Ironman Texas- The Before

Righto, time for another ironman, lets hope it goes better than the last.

 
My last foray into the world of ironman ended in an ambulance at mile 80ish of Ironman Wales last year after picking up a virus 10’days beforehand and deciding to start anyway, after my best ever swim (56 mins) it was clear after 10 miles it wasn’t going to be my day as I couldn’t produce any power or stomach any foods, still on the bright side, an hour swim and 80 mile ride on 1 gel and half  a torq bar made for a great calorie deficit.
 
Onwards and upwards.
 
I’m currently sat in my bed in Tomball, Texas, around 30 mins away from the Woodlands that will welcome 2800 athletes to the start line in almost exactly 48 hours. I’m at the boring stage of spending 2 days doing as little as possible and being seated for as much time of that as I can, no change there then mum. 
 
Saying I haven’t had the ideal, build up into this race would be like saying hitler was a bit of a meany. Of my 12 week build I had relied on my week in lanzarote to give me the bike fitness I was lacking compared to my run fitness that was surpassing all expectations, this, WAS the case, I Had a great week and racked up 400ish miles on some savage courses with some decent winds to boot. However, after changing my run shoes and bike position at the start of a big build, it wasn’t going to be long until injury struck. This happened during the half ironman I raced over in Lanza, after the race I could hardly walk due to knee pain. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks managing it with my 110% knee sleeve, ice has massively helped me and its almost there, but its still not right, on the bright side, it doesn’t tend to hurt until afterwards now so fingers crossed I should be ok for the run here. 
 
So once injured, running was off the cards, my fave of the 3 disciplines, I could feel my running strength fading away, knowing running was my ace card in tri, instead of kicking my ass in the other 2 disciplines, I completely lost interest, my mojo was nowhere to be found, instead of hitting the planned 16-18 hours a week for the final 5 weeks, I managed something like 6-8 hours until the last week where I managed a half decent week. 
 
Still, the work has been done, now is not the time to look back and be upset about all of the things I haven’t done. As everyone keeps reminding me, I have PB’d everything this year, my running is far better than it has ever been, my biking is probably still on par with last year, same with the swim. 
 
The conditions are going to be pretty tough but hey, how hard can 32 degrees and humidity be when we have been used to snow and rain eh! It’s all about management!
 
The plan:
 
My race plan is always revolved around the run as I know this is where I can do the damage, my fitness was confirmed at the half iron in Lanza running just 95 seconds slower than Stephen Bayliss over 20kms and holding 3.58 per km on a rolling course off the bike, I know I have the fitness to run well at least until 18 miles at which point ill be back into unknown territory. 
 
The swim is set to be non wetsuit and as such, a bit of an unknown, I have the fitness to swim under the hour fairly comfortably in a suit and with HUUB’s swim skin I am hoping to still be out of t1 in under 70 mins, but with 2800 people starting together, the hairiness of the swim could somewhat affect this.
 
The bike, well, it’s pretty exposed, it’s not very hilly, lots of rollers but no proper hills, there is very limited shade, maybe 20% of it isn’t exposed. Still, the sun doesn’t get too hot here until later in the afternoon so hopefully the sunburn will be delayed. It’s a long time to spend on the aero bars but as long as I can bike as well or slightly better than Switzerland last year then I shall be happy, I’m aiming for around 5.15 but there are so many factors that can play with this, I’ll have to wait and see what happens.
 
The run, my fave! My plan is to run at around 160bpm which is a pretty comfortable pace for me, dependant on hydration and fatigue this could mean any pace, however, in all of my training bricks, this has meant between 7.05/mile to 7.15/mile. I’d love to run 3.10 on Saturday, I’ve ran 3.24 twice off the bike on much worse fitness so I feel this is an achievable goal, however, anything can happen. This fitness is there though.
 
So, my goal, Kona, although after the last few weeks, it is a little more in doubt, I should still be towards the pointy end of my age group and in the mix, time goal, a pb is always nice, I would love something around 9.40 but sub 10 is the aim. 
 
Thanks to everyone that has supported me to this stage, 110% for keeping my muscles in check with compression and ice, GU energy for helping me get the gels down without gagging! crewroom for the kit that actually copes with a British winter! HUUB swimwear, well, you know HUUB. And the 2 most helpful people I could have asked for, Rob Griffiths of Training Bible coaching and my Moms.
 
Wish me luck, lets see how a Brit copes with the sun! 
 
See you on the other side!
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Life, it’s been a while

Blimey, it’s been a while, getting slack. Not a huge amount has happened since my last post about ironman Switzerland. I attempted ironman Wales but after getting a virus 5 days out, my day ended 80 miles into the bike in an ambulance, disappointing, I managed to secure the Purbeck Runners club championship trophy with 8 ‘club wins’ in 8 races for max points, first time that’s happened in the club I believe. Done a few running races and had some ok results, not marvellous, but ok. 1.23 at royal parks half, was aiming for 1.18 so that was a rough day, 3rd at Studland stampede. Just yesterday, 1st overall at the Rempstone roast duathlon. 2 mile run- 10 mile off road mountain bike- 2 mile run. Entered this one last minute as I realised it had been 3 years since I had done it and it had also been my first ever race back in multisport when I finished a few places from last. When I got there. Noticed there was nobody I knew which boded well for me as i can usually predict the winner of these races, that said, I had hardly trained in 3 weeks due to an amazing holiday in the Caribbean with my family for my aunties wedding, perfect eh, I had put on half a stone and drank my body weight in piña colada’s!

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Still, one way to get back to it was to hit it hard in the race, I had done a few training sessions in the week, 2 of note were a great hill rep running session but only a 50 min run, and getting dropped for the first time in the Poole wheelers weds night chain gang, add this to the fact I haven’t rode a mountain bike in 3 years, it all bodes well for a successful race :-/
The Rempstone roast is a predominantly off road race with a few undulations but a lot of varying terrains, deep mud, sand, stones, pebbled sections and road, it has it all.
Anyway
From the gun, a few people went out hard, as always I stuck with my pace and didn’t get sucked into the sprint start, confident in my running ability and that I should be able to lead the run in, after a few hundred metres I was running next to the front runner and a few hundred metres later I had taken the lead, this was the last I really saw if my competition, I finished the first run in a little over 11 mins with a 40 sec gap to 2nd place. However, this was now unknown territory, 2 laps of 5 miles each in a sport I was pretty incompetent at, the mountain bike. Fairly uneventful, at the end of the first lap I still couldn’t see anybody in the distance so realised that maybe u would be ok, I knew I could run around 30 secs into the next runner so unless something went hideously wrong I should be on for the win. Luckily nobody caught me and I rolled into t2 with nobody in sight, 2nd fastest bike of the day by 9 secs I think, surprising but ill take it, by this point I had opened up to just over a minute lead and was sitting pretty. Now I pretty much had the win in the bag I could afford to back off a bit, with only a time to aim for, last time I had done this race I had finished in 1.13 to put me about half way down the ladder. At the end of the 2nd run I had opened my gap upto 1.50 over 2nd place and 56.34 finish, 17 minutes better than 3 years ago. Sweet.

So, what’s next- my wonderful coach is going to inflict some pain on me this week to get an idea of where my fitness is with a view to getting me back to proper training next week, after all, Ironman Texas is only 6 months away now and I NEED to qualify for kona there!

A few different things in the pipeline at the moment but with a bit of luck they will go trough and be very beneficial to my plans next year, cross your fingers for me!

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50 Shades of pain-Ironman Switzerland

Righty-o, Ive been putting this off for a while, mainly due to struggling to remember how to write!

Ironman Switzerland was my biggy this year. I always go into races with 3 goals, 1st being to PB by beating 10.09 2nd to be breaking 10 hours and 3rd being to go 9.45. Now, 9.45 was a bit of an outside goal but I think its great to have something slightly out of reach. My final 6 weeks before the race hadnt been ideal but I had got some solid sessions in including PB’s over all 3 distances including a 5.13 bike split at Outlaw tri and a 16.45 5km. However, I had been seriously lagging on my long runs after London marathon having only 1 run of 30km since the race.

Aaaaanyway, I digress.

Race.

Leading upto IMCH the weather looked set to be horrible, all the better for the brits! Racked, Registered, Briefing, All that palava.

Nice early morning start to get over to the swim and its raining already, amazing. Fresh New Huub Wetsuit which is the most comfy wetsuit I have ever worn, It was all I could do to convince myself not to do the whole race in it, or sleep in it! In for the swim and met a few of the other GB 18-24 guys , 2 of them I had thought I could beat, 1 I thought I would be nowhere near, I had always banked on coming out of the water ahead of him, being caught on the bike and then left for dead on the run. Anyway, Beach start, run in and its absolute batshiz crazy, lots of people diving in far too early, I went for the, lets try to run the swim idea and ran out as far as I possibly could, running past alot of people who were trying to swim at this point. Eventually in to swim and straight away I realise it is far choppier than I had expected and despite starting just 1 row back, I am struggling to find any feet, Not that I can draft in the swim anyway, I just become one of those annoying people who essentially gives you a foot massage for an hour. Round and round like a teddy bear and it is time to funnel under the bridge to run over for the second lap. I bloody loved this and felt like a cross between ‘The Hoff’ and Ali Brownlee, unfortunately as it happened I neither had the pecs and shoulders of one, nor the swimming ability of the other (I shall let you decide which Has the talents aforementioned) and exited the water in a disappointing 1.03. I had been swimming well leading into the event so was a little disheartened when I saw my watch but on reflection, the fastest swim of the day was a 49 with Ronnie Scgilgrfbekbvihv swimming 55 and Bella Bayliss at 59 so I felt slightly better that It was possibly either long or that the fish had conspired to create some sort of water tunnel (Henry Howe) flowing against us to slow us down. So yeah, 1.03, pretty shize.

T1- Still a little unsure as to why I include transitions in race reports, You know the drill, run in, Do stuff, Run out, Try not to look too flustered for the cameras when in reality, you are hanging out of ya BeeHind and looking forward to a nice sit down and a beer. In 9 hours. If it’s a good day. Balls. 2.12

This is my, Im dying face

This is my, Im dying face

Bike- from what I had heard, Swiss was one of the fast courses, I had expected to fly round there and had hoped for a 5.15 bike split after doing 5.13 at Outlaw on a windy day. The first 30km  was panners, Drafting penalties being dished out left right and centre to the germans, punks. Nothing happens when its flat so lets move swiftly on to THE BEAST. It certainly has a far scarier name than it deserves although second time round I was giving it a far harsher title and muttering unsweet nothings at the ground as I passed over it at what seemed like -3 MPH. The first time up THE BEAST was fairly easy, the sun was shining, there was crowd support, the view was outrageous. Once over the top you descend, climb, ride up to EGG (HAHAHAHA Why am I the only one laughing) and then the main descent back to the lake, however some bastard decided to order rain, and as a side, a dish of hailstones. Therefore descending for around 5-6km under the cover of trees which let barely any light through whilst hammering it down with rain and hailstones was a bit of a bum twitchy moment which saw me pulling the brakes harder than if a child/small person ran in front of me whilst riding at 40mph (I think the rule still applies on a bike). Back to the side of the lake, boring boring boring, HEARTBREAK HILL. Now Im not sure quite what I was expecting here, I had heard that I was entering the tour de france zone which quite frankly, I didn’t fancy on top of an Ironman, riding up there the gradient wasnt too bad and I had just about everyone who had ever raced Swiss’s voice going round my head telling me not to get caught up in the crowd support of Heartbreak hill, rounded the corner and saw the roads were deep with people, Thats it, this is my moment, the finish line must be at the top of this one, I sprinted it like I was alberty contador after an all you can eat spanish steakhouse had done a lockin the night before.

Although bad news, no finish line, just a quick realisation that I still had almost 100km left to ride, ah well, get me head down and crack on, Flat all the way back round the lake, Boring boring boring until, A dude on a mountain bike in full BMC kit decides to stick into one of the bastard pelatons (or quite possibly Pelatai, What is the plural) that is riding slightly ahead of me (please note there was at least 10 metres, maybe 10.1!) 20 guys with aero bikes, aero helmets, aero wallets and deep section wheels are now towing along a sit up and beg mountain biker, try a they may they couldn’t get away from him and he sat in for the full 20km I could see them for. Sure enough when we hit the hills they pack broke up and Im pretty sure they all went back to the Tour de france where they belonged. Around the lake I saw my boy Xavi had caught me up at around the 100km loop, You may remember Xavi from my blog after we went to NICE (pronounced in a Borat style is preferred by the locals) Xavi is strong, however Xavi is Spanish, ergo, Xavi doesn’t like rain! He told me that had it not been for his lovely wife and daughter being there to watch he would have pulled the plug when It was hailing. Second time up THE BEAST (it totally sounds like it deserves capitals eh, and to be said in some sort of demon/ x factor presenter voice. are you noticing a theme here) This was much tougher second time around, partly due to my C*ntador sprint up HH, Partly to my Sideburnesque Timetrialling round the lake. Over the top, nothing again until Heartbreak Hill the second time round, it was a very different experience this time, Having hit it at 85km in I loved it, I wanted to hug everyone, Smile, rock out! Second time round however, I wanted to go all Chuck Norris and roundhouse everyone that even looked at me let alone cheered for me, I was fed up of cycling. Eventually got to the end of the bike feeling happyish with myself, despite having rode 10 mins slower than I had planned, This now meant I was 5 mins behind where I wanted to be from the swim and a further 10 mins behind with the bike, Great, 15 mins down before the run has started Bike-5.25

T2- Drat, I’m doing it again arent I, another transition related paragraph, although this one was slightly more eventful and served a meaningful lesson, got in, got all my stuff. Fresh Runbreeze socks on, nothing better than new socks when you dont fancy a marathon after 6.5 hours of racing.  sorted and went to head out, ran in the complete wrong direction before being shouted at by a Marshall to go another way and quickly realising I was Lost in transition (not to be confused with the Bill Murray classic, Lost in Translation) Eventually I found myself at the exit hoping to dear Jeebus that me mam hadnt seen my ballsup (she had and it was almost the first thing she bought up when I finished)  CHECK THE TRANSITION MAP KIDS! 2.57

My David Hasselhoff Pecs were implants

My David Hasselhoff Pecs were implants

Run- I went out at a fairly half decent pace, not paying too much attention to my actual pace whilst spending about the first 5km trying to figure out how much time I had and how slowly I could afford to go and still get a decent result. My legs were fairly cooked getting off the bike and were pretty sore as soon as is started running however It quickly became clear that I only had 3.26 to run the marathon to sneak in under 10 hours. I knew I had it in me having run 3.24 at Henley last year and 3.06 at London this year but also a little nagging voice (had Mum’s voice, coincidence? I think not) in my head reminding me that I had only done one long run in the 3 months leading up to the race which was still only 30km. Off I plodded and was going fairly well, nothing particularly interesting, saw Xavi a few times and he was maintaining a good 5 mins ahead of me, later in the lap I saw GB18-24 that I was Expecting to kick my ass, He had the same colour lap bands as me and I couldn’t see anymore, I presumed that he was just hiding them so people wouldn’t know what lap he was on and try to chase him down. As you can see here, It rained again, and again, and again

However, the sun must have come out at some point as I had some pretty rad sun burn at the end, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

This is my, someone kill me face

This is my, someone kill me face

at 10 miles out I knew I was nearing the limits of the training load I had bothered with but some quick sums ( I say quick, this took me nearly 10 minutes, I iz a Jeenyous) told me that I couldn’t afford to drop below 8 minute mile if I was going to break 10 hours, crap, so I pushed on thinking if I worked a bit harder now while I still felt ok then I ould have some time spare towards the end, run run run, just before the start of the last 10.5km lap, Moms tells me that Xavi is only just ahead, I was stoked as I thought it would mean we could push each other along and possibly finish together for a SIIIICK photo. I caught Xavi almost at the time we crossed the lap mat but it quickly became obvious that this wasnt going to happen, Xavi didn’t have the legs at the time to push on and I didn’t have the time to spare to wait around. Some more quick sums (read slow) with 10km to to go showed I still couldn’t afford to go under 8 min mile, balls, all that hard work and I hadn’t gained any extra time. My legs were starting to get in some serious pain now but NO I couldn’t slow down, run  run run, With 5km to go, still that 8 min mile barrier, SHIZE. For the final 3 km I realised it was going to be slow close, I was in agony but knew I didn’t have time to hang around so I sprinted, which in reality was around 7.30/mile but I felt like Usain, towards the finish, Everyone in the last mile cottoned on to the fact I had all the lap bands, a face that showed I was hurting and a watch that showed I would be seriously close to under/over 10 hours, I was getting cheered hugely by the crowd, not that I really knew it at the time, as quite frankly, I thought I was already dead. everyone that I overtook that had the same lap bands as me I soon realised wouldn’t make it under 10 unless they pulled their finger out. I could finally see the stadium(read makeshift chairs and finishing chute but I want it to sound spectacular) and the dude on the corner tells me I have only 2 mins to make it all the way around and inside it, SHIIIIZE I thought I had 4! SPRINTING quite possibly faster than Michael Johnson at this point to make it round and I can’t see the entrance around it, I was really starting to panic when finally! There it is, the entrance to the finishing chute, in my haste of trying to cut corners I ran full pelt, Hip bone in to steel barrier bouncing half way across to the other side of the chute, cheerleaders, music, PaulKaye on the mic

When the clock reads 10.03. Drat, Game over, Gutted.

….

Tensing the twin towers of power was just for the cameras

Tensing the twin towers of power was just for the cameras

WAIT! Its changed to 9.58, The pro’s set off 5 mins before and it was still on their time, I’ve done it! I’ve managed to break 10 hours I’m finally able to look down on those that havent broke 10 hours (Andy Sloan ;-)) I am wrecked. Run- 3.24, same as Henley!

Post race- I was more wrecked at the end of this race than I have ever been, the whole of the last lap I had My new coach Rob’s voice in my head from when he told me that the lap 10km would be where I would find out how much I wanted it. I seriously wanted it.

Half way through the run I had made a deal with myself that If I broke 10 hours, I had proved myself, I didn’t need to race another Ironman next year, Yet here I am, having decided fairly last-minute to race Ironman Wales in 6.5 weeks time, A much harder Ironman and what is likely to be a much crappier day!

Yes the hideously dressed germans beat me, No the sexy chick didnt

Yes the hideously dressed germans beat me, No the sexy chick didnt

At the end it turned out I had managed to wangle my way on to the podium by coming 3rd In my Age group which meant an agonising walk around Zurich trying to find the awards ceremony and blagging a trophy and bottle of wine

Dont be jealous of my socks, You too can recover in style at http://www.110playharder.com/men-viewall

So, It only took me nearly 3 weeks to write this, which isn’t a surprise given the length of it, Hopefully due to the title, chicks will dig it, Ill become some sort of Spencer Smithesque triathlon celebrity, move to LA and never need to race again.

Wales- 6 weeks time- I’ll try to blog in the mean time but you can probably expect a race report from that sometime mid February given my recent blog writing form.

Yay me

Peace…

Yeah-Ive got an iPad, hero.

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Cycling, cycling and more cycling, and some running, and some swimming

Back on the grind, not a bad week of cycling. The main thing I took away from the beaver race was that my cycling still left a lot to be desired, my swim was around 2 mins down on the leaders, run about 5-6 mins down on the leaders but bike was almost 20 mins off the leaders split. An easy way to make up time.
So, 6 weeks to find some good bike legs whilst keeping my running up and swimming.

Monday- started easy this week after a hard weekend of double race days. Spinning and abs in the evening followed by masters, only 1900m of sprints and drills though.

Tuesday- quick ride out to test ben’s wheels. Couldn’t help but go a little further in my first ride on carbon wheels for a while. 29 miles in just over an hour and a half. Lots of climbing too.

Wednesday- Spin at lunch time and then time for some time trial action. Rode up to the TT. Signed up, 25 mile TT, wasn’t great conditions but a very fast course even with the 8 roundabouts to contend with. Very uneventful but legs still slightly tired after the weekend, managed to finish in 1.00.40, ride home as well. 37 miles in total with a 24.9 mph hour in the middle.

Thursday- met up with corrinne in the morning for a gentle ride, she was smashing out 95 miles so certainly didn’t fancy the whole lot. Just stuck on for 45 miles and spin class in the evening gave me a long day of riding.

Friday- day off

Saturday- ride out with the boys, easy one as we have a busy day Monday- 37 miles.

Sunday- first long run in a while, felt like dog shit for the whole thing. Moms joined me on the mountain bike, asked her to map a 15 miler out, she agreed but clearly decided I needed to go longer. 18.65 miles later I’m home, 30km in the bank at 7.27/ mile. Happy enough with that

Swim- a measly 1.9km
Bike- 191 miles with an average speed of 17.5 mph
Run- 18.65 miles

Total 14.00.15 hours

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Happy enough with that, tour of Wessex day 3 tomorrow, 106 miles of hills! Ouch. Off to long course weekend this weekend coming as well with the chaps of 110% play harder compression so will get some good training in up there. 6 weeks to go now, 4 weeks of hard training culminating with outlaw relay. Then taper, feeling fit but these 4 weeks are gonna be the difference between over 10 hours and under! Better get to work ……

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A Haaaard weekend (double race weekend)

Well, I’m glad that’s over and done with.

This week was all geared up to the beaver half ironman. A drop in volume to give me a chance of a little freshness on Saturday morning, I had also planned to race the Poole 10km the following day to keep me In the runnings of winning my running clubs club championship.
This week I had tried a new approach to my race prep courtesy of steve way, I had heard a lot about carb depletion and carb loading and thought I would give it a bash prior to Ironman Switzerland in July. This basically involves a period (3 days for me) of as close to zero carbs as you can followed by a day if massively high volume if carbs to super compensate in the muscles and therefore give you more energy already in the body before you start!

The depletion was hideous, I had to maintain some sort of training whilst on zero energy. Not easy, then to compound on that, I overdid my carb loading phase, massively overate on the day beforehand and still felt it in my stomach the day of the race. That said, I felt fairly good.

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So Monday- I had very limited time to fit training in today but managed to get my turbo set in before a spin class which just consisted of 5 mins biggg gear, 5 mins lower gear but faster, for 80 mins, then straight into spinning, then straight into an abs class I teach, then straight in the car, and straight to masters swimming, another good hard swim set!

Tuesday- fairly easy day Tuesday, ran with a client for 45 mins and then went out for a few efforts afterwards by myself, not too hard a run but a few pickups to remind myself of speed before the weekends activities

Wednesday- nice early swim with the tri purbeck lot. Always fairly well structured sessions on a Wednesday morning but I was seriously low on energy due to the second day of no carbs. Nice hard spin class at lunch time and then out on the bike to reclaim my KOM on strava away from a beastly cyclist friend of mine. Managed it, albeit by only 6 seconds and I’m sure he will have that back fairly soon!

Thursday- just a spin class Thursday night which was seriously hot so a sweat fest and the final day of my low carbs so no energy in the tank whatsoever.

Friday- no training, carb loading and travelling to Nottingham for the beaver half ironman

Saturday – the beaver- a few pre race mechanical issues and the fact that my gut was still full of food didn’t put me in the best frame of mind but never mind, time to crack on.
I had heard the swim was pretty nasty and true to form, it was grim, 2 laps and in the second lap, you literally couldn’t see your elbow in front of your face, nasty. Out of the swim, slightly short at 1.75km instead if 1.9km in 27 mins, happy with that, a long run to transition, through transition and on to the bike, always my weakest area. I headed out pretty hard with the intention being to bike like there wasn’t a run, I’d be lying if I said that I pushed as hard as I intended to. I worked hard but maybe left a little too much in the tank, each lap was covered within about 30 seconds of each other at around 45 mins for the 15.5 mile lap, slightly over 20mph, fairly windy out there so not too disappointed.
Now, the run was the one I was unsure of, I know I am in fairly good run shape but I had been told this run was a killer, 4 laps of round a field, up a hill and back down it. Sounds simple, but the hill is about a mile long, and you hit it 4 times! I set out way too fast on the run due to looking at the wrong data field on my garmin, settled in after the first lap and just tried to tick over the miles without working too hard, very uneventful until the last lap I decided to put some work in and get the legs moving. I didn’t get overtaken at all in the run which was reassuring and managed to overtake the leading lady in the final mile so avoided getting chicked which was a bonus. Finished with a 1.24.50 run split so really happy with that considering the hilly nature of the course. 25th overall and 3rd in my age group. But more than that it tells me that I am in good shape and things bode well for switzerland.

Sunday- Poole 10km, there was no part of me that wanted to run this race but having set my sights on the purbeck runners club championship, I need to race 8 of the 12 champs races, I missed the first of the year and am away for the last 3 so couldn’t miss this one, my plan was to stay behind Justin but ahead of hamish to give me second and 49 points. Which should still be enough to win overall banking on the fact that I win every other race I do for them. I felt tired and stiff at the start line but felt like I probably still had a 38 min 10km in my legs. Off we set and I started near the front, Justin immediately pulled away with the pack just ahead of me but one by one, I dropped my pack to move up to the next group. When I reached them I realised that they were still going a little slow so I went round them, including Justin and was ahead, the same as every other race I just concentrated on the next person ahead of me and picked them off slowly. Through half way in 17.38, which is also my 5km pb. The legs were starting to feel very heavy at 7km and aching massively but I dug in, tried not to think about the fact I was cooking in the heat and got to the end, 36.11. Less than a minute from my pb. Surprisingly. Also 40 seconds ahead of the next purbeck runner so 50 points in the champs table and a 3rd win in 3.

Now to relax….

Totals-
Swim- 5.7km
Bike- 124 miles
Run- 25.5 miles

All in all not too bad a week.

Back to the grind, 7 weeks to go…

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Weekly summary 20/05/2012

So another week passes, another week closer to Ironman Switzerland!
However there is much to focus on in between now and the race 8 weeks away. This coming Saturday will see me at my first triathlon this year, the beaver middle distance. From what I have heard it is a good hard race, a short bike at 48 miles but a good hard run to sort the men from the boys. I’m actually really looking forward to it to find out what sort of form I can put together when it’s all back to back. If I’m honest, it’s not a pacing race for me, I know I am In fairly good run form, it’s the swim and bike I’m not is sure about so I’ll try to hit both of those like there isn’t a run at the end of it. Easy in theory right?

Back to this week :

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So Monday- easy run after a hard ride sunday. 5.24 miles in 39.24. Simple. A nice hard 45 min spin class in the evening followed by masters swimming, which was also a little easier this week ASAP few of them had done the same ride the day before and were feeling a little worse for wear!

Tuesday- a nice hard ride out, only 31 miles but man was it windy! There was points where I was moving along the flat at 11mph, I just could not get moving and every time I did, bang, the wind hit me again. Still, makes good training

Wednesday- a fairly decent day, started with a swim in the morning, no energy meant a short swim. A mega hard spin class at lunch and then out on to the bike when I got home to start my brick session, a fairly steady ride with some good hills thrown in for good measure, 24.25 miles beforehand and then onto purbeck 10km, my legs were fairly trashed before I started but the plan was to still work as hard as I could and see what I was capable of in heavy legs. The course was a new course and knowing the area it wasn’t gonna be a fairly hilly, fairly windy race. Fortunately the wind stayed off but the hills were still there. 37.01 was the result, I was pretty happy with it given the course and my tired legs. A good end to a hard day

Thursday- out for a run on yet again, even more tired legs. 10km in 46 minutes. Spinning in the evening 50 minutes. Nothing special but still an active day

Friday- day off

Saturday- a really awesome hard ride. Met up with the boys at 7 and headed towards portesham. A few big climbs and some mega sprints later. I was home, 71 miles averaging 17mph with just over 5000ft of climbing to boot. Solid.

Sunday- away at a fitness seminar.

Summarys
Swim- 2 swims for 3km
Bike 162 miles
Run- 3 runs for 30km

So in summary, I’m happy with this week, I thought I had done more hours but a few bigger days didn’t make up for the smaller days, some good sessions in there though, this week was clearly quality, not quantity.

Speak to you after the beaver…

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I’m baaaaaack

Well, it’s been a little while since I blogged. Some good things have happened, some not so good but fortunately none too bad.

A bit of training, the London marathon, a bit more training, a long weekend in nice and some more training.

So let’s start with London marathon. This had been my first major race of the year and training had been going very well until around mid feb when I got a little lazy, i still had hoped to break 3’hours but after 18 or so miles I realised it just wasn’t in the legs on that day. Cut a long story short. I missed the mark. 3.06. Under the good for age time so fortunately that is next year sorted if I decide to race it.

Moving on, a few steady weeks and I was on a plane to nice with some strong boys. Sloan and xavi. Sloan has had his legs replaced with actual pistons (may or may not be factual) and therefore cycles like a freakin beast. Xavi is back in ironman after a 7 year break but doesnt do things by half’s and will break 10 hours in his first race back.

Tha plan was to just get a solid weekend done. No real structure apart from riding the ironman France course, loooovely.

Arrived on Friday lunch time, quick wander to the shops to get some food, build the bikes and head out. Quick ride to Monaco via a 500ft climb on the way there and 1000ft climb on the way back. 35 miles in total with a pretty hefty pace being set already, we decided it would be a good idea to run off this one as it was slightly shorter. Simple structure, run out along the promenade for 25 mins steadily and work harder On the return journey. Averaged around 7.15/mile on the way out, 6.25/mile on the way back. Result.

Saturday- out on the ironman France course. A 1 lap 112 mile course, because our hotel was on the route we decided to miss the first flat 6 miles back along the promenade which would mean we missed the last 6 miles too but all the good bits in the middle where still there. Straight away the boys set a high pace, I was a little worried I would blow up within the first 30-40 miles at that rate but somehow managed to stay on. 100 miles and 8,500ft of climbing later, we were home. On tired legs but home and a great session to boot.

Sunday- final day, headed out for long run but within a few miles I realised the affect from the previous days ride, hardly considering I had done very little biking in the previous 5-6 weeks. Called it a day after 7 miles and went back to the room and rested up. Big boy Sloan wanted to head out n the bikes but xavi and myself opted for a sea swim which Sloan decided to join us for in the end, mega choppy but still 2km done. Tidy

16 hours for the week

So, this week

Monday- travelling and masters swim
Tuesday- hard run (10 min warm up, 24 mins at 6.23/mile. 2 min recovery, 12 mins at 6.15/mile, cool down) spin session
Wednesday- early morning hard swim session, spin session
Thursday- early morning swim session, spin session
Friday- easy run with client
Saturday- hard short ride early- 36 miles at 19.1mph. Swim session, 2x1900m in the pool on 31.36 and 32.10 with 2 mins recovery in between. Happy with that
Sunday- wiggle Jurassic 66 miler. Hard hilly hot ride, averaged 17mph which was the gold standard so happy with performance.

On to this week, lets see what we can do, I’ve now entered the beaver middle distance at the end of the month so will be a good test to see where my fitness is.

Speak in a week…

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19-25th March 2012 and a new sponsor…

Monday  Started the week off joining the TriPurbeck guys for their early morning swim, had planned to take it easy after the 20 miler the previous day and the fact I was supposed to be going to masters in the evening, However, Dave Pratten was hot on my heels and making me work! the main set was 10x100m off 2 mins, We were swimming between 1.23-1.26 per 100m. then a 200m easy pull, then another 5x100m off 2 mins. Was a painful set but certainly felt I gained a lot from it. Nothing else today except my normal monday night spin class as the legs were feeling a little worse for wear.

Tuesday A nice easy run to try to get the legs moving again today, I was really suffering from my hip after the long run so had to be very controlled in this run so as to not flair it up any more. just under 6 miles in just over 45 mins.

Wednesday Nice hard spin class at lunch followed by a relatively easy run in the evening with Justin, I was still getting grief from my hip so once again had to take it fairly easy. 8 miles in an hour.

Thursday Today seemed to be all about the bike, I woke up late after a fairly disrupted sleep and head out on the bike after a nice coffee. decided to take a Hillier route to last week and got a bit carried away with myself and found that after 2 hours I was still averaging 19mph despite the 2 main hills of the ride being done already. A fairly nasty head wind all the way home made for a not so impressive average pace but all in all a great ride. 53 miles in 2.50 with just under 2000ft of climbing. Spin class in the evening too. A real hard class today so legs were toast.

Friday  Day of rest

Saturday Time for another long run, 6 days after my last 20 miler I decided it would be a good idea to get another one in the legs, so Justin and I headed to sandbanks to bank some decent mileage, He had not run further than around 16 miles and I was nursing my hip injury still so it was destined to be a fun day ;-) within the first 2 miles I was aware of my hip but it wasnt overly painful, I could just feel that it was very tight at the time and would no doubt get worse, We cracked on and refilled the water bottles at the 10 mile mark. It was a mega hot day so we were sweating loads too. At around 16 miles I started to fade somewhat, My energy was fine but the muscles that were tight around my hip were making all the other muscles around it tight, What started as just my hip turned in to my hamstrings, lower back, calves and cramping in my left quad. a few quick walks and stretch stops and we were home. 20 miles in 2.22 averaging 7.14/mile, Happy with it considering the poor prep going into it. After this mum had convinced me it would be a good idea to go with her to walk the dogs to help recover the legs, she promised it wouldn’t be too far, cut a long story short, we walked 6.5 miles meaning I had covered more than a marathon in the day, Brill, Just what I needed. 26.5 miles covered today, a good day.

Sunday  another late night meant I had woken up fairly late but after looking at the glorious sunshine out the window there was no way I wasnt going to go out on my bike. After some banter with Andy Sloan about Portland hill I had decided to ride over and scope it out, Had a really strong ride over to Weymouth averaging just under 21mph but the traffic in town meant that it soon dropped and by the time I had conquered Portland both ways my average had dropped further again. A lovely day, A lovely ride. 58.5 miles done in 3 hours 10. Beaut end to the week.

Total times

swim 1.4 miles  55 mins

bike 147.48 miles 7.51.25 hours

Run- 33.41 miles 4.10.11

S&C & Walking- 6.5 miles  1.59 hours

totals 188.82 miles in 14.55.36

A much better week this week and feeling stronger, desperate to get my hip sorted out but I just need to get booked in with my physio and itll all be ok.

Another thing that has helped me hugely this week is my new compression gear, I am lucky enough to have been sponsored by a fairly new company called 110% Play Harder compression, They make double layered compression clothing with Removable Ice packs. i have been wearing the calf sleeves for my runs and banging the ice in as soon as I finish and honestly, cannot believe the response my body has had to it. As some of you know, last year I suffered a calf injury in both legs that meant I could not run for 5 months, because of this I have had to be ultra careful with what I do in my run training and have had so many great sessions ruined by my calves giving up on me. This week I have iced after every session, run or bike and my legs are feeling better than ever, don’t get me wrong, there is still a slight ache but after 2 20 mile runs in 6 days, I would have expected to be sofa bound for another 2 days but I can honestly say that I could run another 20 today, My calves are loving it and therefore I am HUGELY grateful to 110% for supplying me with what seems to be some seriously game changing kit. If you are interested in having a look at the kit, Click the logo on the right hand side of this page. I am a full convert after just a week.

Here I am recovering in style ;-) the ice packs just slide straight in and work their magic, I tend to opt for ice on the calves, glutes and quads after most sessions.

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Worthing 20 + 12-18 March 2012

Monday  the day after Dambuster I was seriously stiff! Managed to get my normal 40 min spin class and 15 mins S&C in as well as Masters swim was 2.4km with the main set being 20x50m off 1 min swimming  42-45 secs per 50m

Tuesday Just an easy 4 mile run in the AM to get the legs moving again and another 35 mins of S&C Mostly single leg work and swim specific movements.

Wednesday No run today due to very sore calves still after the weekend so just an easy 40 mins spin class

Thursday Swam early but felt pants so-called it a day at 1.6km. On to the bike, Had a great ride, Just under 40 miles in a little over 2 hours, averaged 19.5mph before cool down and 19.1mph after. Also overtook a person on a moped going up a hill which is probably my proudest sporting moment! 40 min spin class in the evening.

Friday  Day of rest

Saturday No training today, A heavy evening friday ment I was in no fit state to do anything, Not proud of that!

Sunday  I had decided to trek up to Worthing for their 20 mile road race, I have had a serious lack of long runs and this seemed like a good idea to get some miles in, It is a fast and flat race made up of 4 laps of 5 miles. Foolishly went out on friday evening meaning I was still feeling rough Sunday morning. The plan was to run the first 5 at 7.30/mile next 5 at 7/mile and last 10 at 6.30/mile. Firstly I couldn’t keep my speed down for the first 5 which was pretty uneventful and ended up around 7.15/mile for the majority. I had also set my garmin up wrong meaning after 1.2 miles, I had to reset it to get accurate feedback. Here is the first 1.2 http://connect.garmin.com/activity/159101405 Once reset I would now be getting mile splits at the end of every mile. After the first 5 miles I set about upping the pace to 7/mile, This already felt fairly tough and I realised that maybe my poor prep was going to bite me in the ass today, I managed to get these miles all covered between 6.51-6.58/mile so on target if not slightly ahead. On to the final 10, At 6.30/mile, In the first mile my HR was pretty high averaging out at about 84% which I was hoping it would be slightly lower, I really struggled to keep the pace up after this and at 13 miles I had to dash into a pub to use their toilet, Unfortunately there weren’t open so had to bang on the window, This cost me about 4 mins, no bother tho as I wasnt racing, was all about the miles. Miles 10-15 were between 6.26-6.40/mile so still feeling ok but considering my longest run to date this year was 16 miles and that was nearly 2 months ago, I knew things were going to get tough soon. The last 5 miles I found pretty tough as my muscles started to get pretty tight, These were covered in 6.59, 7.13, 7.02, 6.58 and finally 6,36. In the final mile my glutes were starting to cramp and really hitting home to me my lack of mileage. finished in 2.22.10 in 75th position with a garmin time of 2.18, thanks to the toilet stop. Fairly happy with timing considering I had planned for a 2.17 finish so only very slightly out. The pacing strategy didn’t quite come off but I put this mainly down to my night out on friday. However the lack of mileage is something that is seriously worrying me, It’s for this reason I have decided not to race the half marathon I have entered on saturday in favour of getting another 20 mile run done, I want to try to get some decent mileage in over the next few weeks to put me in a better position for london.

After this race I have decided to rethink my VLM Strategy, I wont be aiming for 2.50 anymore and looking for a more conservative 2.55, I think this may be more attainable. I am in the best running shape I have been in clocking new PB’s left right and centre so I will wait and see what the next few weeks bring fitness wise.

Total times

swim 2.28 miles 1.22.37 hours

bike 52.38 miles 2.58.34 hours

Run- 24.02 miles 2.50.59 hours

S&C- 50 mins

totals 8.58.02

Not a strong week but happy to learn from it.

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Dambuster Duathlon-British Championships 2012 Race Report

I had entered this race after winning an entry at the http://www.BCTTT.com Annual awards at the Club relays last year. My plan was to use this race to qualify for the ITU World Duathlon champs in Nancy in September, I wasn’t really too fussed about going there but wanted to have the option so I could decide later in the year if I wanted to go.

Going in to the race I had been very Blase about the quality of the field and openly stating that I would be surprised if I didn’t qualify, This was before I knew that it was also the British Championships as well as just the qualifier. Also, I had no idea what sort of shape I was in, I knew my running had been going well and I have had some good bike sessions but didn’t know what I would be able to do under race conditions.

Jump forward, A loooong drive involving a macdonalds and a large pack of Mini Eggs (please sponsor me Mini Eggs, I love you so much) and we arrive at the hotel, Fairly uneventful, Drove the course, didn’t think it was too bad, got some dinner and headed back to the hotel. I chose this as the perfect time to re-tape my bars, knowing full well that it had to buy me at least a few minutes on the bike having clean tape right?

Wake up at 4.30 and begin prep for the race, Get to the venue and we are one of the first there, Down to register, the very first person to register, Bike to transition, would have been the first in to transition if I had remembered by stickers for the bike and helmet.

Anyway, to the race

Started relatively close to the front for the first run, Looking at last years results I expected it to be short but in the race briefing We had been assured it was much more accurate than last years run, Last year was only 5.75ish miles so made for some fast runs. At this point I still had no idea of the standard of the field so my “close to the front” strategy was one that I still thought was a good idea. Off goes the gun and everybody is flying, I stuck to a quick but manageable pace expecting everyone to drop off soon enough, They didn’t! People were holding their paces and pulling away, It was at this point that I realised it was going to be a tough day. Managed a very good run for my standards with all of my miles ranging from 5.38/mile-5.48/mile fairly consistently. The run ended up being very slightly short at 6.11 miles but I came in over the mat at 35. 13, allowing 25 or so seconds for the shorter distance that is still massive PB pace for me. 35.13 67th Fastest run split, Again, Highlights the standard that a 35 min 10km only just gets you in top 10%.

Fairly quick through transition, although once over the timing mat I couldn’t get my feet in to my shoes forcing me to stop and put them on costing me a good minute and a cut leg! 47 seconds and 64th fastest T1

On to the bike, When I had driven the course the day before I didn’t think it looked too bad, The wind however made for a fairly hard time out there, Struggled to find my legs until after the first hill where I had lost a few places already. The first section of the course is fairly slow and after 10 miles I was only averaging 19.5 mph, way off what I needed if I wanted the 1.10 I had predicted for the bike. The next section of the bike is very fast and for 10 miles you can really put the hammer down and by the end of this section the speed was up to 22mph. This was almost enough for the time I wanted. Back on to the A606 and it was a 6 mile slog back to transition, lumpyish and very windy made for some Slooooow progress. 1.12.53 on the bike including my time-wasting with the shoes 100th fastest bike split. Lost some serious time here.

Transition was again uneventful apart from not being able to get my feet into my shoes, need to get some new lock laces. 52 seconds and 178th fastest T2

On to the run and aiming for an 18 minute 5km. I knew it wouldn’t last long so I may as well make it hurt, the guys I came off the bike with are running with me and we are all working hard ticking the miles off but my calves are so tight after the first run it was painful running! at the half way point it was time to try to up the pace again and surge for the finish, dropped the guys who were running with me and off I went, in the last mile my HR was pushing 92% throughout and wasn’t particularly comfortable! Fortunately the last run was short with only 2.9 miles as opposed to the stated 3.1 so it was over quicker than expected. 16.42 and 21 fastest 2nd run.

2.06.28 finish time and 67th overall, Only good enough for 7th in the Age Group.

After the race I was left feeling very deflated, I had gone into this aiming for sub 2.10 believing this would be enough to get me on AG podium when in the end, I went over 3.30 faster than planned and wasnt even close. To get Bronze in my Cat I would have had to go 2.02!

The positives I can take away from this are that my running is paying off, I am faster and stronger than I have ever been and my endurance is showing by being able to run so well off the bike when all others were fading. Also My biking isn’t TOO bad, top 10% Bike split when it is definitely my weakness. I am certainly happy with my own performance but highlights just where I am within the national field. Had I had been focusing on this event then maybe I would have had a different result but my aim has and will continue to be Ironman Switzerland in July, More training to be done, that’s a definite, but happy with where my fitness is this early in the season.

All of the Garmin splits and data can be found here:

http://connect.garmin.com/activities

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