Part 2: Luke Tyburski, tells us about the 3rd and final stage of the The Ultimate Triathlon – swimming, biking and running 2000kms from Africa to Europe.
I was unable to control my excitement to begin the run leg of The Ultimate Triathlon, starting at Cerebra on the Spain-France border. It’s not only my strongest of the three disciplines, but I didn’t have to sit down anymore! The day began with me smiling, even though the pain in my hamstring was still immense, loading it in a different way seemed to dim the discomfort I was experiencing. I stopped for lunch on a high after completing my first marathon.
The next few hours I negotiated the bends of a dual carriageway, a dull route having spent the morning running through tiny French villages. As the sun dropped below the horizon, so did my energy and spirits, I was struggling. I slowed to a walk after 80kms, then my body simply stopped, and I collapsed face first onto the side of the road.
The next day I was ready and raring to go (to the amazement of my crew) and set off following a river as it snaked towards the coast at Frontignan. After 20kms I began to feel a tearing sensation through my left quadricep, and the tearing continued. I was in agony as I slowed to a hobble while passing through French farmlands.
My mind kept pushing my body to its limit, but my body was shutting down. I had four days remaining and with over 400kms to Monaco, my crew were concerned. After less than 20kms into the next day, with my quadricep now tearing with each step I took, I decided to finish my 2000km 12-day journey the only way I could see possible: back in the saddle.
The next 80kms I covered on the bike, using only one leg, the most painful yet. Putting down my bike at the end of the day, I knew the remaining 350kms were going to test me mentally. I covered 150kms the following day, with a sharp stabbing sensation plunging in and out of my quadricep with each revolution of my pedals.
The final two days were split into 100kms each. An old training buddy from London flew in to join me as I yelled at myself to “keep going”. For years I had envisioned running into Monaco to finish The Ultimate Triathlon, so just because I had only one good leg wasn’t going to change this goal. With 150 meters to go, I swapped my bike for trainers and dragged myself into Monaco, landing in the middle of a roundabout, I lingered for a second, relishing the moment of finishing.
Although not in the way in envisaged, things don’t always go to plan. I adapted when setbacks came my way, persevered with these changes, but never wavered from the vision I had of finishing The Ultimate Triathlon, covering 2000kms in 12 days.
“When reaching your limits, it’s only here where you’ll catch a glimpse of your true potential.”**
Blog by Luke Tyburski, read and see more here.