Well ladies and gents I now officially have a DNF on my racing record, not quite the objective for Equaliser triathlon but if I’m honest not altogether surprising. The 3 weeks before the race featured major toothache and then pain due to the removal of said tooth, it didn’t feature much in the way of training. Coupled with very little sleep the night before due to very noisy campsite neighbours and my expectations weren’t high.
So it was that after one lap of the bike course I decided to call it quits, my legs had been cramping from the moment I got out of the swim and I had nothing in my legs on a very hilly course (650m of elevation gain per lap). The build up didn’t help, nor did riding my bike less than 10 times before the race, turns out you can bluff you way around a hilly half ironman. But hey, I got to stand in the sun and watch my friends suffer in the increasing heat rather than drag myself around the run course.
The premise the Equaliser triathlon was men vs. women with the women setting of 32 minutes before the men which apparently is the average time difference between the sexes in a half ironman. There was a decent cash prize for whoever finished first, male or female, and there were some fast people there as a result. This race certainly had a very different feel to it than the Cotswold Classic, a very small field of 90 competitors vs. 500 odd and I’ll be honest I’m not sure I liked it. With the money on offer and the small field it all felt a little serious and there was very little chat with the other competitors.
It’s the final countdown… (and yes I did sing that out loud as I wrote it) race day is Sunday, the Cotswold Classic is here, and I’m in that wonderful period pre race where I want to eat the whole contents of my fridge and am convinced that I have definitely not done enough training. The final week before a race is always a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions isn’t it? I was getting a bit of pain in my left leg yesterday and so of course starting imaging not being able to start the race let alone finish it, but a quick foam roller session seems to have sorted that out.
Realistically I’ve done as much training as I could have done with the time available, sure I missed a session here and there but I largely stuck to my plan. I’d have loved to get some more cycling in but family and work commitments made that hard. I’m sure with 6 months perfect training I could be faster but few people have that luxury. I’m happy with what I’ve achieved in training especially considering when I started way back in January I hadn’t ridden my bike for over a year and I can’t remember the last time I actually swam. Continue reading Cotswold Classic race preview→
I’ve come back from York last week and already started thinking about marathons next year and which race to enter to give myself a chance of a PB. That perhaps is all your need to know about the Yorkshire marathon; a great race in a beautiful city. Running a PB always helps of course, a 13 minute PB no less compared with Taunton marathon way back in April. Not the 3.15 I was aiming for but I was quite happy with 3.26 and if I’m honest knew that anything close to 3.20 was going to be a good achievement.
York has a really nice balance between being a big city race with all the support and race organisation that goes with it but being small enough that getting to and from the start isn’t a big hassle. In fact we walk/jogged the 1.5 miles from our accommodation to the start which was the perfect warm up and then just trotted into our starting pen a few minutes before we needed to be there.
It was a pretty darn cold start to a race, always tricky knowing what to wear in those conditions isn’t it? You know you’re going to warm up when you start the race but how much is the question. I went with a t-shirt and singlet combo which resulted in slightly numb hands and arms for the first couple of miles. It was also misty for all but the final mile of the race which meant the temperature was actually very pleasant for long distance running. But alas we didn’t get to see any of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside as it was hidden under a blanket of white fluff.
The first few miles are around the city and then you head out into the countryside so you get some fairly long stretches on country roads with nothing but the sound of your breathing for company. Every so often the road wound through a village where the streets were lined with the locals cheering and offering pots of jelly babies to the runners. But there were 2 moments that will live in my memory; first the high fiving vicar in one village stood in his full robes cheering the runners past before he held his Sunday service and secondly the bag piper whose music came drifting through the mist at mile 7 and got louder and louder the nearer we got. Great moments that really give you a boost as the miles start to grind.
I was perfectly on track for my target time until around mile 17 and then just couldn’t quite hold the pace. I was losing 15-20 seconds a mile and just couldn’t pick it up again before hitting the real grind of miles 22 onwards. But I did it, I held on and didn’t give into the voices telling me to walk. That I’m proud of and know that I couldn’t have pushed any more, the final hill which is 500m from the finish almost broke me before of course giving it a bit of a sprint finish to end with.
Now I’m done for the season bar one local 10k in November, I’ve covered many many miles this year and completed 4 big races. It’s time now to take a break and focus on family time (baby no.3 didn’t interrupt my race and still hasn’t arrived!). I have started thinking about next year though; I definitely have the marathon bug and definitely want to do another autumn one, I think the cooler weather suits me.
I also have winter training plans, mainly in the form of strength and conditioning training. My dad took this lovely photo of me during the race at mile 2 but if you look at my leg collapsing in you’d have thought I’d covered the marathon distance already. Definitely need to work on that and get strong ready for another season of racing, one more thing to help push that PB down.
This is it, I’m officially in taper mode for the Race to the Stones, still going to be putting some miles in but have dialled back the weekend long runs and now looking to tick over a little. Feeling distinctly nervous now if I’m honest, it’s all becoming a little real and of course the doubts over your training start to kick in don’t they?
I had a pretty good build up though, I stayed healthy and although I was probably a little slack in May at times I’ve picked up the pace in June and got some really good back to back long runs in at the weekends. In an ideal world I’d have done a 30 mile training run but I just don’t have the time to fit it in with family life so went for the 2.5 hour back to back option instead. I also pushed the pace on one weekend to test my legs out a little, felt really strong running 16 miles at almost 30 seconds under my normal marathon pace. That was like getting an instant shot of confidence straight into the blood stream. It may not be the best training for an ultra but confidence is oh so important for doing these things.