike leg, liner and right shoe laid out, liner inside out and ready to go. Helmet was on the bike, and my amazing handler calmly handed me everything in sequence and off I went.

Bike 🚴🏻 9km

Here’s where the fun began. I was the only person with a gravel bike.. so I used it to my advantage! And.. with two legs to share the load I could rest the left a bit here and there. I picked off those cyclists one by one catching the back of the field pretty early on.

Shouting ‘cyclist on your right’ as I approached the next, most of the overtaking went without incident (even the small children and families pulled over to let me past so thank you!)

The course was good fun, some gravel, some sand, some road, some tree roots to jump over etc etc I’m glad I have ridden with the gravel tyres before! And I’m also glad my new contact lenses allow me to see better when cycling!😆

By the time I got onto the last section of the loop I had no one in front of me. Having left transition in last place, I arrived back pretty high up the field, only -a handful of bikes were on the racks when I got there 😎😍🤩

T2

My handler was ready and waiting with crutches at the bike dismount, swap over went smoothly (bike and crutches) and in the same systematic way – he passed me everything in sequence – on went the blade and off I went on the last section, knowing I would now lose a ton of the positions I had gained!)

Run 2 🏃‍♀️2KM

Yeah… here is where we stepped into unknown territory, I have never ever demanded this much of my left leg before, I had no clue how it would go. But the leg had very different ideas to me!

Quad muscle atrophy is a real big problem/ battle for BK amputees, because the lever action that activates the quad is gone without a foot. It took many many months to even get some activation back, my left leg will never be the same size as the right, and it will always fatigue faster because there’s less leg/ muscle, doing more work.

The quad was screaming nooooooo right from the start of this run leg, so instead of trying to run/ walk I decided to try and consistently keep walking at a decent pace. Even so, that was still becoming really hard.

Another thing you need to know here is there’s significant vascular damage to the remainder of my left leg and I still have no femoral artery.. So the blood flow to the muscles simply cannot keep up. This causes oxygen starvation – and thus – significant pain. The only way to deal with this is stop and let it catch up.

By the time I got to the turn point (1km) I was in so much pain I stopped – leaned on a lamppost and cried till it stopped hurting and the blood flow caught up.

My handler had walked up the track to meet me on my return leg, (thank you! ☺️) and walked back with me to the finish shute. We stop started our way back stopping briefly when I had to.

I turned right, headed for the finish arch and ran it home from there. 


❤️ Words simply cannot express how bloody proud of myself I am. ❤️

12 months ago, I did this event. Back then all I could do was walk the first 500m as part of a team (with a prosthetic leg and crutches) and even that was a push.

Today, for the first time ever since losing my leg just 18 months ago, I completed a multisport event upright on two feet. (Albeit one being fake/ absent/ blade shaped)

What’s next?

winter duathlon series (1km-10km-1km) in June/ July/ August (1 a month)

I also did that last year but used a wheelchair, this year I’m going to give it a go WITHOUT the chair.

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