Monthly Archives: January 2014

2014 – Representing GB at Challenge Almere

2013 was a massive year for me and I only did one race – Ironman UK. A lot of people talk about their ‘A’ race but this was my only race. I trained 10 months solid for it, aiming to complete the challenge and end the year an Ironman before I turned 30.

im_pic_montage

Before then, I’d done a sprint triathlon in Wilmslow & Erewash. Not much of a triathlon CV, and actually quite rich of me to refer to myself as a ‘triathlete’. I trained as a triathlete but my lack of competition made me a full time wannabe. I’ve done 3 tri’s in 3 years of taking up the sport in 2011 – 2 sprint & 1 Ironman.

I put so much emphasis on the project of Ironman 2013 I couldn’t focus on anything else, I was besotted with the idea, it consumed me and my entire year. I am by no means saying I didn’t enjoy last year, I loved it. I was racing against myself every session, competing with my last performance, comparing myself to myself on a weekly basis.

The first of my three Triathlons so far

The first of my three Triathlons so far

2014 is going to be slightly different. I’ve already entered some races and I want to do well in them. This year is much more about competing than just completing. I want to be a ‘triathlete’. When people at work ask ‘when is your next race?’ I don’t want to say an event that is 9, 8, 7 months away. I think racing keeps you sharp, it’s social, you see how you stack up against other people. I was just a novice and scared of doing anything that deviated from my IMUK plan.

Proud to be representing!

Proud to be representing!

So my big news is that my time at Ironman UK fell at 119% of the winner of my age group. This meant that I had a qualifying time for the ETU Long Distance European Championship 2014. I’ll be representing Great Britain at Age Group level at Challenge Almere on September 13th 2014. A complete accident if I’m honest.

If I had slowed down to high five my family on the finishing shoot I probably wouldn’t be going to this event. I didn’t have this goal in mind at any single moment of the build up or the event itself. I blew away my predicted finishing time at IMUK which was enough for me, so be selected in the first qualifying stage for the ETU Champs is a proud moment. It also an outstanding testament to my coach Paul Savage who took me from that Sprint Triathlon in 2012 to GB Age Grouper in less than a year.

Caoch Paul Savage & Myslef at IMUK Awards

Coach Paul Savage & myself at IMUK 2013 Awards

So Challenge Almere is my ‘A’ race and I wanted to try and pencil in a race at least once a month this year, so my 2014 calendar currently stacks up like this:

February – MTB Winter Classic Race at Cannock Chase (Bit of fun in the mud)
March – Wilmslow Half Marathon (Spring running focus)
April – Newby Hall Duathlon (English National Champs)
May – Wilmslow Trithlon (Returning to where it began)
June – A few ideas but nothing booked in – Nottingham Triathlon, Bala, Grafam, Pentrith
July – Holidaying in France following the Tour De France
August – Liverpool Triathlon (British Champs)
September – Challenge Almere (European Long Distance Champs)

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Festive Training – Exploring Norn’ Iron

It’s a great time to over-indulge – or ‘refuel’ – but the time off over Christmas can also be a good chance to get some training in. I loved my Christmas morning run, I did my long run on New Years Eve, I splattered all kinds of runs in, at different times than usual and most refreshingly – in different places.

When in Rome

When in Rome

As soon as I broke up for Christmas from work I had 10 days until had to go back to the grind. A few days back at the folks in Nottingham and then a week over in Northern Ireland with the girlfriends family for New Years. There was going to be limited opportunity to bike and no chance of a swim so it was great to brush up on some base for my running. Where my parents live is ok for running but there isn’t much in the way of hills to get a decent hard ride in. I did take a nice ride out to Ashbourne but it was dam cold over Christmas. When I went to Ireland I made sure I took the running kit with me to make the most of my time up on the coast. It is such a beautiful part of the world and a great chance to put the trainers on and head off and explore. I’ve always thought this when I’ve been to visit but never had any kit with me.

White Rocks Beach, Portrush

White Rocks Beach, Portrush

It’s potentially a bit of triathlete playground, with the ocean ever-present with harden surfers proving the water would be great in the warmer climes for a swim. The coastal roads are stunning and challenging enough for the Giro D’Italia to even start there in 2014. Check the Northern Irish stage route here.

The running on White Rocks Beach was gorgeous and it is a naturally green country anyway. There isn’t much space in comparative terms in NI, but there is a lot of greenery and places to discover. I even ran past what looks like the only multisport shop in NI – North Coast Leisure!¬†

Giro Stage 2
I felt great, keeping sharp at running and even dragged the girlfriend out with me for a couple of miles! Perhaps not the most glamorous place to suggest for a Tri training camp, but it would defiantly toughen you up doing a week or so there!

Having said all the above, and received my first training plan of 2014, I’ve fallen victim of the clich√© January flu bug. So I’m running a week behind on the training, which will kick back in from January 10th, and the countdown to Challenge Almere is on.