Sunday, August 11, 2013

First Ironman achieved...

This time last week It was just hours after finishing my first Ironman, a week on here are my race day thoughts.
Leading up to the race I had a few injury niggles which had a big effect on run training, I was concerned about how my body would cope with the marathon. Mentally I was in a good place and looking forward to lining up race morning.

I travelled up to Bolton on Monday, giving me a good few days to check out the course and prepare.  These few days sped by with a bit of taper training and visiting the team at Hydraquip, my main sponsor for this race.

Ironman UK has a split transition so Saturday was spent driving round Bolton, dropping of the bike, bags, etc. A great atmosphere amongst the athletes was building as race day drew ever nearer.

Race day arrives, 3am alarm goes off, feels like I haven't sleep a wink all night! Time to get to Pennington Flash, check the bike and get to swim start. I was quite relaxed, although it was my biggest race in triathlon so far, I knew I had a year of training behind me and was ready as I'd ever be.

The weather wasn't looking great, a few rain showers whilst getting ready and the sun not yet risen. You could feel the buzz in transition between 1800 athletes, pros, Age groupers and even some first time triathletes!

After a quick good bye to Sarah and her parents, I started to make way to the swim start. This is where the unknown began, never before swimming 3.8k in race conditions. I decided to position myself at the front of the pack to hopefully hang on to the first group of swimmers. When the national anthem finished at the gun went, the washing machine was underway. My start was great and I didn't get caught up in the under water rugby, soon settling to my own pace.

Words of my coach, Ben, in my head, 'stay calm, concentrate on stroke and hang on to the group', before long the first lap was done and I exited the water ready for the second. Glancing at my watch i realised id swum a sub 30 minute first lap Jumping back in to the water, I again quickly settled in to my pace.

With the sun coming up it made sighting almost impossible so was a case of follow the feet in front of you.

Second lap done, I was out and running to transition. Feeling very strong and confident that the swim had gone to plan. Time to switch into bike mode, taking the time in transition to get prepared and comfortable for the next 180k, not knowing what the good old British weather had in store!

The first part of the bike course is a point to point of 16k and then a three loop course. It takes you through a number of villages surrounding Bolton and then out to the famous Sheephouse Lane climb, which is a killer after the third loop.

I had been given a set wattage to try and ride to which my coach calculated for me,the first 100km passed very quickly and I was bang on target power.

As I got closer to the Sheep House Lane climb my legs began to fade and fast, I took the decision to ride the last lap slightly below target power and more on feel as my main concern was the 42.2km marathon, this really was going into the unknown for me as I'd been unable to run more than 10km in the months leading up to the race due to injury.

The final few km's of the bike were a real struggle and my legs were beginning to burn, as I approached T2 I began the flying dismount routine to make sure I was ready for a speedy transition and a long run.

T2 was in the tennis court of Rivington school as I dismounted the bike my feet met the gravelly floor and instantly I knew this was going to be an uncomfortable start to a long run. I made my way into the school hall ditched my bike kit and got ready for the run, I needed to get my socks and trainers on and get my gel bottles from my transition bag before I could leave the hall and embark on the marathon.

The run started well and straight out of T2 I was met by my partner Sarah and her family who travelled up to support me, I decided to give her a flying kiss on my way past as she has been there for my every need during this past few years with all my triathlon training.

The run had a similar format to the bike the first part being a point to point run of 10km then a 3 loop course up and down Chorley New Road and around Victoria square in Bolton town centre.

I aimed to hold a steady pace for the first half of the marathon which started well until the first hill and I saw almost everybody walking up it..... I asked a guy how long is the hill and he replied walk the hills as they will soon break you, as I was already concerned about my leg I decided to play safe and walk until the course flattened out.

Once on the main course my legs began to tighten up and gradually I slowed until the pain eased, it was a game of run, jog, walk for the whole second half deciding it could be a long slow walk to the finish if my legs gave in.


I played it safe and opted for a finish instead of a serious injury and I'm glad I did, I was aiming to run a 4 hour marathon and finished in 4-19 so was happy after everything that had happened.

My splits were as follows.

Swim 1-02.

Bike.  5-58.

Run.  4-19.

With a finish time of 11-26.

I'm extremely pleased with my result especially the swim, as only 3 years ago I could not swim, I've spent the past year swimming 4-5 times a week and it has certainly paid off.

I would like to thank all my sponsors which can be found on my Blog especially Hydraquip hoses for their extra help with everything in Bolton.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Photos with IM UK Bolton sponsor

I just wanted to say a huge thanks to Duncan and Dave at Hydraquip UK for everything they have provided for this race. It's been a pleasure having a tour of the factory today and doing some photos.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

ITU taper

It's been a tough few weeks here in France the weather has been against us with constant rain and strong winds.
It's made my final few weeks of training somewhat difficult.

Iv been upto Belfort for a few days to check the bike and run course out and see which kit is needed,I managed to drive the bike course and was shocked to see snow in May in France.....

The locals say they have not seen these conditions for some 20years. 
As you can see the top of the Ballon D Alsace at 1032 m altitude.

Friday, May 3, 2013

First race of to a flying start 7Oaks sprint. 400-24-8

Last weekend saw my season opener at local event, 7oaks Tri. For me this was a C race going into it straight from a hard training block with no rest or taper.

Weather wise the day was perfect racing conditions, with a staggered start I was off quite late so it was great to be able to cheer some of my fellow Ocean Lake Tri team mates as they started their first race of the season too.

It really was a turn up and let's see what happens kind of race. As I am currently preparing for the ITU World Long Course champs which distances are 4k swim, 120k bike and 30k run, I am not at peak Sprint distance speed!

As I started the 400m pool swim I felt good, I have spent every day over the winter working on my weakest discipline and its starting to pay off. Getting a swim time of sub 6 minutes is a massive improvement from where I started off last year with my swim.

Jumping out of the pool to a massive cheer from Team OLT, I headed outside to transition clocking a swim and run to T1 of 6-22 this meant I'd had the 9th fastest swim of the day.

In less than 50 seconds I was out of T1 heading onto the hilly bike course.

The bike course would be safer on a mountain bike as the road conditions are the worst I have ever seen, it made using a time trial bike quite difficult at times, the plan was to try and stick above TH for the 24km route but with some big descents and lots of pot holes this was easier said than done.

I finished the bike in 42-52 giving me the 2nd fastest bike split of the day....

Another quick transition and it was out on to the run, a gruelling 8k of undulating Knole Park in fact the first half is all uphill with most of the second half back down until the final few hundred metres which is a very steep foot path. The last stretch up the hill was a killer, think the HR was on the max pushing to the finish line!

I've not been focusing my running towards speed these past six months so I knew the run was going to hurt, the only advice I had was go hard from start to finish if its hurting hurt some more..... Thanks Ben sounds words I guess you should know being a 7Oaks winner and runner up yourself.

My run split was 31-59 giving me the 3rd fastest run of the day something I'm very pleased with.

I crossed the line with a time of 1-22, which got me 2nd overall narrowly missing first by just
11 seconds!

Yeah so 11 seconds was abit gutting, you ask yourself could I have found it, and the answer was no I gave it my all out on the course. Had the winner been in front then it may be a different story, but when it's a staggered race you have no idea where you are against your competitors until the last athlete crosses the line.

Stepping back and evaluating the race I am happy with the result, especially it not being the distance I am training for.

For the club it was a fantastic day, with team members getting race PBs and some completing their first Tri. We also had a full club support crew on the sidelines which was probably the largest of all clubs represented, showing what a brilliant club Ocean Lake Tri are rapidly becoming.

For me, with only a month until the world champs, it's straight back in to a hard training block and preparing for Bon voyage across the channel for my first race as a GB athlete.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sevenoaks sprint Tri

So it's 5am all the preparation is done I'm awake far too early which is usual on race morning .

I'm at home getting my pre breakfast meal ready to keep the hunger pains at bay.
It's frosty outside so I'm
Pleased its a pool swim and my start time is almost 10am fingers crossed the sun has made an appearance by then.
I'm planning to arrive 2 hours prior to my start time so I can wish my fellow team members good luck.
A big thanks to Linwoods and Reflex for helping pre charge my Body this morning.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Getting ready for the first race of the year Sevonoaks sprint.

This will be my first race this season it's a sprint distance 400mtr swim 27km bike with a challenging 8km xc run.

It's not really the distance and intensities iv been training towards but its a highly popular local race which I thought needed to be crossed of the To do list.

Since returning from Spain iv been getting lots of quality run and bike miles under
My belt in prep for the world ITU long course in June.
This has made preparation for this weekends race somewhat difficult.
Having only learnt to swim 2.5 years ago its no secret I'm not the fastest in the pool but with good coaching from Ben Ward we have seen my 400 times reduce from 10 minutes down to the current 5-59.
Now this has not come easy its meant me being in the pool 4-5 times a week
covering upwards of 15km's per week.
I'm hoping my run and bike endurance will serve me well on Sunday.
I'd like to thank all my sponsors that have made this year possible.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Training camp day 2

The day started with a run to the coast and back of about 30 minutes,this included a nice set of steps that rose high above the sea and up into the hills.

It was back home for a quick shower then breakfast .

The group ride was 2-40 today led by myself Ben and Ain,we covered approximately 75km with lots of climbing.

My ride was finished with a 6km run of the bike at 4-06 m/Km.

Thanks to Reflex nutrition Solo supplements and A1 multi sport for making day to day training that little bit easier.

Bath food bed,good night.