#Project2015 – Lets do this!!

Gingerbread

2015 a second year in Triathlon

So with 2014 out of the way and being a week into 2015 we all should be well into our “New year’s resolutions” or training for the season ahead.

Mine seemed to start on the 3rd of January with a swim just to “test the water” excuse the pun!!  The lesson that I learnt extremely quickly this time round has been that my rest period and generally doing no exercise has been far too long. I have been hit with Illness and laziness for nearly 3 months and am now feeling the effects.

Yes I enjoyed my Christmas and New Year food binge but the weight I have gained has been quite staggering, at what I am calling my “peak” which is just before Wiesbaden 70.3 I was 84 KGs, I am currently sitting at 91KGS!!, this has a massive effect on my sleeping patterns, snoring, out of breath at simple tasks and generally feeling unmotivated.

That’s an 8KG increase in around 10 weeks which is quite a lot and more than I expected it would be, essentially I haven’t done any exercise during that period which is also the problem but it is now the challenge to get this weight off and build muscle.

So far since the 3rd I have done a turbo session which was painfully boring and on Saturday I ran the 1.5 miles to swimming, did a 2k swim and then ran back.   The running really hurt and I have a real uphill struggle to get back to average run fitness.

Monday – a 3k swim with a CSS test – 400m =6.32 & 200m =3.10

Tuesday – 1.5hr turbo session and 30 mins strength & Conditioning

Tonight – 3.7k swim – 500m warm up (mixture of front and backcrawl)

200 drills

20 x 100 @ high intensity (10 seconds rest between each 100)

2 x400 easy aerobic froncrawl (30 seconds rest between each set.)

200m easy backcrawl cool down

A lot of hard training to come but the motivation is back which great news is, let’s shed this weight and feel great 🙂

This is the motivational video my coach gave me as a kick up the arse:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsSC2vx7zFQ 

I haven’t booked any races yet but anyone got any ideas for an early season Triathlon around the Midlands?

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End of season recap & Winter training

winter-training

 

End of season recap & winter training

So with Christmas looming and after the amazing experience of Ironman 70.3 in Wiesbaden I took a 3 week break and then ended up rushing my decision to compete at another middle distance at my local event in Market Bosworth. I was trying to run before I could walk “literally” and ended up completing the swim, bike and 10k of the run before having to pull out due to a really bad knee problem.

I then had a second break while my knee recovered and was fine and took park in the last race of the season on the 21st of September Courtesy of Full Boar Events this was a sprint race which was a refreshing distance after the last two races being longer ones. I finished 25th out of 71 and my worst run this season of 27.55 for the 5k. A step in the wrong direction for all parties concerned and a disappointing end to an otherwise fruitful season.

The next stage of my athletic development is going to be trying to get some decent base training in to fuel a successful and more focussed 2015 season.

I will be focussing mainly on my run and bike to gain the most time but still getting some time in the pool to keep my swim up to scratch, I am really pleased with my development this season as at the start of the year I was pretty unfit and have now got to a level I am happy with only one year into triathlon.

Here is a recap of the races I have done this season and my new PBs.

2014 race season:

30/03/2014 – East Leake Sprint triathlon – 400m pool swim, 20k bike, 5k run – 1hour 12mins 48 seconds – 109/384

13/04/2014 – Desford Sprint Triathlon – 400m pool swim, 18k bike, 5k run – 1 hour 6mins 35 seconds – 56/198

27/04/2014 – BRAT club Sprint – 400m pool swim, 20k bike, 5k run – 1 hour 7mins 24 seconds – 47th out of 251

18/05/2014 – Bosworth Sprint – 750m Open Water Swim, 21k bike, 5k run – 1 hour 20mins 43 seconds – 35th out of 86

31/05/2014 – Nottingham Triathlon (British Champs) – 750m Open water swim, 20k bike, 5k run –  1 hour 11 minutes, 3 seconds – 393rd out of 1076

15/06/2014 – Barton Marina Triathlon – 500m Open water swim, 18.7k bike, 5km – 1 hour, 6 minutes, 3 seconds – 24th out of 129

29/06/2014 – Llandudno – 750m Sea Swim, 19k bike, 5k run – 1 hour, 20 minutes, 20 seconds – 8th out of 77

20/07/2014 – City of Birmingham – 750m open water swim, 20k bike, 5k run – 1 hour 21 minutes 14 seconds – 48th out of 502

10/08/2014 – Wiesbaden 70.3, Germany (European Champs) – 1.9km open water swim, 90k bike, 21k run – 6 hours, 28 minutes – 15 seconds – 1402/3000+

07/09/2014 – Bosworth Middle Distance – 1.9km Open Water Swim, 86k bike, 21k run – DNF – made it to 10k of the run and had to drop out through an injured knee

21/09/2014  – Bosworth Sprint – 750m Open Water Swim, 21k bike, 5k run – 1 hour 24 minutes 31 seconds – 25th out of 72

New Personal Bests:

Swim:

  • 400m pool – 5.44
  • 800m pool – 12.11
  • 1900m open water – 32.45

Bike:

  • Local 21k tri route – 37.21
  • 10 mile TT time – 29.39

Run:

  • 5k – 19.50
  • 10k – 47.12

My only targets that I set at the start of the year were to break the 6 minutes for 400m in the pool and get under 20 minutes for 5k the 1900m open water swim time is a bonus.

I am extremely pleased with my performance this season and my results, I have been helped with my training through a coach (Blair Davies Coaching) and the equipment for training I have used has been outstanding.

Blair is going to help with my training for next season and throughout my winter base training to get me ready for the start of the year.  Next season should involve some longer triathlons including 2x 70.3s but with a real focus on some decent sprint races, I would love to get my Sprint distance time down to under the hour which means finding around 6-8 minutes from somewhere on some of the pool swim races.

I’ll keep my training log every week from now on and will post an update every week with the training done.

What’s your winter training plan?

The big one! IRONMAN 70.3 Wiesbaden – Bike, run and collapse

 

Ironman 70.3 Wiesbaden part 2

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If you read the last blog post I finished it at the Swim so this is continued….

T1:

Hectic is the word to describe my first experience of Ironman transition tents, in the race briefing we were told that we could put most of our kit on our bikes as long as it was off the floor which I considered doing but we were then given the news that it was going to chuck it down with rain during the night and they were not using bike covers due to high winds I decided I didn’t want my helmet and transition belt to be over the other side of the transition area when I turn up at my bike.  I stamped off my wetsuit got my Rudy Project helmet firmly in place and attached my number belt eventually, I also had to run with my bike shoes on which was fun. I tried to find my bike in the thousands of others and was directed down the wrong channel so had to run round. I grabbed the bike and out of the transition area as quick as I could, I then got myself on to the bike with no problems and saw Aimee again as they made their way to the shuttle bus which gave me another boost.

 

Bike: 90k – 1500m of climbing

The bike started with bad point when my bottle cages attached to my seat decided that at the sight of a pothole they were going to shoot out both of my pre filled water bottles, this made me extremely nervous and really pissed off on the basis I had 1 water bottle to last me the whole of the way to the first aid station. This aside I felt very good. My legs were firing on all cylinders and mentally I was in a good place, in fact I couldn’t believe how good I felt it was strange. The longer transition must have played a big part in that as I am usually very quick at transition and need to recover in the first kilometre of the bike but this one was a little more relaxed which allowed time to get my breath back.so I started on the 90 kilometre bike course and was storming past people at what I thought was a decent pace that I could maintain the whole way through the ride, looking down at my Garmin (which wasn’t showing me my speed)  I noticed that I had completed 10k and was feeling exceptional. As I ploughed past more people even up some of the hills in the first 20k I was thinking to myself “this is great” “this pace is really good” but it was starting to warm up and I could feel myself losing fluid.  I had used a good half of my only bottle and had a Cliff bar by that time so was wondering where the first feed station was. Eventually it came into sight and I took on two more bottles one with ISO and the other Water, they went straight into my bottle cages at the back hoping that the incident on the first corner was just a blip. I quickly found out that it wasn’t as about 2 miles down the road I lost another two bottles over a small bump in the road… SHIT!!!

This played on my mind a little but I was thinking about a part in Chrissie Wellingtons book about her staying calm during getting a puncture at Kona and sorting the situation calmly so I carried on thinking about conserving the bottle of ISO that I had in my only other bottle cage. After 30k my Garmin started to work and I was given some data, by this point I still felt pretty good and I was going strong but the data was confusing… I had averaged over 20mph (33.8kmph) for the first 35kilometres!!!  SHIT!! This was way too fast and way past the target that I had set myself. I knew that the biggest hills were yet to come and I had smashed the first part of the bike course at a pretty fast speed which wasn’t going to help me later down the line.  I started to slow down and follow the Garmin to a point, by the 39k we had only done 400m of climbing and marked the start of the climb up the “platte” which is a 7k climb at 6% gradient of 340m.  This definitely constitutes as the hardest climb I have ridden to date and it was very humid by this point which made it worse, it seemed like it was never going to end and I was starting to suffer towards the end, I tried to maintain a good amount of fluid throughout but I was running out and wasn’t sure where the next aid station was. I knew that this wasn’t a good sign on the basis that there were more hills to come and steeper ones at that. I plodded on and was greeted at the top of the Platte to a nice downhill that I could use to recover and take on some food which was in the form of another Cliff bar. The next 30k of the bike was a complete sufferfest and layered with constant hills at silly gradients throughout, I remember that on one of the climbs I wasn’t moving as my back wheel was spinning on the spot and I had to sit down on the seat again to put some weight on it. it was torture… this wasn’t the end of it as the descents were hair raising going from very steep to a hairpin bend at the bottom.

I was in a lot of pain from around 75k onwards, the hills were really hurting me and they just didn’t seem to end. I took on the last of my clif bars and drank the rest of my water but this didn’t seem to help. I have bonked in training before and this was starting to feel similar, I had no power in my legs, my head was light and I had around 10k remaining with a half marathon to contend with. What came next was even a surprise to me… I was in such a bad way I got a little emotional and started sobbing to myself 🙂 I have honestly never been in so much pain in my entire life and I was really struggling to compose myself. After my brief stint of tears I managed to gain a bit of momentum on the last hill climb, I was not thinking about the run and I was aware there was a long downhill on the way back to Wiesbaden.  I looked at my Garmin and saw that I was definitely on track for the 3hrs 30 mins for the bike course which made me feel good but my legs were hurting a lot so assumed that I wouldn’t be able to run the 1.45 half marathon that I had set out for to hit my sub 6 hour total time.

After the final hill the descent into Wiesbaden was fast and I tried to get as aero as possible to save a tiny bit of time, this seemed to work as I was passing people who were pedalling and managed a max speed of 75kph which is pretty fast.

I saw the crowd and was instantly impressed at the amount of people that had come out to watch, there was hundreds of people all around the barriers and as I got to the dismount line I saw Aimee, my Mum and little sister holding their banners and shouting encouragement in a very good spot to watch, this was another point in the race were my eyes welled up with tears and sent me into an emotional daze about 10 seconds before I saw them I was in a position of disbelief that I could finish but after I saw them cheering I was given a massive boost. All I needed to do was concentrate and take the run steady at 5.15k pace, Follow my Garmin and I will smash my target of Sub 6 hours…. If only it was that easy.

T2:

I had my feet out of my shoes ready to jump off my bike which I did without any problem, I then ran through the line and gave my bike to one of the race officials which was easy enough, I also knew that I need a toilet break so was focussing on undoing my trisuit in preparation, I grabbed my T2 bag and ran into the changing tent, I got my running trainers on, hat on and made my way to the portaloo’s, tried to be as quick as I could but I knew I was losing time.  On to the run course and I thought my run legs felt ok.

Run:

So all I needed to do was to stick to 5.15 kilometres and I would be fine, my Garmin would give me an accurate pace so I looked down to see what I was currently running at and… it wasn’t there. That’s right my Garmin wasn’t there. I had forgot to take it off my bike so not only was it not on my wrist and helping me to victory it was now sitting on my bike in transition ticking away and skewing all my data… I was not a happy bunny and this was another stumbling block that I had to overcome mentally, I never used to run with a Garmin and it was fine but since having one I have been running a lot better due to knowing my pace and understanding what I can maintain. So the battle starts, I was 21k away from crossing the finish line and it wasn’t going to be easy, the first kilometre I managed to run pretty steady and noticed there was an aid station after the first 2.5k so managed a slow jog to that, I took on some well needed fluid, carbs and sports drink including crackers and power bar.  In my plan I was allowing myself to walk the aid stations as they were not very long but allowed a very short recovery. After the aid station I felt ok and plodded on for the next kilometre, It then hit me and I went through my second big explosion of the day. I instantly felt sick and had stomach cramps which wasn’t the nicest experience, I continued but I was reduced to run walk for most of the first lap which then merged into the second lap, I was really disappointed with the amount of times I was “having” to walk, I saw my dad on the other side of the park and gave him some shouting of encouragement and was then massively worried when I saw my brother had passed me without me realising I saw him on the way round and he was one lap down on me so I relaxed a little but he was running like a man possessed so was panicking that he may be able to catch me throughout the rest of the run, having got my third band and knowing I was on the last lap I managed to pluck a jog and probably ran the last 3k at a snail’s pace. The support was incredible and I got my 4th band through the town and was on my way to the finish, I saw the blue finishing carpet and heard my name being shouted to the crowd as I ran round the corner. I saw my name on the screen above the finishing line, the music was blaring and it was epic, it was spitting with rain at this point and I saw Aimee, My mum and little sis and had my third episode of tears of the day. I crossed the finish line, was greeted with an amazing medal around my neck and then fell to the floor through exhaustion.

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After the race:

After I had composed myself and refused a fluid drip from one of the medical staff (I must have looked bad) I made my way to the grandstand where my family I had some sit down time and a hug off them and waiting for my  brother to run through the finish line.

We congregated around the expo afterwards and exchanged our stories from our first Ironman 70.3, grabbed our bikes and rode (extremely slowly) up to the hotel. I fell asleep instantly for around 2 hours and woke up in an achy daze.

I checked the results online and this is what I found:

Swim: 32.45 577th Overall

T1: 4.46

Bike: 3.25.42 – 1129th Overall

T2: 3.05

Run: 2.21.57 – Not sure on the overall for this as it doesn’t say

 

Overall time: 6:28:15 – 1402nd Overall

Conclusion:

Really happy with my swim as I felt fine afterwards, maybe could have gone a little harder but it my first race at this distance I really wanted to pace myself. It’s a real shame I didn’t think about that strategy on the bike as I went out way too hard on the first 35k and paid for it on the back end of the bike and nearly the whole of the run. My run was disappointing but I was in so much pain and had already exploded at 80k on the bike so couldn’t expect anything more. I didn’t hit the sub 6 hours that I wanted but if I had hit my run target then I would have so my run let me down again.

So it was a steep learning curve and one that I will learn a couple of things from which include:

    • Smash the swim, I can go harder than I expected at this distance and still recover ok
    • Understand what my Ironman and half iron distance bike pacing is and stick to it
    • DO NOT underestimate 1500m of climbing on a TT bike
    • Remember to take my Garmin off my bike next time
  • Test all equipment previous to the race and don’t use new kit on race day (bottle cages)
  • Wear a two piece if possible instead of a tri suit to allow easy toilet breaks

 

 

If you had asked me straight after the race whether I enjoyed it or not I would have said absolutely not but after a bit of reflection and time to recover I loved it!!! I have already booked another middle distance local to me and have decided that I my dad and brother want to do a full distance Ironman next year!!

The big one! IRONMAN 70.3 Wiesbaden – Pre race/ Swim

The big one! IRONMAN 70.3 WIESBADEN – EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

ironman

Day 1: 3 days till race

I felt a little sick when I woke up at 5am and realised today was the day I was going to have to drive to Folkstone, take the Eurotunnel to Calais, then drive the 5 hours to Wiesbaden all to participate in the one of the hardest half Iron distance races on the Ironman circuit. This wasn’t a problem but it was feeling very much like a holiday… I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing my first ever Half Ironman on the Sunday and I needed to mentally prepare but while trying to concentrate on the journey and being a good host for a road trip 🙂

We set off and got to Folkestone in what felt like no time at all.  We crossed the tunnel and on to the wrong side of the road, passing through France as quick as possible and into Belgium.  We stopped for some food in Germany which is a massive win as I am in love with German food!. After being astounded at the speed of the traffic on the motorways.  We turned up to the hotel and I instantly got butterflies in my stomach after seeing the Ironman branded banners and posters all around Wiesbaden town.  Straight to bed and down to breakfast the following morning to plan the days ahead.

Day 2: 2 days till race!

We walked down to the Kaurhaus which is a very grand building & casino that holds the race briefing and medal presentation.

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We had a look around the rest of the run course which consisted of a couple of lumpy bits and a run through a park, back out into the town and round through past the Kauhaus. I was smiling to myself the whole walk around through excitement and especially when we registered and got our officially Ironman wrist bands

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The expo was just on its way up and we had some time to walk around and buy some Ironman merchandise which is something I didn’t think I would be that interested in doing but managed to bag myself a mug and branded water bottle.

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We went out for a meal and drink and then to bed as Saturday was the bag and bike drop day so concentration was key.

 

Day 3: 1 day till race!

Today was the race briefing and bike drop day, we turned up at the race briefing on time and made our way into the Kaurhaus to receive the briefing, it is a pretty spectacular hall with hand painted walls and pillars all the way around.

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My dad, my brother and I sat down in anticipation to hear what the speaker had to say and I was instantly blown away by the organisation of everything. There was nothing left to chance or nothing left out but it was also a lot to take in being an Ironman 70.3 first timer. We left with the words of the speaker echoing in our heads “this is the hardest 70.3 bike course on the Ironman circuit…” but we were equally excited and got on the shuttle bus to take us to the lake and transition 1 which was around 15 miles away from the town centre.

We racked our bike and made any adjustments along with handing in our red and blue transition bags to the race marshal’s we took a look at the lake and tried to work out the swim route then got back on shuttle bus back to the town centre which seemed to take a lot longer. This picture explains the journey back.

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The rest of this day was a bit of a blur and I cant really remember what we did as I must have been thinking about the imminent long distance triathlon that was only a couple of hours sleep away.

To bed and up at 4.30am to have a small breakfast and catch the shuttle bus to start line.

 

Race day: preparation and training:

So this was it… at 7.55am I would be embarking on the a 5-7 hour constant effort and I felt like my insides where churning L I hardly speak to anyone before I race because I am not the most talkative and also quite focused I used to have the same problem when I represented my country at Judo, I would put my music in and bounce up and down on the spot waiting for my fight.  This fight was a little bit different but the same principle was applied. This is the part of the process that you think back to all of the training you have done since you entered the race (in my case since October last year) it also worries me when I think back to any sessions I have missed for any reason and if I had focussed on my run more in the build-up then would I be able to produce a better time. But there is nothing I could have done about it at that moment in time so I needed to trust the training I had done was good enough to get my through my first 70.3.

I climbed into my HUUB SKN-1, HUUB Archimedes 3.3 wetsuit and Compressport calf guards and said my goodbyes to Aimee, my mum and little sister through the transition fence and walked down to the lake entrance.

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RACE:

By this time the Pro Men and Pro Women were already in the water and off like a shot when the gun went. Then it was the turn of the Age Group Women. My dad was next and with his green swim hat on said goodbye to me and Ryan and queued to get into the water along with a large amount of other age groupers.  We quickly heard the gun and he was on his 70.3 journey. It was mine and Ryan’s turn next and we gave each other a bear hug wished each other luck as we walked into the lake.  It was a deep water start and it was very nerve racking, I made my way to the front of the pack as I don’t mind the dog fight for position. I also wanted to try out my drafting skills so tried to find one of the faster swimmers.

Am I ready for the biggest race of my life so far???

We will see…

Swim:

BANG!

The Gun fires and the washing machine fires up to full power, arms and legs everywhere kicking and pushing, instantly got a side swipe to the face from a guy behind me and a kick in the ribs from someone in front and we were away. I tried to get on the feet of a couple of swimmers but they lost me quite quickly and I was in clear water for most of the swim, it was a very good swim course keeping the yellow buoys to our right for the first lap, it was a shorter first lap and I came out of the water on to the Australian exit and ran round the corner to see my mum, little sister and beautiful girlfriend holding up their banners that they had made the day before. Aimee looked excited and it really gave me a massive boost seeing them there with smiles on their faces.  I ran as far as I could in to the water and dived back in for the 2nd and final longer lap around the red buoys to my left.

I picked up on a faster swimmer who dragged me around for a little while but then I drifted quite a bit so lost his feet. I could see the finish of the swim and felt really good so decided to pick up the pace.  When I got out I felt ok and did think that I could have gone hell for leather round the swim but decided to pace myself a little slower than usual so I wasn’t trying to recover too much on the first part of the bike. I ran over to timing mat and up the steep hill to the hectic bike racking and transition area.

 

To be continued…..

 

Worst Race ever…. Part 2

Worst race ever Part 2…

If you have picked the blog up here then you may have the pre-race blog to read so here’s the link

Worst race ever – part 1

Read this first as it otherwise sounds like a massive moan.

Swim:

So as we lined up in the biggest wave of the day (over 250 people) in the murky water of Sutton Park Lake everyone jostling for position I got myself to the front of the pack and decided I was going hard from the start. The countdown was given and horn sounded and the washing machine of arms and legs began, I was pretty impressed with my start and managed to get some clear water right from the off without too much drama apart from a swift kick in the face from someone that I was “trying” to draft. This worried me for a split second as I had to put my goggles back on properly and then get back on his feet. I then was swimming pretty smoothly and felt really good, this continued for the whole swim and I managed to get on the feet of someone until the last 100m until I bombed off in search of T1. I exited the water towards the front but the lack of swim training was obvious and I was gasping pretty bad – TIME: 15:07

T1:

My fears were answered and I ran into transition which looked like a WW2 missile had hit a branch of Halfords nearby, I managed to run past my bike after someone had hung there wetsuit over my top tube so couldn’t locate it. After getting my head around the mess that was transition I was out on my bike: TIME: Timing chip didn’t register but it was slow

Bike:

This has been the first time that I couldn’t get my feet in the pedals first time which didn’t do me any favours and to make matters worse the clasp for one of the shoes came out of the loop so had to do the bike leg with no upward power. As for the bike course WOW… a shambles. Two races on at the same time doing 4 & 8 loops of 5k. So that equated to over 500 people all within 5k of each other on a route that is not meant for road or TT bikes!! It was a path with tree roots, massive pot holes, tight bends, dog walkers, wet leaves, puddles, cattle grids and novice triathletes on mountain bikes snaking all over a path which was no wider than 1 car width. Don’t get me wrong I don’t have anything against the novice or first time triathletes they are what make the sport what it is (and I used to be one!) but the organisation of the course was appalling. I think I saw 4 crashes just in the time I was on the course which isn’t great. TIME: 38.16 FOR 20K!!

 

T2:

I ran into transition with my bike in to the bike minefield got back to my spot and there were two more bikes racked where my stuff was, the general organisation of the transition was awful with people collecting their bikes with no disregard for the people competing. There was even a guy sitting on the floor putting his shoes on right in front of the channel to go out on to the run route. TIME: 1.30 tut tut

Run:

I started off slower than I usually do on a 5k as I wasn’t feeling great. My legs were weak and heavy, I was plodding at 5.00 km pace and needed to pick this pace up if I was going to be anywhere near the time I wanted for 5k. I ran round the second corner of the cow pat covered field straight into an extremely steep incline, then up again, then up again, this was only the first lap and I was reduced to a walk (a first in my triathlon life) it was honestly the hardest 5k of my life, the down hills were ok and the heat I could cope with but the hills were my demise, the second lap was just as bad and I was again reduced to a walk (for the second time in my triathlon life) I plodded around to the finish line and managed a brief sprint finish but then collapsed after the finish line. I was ruined… TIME: 26.21

After having some water and my TORQ recovery drink, I didn’t bother with my results and went straight back to the bomb site which some may call transition for my bike and kit to get back home to sulk all day. I knew I didn’t race at all at my best and I suffered from poor preparation on the bike and run, I have learnt my lesson. Me and Aimee walked back to the car and discovered a 15 minute wait to get out of the car park and I’m not a patient person, we got home and I collapsed on the sofa after putting on my Compressport recovery gear and falling asleep.

My dad asked how it went via text he wished he hadn’t here was my response…

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After I finally checked my results online I found out the following:

Stats:

Swim: 15.07 – 10th overall

T1: didn’t register

Bike: 38.16 – 59th overall

T2: 1.30 – appalling (to many to count but around 200th overall)

Run: 26.21 – 212th overall (roughly, couldn’t be bothered to count the masses but it looked like everyone struggled with the run course)

OVERALL: 1 hour, 21 minutes, 14 seconds

Overall the result was actually alright and I came 48th out of 502 people but I definitely feel I could have raced better and the course and organisation didn’t help at all.

Positives:

The only positive from this I can take is that my kit used for the swim was perfect the swim course was longer than 750m as the winner of the swim overall was slower than expected but I had the 10th fastest swim time of the day out of 502 people which was an excellent result and owed a lot to my Wetsuit from HUUB! Not all of it of course as that would be doing myself an injustice but it’s served me well.

As Jay Z would say….

On to the next one

And this is next up is this!!! And I can’t wait

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Worst race ever… This one’s a rant! – Part1

Worst race ever….

Sad-face

An over exaggeration maybe as the result was actually pretty good but every person has a bad race that they would rather forget about even if it’s just parts of it.

Mine is now the City of Birmingham Triathlon – 750m OW Swim, 20k bike, 5km run.

I have split this blog into two as it’s quite a long one.

I sat on my sofa on Saturday afternoon looking out at the apocalyptic torrential rain, thunder, lighting and hail thinking that no one in their right mind would want or do a triathlon in this weather. I had missed this downpour by an hour before I went to register at the venue in Sutton Coldfield which for a venue wasn’t the best. It was situated in a very built up area of the town and I knew that with the allocated car park the sheer number of competitors for tomorrows race would overwhelm them and they would struggle with the organisation.

After registering I took a look at the swim course which was not yet marked out but they were dredging the lake and this is what they were pulling out of the water from the entrance and exit to the lake that we were going to be swimming in only the next morning…

I went back home and contemplated not turning up in the morning as my legs were also sore after my 5k PB run on the Thursday (not a good idea and my own fault as my coach had me planned for a swim and steady run not an all-out smash fest) so I wasn’t in the greatest of moods as I should have heeded the advice of my coach!! They know best!

I decided to see what I was like in the morning and my start time was 11am so I had some good sleep time…

So the morning arrived and the weather was great, the sun wasn’t out yet but it was warm and not raining, it continued to raise my mood on the way there and I felt well rested after being allowed a lyin until 7am. As we got closer to the venue the realisation of the race grew and the huge queue of cars trying to get into the car park came into view, we were ok for time but the car park entrance was the width of one car and there was only one way in and out for both cars and people with their bikes and kit. The walk to the venue was then a mile from the car park which is a problem if you leave something at the car so I had my thinking cap on.

When we got to the field for transition I was told to rack my bike anywhere yes anywhere, some people had taken this literally and as I scoured around to rack my bike there were bikes on the floor, leaning up against the racking as well as leaning up against the fencing around the field, there were also boxes, wetsuits, towels, and trainers absolutely everywhere! I eventually found a small area on the racking to put my bike but was not in the best of moods that the worst was yet to come.

I have been to festivals previously and had the pleasure of doing my business in a portaloo (not a problem) but when there are only 8 portaloos for over 3000 people, most of which are competitors with race day nerves, with no toilet roll by 9:30am this is not a good thing…

I climbed into my HUUB SKN-1 tri suit and Archimedes 3.3 and made my way to the swim start.

So that was pre-race (great so far): Part 2 to follow..

Training block and lookahead!

Pain

Training build week

This week and last has been a solid training week in the build-up for my 70.3 race on the 10th of August in Germany.

I have been mainly focussing on building my bike strength as this is where I can make the most gains in Germany but in the back of my head the run is eating away at me.

Target for the run:

If I can average 4.48 per kilometre for the full 21k then I will hit my target and be over the moon. This is based on the fact that I think I can swim 1900m in around 34 minutes and complete the bike leg in less than 3.30 hours.

My total target for the race is to complete it under 5 hours 50 minutes and to be honest I don’t really care how that is achieved as there are so many unknowns in endurance racing and triathlon generally ie; the weather conditions, mechanical failure on the bike, Gastro Intestinal problems and many more. The one that I am fearing the most is that I go out to hard on the extremely hilly bike course and ruin my run legs.

So over the last week I have cycled over 170km and trying to keep average above 17mph for every ride, this tactic has worked quite well and isn’t that complicated, this being a steady pace that I could keep throughout the whole bike leg and still have run legs. I am struggling to find any big hills around Nuneaton and Hinckley but have managed to get over 2000m of climbing into the 170km

Working in recruitment offers some very good rewards, one of those being quarterly European holiday targets and due to hitting said holiday target on the 25th of July we jet off to Nice in the South of France for the weekend!!!, this is obviously an awesome place to go cycling so I have hired a Carbon bike for the Saturday and have decided to try and find some categorised climbs J and around that area there are some beasts!

Ill takes some pictures and showcase my Tour De France inspired adventure.

I also have a sprint race this Sunday in Sutton Coldfield which I am looking forward to trying out my new bike legs. I am also seeing some decent growth in my calf muscles so let’s see if they work!

Thanks to Blair Davies Coaching who has helped a lot with my progression and TORQ nutrition & Compressport for helping me recover after some pretty smashing sessions.

 

 

 

 

Llandudno Sea Triathlon – Race report

Llandudno Sea Triathlon race report:

750m sea swim, 18.6k bike, 5km run

As we drove into the North of Wales to register on Saturday 28th of June the weather was very poor, the lovely seaside town of Llandudno looked pretty miserable. We had to register in the theatre after the 2 ½ hour drive up and were able to get an open top bus around the bike route which was pretty worrying, 2 laps around the Great Orme which isn’t the flattest of places by any stretch of the imagination. 400m of climbing over 18.6k isnt flat… but it gave me a good idea as to what I was up against when I do my 70.3 in Germany in August.

After the freezing cold open top bus tour we went back to the pre booked hotel to get checked in, get some food and some sleep. Bacon pasta bake was the food of choice but after having it I was pretty disappointed and felt pretty horrible.
After watching the end of the Brazil vs Chile game (hoping that Neymar would miss his penalty) and send the underdogs into the Quarter finals. We went straight to bed and planned to meet my dad at breakfast at 8am downstairs.

I have never been one for eating breakfast early in the morning but managed to stomach some brown toast, a banana and some granola. At this point we finished up, stuffed our bikes into the car and drove down to the beach front where the transition area was situated.

Beautiful blue skies, sun with no cloud and no wind greeted us as we got down there. GET IN!! today was going to be a good day!

We got the bikes racked and ready to roll and then the race nerves started to kick in, there was only around 70 people entered the race, 11 in my age group and 13 in my dad’s so we had a chance for a good result if all went to plan. I was also worried about the bike ride as the hills are not my friend, also the sea swim was an unknown for me and although I was far from worried about swimming in the sea the talk of masses of jelly fish were playing on my mind (last year there were a lot of people being stung)

The race briefing was given whilst climbing into our wetsuits then we had a good 30 minutes before the off so decided to go and sit on the beach for a little while.

We queued up to get into the sea as we watched the other athletes do the standard distance, and skulled in the water until the horn was sounded and we were off.

Swim:
The buoyancy in the legs of my new Huub wetsuit played its part from the start helping me give a strong kick and smash the first 50-100m. I have been working hard on my stroke rate and keeping a fast tempo for the first part of the swim to try and get on the feet of the faster swimmers, I found it quite difficult to do this on the sea as the waves were causing me to sight more often, I managed to spot a yellow hat and begin to chase then down. After the final turn buoy the swim back into the shore was fast. The timing mat was also a good 1 minute away from the shore. TIME: 14:52

T1:
This was a little bit of a faff and seeing my dad in transition gave me a bit of a shock as I am usually a about a minute behind him (improved on my swim) wetsuit was off quick enough, the helmet took a while to get on and the number belt was a nightmare (improvement needed) I was out of transition and jumping on my bike just behind my dad. TIME: 1.08

Bike:
At this point I had a decision to make, do I overtake my dad while he is faffing around with his bike shoes or hold back knowing that he will definitely overtake me at some point on the way up the hill this was his first race with his new Trek Speed Concept so knew he would be faster than me on the bike. I went for the latter and held back a little only to see the inevitable he shot off as soon as he sorted his shoes out and fired up the first climb. I saw him disappear while I was breathing out of my arse I was very poor on the first climb and it took me at least the first lap of the Orme to get my breath back. I was also testing nutrition for Germany which wasn’t obviously great as I spewed on the bike again but apart from that was all good  the second lap I found my climbing legs and began to overtake a lot of people. All jokes aside the bike course was really scenic and the descents were pretty fast, I managed 52 MPH on the downhill!!! The hill down to T2 was quick and I turned round the island with my mum, Aimee, little sister and cousins cheering me on. I even managed to hear a shout from my mum which went as follows “YOUR DAD ISNT FAR UP THE….” TIME: 40.54 (MEH)

T2:
Rapid as usual, shoes were already off my feet, kept my glasses on and helmet off in no time. Shoes were full of talc so easily went on and then the long run to the timing mat at the end of the transition to get out on the promenade. TIME: 38 seconds

Run:
I started quite hard with my garmin set at average pace on the first screen I wanted to keep around a 4.25k pace or below which I was way off on the first kilometre then started to try and bring it back. In the distance I could see a familiar running style of my dad so this gave me a boost as per usual but my legs felt pretty heavy and I was struggling to keep form. The run is a 5k out and back with a steep incline at the end of the lovely Llandudno promenade as I hit the bottom of the incline I could see my dad at the turnaround point and knew that if I could keep a good pace I could catch him around half way of the lap back. A high five from him on the way back down with the words “well done Rob you caught me” attached was a spur on again and sent me a little emotional as per usual as he was the reason that I got in to triathlon in the first place. I picked up the pace again after I had overtaken him and smashed the last 1.5k at 4.15 pace. I gave a sprint finish and received an Erdinger Alcohol free beer after the finish line (which they claim to be isotonic!) TIME: 22.45

Overall time: 1hr 20 minutes, 20 seconds

So after the initial realisation that I had beaten the 1hr 22 minutes target I set my self, I thought to myself that I didn’t get past very much on my way through the three disciplines so was intrigued to find out my overall placing and AG place. So after cheering in my Dad and cousin I made my way over to the screen. The board was showing that I had come 2nd in my AG and 8th overall which I was over the moon about!!
The bike was my key improvement point this time as the hills didn’t do me any favours but gave me the right legs to run my 5k race PB, I do think that it also helps that my Dad was running and I could see him which instantly gave me a boost. There was also the fact it was a 1 lap course but then the hill at the top was still a bit of a calf killer.
We also found out that my dad had come 1st in the 50-55 age category which he was extremely pleased about and 10th overall (I only beat him by 40 seconds)
We waited around for the presentation and watched as my dad gave a big grin when he collected his winners mug. There was no podium and no prize for second or third in Age Groups which was frustrating as it was my first good result but I got satisfaction when I found out the winner of my AG came 1st overall and won the race.

Here are the stats:
Swim: 14.52 – 12th Overall
T1: 1.08 – 2nd overall
Bike: 40.54 – 22nd overall
T2: 38 Seconds – 1st overall
Run: 22.45 – 19th overall

Overall: 1hour 20 minutes, 20 seconds

Overall Place: 8th out of 69 – 2nd in my AG (25-29)

The next couple of weeks will be focused on the hills, brick sessions and the technique and form of my swim, I may have race before Germany but the only thought in my head is getting some miles in as a 70.3 is a little different to a sprint race in all forms of pacing and endurance.

thank you to Blair Davies Coaching for helping me hit my targets and giving me continued guidance. also I have been using equipment and nutrition from TORQ and Finis which has proven to be extremely useful.

Happy reading

some snaps from the day

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Barton Marina Triathlon – Race report

Barton Marina Triathlon – Race report
This Triathlon was held in a location in Derby on the 15th of June, it was a strange distance but I wanted to put my training to practice and see how I stacked up in the run.

Distances:
500m open water swim, 18.6k bike, 5k run

I was up and raring to go at 5am on the morning of the race and had my pre-race breakfast of a large portion of mixed nuts, oats and seeds with some Greek yogurt.

I packed up my gear into the car and set off on the 1 hour drive to the venue which I got to quite early.
Before I knew it I was registered, and had my bike racked ready to race. The swim start was a mass start in open water which was something I am used to by now and with 134 competitors it was going to be aggressive.

We went through the race brief before we were slowly let into the water. There was a lot of arms and legs kicking and sculling and I decided that this time I was going to position myself towards the front to get a good start.

8:00am:
Counted down from 10 seconds the race started dead on 8am. With the washing machine effect in full force, I smashed the first 50 – 100m at full pace and then started to settle into more of a rhythm. The lake was really clear and good to swim in although the weeds were near to the top of the water which made for a bit of difficulty. I felt ok and started overtaking people that had obviously set of to quick. Around the turn around buoys was also hard to spot aswell due to them only being really small.

I exited the water and started running towards transition taking my new HUUB Archimedes wetsuit off in the process TIME: 9.58

T1:
Apart from I couldn’t get the zip off my wetsuit for a while this was ok, probably could have shaved 10 seconds off that with the zip but stormed out of T1 and on to the bike without any major problems TIME: 48 seconds

Bike:
This is the first times I have got my feet in my pedals first time so I was happy I held a steady pace for around 3k of the bike but was over taken by about 4 people in the first 5k. This disheartened me a little but then after I spewed a little (yes not overly attractive) and after about 10k I had re-overtaken 3 of the people previously and a couple of others, I was sustaining a better pace than before and felt good. I was also overtaken by Scott Deacon who is also trained by Blair Davies so I knew I wasn’t far behind, I made some head way on one of the athletes in front of me and pulled into transition 2 raring for the run. TIME: 31.28

T2:
Not really much to say apart from I T2 like a boss  my 3 step process is faultless so far and proves to be helpful in making up time in transition and overall places! TIME: 25 seconds

Run:
Booo two lap course, not to bad but as you know I am not a fan of any lapped courses, I like to know that I am constantly running towards the finish line which you are in both lapped and none lap but it makes it seem shorter 
Anyway the run went well, I pushed a decent pace using my Garmin and was running around 4.30kms and then started to drop off on the second lap, I ran ok but still felt like I could be a lot more competitive. I also over took someone that made it past me on the bike which I was really happy about. Sprint finish and through the line. TIME: 23.25

Overall time: 1hour, 6 minutes, 3 seconds

After getting my time I found I was 5th in my age group!! And 24th overall which I would class as my best result to date!
I beat my race run PB by over 30seconds off the back of a quicker bike and good swim. Massive progress is being made!

Here are the stats:
Swim: 9.58 – 17th overall
T1: 48 seconds – 13th overall
Bike: 31.28 – 26th overall
T2: 25 Seconds – 1st overall
Run: 23.25 – 41st overall

Overall Place: 24th out of 134

This is a result I am extremely happy with due to being able to see the improvements I am making in each discipline, it was a strong field and I still managed to make it in to the top 20% breaking my run PB in the process.
It also reinforces the love I have for racing & triathlon, it feels brilliant to finish after putting your body and mind through the pain and just gritting your teeth and getting on with it.

Barton Marina tri -T1 Sprint finish On the bike Swim exit

The next race on the calendar is the Llandudno Sea triathlon, one my dad is also doing. He is now the proud owner of a Trek Speed Concept so it will be a tight result. After this all my training will be focused on middle distance with my 70.3 race in Germany in August.

Distances for Llandudno:
750m Sea Swim, 18.7k bike, 5k run – the bike course mind you has 2 pretty steep hills and the run course is also pretty hilly round the Great Orme

Wish me luck…

Deva Standard – Race Report

Just thought I would share this blog from a fellow BD Coaching athlete as his results this year have been outstanding!

Angus Smith - Triathlete

I took on my first ever standard distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run) last weekend at the Deva Triathlon up in Chester. I’d thought about doing one for a while and decided upon this event, as the course looked good, reviews of it from the last few years were great and the date of it was ideal for my season. Oh, and it was also the World Champs Qualifier, which is in Edmonton, Canada later this year. Nothing like throwing myself in at the deep end eh!

There were around 850 competitors due to race on Sunday, and following a 2.5hr journey from home on Saturday afternoon with the mother, I registered, which was one of the fastest and most well organised registrations I’ve ever had at a race, kudos to Chester Tri for this. We then drove round the bike course for me to get a feel…

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