European Championships – 2nd

Well the title doesn’t lie, and no I can’t quite believe it myself.

A few weeks out from the race I knew I was moving well on the bike, and fairly well through the water, but I still hadn’t had the all clear to run.

It was only 3 weeks before that I finally started putting one foot in front of the other and making progress. A good two weeks running, running a max distance of 10km (6 miles) was hardly the ideal marathon prep.

None the less I had no other choice.

The week of the race was a bumpy one.

I turned up in Poznan excited, eager and anxious. I started my heat adjustment, training in the sun, met the other members of the team and started to settle in. Standard procedures.

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Before id even made it to registration Id come down with a very chesty cold. Leaving me drained & achey I wasn’t sure what to do.

Could I race? Would I be ok? Should I rest?

It came on too fast to have caught it on the plane, I must have come down with it in Britain. A classic British cold.

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Determined not to make excuses and to race on the bigger stage I filled myself with orange juice & vitamin C, and sucked it up.

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When race morning finally came around it had improved to a sniffle and a small cough, nothing I couldn’t handle. So I put on my pre race playlist, had my oats, yoghurt & granola. And walked over to the start.

There was nothing more I could do from here, nothing that would change the outcome of the day. I knew I just had to trust my training, believe in my miles & pray the run didn’t blow up in my face.

The opening ceremony was soon out of the way & we were in the water, ready to go.

Game time.

The canon erupted next to us, sending a thunder of noise echoing down the lake and this was it. Head down and go.

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The swim was fairly smooth & felt over almost before it had started. The course was slightly short which I knew would play to my advantage. Barely seeing any other swimmers I knew I’d held off the next wave & kept myself in contention for the race.

T1 was a shambles.

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Tripping up the ramp and leaving my Garmin in my transition bag I had to re rack the bike and go back. A direction nobody wants to be headed.

None the less I was finally out on my bike and making strong progress.

I knew id have to keep my heart rate exceptionally low if I wanted to finish the marathon after only running 10km. So I was aiming for a 140bpm.

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I’d have to trust my cycle legs would still take care of business in this zone.

And I was flying.

Ticking people off one by one I knew they wouldn’t hold me off for long.

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After an uneasy patch on the second lap I began to build again. Turning on the heat as the others started to hurt.

And true to form I got out of the chair feeling fresh in a 4:45 cycle. 142bpm.

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Mission accomplished.

Now in the back of my mind was the infamous sub 10 ironman. Propelling me into the top 2% of ironman athletes. I didn’t know my current position but I’d assumed I’d need roughly a 4 hour marathon.

A comfortable target, when I’m on form.

I took the first 12k very steady, but before I made it to halfway, the pain came on. And it came hard. And it wasn’t stopping there.

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I was determined to not stop running. No matter what, no matter how much it hurt, I was just gonna put one foot in front of the other, and run.

By the third lap I was in tatters.

My legs had blown up, my head was swimming, my lungs tight & empty. I was in pieces scattered around poznan.

But I was still running.

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With a monumental will power, like nothing else I’ve ever had, I wasn’t stopping.

I wouldn’t quit.

And before I knew it I was on the final lap.

10km left.

The pain was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Every fibre in my body was screaming out.

And then it got me.

The cramp.

My toes curled up with a force I couldn’t control and my calves seared with pain.

Falling into the sand I curled up, was this it? Game over?

I couldn’t let myself stop 6km from the finish.

I managed to get up and keep going. 1km later it got me again, another brief pause. I could do this. Come on.

And with a final push I trundled round to the finish area, through the crowds not even managing a wave or a smile.

 

It was over, the clock showed 10:13 and I was done.
Curled up & whimpering into my family I finally stabilised and sorted myself out. Never again will I run ill prepared.

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A quick glance at the online results quickly revived the mood.

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9:58, 2nd.

In an unreal turn of events, the clock had been showing the male pro time and I had done it.

European championships – success.

Drinks all round it seemed.

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Let’s go get worlds.

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2016 – Getting Started

As most of you know I’ve had a really bumpy winter this year, on an off training with a torn ligament and 2 inflamed tendons in my ankle wasn’t exactly the best off season I was hoping for. None the less, 8 weeks into rehab and I think I’m seeing some form again, although I don’t want to jinx it!!

Today was the first race of 2016 for me, my ankle is at around 85/90% rendering me still unable to run, and some days it is still rather painful, however I am beginning to see some miles go into the legs from the bike. And what better way to kick start the year, than my favourite Frome 10 mile TT.


It’s a great course and one I’m familiar with, I used it last season as a monthly benchmark to track gains on the bike, so I knew it’d give me a very clear indication of my form going into summer.

With no miles in the legs from winter I knew I was already a step behind everyone, leaving me lots of work to do. 8 weeks of training isn’t a long time, the first 2/3 weeks were at very low intensities and only in the last month have I started hitting anywhere near the mileage  I need, and I also have a degree to do remember!


None the less, my prep has been good. Last week I did a 315 watt hour instead of rest day and exactly a week ago I held some decent watts into a head wind on the AVC segment, followed by dragging 15 Bath riders round the chain gang route, intermittently helped by the South West cycling god – Rob Pears. On Tuesday I managed 15 minutes at 350 watts exactly before finishing the session with another 75 minutes at 255 watts. So I knew my legs would have a bit of kick.


I had to be up early this morning to make sure I’d got 5/6 hours work done before I rode over to the race, not an ideal start to the day but I knew the difference that would make would only be a few seconds.

Cycling over to the race I felt pretty good, the sun was out and I was hoping the rain showers would hold off. I didn’t do any bursts as I was just trusting my legs to take care of business. Biggest error of the day.


As I pushed off the start I noticed my cleat was sliding about. So I stropped my way round the course, got hit by the rain, stuck in traffic and was struggling to hit any form of rhythm. Making every excuse under the sun as I went round, instead of getting focussed and getting the job done.

When I finished I saw my time of 23:06 and smashed straight home with my toys well and truly out of the pram. Luckily my ankle held out and there wasn’t too much pain in that department.

On later analysis I managed a 355 Watt average on a tricky day. Considering Rob Pears, course record holder, averaged 337 watts and finished with a time of 20:29. 20:03 on the strava segment being pipped by Matt Burden. I’d say I’m fairly happy with my average, although I don’t feel I deserve it! But the watts don’t lie.

It’s definitely taught me a few things:
1. Eat less baked goods.
2. Don’t throw a strop just because something is going wrong, it’s not always all bad.
3. I need ‘aero-ing up’.

back to the healthies

None the less, 25 seconds off my PB and a 355W average, lets get this degree done, sort my ankle out fully and then see what the summer holds.