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2019 – Learning to Race Badly

Well that didn’t quite go to plan!

I’ve been pondering this race report for a few days now. It’s Thursday, the race was Sunday and I’m still not quite sure how this is going to pan out.

_MG_2114My legs are still smashed, my pride in a bush in Hamburg somewhere and any 2019 Kona dreams are now a distant memory.

Going into the race I felt absolutely in the shape of my life! As I did in Africa, as I did in Barcelona. But this one is slightly different. There’s nothing I’d have changed, nothing I’d do differently. Though it didn’t come off.

3/3 races have gone South for a variety of different reasons, and they’ve all taught me their respective lessons.

I’m still struggling to put my finger on just what went wrong in Hamburg. Sure, you can say I overbiked – but I was very sensible. And sure, you can say I hit the first half of the run too hard, but again, I knew exactly what I was doing. Or so I thought.

_MG_2074It’s clear that something went wrong. And whatever it was I need to put my finger on it to make sure I don’t do it again.

2019 has been difficult for me, I don’t really think I’ve found my feet in any race. Stafford/Hever are probably the closest I’ve come, but there’s still been more to learn, lots I would have done differently. Which is really hard to take, and mentally it’s difficult to keep pushing when you feel like you’re just not capable of the race you’re chasing.

And as I write, I find myself wondering. Am I as fast as I think?

_MG_2059Sure. I know I’m not one of the worlds best, but am I actually just an average age grouper?

On my day I can hold more than 95% of age groupers to the tape once we get onto the bikes. But that elusive sub 9 still evades me. So many would have, could haves. What ifs and maybes.

When I write down the sub 9 ironman on paper, how it looks, it’s achievable:

1:05 swim. I’ve swam that comfortably twice now.

_MG_22084:40 bike. Well I’ve done around that 3/4 times and can knock that out in training no worries. Regardless of weather, though mountains usually have their say.

That’d leave a 3:10 marathon if you took 5 minutes in transitions… Which I’ve done twice.

I’ve run a 3:05 off the bike and a 2:42 marathon straight. A 1:20 half off the bike after holding 305W and some huge runs in training… but then I’ve never quite strung it together in an Ironman. Barcelona is probably the closest I’ve come with the flats & crash holding me back.

_MG_2154So it sounds do-able on the right course. Which would put me right up there with the top Age-Groupers on most days. I’ve beaten guys that are now pro, I’ve come within minutes of some of the worlds top Age Groupers.

So it must be in there. But yet again I find myself well behind the dream.

It’s hard to take. Hard to swallow.

If you were to write a list of things you need to complete to do a sub 9 ironman, I’ve probably punched every ticket. In training the form is there, the speed is there. But it just hasn’t happened. And what you’re capable of are very different to what you’ve done. Anyone could say they could do it.

So we have to work out where the races are going wrong. And taking the lessons from the races. You only lose if you don’t learn something.

Ironman Hamburg:

_MG_2052In Hamburg I learned that my swim is moving in the right direction. I swam comfortable and didn’t pick a particularly good line or get any feet, but still snook under that 1:05. We’ll work on this through the winter to find some extra speed at the cost of the other two disciplines. It’s clear that’s what needs to happen.

I rode a 4:42 without a Garmin and barely riding for the last 20km to make sure I was ok going into the run. I rode solo for the whole 185km. Pressed into the pedals. Nobody to pace me, nobody to hide behind, just me and my thoughts. It was possibly the best ironman bike leg of my career.

_MG_2084It was windy, hot and relentless. But my heart rate was under control, I was careful with my nutrition and followed the plan. I knew early doors I’d also have work to do, and I did that work. From start to finish I executed a fantastic bike and wasn’t far behind some of the pro’s who were working off each other.

Coming off the bike I was exactly where I wanted to be. Physically, mentally, I was ready to go. My legs felt good and I took to the run course strong. I was careful to pace the first 10km at an intensity I could hold for well more than a half. And I was pulling myself back. I eased up the hills and let my legs flow on the descents. (not that there were many of either).

_MG_2115Half way and I was into 2nd, 8th Age grouper on the road and still feeling strong. Hurting, but feeling strong. I was racing boldly, aggressively and how I like to race. Chasing and not worrying.

And the next thing I knew. I was sat on the pavement at KM 25 wanting it to end. Wishing it was all over and I could stop. I’ve never wanted to quit anything more in my life. I was ready to walk back into town and hang up my hat.

Paul Lunn barked at me, told me to get up and get going. I responded almost instantly. It was the voice I needed. I was back, locked in on Paul’s shoulder and trotting. I could still hold on for 3rd I told myself. But my stomach was turning, my head pounding. My body didn’t want to play.

_MG_2173I fought and battled. I’d trained so hard, sacrificed so much. I couldn’t let myself quit now.

But it was too late.

My core temperature had got out of hand, I couldn’t bring it down. I was watching everything I’d thought of for the last few years slipping away and there was nothing I could do.

I brought myself to a walk. Refocus, 2 minutes then run the rest.

_MG_2079At KM 34 I quit. I don’t know why, but I headed straight first for a bush. Probably seeking shade, somewhere to get away from the sun. Somewhere people couldn’t see me.

A German man who’d watched me go in from 300m down the road fished me out. “my friend, you’ve got 3 bands. You’re not stopping here”.

But my day was over. I followed him as much as I could. He was on his first lap, a long way to go. But he had an infectious enthusiasm. He’d dreamed of this day for a long time, he wasn’t going to let the heat stop him.

_MG_2137I couldn’t let him down. I resorted to a run/walk. Broken. The glasses/visor combo hiding a face that didn’t want to be seen. Fixated on the floor.

I made an effort to jog from the last timing mat down to the finish. I crossed the line with a 3:37. A 9:33 total.

It’s hard to find perspective in the chaos. I was chaperoned to the finish area but I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to be around anything to do with the sport. I was devastated, I really felt like I’d let myself down.

I quickly left to find a quiet corner with my family, and broke into tears pretty shortly after.

_MG_2246There was no sweet taste of finish line. I didn’t even feel like I’d battled when it went wrong. Having stopped running 3/4 times I felt like I’d quit on myself.

It’s in these moments that you really realise how much it all means.

So much sacrifice, so many things you miss to train, sleep, eat well. So many things I’d do different if I wasn’t in the sport, and for what?

Well I’ll tell you.

For the dream. For the hope of a good day. For the race I know I’m capable of. Knowing that the harder I fight day in day out, and the more times I put myself on that start line.. One day it’ll come off.

So I have to look forward. There’s nothing I’d change about the race, nothing I wouldn’t do again. Nothing I’d do differently in my build up. And that gives me confidence.

It wasn’t my day, it wasn’t meant to be. I can’t change that.

_MG_2105My next race is the 70.3 World Championship in Nice. I’m going for no other reason than to have a good hard hit out, and cross the finish line with a smile on my face. I’ve got no expectation, no plans. I’m racing with some of my closest friends in the sport and against some athletes I hugely admire. People I’ve raced and trained with on and off for the last few years. It’ll be a fantastic experience and I’ll soak up every minute of it.

Then, before 2019 is out I’ll stand on an ironman start line again. I don’t know when and I don’t know where. But the race will have a main focus.

It’ll be to race well.

To finish 2019 feeling like I’ve left it all out there. Nothing unfinished. No if’s, no buts. No what ifs.

_MG_2104So I have to regroup for that. From Monday morning I’ll be back at it. Making myself as fit as possible. Leaving no stone unturned as we go into the last few months of the season. So that when winter comes around I can embrace it with a smile on my face. Enjoy some time off and focus on my 2020 plans knowing I’ve done everything I can, and take plenty of positives from the season. 2020 is the time when I hope to really learn how to dominate the distance. Rather than let it dominate me.

The ironman distance is a difficult one. It’s a beast like no other. And you absolutely can’t be on top form every race. So I have to take the hits, learn the lessons and keep moving forward.

For now I’ll leave you with the Theodore Roosevelt quote that’s been ringing in my ears all week:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”




Good performance, bad performance, good performance…. 

Hey! It’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper (fingers to keyboards), and scribbled any results or thoughts down!

IMG_9782It’s been a tough few weeks and I’ve taken on a couple of the U.K.’s more viscious 70.3 races. Ironman staffs was quickly followed by Swansea half marathon, which in turn rolled in Hever Castle Gauntlet.

We’re just over 2 weeks out from Hamburg, and I’ll say it straight. I’m in the shape of my life. 

I won’t lie in that I’m not where I wanted to be this year in terms of a complete triathlete, but as we move forward, I’m happy with where I am. There’s still a lot of work to do on my swim & transitions. And we can definitely squeeze some more speed out of the bike/run moving forward, but for now I’m satisfied.

3 half Ironman races in 5 weeks, and I seemed to go from strength to strength. I start a bit flat and sluggish in Slovakia. I couldn’t quite string the bike performance together that I know I’m capable of, but ran well.

_MG_1848Staffordshire my swim let me down, but I biked strong on a limited gear set and managed to put a strong run on the end to make the podium and pick up a 70.3 world championship spot.

Two solid performances in the space of a week immediately indicated that the fitness is there. Better performances than any I put together in the 2018 season and nice to build on a slow start to the year.

I rolled out of Stafford with some good recovery, and it was time to build towards the next focus, Ironman Hamburg. On the way I did Swansea half marathon. I woke up the morning of the race really not feeling myself. Dizzy, sick and a nose bleed just before the start. The 5 hours in the car the day before, and 95 fairly spicy miles on the bike, might have had something to do with it! 

DSC_5749My heart rate was the second highest it’s been in 6 years, and my speed was down below how I ran in Stafford. Without the swim, bike or hill on the course. 

Ruling it straight out as a bad day, I had a couple of days to let the body recover before getting stuck into a big week and a build towards the Hever Castle Gauntlet. 

A middle distance race with 1500m of elevation on the bike and 300m on the run. By far the toughest 70.3 course I’ve ever lined up on, I knew I’d have to try and stay in contention on the swim to have a chance of making the podium.

Quickly shuffled backwards, I left T1 with a touch and go timing. Right on the edge of what was acceptable to keep me in the race. Unfortunately Matt Brooke managed to catch Brett before I managed to catch Matt Brooke. The duo worked well together to hold me off the bike coming into T2 with a 2-3 minute lead over me. I knew I’d have had to come off the bike in the mix to have a chance of keeping up on the run.

_MG_1599After a quick toilet stop I ran really strong from start to finish. Never really opening the taps, I managed to pull the gap to Matt back to 1 minute, the same he held over me in Stafford. Ed Castro finished 11 seconds in front but it was a place I was happy to let slide. I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone ahead of Hamburg, the hard work has been done.

Coming in 5th overall and putting yet another solid performance together, the confidence is building.

I feel like as a complete athlete I’m fitter than I was last year, though there’s still work to be done. I’ve gained a bit of extra speed on the bike from some tweaks here and there. My run is back to strength, and the swim is going from strength to strength.

_MG_1871Though I’m not naive enough to think that there’s no work to be done, the focus this winter will certainly be trying to get the swim down right into contention with the top athletes. 

But for now the focus is all eyes towards Ironman Hamburg as we enter the final stages. Looking to improve on my last two disappointing ironmans, and go comfortably under that 9 hour barrier.

20 minutes and 1 second under if you’re here looking for a time.

That being said, I’ve learned first hand how fast an Ironman can go down hill. So I’ll take the confidence from the races of the last few weeks, build on the form and make sure I’m completely ready to leave it all out there. And excited to see just what my body is capable of!


Ironman Barcelona – Character Building

A week on and I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on last weeks events – this one got quite long, so make sure you’ve got a brew ready!

I always say it, but it’s a very weird feeling when you arrive at your A race. It’s gone through your head every day for almost a year, if not longer. And it finally arrives. You’ve played out every scenario, battered your body for days, weeks and months on end. Every time you’ve hurt in training, it pops into you head. When you want to quit, it propels you on wards. When your whole body is telling you to stop, the thought of the A race picks you up, and gives you an extra gear.

20180520_11141This year for me, that race came in the form of Barcelona. Luckily having had a great season, I knew my form was good. I was confident in my abilities, and I had nothing to prove to anyone. Nothing to prove to anyone but myself that is.

I didn’t need a big result, I didn’t need to go fast. I didn’t need to excel myself. But I really wanted to.

I wanted the race to reflect all the hours I’ve put in. The times I’ve been broken, but still fighting. And the times when it’s just all a bit too much.

The people close to me will know that I don’t really have an off switch. Joel more than anyone knows he’ll never have to tell me to work hard, but he’ll regularly pull me back. I don’t miss training, I do every session to the letter, and give 100% day in day out. When I’m in the triathlon bubble, nothing else matters to me. I’m entirely immersed by it, and I could stay there for days on end.

452A3840While some people believe I’ve done some amazing things in my short time in triathlon, I still want more. I don’t feel like I’ve ever executed the perfect race. It’s always just eluded me. I’ve never been fully satisfied with my performance, and that drives me every single day to be better. To push the limits. To see what I’m capable of.

I thought Ironman Barcelona was going to be that race.

And weirdly, to a lot of extent, it was.

Don’t get me wrong, it was far from perfect, and there are a whole host of things I’d change across all 3 disciplines. I could have gone almost 25 minutes faster on a “good day”.

But what I proved to myself, is that no matter what it throws at me. Until my body is broken and can’t take any more. I’ll keep fighting. Not fighting for places, or positions. But fighting to work hard, and give something back to everyone that works hard for me.

Race Day:

452A3839It was a gloomy morning. We left the apartment later than I’d hoped, but that was entirely down to me taking longer to eat breakfast. I was very calm, very composed. I knew exactly what I had to do, and I was visualizing that in my head. My playlist was pumping in my left ear, with my parents nervously knocking around the apartment in my other. We don’t speak much the morning of a race, it’s very tense. Everyone involved knows the routine, knows what has to happen. It’s a carefully calculated process. The ritual that calms the nerves before the battle.

We walked out into the rain. It was going to be a damp one, but we live in the UK, there was nothing there that was different to what I’ve done before.

I got to my bike and the back tyre was flat. No spares, none in my bag. Rookie. I was already acting like the village idiot. Staying calm and collected, I let everyone around me panic. I always knew we’d fix it, but it did get a bit close at one point. With the air in the tyre, I took in the last of my nutrition, dropped my kit and headed down to the start.

The Swim:

452A3846It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of the swim, this year it’s been about damage limitation for me. I know I’m never going to win the race here, but as we saw in Almere, I can definitely lose it. I lined up in the 1:05 pen. A time I definitely knew I was capable of, right at the front to avoid the over ambitious athletes that seed themselves 10/15 minutes quicker than they know they can swim. And before I knew it, we were moving. Athletes started in lines of 6 every 5 seconds. I felt ready, I knew what I had to do through the day.

I ran at the water and plunged straight in. With eyes set on the first buoy, I let my arms spin quicker than I knew would be comfortable for the first 3.8k. Right from the start we were being hammered by the waves. The sea was lumpy, unforgiving. I knew it could be a very slow day at the office, but I was determined to go quicker than I have before. It was very busy, I was surrounded by athletes but there was space. It was less punchy that it has been in the past.

452A3843From buoy to buoy I knew I was swimming well. Picking a good line despite the thrashing waves, the way out felt smooth. I knew we were in for an absolute storm on the way back. A cheeky look at my watch and the numbers looked good. I did this more to pick up the pace if I needed to, but I was happy where I was. When we turned the waves hit us like a bus. From a relatively smooth outing, this was going to be a long way home. Occasionally you’d time your sighting wrong and look a 4/5 foot wave straight in the face, back down. Go again.

I swam a very wide line on the way back, making it much harder for myself than I needed to. But looking at the watch I knew the distance was slightly short, coming in around 3.6km. So I had 200m of damage limitation.

Out of the water and I looked at the time, 1:05 on the dot, exactly where I need to be. Job done. Straight through transition and I was ready, time to play.

The Bike:

452A3863The first 3km of the bike were “aero free”. A quite dangerous technical section, that I knew I’d just have to cruise through. Nobody would be doing anything special here, so wait for the moment to go. I knew as soon as we had that smooth tarmac of the bike course underneath the wheels, I’d be away. Calm and confident.

But something was wrong.

The front wheel was making a clicking sound I was all too familiar with.

It sounded like it was flat, had I picked up a slow puncture over night? The tyre clearly wasn’t pinching the wall of the wheel properly. This meant every rotation, there was a click.

I stopped half way up the hill and gave it a squeeze, it wasn’t flat, I didn’t have any spares anyway. So there was only one option. Attack.

It’s very unnerving riding with a noise from the front tyre. It’s very hard to trust through the corners. I thought it was slowly going flat, but there was nothing I could do about it.

452A3946Still riding through people, I knew that the speed was still ok. But was I working too hard for it? My heart rate monitor wasn’t working properly so I had no idea. I was at the mercy of the bike gods. I could only keep believing the training, trust my legs and what I’ve done before. And keep ticking over.

I’d raced for 3 years without the need for power & heart rate, you don’t forget that. I knew I was in control.

Huge packs were already beginning to form out on the course, with the referees not seeming to mind too much, as always. I wouldn’t be able to control anyone else, and I was still riding through packs of 15/20 guys like they were on mountain bikes.

Trying to ignore the wheel, the first 60km went relatively smooth. I’d settled into a nice rhythm, I was doing what I do best, and I felt in control. Sticking to the nutrition and race plan, I was exactly where I needed to be. Coming back into town, I chatted to a referee who told me why front tyre did in fact look spongy. I decided I was going to stop at chat to the mechanics. They’d be able to solve the tyre sharply, and solve these issues. I’d lose 2/3 minutes, but it would still be race on.

I pulled in, we sorted it out, put some air in and I was there less than 2 minutes. Perfect, off we go.

Back on the hunt, I jumped through a big pack and into no mans land. Working hard, but I knew my legs could handle it. I was on the hunt for the front, and I was going to keep working until I made it there. Riding incredibly well, I could see the gap to the pros wasn’t really increasing huge amounts. Because of this I knew I’d be shutting the gap on the Age group field.

452A3955Winding down into Sant Pol De Mar, I was tucking into the flat section at just above 50kph, when it hit me. A bang like I’d be shot at, and the front end went immediately slack. Wobbly and hard to control, I’d been here before. Instinct takes over, reactions happen quicker than you can think, and I had to jump straight onto the brakes and take out the speed. Without making any sideways movements, I knew I’d slide. Slow down, stop.

I screamed. Expletives pouring from my mouth, I knew I was in trouble.

I was static for about 20 seconds before I finally pulled myself together.

Well, what were the options?

I didn’t have any spares, not that that would have even helped. I’d blown a hole in the side of the tyre wall, without a new tyre. It was un-repairable. Race over. Season over.

I was 8km and 2 big hills out from the turnaround point, I couldn’t get help even if I wanted it. Static for 90 seconds now, pull yourself together Jack.

Here to race. Here to finish. I flew to Barcelona to battle, to fight until the end, no matter what the outcome.

452A3908And before I knew what was happening, I was running. Running with my bike to the turnaround. Even in helmet and cleats I could make that in just shy of 40 minutes, all in I’d lose an hour of racing max. Yeah my legs would be shot. But that’s all part of the fun right?

2/3 minutes passed, 500m down the road when I saw it. Like something out of a movie when they give you a second chance.

Despite being one of the most unlucky athletes at that point in the race, I’d just simultaneously become the luckiest.

“Mechanical Aid – 500m”.

I was at full tilt now. My quads screaming. I’d given up all hope of racing, but I knew I could maybe get the wheel fixed?! they might have a spare tyre, it was a chance at least.

Into the tent and they instantly got to work. No english was spoken, however they were two of the best mechanics I’ve ever seen in action. Knowing exactly what needed to be done, they worked in unison like a formula 1 team to get me back out and into the game. Packs of cyclists were pouring through, I knew I was losing time. But it didn’t matter. I was going to finish, I was going to get a chance to run.

20180624_11442When they handed me the bike back I’d lost around 13 minutes. I knew it was going to be race over, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me laying it all down! I made a decision. I was going to go on the attack, for 90km and see just how much I could claw back. The tyre wasn’t making any more noise, the bike was finally ready to play. So I got stuck in.

Back through the towns, round the bends, up the hill, good descent. Fast flats, neat corners, through a pack, off the front, into the gap, attack, go again. Calculated, collected, fast. I was finally where I needed to be. Making a big move on the front of the race, hungry for speed, with a wry smile on my face. My legs were screaming, lungs burning, and I was so alive.

Obviously as with all my racing, I never seem to take the easy routes. The rain had began to pour, and the roads were getting slippy. Knowing this I was being far more careful through the bends, and making it up on the straights.

7_m-100832874-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2235_006432-19178166Coming into one of the wider roundabouts, I had slowed but clearly not enough. The new tyre lost grip, and the front end whipped out from under me.

Hitting the deck at 40kph, I slid straight into the concrete barrier.

Was this it?

How much did that hurt?

Everything happens so fast, you cover all 354 outcomes in the space of half a second, and before I knew it I was lay on my back facing the sky.

In under half a second, I knew what was about to happen. I was going to get straight onto my bike, and carry on. I’d know pretty quick if there were any issues with the bike/my body.

Before I had time to go into shock, I took on some coke and a gel instantly, and slotted into the back of a big group that had just ridden through to assess myself.

Sore. Sore but moving.

My hip was burning, I couldn’t quite tick over like I had been. But I was still moving.

The next 30km were damage limitation to get myself home and reassess. I rolled into T2 twitchy and sore, but we’d made it.

The Run:

452A3993I had to take a moment to decide whether I was going to run or not. It only took at moment, there was no way I was going to throw in the towel. As long as it was possible for me to be moving – I would be.

I ran out of the tent and onto the run course, the hip was sore. It would bite me later on in the marathon and I knew that. But for now – it was time to do business.

Ticking over nicely, I took the race km by km. Picking off athlete after athlete. I took nutrition when I needed it, kept cool and hydrated. The course was bleak, long and empty at points. But I wasn’t here to enjoy the views. I was attacking for the 2:59 I’d trained so hard for. I knew it was within me, it was whether I could hold it together after a tough day at the office.

I wasn’t here to worry about what was going to happen 30km down the road, control the now. Stay smooth, don’t run hard, just manage the job. Some great cheers from family and friends lifted my spirits. I don’t flinch when I’m racing, don’t smile, don’t engage. I just roll back into my head and concentrate on the job.

The lights are on, but nobody is home. Though for the first 20km, I hear everything. Mum & Dad just outside transition willing me on, Mitch & the family, Jan, all screaming for me to run faster. Hannah & Gill going crazy on the corner after transition, Robin, Steph, Jonna & the chaps going mad from the benches in the middle of huge crowds. People at home would be tracking, Laura would be posting to instagram, I’d no doubt be getting heckled in the group chats. All these people, fueling the legs. Giving me the energy I needed, after all, I needed all the help I could get!

452A4007 452A4006Through half way in 1:29:30, still where I needed to be. As the body deteriorated I was in control, I might be able to make this one?!

At 30km I’d began to hurt. I knew I’d be out of the race, I’d lost too much on the bike. But I was still fighting. And I could be on for a run pb too?! My frazzled brain trying to do maths, I knew all I needed to do was keep the legs ticking over.

By km 32 it was all a bit too much. All I had was 10km left to run. I could visualize my 10km route at home, the number of times I’d run it this year. I knew I was capable, but the speed just wasn’t there. My throbbing hip was telling me to stop, my legs had had enough, but it wasn’t over.

I managed to limit the damage of the last 10km to around 4 minutes, not ideal, but still a successful end to a long day at the office, and a successful season.

In The End:

There are lots of could haves, and would haves surrounding the race. There’s no doubt that I’d have been right up in the mix with some of the pros, and probably off the front of the age group field. But I wasn’t. I didn’t do that.

Though, what I did do, was fight. I battled, and I won.

I went through the ringer, and at no point was quitting an option. I showed the character that I knew is in there. And despite one of the roughest days of racing I’ve experienced, I never let it become an excuse, and I never let it stop me.

452A4032I told myself I was going to PB in all 3 disciplines, and to be 5 minutes off that on the bike is nothing shy of incredible.

I swam a PB.
I ran a PB.
I set an Ironman PB.

It capped off a great season, but it hasn’t scratched the surface of where I want to be. I’ve enjoyed a good thorough break, and I’m already hungry to see what I can achieve next year.

Work hard through winter, keep off the injuries. And next year, we’ll go again.

Until next time!

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ITU Long Distance World Championship 2018 Race Report

After some wild young Danes partied into the earlier hours of Friday morning – I can’t say I slept exceptionally well the night before the race. Though there’s not much new there.

The 4:30 alarm buzzed – but I was already wide awake. It was time to play, I didn’t need any warning.

5:15 we left the house to walk to transition and I was one of the first there. People that have seen me prepare for big races know I get incredible nervous. I’m often sick on the start line, hard to talk to, very twitchy.

But this time I felt different. I was very calm, very relaxed. I think the biggest difference was I was confident.

I trusted my legs, the work I’d put in this season and the form I had. Joel and me had left no stone unturned to get me to the start line, we’d looked at every aspect of form and although I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be – I knew I had a big performance in the body and mind.

Having crashed out of a big race 3 weeks before – I knew what that felt like. And I was ready for it to happen again. The comfort in my resilience in these situations kept my mind at ease. Don’t over think it – what will be will be. If it’s over in that way, there’s always a next time.

DSC_8949As I approached my bike I could see instantly something was wrong. I had a flat front tyre.

No worries, I had 2 spare tubes with me and time. I quickly fixed it up and got underway.

Into the bag for nutrition and I’d only brought sparkling water. Fantastic. Don’t complain – pour it in, no excuses.

It was clear that this time round, this race – I was going to have to make my own luck. But I was ready for that.

A quick portaloo stop, a pretend stretch and we were into the starting pen. A few handshakes later – and it was time.

DSC_9058The water was nice. Fresh, clear, though slightly salty. The start line was compact so I knew it was going to be a punchy one.

As the horn went I was straight into the washing machine. I didn’t let myself panic or get cycled backwards. Instead I picked my line, and held it.

I picked a good line and good feet to follow on the way out. Although it’s hard to know how well you’re swimming, I was pleased with my efficiency. I didn’t let the jellyfish phase me – I just had to get to my bike in one piece. And hope it was in one piece waiting for me.

Out of the water at the turn around and up the steps, across the timing mat – there weren’t many people around, never a good sign. Had I been dropped already? Again…

Into the water and I tried to find some feet to follow. There was a small group just ahead but I couldn’t shut the gap. It was a long, lonely way back to transition from here. I was going to have to do it solo. The wave behind swam through me very late on – this gave me confidence – I can’t be that far back.

Out of the water and into transition. Safe to say it was an absolute shambles. I couldn’t find my bag as it was hanging on the wrong hook. After over a minute of faff with a marshal, I got my kit and got underway.

Out of the snake pit – into the fire.

DSC_9169When I started the bike I had little confidence. My position hasn’t been fully dialled in yet, I’d had a few mechanical issues in my warm up rides and I wasn’t sure how it would handle. It was a windy day and I knew that would suit me, so I just got my head down – looked for that 282 Watts on the screen, and ticked over.

3 words repeated over and over in my head. Calm. Collected. Composed. There was no point smashing everyone in the first 30km, it was going to be a long morning in the chair.

Joel had said to me the day before “if you hold that power, you’ll destroy people.”

I’d laughed at him. Brushed him off as a joker. Not a chance. Until the first 10km of the bike. When I realised he wasn’t messing.

I didn’t want to come out hard, burn any matches. I’d decided I was going to stick to the average and see what happened.

And people started coming towards me like they were going backwards.

I was riding through big powerful guys, on £10k bikes like they had glue on their tyres, and I was loving it. I couldn’t get enough. Not a single person came past me.

DSC_9198One by one I ticked people off. Sometimes moving through packs of 4 or 5. Straight on the back, round the side, and away.

My confidence was building km by km, athlete by athlete, but i knew I had a long day ahead and the big boys wouldn’t be waiting for me at the front.

In Penticton I passed British athlete Matt White at 95km on the bike – and he’d told me his form was good this year. I’d never caught my idol Tony weeks on a bike leg in my life, and he also flew out with good bike legs, but by 60km I’d ridden through them both. They can’t both be having a bad day, surely?

Letting myself believe – I just kept ticking. I had no concept of speed or time. Just distance and power.

Josh was still up the road, as were at least 4/5 guys in the age group. And 30km is a long run yet!

After accidentally throwing a bottle at tony – hitting him travelling at 45kph (sorry mate), I got stuck into the second lap.

I felt great. I was on top of hydration, nutrition and the numbers. This was where I was going to make a move – back into the head wind I needed to make ground on the front of the race. And if you’re going to make a move – make a proper one.

Working hard for the next 20km, I was still flying through people. And eventually, I finally caught Josh. 83km. Right at the point where this became a super tight race.

It was decision time. Do I gamble and smash the last 20km – knowing I might not have the running legs – but I’d make contact with the front. Or sit up & cruise – to attack the run and empty the tank.

With a German in our age group right on my wheel I wanted to do the first, but I know a smart race looked like the latter. So I bid my time, I’d gamble when I get to the run, I didn’t need to yet.

Into t2 and it was mission accomplished. I had to make a quick toilet stop as I hadn’t managed on the bike. And back out.

DSC_9426 DSC_9557 DSC_9264I knew I was around the top 5 and the lack of bikes implied i was on a good day, but it was a long way home. And josh was right on my heels.

I attacked the first part of the run. Not flat out – but a pace I’d have been able to hold earlier in the season.

At 10km it was getting tough and the splits my parents were giving me meant i knew I might hold some of these athletes – I was making ground. Coming into the middle 10 and I had to put the brakes on slightly. Dropping a few seconds per Km, it was a real battle.

I was fighting hard – deep into the uncomfy zone of racing, I was determined not to quit. Not to slow down.

My legs were burning, my stomach felt sick, I was getting dizzy and light headed. I’d pulled out bigger numbers in states worse than this – so I battled on.

DSC_9593Just past the half way mark and I knew I was going to get shut down by Josh. I couldn’t hold the pace and I couldn’t shut the gap to the front, but I didn’t want to lose too many places. I’d battle on as there was still a lot to play for!

Then it hit me. KM 22 – a 1:25 half marathon in the bag, on the money where I need to be. But the wheels fell off.

I thought I was going to stop, I was ready to. I could have thrown in the towel. But that isn’t me. I’d worked to hard to throw away 30 minutes and walk the last lap.

I fought on – step by step, corner by corner – to the finish line.

Pipped by the South African on the line. I’d lost 4 minutes on the last 8km. A battle to win another day – and a result I was extremely proud of. 6th in the world, my first top 20 overall and 3rd Brit in a field full of international medalists.

DSC_9656The running legs are in there, I’ve shown that in my early season races. Transitions were a shambles but that can be learned – and I even had more on the bike.

Which leaves just one area to work on – my swim.

Though I’d taken 6 minutes off my swim from Canada – on a swim where most people added on 4. So a success in itself. I hadn’t quite had the legs to challenge the podium.

Plenty of areas to work on before the tail end of the season, and lots of positives in this heavily competitive age group – before I even turn 25. It’s a bit surreal being up with some of the top athletes on the age group scene, especially when I know I have so much more to offer.

Although I have plenty to focus on this year – half an eye will be turned to world champs 2019. My entry is in, my mind is hungry, and if I come – it’ll be all to play for.

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Life Underneath an Instagram Filter

Today started not too dissimilar to any other day. The 5:20 alarm buzzed to wake me, and I was quick to snooze it, bleary eyed and groggy, knowing I still had a brief time left in bed.

I’ve been having a rough week, swimming was the last thing I really wanted to be doing, but I know I have to. In the quest for excellence there isn’t anywhere to hide. Every time you miss a session, you get slower. Everyone else is out there, getting it done, making no excuses, feeling a millon dollars.

3_m-100779636-DIGITAL_HIGHRES-2141_001833-10660446The guys I have to race don’t make mistakes, they don’t miss sessions, they never let up.

I finally got out of bed, had a small breakfast and made my way over to the Macclesfield pool. My toe was incredibly sore, my head wasn’t in the moment, I just didn’t want to get in the pool.

The moment I broke the water I had perfect clarity. My mind was clear, all my worries were gone. It’s so easy to hide here, behind the numbers and the work. I don’t have to be myself, I can just become monotonous. I just follow what the numbers say on the board, and don’t think any more than that.

Slowly the clarity began to become hazy and clouded. My toe was letting me know it hurt, conversations from the week creep back into my head, my body is tired, I haven’t really slept this week. What am I doing here?

I pushed on, into the main set and I’m setting the pace. Like normal we start strong, a testing pace that we know we can hold. Except it doesn’t feel like normal – there’s a battle in my mind. I’m not myself. I’m not hungry to go fast, to push myself, to work hard.

In fact, all I really want to do is get out of the pool, and go back to bed. Shut myself off from the world, and sulk.

But that won’t make me faster. That won’t get me where I want to be. If I’m not training, I’m getting slower…. right?

1/4 hard blocks completed. Just.

img_5743Into the second and I’m not pulling away like I normally do, I don’t have the will to push, in fact, I’m holding everyone up.

I fought on, it’s just a bad day. We all have those, you can do this.

2/4 done. Every turn was a battle, why don’t I just get out? I shouldn’t be here and I know it. But I just can’t quit.

I was using more mental strength to keep going, than I’d used to get round some races. And that’s when I knew something was wrong.

3/4 and at the half way point, I threw in the towel. I was done. Cooked.

And before I knew what was happening, I found myself on the side of the pool in pieces, genuinely sobbing.

Had you asked them before the session, I’d have been one of the last people pinned to get out early. Resilient, tough, robotic. Training & emotions separate – park it before the session, pick it up afterwards.

But does that mean I’m always ok?unnamed

As I’m moving forward through sport I’m realising more and more, it’s so easy to hide our emotions, so easy to lock ourselves away and so hard to just open up.

And it isn’t just restricted to athletes. It goes right across the board.

img_3080We can assume that because people are in a better situation than us, they have it easy. They don’t have any battles.

We live in a society where we’re made to feel guilty for having a bad day, a tough time.

Crying is seen as weak. Mental health is dismissed as “nothing” – and before you know it, you can be completely isolated at a time when the planet is the most populated it’s ever been.

On Earth it’s estimated that we can speak over 7,000 different languages. From the moment we’re born, we begin to communicate. You don’t even need eyes or ears to convey your intentions. We can talk to different species, and we’re sending communications to space.

But we can’t even ask the person next to us if they’re ok?

Is it that we don’t want to hear it? Or is it that we’re all so involved in our personal battles, that we forget to pay attention to the people around us?

As athletes we can forget about it all in sport. Numbers, data, training.

But other people can hide in work, deadlines, hobbies. Just hide behind a facade.

We act confident, we’ll tell you we’re fine. You’ll barely know anything is up, just a moderate silence. A quick change of conversation to move on.

20180520_11141And before we know it, it all gets a bit too much. We can’t hide it. And we need to release it.

If an olympic champion had a bad race, but still won – nobody wants to talk to them about the race. Nobody apart from their coach. If they had a tough day between the ears, you wouldn’t believe them & you wouldn’t wanna talk about it.

Everyone else wants to hear how hard it was, how tough they had to fight. After all, they bloody won, how can they possibly feel bad?

If a big city boss is wealthy – but the numbers are down with the business so they’re making £500,000 less… you don’t care cause they’re still rich. They still have money. Even though their life evolves around the business… how could they be sad?

And with social media, the whole situation is elevated. These “perfect” people that live the dream life – do they not have problems? They look pretty, travel the world and have fun. They don’t have issues at all…. right?

Who do all these people turn to when times are tough? Are they any different to me or you?

20160724_968Why are your problems any different to theirs? And why is this even relevant?! 99.9% of the population, me included, will never be in that situation, but that doesn’t make us any more or less isolated.

Yes, your problems may be different. But that doesn’t make them any worse, or any better. And that doesn’t make it acceptable to just isolate these people. Or tell them to “stop moaning”.

It’s not ok that they feel scared to speak out, feel like they’re being silly or ridiculous, because they know they have it good. And that in turn trickles down the tree.

Cause we’re all lucky, the fact you’ve read this means you’re in a better situation than over half of the planet.

We have a habit of glossing it all over, making it look ok. Telling everyone “we’re fine”. We don’t open up for fear of being judged, fear that they’ll tell you “you’re just a drama queen”. Fear that they just won’t want to listen.

So look after the person next to you, ask your friends if they’re ok. Genuinely ask them – listen to the answer. Find it out. Before it all gets a bit too much. If I can change one thing today, or get one person to check that someone is alright, then this post will be a success.

Even if you think they have it all under control. That doesn’t mean they do.

Because one day you’ll be in their situation – and you’ll want someone to reach out to.

But don’t worry. They’ll be there.

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Winning Races for Smiley Faces – The Summer Menu

It’s about time I did an update of the last few months and what my adjusted goals are looking forward to the summer. If you follow my other social media channels you’ll know it’s been a hectic few months of a bit of this and that. If you don’t follow them, well why not?!

But don’t worry, I’ll let you off if you don’t, you can get the important bits here!

First things first, where can we catch up?!
I’ve probably missed you in a world of rubbish excuses like bedtime, training tomorrow, “dieting”… so I’m going to be racing some local events to touch base with everyone!

img_3508-1I’ll be racing a sprint distance triathlon in Wilmslow (starting at the leisure centre) on the 20th May – start times are yet to be released, but stay tuned if you’re around to watch that one. It’ll be a super short race & I’m hoping to complete it in under 1 hour 10!

The summer season has come around very quickly and the real racing starts 4 weeks on Sunday.

This will kick off with Staffordshire Ironman 70.3 (10th June). That will be the first real indicator of summer form and what I can begin to expect moving forward into the season. This is a half ironman – so the distances are – 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21.1km run! Plenty of racing to watch and get stuck into!

Following that I’ll be doing one of the Castle Series in Cholmondeley Castle. This will be another 70.3 event on 24th June, and another little taster of my form to take into World Champs. Nice and local over near Nantwich so that I don’t have to travel too far to get into the swing of the big races.

World Champs will be in Denmark this year on the 14th July and will be my first A race of the season. This is one of two races that will be my main focus for the year, and after that we’ll regroup and re-assess to see where we’re up to.

So what’s been happening?!

It’s been a crazy one!

30125761_437555703335079_1698798986_o 1865912 1957076Two weeks in Mallorca on training camp racked up a crazy amount of miles and the legs began to show some real form. Something I haven’t really found in the last couple of years since a strong 2016 season. The hard work is really paying off and this led nicely to Manchester marathon.


The legs didn’t feel good the morning of the marathon, we’d got the build up wrong, I felt sluggish not sharp. But it’s a good learning curve. None the less I toed the start line and had a clear set of goals in my head. The outcome I wanted saw my time aorund 2:39:59 – although I knew early on that this wasn’t going to be the case. I battled from start to finish, and did the first 28km perfectly on pace. Passing the half marathon at 1:19:55 it was going to be touch & go but around mile 20 (km 32) it blew up in my face. Drawing on some really tough times in training I kept the focus. Thanks to the hero that is Pete Butler, we fought through it and I made it out the otherside, glued to his heels. I managed to make the finish line in 2:42:29 – a great time that I was happy with. This will qualify me for a guaranteed championship spot at London Marathon next year, something I’m excited to take up.

DSC_7731 DSC_7811 DSC_7788Following the marathon I had 2 weeks to let my legs attempt to recover before launching an attack on Storm the Castle duathlon, an event where I had unfinished business after just missing out next year. I still didn’t feel my best but again knew exactly what I needed to do. On the day my legs were good and I managed to hold on for the win. Breaking the tape was a fantastic feeling & something I’ll be working extremely hard to do again in the future. It was a great event and I learned a lot about my body through the day – despite not quite finding the bike legs, my running legs carried me through. Didn’t think I’d ever say that!

A report of the day can be read here.

DSCF7491 DSCF7489A very heavy 2 weeks training following STC meant that my legs were far from fresh when I arrived at the Cheshire Points Series 50 mile time trial on Saturday’s summer afternoon. None the less I managed a lifetime best in power output at 325W for the 1:52:10. Although I finished 6th Overall and 20 seconds behind my PB. Despite losing to some of my close competitiors it was great to line up with some of the top guys and perform amongst them again – though some changes need to be made to my time trial set up.

Since then I’ve had to rest a broken toe that I’ve been carrying since before Manchester, not ideal but better to take a break from running now rather than forced rest in the future.

All in all a very productive couple of months with lots of positives to be taken. Plenty of personal bests both in and out of training making me hungry to see what I can achieve this summer. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but the consistency is slowly coming together to get me there. Working closely with Joel Jameson at Jameson coaching is really paying off and I’m hoping I can stay in one piece to enjoy a hard season of summer racing!

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Why your PB time doesn’t actually matter.

I’ve had a few very interesting conversations with various people recently, and I’ve decided that actually, PB’s don’t mean anything.

img_5743I know, I know, crazy talk. But hear me out.

It’s that time of year where you’ve entered a load of races, you’re absolutely hammering yourself in & out of training to get yourself in the best possible shape to set a new pb. But why? What exactly are you doing it for?

So pb’s are great for a number of reasons. You’re only really ever in contention with yourself, and pushing yourself further and further each day to be better, is something I’m absolutely behind. Every day I push myself to new limits, just trying to be a better person than the day before. However… are you ever just in contention with yourself? Or are you really constantly comparing yourself to everyone else in a society full of external pressures.

The first question anyone asks me is ‘ooo, what’s your pb’. Or, ‘oo how fast could run x-km. How quick can you do this on a bike. What’s your best park run… What’s your best ironman time?



Well first of all, who actually cares? I can move pretty fast, there are plenty of people that can move a lot faster. But second of all, surely every single time/race/course/person is going to be different. If you think you’re quicker than me, turn up at world champs, and we’ll race. Fine. A proper fair test, same day, same course, then you win the bragging rights…. if you win… until the time we race again.

EventPhotoHandler (17)But what if we race again on a different course, I win this time round, we’re both twice a fit, but we go an hour slower, same distance?

Are you quicker because your pb is quicker than mine… or am I quicker cause I just beat you, fair and square? And even though we both know we’re a lot fitter, we went slower. It was windy, raining, icy, hilly… but we’d have run rings around the athletes we were the year before.

Are we slower because our time is slower? Is that what you’re telling me by asking me what my pb is?

Now when people ask me what my best ever race was, I’ll tell them the World Championship in Canada. Not because I made the podium, not because I managed a good time, neither of those things matter.

But because I had a torn tendon in my knee, I’d only been back training 4 weeks after a 4 month break, and I’d spent 6 months coming to terms with the fact that physically I wasn’t where I wanted to be mentally. But I went out, and from start to finish I battled, and there was no way I was going to let up before I crossed that finish line. And that’s something I’ll hang on to for a long time, I really earned my stripes.

One of my most liked instagram posts recently was one where I made the statement “nobody cares how fast you were in 2017, or even 2016. While that will gain you respect on the start line, it’;ll mean nothing when you cross the finish, and only you can influence that… Get your miles in, cause 2018 is gonna write itself, with or without you”.

And there is so much truth to that. My friends love the saying “we’ve all done stuff”, and there’s a lot of truth in that.

Week in, week out people complete training, race events, test themselves. And that’s great, but I could turn up at a park run this week and smash myself to bits… maybe set a pb, maybe not. I could do the same course next week, in driving rain, ice & wind… on much better legs, but go slower. There’s so much more to this sport than a stop watch.

Be proud of what you’ve achieved, you worked hard for it! But don’t cling on to the times, the numbers, there’s so much more to a good performance than that. Remember your best races as the ones where you performed well beyond how you expected. Where you were mentally tough, you fought against the odds. The races where you influence other people, maybe you paced a friend to a pb and you hold success in that. Together, as a team you can enjoy the victory.

Don’t hang on to the time, hang on to the moment!

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Ironman World Championships – Tracking the Race 

We’re nearly there.

Can’t even describe what I’m currently feeling, as I’m not sure myself what it is.

Nerves. Excitement. Stress. Apprehension.

You can track me on either the ironman website, by googling ironman world championship.

Or download the app & track me there. The app looks like this:


I’m number 2409, & the race starts at 18:05 Saturday, UK time.


I’m not putting any pressure on myself, I know this year a podium is out of reach & I’ll be back in the future.
The plan is to race firm, play to my strengths, keep it together, & get myself to that finish line in one piece.



Swim Smart.

Cycle Firm.

Run Consistent.

See this with a smile on my face.
If I can string together a solid race alongside the best in the world, then we’re on for a very exciting 2018.

I can’t ask myself for any more.

See you on the other side!

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Question & Answer: Your Turn.

So in my last post & on social media I asked if anyone had any questions about the race or life in general. Despite the fact nobody was brave enough to comment on any of the posts publicly, you’ve all been busy squirrelling questions to me on email & private message, so hopefully I manage to answer them all here!

At the time of answering these it’s Sunday evening here, Monday morning for you guys at home. That makes me 5 sleeps from the race.

6 if you include Friday night in which I won’t sleep. Slow down, I saw you trying to catch me out there.

We’ll start with general questions, of which there weren’t many, then we’ll get on to the Kona questions!

What’s your resting heart rate?

Well my watch tracks this, & I keep an eye on it from time to time but rarely do much with the data. Today is was 37bpm (shown top right of the image on the left), my average this week has been 38 apparently. It generally seems to sit around the 40 mark, hoping that means I’m just really fast at the moment? We can dream…

Are you careful with what you eat?

Yes, of course. Coach… Erm not really. I’m very careful to make sure I get the right amount of recovery in, eat well whilst training & don’t starve myself. The past few weeks I’ve been dieting very hard so shifted a lot of weight, but I always eat within 20 minutes of finishing a session and make sure my diet is full of veggies & fruit. But who doesn’t love an ice cream or slice of cake from time to time… in winter time to time is much closer together than currently that’s for sure!


What’s your biggest weakness?

This is a very broad question… but ‘m going to take the easy way out and say swimming. My attitude to training is good, I could maybe push myself a bit harder in races, I’ve still never made the medical tent, obviously I take to cycling well and my running has shown a lot of potential this season. Sunday indicates swim has come on a lot with me posting a 1:09:30 for the iron distance, beating my previous best of 1:23 comfortably. But there’s still a lot of work to do for next year when I move up an age category.


Who’s your biggest inspiration?

Honestly, I don’t really have one. There are so many people around that have so many incredible qualities to draw from it’s hard to count. The pro’s are great to look up to, but so are some of the top end age groupers. There’s also a lot of inspiration outside of triathlon. Obviously my parents but places like my Aspics Frontrunner group. It’s is full of some really inspirational people, they all make me feel really lucky to be associated with them on a daily basis. Some great examples to follow, and I don’t mean just fast people. They all have a phenomenal story and work hard to make both theirs & other peoples lives better. I’d love to be like that.


Now for the fun stuffs! KONA.

Last month you raced the World Champs, & now you’re at the World Champs, what’s the difference?

This is a good one! Last month was the ITU race. That’s international triathlon union. It was a bit shorter than this & they’re the guys that run things like the world championships that the Brownlees race. Kona is in the same place every year on the same weekend, it’s the Ironman Franchises world championships and it’s where it all began 39 years ago. It has a reputation as it’s the most prestigious triathlon outside of the olympics, and it brings the best of the best in the endurance world. It’s a real privilege to race here, and spots don’t get handed out easily!

How do we track the race?

The best way is to download the ironman app. It’s definitely available on apple, & surely is on android. And you’ll be able to click on ironman world championship, and search my name. That’s the easiest way. Also the ironman website will publish tracking links, & the pro race will be televised. I’ll post a full set of information on Friday for you, it’l also be on my Facebook page!

How is your Knee holding up, it was sore after your last race?

Yeah I don’t wanna jinx it, but it’s be handling really well. I tore the tendon on the inside in Canada which was pretty rough, & I’d had all the problems with the other knee all season, so bit of a kick in the face. I managed to handle it well & within 3 weeks I was back training. I did a full weeks training last week (End of September), & I didn’t seem to have any pain. Just gotta hope I can shake that out of the legs & we’ll be good to go. It’ll be nice to be on a start line without any injuries in the back of my mind.
How have you acclimatised to the conditions in Kona?

Yeah it’s been good out here. I can’t thank the guys at Glass & Stainless in Congleton enough for giving me the help I needed to do this. I haven’t raced yet, but it’s been invaluable to my fitness & preparation and I know it’s given me absolutely every opportunity to be the best I can be. I’ve been staying out of the sun a lot of the time, but I’ve done some really long sessions out there and put my body through it. I know what we could be in for & it’s the same for everyone I suppose. But yeah, we’ll see how the body responds but I know that I’m performing far better than I was when I got here!
Your prep hasn’t been ideal this year, do you think you’ve got good form?
This is a toughy. I showed a lot of promise in Canada & i’m moving better now than I was then. I haven’t really done anything long this year. I’ve done one long bike ride a couple of weeks before Canada, and Canada was the only time I’ve run more than a half marathon. If I’m honest I think this might tell towards the middle/end of the marathon out here, but we’ll deal with that when we get there! I’m currently moving ok, still a little clunky but I like that a week out, the speed is there.
Have you got a race plan?

Yes.Ok fine. This kind of rolls over to the next question but I’ve just gotta do what I’m good at. If I can come out the water in 1:10/1:15 I’ll be in some good company. Obviously I’m strong on the bike so I’ll push the pace a bit, but I don’t wanna burn out. There’ll be a lot of people getting carried away around me, so I have to pick my pace well & stick to it. Get my nutrition right then I’ve got a good structure for the run. No tells as to what times I’m looking at though. And really, the conditions will change that, so I’m not too number focussed. I’ll stick to my plan & hopefully come good.

Are you looking to compete or survive?
Is there a difference? Yeah obviously it’s a dream of mine to get top 5 & stand on the podium at Kona. But if we’re being realistic, I think I’d have to have a perfect race, and someone else would have to make a mistake. It’s not impossible, but the chances are slim. I’ve had a really rough year and I’m a firm believer that you can’t really make your ironman result faster. Sure you can grab a few minutes in the swim or bike, but your form is your form. & you can very easily ruin it. Once you hit that wall there’s absolutely no coming back, it’s game over. So I’m just gonna go out there, give it the best I’ve got & we’ll see where that leaves me. I can’t really do much more than that!
Do you have any pre-race rituals? What will you do between now (mid week this week) & the race?
I wanna say no. But that’s probably a lie, my parents would be better at answering this one I reckon. Nothing weird, but I suppose the whole thing is a ritual. I eat well in the build up to make sure that my IBS is really under control & settled. I do the exact same sessions the 3 days before every race, so I know how my legs should feel. I get plenty of sleep & rest, stay out of the sun to save energy. Watch a good film sports like invincible, coach carter or remember the titans and go to registration/racking/the various admin stuff.
Is there anything really worrying you?
Not really. I’ve had a bad year but I’ve trained well the last few weeks, I can’t do any more than that. The difference between a good race & a bad race can cost you 90 minutes and 30+ places in your age group, so I’d quite like to get my nutrition right & have some legs left to do myself justice. I really don’t want to get it all wrong. But really it’s just another ironman. I’ll be stood next to the best athletes in the world. The conditions are gonna be very rough (currently predicting 30+ degrees & thunder storms). & I have to travel a long way, as fast as possible.
There’s plenty of other races to come, & I’m sure I’ll be back one day. For now I’ll just give it everything I’ve got, do my best & we’ll see where that leaves me. If I can cross the line and think “that’s me, that was everything I had & nothing I could have done could improve that”, then it’s mission accomplished!
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10 days out – Get Involved.

As we move closer to the race the anticipation is definitely building.

Kona is filling up & people from all over the world are starting to strut their stuff up & down the course.

With my race starting 18:05 on Saturday 14th that means we’re almost exactly 10 days out.

And I know a lot of you have been messaging me various questions over my social media, so I thought I’d try to get you all involved by doing my next blog as a Q&A format.

You ask the questions, I’ll give the answers!

These can be anything from Ironman or Kona related, race or training related, to nutrition & lifestyle related. I don’t mind! & (if there’s more than 3 questions) I’ll do my best to answer them all in a blog early next week!

You can ask me on social media, comments or messages, or drop me an email at schofield.tri@gmail.com


What’re you waiting for!!

Here’s my training video for anyone that missed it at the back end of last week 🙂