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World Championship Silver – Bitter Sweet.

It’s always a tricky one when you race a big event like world champs, a lot of pressure, a big stage, fierce competition.
And your goals at the start of the day swiftly change as it unfolds before you.

It’s hard to be annoyed at myself considering I got a silver medal, I raced some really good numbers, and I’ve only had a few weeks training.

Although considering I had to do it one legged, I know there was plenty more in the tank.
The swim:

Going into the water I felt good, I found a nice rhythm early on and found some clear water in amongst the crowds. Considering I hadn’t swam for so long I felt like I was moving well & I knew this part of the race would be damage limitation. As always.
I managed to sight well & swim a good line, for once.


Until we turned into the sunrise.

Trying to sight through misty goggles heading towards the sun is like trying to ride a uni cycle on one leg blindfolded. If you’re me anyway. There was zero chance of that happening. It lasted around 400m before we turned back and headed for land. I managed to keep a decent rhythm the whole way and keep my energy levels nicely in check.

I emerged from the water in 59 minutes. Job done.

I took a bit of time in T1 (transition) to regather, apply suncream & head out on the bike.

The bike:

Usually my favourite part of the race, it’s very safe to say I hated 80% of it. A beautiful course that I couldn’t even play on.

The first bit was tasty. I knew off an hour swim the top guys were only maximum 20 minutes ahead, so I’d be able to get a visual early on and scope out who I was chasing.

Unsurprisingly I was chasing everyone.


The first 25k was an out and back flat road to the north of the lake, and I had only one job. Shut them down.

Legs on like a rocket, I felt alive. I knew I was on for a good day, ticking over counting people off one by one. The new bike was really purring, ripping up the road like it had an engine.

Going through some of my age group like they were a stop sign – make a statement – you won’t catch me.

Back through town and my knee began to twinge, trouble. Big trouble.

95km left and the pain has started, do I quit now & discharge myself, or keep going?

I put my head down & carried on. More flat before we hit the first hill. More people ticked off the list.

By the top of the first of the 4 hills, I knew I knew I was in for a bad day. I was still moving ok but I’d been limited to one leg. The left leg was spinning, but not generating any power. And it wasn’t a little niggle, it was an all out pain. I was burning through my Science in Sport hydration mix & bars faster than I’d have liked, the pain was talking it’s toll.

With every pedal stroke a knife been stabbed into my knee, I told myself I’d stop if I slowed down.

It was a draining experience, I felt sick with pain & I didn’t even know if I’d be able to run. I carried myself through the next hour before taking the foot off the gas & just coasted for the last hour.

A 3:10 bike split – job well done but a bitter taste in my mouth. There was more in the tank & I knew it wasn’t good.
A quick moment to pull myself together in t2 & decide whether I was actually going to run, before heading out on the course, ready to walk the last 30k for a medal. Happy with the day I’d had.

The run:

I was approximately 2.37 seconds into the run, I don’t even think I’d crossed the timing mat, when I heard mum scream ‘you’re in 4th, and there’s 5 minutes in it’.


Fantastic, as if I didn’t have enough to worry about even finishing the race, the pressure was now on. 5 minutes over 30k, unless I’m racing a pure bred runner, I back myself to shut that down.

So I made the decision there and then. Push through the pain, deal with that later, run hard & have a go at gold.

My legs felt good, the constant twinge in my knee took my mind off anything else. As the sun began to really set in, the temperature started to approach the 30’s and I knew it was going to be a tough one.

For 3 days I’d drank nothing but electrolytes, science in sports finest, so I knew the cramp should hold off, at least for the most part.

Quickly into third mum was relaying the times to me, 3 minutes & two beyond him. I’ve not travelled all this way to be outrun, it’s a mental game from here anyway.

I found a nice routine through the aid stations – water to the face – ice down the top – energy gel – something to drink. It was doing the job. I had an asics bottle belt keeping my hydrated between so I didn’t miss a single drop.

Step by step I knew if I stayed consistent, I’d get there.

And then, at 15km, bang on the half way mark, he crumpled. Second came tumbling backwards as I glided through & I knew at that point it was on.

Chasing & chasing. I’d already taken 3 minutes, could I take another two?

I was running hard, I’d thrown the game plan out the window completely and this was an all or nothing job.

My knee was agony but I knew if I didn’t stop, it wouldn’t buckle. Stay strong.

Counting out the km’s I could see myself getting closer & closer, could I take gold?
I managed to shut the gap to around 40 seconds before he opened his legs & started his final sprint. I had nothing to match. I gave a brief chase before residing to enjoy the last 2.5km, a smile on my face, knowing I’d done what I set out to do.


59′ swim.

3:10 bike.

2:18 run.


If you’d have offered me silver the morning before, the week before, two months ago, even four months ago. I’d have bitten your hand off.

But knowing I lost out by two minutes, when I could have had another 10-15 on the bike and maybe 5 on the run. Is a bitter sweet ending.


So I’ll get myself fixed up, piece it back together. And get after the next one.
Kona.

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Long Distance World Championships – Lets play Triathlon.

Sunday 27th August, a date marked in my calendar for exactly a year and it’s come round really fast.

I’ve not had the build up I wanted, far from it. But we’re past that now, & you can’t influence the past.

My bike is racked, my kit bags are packed, my training is done and I’m sat in the AirBnB with my feet up.


By the time you read this I’ll be in bed, attempting to sleep, anticipating what’s going to happen to me tomorrow.


The race starts at 6:35 in Penticton. So that’s 2:35 in the UK. Or 3:35 if you’re swanning around in Europe.

You should be able to find tracking links online. But google will be able to help you with that, isn’t it a great bit of software.

I’m number 5012 which will make me easier to find!


The game plan is go hard. I’ve not flown to Canada to splash around, have a pretty bike ride & then have a 30km walking picnic.
I can train in the UK, the world championships is very much a race.

I’m here to see what my body can do, see how far I can push it, and see just how much heat I can handle.

I could list my niggles & injuries all day, knees, feet, hips…. but I’m now at the stage where I’ve just put them to the back of my mind, & we’ll play what’s in front of me.

If I feel like I’m putting my Kona chances at risk I’ll stop, otherwise I’m going to be flat out, for as long as my body will let me.


A good race would be a 1 hour swim, a 3:10 bike and somewhere around 2:30 for the run.

Races never go to plan, but no matter what happens, I’ll have given it everything I can, no matter how far I get.

See you on the other side.

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Canada – Catch you if I Can.

Well we’re here. It’s come around fast, the week of World Champs 2017 numero uno.It’s no secret that the plan was to be hunting for medals, moving well, feeling fast, feeling strong.


Buuuut it’s just not going to be one of them years, and that’s ok! It’s just going to be one of the learning curve types. 


If I said this season has been easy, I’d be lying. Easy on the body sure, sat on the sofa watching junk tv on loop isn’t exactly challenging. But tough to cope with mentally.

It’s for this reason that I’m super excited to say that I’ll be on the start line of the World Championship this Weekend (26/27th August), in Canada. 


My knee is still quite sore and causing me issues, however all the structural problems have been resolved. That means I can’t do any more damage, by smashing my legs to bits. In theory. 

So how is the race going to unfold? 
First of all it’s probably wise to now say I’m not afraid of dropping out. I’ll race myself into the ground – given. But if I feel like I’m doing damage or my knee won’t hold, I’ll be pulling out immediately. Kona is top of the priority list this year and I need all the prep I can get for that. 

Well I haven’t swam for roughly 2-3 months, and I’m not exactly known for being a fish…. woops. So if I survive the swim, I’ll be a happy boy!

Then it’s onto the bike, the part that normally would be my strong point. Although with 5 months off who knows what could happen! 

  

I’ve got a new bike that some of you will have seen on photos and I’ve been working with the guys at CycleCentre congleton to make sure it both fits me well and is in top working condition. Both of which were working well (until I pulled it apart and put it in a box for travelling). But it’s fast. Really fast. So touch wood it won’t be the machinery letting me down. 

and the run? 

Well still slightly over weight, a predicted 32 degree day, we’ll just deal with that when we come to it. It’s going to be a painful afternoon in the office, that’s for sure. Nutrition will have to be executed perfectly for any chance of performance.

If you follow me on strava you’ll have seen I’ve been doing bits and bobs to make sure I’m in a good enough position to attempt the course. I’ve done a 100+ mile ride on the bike, the course is 75. And I’ve run a half marathon, the run is slightly longer, although I apparently ran a 1:32, so fun could still be had.


32 degrees will play against me.

I’m 2/3kg up on race weight. Not worried.

I haven’t swam – ah well.

Guaranteed chance of pain.

Slim chance of success.

Where do I sign up? 

Keep in touch, follow my social channels for plenty of photos to make you jealous in the office, and watch the race unfold at the weekend when I publish my start time and numbers.
After all, who doesn’t want to see a slightly crazy, undeniably unfit, marginally overweight northerner line up against the best in the world? 

 

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Top Tips for your First Endurance Event

Entering your first endurance event can be daunting. No matter what the discipline or distance, I’ve given you all a little help along the way. Hopefully for when the time comes and you all line up next to me on the start line!

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Logistics:

 

Many things come under this category. But the main one is do you know where you need to be, when and how you’re going to get there? Check for all the hidden costs. Things you might not think of if you’re staying a bit further out like how are you going to get to registration the day before? check in/transition, the start line. All these places require transport to and from, and if you’re doing a triathlon your bike is involved too. These simple things are often the ones you overlook when trying to plan an event.

Is your accommodation suitable? A young party hostel maybe isn’t ideal, nor is the 9 bed mansion 2 hours drive away.

 

 

Equipment:20916130_345037499253567_1071983538_n

 

Have you got everything? You can find great checklists online but mainly you need to stick to what you know. Have you got your race kit. swim stuff? Bike stuff? Run stuff? Easy but important. Then the second tier items. That help a race go smoothly but aren’t as essential. Sun cream, a cap, sun glasses, Vaseline.

 

 

Nutrition :20863712_345034512587199_2140900916_n

 

This is the downfall of almost every single beginner, but don’t worry, we’ve all been there. The most important rule is yet again that you stick to what you know. Don’t do anything you haven’t tried in training, and the main one. You’re out there for 5/6/7 hours if you’re doing a half ironman. Up to 17 if you’re doing a full. Let’s be serious about this, you can’t survive on energy gels and water for that period of time. Even a half marathon gets a bit funky if you’re not taking in the right stuff. It’s just not doable. Think about alternative approaches, breakfast biscuits, fruit & but bars, even sandwiches aren’t a terrible idea! For the extra minute you spend eating them, you’ll save 20+ at the end of the run when your stomach tries to rip itself apart.

 

20863752_345034489253868_1053004376_nClimate:

Check the weather, it’s a better idea to choose a race based on climate, but I know that’s not always possible. Races in the south of France, Italy, South USA are glorious, baking sun, but if you’re not used to it, you better be prepared. Electrolytes are key here. The biggest mistake people make is drinking water the 2/3 days before a race. You’re not hydrated, you’re full of liquid. You need to start to replace the salts and nutrients you’re going to lose through sweat on race day. Are you covered in sun cream? Fill your top with ice, take measures to cool your core temperature, you’ll thank yourself for it later.

If it’s a cold event, a swim, or long run. Do you have enough layers on? Do you need a wetsuit? Have you trained in these climates. Are your feet going to blister in the rain. Better to be prepared because otherwise that 4 hour race is going to feel like a life time.

 

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Relax:

This is an important one. It’s easy to get swept up looking around at all the gear, all the super skinny lean looking athletes, the all show no go middle age men.

No matter what anybody else does in the race, it’s not going to change your time. Forget about them. Interact, chat, be friendly, they’ll help you out & make you feel better. But don’t psych yourself out. You’ve probably trained hard for this & may out perform many of them! I found at my second ironman and also my first half, my gear was very sub par, but I put in some exceptional performances. And it didn’t change a thing anyone else did, so you learn not to worry.

 

 

Achievement:

This ones important, especially for everyone out there that’s done one or two races and is now hunting for an ever elusive pb. Maybe you’re trying to gain a few minutes here and there. What you have to remember is where you started and how far you’ve come along this journey. The majority of the population don’t complete endurance events, so getting them done is something to be proud of. Taking a step back and giving yourself some credit is often helpful to keep perspective. It’s only a race at the end of the day!

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