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Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Positive

Well, at long last, a pain-free two days. Monday was a commute to and from work on the bike, nice and easy pace. Slight knee ache in the morning, but mainly due to cold and then a good swim at lunch. Swim test for new coach. He will be building me a swim plan for the coming weeks. Very excited about this and looking forward to making progress with my swimming, both technique and fitness.
Today, Tuesday, commute agan, bit steadier effort, knee very good. Ran at lunch, fartlek 4 miles. Knee a little ache to begin with, then cleared up and was able to really stride out long on some intervals at a good pace. After 30 minutes of running and a good stretch, I felt really good. My heartrate was up, my breathing was controlled and my legs were working well. Very positive and something to build on now for the winter weeks.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Clearwater Race Report 2008

steve birtwistle

Well, after having some time to reflect and ponder what I have achieved so far, I have decided to just put down a few words about the race and just let it go, not linger on it and put it behind me as experience.
First off, I loved the course. The swim was lovely, calm and warm and out onto a nice soft white sand beach. Well organised clean transition. Fast and flat bike but with enough in it to break it up a bit. Run was pretty flat, apart from the long bridge which was telling come last time, and it went into a residential area that was well shaded from any wind, but not from the sun!! Baking!

So race day was going well up until the point before the swim start I needed to run to the loo, and my bloody knee started to ache! Crap! Oh well, long day in prospect. Swim went ok, nothing too hectic, managed to stay on course a bit better and came out in about 34 minutes. Nothing special, but I felt ok and got through T1 very quick and onto bike. I tried to push hard the first 5 miles, but nothing in my legs and I was about a gear down and 5 rpm low on cadence, so I settled into a rythmn and the miles ticked by steady. Picked up water at the 3 aid stations and cruised the last 10 miles, trying to stretch off as much as possible, but knew that my run legs would not be anywhere to be found. 2 hr 22 mins later and I rolled into T2, and sat on the chair after collecting my chnage bag and pondered. Do I try and run or not? Well I had gone so far and so stretched off, went to the loo and took my time in there. Off I went. and no pace!!! Just nothing there, couldn't get my legs going and my knee was pretty sore by this time. So I settled into a gentle jog and thought, what the hell, at least get a finishers medal!
The run was hot and long, but I stuck it out, did not stop or walk, had no cramp and legs held out, even though nothing in em. Finished with a broad smile and just thought to myself, what an achievement, I've finished a World Championship race!!!!! Medal and hat to prove it! Wqas lovely to have all the family there, my wife Tracey, two boys and my parents, all sporting Team Birtwistle t-shirts!!! The best race I have taken part in, and yet probably my worst performance!! Loved it! And the rest of the holiday was fab! Sea World is just awesome! I highly recommend it to anyone!
So I am now resting and off to see the sports physician on Wednesday to get a proper diagnosis on my knee. And would you believe it, no sooner had I booked the appointment my knee is feeling so much better! Rode to and from work today and swam at lunch, completely pain free. A little ache this morning but it was so bloody cold!
I am determined to qualify again for Clearwater and make sure I get there fully fit and at the top of my game. I have a performance in me and I know that armed with renewed confidence, hard training and my new coach(more on this later!) I will be pushing myself to the limit!! Bring on 2009!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Florida - Week to go before Ironman 70.3 Worlds

Well, here goes my pre-race report, to be followed by race report and no surprise my post-race report!
The flight was a good one, and we touched down in a balmy Florida feeling full of energy and laden with huger bike bag strapped to my back, while I went a sorted out our hire car. It was an enormous 8 seater thing, and plenty of room for luggage. After a long car ride, and many twists and turns and getting lost several times, we rolled up to our hotel in Indian Rocks Beach. Really great suite, set over 2 floors, separating sleeping and living accommodation. So had a reasonable night's sleep but woke early Sunday and went out to find traditional American breakfast food. Copius amounts of coffee and mega calories, Frebnch Toast and maple syrup, oatmeal, fruit and pancakes! Wonderful!
I got my bike together later in the day and all had come through the flight safely and I wnet out for a 30 mile spin. My knee was fine. Really positive ride, and was able to put the pedal down a bit more. So far so good. Next day, another 1 hour ride and still good. I followed this on the Tuesday with a 4 mile run. Crap!!!! Knee just didn't want to play and was sore within minutes, even after warm up and stretch. Back to square one, and once I'd registered on the Wednesday I booked myself in for a sports massage on the Thursday which really did help. On the Wednesday I thought sod it, and I took off to ride the bike course. I got lost en route, but ended up doing 60 miles at a reasonable tempo inspite of a sore knee. I just felt I needed some miles in my legs, as I was just not going to run. At this stage, finishing the race was still in some doubt. So the next 2 days just consisted of rest and beach time, and eating nice food! Come race day I was just going to be relaxed, and just get in there and see what happened as the day unfolded.....