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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon

Race of the year!! Fantastic race, great organisation, brilliant atmosphere, really friendly, tough racing, great athletes, everything that triathlon is about.
And I was feeling bloody rotten! Days before I felt lousy, cold coming on and I had a niggly couhg. On the Friday I went for a 4 mile jog and I stopped after 1 mile with a sore knee. IT band in left leg tight and sore at the point where it runs over the outside of my left knee.
Urgent ice and gel on it when I got back in. Saturday before the race I felt dreadful, and really I should not have done it. But like a real trooper I turned up on site at 5:30am in the pitch black to assemble my bike in the car park!
Once my wetsuit was on I was surprisingly well focussed and I got into the water with 321 others feeling ok. Off we went at 7:12 ish! The swim was lovely and for once I was actually passing people! I drafted a bit on a few and then when I was feeling strong and pushed harder to move passed to find the next set of feet to draft on! I exited the water and felt really wobbly, but ran hard into transition with my watch on 32 minutes! I couldn't believe it! Previous best at that distance was just under 40 minutes. I suddenly felt better and was spurred on by Tracey, Henry and my mum cheering me on. I flew through T2 being shouted at by someone to 'slow down it's a long race', but I was 'in the zone' and hopped on my bike and sped off. Got feet into shoes without a hitch, thank the lord for toe covers! Slightly damp on the road surface but first stretch was ok and I soon settled into a good rhythmn, picking off riders steadily. However, got to 7 miles and bang, my knee started hurting. It felt like someone had stuck a knife in me. What the hell was I going to do. Stopping was not an option as I was mentally up for the race. So I decided to push as hard as I could and try and post a fast bike time and then just stop and not run. But as I continued it just occured to me I couldn't go as hard as I wanted to, and I would just have to spin round. So that's what I did. Average cadence for the whole ride was over 100rpm, I had to spin up every incline, even the smaller ones, sitting high up with hands on the arm rests of my tri bars, sat as far back as possible to stretch out my legs.
Before lap 2 of the bike I did shout to my wife that I would not be doing the run. But shortly after I seemed to find a second wind - funnily enough that was just as I found myself buffeted back by a strong headwind! But I dug deep and powered through it. Made up a lot of time into that wind - helps being a big lad!
The end of the first lap was great, going passed the cheering crowds, really gave me a lift and I could not stop now. Raised the tempo on the second shorter loop and eventually was cheered back into T2 having ridden 2hrs 51 mins for just over 90k. Considering my health I was damn pleased and was confident that if I could go around 1hr 40 for the run I would get near to 5 hours. However, first hill saw my knee run away in fear! And then it decided to hurt, which was then followed by my legs at 8 miles, very sore indeed. mile 8 to mile 10 was dark for me. But I reached mile 10 with a smile on my face because I knew I would smash my time at Half Ironman UK by a considerable margin. In the end it was beaten by 45 minutes!!
I had a rotten run of 2 hrs 8 mins, but I did run for all that time, no walking, except for a wee stop! And picked up my son Henry to run over the finish in 5 hours 34 minutes and 21 seconds!!
I was delighted, on a real high!
Many thanks to the organisers Richard and Jo Iles, for putting on such a fantastic race, superb marshalls and great to be part of such a special race. Will be there next year!!!
Well done to James Gilfillan again for a well earned first place! 4 hrs 22, awesome!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Training this week so far

Nice easy week this week after efforts at Littledown and in preparation for New Forest Middle Distance triathlon on Sunday.
Still on a high from Sunday, a real confidence booster going into the next race.
Had Monday completely off, went for a gentle swim yesterday and swam 1500m after a warm up, nice and easy and swam my quickest time 27' 42" . For some reason my swimming just seems to be coming together nicely at the moment. In fact it all does. My biking is very strong and my running is improving everytime I'm going out. Not just in terms of time, but in my efficiency and level of effort. Fitness is really good at the moment.
But I will say with all honesty I am looking forward to having a rest next week. I'm having the full week off and will only swim a couple of times and do a short run late on in the week, all gentle pace and maybe a bike at the weekend, just going out to turn my legs over.
I have a duathlon on 14th October, and possibly one on 21st. But I'm going to see how I feel next week as to what I do. If I don't do the duathlon on the 21st I will have the last 2 weeks completely off in October, absolutely nothing, and just plan my schedule for next season, look at my goals and see where to go from there.
Goals for 2008 are:
5km run under 20 minutes
10km run under 40 minutes
1500m swim under 25 minutes
Half Ironman UK, under 5 hours 30.
Qualify for Florida 70.3 World Championships at my age group level.
Compete in all the Fast Twitch series of triathlons and to win my age group.
Learn to tumble turn.
Ride Land's End to John o'Groats.
Ride a 10 mile time trial under 23 minutes.
Ride a 25 mile time trial and beat my PB of 59' 24".

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Littledown Fast Twitch Triathlon

Did not sleep well the night before, legs felt tired. I got myself ready the night before, and packed it all up at 5:30 this morning. I set off at 6 on my bike with the morning still dark. 14 mile ride to get to Littledown leisure centre from our house and it was certainly very cold this morning. By the time I got to the centre my legs felt good and I racked my bike I headed off to register and get marked up. All good so far, ran very smoothly.
So to begin the swim. 400m pool swim, and I was in a lane with just me and another triathlete, which made life a lot easier. I was off second and I set off swimming smoothly and soon started pushing hard. Unfortunately even though I did catch the swimmer infront of me after 8 lengths I didn't pull away and I know my stroke wasn't as smooth as it should be and ,my legs were all over the place and I wasn't moving through eh water well. But I exited the swim in 7:13, the fastest pool-based 400m swim in a race I have done so far. over 2 minutes quicker than I was this time last year. I have now been swimming freestyle for 12 months, so I 'm reasonably pleased with my progress so far. I've rapidly improved over the last 6 weeks so not too bad really.
Onto the bike. T1 was good, no problems there and shoes were on the bike. I jumped on a rode off, got to a smooth stretch of road to get my feet in the shoes. This I had practised yesterday and it paid off. I was quickly into my high cadence and powering along. I was riding incredibly strongly, I've not felt that good on a bike ever! And it showed in my time, the quickest on the day, 44' 23" for 18 miles. I flew into T2 and was quickly into my running stride, feeling very confident and strong. And again it showed in my time. 26' 28" for 4 miles. Ok, this wasn't the fastest of run times and most othe top 20 finishers were quicker, but for me, that is a huge improvement and I really pushed hard. That said I feel I have much more speed in my legs, and I know I'm nowhere near what I am capable of, and that's the same for the swimming.
But on the whole today's race was fantastic. The result? I was 3rd overall and 1st in my age group. FIRST!!!!! I couldn't believe it!! What a performance, particularly the bike. My biking was on song today. I had no nutrition, only half a gel after 1 mile of the run and I think that was really a mental thing, I didn't really need it.
1 hour 18 minutes and 4 seconds for the lot!!
A big thank you to James Gilfillan who gave me some invaluable racing tips last week and really stuck in my head today when my legs hurt on the bike. I just kept pushing harder on the bike, I was flying, even when the conditions were blustery. Today's race all came together and it was nice to finish the sprint season on a high note, a real positive one to take into the off season.

Littledown Triathlon results.

A week in triathlon

Great day today at the end of an easy training week. More of that later on the next post.
First, where am I ? Oh yes...
Tuesday - early morning swim, bike to work easy, easy lunchtime run of 9 miles. bike home.
Wednesday - bike to work, bike home - bit of a rest day.
Thursday - morning swim, bike to work, lunchtime easy 4.5 miles run, bike home.
Friday, bike to work, bike home.
Saturday - day of rest, clean bike and prepare for Littledown tri.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Southern Sportive

Great Cyclo Sportive ride over the South Downs on a beautiful sunny day in early September.
Set off at 8am to ride 155k over some hard hills and undulating roads. What I did find is the route wasn't always clear, a great many riders got lost! I actually rode 158km. The GPS route I downloaded from the web and uploaded to my Garmin 305 wasn't exactly right either! When done 156km I found out I'd taken a wrong turn to the finish, me and many other riders!! They ran out of water on the last aid station and I had to wait 15 minutes before they turned up with more, and then I found myself at the back of the queue! I am far too polite! The only problem with their timing checkpoints is that once you 'tag in' the clock keeps running, so when you are refilling your water bottles and picking up some food for on the go your time is ticking away! The second aid station came at the wrong time, as I was flying like an express train after 83km, just found my legs and was pulling along a group of riders who were all hanging on at 26mph into a headwind on a (one of hardly any)flat section. I felt like I could have ridden like that for hours! Then the break came and when I got on my bike I'd really lost my momentum and it took me a few km to get back into a rhythm.
But got my nutrition for the day spot on, and it was a lot. 3 bottles psp22, 6 bottles Go electrolyte(weak solution). 2 power bar Ride, 2 caffeine power bars. 5 pieces flapjack, 1 banana. 2 caffeine power bar gels in a small bottle mixed with a bit of water.
The last 10 miles I remembered about the power gel mix as I was worried I had nothing left for the ride in! It really made a big difference and I powered home averaging 38kph for the last 10 miles.
Overall time 5 hours 31. Distance 158km. Ave speed 28.6 kph
Great fun, met some really nice people along the ride, and burned off 7431 calories. Legs were tired after 6118 feet of climbing!! But like I said to Tracey afterwards I could have gone for a run!
Legs ok today, gentle ride into work, could not ride with any power at all and just spun in. Recovery swim at lunch which was great, as new stroke is feeling better and I swam one of my quickest 400m yet and I was not swimming with any effort at all! Looking good!
Biked home and having a rest. Up for swimming tomorrow early and have just signed up for Littledown triathlon on Sunday. It's a sprint tri, one of the Fast Twitch ones, run by concept sport. 400m swim, 16 mile bike and 4 mile run. I will be putting my foot down in an all out effort to see how hard I can go, to really push through the mental barrier that is stopping me from exerting myself!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Thursday training

Early morning swim - good session, got some good coaching advice, got me reaching further with my hand entry and not driving my arms and shoulders down into the water, and helped to keep head higher in the water. Made a big difference, and will work at it. Feel quicker through the water, much more efficient.
Bike to work, slow and tired legs, punctured again - 4 in 3 days!! Changed tyres, hopefully will be better!
Lunchtime run - 15 minute warm up, then 5km in 21' 51" . Best time for 5k I think so far, but legs felt heavy and it was very hot and sunny today, no breeze. I think if I got myself prepared properly and worked up to it I could get under 20 minutes for 5km. That's my goal for the end of the year. But at the moment, focus is on the longer stuff, so slower endurance runs.
Bike home, legs felt ok, biked hard, but only 22 minutes for 12k. Need to get in some longer rides now, and longer at race pace if I'm going to do a good bike time in the new Forest on 23rd September.
Tired, early to bed for plenty of rest.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

This week's training so far.

Bike to work at nice steady cadence of 88. Good spinning to keep legs fresh.
Lunchtime swim - 1600m in 32 minutes - nice and steady swim focus on slow stroke.
Got picked up as feeling sick with dodgy stomach, slept when home ad woke feeling much better.

Early morning swim - good 50 minute session broken into small sections - 100m, 200m, 400m 200m, 100m etc. Best 200m was 3 mins 40 secs. Very pleased as not going all out, working on stroke and smoothness and low stroke count per 25m.
Bike to work slow and steady pace, high cadence.
Lunchtime run - warm up 2 miles. Just over 7 miles in 54 minutes. Good steady pace, legs strong.
Bike home - steady.

bike to work
lunchtime swim - broke 50 minute session down into smaller chunks of time, swimming at 8 minutes and then rest for 30 secs then off again. More of a recovery session than hard effort.
bike home.

To come this week - swim session, brick session, run session, turbo/roller session and then South Downs cyclo-sportive on Sunday - 155km.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Training Update

It's been a while since my last post of any significance, so this is just to update all on my progress so far.
Holidays and a nasty bout of tonsillitis intervened midway through August.
After last post, I have done 2 rides in the Lake District, both around 50km, plenty of climbing!! And both got me soaking wet as the rain was relentless.
Up to Scotland and unfortunately only one ride of any note, again about 40k. Also borrowed my dad's mountain bike and went for a spin off-road which was good fun!
One swim in a pool in Aviemore, but not a proper training swim, but still nice to get in the pool and help freshen up after tonsillitis.
Back home and then I have been riding to work every day. Put in some good runs and swim sessions. Yesterday I was back to full on training with a hard brick session. 3 hours on the bike, not too hard a pace, covering 88km, and then 1 hour 25 mins run straight after, throughout which I got stronger as it went on, just over 10 miles. Looking good for 23rd September and the New Forest Middle Distance tri. I just want to break 1 hour 50 for the run and I'll be happy. I realise now that I hadn't done enough brick sessions really for Half Ironman UK and my run legs were not conditioned enough. This time I'll be better prepared.
I have now got a set of rollers for the bike to improve my techniques, balance and efficiency. I'm focussing now on really building a solid base for next season. Bike fitness is very good and will get stronger naturally. I will be focussing on swim speed and run speed, as they are my two limiters. I need to get near to 40 minute 10k. I know I can do it, I just have to run faster and be prepared to hurt more. The same with the swim. My stroke rate over 25m is now down to 19, and that's still swimming at the same speed, with less effort, so if I can now concentrate on pushing through the water more, keeping the stroke rate the same but just making it quicker then should be able to speed up. I want to get as near to 6 mins for 400m next season as possible, and be around 26 minutes for 1500m.

Pictures from Swanage Tri

Was a good race for me, apart from a very poor swim and disappointing bike. Very good run over a difficult run course. And the last run pic is just to show James Gilfillan that I'm not always smiling and going round the course without putting in some hard effort!
If you read this James let me know how you did in Monaco!!

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