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…………

 

2016 Season review

If I had to summarise my 2016 season in a single sentence it would go something along the lines of…

“2016 has been an experimental year with a lack of an end goal, with many challenges and a change in focus which on reflection I haven’t enjoyed as much as previous seasons”.

Reading that sounds rather negative I have to admit, but, it isn’t entirely and that is certainly not the case.

After the ITU world championships in Chicago and having represented GB at both the European and World championships I made a conscious decision to step up a distance and have a year where I would try Middle distance triathlons. For those readers that are not aware that is a 1.9km swim, 56 miles on the bike and a half marathon thrown on the end for good measure. A total of 70.3 miles. Don’t get me wrong 2015 and in particular the grand final in Chicago was a fantastic season. The best yet, but I just fancied doing something a little different.

Having made that decision I realised that my season didn’t really have any goals to aim for. No qualifying races, no world finals…. So alongside my longer races I decided I would attempt to do my bit for charity and race 500 miles in 2016. In addition I would attempt to break the 3 hour mark for the marathon.

With these targets in place I started the hunt for suitable races. I needed a flat (preferably downhill) marathon and enough races to keep me busy all season and get me to the magical 500 mark.

After much deliberation I decided to sign up for Manchester marathon, where better to get my sub 3 hour marathon than in the shadow of Old Trafford.

I decided to sign up to the Grafman middle distance triathlon as that was nice and local to me and also the wonderful Brian Adcock donated a place at each of the Hever castle “Gauntlet” triathlons to assist me on my way to 500 miles. Hever Castle would be a return to my childhood as I grew up in that area between the ages of 9 and 12. That would do for a start and I would find other races as the season progressed.

So I am going to go through my races and key points in chronological order at a fairly high level in an attempt to keep this review as brief as possible.

Milton Keynes 20 – As part of the training preparation for my sub 3 hour attempt I entered the MK 20 in early march as a final check that my pacing and training was where it should be. In short it was. 20 miles completed in 2:14:44 which meant and average pacing of 6:45 per mile which essentially meant I was on for a sub 3.

Manchester Marathon – 16 weeks of training, 700+ training miles, Travel costs, Hotel costs, all for one event. Imagine that one event going truly tits up after 18 miles. Well, I don’t have to imagine. I started the race feeling good and ready to crack the 3 hour mark, I paced well until about 18.5 miles and then things just fell apart, cramping and sickness took over and I eventually crossed the line in 3:27:27.

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MK Marathon – With the disappointment of Manchester I felt I owed it to myself to have another shot at the Marathon sub 3 before my triathlon training kicked in. Unfortunately it was like de ja vu, the 18 mile mark came and went and I was comfortable then bang, just before the 19 mile mark the wheels came off again the same way as in Manchester, the time was worse at 3:42:04.

It was later discovered that I have a “defect” in my body’s ability to retain or create its own salt. Therefore, at the pace I was pushing myself over 2 (ish) hours my body was simply reduced of the salts it needed to continue. Causing cramps and sickness. This helps now but at the time my love for running disappeared completely.

Grafman – Time to forget about my marathon disasters and focus on what I love. Triathlon. The first event of the season was the Grafman, based at Grafham water in Cambridgeshire. A great event and perfectly organised by the guys and gals at Nice Tri. I can safely say that I enjoyed the first tri of the year and was reasonably happy with the splits considering my focus had been marathon training until 3 weeks prior to the event. Swim 33:54. Bike 2:40:34. Run 1:34:35.

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Southwark 10km – I entered this race last minute as my training plan suggested a 10km pace test. The only way to get me to push hard is to get me into an event. It worked! I nailed a 10km PB in a time of 37:38 and second place overall.

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Hever Gauntlet (Round 1) – Excited to return to a place I spent many happy years growing up I neglected one very important aspect of racing. ALWAYS read the race information. I learnt a valuable lesson during this race as I attacked the hilly bike course on a TT bike and the toughest off road hilly half marathon in a pair of very light race shoes. Having said that, despite the tough course and the cold wet conditions I did enjoy myself.  My Swim time had improved since the Grafman but the bike and run was significantly slower due to the dramatic profile of the courses. Swim 31:54. Bike 3:20:12. Run 1:44:43.

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Boxend County club championships – So back to sprint distance in the name of the team. Stopsley striders fielded its first ever triathlon team for the county championships at Box end. I really enjoyed being part of the team and used this race as a hard training session the splits a fairly average 12:49, 32:32, 21:55.

Stewartby Sprint – Having returned from holiday I decided to enter my second sprint of the season. Again, using this as a hard training session. The event itself was run by Active Training World and fairly local to me. I was surprised to exit the water in second place and battled between 2nd and 3rd place until the end of the race. A slightly long 12:59 swim, 31:08 bike and a 15:46 (4km) run saw me finish in second place overall.

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St Albans Stampede – Back in March when I suggested to my team mates that we entered this race it sounded like a really good idea. At the start of September it seemed like much less of a great idea. That said, the team of four started the relay strongly and took our turns on the 4 mile loop. It was clear from the second loop that the course would test our legs before the 12 hours was up. The team was in high spirits throughout the day and with three teams from Striders there it made for a great event and a good day out despite the very best of British weather trying to dampen our spirits. Our team continued to run well and we quickly found ourselves challenging for second place. However, in the 11th hour (literally) they just beat us into second place and we had to settle for third. We had run a combined total of 104 miles in 123 hours and I personally had covered 27 miles.

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Unfortunately the hangover from the Stampede meant I had a common runner’s overuse injury. Initially thought to be bursitis of the hip eventually turned out to be damaged tendons in the hip\ glute meaning I would not run for two months. It was clear then that any running related races were not going to happen. That said, back to hever!

Hever Gauntlet (Round 2) – So back to Hever Castle again for the second time this year. My goals were to nail a sub 30 minute swim and beat the time I had completed in back in July. Well as mentioned above I knew I wouldn’t finish the race as I was unable to run. It is a strange feeling getting up at 4am on a Sunday morning, driving 2 hours to Kent to take part in a race you know you won’t finish. Regardless of that I decided to push hard on the swim and the bike and call it quits and grab a massage after T2. So, having left my trainers at home, that is exactly what I did. I swam harder than I have ever done before and way outside of my comfort zone, but that gamble paid off as I exited the water bang on 29:59. The official results pinched another 1 second off me but I’ll take that. 30:00 bang on for my swim was a huge PB for me and proof that the increased hours in the pool with PSC had paid off. Onto the bike and again I was conscious that my triathlon would end once I had finished the bike, with that in mind I pushed hard and managed to keep a decent average pace up over the two hilly loops. I knocked over ten minutes off the time in July. Finishing the bike split in 3:08:13. Into T2, packed up and headed to the massage tent. My triathlon season had ended.

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Nice to Cannes Marathon – Well I had planned to do the French Riviera marathon all year and I hoped it would yield the magical Sub 3 hour marathon and along with it sign off on my 500 mile charity challenge. Unfortunately, again due to the injury this would not happen.

Summary

In a year which has had a lot of change personally I think this season was as good as it could be in the situation.

I have moved house, struggled through the worst employment of my life and eventually been made redundant (thank god!). I found another job and have settled into that job nicely and then just when I thought I could finish the season on a strong note. I got injured.

As I alluded to at the start of this blog, it was an experimental year and I have had some good results. Some good memories and some good learning’s. I have forged a new partnership with my fellow GB athlete and friend who will coach me into 2017 and beyond and I am really looking forward to the time ahead. This was certainly not a wasted season, I tried something different and I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous seasons. That doesn’t make it a failure. Not trying is a failure. Never be left wondering “what if”.

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One thing it has done is fire me up for next season! The best version of me comes out in 2017. I can’t wait!

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For now, it’s a little bit of down time and a decent recovery block before the off season training starts. Thanks to everyone for the support throughout the year. My friends and family have been as wonderfully supportive as ever and I couldn’t have done it without you.

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That’s a wrap!

So I have started my working life with TUI and so far, so good. It is certainly busy, but busy in a good way. As always in a new role it will take time to get to grips with 100% of things but as I say, so far I am enjoying it.

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September started fairly brutally with the St Albans Stampede. For those that are not aware what this is (lucky you!) then allow me to explain. It is a 12 hour endurance race which you can complete as a team of 8, 4, as a pair or if you’re totally mental you can do it on your own. Back in March it seemed like a really good idea to enter a team of 4 from the running club. On Saturday morning it seemed far less of a good idea. The loop was four miles (measured by the same person as the Luton parkrun clearly!) and the plan was simple. I would start, run a loop, hand over to the next runner, and so on and so forth until the 12 hours was up. To be honest, things went to plan, the off-road course was tougher than expected and soon started to take its toll on the legs and of course tiredness set in but on the whole, yes, I’d say it went to plan.

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Overall, it was tough but really enjoyable. The team did well and there was a great team spirit. The men’s team which I was part of finished safely in 3rd place which earned us a nice trophy, a bottle of wine and a Brewery tour.  On the downside, my legs felt it for the following week and my hip has not been the same since.

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No time for rest as the training continued as normal towards the Hever castle triathlon at the end of September. However, Disaster struck as a hangover from the Stampede hit home. I had Bursitis of the hip. No running! Not the greatest race prep, fortunately I have two other sports to focus on!

The following weekend I enjoyed a 60 mile sportive organised by TUI, aptly named the “Tour de TUI”. The sun shone, the bike flew and despite two punctures I completed the hilly 60 mile course in just over 3 hours, great training towards Hever and another 60 mile in the charity box for the year.

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Unfortunately my hip issues hadn’t disappeared before my second visit of the year to Hever castle, so I had a decision to make. Do I a) pull out completely or b) hit the swim and bike hard and stop after that, not getting a medal and obtaining a DNF. Well, I went for option B.

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It is a strange feeling getting up at 4am on a Sunday morning, driving 2 hours to Kent to take part in a race you know you won’t finish. Regardless of this I managed to get into the mind-set to swim outside of my comfort zone in order to achieve a sun 30 minute swim time and to push the bike harder as I didn’t need to run off the bike. The idea being to improve on my split times from Junes event.

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In summary, I did exactly what I set out to do; I swam hard and completed the swim in 29:59 – although the official timing robbed me of a second to make it 30:00.

A careful “hobble” into T1 saw me away onto lap 1 of 2 on the bike. It’s amazing how your brain forgets just how brutal certain aspects of races are! I was soon reminded. The endless slow draining climbs are occasionally rewarded but sweeping fast descents. Again, the knowledge that I wouldn’t actually finish this race played with my mind when the legs got tired but I managed to ignore that and push on, with lap one done, I pushed through the second lap with everything I had left and by the end I was very pleased not to be facing the tough half marathon. Instead, I went for a massage. This could be the future! Swim, Bike, massage.

So altogether a really good day out at Hever castle, a superb event and seamless organisation made it a great event to be at. I got a new 1900m PB and smashed my personal bike course record by just over 10 minutes. I also managed to tackle a few demons. Since my crash in 2012 I have suffered with confidence on the fast descents but on this course, you simply have no choice but to put your big boy pants on and get on with it. I’m hoping the more I throw myself down rapid descents, the more comfortable I will be with them.

So that pretty much puts a wraparound September and indeed the Triathlon season. It’s now time to sit back, relax and to get my bloody hip sorted. My next blog will be a very honest and open season review and race plans for 2017.

Finally if you have not given yet we are rapidly heading towards the end of the year! Yes, really! So my 500 mile quest is coming to an end. Please dig deep and donate for a very worthwhile local charity. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Sub3500

I’ve had a blast!

Regular readers of my blog will know that since July 22nd I have been on “Gardening leave” as I was made redundant in mid-June.  Fortunately I managed to find myself a job very quickly and agreed a start date of 22nd August! Therefore, I found myself with a month off… paid!

So of course as it is called “gardening leave” I decided that I would do no gardening whatsoever and immerse myself into training. A taste of what the pros do! The only exception was that I also had a week’s holiday in Mallorca, but more on that in a moment.

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Let’s just say, I have covered more metres in the pool, more miles on the bike and run than ever before and I have loved every minute of it. My hope is that it sets me up with a strong end to the season.

At the tail end of my last blog I told you that I had teamed up with my mate Fin who I raced with in Chicago to push me to my limits and he has certainly taken my training and given it a much needed shake up.

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So August continued very much the way June finished. Training anywhere between 2 and 5 hours a day. Most days hitting at least two of the three disciplines.

I enjoyed a holiday to Mallorca in the first week of August. It was my first visit to the Island and it will certainly not be the last. I took the opportunity to run and swim most days and hired a bike on two days to explore some of the awesome routes on the island and one or two of the climbs. I loved it and I will definitely be back. If anyone is heading to the north of the island and needs a hire bike I can fully recommend the “Pinerello Experience” which is based in Port de Pollensa. Great gear and superb service.

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Having retuned to the UK I raced the following weekend at a local Sprint Tri – my first Sprint of the season. A great race held by Active Training world in the old Brick works of Stewartby. Well worth looking out for next year.

I had a decent swim for probably the first time ever and came out of the wet stuff in second place! Which is pretty unheard of for me. I left T1 in first place and put my head down on the bike but unfortunately I lost a place early on to a strong athlete, this time round I just didn’t have the legs to stay with him. The legs felt a little heavy, I put this down to holiday \ mountainous bike routes \ excessive holiday food. I hoped he was a poor runner! In the final 200m of the bike I was overtaken again and so I finished the bike leg down in third place. T2 could have been better as my bike decided it didn’t want to stay on the rail but with that issue dealt with I gave chase to second place and took it back midway through the run. It was an out and back run leg so I saw first place come back the other way, he wasn’t a poor runner! Oh well! I hit cruise control and was happy to hold second as I knew I wasn’t going to catch first, he had done the damage on the bike. I crossed the line just over the hour and claimed a nice trophy – so a good days work.IMG_20160814_115401

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I thought I has deserved a rest day, apparently not. It was straight into another tough week of training but as it’s the last one before I return to a full time job, I don’t mind at all.

The next event lined up is the St Albans 12 hour Stampede – which will see me cover around 30 \ 35 miles in 12 hours and is done as a relay team. I then have two weekends of no racing before I travel to Hever again with the aim of beating my time set on the same course in June. A busy month ahead.

I am on the lookout for corporate sponsorship for the 2017 season. So if you or someone you know think you may be able to help then please do get in touch. It would be very much appreciated.

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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 – early morning swim

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Nature spotting during a long ride

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A pause for breath during hill reps to admire the view

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A Zone 2 long run at Priory park in Bedford

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Biggest swim week in history

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Its been a while

So its been a while since I last wrote but in truth it has been a pretty mixed start to 2016. If I am honest, its not one I have been particularly happy with.

My last update focussed very much on Winter training and the quest to land myself a sub 3 hour marathon. I am not going to bore you with the details around it but suffice to say, I had two attempts at it and failed. Anyone that knows me is no doubt bored to death of the reasons why and what I am doing to overcome the issues.

So that target is now going to be pushed back to the end of the year when I visit Nice in November.

With it being June and as I sit here and type the Sun is streaming down through the window and the Triathlon season is well and truly underway. My first Tri of the year was the Grafman middle distance. I had three weeks from my marathon to quickly remind myself what biking and swimming felt like before I took on what was only my second ever middle distance Tri.

The chaps and chapesses at Nice Tri events laid on a super event as always and the race went well, I went there with little expectation and no pressure on my shoulders so I actually enjoyed the race! I remember actually smiling when I was finishing the bike leg!

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I was pleasantly surprised with the result – the swim was shocking, but then what can you expect when you ignore the pool over winter in favour of tattoos! The bike was comfortable and perhaps I should have pushed harder. The run, was also pretty comfortable. That is until about the 6 mile mark when 3 big blisters decided to make me run like I had shat myself! I was happy with the performance on the day as I know I have got better in me. Remember I had managed just 3 weeks of Tri training since the marathon!

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I am now in week 2 of a 4 week building block which will see me train hard all the way up to the 10th July which will be The Castle triathlon at Hever Castle. I am looking forward to racing around the part of the world I grew up.

In summary, A disappointing start to the year has been now put behind me. I’m back doing what I do best. Racing. Triathlon. Bring it on.

Most importantly, please remember I am raising money throughout the year for a local charity based in Luton.

If you can help please do so – http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Sub3500

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2016 – I best write something!

So it’s been a while since I last did a blog entry so I thought I would put virtual pen to virtual paper and let you know what I have been up too!

First off I am really pleased that my cross country season has come to an end and I am still in one piece. Cross country has never particularly been a friend of mine but I was committed to completing all five of the league fixtures this year without injury and I’m happy to say that I did that. I will never set the world alight in such a race but over the course of the season I was happy with my performances. Only one performance was poor and that was down to a rather heavy hangover!

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With Manchester marathon approaching ever closer and with a sub three hour target in mind my training has been largely run focussed in the first few months of 2016, with swimming and biking both being reduced dramatically to allow for the extra run mileage.

Training is going well, I have already completed my first 20 miler ahead of schedule and no sign of any injuries or marathonoia creeping in. So all is good on that front. February and March are a key time in the training plan and week 8 marks the halfway point of training, so I guess I’m on the home straight now!? Right??

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Away from racing and training I am really happy to announce that Inframon have agreed to sponsor me again for the 2016 season. They join Insight Nutrition in supporting me in my debut season in middle distance racing. This season will very much be a transitional season for me and in truth I do not know what to expect. Perhaps I will love stepping up the distance, perhaps I will just hate it. Watch this space I guess.

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One thing I do know is that during 2016 I will be attempting the sub 3 hour marathon and racing a distance of 500 miles for charity. I have decided to raise funds for a local (Luton) charity called Signposts. Why not pop along to www.signpostsso.com to find out who they are and all the good shizzle they do in the community.

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On that note please pop along to my fundraising site and make a donation. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Sub3500

I have a couple of races coming up in the next month so the next instalment should be a little more thrilling. But for now, keep safe and speak soon.

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It’s Christmas!!!

So it’s been a while since I last wrote, but to be honest I don’t have too much to say! Yes, I can hear you all now muttering “makes a bloody change!” In all honesty it’s been a fairly quite off-season so far.

After the excitement of Chicago it’s all been fairly… meh! I took a break from the regular triathlon training which meant I hardly touched the bike or the pool throughout November. I kept up my running with Stopsley Striders and I can say I am happy I did. The fitness has not died off completely and I have managed to get round four of the five league cross country fixtures that we all have a love hate relationship with every year. The truth be told, I really enjoy them. Of course we have local rivalries which adds to the competitive spirit and of course the inter club competition to drive us forward through the mud but there is something of a romance with cross country, it’s one of the rare times of the year the club can get together as a team and I think that’s what I enjoy more than anything. Last year I managed to race one before getting injured. This year I am hoping to complete all 5 league fixtures, the counties, the regionals and of course the nationals.

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Letchworth Cross country – Event #4

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Wing and THAT puddle – Cross country event #3

Aside from that I have started to put races together for 2016. Before the triathlon season starts up in May my first focus will be a sub 3 hour marathon attempt. This will be attempted in Manchester on the 10th April. I say the word “attempt” because I appreciate just how hard that magical barrier of 180 minutes is. I know a lot of runners much better than me that are still waiting to break that magical 3 hour barrier so I know the training will be tough and the race will have to be one of the best races of my life in order to achieve it. Therefore I will be giving it the respect it deserves in my training. I will of course keep a number of swim, bike and strength session in my weekly training but the focus will be on the running until April.

Once the marathon is done I have lined up the following half iron distance races. The Grafman in May. The Gauntlet in July and another in September and the Nice to Cannes marathon in November.

One thing I have decided is that I will be raising money throughout 2016 for “Signposts start over” in Luton. (www.signpostsso.com) This is a local charity who helps homeless people “start over” – for that I have pledged not only to attempt a 3 hour marathon but also race a total of 500 miles next season. So I better put a few more races in the calendar!

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On that note, I must say a huge thank you to the wonderful people at Castle Triathlon Series for donating two race entries at Hever castle. I am looking forward to racing there as it holds great memories of growing up in the next village along.

 

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If you can please can you support me and donate anything you can to the cause. Please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Sub3500 .

I am really pleased that I can confirm that I will be once again working with Insight Nutrition throughout 2016 to help me achieve my goals. I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate Alex and Keri on the birth of their daughter Madalyn. Wonderful news.

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That only leaves me to say one last thing.

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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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