Sunday, 22 June 2014

Being injured sucks

Well its been a while since I've blogged but I needed to knuckle down and get some training done ahead of Austria.

All was going well until Wednesday when on an easyish 40 minute run, something hurt in my knee after about 20 minutes, I turned and headed for home and thought nothing more of it until I could barely walk on Thursday.

Here I sit writing with Austria a mere 7 days away and I am unable to run. This worries me a bit but as a fellow competitor said, "You can nearly walk a marathon in 7 hours."

I am hoping that rest for this week helps my knee recover.

I am more annoyed because last week I managed a 17 mile run at a fairly even pace. Apart from first mile over exuberance my miles were quite consistent. I averaged 9:47/mi across the whole 17 miles. Yes it wasn't pretty but I got it done. This is only the third time in my life that I have run over 13.1 miles. I really don't do enough running.

So in 7 days I hope to complete Ironman Austria with a pain in my rib as a result of #turbogate (where I fell off my turbo trainer) which prevents me from getting aero on #Rinnie and a problem with my knee which prevents me from running.

Wow this is going to be fun.

Lets hope the next seven days of rest results in me being able to get aero on #Rinnie and being able to run.

Otherwise it will be a really long day at the office. I'll be that bloke on the TT bike who spends the entire ride on his bullhorns who then has to walk a marathon.

Doncaster Free Press put a photo of me in the paper this week. It was a nice surprise and completely unexpected.



Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Decisions, decisions

This weekend I am meant to be racing an ETU qualifier in Southport. Now this race was never about me qualifying. It was more about me seeing where I needed to improve and what standard I need to be at to qualify and if indeed qualification was even possible. It was about gaining experience and being in a big race. I had purposely picked a flat course to see what I could do on the bike and how that compared with the people who qualified. Yes my run would be my weak element but I was intrigued to see how my swim and bike compared.

If I managed to qualify that would be a nice surprise.

However I have decided to not race. This is a decision I have not taken lightly and have thought long and hard about. I have consulted with my friends and family over this decision and have done the sensible thing.

I don’t like committing to things and then not seeing them through and this will be my first DNS.

The reason for my decision to not race is my little date with 140.6 miles in Austria in a little over two weeks. If I raced on Sunday I would tire myself physically and thus increase the chance of a DNF at Ironman Austria, because I would push myself as far as my body would allow to ensure a fair comparison with other athletes on race day.

With hindsight the sensible thing I should have done was to defer Austria when I knew I would be representing GBR in Cologne. I had outlaid very little money for Austria (apart from race fees) at this point and had a four day window to defer to another race without losing my race fee but in typical “me style” I buried my head in the sand and ignored the problem and subsequently missed out on my chance to defer.

I have undertrained for Austria. My running and bike have lacked the longer training rides and runs. Yes I have plenty of time in the saddle and on my feet but only one 90 mile bike ride and two 13 mile runs. Like I said I am underprepared. I have two weekends left before Austria and plan on training through Austria to peak at Outlaw, so to this end I will be using this weekend to complete a long run and next weekend to complete a long steady bike. No heroics. Just me and the open road to get my body used to a long ride and run.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 9 June 2014

Blenhiem Triathlon - an unexpected race

I entered but didn’t think I would win, however last Monday I received a phone call from Zone3 saying I had won. After scratching my head for a minute I remembered entering the competition.

Cue massive panic to find a relay team. After trying Facebook, my friends and my triathlon club, I was unable to find 2 people to relay with. After a quick phone call to Zone3 they allowed me to enter the triathlon as a solo competitor. Phew!

Blenheim is a race I have always wanted to participate in since I took up triathlon in 2012. In 2012 I had to turn down a priority place at Blenheim with a Q&A with the Brownlees and Helen Jenkins as the date clashed with a prior engagement. I was so pleased to get to race this triathlon this year. In the footage I had seen it looked so picturesque.

Now for the next problem. After I fell off my turbo last week (yeah I know, how did I manage that?) my rib has been really hurting. So much so that I am considering the fact that I may have broken it during my fall. I haven’t exercised for a week as a result. I thought it was muscular so could do with the rest. However there has been no improvement so I think it may be more serious than first imagined.

Fast forward 6 days from the day I won the competition and I woke up at 04:30 to travel to Blenheim. My Dad kindly offered to drive and keep me company, which was really nice of him and made the day a lot less strenuous with my commute from Doncaster now a chauffeur driven experience.

After last week where I raced in Cologne for the GBR Age Group Team, I was thankful to have a race with no pressure. It felt good just to race for me. After arriving at Blenheim, I was expecting there to be a problem (given I was a late entry) but the registration process was seamless, thanks Challenger World. I felt really relaxed before the race when I was setting up my transition area. The space we were allowed at Blenheim for transition was amazing. Why can’t every triathlon have this much space?

After transition was set up I made my way to the swim start where I put my wetsuit on. Even though I had a mild pain in my rib I decided to put myself at the front of the swim. I made sure I was in plenty of space though just to be on the safe side. I didn’t fancy a kick to the ribs. The hooter went and I sprinted away from the line. I wanted to set a good swim time today to restore some of my confidence after I had a wobble after last weekend in Cologne.

I managed to make the initial lead group in my wave before there were two breakaway leaders who didn't slow after the sprint after the hooter, I stuck with rest of the group for the remainder of the swim. The two leaders were about a minute up on us as we exited the water. I was pleased to exit the water in the top 10 from my wave in a time of 12:24.

I have watched the television coverage of Blenheim and knew all about the run to transition and the fact you run up a hill in your wetsuit. The 500m run was a lot more undulating than I envisaged and certainly got my heart rate up. I stripped my wetsuit to my hips as soon as I could and slogged up the hill in question. After getting to transition I striped my wetsuit off, threw on my number belt and helmet and exited transition practicing my newly acquired skill of leaving my shoes on the bike.

I hopped onto my bike and set about completing the 20km route. Given I was in an early wave, the roads were clear. My heart rate was high for the first half of the first of three laps after my run to transition but I tried to keep my cadence high. Whoa where did all these hills come from? They were a little unexpected.

The loops at Blenheim can definitely not be described as flat. In the first half of the course (about 2 miles) you are mostly climbing apart from one short downhill, which means the second half, is mostly downhill and this is where I used my lack of fear to my advantage. I took the first lap quite conservatively to gauge where I could put the hammer down and where I could corner at speed. In the second and third laps I let rip. Given the technical nature of the course I had decided to race on my road bike so I had easy access to my brakes. I was pleased I made this decision, as by the third lap the course was a lot busier. I was flying past people constantly screaming “ON YOUR RIGHT!” and was glad I had the brakes at hand, not that I needed them.

I completed 3 laps of the bike course in 39:16 and was pleased with this considering I climbed over 250 vertical metres.

After running into T2 I threw on my trainers and made my way to the transition exit. What, there’s a bridge to climb as a welcome to the run? AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

After traversing the bridge, I set about the 5.5km run. My rib was feeling okay so rather than take it easy (like I planned to) I ran to my tempo heart rate.  The run route at Blenheim is undulating as well but so picturesque. I just wanted to stop to have a look around. There were so many things to look at. The run route consists of two laps and I made sure my HR was in the right zone. Given I haven’t run in over a week (#ribgate) I was pleased to complete the 5.5km in 30 minutes. It was by no means my quickest run but it got the job done. I crossed the finish line in 1:28. This finish time put me as the 700th quickest finisher from the weekend. I’ll take that for a race that wasn’t on my radar until 6 days ago.

Thanks to Zone 3 and for the opportunity to compete in a race that has been on my radar for over two years.

To sum up Blenheim, it is a fantastically well organized event that I am pleased I got to compete in. I had an absolutely amazing day and it felt good to blow away the cobwebs with another race so soon after Cologne. The course is enjoyably tough and you’re definitely made to work for the finisher’s medal. One day I’ll be back. That is the pull of Blenheim, it is just so awe inspiring and there is so much to see.

Oh and the bling is amazing.

Thanks for reading,