Professional Ironman Triathlete

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Shannon Avenue

Thought I'd give some love to my Aussie housemates who are suffering through the heat and post some photos of them (courtesy of Lee's photographic genius): Sharnie (aka the Sharninator), Leanne and Wheels from Shannon Ave. See you in three weeks guys :) (and happy birthday for next week Sharnie!).

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Happy Christmas!

Made it back to the UK in one piece and bearing up through the festive period OK. Rather too much alcohol on a daily basis but I've been coping with the excessive Xmas eating happily :) Training not derailed too badly despite the 48 hours of travelling last week and sudden shock of cold British weather, though local pool closures have hampered the swim volume a bit. Most disturbingly my tan seems to have disappeared far too rapidly!

Only 4 weeks to Epic NZ, so trying to keep on track, though there's not much chance of many bonus overdistance rides pre-Epic given the shortage of daylight hours here! Its been dark by 4pm! (plus I'm sticking to the schedule, coach!)

Happy New Year!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Time to head home

I'm heading home for tomorrow for 4 weeks... its going to be a shock to the system. Apparently its around 3 degrees C in London at the moment - compared to here where its mid 20s/low 30s with as much sunlight as you could ask for. At least it will feel festive!

Ending the training period here on a high - had an awesome day out yesterday - usually a rest day, monday was actually a big day's training this week as the fligths on wednesday and thursday mess up the schedule, and so I am trying to salvage as decent a week as possible around two days in a plane and imminent jet lag when I get home. Strangely, am looking forward to a few long runs in the cold...

The new place on Shannon Avenue has been hilarious -living with a bunch of triathlon and surfing nuts is great fun! Must leave my wife-beater and filthy language in Oz though (but the tan is coming with me)...

See you in the UK


Monday, 10 December 2007

Last week in Oz

Just a week and a half left in Oz before I head home for Xmas. I got to move out of my trailer today (thanks very much to local celebrity Leanne and co.) and enjoying my rest day catching up on emails, sorting flights, accommodation, races etc... Also watched What It Takes, and feeling very motivated. Luckily its the day off so no worries about me heading out of the door and smacking myself silly on the roads. Just a brief swim later and that's me done for the day.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Beasties in Oz

Photo as promised of William (above) who turned 2 this week.

Just finished week 4 of the new schedule. Settled into it and finding that the 'on' button for the pace intervals is coming a little more easily on the run and the bike. Weather's been beautiful - hot and sunny, with windy days to keep some of the rides interesting. Found a couple of good swim squads who are making hitting 20km a week in the pool fairly easy (and sociable!) - one of the squads seems to hit 5 km no problems, though the wednesday session after typically a 4-5 hour ride and 2 hour run finds me a little flat!!!

I'm staying in a caravan park round the corner from the pools and track, on the river which has kilometer markers along both bank paths, and - essentially - only 500m from a large supermarket :) Its perfect. Except for the MASSIVE spider that decided it wanted to live between the front door and the fly screen yesterday. Luckily it has now relocated - to where I do not care. I was reading in the local paper about a brown python (or something like that) found in someone's back yard in Victoria - over 2m long - I now eye large sticks on the road with suspicion, and at the open water swim yesterday there seemed to be a lot of chat about great whites... I think I prefer to live in ignorance.


Saturday, 3 November 2007

Lessons in endurance

Staying with Liz and Ian has been an eye opener. I thought I had loads of energy, but William (a few weeks short of 2 years old) can run circles round me! He does take afternoon naps, which may be key - I might give these a go over the next few weeks. The commitment and dedication of Liz and Ian are also a bit of lesson - am trying to learn in order to apply to training :) I've also been renamed (rather unflatteringly) Toady as this seems easier to say than Toby. Will definitely get some photos tomorrow and post them...

This week's training has gone well - nearly completely on track. The lack of a good nearby pool has hampered volume swimming, but that all gets fixed from monday when I'll be 5 mins from a decent pool in Geelong. I'm pleased with the new schedule so far - I'm doing a lot more specific stuff and it feels like every session has a purpose, whereas before more often than not I'd just start a session and see what it turned into, trying to accumulate overall mileage (especially on the bike) rather than worry about pacing etc. Having said that, this time last year I'm not sure I would have been able to do such specific workouts most of the time.

Off to the You Yangs state park tomorrow - I'm riding up (gets the scheduled 2 hour ride done), might do the run there too - sounds like there might be some hills :) Apparently they allow open fires (rather unusually) on some of the sites there, so we're going armed with marshmallows.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Oz week one

G'day! Arrived thursday morning, but jet lag had the best of me for a couple of days. Its still spring here, so weather's a little variable - but yesterday was a cracker at 29 degs - took advantage with a beautiful ride out to Geelong. Liz and Ian (and 2 year old William) are off camping for the weekend so I could recover from jet lag without feeling too antisocial. Am staying at their place in Williamstown - a suburb of Melbourne. The town itself is on a peninsula, so there's lot of seafront, boat jetties, nature reserves etc to run through (and no hills!). Just getting ready to head off for a run down the coast to Altona and back. The week's been a bit of a right off for decent training, but starting the new regime tomorrow (again - I tried to start it this week but flying half way round the world wrote off more time than I'd anticipated!) so no worries.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Off to Oz

Flying to Melbourne tonight (and tomorrow and the day after!) - only booked my flights on friday, so I've been a headless chicken for a couple of days sorting everything out. See you all soon!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

...and finally...

... I have a coach - the legend that is Steve Trew. Having met Steve back in Cesenatico in May, he's agreed to coach me. Very exciting!

What a week!

Finished the exams, popped down to the Bike Show and then headed off to Cyprus on saturday.

I got to Limassol around 6pm in time for the race briefing. With a small field, the atmosphere was informal and very friendly - the event organiser Bambos seemed to make it his mission to know everyone by name! After a cracking pasta party - IM organisers could learn a thing or two from these guys - I went to set up the bike I was borrowing from Stel (road bike as ITU race) ... and was up til just before one a.m/ struggling with my cleats - all threaded (note to self - rust screws from too much turbo use make cleat changing a pain in the arse). Managed to get two screws in one shoe to tighten and only one in the other - I was going to have to go for the elastic band racing start out of T1 to avoid running on them and ruining them completely.

Luckily, the cypriot race day is relaxed ... start time 9:30! So not too much lost sleep. We drive down to T1 at 8am to see no road markings, cones, marshalls or police anywhere... but were assured that they would all be sorted in time! And they were - materialing while we were in the water. I was having a good swim until the end of the first loop when I took a detour round the exit bouy, adding a couple of hundred meters on, and losing me first place out of the water. By the time I reached T1, I had no idea where I was, and could see several bikes already gone from the racks. Onto the 4 lap bike course. The sprint racers were out already and so it made it difficult to work out who was ahead. I saw Stel at one of the turnarounds and so started to chase as I figured he was ahead of me. By the last lap I finally found someone - a Brit - to ride to T2 with for the last 5km... up til then I'd only seen a couple of groups draughting effectively and not managed to take advantage of the draught legal race at all - I'd been a little nervous about being in a draught legal race as I'd never done one before, but it seems I shouldn't have worried! Through T2 I was in second or third with the guy I ridden the last 5km with. Stel, who we'd caught by the 39km mark, didn't pull into transition with us like I'd expected... he must have been on lap 3 - ie had a shocker of a swim thanks to breaking his collar bone not so long ago.

The run was 6 laps, and I'd moved into 1st by the 2nd lap. My shins were playing up so I switched from heel-toe to forefoot regularly to keep the pressure off my shins from building too much. Luckily I didn't need to push the pace up as I was comfortably extending the lead without any trouble. The first place bike marker was very entertaining and chatty, making the experience quite surreal!

Our calculations had been good - no elites turned up last minute!

Spent another couple of days out there, riding up to Troodos on Tuesday with Stel - a 50km hill climb with frequent 12%+ sections... a relentless climb (2000m climbing) worthy of the Alps! What a way to ease back into base training :)

I've been working on getting some sponsors recently too... with some positive results (thanks especially to Kev). When they're all 100% confirmed I'll put them up on the website... but I don't want to jinx it before then!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Happy days....

... only a week until I can get back into training properly. I've been on 'off-season' for a little longer than intended. It will be eight weeks of unstructured, low volume, low intensity 'training' when i finally get back in the saddle properly next weekend. Post-IMUK, I was going to give the Vitruvian a go three weeks on (a middle distance race at Rutland Water) but my body was telling me that it was time to have a break. Having been training pretty consistently with only short periods of down-time since October last year, I decided to listen! Off-season's settled down to 9-12 hours a week. A good few weeks with no swimming included in there following a bit of a tumble off the bike and some very bruised ribs.... have only just started to ease back into the pool. (Very good timing - was very pleased to have got injured in off-season!)

The end date of off-season has been fixed, however, by the date of my last exam. Yes, my Masters is finally coming to an end :) At the moment I've just finished the second of four exams, with the last two next week. So I have kept training at low volume to allow for the stock pile of work and revision that I've needed to get through. But next weekend I am free and base training starts again.

I blame Stel completely for the fact that 'base training' will be starting with a last minute entry to an olympic distance in Cyprus - but I couldn't resist the chance of some last minute sun, and it seemed a great way to ease back into some longer riding as I'm staying out there a few extra days. This is definitely going to be just for fun! Instead of being in Kona (that will have to wait!), ending the season, I'll be in Cyprus starting mine... can't wait.

Back to the books!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Review of the Year Part 2

Part 2: Bike / Run

Biking is perhaps the discipline where there’s the most time to be made currently. With really only 3 years on the bike, there’s a lot of miles I need to make up in order to get good. So base this year also focussed on increasing my weekly bike volume. This was the sole aim – pace and specific sessions were set aside in favour of bike time. Epic as an incentive definitely made me get out on the roads a lot more! (motivator: FEAR!).

Whilst my times in races didn’t show much improvement, my ability to run closer to my potential off the bike has definitely shown some improvement.

Aims for next year: consistent work on the bike, focusing on zones of effort as well as base volume. What I didn’t do this year was spend much base time above easy heart rates. Some testing in NZ prior to Epic showed I’d been spending most of my ride time below a heart rate that should have been base training. Oops. But my riding has improved to the point where now I probably am more capable of training in zones on demand! Target bike volumes: average 400kms+ a week in base. Get some decent advice on bike training too – a return to Epic NZ in January should be good for this.

Running has had some ups and downs. Epic certainly taught me to bite the bullet and get out there and run – no excuses! Have put together some decent blocks of 80 – 100+ km weeks, which I was pleased with. 3 years ago I went off running a bit after being plagued by injury (I had to have 2 months off running going into IMAustria ’05 and still had problems going into IMGermany ’06, despite another 3 months off running over the winter, physios and orthotics etc etc). This year has been a good one for consistency (since Epic, anyhow!). Note: ALL my running has been nice and slow!

For the coming year: I’m going to try to put some more speedwork in (like 1km reps etc) at the end of off season and see if it works for me. This may well just dissolve into tempo runs if it fits better with ongoing volume training. Obvious goal for next season is a sub-3 hour marathon.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Year Review Part 1

Part 1: Swim

This has definitely been a good year for swimming. I committed back in October to increasing my weekly swim volume and getting some technique help. This started in New Zealand, where I had access to a pool that was practically empty on a permanent basis. I wanted to have several blocks of 20+ kms a week in the pool, through base (Oct-Feb) just working on technique. I had a couple of endless pool sessions with Tony Lambdon (of HBTriStudios near Napier in New Zealand) which were invaluable in sorting out some of the major problems with my stroke. The improvements showed up by IMOz where I came out of the water in 55 minutes – a big improvement on 59:30 (IMAustria 2005) and 1:02 (IMGermany 2006 – non wetsuit). But by the time I returned to the UK, the volume of swimming and a period without coaching had meant that my technique had gone to pot again. By the time I was training in Italy in May, some video analysis with Dan showed my swimming to be shocking again. So back in the UK I signed up with Andrew Potter (of T3 Performance Coaching – for some one on one coaching sessions. The results speak for themselves – within a few weeks I swam 53minutes at IMAustria, and then swam 49:47 at IMUK to finish off the season (ok, so the swim was probably a little short!). Andrew’s coaching is HIGHLY recommended (for any level)… he’s got stroke analysis down to a fine art and shows you step-wise how – and why - to change your stroke.

The increase in swim volume (still only averaging 16kms a week) did have a noticeable effect on my swim endurance. I can put at lot more effort into a race without affecting my race later in the day. The new wetsuit probably deserves some credit too – Sailfish ONE – awesome piece of kit.

Aims for next year: to consistently be near or sub-50 minutes, and maintain competitive IM swim positions. Maintain solid swim volume (near 20km/week) with regular technique checks/improvements. More masters swimming.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

IMUK Photos

Courtesy of Nadya!

Monday, 20 August 2007

IMUK Race report

What a weekend! I was in two minds about racing at all before the weekend. On the train down I had pretty much convinced myself that the season had ended at Austria and that I'd not get above training pace on sunday. Arriving in Sherbourne picked me up a bit: the sun was shining, the town was beautiful - it seemed an ideal place to race. The atmosphere at the expo and in the school where I was staying with a host of other athletes was infectious. But the weather deteriorated on friday and saturday until by saturday night, Sherbourne had been turned into a mud pit. The rain was pouring, the wind blowing, I was feeling tired and I seriously needed to catch up on some sleep.
Sunday morning rolls around. Up at 3 - a little earlier than anticipated but the cubicle room I was in wasn't very sound-proof, so once someone in the dorm decided to get up, there was no point in trying to sleep any longer. Used to a 4:30 wake up for a 7am start, I found the 6am start time a bit of a surprise (only realising the day before!), and being out of bed before 4 seemed wrong! Having eaten enough to feed a small country over the last few days, I stuffed down the usual pre-race meal and got a lift to the start with Scott, the eventual race winner. Still pitch black, I was relieved that the rain had stopped by the time we reached transition. The wind seemed to have died down too. Getting ready I wasn't too nervous - I had given myself enough sensible reasons to pull out at any time, all based around the fact that my little 'recovery' experiment was turning out the way most people had suggested it would. I was mildly concerned about some GI problems I was experiencing - one of the bagels was not sitting happily. O well, if it reappears on the swim, that's life. And then the sun came up and suddenly we were trudging through the mud to the swim start. Into the water, swim 200m to the start line. And wait. And wait. And wait. At about 6:20 we finally start, numb hands and all. I'd positioned right on the start line, with a couple of female pros on my left and a couple of male pros to my right. After the initial charge, I settled in. The 20 minute stall had settled my stomach and the swim seemed easy. A few bursts to keep make sure the pack I was with didn't drop me, and two laps later it was time to get out, albeit with a bit of cramping in my inner thigh. I just thought: won't need that on the bike, right? I knew the swim had been quick as I had been sticking with two pink caps (women pros) who I figured might be Bella Comerford and if I was lucky Hillary Biscay (turned out to be Yvette Grice) - so if I was right I was guessing at a swim somewhere in the range 52-54. Got hauled out and checked the watch on the run to T1 - it was reading 50 something. Good work!!!!
T1 turned out to be a casual affair, a bit of banter with the crew, and a tough time getting on my arm warmers, which wouldn't go past my elbows, so that's where they stayed for the rest of the race. Already I my mind had worked out that my PB swim could only be validated if I finished the race. Otherwise it was just a straight 3.8km, and it'd never stick. So running out to find my bike, I heard someone shout my name followed by "you're with the pros!". Let's see how long I can stay there.
Out onto the bike course I quickly realised that my chain wouldn't change down to the small ring. Don't panic. Just get up the first hill out of town, then there'll be a downhill section, and I can sort it out there. So my heart rate went up, and I was overtaking a couple of people within 2 km of T1. Not ideal, but I was mashing, so what can you do? About 6km in stop to fiddle with the front derailleur. No joy. Bella passes me. A few other guys do too. Back on the bike, I figure I'll just change it down manually at the bottom of every hill. I try this once. Stopping, changing and restarting bites, and the accelaration seems to be just as bad as pushing a bigger gear than I'd like. And plus I start thinking about the number of times I'd have to go through this process on a 3 lap undulating course. I do the maths: I'm stuck with the big ring. I completely give up all hope of fixing it after the a second aid station answers 'no idea' when quizzed about the whereabouts of any course mechanics.
But the cup is always half full: its all an experiment... let's see what happens if I don't have any fall back gears to spin up the hills with. For the first lap this seems bearable. The course seems empty, and other athletes are few and far between. Pushing through the hilly section I pass the two leading women - I hadn't noticed Hillary pass me on one of my stops as well (EDIT: that's because she got out of the water ahead of me... of course!). Lap two comes and goes - I keep expecting a pack to blaze past, but instead I just exchange places with a handful of other athletes - a few pros, a few age groupers - back and forth. I see a few of the same people a few times as we each flag at different stages then get back on after a bit of a regroup or some extra calories. Eat. Eat. Eat. Drink. Drink. Drink. The wind started to pick up, and by lap 3 it was a pain in the ass. And the legs. And my gearing situation was not helping matters. That MUST have screwed my run. O well... we'll find out soon. The last 20miles really dragged - undulating and into a headwind. And cold.
T2 was a welcome relief. Chatting to the volunteers, it seemed that me and the pro who'd got in just before me were around the 20th mark. Brief disbelief ... but then my swim had been good, and, unbelievably, no packs had rolled past. Guess my 5:15 bike split must have seen me right. Now for the fun bit. Unlike the bike, which we'd driven the day before, I had no idea about the run course. And I'm glad about that. This was going to hurt whatever - not knowing how hilly the course was turned out to be a blessing. The first 5 miles my shins were tight, I kept the pace down, and actually enjoyed the mud on the Castle laps. Only one pro passed me there - the guy who'd got into T2 ahead of me had been slow getting out - and he cramped round the corner. So I'm still in the top 20. But I'm running slow. Even if I hold on for a 3:15 somehow (I'd have to speed up and deal with hills) the pro's are going to start rolling past fairly soon. Second lap of the Castle grounds Paul Perry (a Serpie) blazes past me just starting his run. Like MAN he was flying. I figured it couldn't last too long, but the difference in our paces alarmed me slightly. I really seemed to be fading and was only 5 miles in. But it all got a bit easier. I was eating a gel at every other aid station, trying desperately to keep smiling at all the great supporters, and was faintly amused by the predicament I'd got myself into. There was NO WAY I could do anything but run my ass off at this point. There would have to be a pretty good reason for me to be at survival pace when I'm 5 miles into a marathon and somehow in the top 20. So I speed up a bit. After the second lap of the Castle loop, where it had been getting busy again as more and more athletes were starting the run, I was out onto the other half of the run section - including a horrific out and back rolling dual carriageway section, with a monster uphill into a headwind. Ouch. But on the first lap of it I got to count the runners ahead. 17. 17?!! Holy smokes! And then the fear - having hit the turn around, I knew I was being counted by the guys behind me - very close behind me. I think that's when I really sped up. I don't think I was overtaken on that loop, I can't really remember. But I do remember overtaking two more athletes - including the race's earlier leader, Rhodes, who's calf had blown and was walking his way to the finish. And then it was time to head home. In my mind there was a pack of people waiting behind with strong finishes, and I was just praying that I wouldn't cramp of my legs fail before the finish.
Crossing the finish came quickly. I was pretty sure I was somewhere around the 20th mark, but didn't dare hope for 15th. I'd been assuming that I would get taken before the finish so I hadn't got my hopes up. But there it was. A minute faster than Austria on a much tougher course... also unexpected: my watch had only been giving me section times, not totals.
Awesome. So, a few personal limiters removed: I had been riding too conservatively at Austria; I can run near 3 hours already. I can swim sub-50 already. Good news: I'm ahead of schedule. That's a couple of next year's targets already met - the top 20 finish being one of them too.
So did the experiment work? On balance, yes. I was verging on overdoing it with the high vol fortnight but its what I needed at the time to keep me happy, and it got me mentally relaxed enough to just go out and have some fun.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Here we go again!!

It is with some trepidation that I'm off to Dorset tomorrow for IMUK. Whilst I am beginning to get familiar with the arbitrary way you can feel during taper, and how often it can be quite uncorrelated to how you actually perform on race day, this time the rational side of my brain is telling me that I am feeling flat. This weekend may all go a little pear-shaped. 6 weeks?? Its not going to make sunday any easier!
But on the other hand... just think Rebecca Preston. You never know! Well I guess I've got to see this experiment through - so off I go. If it is all going tits-up, then I'm more than happy to pull the plug and do what I maybe should have been doing for the last 5 weeks: rest. And I'll have learnt a valuable lesson. But then, there's always that faint hope that something might get pulled out of the bag....

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Finally summer's arrived...

... and just in time to keep me motivated through a couple of hard weeks. So far, the experiment with 6 weeks between IMs is going to plan - the hard fortnight is now done. Totals for the fortnight came to 62 hours, with approx 42 k swimming, 950km riding and 200km running, with some decent key sessions met, including some intensity sessions. What was surprising was that the running was consistently of good quality - in part because I was running mainly in the mornings and not too much off the bike - but I only had one 'recovery run' where I was suffering and hitting survival pace the whole way round (at the end of the first week... I was quite tired that weekend!!). Had been concerned about generally sluggish riding since IMAustria, which I'd put down to a longer recovery for the bike (I had expected the running to take longer to come back), but the end of my 5 hour ride yesterday gave me a bit more confidence that I've come through that, finishing strongly. Only one run over 2 hours (2:30, last weekend) so relying on early season long distance to carry through.
Whether this is going to be good for IMUK, who knows... we'll find out. Mentally its been a good exercise for me just to know that the fitness is still there, and to keep me from idling through race season. Second, as Austria was my A race, I'm prepared to be a little more cavalier with preparation for UK. At the back of my mind I am considering ditching the marathon if the bike isn't going too well... which may be either due to lack of time since Austria or too heavy a schedule in between. Hopefully, of course, this block will have been just what the doctor ordered and I'll be in good shape come race day. Will be interesting to find out. Otherwise, there's always Vitruvian to finish the season with! ;)
Looking forward to a rest day tomorrow...

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

time rolls on...

... and suddenly its under 4 weeks to IMUK. Thank god austria was a good result - means the pressure is off! And I'm glad about that. Two weeks might be OK for Rebecca Preston, but I think 6 weeks between IMs might be a struggle for me! I took the first week really easy, just scraping 5 hours of training, with 3 full rest days. Week 2 after austria (last week) was transition, so ramped up the number of sessions again, but limited the time allocated to each session, so longest ride was 2:30, longest run was 1:15. Hit 20 hours comfortably, just with a lot of laundry and showers for the hours of training involved! In theory this fortnight is high volume, shifting to high intensity next week before tapering again! It'll be an interesting experiment in recovery time. This time 2 years ago, what I'm doing now would have been inconceivable - I think I had at least a month really easy before getting back into training (more out of necessity than from plan)... so its good to see fitness improvements in other ways.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Team Serpie

Team Serpentine on race morning... we had some time on our hands waiting for the bus to turn up to take us to race start.
From left to right:
Melik (9:50), Jenny (10:15), me (9:16), Bass (11:03), Ade Jones (9:43), Alex (10:58). There were some other outstanding serpie results that day, just not in this photo!

IM Austria photos

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Hot day at the office

I love Klagenfurt. Beautiful scenery, picturesque town, great local support behind the race, and reliably hot weather. The swim start was cloudy, but the forecasts had promised that it would warm up nicely through the day. The morning had been fairly calm and relaxed at the hotel, but the bus we were getting was late and proceeded to take 45 minutes to get to the race start… so we arrived at transition at 6:10, giving us 20 minutes to get everything right before transition was cleared and we would be moved on to the swim start. I spent the majority of that time queuing for the port-a-loos as is every triathletes’ habit. So the unnecessary triple checking and worrying was cut out of the preparations. Down to the swim start, on with the wetsuit, finish off a gel and some more fluids, I waited patiently for the start. I seeded second row back on the right hand side – a pretty confident spot considering some of the AG swimming talent out there. At the four minute call, we were told to swim out to the start line. I’d thought it was a beach start, but was thankful that we’d get at least a little time in the water before the gun as I’d not managed to get in for a warm up. So we all gently cruised forward towards the start line 30meters out, and BANG – was that the start gun?? Rather reluctantly everyone started swimming a bit harder, a little unsure, but soon we all got our heads down and pushed on. The lack of a 400m anaerobic hammer session at the start was actually quite welcome. Perhaps that was what explains how the pace seemed to keep on edging up for the first 20 minutes, and why I seemed to be passing a couple of pro caps. The second section my stomach let me know that I was going too hard, so I backed off to cruise until the canal came and I let the melee suck me down to the exit ramp. I caught the clock out of the corner of my eye: 53 minutes. Good work!

T1 was a fairly leisurely affair, time to say hi to a couple of people, cram my ears into the new aero helmet (yes, I know – next it’ll be racing in speedos!) and jog out to the bike racks. After missing my bike stand and retracing my steps back to my rack, I was finally out on the bike course – a bit ahead of schedule. I wondered if that swim would come back to bite me in the ass later in the day. But the bike started well. It was still quite cloudy, and the first section is quick, even when cycling comfortably. Cyclists were few and far between so I mentally prepared for the packs to roll past at any moment. The first loop of the two lap course went by quickly, and the temperature started to rise. The support on the course was awesome (especially from the Pirates!), with some great europop pumping at the top of the hills. I stuck to my nutrition schedule and hit the turnaround in 2:28. Then the first large pack passed. I was surprised that it had taken them so long, and tried to keep pace with the back-end of it for a while, ultimately letting them roll on by after a few kilometres. Then things started to slow down a bit, and by the time I was half way round the second loop I was not having fun anymore. A couple more packs (and some serious drafting infringements) rolled past and there was not much I could do about it. Then a couple of brits came on past… I think I had met in the days before the race and they seemed pretty shit hot. And they were proving it on the bike – mostly taking time out of me on the downhills where I am still pretty rubbish. But things picked up – largely due to grabbing a coke at the next aid station.

So I rolled round the rest of the course, figuring the 5 hour target was lost. Got in a couple of minutes past 5 hours, relieved to be able to take off the aerohelmet which had warmed up nicely and was crucifying my ears! Cap on, trainers and gels in back pocket. Off we go. The clock at the T2 exit had just ticked past 6 hours. This could still be ok. The first couple of kms were too quick: the target was 4:30/km to hit 3:10ish marathon, but the first was done in 4:15. I slowed a bit – the only time in the marathon that I would have that luxury, and saw 4:25s for the next few, and then I slowed again, this time involuntarily. By 10kms I’d hit survival pace, and stayed there for much of the rest of the marathon. At that 10km mark, I wanted it over with. My race was done – all I could do was hang in and not walk. I ate gels and drank all the coke I could get my hands on until I was done with sugar. And then I had some more coke. And some more. The kms ticked by slowly, so I occupied myself with shouting to Pirates and other Serpies on the course. When halfway came, I felt a bit better, though survival pace was still all that was happening. I knew I could hang on, as long as my stomach held out – it was on the verge of cramps/stitches or something for most of the run. And man, it was hot. Last 10kms, I knew I was in the clear. With 4 km to go, I picked up the pace (a little), passing the last of the Brits who’d breezed by me on the bike.

9:16. The target was between 9:10-9:20 so I can’t complain, but it was done the hard way – swimming too quick and fighting through the rest of the day. I was a bit disappointed with the run – although it was a 3:15 marathon, I never got into the pace I’d intended. O well … good to have things to work on. And still came in first British athlete J 39th overall.

Team Serpentine did very well. Jenny got 1st in her AG, and was first British lady home. Melik and AJ both went convincingly sub-10 with PBs, Alex went sub-11 on his first try, just to mention a few. Overall an outstanding weekend!

Friday, 22 June 2007

Countdown to IMAustria

Just over two weeks to go... a fair few club mates are off at the races this weekend at Nice and Switzerland, so there's been a fair amount of IM talk recently - means that I'm starting to get excited :)

I went out to Austria last weekend with Jen for a look at the new bike course and more or less my last long ride, also to try out the new bike. The course has changed to 2 loops pf 90km since I did Austria 2 years ago - it seems to be a bit slower now than before (here's hoping I've not slowed down!) but still beautiful. The new bike rode like a dream. The main difference from my old P3 being that its a lot more comfortable - the full carbon frame helps on that front compared to the aluminium of my old bike - and I've not put the aerobars quite as low (only marginal) as I've been training on for aan extra bit of comfort for race day. Plus, even with 808 rear and 404 front, the handling's still better than the P3 with just training wheels!

Its looking like it may get hot again for the race... and perhaps even to the point where the organisers will have to declare a non-wetsuit swim. I'm happy with that - either way it'll be a pleasure in that lake.

Just off up to Rutland Water this pm for an olympic hit out tomorrow - tranistion practice only!! No pace involved... actually I'm just going to see how the legs feel on an easy run - I am a bit fried this week, so we'll see if I even run tomorrow. A bit more hard work sun/mon but then taper kicks in properly!

Looking forward to seeing some good IM race results from this weekend...

Monday, 11 June 2007

New toys....

I am VERY excited. I've spent a few months working up to it, and now its arrived. My new bike... Scott Plasma Ltd. Check out:
for some more info. Its at the mechanics now getting the seat post cut down, and I'm still waiting for the pedals to arrive... so looks like I won't get to ride her til thursday.

WeightBike: 15.4 lbs
Frame: 2.82 lbs
Frame - CR1 Carbon HMF technology - TR AERO Carbon TubingFork - Scott CR1 Team Issue - 1 1/8" carbon steererHeadset - Ritchey WCS CFGroup - Dura-Ace 10sCrankset - Dura-Ace 10s Hollowtech II 39x53TCassette - Shimano Dura-Ace 10s 12-25TAerobars - Profile Cobra Wing base bar - T2+ Cobra extensionsBrake Levers - Profile QSCStem - Profile Lava OSSeat - Fizik Arione TRI 2Hubs - DT Swiss 240 SSpokes - DT Swiss EvolutionRims - Zipp Carbon 420 DEEPTires - Conti Competition Tubular 700x19C

Weymouth Photos

Smile for the camera!
Courtesy of

Monday, 4 June 2007

Weymouth Race Report

4th place at Weymouth at the weekend was a pleasant surprise!! It was only ever supposed to be a prep race with IM pacing if possible, and the week before was typically quite heavy, if a little disjointed. The weekend before we'd been down in Weymouth and in the Malverns (with Michael and Emmie), and had (as a result of the weather) ended up doing rather a lot of hill running rather than the bike miles we had planned. That left me quite frankly a little broken at the start of the week, so my key long run had to wait til thursday (38km), and friday had some decent volume in it too... leaving saturday as the taper ;)
Hitched a ride down to the race with Michael and Emmie again, and spent saturday afternoon helping out on the Infinit stand at the registration which was great fun, then ate a lot and went to bed. Had no expectations for the day - just wanted to get some transition practice, an OW swim and a decent key workout.
The swim start was typically relaxed in Weymouth style, with the briefing on the beach followed immediately by orders to go to the waters edge. We're all milling around when suddenly there's the 5 second warning and the gun goes. Talk about no build up!! The water was perfectly flat, and not too cold - I'd been expecting the toe-curling temperatures we'd seen there before. I started with the first group in the swim, but chose the wrong feet, and by the time I'd taken a look round to see what the hold up was, the leaders were 300m ahead. So I just got into a rhythm and swam on my own for most of the course. Got out of the water 6th overall (not bad considering the major overhaul my stroke is getting at the moment from Andrew Potter), and had a leisurely wander into T1... up the beach, up a flight of concrete steps, over the tennis courts, round the bike stands.... its not designed for speed! Out on the bike I caught a couple of women who'd swam in the first group, then got passed by the eventual race winner by about km 12. After that I didn't really see anyone until km50. By then, I was starting to get a bit disheartened... I was sure that the was a dog leg in there somewhere, but I was headed back into Weymouth and was going to be seriously short on kms! Luckily the turn came off to the left just as two more cyclists blazed past me. Letting them go was easy: 1) This was supposed to be an IM pace effort and 2) I don't think I have a half IM pace! I seem to have quite comprehensively beaten any top end speed out of me! Hitting T2 I'd caught another cyclist, maybe two, and was happy to get out onto the run. The weather was holding perfectly: mid-teens and slightly overcast. My shins were tight going into the run so I took ithe first 6km pretty easy, but still overtaking one of the speedy cyclists before the first water station. Before the end of lap 1, the guy who eventually came 2nd passed me, but I let him disappear (rapidly) into the distance. By the start of the second lap, there were people on the course which makes it a little easier - I like overtaking! With 30mins to go I picked up the pace to get to the bridge at the top of the run course and then home. All in all seemed quite an easy day :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Italy photos

Photos courtesy of Jono.... (just a selection from the hundreds posted!!)

Some happy campers out on a ride

Something was very funny... and Ian wasn't even singing!
That's what its all about

Kathleen's also having some time out from the office :)

Time in the pool... looks very strenuous

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Italian hills

Italy was awesome. Got some really solid training in, met some great folks and got a great tan :) The Nove Colli at the weekend was fun. I was trying to be disciplined by doing my long ride and long run mid-week so that I could just do the 140km ride as my hill ride... the aim was to be too tired to carry on to the 200km ride (9 hills instead of just 4), to keep my training more specific. Took the first few hours easy, letting the crowds of cyclists (11000 took part) dictate the pace so by the time i got to the turn off in a leisurely 4 hours, it was clear that I was going to carry on. The crowds cleared a bit so the pace could pick up a bit, but my slow descending (much improved on last year, but still not so hot) and a TT bike made the downhills long! Finished off the day in about 7:45 which was a nice solid training day, and importantly not feeling too wasted!!! The day after was a bit different... casual ride to a wine cellar for a long lunch. Somehow we covered 75kms (including another stop for ice cream!) ... the wine certainly helps!

Managed to get back to the UK thanks to some nifty flight rescheduling by Mr Trew to avoid the Italian air traffic controllers strikes!! Overall very good camp, got my motivation back post return to UK. Lots of great ideas for training and thinking it may be time to upgrade the bike....

Monday, 14 May 2007

End of week 1

A week gone already... unbelievably quick. Weather's been beautiful hitting mid 30's every day so far. Camp is great fun, with emphasis on fun... this is not Epic!!! But that's exactly why I'm here... for a bit of consistency and moderate volume with nice weather to break the return to the UK. Motivation has definitely returned following the week of jet lag and feeling off the first week back to the UK. Good quality sessions being done, kept most of my key sessions in last week as well as trying out some of the speedwork and more interesting run workouts - I am hoping to pick up some session tips to drag back some top end on the run. Complete mix of abilities on the camp which makes it really nice and relaxed. Restday today acieved with great success by the pool :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2007


Day one in Italy... man, its beautiful here. Got in late yesterday to some great food ... a very good sign. Early morning speedwork, followed by a gentle few km's (9km) to warm down preceded breakfast, then a technique swim (2.5km), lunch, short but well paced ride with a couple of decent climbs to ease us in (62km), topped off with a cool down technique swim (2.5km) and now off to dinner. Quite leisurely - and well appreciated. I'm feeling loads better than last week now... amazing what some sunshine (hit 32 degrees today) and some beautiful scenery can do for you. Will try to get some photos up soon. Ciao.

Friday, 4 May 2007

hello UK!

I'm back, tho I think my brain caught a later flight. About 26 hours of flying, and very little sleep (I managed to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back on the way from LA to London... ouch!). Jet lag has now been replaced by the inevitable cold that follows heavy training and a long international flight, so I've been suffering through man-flu all week and taking a few days off... replacing hours of training with hours wrapped in a duvet :( Finally today I think I've started to feel a bit better... fingers crossed I'm 100% before getting on the plane to Italy on Tuesday!!

New home is great - have found the local pool - a 33m which is great, but it seems to be rather full all the time! Also found a nearby athletics track - great as I wanted to get some track sessions done again, and a couple of parks which mean that my runs don't need more than 5-10 mins on the roads. There's a decent masseur round the corner in Carshalton, and bike is at the mechanics in Sutton getting some TLC. Plus living with my bro is pretty cool. He's more of a nut job than I am ;)

Friday, 27 April 2007

goodbye NZ!

Just finished long run for the week (genlte 33km) - beautiful morning for it. Off to osteopath just to check out the back again, then pack (yes, a little last minute) and off to the airport. Should be back in the UK tomorrow morning. Went out to the Mission in Napier last night for mum's b'day - very nice - highly recommended if you're ever over here!

See you in the UK! :)

Monday, 23 April 2007

Napier photos

The beach at Napier, looking towards Napier Hill. My flat run is along the beach path :)

Art deco amphitheatre on the waterfront

Typical houses on marine parade

Apologies I've not got much patience or skill for decent photography!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Late photos from Oz

At last some photos... delayed from Port Mac:

This one is from the swim start... serenity in the background, carnage in the foreground :)
The two below are just from hanging out in Port enjoying the sunshine. What a great place!!! Still undecided as to when I'm going back to do the race again (and hopefully finish!) - depends on how the PhD plans pan out for next year...

Less than a week to go...

... til I get on a plane back to the UK.

Aiming to finish off nearly 3 weeks of decent training here, before the long flight back, then an easier week to make sure I'm over any jet lag and ready for 2 weeks training camp in Italy :) I've some mixed feelings about getting back to the UK: great to see everyone back home, good to get to somewhere warm again (its got a little chilly here in NZ as Autumn sets in...), but I'm loathe to get back to the suburban sprawl, mass population and traffic! Guess that's why I opted for the training camp straight away: fits in with the summer schedule, but also cushions the return! Upside is I'll be at my bro's place in Carshalton, so its close to the edge of town - no 45 min ride out of London before you hit the countryside and he's a complete training nut too, so it should be a good environment to be based in.

Last two weeks training all good, I'm liking the structure of it. Have been surprised at the quality of the run sessions so far.

No photos of Abi, Dermot and Daniel unfortunately (I forgot!), but I'll get some of Napier before I leave!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Training in NZ

The first week of the new schedule went off with no probs... had to shift some stuff around to avoid a day when it sheeted it down on the thursday, so I postponed the hilly ride (I know, I've become a fair weather cyclist!!!), but the week was completed fine. Hit 93km running, which is good volume for me - I had been hitting higher average bike vols than this week (got 378km this week, had been averaging 400-500 in the period Nov-Jan) but at the expense of running mileage. Nice to have it laid out for a change... means that the sessions have a bit more purpose! The km markings on the Napier beachfront path have been a revalation too... no more guessing at run pace!

Have already started to mess with the schedule in week 2 ... moving stuff around so I can have a light weekend as I'm off to see Abi and Dermot and their new baby! :) Its a 5 hr coach trip north... I have cycled it in the past, with a day to get to Taupo, then another to Tauranga... nice ride, but its a pain with a bag for the weekend!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

New Regime

I've decided to commit to a new training regime. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post it, as I typically train as and when I think it feels right, within a broad progressive strucutre, but that means that I often miss sessions, change sessions half way through, move rest days etc. So I thought it would be a good experiment to try to be a bit more rigid on my training structure for a while... especially if I'm going to get a coach maybe later in the year... no point in doing that if I can't commit to executing a training plan. I'm still going to be flexible, but the overall structure is set out below. This is fundamentally a week that Brandon passed onto me, which he did for the period May-Sep last year I think, just as a basic week. The ranges etc allow for easier weeks every3-4, and for progression over time. The big shock for me isn't the volume, as I've consistently done this kind of mileage before, but its having a complete rest day (!) and a recovery day in there too. This means that there's a couple of monster days in there. Nice!

So, typically:

Yoga; massage

Morning Run Easy (6-10km; 30-50min);
Swim 4km (squad if poss);
Ride aerobic 2-3 hrs (60-90km)

Run aerobic 17-21km; (with 2x8km steady)
Ride easy 1-2hrs (35-55km);
Swim 4km bilateral (200,400,600,800,800,600,400,200)

Hill ride (4-5 hours) (100-135km);
Swim 4km; (squad if poss)
Easy run (6-10km, 30-50mins)

Swim 3km;
Easy Run 40 min (8-9km);

5km swim long course;
Ride (5-8) hrs
10km run off bike

Run 30-34km 2:20-2:40

SWIM 20km
BIKE 345-520km
RUN 81-94km

So that's all good. It wednesday, so its all hunkydory so far ;) We'll see how its going by sunday!
Given that I've got 13 weeks til Austria, I'll try to maintain this for 8 weeks or so before it'll have to start to change for peak and then taper. We'll see how it holds up on the training camp in Italy too... not sure if a (non-Epic) training camp will have more or less vol than this!!!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Back in NZ

Before I forget - here's a photo from IMOz... thanks Chuls!

I'm back in New Zealand after a couple of long days travelling. Staying with my mum for a couple of weeks in Napier. Its noticably colder here!!! Got a bit of a shock coming from high 20's/30 degrees to juat 16 degrees on thursday evening when we got to Napier.

I'll try to borrow a digital camera for some photos of the town... its art deco capital of NZ (and maybe even the southern hemisphere) and gets the great hawkes bay temperate climate, so hoping for not too much rain over the next few weeks though it is automn here now.

Back feeling much better for lack of volume cycling; will be going to see a chiro or osteopath early next week once easter weekend is over and things start opening up again.

Monday, 2 April 2007

My first DNF!

After a DNS (did not start) at Challenge Wanaka - excusable as it was at the end of Epic Camp, I now have my first IM DNF (did not finish).

Am I disappointed?? Surprisingly not... I think I've already learnt not to attach too much to one race - having a long term goal helps, but also as every year I've done IM I have had a race that didn't happen - in the first year I did IM Austria and was down for IMUK, but a crash wiped me out a few weeks prior to that. The second year I was at IMNZ, but the weather turned it into a half duathlon. This year....? Did something to my back on wed of race week, not sure exactly what (but there's suspicion over a dodgy massage where the woman gave me some Bowen - I wasn't too happy with that), but thurs am my lower back was a bit out and twining. I put it down to phantom injuries pre-race and just kept it out of any stress. Seemed fine by race day, but in the swim someone grabbed my left leg in the melee at the start and yanked it - think that's where everything went a bit pair-shaped. The swim went fine apart from that - it was CARNAGE for the first twenty minutes... a LOT of people on a narrow course thrashing around - it was intense! It settled down a bit by the time the second lap came around, by the end of which we were starting to overtake the back of the pack on their first lap. Got out and clear in 55:37, which I was quite pleased with - a clear improvement on any IM swim before now! I'd been taking it wuite easy on the second lap too, so I was very happy with that... in hindsight anyhow - i had to get a rough estimate of the time from the guys in transition as my watch had given up in the water. I'd had the battery replaced and (apparently) rewaterproofed 2 days earlier - it had survived a test in the sink for 10 minutes, but after 30 minutes of the swim (the last time I checked it and it was working) it died outright. This was fine for the ride: the odometer on the bike would suffice... for the run I figured it would be an interesting experiment to run with no HR info or time, but I knew the course and could guestimate pace well enough to make it through.

So, a leisurely but efficient transition, and onto the bike. Twenty minutes in and my back was tightening up. By halfway through the first lap I was a little concerned: I'd expect a tight lower back by the closing stages of the bike, but not this early! I stretched it as often as I could. Pacing wise, the bike was good. Probably a bit hard out on the first (of three) laps, but slowed for the second - not least because the south-westerly was getting up quite strongly, and so the outward leg was a push into the wind. THe return leg was beautiful though. Third lap felt good, but the headwind was really strong by now and the hills were taking a toll. All together the bike leg was awesome - passed really quickly. The only downside was the drafting - the Ozzies are AWFUL for it!! There was a massive pack about 10 minutes ahead of me and another about 10 behind... clearly all drafting. I sat in a rather empty zone between the two... kept me out of trouble at least. I was aiming for a solid well pace bike, which is what I got... I had to let a few people go, even a few on the second and third laps. But I wanted to pace it - knowing it was a more challenging ride than I had done before I was aiming for 5:15 instead of the usual target of 5 or 5:05. Including two tranisitons, my bike time was 5:19, and off the odometer I had 5:16, so that was good too. I'd had some doubts over whether I coul;d actually get my race day performance up there, having only managed 5:55 as my fastest in training, so that kept me happy.

T2: rolled in, had a bit of trouble dismounting as this involved bending in directions that my back no longer wanted to go. Transition was fine, jogged out. Back really not happy with me. I figured it would loosen up, so carried on. After 2 kms I was still running some kind of robot, dead straight back, leaning slightly back as leaning forward into the run was too painful. Near the end of the first short loop I stopped to try to stretch it out, and that's when I realised I couldn't bend over at all. Bending over to the right was also near impossible. So I carried on, it started getting tighter and tighter until I hit the road back past transition and had to start walking. In a matter of minutes I had gone from waiting for it to loosen off so I could get up to pace to making sure i got to the medical tent to make sure it was nothing too serious. I got into a chiropractor fairly quickly, got some ice on so that he could check me out and crack my back into a better state. Luckily it was nothing serious: just a strained ligament at the bottom of my spine. Phew. So for me it was off to find a hot shower and get to the pub and a run-side seat!

Valuable lessons learnt.

1) No matter how much yoga, core, aero-practice etc you do, you can still bugger you back,
2) Steer clear of dodgy Bowen-masseurs in race week.
3) Dropping out rather than walking round a marathon or trying to continue hobbling round was a very good move. What it gained me was: (a) peace of mind about my back, and stopping before i made it worse (b) an extra few weeks of decent training rather than recovery time from a half-arsed marathon attempt (c) the realisation that this os only one race of amny and that it is definitely better to pick your battles!

I don't have the mentality that finishing is the be-all and end-all of IM racing. My goals are about how well I finish, and making the most of training so that I can finish well. I know I can finish an IM, so its not about that any more.

That aside, I was quite pleased with how the race had been going... I'd been aiming for a race that would have worked out something like this: 55 swim, 5:15 bike and 3:10 run. So the swim and ride were both well paced, and I'd fueled up and drunk enough to set me up well for the run. Of the targets, the run leg was the biggest challenge... guess I'll have to find out the feasibility of that in Austria!

Had a great cheer squad on the bike leg... mum was out here and Jan, Bob, Alison and friends were VERY vocal!!

Might review the racing plan between now and July given that I've a few extra weeks where I'll not be in recovery. Back feeling better today... hopefully a few more days to rest it and I should be good for getting back on it properly. :p

Thursday, 29 March 2007

2 days to go...

Good morning!!! Its Friday morning, and taper week's gone to plan... only a 15 in run and 20mins on the bike tomorrow and its all done. Just a couple of errands to do today, but mainly I will be relaxing and putting my feet up. Looking forward to racing on sunday: I'll finally get some feedback on how the training's been going. Whether its good or bad though, I think I might try to get a coach when I get back to the UK. Don't get me wrong: I think I've done a good job of training for the goals I set: get a few months of solid, fairly high vol base in. Its the specifics that I kind of get lost on - noticed it especially in race prep... how much more intensity? what does intensity mean when talking about IM? But also in normal training, lots of questions. Epic was good for answering some of them, but I also learnt about a lot of other stuff - some of which I was already doing by accident, some which I'm not sure I'd ever do. I suppose it comes down to the fact that the last few years I've been training to train, and its only really been this year where I've got to grips with doing sessions I want to do properly, complete them and get through the rest of the week too! I used to find that my eyes were bigger than my stomach when it came to a lot of the training I was trying to do, so I'd end up with lots of 'recovery sessions'. So I guess now I want to switch to training to race - to be a bit more specific, make sure I'm training right all the time rather than just happy logging the miles cos it all goes in for base-building.

But pre-race, all's good. No injuries, feeling OK. Bit 'puffy' as AC was describing it yesterday - carrying a few extra kgs above race weight, but on the upside, apparently it helps you recover quicker ;) Port Mac is looking like an ad for lycra at the moment with far too many fit people trawling around on bikes and out running. Am going to make a concerted effort to avoid most of them today!!

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

4 days to go

Finally its almost here! :) Managed to cut down to about 18 hours training last week, so that's good tapering for me... only aiming for about 9 or 10 hours this week ahead of race day, so really easing up.

Bob has solved my race wheel situation - his buddy is one of the race directors who is lending me his Zipp 404's. Awesome - means that I won't have to punish myself on the rolling terrain with a disc come race day... not sure whether or not to use the Hed tri spoke the AC's hopefully bringing down on the front tho... ahhh decsions, desions!

Apart from that, think I am all set for race day. Just need to get a few more gels and do the registration etc, but all ready. I'm moving out of my flat tomorrow :( as the place was fully booked lng ahead of the race, but moving slightly more centrally so that's good for race moring. Have LOTS of work to keep me busy in the meantime... that's good as it'll keep me occupied and out of the way - with lots of keyed-up athletes arriving, the town is starting to get crowded!

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Taper Hell

Backing off on training, putting my feet up, relaxing more... sounds like it should be fun. So how come I don't really like taper??? Motivation went through the floor so that as soon as I realised I was on taper, I was practically doing nothing. Seems like I can only do large volume of nothing. But I hope its working. After 2 really laid back training days, swim this am and this eve felt good for the first time in a while. I just need to make it to race day whole and uninjured, right? There's started to be some more athletes arriving in Port, so race day really is next week!
Getting in an early ride tomorrow before bike goes in for a pre-race service. 9 days to go! :)

Monday, 19 March 2007

Sleepless night

Man, its hot here tonight. I'm finding I can't sleep - probably because I was trying out some caffeinated nutrition on my last long ride earlier... but WOW when they say its long-acting, they mean it! The heat's not helping much either. I'm not allowing myself to use the air-con because I want to acclimatise. I guess I'm as acclimatised as I'll ever be after 5 weeks here, but damn do I still sweat.

So its Monday, well - Tuesday now, a little under 2 weeks out from IMOz - taper time. Not quite sure how I feel about that... less training is always the difficult choice when there's no injuries!! Also means I get to see if I've made any progress over the winter. I don't even know if the base work I've been doing will show up yet. This long distance malarky sure does make you play the long game.

Time to see if I can slepe yet. I'm knackered... guess the 6am swim squad is out of the window: that'll count towards the taper then ;)

Friday 16th March

I'm enjoying the sun in Port Macquarie and trying to get ahead on some work. I am taking it easy today as I'm feeling the peak intensity (and the yoga... ouch!) - but just another couple of long hard sessions before taper really sets in next week.
It'll be an interesting race here at IMOz. On one hand, the course is going to be quite tough, so the times won't be directly comparable to IMAustria or IMGermany - some estimates put the course at 20 mins slower than the races I've done before. On the other hand, my last IM race was back in July, and I've had some decent blocks of consstent high volume training (and some decent rest) since then, as well as Epic Camp NZ where I did more volume than I ever thought possible. The choice of equipment is pretty much whatever I have: luckily I brought out my race bike back in October, but with training wheels. I'm hopefully borrowing a set of race wheels from Charlsey, but he's racing too, so I get whatever he doesn't think is right for the course!!! O well, beggars can't be choosers... I'll take whatever I can get. If it turns out that its the disc, then it'll be an interesting experience!
Did my last longish run back on wed, hitting 30kms including a complete lap of the run course. It reminded me that this may (fingers crossed) be the most injury free run-wise that I've ever been in the run up to an IM. Previously I have always had problems with shin-splits: before IMAustria I was on a near complete running ban for 2 months (except for a couple of races) and before Germany I was still quite variable with running consistency. I haven't been doing any massive mileage, but the consistency's been good so far this year. Plus I got myself some Brook's Beasts back when I arrived in Port nearly 5 weeks ago, and they seem to be helping - I finally admitted to having THE flattest feet and went for the most supportive shoes on the market. You gotta work with what you got I suppose!