Back to it!

Since my last post we have had Christmas and the New Year. For me personally I also had the pleasure of entertaining tonsillitis and a chest infection which of course not only ruined Christmas but hampered the start of my Ironman training.

That said, I am now two weeks in to my new training schedule and Training peaks is reporting a solid green and although my fitness has suffered somewhat over the off season I can quite honestly say that it’s great to be back training properly. I just need to convince my body of the same.

I have two weeks left of the current phase before my first race week of 2018. The race is the Ashridge Duathlon on the 28th January. I missed out on this event in 2017 due to a diary clash so I am looking forward to this one. Am I race ready? No way, especially not for a sprint event but following a terrible 2017 a serious injury and illness over the off-season I am just really happy to be racing.

Active training world always puts on a great event and follows it up with a great medal so I am determined to be on the start line (and finish line!) to claim my first bling of 2018.

Not too much else to report really. I’m positive about the upcoming season but also very realistic about the huge challenge in front of me. The challenge scares me a little but that tells me that I am challenging myself.

I’ll finish by simply wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2018.

Wishing my sponsors a very happy new year and looking forward to representing you in 2018!

“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter

My last post was pretty brutal and outlined that sometimes things simply do not go as you want them to go. However, it feels that I have managed to turn a corner in September and being back racing has helped me to refocus my goals and look towards 2018 with renewed passion and excitement.

The first race of September I revisited a race that I took part in a number of times many years ago. I really enjoyed it all those years ago and it was no different this year. The Letchworth based “Duck n Dash” Aquathlon hosted by Freedom Tri is a great event held each year at the Letchworth outdoor pool.  A superb event for young and old, novice to experienced athletes.

My swim was average as expected as you are faced with the usual overtaking issues and ducking under lane ropes but it was as good as it could be and after a quick transition I exited onto the run around Norton common.  An “ok” run delivered me safety home in 6th place overall. Relatively happy with that on the day.

The following weekend I reintroduced the bike into proceedings and took place in the Carterton triathlon. Another small event held near Oxford. The swim was much improved and I overtook those in front of me to take an early lead in the race. I held the lead throughout the wet and windy bike course and continued to hold it throughout the run, I crossed the line first but due to the nature of cumulative times in pool based triathlons, I slipped to second place overall as all the finishers crossed the line. I have never led a race before so this was a new experience for me, one that I hope will be valuable in the future. Another enjoyable race under my belt and some confidence built up on the bike.

The last race was the full beans. Open water swim, bike and run. Based at Thorpe park, this was the final European championship qualify of the season, I had little expectation of qualification before the race so I simply set out to enjoy and race well for myself. Up until this race I hadn’t swum in open water since my crash way back in May. I had found the wetsuit to add extra resistance against my shoulder which caused some pain, therefore I had opted for some pool based triathlons. I decided to revert back to my older wetsuit as I hoped the neoprene had a little more give in it. It seemed to do the trick.

I had a good swim and managed to stay close to the lead pack, I excited the water feeling happy, if not a little cold (20 degrees my a*se!) and made my way to Transition.

No issues in Transition and I was quickly out onto the Bike. The first kilometre was on a service road which was windy, wet and full of potholes so it was a bit of time to get some breath back, take on a gel and compose yourself before hammering the TT bike on the open road. The flat and fast course suited me as I progressed through the places and kept a good average speed. I felt great! All was going fine until 5km from the end of the bike where one of my TT bars decided to work itself loose. I spent the last 5km of the bike resting on one aero bar, whilst holding the other in place, stuck in one gear and hurtling around roads at around 25mph. Always drama on a bike!

Safely into T2 after a slow journey back down the service road and it was out onto the run course. The run itself was nice and flat and went around Thorpe Park itself. All the rides were turned on and music played as if the park was open. My pace was the best it had been all season so I was happy each time I looked down at the Garmin.

I approached the finish and got presented with a nice medal. What more could you want! Originally I had targeted this race to qualify for the Euro champs in Glasgow next year but I ended up way out of the qualifying places in 16th so I would need a hell of a roll down to make the grade. I was within the qualifying time (108.16%) but there were just too many fast guys there on the day.

So a great month of being back racing!

September also provided some fantastic news for 2018. I have made the decision to “go long” and try my hand at an Ironman. So with the help of my new sponsor I signed up to do Bolton in July 2018.

 

The more observant of you will have picked up that I have a new sponsor. Leading talent (www.leadingtalent.co.uk) approached me and offered to cover all my race expenses for the Ironman in return to advertise their company. Of course I agreed and I am truly honoured to be representing such a great company with truly wonderful people. So a MASSIVE thank you to Leading Talent for their support. I look forward to wearing your logo in 2018 and being a good advert for you guys.

 

 

 

The one where it went wrong

So when I left you at the end of the last blog I was preparing for Eton Dorney. The first of the ITU world championship qualifying races.

The run up to the race had gone really well and I felt rested and strong. Despite a disturbed night’s sleep the night before due to pre-race nerves I felt I was in a good place to attack the race on the Sunday morning. I knew I had a shot.

I had my usual pre-race breakfast and packed up the car and headed to Eton. This has been a happy hunting ground for me in the past as it was the site of my first ever triathlon and also the race where I qualified for Chicago back in 2015.

I arrived and set up transition as usual, had a coffee and watched the first few waves of age groupers take to the water. My race started at 10:10 so at around 09:50 we headed to our start pen and it was the first real opportunity to eye up the competition. At 10:05 we entered the water which was a fairly pleasant 15.8 degrees. I jostled for a good start position and awaited the hooter.

We were away, the swim was about 300m out, 150m across and 300m back so I took the first 300m hard but sensible and turned at the first buoy, got around cleaning and pushed a little harder to the next buoy and turned again for the 300m push back to T1. I increased the speed of the swim and overtook a large amount of athletes who had perhaps gone out too fast and started to fade in the later stages of the swim. I exited the water in a much better position than in previous years (Thanks PSC) and found myself in T1.

T1 was quick and uneventful and the handful of events I had done prior to this one had paid off in transition practice as I got away well on the bike and made up a few places.

The feet were in quickly, fastened tight and the plan was to hunt down the lead pack and stick to them like glue. I hit the bike hard out of T1 and was making great progress on the loose riders. Then, out of nowhere, BANG – a rider who was drafting me a little too closely went into my back wheel.

The next hour was spent sat in an ambulance.

I had hit the floor pretty hard and my bike had gone over the top of me and landed with a bang beside me. I bounced, then bounced again then came the long slide where you can feel your skin being left on the tarmac. I finally came to a stop and after pausing my Garmin (I wish I was kidding!) I got up and grabbed my bike out of the way of oncoming riders. I collapsed on the grass and quickly realised I was bleeding, a lot.

The ambulance crew were great, they seemed to arrive within seconds and quickly set to work in tidying up my multiple wounds. My ankle, knee, thigh, hip, elbow, shoulder, back and both hands all needed attention and it was clear they had particular concerns over my shoulder.

As I was sat in the ambulance I noticed my bike. Both front forks were snapped and the front wheel was badly buckled, even if I could continue I wouldn’t be able to. My race was over.

The event car came and picked me and my bike up and took me back to transition where my very worried girlfriend was waiting.

I packed up and went home. The various cuts, scrapes and bruising were of course sore but my main concern was my shoulder. I had felt pain like this before. Back in 2012 and that meant 6 months out. I was ignoring the fact I clearly had to go to the hospital but I was simply delaying the news I knew that was on its way.

I visited the hospital on Monday and it was confirmed that I had a grade 2 AC joint dislocation. In short, if I don’t require surgery then it may take 6 – 8 weeks to repair. If I do need surgery it will take 6 months to repair.  Either way, I will miss the remaining two ITU qualifying events and therefore for me the road to Rotterdam is now officially closed.

I find out next Tuesday if I will need surgery or not, but for now I’m off to lick my wounds. I’m truly heartbroken.

It must be triathlon season!

Yes yes, I know it’s been a while since I last posted something but I have been a busy boy and trying to get my head down and focus towards the first qualifier of the season.

In my last post I mentioned that I had successfully qualified for the ITU Sprint distance Duathlon championships in Canada and this is still on the cards, although not my primary focus for 2017.

The second half of March was spent in the slightly warmer climate of Majorca. I made the trip with two team mates from PSC and we had 10 days of training in fantastic surroundings.

The highlight for me was ascending Sa Calobra which is locally known as the “snake road”. It is a climb from the port de sa calobra 10km to the summit. That 10 km twisting through the mountains took 41 tough minutes and I definitely deserved my pa amb oli afterwards!

April was a relatively quiet month in terms of races for me, but there were plenty of races where I was supporting coached athletes in other races. It was great to see athletes taking part at the “Run Fest” Half marathon and 10 km, Brighton Marathon and of course the Virgin London Marathon. It’s a very rewarding feeling when athletes achieve their goals and you know you had a small part to play, they all made me very proud indeed. I also passed my final assessment to become a level 2 Triathlon coach in mid-April.

My next race was the rocket 5 km in Milton Keynes, I had hoped to target this race for a sub 18 minute 5 km attempt but on the day outside influences meant that it just wasn’t happening. I was happy enough to squeeze in under 19 minutes (18:59) and receive a pretty cool medal.

Into May and by this point I usually would have braved the coldness of the open water, but as I type – I still haven’t. It’s been a chilly start to the year and reports that I am getting from friends are not very positive. However, I will have to sum up the courage and take the plunge either this week or early next week as I have the Eton qualifier approaching and I need to get my wet suit tested before race day!

Luckily my first triathlon of 2017 was a pool based triathlon which was lovely and warm. The HSV sprint triathlon is a cracking little event hosted by Tri Force and Active Training world. Based at Hatfield Uni the swim is just 400m followed by a gently undulating bike course and a mixed terrain 5km run.

The race.

My swimming has been going well recently so I wanted to push hard to see a decent time in the pool. Unfortunately this isn’t the sort of event to do that, for those of you that have not done a pool Triathlon before the usual format is that you swim up one side of the lane, back done the other side then duck under the lane rope and repeat until you reach the final lane and get out. This obviously takes additional time and so my time was effected by this, but, everyone was in the same position.

Transition 1 was clean, with no wetsuit to worry about it was off with the goggles, on with the helmet, grab the bike and away for the 300m run to the mount line.

Despite a light covering of rain the bike course was good. Decent road surfaces in the main helped a safe and fast bike ride. I made up a lot of places with a strong ride and didn’t have to take any silly risks on the damp roads. The first outing on the tri bike this year was a good one and I was happy with the way it performed. A strong performance led me safely into T2.

Starting with another 300m run to transition with very cold hands and feet wasn’t pleasant but went without issue as I racked the bike, ditched the helmet and on with the trainers and of course the sunglasses. No sun to be seen anywhere but they hide the pain nicely and always make for better race photos #truestory

The altered run course was much better. I hate running loops so I am glad to see they ditched the 4 loop run route. Instead we had a multi terrain 5km run which was comfortable. It shouldn’t have been comfortable! Despite a good finish I started far too easy and didn’t push myself. This effectively cost me 1st place in my age group. I need to remember how to take risks and get uncomfortable!

So I crossed the line and claim 2nd in my age group and 5th overall. Decent enough times to come away with and a positive race ahead of Eton in a couple of weeks’ time.

Roll on Eton!

 

Its been a fantastic month!

So what usually follows a season review? The plan for the next season of course! But before I get bogged down in races, dates and targets I want to generally ramble over what has been a very positive month.

The month began in Portugal, a lovely week’s break with my daughter on the Algarve trying to squeeze in the last of the sunshine. A total break from training and the frustrations of recent months was much needed.

Upon my return to the UK I got the go ahead from my Osteopath to start an easy run \ walk program which I am pleased to say has progressed throughout the month. Carly at Luton Osteopathy has been an absolute legend. She has monitored by progress closely and ensured that I wasn’t trying to do too much too soon.  I have had her constantly in my ear during the runs reminding me to stick to the session plan and not go too hard. In short, I have done as I have been told and it’s worked, I am now up to 30 minutes of pain free running.

Of course I was meant to run the Nice to Cannes marathon in the middle of November but since the Injury I knew this was simply not going to happen. I had already paid for the hotel and flights so I decided I would still make a weekend of it and support my good friend whilst he tackled the 26.2 mile course. It made for a superb weekend, certainly one I won’t forget in a while.

More good news came in the way of support for next season. I will continue to be coached by Fin at Finesse Performance Coaching www.finesseperformancecoaching.co.uk . Alex at Insight Nutrition www.insight-nutrition.com has agreed to continue to support my nutritional requirements and monitor my body comp to ensure I’m in the best shape possible to achieve my goals in 2017. Huub Design www.huubdesign.com have agreed to continue their superb support for another year and I am really excited that Luton Osteopathy www.luton-osteopathy.co.uk has agreed to support me for the 2017 season, mainly to ensure that I don’t end up broken but also to work with me to improve on my physiological weakness (oh and make sure I stretch!). All in all it’s looking like a great team behind me for 2017! The rest is down to me!

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Right enough rambling from me. This is what 2017 looks like.

Season Goal

Rotterdam ITU World championships – 14th-17th September 2017

A races

2017 ITU Sprint Distance Triathlon Qualifiers

  • Eton Sprints – 21st May
  • Llandudno Sea Triathlon – 25th June
  • Redcar Triathlon – 30th July

B races

2018 ETU Sprint Distance Triathlon Qualifiers

  • Strathclyde triathlon – 27th May
  • Peak District triathlon – 17th Sept

C races

2017 ITU Sprint Distance Duathlon Qualifiers

  • Bedford Auto drone Duathlon – March

Additional Season Goal

  • Sub 18 minute 5km

Easy huh…………

 

July – All change!

It seems fitting that the middle of the year should present itself as a pivotal point in my training calendar and in fact, my personal life.

Lets start with the crap news! Unfortunately I was made redundant from my job with Inframon in late July. This was unfortunate but has actually provided me with a small window of opportunity which I intend on making full use of. Naturally the initial worry over finding another job had a negative effect on training and “normal” life (whatever that is) but I am pleased to say that I quickly found another role which I am due to start at the end of August. Until then I am officially on “Gardening leave”. Which I heard as “Training leave”.

For those of you that are more observant you will recognise that Inframon was my major financial sponsor, again this has now been stopped. So it truly is goodbye Inframon. However, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gordon and Sean at Inframon for all the support they have given me over the last 3.5 years. They have enabled me to take on some amazing races and given me some superb memories along the way.

July saw me race in the Beds county club championship with Stopsley Striders. I really enjoyed this team event. The fact that two of the four of us had never done a triathlon before was superb. They did so well. My personal performance was fine. Nothing more. I have not been training for sprint distance races this season so my top end speed is lacking, that was evident on the run more than anything. I had a solid swim and strong bike so there were positives to be had from the race itself. I came 8th overall and 2nd in my age group in the county champs so nothing I can grumble about too much.

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The biggest change in July was the fact that I took a good look at my training and asked myself how can I “step up”. I have been self coached now for a couple of years and although I have been doing well I started to ask myself “Can I be doing anything better?”.

So, I decided to speak to a fellow Chicago buddy and triathlon coach Fin Saunders. (http://www.finesseperformancecoaching.co.uk) He has kindly agreed to work with me which I am mega excited about.

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Of course this falls in nicely with my 4 weeks gardening\training leave which frees up a lot of time to train! Result!

Week 1 under Fin has been brilliant. I have had some enjoyable sessions and some tough ones (including a dreaded FTP bike test). It has taken my training and shaken it up nicely – something I was much in need of!

This week I have covered 15,700m Swimming. 148 miles cycling and 30 miles running – not too shabby! More than that, I have loved every minute of it!

I have also really enjoyed “Instagramming” my travels. So if you have an Instagram account then please do follow me. My username is nathanpscott.

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BOX END PARK

Box end Park – early morning swim

Woborn Deer

Nature spotting during a long ride

Luton Hills

A pause for breath during hill reps to admire the view

Priory Bedford

A Zone 2 long run at Priory park in Bedford

pool Inspire Luton

Biggest swim week in history

Swimming

Tools of the trade

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Recovery ride – Wendover woods (and hill!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June & Hever!

Well apparently its’ summer, has anyone noticed yet? That brief spell of summer weather we had back in May is long forgotten and it feels like Autumn already. I am seriously hoping that summer is indeed on its way… at some point!

That said, the weather hasn’t stopped me squeezing every available hour out of the day and training has been really good and consistent throughout June. Since I last wrote my weeks have included a 18 hour heavy build week, a very successful “rest and test” week of 8 hours which also saw me nail a new 10km PB in Southwark. I also got to meet swimming legend and giant of a man Mark Foster. A well organised event in aid of Prostate cancer and a nice addition of a pair of blue Y fronts in the goody bag!

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Following the rest and test week I had two strong weeks of Peak training where all training gets a little more race like (meaning more brick sessions). These weeks were in excess of 12 hours each and aside from a slight cold in the middle of week 1 all went very well indeed. Week 2 included a visit to Insight Nutrition to ensure all was as it should be with my body comp. Since I had started training for middle distance I had dropped weight and didn’t feel as powerful so with some slight adjustments to the nutrition I’m back firing on all cylinders again.

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Race week finally arrived and I was looking forward to going back to Kent. I had spent a few years of my childhood living very close to Hever castle. So I was looking forward to going back and seeing some of the sights from my primary school days.

Castle Triathlon – Hever castle. (www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk)

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Having travelled down the night before I got my usual crappy nights sleep in a strange bed. Not ideal but something that seems to be somewhat of a habit!  The usual breakfast and I left the hotel and headed for Hever castle.

On my drive to Hever castle I did notice a fair few hills and thought that it may have been an idea to read the race profile and route before race morning. “Ah well” I thought to myself and shrugged it off.

I arrived at the castle and it was just how I remembered it for 26 years ago. (Jesus, I’m old!) The impressive castle neatly surrounded by a perfectly kept moat and gardens was a stunning background for a race. Kudos to Brian Adcock for securing such a location for races.

hever

Having registered and collected the ample goody bag (more Kudos Brian!) I set up in transition and did the usual pre race prep before heading toward the race start. A good race briefing was swiftly followed by getting in the water and taking the place on the start line. The hooter sounded and the usual washing machine of arms and legs began.

Swim

I have been swimming a lot more since the Grafman and it showed, I felt stronger in the water and swam well. The swim itself heads out to the far side of the lake before turning back on itself and into the River Eden. As I exited the water my stopwatch read 29:16 so I was happy with a sub 30 swim. However, there was then a 600m run to T1 which was included in the swim time so my official time was 31:37.

Bike

Remember that point I made earlier about reading the race brief, knowing the course and the race profile? Yes? Its good advice.

As I cycled out of the castle ground following a decent T1 I hit the first climb. Then the second, third, fourth…. it was relentless. I quickly realised I had made the wrong choice of bikes because I hadn’t read the course map and profile! Here I was on my TT bike on the hilliest race route I have ever experienced. The next 3 hours would be a battle of not only a physical nature but also a mental one. For those that know me will know that since I came off my bike in 2014 and ended up in hospital I have never been the most confident in attacking the downhill sections. Of course where you get uphill’s, you get downhill’s and I was unable to take full advantage. This was made much worse when the wind and rain started lashing down. The bike course itself was two 45km loops and I wanted to stop after one loop. I was struggling with all the climbs and couldn’t gain an advantage going downhill on wet roads. I was not a happy man. When it got to the end of the first loop I had a decision to make. I decided to man up, face my fears and see it out. So I did. Another 45km of hills, wind and rain saw me come into T2 very wet, cold and drained.

Run

Because the bike had felt torturous and slow I immediately assumed I was way down the pack. So when I arrived in T2 and saw around 20 bikes there (out of 170+) I was surprised. A swift T2 and off I went on a run. Surely this run would be fine, it was 2 loops of the lake… wasn’t it?

No… it wasn’t. The first 4km is a winding route uphill through forest trails, gravel, farmers fields and boggy pathways which is just the thing for racing flats! A brief section of downhill was very welcome at around 5km before yet another set of testing uphill sections. The final 1.5km to complete the first loop was nice a flat so it was a relief to get some constant speed and I noted that in a loops time it made for a nice strong finish…. if my legs held out for another punishing 10.5km loop.

They did. I entered the finishing section on a strong finish and went across the line. Almost 50 minutes slower than my PB around Grafham but on such hugely different courses I was just happy to have conquered the Gauntlet. My time was 5 hours 40 minutes.

hever stuff

Summary

I know I joke but this highlights the importance of reading the race brief, the course map and if available the route profile. In fact, if you can get out there an ride \ run the course before race day even better. I learned a valuable lesson in Kent. I had the wrong bike, the wrong trainers and I hadn’t done enough hill training and I was made to suffer on the day.

That said, there are many positives. It was a wonderful race, perfectly organised and one I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone looking for a challenging triathlon. The surroundings were astounding and the route was on good well marshalled roads. I battled personal demons on the wet and windy descents and swore at the road numerous times and above all, I finished, more than in any other race I have raced before I felt spent. This was undoubtedly the hardest race I have ever done but my god I don’t half feel like I achieved something.

Amazing race – amazing feeling. Ill be back in September to do it all again! Thanks to Brian Adcock and the team at Castle Triathlon for donating two race entries to support my charity fundraising this year. Another 70.3 in the bag for Signposts.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Sub3500

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So what’s next. I need to find some speed and after a weeks recovery I start a micro training cycle ready for the upcoming Stewartby lake Olympic distance triathlon. A local event so it should be a good one. I may even read the race instructions!

Stay safe everyone.

 

 

Post Chicago hangover

With the excitement of Chicago fading as each day passes it was time to have some down time. I saw October as an opportunity to just take my foot of the gas, catch up with friends and family, have some alcoholic drinks and larger than required meals, yes the off-season is truly upon me.

When I say time off, I purely mean that I reduce training and relax on the strict regime. During October I have maintained around 50% of training time. That equates to about 4 – 5 hours per week instead of the usual 9 – 12. I have kept my running, strength and conditioning going to ensure the weight doesn’t pile on and the fitness remains but the swimming and biking have dropped off.

Having said all that, October started well with a cheeky 10km PB at Standalone 10km on the 4th October. This is a race I had been meaning to do for the last few years but have never had a chance. I approached the race with a good level of fitness in the hangover of Chicago and was hopeful of a PB. Sure enough it delivered. A cracking start to my time “off”.

The following weekend I took a similar approach to the Great eastern half marathon. An event held in Peterborough. I had entered as I heard rumours of a fast, flat PB course. I was a little fed up of turning up to half marathons and missing out on new PB’s by 10 – 30 seconds so I approached this one with a positive attitude. The plan. Go out hard and hang on. It worked! In fact it didn’t just work it smashed my previous PB by a considerable amount taking me from a 1:28 PB to a sub 1:25. Again, I was finding my time off very rewarding.

The following weekend I didn’t race at all. In fact I took it easy. I did the local parkrun as it was the 25th running of the local event and my running club descended on the anniversary. It was great to see so many Stopsley Striders in attendance and I was happy to run round in a comfortable 19:03.

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So in the next few months I have the joys of cross country to look forward to. I am hoping that this year I will get through them and indeed the entire off-season without any injuries, that’s my main focus for the winter. I will start to integrate cycling and swimming back into the regime from November and get some good base sessions going to see out the winter months.

I am still unsure as to what my focus will be next year. I am keen to find out how I perform in the middle distance triathlons so I would like to train and race a handful of those next year. Nothing is in the diary yet for next season apart from a spring marathon in Manchester. Booking that in will ensure my base mileage has purpose over winter.

So that’s in for October really, nothing really to scream and shout about after the excitement of Chicago. I am really happy to have kept in contact with my post-race drinking buddy; Fin, and really pleased to have bagged some late season PB’s.

Roll on cross country and the winter months.

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ITU World Championships – Chicago

Well, what can say about the World Championships? Actually, it’s pretty simple. Firstly I want to say thank you. I was totally overwhelmed by all the support in the lead up to the race and all the messages whilst I was out in the US.

So, thank you to all my family and friends. The people that have perhaps been neglected the most over the past few months. Thank you for your understanding and your unending friendship and love. I couldn’t do it without you all.

Next, thank you to all my club mates at Transition Tri, Stopsley Striders and Putteridge swim club. You have all been amazing and your support and help along the way has been one of the reasons I love doing what I do, no matter how hard the sessions get or how cold the lake gets!

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Finally, none of this would have been possible without my sponsors. triathlon is a pricey sport and without the help of Inframon (www.inframon.com) I wouldn’t have been able to represent my country in Chicago. Alex at Insight Nutrition (www.insight-nutrition.com) has been keeping a close eye on my nutritional needs and this ensured that I fuelled correctly through all my phases of training and hit Chicago in the best possible shape. Of course, thanks also to Fabio at Fabio’s Gelato (www.fabgelato.com) for making sure those well-deserved treats were of the highest standard.  I hope by wearing your brands I did you proud.

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So, I guess I better mention the race and Chicago itself!

Ok the flight to Chicago was full of GB age groupers so I made the right decision and decided not to wear my GB colours on the flight. I prefer instead to stay clear of the macho BS that begins the second a group of triathletes are in a confined space. You can see people eyeing each other up, wondering if they are doing the same race distance or are in the same age group. I stayed largely under the radar, put my earphones in and made my way through 4 films. Upon arrival the transfer was appalling, I won’t go into it but if you ever visit Chicago do not use “Go airport shuttle”. Simply appalling.

My apartment was superb. I decided to use “Air BnB” and found a great apartment which was just outside the city in a cool little American suburb. It meant I had my own space away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the event hype itself. I also had my own kitchen so I was able to keep the race nutrition on track. Based on this experience I would definitely use Air BnB again. A fraction of the cost of a hotel and so much better.

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The next couple of days were spent with the usual race registration, packet pick up, meet and greet, opening ceremony and team briefing. All of which lead nicely up to race day itself.

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My start time for the race was 11:10am which meant an early racking time of 07:30. With everything in place I had an anxious three hour wait until I was finally called to the swim loading pen. We entered the water and had a few minutes to get used to the temperature and the waves. (It is a very big lake!) then we were called to get ready, this is it I thought, months of hard work. A season of focus. Everything I had worked for put into one final race. The hooter sounded.

A hundred pairs of arms started pounding the water and each other. I had made the decision to start wide on the left to ensure I got away unharmed and settled into a good pace right from the start. This paid off as I got into a solid swim immediately and stayed clear of any fist fights in the water. I felt the swim was slow but in fact upon exiting the water (and confirmation later on)  the swim was actually 100m longer than the published 750m. A solid swim. I was glad to get my weakest discipline out of the way.

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The transitions both comprised of long runs. T1 meant a run in my wetsuit over about 600m. That together with the usual chaos in transition meant a 3 minute transition time. Again, on reflection this turned out to be a good, fast transition.

The bike course was frustrating. I would have expected a better course for the world championships but it was what it was. I guess it was the same for everyone but the course was very technical with two hairpins and numerous narrow segments. The course was also too congested and it was difficult to find a clear route through. Whenever I could, I put the hammer down hard and went for it. I felt strong on the bike and the legs felt like pistons hammering up and down. The road surface was also pretty poor considering the event it was hosting. I know in the UK we should be used to potholes, but these were ridiculous. As I said, the bike was a little frustrating, very stop and start and slowing down for obstacles that I wouldn’t expect to be there in a race of this magnitude. My bike made it safely through in just under half an hour for the bike leg and into T2. One thing I did suffer with was the heat under my new TT helmet. I thought my head was on fire!

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T2 was long again, another 300m run to rack the bike and switch the shoes and out onto the run course. I was relieved to get the bike helmet off my head!

At almost midday the run course was hitting around 29 / 30 degrees and you could feel it with every step. The heat was bouncing back up off the road. That said, I wanted a strong run so I started well. I held a good solid pace as I headed away from transition towards the city, the first 1.5km went as planned and the heat wasn’t too bad. I approached the first hairpin and POW the heat hit me full on. Not only could I feel it on my head and skin I could actually feel the heat in my mouth and tongue. I used the water stop to take a sip and then pour the rest of the cup over my head. I tried to continue to push the pace but the more the run went on the more the heat took its toll on me. I managed to hold a decent pace throughout and managed to speed up a little for the final 400m around Buckingham fountain. I stepped on the blue carpet and crossed the finish line of the World Triathlon Championships 2015.

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I had earned my right to be there. I had raced. I had completed and I was 33rd in the world. I’ll take that 😉

My splits were as follows:

Swim 14:01 (850m)

T1 3:24

Bike 29:44

T2 2:30

Run 19:56

 

Certainly not the best race I have ever had in terms of speed, in fact there was a lot of things “wrong” but definitely the most special race. I was happy with my individual performance on the day but disappointed in the course itself. Like I said, it was a level playing field so everyone had to put up with the same issues. Just one of those things.

With the race over it was time to enjoy my first trip to Chicago, so I did!

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In summary. It has been a long road to Chicago. It started way back in May with the qualifiers and there was plenty of drama involved there! The news of my qualification meant I had to save hard to make it to Chicago but make it I did at the expense of a family holiday! I went, I raced, I completed and I know have a world ranking. I am the 33rd best AG triathlete IN THE WORLD. That is something that I am very proud of and it has made the endless hours of training worthwhile. I had a great time in Chicago, I met some great people and had a great laugh and even managed to rub shoulders with some stars. It will be an event that I will remember for the rest of my life.20150919_19403420150919_194332 IMG_20150918_205145IMG-20150918-WA0005received_10153489205805861received_10153489206810861received_10153489209620861

Once again. Thank you to everyone who made this dream come true.

 

ty

 

 

 

One month to go!

 

It’s been a while since my last blog update but in truth that’s partly because I have had my head down focussed on training.

There hasn’t been much in the way of excitement or races, just working through my training plan with Chicago drawing ever closer.

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The good news is that the focus is paying off. I feel confident in where I am in my training, my weight and my fitness levels and I am feeling strong. With a single month left it’s where I want to be.

On the 5th July I took part in a race in South Lincolnshire. I had won an entry through an online competition and I am really glad to have taken part in this cracking little event. The first running of the “Tallington Lakes Triathlon” saw a decent number of athletes take part which included a lovely lake swim, a challenging bike course and a pan flat out and back run to finish. I am happy to report that having exited T2 in 4th I managed to push hard on the run and secure 2nd place overall. A good morning’s work was achieved.

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With training being the primary focus at the moment I decided to run the Newham 10km race which started in the Olympic park and finished with a loop of the Olympic stadium. The run itself was fairly un-inspirational and due to the massive number of competitors and twists and turns it was difficult to find a rhythm and therefore a PB hope was off the cards. However, the finish was one of the best ever. The final 300m takes you out onto the Olympic track with crowd noise being pumped in. Superb feeling and a great setting for a finish. On the whole, not a race I’ll be rushing back to!

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So somehow I found myself in August and I made a last minute decision to try and better my 10km time by taking on the Bearbrook 10km near Aylesbury. A large group of Stopsley Striders headed out for the race.  Unfortunately, the “flat” course turned out to be not so flat and I missed my PB by 13 seconds. That said I was really happy with the pace I held throughout the run so it definitely helped with my confidence heading toward Chicago.

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So, looking forward I have a calendar month. I have booked in my final “test” triathlon for the final weekend in August. I have entered and paid for all the things surrounding my trip to Chicago. Training is going well and I have an “easy” week to look forward to before two heavy race specific “peak weeks”, after that, it’s time to board a flight and head to Chicago!

In the battle between nerves and excitement – it’s pretty even right now.

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