European Champion

EuropeanChampion.jpgNot me unfortunately but Jo. Read about it here. I am so pleased. She went and won the ETU Long Course in Prague this last weekend and was the first age grouper home. It was a funny weekend for me not being out there as it had been our plan at the start of the year to both head out there aiming to get medals. Instead I was here in Rutland, on my own, working hard to get back to fitness. I did a hard ride at the time of the race kind of in sympathy. After a gentle hour or so I started to push hard with long intervals above IM effort. Got through the 100 mile point in 5:15. Been doing a lot of good quality riding whilst here with a decent level of hard riding. Came a bit of a cropper yesterday when I decided to ride to the coast by The Wash. I not only underestimated the distance but didn’t check the weather forecast and I had strong headwinds all the way back across the Fens. No longer did I feel like a strong rider hobbling back home 2 hours later than I’d hoped. I was wasted and spent a lot of the ride wondering how many people ever feel that level of fatigue, not only that but feel it whilst still knowing you have an hour of effort that you have to complete. It kept me going and I felt great back home completely zonked. I slept so well last night and felt great this morning.

Ironman UK was the other weekend and great news for a couple of friends (and readers). Russel Cox raced superbly and got his Kona slot. He’d been getting some stick on the odd forum about racing so much (6 IMs this year) but I think he’s proved that it can work. He had a couple of poor races early in the year but has now produced two awesome performances in 3 weeks. He ended Roth with a 3:11 marathon and then at UK ran 3:09. That is truly impressive. I have no doubts that he can get under 3 hours one day. To have 4 shots at qualification and get it at the last one shows real persistence. There’s a lot of “advice” out there that you can’t do more than one maybe two Ironman races in the year. Like so much ‘common wisdom’ it gets the perception of truth because it’s repeated so often but the repetition it just from loads of uninformed sources (ie they’re just repeating what they’ve “heard”). Try not to be limited by such ‘sense’, try things out for yourself. Russell has shown that racing lots can be done (admittedly he’s full time) as long as you’re sensible in your approach to recovery and listen to your body.

The second qualifier is Nick Rose. We met him at IM Wisconsin last year. He took the photo above whilst we watched 4 people finish in the last 5 minutes, one within the last 10 seconds! It’s taken this long to get the photo ! Anyway, Jo and I qualified in Wisconsin almost a year a go. Nick tried but was just outside the slots, now a year on he’s got his slot. AWESOME. Again, great persistence.

Roger had commented to me that we may need two tables in Splashers each morning in Kona for breakfast after our morning swim. He may well be right. Not sure how many readers are Kona bound this year but come say hi if you are. I’ll be swimming (probably) every morning at 7am from the pier for the two weeks before the race and most mornings will be found in Splashers afterwards drinking coffee, eating omelette, nattering and people watching. I can’t wait.

Our stay up here in Rutland is nearing it’s end. It’s proved even better than I’d hoped, especially the swimming. My aim was consistency, some hard riding and getting back in to running. In the 3 weeks and 2 days we’ve been here I’ve managed:

71.4km swimming

1,655 miles riding

37 miles running :O(

16 hours in the gym

The swimming has been mostly long steady state swimming. It’s included several 4 or 5km TTs plus the odd set of 400s. This evening I did a continuous 6k open water swim. In the past a few weeks of this sort of training has served me well. I’ll get to find out next week when I’m back in a squad.

The riding has included quite a lot of IM and above IM effort riding. I’ve ridden most days with a good mix of distances, terrain, effort and weather ;o).

Been to the gym twice each week and can feel myself getting stronger.

We’re eating healthily, helped a lot but Rogers excellent vegetable garden, green houses and orchard, and I’m getting leaner without trying. The next step is to start getting back serious on Paleo to really lean up.

Finally running. Sticks out doesn’t it. This is proving to require a lot of patience. It’s getting particularly frustrating as I feel super good when running but it seems if I get above 15 miles in a week I start ‘feeling’ my foot. I’m sure it’s a strength / gait thing and requires slow incremental increases. Part of me feels I’m being hyper sensitive but it will probably pay off to be cautious. It feels good when running but I feel aching after and the odd time get slight discomfort. This is not in the FHL tendon but in the joints of the middle three toes. When I feel this I back off. The trouble is that it’s looking unlikely that I’ll have done a decent long run ahead of Kona which means the Queen K could be interesting. I’m still visualising running low 3 hours but realistically I’m considering a run / walk approach. Viewing it as 26 mile reps with a walk through each aid station.

I must be feeling a little more positive about it as I’ve just entered Ironman Western Australia. This had been the plan at the start of the year hoping to have a shot at sub 9 hours, I feel the running is unlikely to be in that sort of form but it will still be fun to do and nice that my mum is able to come out and scream at me. The big focus is being in tip top shape for IM New Zealand in March and of course being super duper cycling fit for the length of New Zealand Epic Camp starting on Jan 1st !

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