Category Archives: running

Cutting Out The Booze

Ironman UK is a bit earlier this year – 20th July (4th August last year) – and the ETU Long Distance Champs that I am competing in is on 13th September, so about 6 weeks later in the year.

For IMUK I gave up drinking 12 weeks out from the event and I have done this again. Coming up to 4 weeks without a drink. Not that I’m struggling to get clean in the stereotypical sense, but I find it a very mental approach and a test of my discipline more than anything too beneficial health and fitness wise. Obviously there are a few extra calories take on board when we have a cheeky bevvy, but as long as you can continue to train and not let it get in the way it’s not a problem. Personally, I see it as a switch in mindset to recognise that there is 12 weeks to go and its time to go to work. This is an official start date of my race build up I suppose.

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I didn’t tell anyone about my first Ironman until I was 6 weeks away from it, when there was no turning back. I just felt I didn’t want anyone asking me about it all the time, putting doubt in my mind that it was as big as and epic as it sounded and whether I could do it. I didn’t want to have to tell people I was no longer going to do it should I have got injured or not made the grade. I could’ve pulled out and nobody would have known. My silence was my insurance policy. This time around however, everyone seems to know, asking how training is going. Its nice, they care and they are interested but I enjoyed the anonymity of IMUK and my down time not talking about training or making me nervous about the pending race date. Cutting out the booze last year was like what pregnant women have to do when they lie about why they aren’t drinking to avoid the questions! I was a pregnant lady – sober, moody and tired.

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I love a drink, Guinness mainly and a few rum and cokes or I’ll happily nail a bottle of red with the girlfriend. I’ll smash a jagerbomb, line up another and see off a 4 pack of lager at a bbq. It’s all good. I’ll dress up, do a pub crawl, dance like nobody is watching and wake up vowing never to do it again. It’s a good laugh and a social part of life that I enjoy. The World Cup, the summer evenings and walking past a pub beer garden has heightened my observation of booze and a Corona with a lime and condensation of the bottle looks incredible. A velvet guest ale, with a perfect head has never been so appreciated in its grandeur, clinging to the glass all the way down. I had my face in the girlfriends wine glass the other night, just sniffing a lung full of Rioja that was simply sublime.

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Soda and lime for me. Or a coffee. It’s fine. I’m going to be all over the gaff in Amsterdam once I cross that finish line. After IMUK I had the most underwhelming first drink ever! 12 weeks off the booze, soaking wet and exhausted from 11 hours of suffering and I could finally have that drink. I’d ran past people on the street cheering on the athletes with a pint in their hand. I was ready, I’d earned this. There was one old man pub near the car park and they only had Fosters. Gutted. Still drank it!

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Basically it’s a chance for me to focus the mind solely on the task in hand. It worked for IMUK too so I’m sticking to what is tried and tested for me. I enjoy drawing a line in the sand and saying to myself that we are entering the business end of training now and the countdown to Go Time has begun.

There is some further discussion on booze and training on this forum at Runners World

And here at Triathlete Europe

Bottoms up…

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3 Races In 1 Week

I have done the Chelford 10 mile TT course twice now, having decided to get a bit more use out of my TT bike, and also as nice shot of intensity work on the bike. I’m doing bi-weekly and not as a fixed term event in the calendar just if I can make it and feel good I’ll turn up. It’s only £3 and seems like a good bunch over at Stockport Clarion who organise it.

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Both attempts I have recorded 24:04. The second attempt yielding a higher position finish as the conditions were a touch windier but I held the same time which I am happy with. I can defiantly feel it coming back on the 5 mile out and back and really enjoy the pain of it. I think this is a good time too, not too shabby as a TT débutante.

Then on Thursday night, myself and girlfriend Lynsey went down to Woolston Park in Warrington for the Warrington Road Runners annual 10k race. It’s been going for 35 years and is a nice little course around the park. Not too hilly, but a few twists and turns in there. I set a PB here two years ago so was keen to beat that course PB, despite not specifically training for a 10k at the minute. I did and managed a 41:51 which again I can be happy with as a consistent 10k time now. Lynsey went around in 52:12 which she must be happy with having not done a 10k for nearly 4 years and working off her base hockey training fitness. Proud of the gal!

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Then on Saturday morning I ended the week of racing with what scheduled as 3.8k open water swim at USwim Dock 9 in Media City. I have been swimming 3k regularly in training and feeling good so I wanted to lay down a little marker for the Iron distance swim to see where I was at. The course was highly inaccurate, with people in the changing room post race reporting their GPS to have measured 4.6k. They decided to throw in an extra bit of course in which to shout your number each lap passed by, so 5 times around there added the extra 800m. I’m glad it was over measured when I saw my time – 1hr 19min. I hope be going around 1:05 to 1:110 at Challenge Almere – for 3.8k!

I felt I swam well actually, having started on the backfoot I had to bridge a gap to the lead group, which I picked away a gradually across the distance, never going into the red zone to make it happen. It was good to be surrounded by swimmers and get back a sense of a mass start. I was recommended by my coach Paul Savage to research the previous years of Challenge Almere and how they start – deep water or run in? It is a deep water start. Check out this video from 2012 Almere Triathlon, it does show some bits of the whole course for a little insight – Almere Lokaal!

I stupidly got involved in a sprint finish! I say stupidly because I got sidetracked with my competitor that we went off course slightly on the finish shoot, deviating from the course and by the time we had picked our way back to the pontoon we had given up two positions. Something I will take great care never to repeat and I was frustrated with myself for this. Although I did out-sprint the guy so a morale victory for me!

With these manageable distances it has been a good week to build in some intensity and sharpen up the speed on all three swim, bike and run.

Race Report: PruHealth London Triathlon

Race Date: 01/06/14

Race Type: Olympic Distance Triathlon

Result: 2:13:05 / 28th AG / 110th OA

Performance: Great Day 10/10

My first Olympic distance Triathlon and I loved it. Great course, perfect conditions and a race where pretty much everything went to plan. For Breakfast I had 2 slices of jam on toast, a strong coffee and then a banana an hour before my start. I had to ride 6 miles from where I was staying in East London so I was up just before 5am.

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Swim: 26:40

My wave set off at 7:30 on the dot so the sun was just rising which made one length of the Hyde Park Serpentine a bit tricky to spot the buoys. I had to pop up a couple of times just to check I was still on track. I did pack both clear lens goggles and my mirrored lenses and glad I went with the mirrors. Calm water, just got my head down and swam at a constant pace which felt fine and was pleasantly surprised by the time I heard the commentator call.

I never really know what to say about the swim! It’s dark murky water, all I can hear is my breathing and I just concentrate on technique.

T1: 04:02

My helmet, race belt and Garmin were off the bike and laid across the floor. I’m not sure who or why my equipment had been moved about. It was a long 500m run up from the swim exit to T1. I found my bike easily enough and followed the steps in a video (above) I helped produce with Paul Savage recently on transition technique. Elastic bands on the shoes, running holding the seat, leaping mount at the line. Worked fantastically well!

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Bike: 58:45

I’m delighted with my recent bike performance, backing up my Newby Hall Duathlon and Wilmslow Triathlon outings on the Cannondale with the Cole wheels. Averaging 23mph around Hyde Park and feeling really strong. It was the 47th fastest bike time of the entire day, which is something to build great confidence from. I took a Powerbar gel 5 minutes into the ride and also 5 minutes from the end. I had 1 x 500ml water bottle on my torpedo aero bar mount. A nice 5 lap course, with a touch of traffic, but nothing significant. Flat with a few speed humps and two tight turns. Fully closed roads so just get the legs pumping and work hard for as long as possible.

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T2: 02:01

Again, a textbook dismount and entry into transition. It was tight on the racks and someone had racked their bike in my place, so I had to shift a few things around to get near my shoes. No problem. I was on the with shoes and out on the run and feeling really fit. I had my run legs from the off and felt my bike had set me up for a good day if I didn’t blow up on the run.

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Run: 41:40 (PB)

This 10k time is my out and out PB, which is fantastic to achieve in a triathlon. I had been feeling good about my running recently, seeing some vast improvements. I got a couple of fast miles in and then began to tail off, but all in good time. It was a 4 lap run around the Serpentine with a long-ish drag but by no means a hilly course. It was beginning to get hot in the day now, I just held on and tried not to let up although my calves were screaming at me. I paced it perfectly, crossed the line in a time I am delighted with and rounded off a great performance in terms of sticking to and over-delivering a race plan.

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Finish: 2:13:05

Really happy with the result. I finished high up in my Age Group and also did well in the overall classification. My bike time being the stand out performance on paper, although it has to be my run that I personally take most gratification from. This was my final race outing until I head to the European Championship in September. It’s all sneaking up quickly but London was a great event to see where I am currently at. I didn’t mention this, but I was at a midweek wedding in Ireland which involved a few Guinness’ and a couple of servings of cake only a few days before!

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Selfie with The Brownlees

Happy days. It was good to make a weekend of it too. I went down on Saturday morning from Manchester and got registered and also watched the Elite Men Sprint Race, which Mola took out in fine fashion. It was cool to see these guys close up and burying themselves for the win.

Take a look at all my pics from the ITU World Series Weekend below:

100 Days To Challenge Almere

There’s 100 days to go until Challenge Almere and the European Long Distance Championships at which I will be representing Great Britain in the Male 30 Age Group. Can’t wait!

I love training. Genuinely. I love tracking progress and seeing improvement and I also find it a great release from my job and it’s all going good.

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So with 100 days to go, I thought I’d start geeking out a little about the event itself. It’s Iron distance, with an Australian exit on the swim. A flat bike course, but has notorious winds, followed by a similarly flat run course, kissing the edge of Amsterdam.

Weather:
Like I said, it’s time for a geek out. I’ve looked up the historical weather of Almere over the same weekend over the last 4 years.

2010 – 13 degrees, 10mph winds with 18mph gusts
2011 – 21 degrees, 8mph winds with 16mph gusts
2012 – 17 degrees, 10mph winds with 17mph gusts
2013 – 13 degrees, 14mph winds with 29mph gusts

Past Results (Overall Winning Times):
2010 – 08:19:05
2011 – 08:32:36
2012 – 08:09:07
2013 – 08:34:50

Guess what time is in the envelope?

Guess what time is in the envelope?

So throwing caution to the wind (!) I have written down my personal thought on a finish time and sealed it in a black envelope and pinned it to my notice board. I’ll take this with me over to Almere and open it after the race and see how close I came to my prediction.

Where was I when I had 100 days to go to IMUK last year? Here’s that week of training from April 2013:

W/C 22nd April 2013:
Walk 2hr / 90min Turbo Interval / Swim 4, 000m / 90min Turbo Interval / Swim 2, 500m / Cycle 5hr 45min – 70 mile / Walk 2hr

I hadn’t done any long ride and run brick sessions. I was surviving ITB pain and only just getting back into my running schedule. I was having a great block of swimming and my times were solid, maybe even slight ahead of what I’m actually doing now. This was because of a large swim focus as I needed to work in this most and also running less. I’m not worried about this as Challenge Almere is 5 weeks later in the year than IMUK was (August 2013 / September 2014) so I have time and confidence to pull this swim time back. After London I also have that open water confidence that I can hold a good pace without tiring myself out. I also get that extra 5 weeks in the open water as the season will run to September and I’ll be getting the best of the water over the summer and then tapering when the water turns cooler into September.

Here’s some interesting analysis into my run fitness and tracking the improvements I mention at the top of this post:

Run Alanaysis June 2014

I’ve highlighted the average pace vs the average heart rate and it is good to see the HR coming down. I’m doing the same distance, at the same speed but it’s becoming clear that it’s not as much effort as it was.

I have a great run base to work on, this is something I am delighted to see further improved from where I was last year. My bke has proved to be solid from my races so far this year at Newby Hall and London as well as sticking some really long ride and brick runs together already.

So whats in the envelope? We’ll find out in 100 days time but any guesses yourself are welcome. There might even be a prize for the closest to!

Race Report: Wilmslow Triathlon 2014

Race Date: 11/05/14

Race Type: Sprint Triathlon

Result: 6th AG / 20th Overall

Performance: Mixed day 7/10

My swim time meant I started in a wave later in the day at 13:20, so it was a late start for a race. A couple of benefits meant it gave me chance to chill in the morning and have a big breakfast without rushing. I could watch the weather slowly brighten up. And thirdly I had my steak & Guinness pie in the slow cooker for when I got back.

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Swim – 400m – 7:33

The time is inclusive of the run out of the pool up to T1, as I was surprised at my time and thought I’d had a decent go. I set off at the front of my wave, everyone with predicted times of 7:10. I overtook 3 people in the 16 lengths, which meant there may have been a few ego times in there, which were far from accurate. I had to sit my final length behind a much slower swimmer, but overall I was happy with how I swam and kept up a good pace without tiring, which has been apparent in my threshold training sets.

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Bike – 24.2k – 40::59

It never felt the wind was behind us on the bike! I had another solid ride, backing up my performance from Newby Hall Duathlon. I feel really good on the bike at the minute. This time I held an average pace of 22mph in not ideal conditions this was a good effort for me. I learned one lesson – not to have Lucozade in my Torpedo Mount cage between the aero bars. The first sip I took resulted in spillage and sticky levers, handlebars and hands.

I came into T1 at the same time as my racked neighbour, who in turn knocked my helmet off my bars and sent all my neatly set race belt, watch and sunglasses sprawling across the floor. I lost a few seconds in T1, but I had been practising my mount which worked well, using the elastic bands with the shoes ready clipped in. Something I am gaining a lot of confidence in now is my approach to transition and being far less daunted by the list of things to do in such a short space of time.

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Run – 6.3k – 27:33

Mud! The course had been fairly chewed up across the day and I went down a couple of times while negotiating the slippery field out of transition and into the tree covered paths out and back. The run course is actually quite tricky, a few hills and two foot bridges to cross. Very slippery and not very welcome on a tri run route, but you have to play whats in front of you. I felt I was in a race for the first time in a while. I had been overtaken and then kept in touch with a guy on the bike and began to reel him on the run. I was setting up for a late spurt until I slipped up for the second time and the final footbridge broke me.

Overall – 1:17:44 – 6th in Age Group / 20th Overall

I was originally a bit disheartened at the end of the race. There could be a list of excuses – slower swim traffic, shocking drivers out on the bike course on very busy roads, and a few slip ups on the run. A poor T1 didn’t help, but in hindsight when I looked back at the result it was the best I could have hoped for. I was 37 seconds off 5th which may have been attainable on a perfect day, but much further back from the lead group which no added training could have bridged. So overall, I can take away a decent day out and some confidence going into London Pru Health Triathlon on June 1st, my first Olympic Distance Tri.

Strava Bike

Strava Run

Full Results

Race Photography

Race Organiser – Xtra Mile Events

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Note Worthy improvement from when I did this event back in 2011 (the run was 5.6k in 2011). This was my first ever Triathlon and ironically my now coach Paul Savage features on the podium!

Swim – 9:12 / Bike – 48:48 / Run – 26:26.

AG position – 16th / Overall position – 161st

 

Race Report: Newby Hall Duathlon 2014

Race Date: 13/04/14

Race Type: Standard Distance Duathlon

Result: 11th AG

Performance: Satisfied 7/10

My first standard distance duathlon – Run 10k / Bike 40k / Run 5k – and as art of the England National Championship, organised by Function Fitness Events. This was telling with a very strong field and some big performances across the age groups.

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A flat and fast course around the beautiful Newby Hall near Ripon in North Yorkshire, with the run route taking on a small stint on the trails and gravel path around the grounds. A tight, narrow but nearly fully closed bike route was windy and exposed but made for a fast pace.

Run 1 – 43:17

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I set off with the pace of around 7:10 minute miles in mind. I held this and stuck to the plan to bring home a solid 10k, actually my second best ever time over the distance in all competitions. I was warm and had thought I’d over-dressed slightly, but this was to be levelled out come the bike leg!

I felt I still had something in the tank at the end of the run, and had watched the field run ahead, ending the leg in 111th.

Bike – 1:13:47

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I used elastic bands on my clipped in bike shoes for the first time, something I practised on the park the day before. this worked a treat and I was out on the bike in a good time. I just got my head down and worked my ass off on the bike, not holding back at all. My recent riding and hard turbo sessions had got me psychologically ready to be riding hard for 25 miles. I made up a lot of places on the bike and posted the 42nd best time of the day, holding around 20.5mph average.

It was the first time I’d used my Cole T50 wheels and also my Giro Air Attack in competition. I was very happy with these and they certainly made a step up in performance.

Run 2 – 22:19

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Again, I went through transition in a good time and was out on the final lap of the run. I just tried to hang on and see what I had left. It was beginning to hurt and I just had to bring it home. It was good to give myself a good beasting and get some sharpness back  that you can only really achieve in a race situation. You will work harder under race conditions regardless. I pushed to the end, and took 72nd overall and 11th in my Age Group.

Finish time: 2:20:38

Overall not a bad result considering the strength and depth of the national Age Group field and also pleasing to see my tempo runs paying off alongside a very solid bike leg, which I take most pleasure from.

A nice course, well ran event and perhaps a good early start to my 2014 season.

Triathlon England Race Report – REPORT

Free Photography – PHOTOS

Full Results – RESULTS

Controversial Referee’s Report – REPORT

 

Referee’s Race Report: Newby Hall Duathlon 2014

Before I begin my personal account of my own day, it is worth noting that the following day of the duathlon the competitors received an e-mail from the event organiser (Functional Fitness) in regard to the referee’s report of the race. I first saw this posted on facebook and was later contacted in the day via e-mail. Bit of an odd one this, as I have never been contacted by the organiser so quickly and in such a bad mood! It did smell a bit of anger and desperation that their hard work had been scrutinised beyond their ideal outcome. A bit needy to ask for us to back him up & bring us into his war with Triathlon England!

Race report off TE

To be 100% honest I didn’t really think about the course being ‘dangerous’ at the time of competing, I just took it for what it was, you have to beat what’s in front of you. There were plenty of potholes on the course. The half road closure was narrow and tight, but I was more concerned about being accidentally caught drafting because it was so tight. I did have to ride outside of the cones on several occasions to over take, but I did this calmly and judged in plenty of time. I checked over my shoulder each time that it was safe for me to go on to the open road. The wind made it trickier in the tight lines.

Where the accident occurred in the race, which is referred to in the report, was in hindsight was probably not very safe on paper. Turning left into narrow on coming traffic was exaggerated by the cross winds, so there was added potential for something to go wrong.

Like I say, at the time of riding, I didn’t feel unsafe or in any danger because of the course. However, this is probably where my own controversy appears. There were some poor riders out there. Before I saw this referee report I was back at my sisters house talking to her about how surprised I was at the poor riding skills on show. I also felt this when I did Ironman UK 2013. I sound like a massive billy big balls here, but perhaps the event organiser underestimated the range of abilities to deem what was safe for some, might not be for others.

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Last minute swerving from a pothole was just down to not looking far enough ahead. Give yourself time to adjust and spot obstacles in advance. Your wheels will thank you and the gradual movement around them carries your speed in a straighter line.

There was a lot of changing line, hopping from one side of the road to the other. Perhaps in search of some shelter from the wind, but very unpredictable for riders coming from behind.

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What I was surprised by is people’s lack of riding knowledge in terms of carrying speed and momentum through a corner. This is basic stuff, ‘The Racing Line’, carrying momentum through a corner. Dad would always say it’s all about how fast you can come out of a corner that will carry you down the next straight. People don’t use apexes. Riding into a corner and taking it as a 90 degree corner rather than as a bend, that flows through, hit the line and get on the gas when you straighten up. This also makes the corner a lot wider and increases the margin for error.

Cattle grids weren’t an issue. There was enough warning in the race briefing to be aware of the inevitable runners/riders on the course at similar times to take into account that this will happen. I felt the course was signposted adequately enough, but when on a stretch on the bike on my own, I did have to have a look round to make sure there was someone else going my way, I wasn’t lost was I?

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I think the referee had a rather large chip on their shoulder to write such a damming report, but I also feel there will be things that the event organiser will amend for future races. It was great event, very beautiful grounds and setting and a flat, fast course that I believe was enjoyed by the majority of participants. It’s a shame this has been the first thing to comment on before my actual personal race report.

At the end of the day, racing of any type will have it’s dangers. There should never be a need to feel you can’t race because you feel the course is too dangerous, you take on what is in front of you. I’ve always viewed my fairly short triathlon experience as a test of myself against a course, a distance or a time. This was no different. You just get your head down and take on the challenges that are arise that day.

I would defiantly do this event again, it is only with hindsight that the safety has been brought into question and taken away from what was actually a fantastic event. Nor do I want to shift the blame on my fellow competitors for the unfortunate accident that happened. I do feel races will bring out that extra animal, that extra 1% that will make you take a corner a bit quicker than you’d usually feel comfortable with, but it also important to ride within your abilities. It’s not just sit on and pedal and the fittest guys wins. A tri bike, on narrow lanes, in a cross wind will be a difficult beast to tame, heightened by the circumstances of a race day red mist.

Play safe kids.

Race Report: Cannock Chase Winter Classic 2014

Race Date: 23/02/14

Race Type: XC MTB

Result: 3rd

Performance: Very happy 8/10

I had done the Cannock Chase Winter Classic (organised by Go Run & Ride) the year before and when I saw it advertised again for 2014 I put my name down as I was itching to be entered for some races of some sort.

I hadn’t ridden the mountain bike for a while, so I went for a quick gentle spin around Clayton Vale just to blow the cobwebs out.

I got to Cannock an hour before the race time and managed to get a little section of the course in for a practice. I just wanted to warm up and check the gears, brakes and everything was all good.

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I positioned myself near the front of the start line so I could avoid the bottle neck traffic in the first corner. From previous racing experience, everyone goes mental at the start, enough to just hold you up when it turns single track and then it can become something of a queue.

I managed to consolidate 3rd position from the first few turns and didn’t lose touch with the leading pair until I hit the deck in the wet rooted wooded section. I took a hit to the ribs at low speed and didn’t really think much of it. I got up and had to rip out some rogue long grass that had been caught around my rear gear cassette. This cost me a few seconds and a couple of positions that I managed to claw back on one of the longer climbs. I was happy about that as it’s usually my climbing that can let me down in these races. I have the ability to go quickly down hill and do better at the more technical parts of the course.

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The 2014 route wasn’t that technical so there was less chance of me to make my usual gains. I think my riding skill comes mainly from the years spent motocross riding and being familiar with the bike being loose and comfortable with being uncomfortable. I tried to initiate a gap to 4th which pulled out enough for me relax and not have to take too many chances.

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I held on for a solid 3rd position, despite me losing some ground towards the end of the race. I had accounted for that which is where the big middle effort came from. I timed it well and was really happy to get a podium and a few pints afterwards.

The only bad news about this race possible came 2 days after. I ran 12 miles on Monday, the day after the race and woke up Tuesday with a severely tight and sore right ITB. Looking back on my history and discussing it with my coach Paul Savage, it can be traced back to running after mountain bike causes ITB issues.

The position of a road bike, TT bike and mountain bike differ quite a lot. I was riding the MTB hard and really pushing it. Then to do a long run the day after may have initiated the problem.

I’ve since, ran and ridden the road bike as usual without any problems to further point the finger at the guilty MTB!

Race Report: Wilsmlow Half Marathon 2014

Race Date: 23/03/13

Race Type: Half Marathon

Result: 1:36:38 (PB)

Performance: Pretty Pretty Pretty good 9/10

Luckily the weather held out for us at the Wilmslow Half Marathon, despite the unpredictable reports in the week leading up to it. Some hail at mile 3 was the worst we went through and that didn’t last too long.

I did Wilmslow Half Marathon 4 years when I ran the furthest I ever had at the time, going round in 1:48:48 as a pretty inexperienced runner. I had 4 pints of cider and a 3 course dinner for a friends 30th the night before. This year I was a very different runner, managing to pace my race perfectly in 1:36:38 with a better than expected performance.

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In training, I have 3 paces – Hard 7min mile / Steady 7:45-8min mile / Easy – 9min mile. Along with my coach Paul Savage we agreed a target pace of 7:30 per mile for the half marathon, after I picked up a rogue ITB niggle two weeks out from the race. I managed to clear this up in time to get a little build of steady miles before the race and put the apprehension of the ITB out of mind.

In the words of Larry David ‘Pretty Pretty Pretty happy’ with 1hr 36min, equating to a pace of 7:22min miles which held consistent throughout the race. An even split, passing through 10k in 45min. I had to dodge a few of the slower runners who positioned themselves up front at the start, so there was some pavement hopping going on and manoeuvring around these guys in the first mile, but I eventually found a rhythm and never deviated from that pace.

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Wilmslow route is lovely, taking in the Cheshire country roads and relatively undulating run, but still a fast course. Not hilly, just a few ups and downs to keep you working. The only issue with the course is the finish. A work road, with puddles, mud and a lot of people. There is not much room for spectators accord to my folks who couldn’t see me. Spectators were dotted around the course in their gravel driveways and Wembley styled lawns – this is Cheshire like I say.

Runners World reviews of the race can be found here & also the full results page here.

For breakfast, I had 2 slices of white toast with peanut butter and then a banana about an hour away from start time. I had a large latte from my new favourite coffee shop in Didsbury – The Deli – and spent a good 30 minutes on the foam roller and going through my usual stretching routine.

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Overall a very satisfying performance and very pleased with my pacing. I felt good at 7:20min miles so just stuck with it. A PB by 12 minutes and a good sign that my running is coming along nicely. Strava upload here.

Another shout out to coach Paul Savage who nailed the event in 74mins. Very impressive run in what is shaping up to be a good season so far for Paul.

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.

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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)