Living The Dream Vol 6 -WTF happened in 2018

I have sat down a few times to write a blog about this summer and how it hasn’t happened racing wise but have struggles to know what to put. I didn’t want it to sound to much like a “pity me” piece or a ramble about how one guy who is actually pretty fortunate to be racing in the first place was moping and depressed that he couldn’t run like a spoilt rich kid.

So basically I’m going to cut what could be a really long rambling story short. I got some pain in my ankle, it hurt a lot, i couldn’t really do much for a week or 2, riding or swimming even hurt. Instead of doing everything in my power to get to physio, massage, specialists i moped around like a self pitying nobhead eating cake and drinking beer for a few weeks instead, vowing that i had retired from triathlon because it was “too f*@£ing hard”.

I then rode my bike a bit, enough to have a crack at a 12 hour race which was awesome fun but my ankle still hurt so i reverted to moping, eating, drinking mode above. Some time towards the end of August i finally started to pull my head out my Ass, book some physio appointments and think more logically again. Apparently I wasn’t quite ready to retire yet. I started moving again,  a bit of swimming and biking felt OK and after some treatment on my ankle a bit of running too. The running felt horrible, i’m my genius move of eating cake to fix a problem i had managed to gain considerable weight and felt like an absolute tank!

img_10071
Ironman Wales, one of the most epic starts in triathlon

Start of September and we headed to Tenby to watch Ironman Wales and that weekend really acted as a turning point for me. The shear epic-ness of that race really showed me why i did this sport in the first place. Watching people run up hill again and again looking absolutely smashed reminded me how i loved it and i wanted to be the one running up the hill feeling smashed and driving home that Monday my mind was ticking of what to do know to get back.

img_1088
Back on the Turbo

So sitting here a month later I am training again, i have lost a little weight and am back running thanks to some truly brilliant work from Rob Mcilroy a soft tissue therapist on Portland working on mobilising my ankle and getting everything strong and moving properly as it should. I even managed to squeeze in a 6km open water swim event last weekend and the stunning Wimbleball lake and was so pleased to be racing again. Just being competitive and being in a race situation made me feel amazing, pushing all the way to the end and winning it within the last 400 metres and getting out smashed but elated reminded me how good it can feel and that i am now a world away from the mindset of the person that was moping around all summer long.

img_1104
finishing the 6km Exmoor open water swim 

The plan now is simple, build back slowly. No rush to be fit again, train well, eat well, aim to feel pretty good most of the time and above all else stay injury free! I am working on a few things training wise to help all of this, hip mobility, strength and gym work and short frequent runs to limit mega stress are the staples at the moment. Ultimately now i hope to look back on 2018 as the summer that helped me get stronger as an athlete, hindsight being wonderful and all that but i have learned some pretty big lessons and at the moment am happier and more grateful than ever to just be able to do what i love!

 

 

 

Living The Dream Vol 5 – No Iron in Ironman

So things have been a bit quiet on these page for the last couple of months but it’s finally time for a bit of an update on how things have been and where they are going. After my last blog things were very positive, I was on the up and working well to get my season started. Unfortunately one snowy Monday afternoon in March when the beast from the east had returned again I got 3km into my long run and stopped, walked home and was done! Physically my body shut me down and my mind went with it. I spoke to Mark and agreed to take a couple of days off and see how things were. This then grew to a week off, a few more days grew to 2 weeks and ended at a month of no swim, no bike and a few hours on the mountain bike when I felt like it.

It was fairly obvious though something wasn’t right, I was tired and my mind had no interest in getting back to training. A trip to the doctors and some blood tests though revealed that some low iron levels may be a pretty significant contributing factor to things and that my body indeed was running a little empty. This was encouraging though as it gave me a reason and hope that actually retiring from triathlon and selling all my kit wasn’t a particularly clever idea and that starting back training again was probably a better one so I got back in the pool, on the bike and even did some running!

I’m not going to lie it wasn’t pretty, or fast or even felt good and for the first few days I was really questioning whether I wanted to go back to it. I hadn’t exactly lived like an athlete taking care of there body during that month eating anything and everything, staying up later and generally being very sedentary which made the return to movement one hell of a shock! Thankfully the training camp we were running in Mallorca was enough motivation to get me moving though and the week out there was actually pretty perfect timing and provided a fantastic setting for everyone to get some great training in and get some sun on there back and not worry about real life at home. On return from Mallorca I spoke with Mark and he started to put a plan together to get me back on track for the season.

Having s structured plan to follow was bliss again. All the emotion and thought process taken out of it and just ticking off the sessions one at a time trying not to compare to previous times and powers but just giving what I had and focussing on nutrition, recovery and keeping my body healthy and getting back to how it should and can be. Now as I write this I am 4 weeks back into training and starting to feel a bit more like an athlete again. My swim and bike seem to be coming back well but they are the sports I have history with and although my running is a different story I am confident it will come again as well and am excited again about training and the prospect of putting in the hard yards.

I even ended up throwing in an impromptu half Ironman race this last weekend with Lisa just entering me anyway three days before the race despite me stating stubbornly that I was no where near race fitness and had no interest in racing. The Immortal Half event at the Stourhead estate is a brutal course and one I have won twice on and blown up spectacularly on as well. It was going to be a very honest assessment of my current fitness but knowing I needed to be training as well I trained hard up until Friday, did an easy spin round the course Saturday and raced Sunday. Overall it was a great weekend with kids races and a 10km and sprint triathlon all happening on the Saturday then the Immortal Half on the Sunday. The weather played nicely and the atmosphere was fantastic.

Without boring you too much with the details it proved exactly where I was at and the result confirmed pretty much what we already knew. Swim is good and as good as it has ever been and will continue to improve as I keep putting the work in in the pool.

Bike is again actually alright, the course was hard with nowhere to settle into a nice time trialling rhythm with punchy climbs and twisty roads but was a brilliant test for the legs, my nutrition plan and all my other equipment. My legs weren’t super fantastic coming in fairly tired with no specific training and certainly around the 2 hour mark it got a lot harder to hold the power but I was generally pleased with the ride and couldn’t have asked for more. My nutrition plan worked well and stays pretty much unchanged from previous years and it’s always nice to put the fast wheels on the bike and see how she goes.

The run on this course is 23km of hills, either up or down with noting in between and a test of anyone’s legs. A conservative approach got me round and put the miles in the bank and although far from competitive time wise will hopefully set me up well for the work to come and proves at least over the half marathon I can go the distance ok without slowing down but just don’t have the speed in the first place. Hopefully it will act as a little boost for my run fitness and now as I feel I am able to start to push on with the training again help me find those legs I have had before and build on them for races later in the year.

Racing wise now though things have been pushed on a bit with the need to train consistently well for a few more weeks I am not going to Outlaw Half but will be going to the DB Max Titan event in Wales then on to Outlaw Holkham half if things run relatively smoothly along with some local run events to keep me going. Then after that I will plan the second half of the year and aim to make up for the lost time in the first half!

Thanks as always for reading and for those who have helped and supported me again this year. Although it’s not been the perfect winter and start to the season more lessons learned and experience banked which I can only hope will help me in years to come.

Immortal Race photo credits – Curious George Photography

Living the Dream Vol 4 – On The Up

Although you may not believe it after the recent snowy weather we are now officially in spring and now is the time that we start to look at the calendar and see races only a few weeks away.

February for me was another interesting month, after my week at the end of Jan when I fell apart and ate sugar (see previous blog) I got my ass going again and settled back into some training. Things picked back up nicely then came the dreaded test sessions. For me this was a CSS test in the pool, an FTP test on the bike and a 5km run test. Mark gave me a few easier days beforehand to get me to freshen up then it was time to go for it.

Fitness tests in training are always a funny one, some athletes are chomping at the bit to get to them, smash themselves silly and prove that they are improving. Others are crippled by the fear and anxiety that they won’t show significant improvement or be as good as last time. It’s also a chance for some relatively direct comparison with others and something a lot of athletes can relate to who do the same or similar. Whilst this can be good it can again also cause fear and anxiety of being judged by others. Ultimately though it’s a very small snapshot of what you are capable on one day of the year, hundreds of things can affect it like sleep, nutrition, stress at work, time of day you test etc and controlling these is part of it but I do feel they are important for tracking progress as that is ultimately what we are all chasing.

For me personally I was dead excited about the swim one, I hadn’t done one since August last year so didn’t have a recent comparison but knew I was swimming in pretty much lifetime best shape and felt I could put it together well and had and idea of what I wanted to swim for the 400 and 200 metre efforts. In the end I was actually a little quicker than I was expecting, clocking 4.46 for the 400 and 2.19 for the 200 which was a nice surprise and a PB for both distances.

Happy with those it was the FTP test next, as any one who cycles with power knows this is one of the shittiest sessions you can do on a bike, especially on the turbo or wattbike. Anyway I went after it and again saw good improvements, a lifetime best 20 min power on the turbo for me in February is a big thing. My FTP went from 353 on 1st January to 368 by the End of February. I normally struggle through winter, find my feet sometime late March and scramble to get fit for summer. Having swim and bike in a great place already is a cracking start to the year.

As for the run test, this is where the good times ended. I went out for this on a local out and back route but the tank was empty, heat rate 15 beats below what I would expect and no matter how hard I tried I could not go any faster. I finished the 5km in 20 minutes exactly, the slowest I have run one in probably 5 years!! I knew I wasn’t expecting a new P.B but that was taking the biscuit a little bit and I jogged home with my brain going crazy fighting to keep that little chimp up there in his cage and not start to cause havoc! Thankfully though that evening it hit me…….sickness! My wife and daughter had both had it and after thinking I was in the clear it took me down, part of me pleased there was a logical explanation for the poor run, part of me frustrated that I was about to loose a few days training again.

4 days later though and I was on the up and started moving slowly again and it seemed to have no real negative affect on my fitness. The first couple of sessions weren’t the best but I’m hoping now that this year I have got most of these demons out the way already. Sickness done, injury done and a stupid off the rails week teaching me an important nutritional lesson done!

Looking at the positives though and the good increases of fitness I put a lot of this down to having Mark at Intelligent Triathlon Training holding the reigns now. My training has been different to previous years and there has been many positive changes, going back to more how I used to train when I was an Age Group athlete with a full time job. For me personally though the biggest thing now though is that I don’t think about it anymore. I look at he plan, read the details of the session and then go and do it. When I was self coached there were numerous times I would be warming up in the pool and I would be thinking “I feel too tired” or “my arms are heavy I’m never going to finish the set I have planned”. Then I would change the set, do something maybe easier or shorter or less intense and no one would know any different as I was only accountable to myself.

The time I would waste worrying over whether I should do 5 x 6 minutes or 6 x 5 minutes or should I do hill reps or should I do it on the turbo type thoughts would be ridiculous and drive me mad. I’m very emotionally attached to my training and maybe too much so but this doesn’t always lead to good decision making like someone who views it from a different perspective from the outside might be able to do.

Yes there have been times already when I have looked at the plan session and just thought there is no way I’m going to be able to do that, I will add 5 seconds more rest in the pool or drop 20 Watts on the bike but when I have come to do the session actually committed to it, got it done and taken a lot of confidence from that as well. I’m sure as we get closer to the races now this may become a more frequent occurrence but this is also something that works the other way. A rest day when I feel I don’t need one or a session that I know I can do more in are there for a reason. Surviving a triathlon season is hard and my goals for the year are firmly in the second half of the season through September and October so it’s important now to not jeopardise that by doing too much too soon.

Last week I broke my first 20 hour training week for the year, this is something that the last 2 years I would have used as a minimum requirement for a weeks training. Anything less would have been considered a failure and that I was going backwards not forwards but I know now the results say otherwise and I trust Mark and the plan implicitly and am excited to see how it develops into the season. The goals now are all about consistency, no heroics just backing up the training day after day and week after week, nothing glamorous but just getting the job done.

I plan to open my real race season at Outlaw Half on the 20th May so still have a couple of months but know there is no time to waste. I have never done the half event there before so am excited to be back at Holme Pierrepont with the One Step Beyond Crew and kick my racing season off!

Living the Dream Vol 3 – Fuel The Machine

So this is the first blog of the year and it has been an interesting start! After a very relaxed and chilled Xmas period I set about training with an FTP test on 1st Jan and settled straight back into work/training routine with good motivation and purpose. The first 4 weeks of the year went well! I hit some big swim weeks, some tough turbo sessions and finally put the injury dramas of December behind me and started to build my running again which made me very happy.

My big fail though came on the last weekend, along with training well and as a lot of us I’m sure have done I “cleaned” my diet right up and was back on prepping and eating healthy meals and cut out all the rubbish. Unfortunately though I think I was a bit too keen and by the end of the month was nursing a pretty decent calorie deficit which then bit me on the ass…….HARD!

A failed run session turned into a good feast which turned into a few days of it which turned into the rest of the week and before I knew it I had (or at least felt like at the time) un-done all my work from the last 4 weeks and jeopardised my whole year. Thankfully though us triathletes can be a bit melodramatic at times and in reality yes whilst I had certainly had a poor week with plenty of missed sessions and far too much junk food I had taught myself a very serious lesson early on in the year. You have to fuel the machine and ooh have to duel appropriately for the type of sessions you are doing!

It left me realising that I have to get on top of this for 2018. Nutrition and fuelling is key especially with a high training load and is critical to my progression as an athlete. It forced me to look at what I was doing and how I could make it better, make it easier for me to get what I need and also do it by achieving the body composition/race weight I need to perform at my best on race day as well.

A week back under my belt of solid training again and although in the first few days of the week things felt pretty rubbish I finished it strong with some swimming especially that is certainly up there with as well as I have ever swam, running is still a fair way off but progressing nicely which is what is important and the bike is in a good place as well. Ultimately I’m in a much better position than I was this time last year that’s for sure. It’s great having Mark at the helm now and I am really enjoying not thinking so much and just reading the sessions and doing the training. It has taken a lot of the mental stress of the training away and worrying that I am doing the right sessions at the right times. It has been a different approach to what I would have given myself as well which is brilliant with fresh stimulus compared to what I would have done which would have been very similar to training before for this time of year.

The focus is now on consistency again and applying these lessons going forwards. All being well through February I will update with what I have been doing again at the end of the month, the changes I have made to my eating and if I get organised may be I can provide a little food diary for a day as well as some of the changes in my training for this year as well. By the end of the month as well I should have some race plans finalised, for the first half of the year at least which I will share and hopefully the weather will be improving as we inch ever closer to summer again as I am seriously looking forward to being able to run in shorts and t-shirt again and getting the TT bike out on the road again!

Living The Dream Vol 2 – Reality Bites

So we’re in the time between Xmas and New Year, if your like me then this is a bit of a weird one. I have this period off work but always struggle for training motivation. Christmas is always busy in our house with the kids and I never have any pressure to train loads around this time. This on the other hand means that my motivation drops off and sitting on the sofa with the Xmas chocolate seems like a much better idea.

Since my last blog though things have been a bit of a mixed bag. Unfortunately I picked up a problem in my glute which has put me out of running for a couple of weeks whilst I work on it although I did charge down Weymouth beach dressed as a Xmas pudding chased by a load of Father Christmases. Thankfully though it hasn’t really effected my swim or bike sontraining has been focussed around them for the last few weeks. What it has done is really highlight the need for me to become much stronger and more stable through my core and hips which is the silver lining and a big project for the new year. My bike work has been a lot of turbo sessions and has gone well. Intensity has been a bit more than I have been used too and there has been a bit of progress already in these harder sessions.

In the pool I have managed to keep a lot of my form from the end of the season which has been promising and have had some great sessions along with a couple of shockers!! I had generally though got things going well again before the Xmas period took over. The glute is on the mend though and with 2018 only days away attention is turning to the new year and my goals. Although I don’t have any races confirmed in the calendar yet I have plenty of options and it will be a 70.3 focused season.

My racing is very black and white in that to succeed (win) I need to swim and bike a little quicker but run a lot quicker. I’m realistic in that I’m never going to be a front pack runner but with the way 70.3 racing is now days if your not knocking on the door of a 1.15 half off the bike your nowhere. Having never run faster than a 1.23 off the bike this is a very big step and one that isn’t going to happen overnight. With Mark Pearce from Intelli Tri now at the reigns though the focus is to build the best 70.3 performances possible and with a long term goal of a big performance at the 70.3 world championships 2019 there is plenty to work towards.

I do love a bit of downtime over Xmas especially with the kids being around but there is certainly part of me now ready to turn my focus levels up a bit as 2018 comes round and the races get ever so slightly closer, maybe that’s just because I’ve eaten all the Christmas cake though!!

Hope everyone had a great Xmas and has a great start to the New Year. Will be back soon with a little more on what I will be working on and hopefully some positive news that I am back running consistently again.

Living The Dream Vol 1 – Introduction

For most of us now the race season is well and truly behind us and thoughts guys move onto next years events and goals. For me I have had a bit of break and done some easier unstructured training, reflected a little on the year and started to think what I want to achieve next year.

2017 was Overall a season I was pleased with, it certainly had its ups and downs and lessons to learn but I feel I have finished it a better athlete than I started. The end of the year though was a bit hit and miss and with some similarities to 2016 I struggled to regroup and finish well. I was very pleased with my race at 70.3 Weymouth which showed promise and progression in swim and bike but Ironman Barcelona certainly was a let down and left me a little deflated with Ironman racing and vowing not to go back into one again until I am much more prepared.

Looking ahead to 2018 there is one overriding goal…….RUN FASTER. No matter the race distance I need to be a better runner, my swim and bike are getting there but the run lags behind. My best Ironman run is 30 minutes behind the best in the world and my half around 10. Ultimately not good enough! So the plan, from now onwards I will be coached by Mark Pearce of Intelligent Triathlon Training. A guy with incredible knowledge and experience and someone I trust fully to take me to the next level of performance. As for racing the goals are 70.3 based, my long term goal is to qualify and race at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France 2019. This is almost 2 years away but gives me time to do the work I need to put in a competitive performance.

So that leads me to this blog, from now on I will be writing every couple of weeks with updates on what I am doing. I will keep the “living the dream” title going and want to give a bit of an insight into what I do. Recently I have read a great couple of articles and listened to a couple of podcasts with pro triathlete Lesley Paterson and her husband Simon Marshall who have just released a great new book called “the brave athlete, calm the f*@k down and ride to the occasion”. It’s a sports psychology book with some great concepts and explanations of common scenarios endurance athletes face and techniques to overcome them.

One that stood out to me and I am as guilty as many others is the fact that social media and what we put on it is 99% of the time things we are proud of, show off with and generally show our best side on. I know for me the pictures I post on Instagram show a great workout or a great race result. Never do they show me when I fail, am sat on the sofa eating too much ice cream or can’t motivate to train well. I want these blog updates to be a bit more “warts and all”. Yes I am very fortunate that I get to do what I do a lot of the time and travel and race but there is a lot that goes into it and contrary to popular belief I go through the same struggles as everyone else! There are days when I fail, can’t be assed, feel to tired etc so all of that will be included!

Happy Training and here’s to a great winter and P.B’s all round in 2018

Winter is Here

Love it or hate it unless you spend your life chasing the endless summer around the world winter training is something that we are now all facing. Race memories fading and new plans starting to form, “dreaming season” as some call it as the goals for next years racing season start to materialise.

“The Office” All set up for the colder months

For me I am always a bit excited at the start of winter training. Yeah if you’ve had a bit of a break then the first few sessions can feel pretty bloody awful but it’s always a clean slate. An extended period of time to really work on some specific aspects of your sport whether that’s technical or fitness based. No races to interrupt the flow and routine of training and as long as you can keep motivated a chance to really consistently get some work done. Also a chance to do something different. For me who spends most of the race season chasing long course triathlon my winter training will be focussed around being short course fast. Especially on the run which is my biggest weakness I just need to be faster full stop, whether that be over 400 metres, a mile, a 5km or further I need more speed in my running. My winter plans are to try and turbo charge the Diesel engine I have so next season I can kick up a gear when needed.

coffee shop Jenga is an important part of the winter routine.

The other side to winter for me and this is a big lesson from experience is trying to stay a little more balanced. During the race season I can be incredibly focussed and driven but I can’t sustain that year round. Whilst I commit to my training during the winter I try and maybe have an extra easier day a week or make sure I am doing less overall volume. When March and spring rolls around I don’t want to be knackered and ready for a break I want to be motivated and fresh and ready to really push into the race season. By making sure I don’t flatten myself during the next few months I am giving myself the best chance for this.

So below I have written down 5 things to think about or try this winter to help keep your motivation up and your fitness progressing.

  • MIX IT UP – Whether that is trying training sessions you wouldn’t normally do in the summer or trying a new class at the gym. Do something different so training feels fresh and exciting.
  • ENTER A RACE – A local 10km run or a Duathlon or maybe even a half marathon or obstacle or adventure race. Have a race on the horizon is always a great way to keep you going. It could even be get down to your local park run and see if you can beat that PB.
  • TRAIN WITH A GROUP – This is a big one for me over winter. Whilst during summer I do 95% of my training alone during winter I use others more. Our Saturday morning run group is crucial to me. If it’s cold and raining outside I know they will be waiting for me or if I don’t want to get out of bed then I will be letting them down. Even during the session having someone to chase or push you on will mean you get much more out of it. Join a group whether a local Tri or running club or arrange sessions with friends to make you accountable to them and help get you out the door.
  • FIX THAT NIGGLE – That niggling ITB or that aching Achilles that has bugged you all season long, ow is the time to get it fixed. See a physio, do some strength work and get it sorted. No more endurance athlete denial or brushing it under the carpet, get on top of it now and make sure it then doesn’t come back to haunt you again for the races next season.
  • SET SOME GOALS – Now this could be a short term goal for yourself or it could be next years big ones. Set them, write them down and put them in public view or at least somewhere you see them regularly. I will cover goal setting more in another post soon but have something that really motivates you and maybe scares you a little bit. Tell someone what it is out loud and use it when things get tough.

Embrace the winter and it can have a massive effect on your season next year for the better, neglect your training now thinking that next years races are months away and you may be left if your competitors dust when the gun goes off again.

I will aiming to write much more regular blogs over the winter as well so if anyone has anything they would like me to write about drop me an email or get i touch through any of my social media, we also have a few spaces left for coaching for the winter and into next season so if anyone is interested there as well please get in touch!

Ironman 70.3 Weymouth – Making Progress

70.3 Weymouth, a race from last year I had some “unfinished business” with and was keen to race well at this year. The period between Outlaw and this race turned into one hell of a rollercoaster which although delivered valuable lessons for the future also left me a bit frustrated at times. The first week after Outlaw I got sick and took the whole week completely off. Then I made the mistake (isn’t hindsight wonderful) of trying to get back to full training on the second week. This lasted all of 5 days until I fell off the fatigue cliff and landed in a place that involved large amounts of cake.

This cycle happened a few more times until I took a some very easy days to try and reset and go again. At times there were some good sessions and at times I could barely drag my legs up a flight of stairs. There were days I was motivated to train well and days that I considered retirement from Triathlon alltogether. This was the first time after an iron distance race I hadn’t bounced back well so was completely new territory for me.

I attempted to race at a Middle Distance race in the new Forest 4 weeks after Outlaw and struggled on the bike ultimately riding only a couple of watts more for the 90km than I did for the whole 180 only a month ago then could barely run off the bike ultimately pulling the plug after about 8km and doing the walk of shame back to transition and the finish area head and body again in pieces. Back into the place of a lot of calories and this time 2 days later the body and mind were back and I got back to training again and it stuck! Motivation was back and it was time to try and put something together for 70.3 Weymouth.

SMLXL

Thankfully as the race got closer my body seemed to be there, somehow my swimming was just getting better and the bike seemed strong. I had done a fair bit of running but not a lot at “race pace” so that was a bit unknown but I was confident that if feeling good it may just work. I certainly tapered for a week for it to try and freshen the legs up and the Thursday before the race had a ride where things clicked a little bit. Power was up and I was comfortable in the aero bars and just felt really good on my bike. Being a home race I worked as normal on the Friday and headed to register in the afternoon. Everything was smooth and simple and Saturday again was easy for me with briefing, racking and a final spin on the bike and run. I was feeling very relaxed, no nerves or pressure and just excited to race!

Sunday morning when my alarm went off I had slept really well! Again no nerves and just went through the routine of breakfast and getting in the car to head to transition. Sleeping at home the night before a big race is a bonus and I think just added to the relaxed nature of it. It had rained hard overnight but as I uncovered my bike in the cool morning air everything seemed to be just as I left it. I put my bottles, shoes and Garmin on it and left transition with plenty of time to get my Wetsuit on and head to the beach. I took a short warm up swim and was instantly freezing in the water, thankfully after a few short bursts to turn the arms over I settled in and felt good in the water and my Wetsuit. I lined up on the start line on the front and ready to go hard to the first buoy. The national anthem was played and then Thinderstruck came on, We were given a 30 second warning and then the gun went. I swam hard early on and seemed to be doing ok, by the first buoy things had stretched out already and I was holding the feet of a few Guys ahead as others dropped back. By the first right hand turn I was just about there and although one guy had gone off the front a small group had formed and for the first time in a Pro race I was in it! For me then the rest of the swim was all about holding my position and staying in that group all the way to the beach. I was working hard to stay there and with a hundred metres or so to go there was a bit of a surge but I ran up the beach right in the mix.

SMLXL

T1 was a long run but went fairly smoothly, my transitions could certainly be polished up a bit but I got onto the bike and made sure my feet were in my shoes for the climb out of Weymouth. It was cool to start with and took my legs a little while to warm up and get going but i had other riders around me to work off and keep me pushing in those early miles. I was riding fairly hard from the start and it felt quite laboured but we caught a small group of riders that were slightly ahead and then as we rode on caught another couple to make it a group of around 6 of us riding in a pace line. I was questioning whether i should stay with these guys or try to get away and was fairly near the back of the line and at times it felt too easy. there was also some dubious gauging of 12 metres from a couple of the athletes and i wasnt keen to be part of that. I headed to the front of the group after safely getting through the rough surfaces of Puddletown woods and tried for 5 minutes to get away and put my head down and upped the power. Unfortunately this didnt really do much so instead of burning more matches i settled back down and stayed near the front of the pace line until we hit the top end of the course where i went back to the front again knowing thats where i wanted to be going into the climb of Revels hill before heading back into town.
SMLXL

It was pretty obvious that on the flats and downhills I was carrying my speed much better than a lot of guys and knowing the roads back to T2 I did the opposite thing any good cyclist would tell you and attacked on a downhill. It worked fairly well although to do it again I need a bigger chainring at the front as I was spinning away in my bigges gear trying to keep the power down. When I got fast I just put my chin on my arm pads and went for the aero speed tuck and when I could pedal I went pretty hard. Ultimately though it worked, initially only one other guy came with me but as we got closer to Weymouth he dropped further back and I managed to get a bit of a gap on them all coming into T2 eventually coming off the bike in 4th.
SMLXL

The noise going into and out of T2 was amazing. There were a great group of people supporting me and for the first steps as I headed out onto my run I was grinning like an idiot. My feet were freezing and I tried to settle into a sustainable pace and find a rhythm. Initially it felt quite good and I ticked through the first 3km at just over 3.50 each but heading back up the prom to the top turn I was into a headwind and grinding it out already. I held pace for the first 6km lap but from there it was laboured and heavy. I knew I had ridden hard and taken a risk but although my legs were hurting my brain was there and willing to keep pushing. The pace was slowing though and I was fighting it a bit. But the support on the run course was phenomenal and there was barely a minute that went by where I wasn’t getting shouts and cheers. Heading into the last lap I knew I wanted to keep pushing, I was now in 7th and the gap to the guys in front had gone out a bit but there were guys behind so I couldn’t afford to let off. Thankfully though I didn’t slow any more and held on back round the harbour side and was on my way to finish.
Going down the chute was awesome as always.
SMLXL

I don’t think it matters who you are or how many times you do it that chute always feels damn good and in that short moment justifies all the training and sacrifice you make in the lead up. I crossed the line in 7th and generally pleased with my race. It was my highest pro 70.3 finish to date and for the first time I stayed in the main swim pack and hung on with guys that already this year have swam a minute into me. It was a power PB for 90km and I was happy to be able to ride with these guys and ultimately get a gap on them as well. Yes it probably bit me on the ass on the run but that’s the game we play and I knew that as I went for it. It shows promise and progression for the year and although my run still needs serious work the swim and bike are getting there.

It has left me content with my season and now as I write this the day before Ironman Barcelona I feel relaxed and under no pressure. Always I want to race well but it just feels a bit different going into this one. We will find out tomorrow whether that’s a good thing or not!

Thanks as always to everyone that helps and supports. Lisa and the family along with my great sponsors and supporters as well.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑