Well, after a good block winter of training, a new coach and four warm weather training camps it was finally time to get the tri-suit out for the first race of the season last weekend.
Learning from my first competitive season as a GB age grouper, where I over raced and dipped mid season, I decided that I would race less this year and build up to peak at the World 70.3 and European Long Course Champs that come late on in the season.
Supported by Team Jameson my training has gone extremely well. Swim speed and endurance are much improved from last season. Even the bike, my strongest discipline last year, has gone from strength to strength, must have been the four training camps and all that climbing up and down Mt Teide. As for my running, that too was picking up well and even I was even starting to enjoy running for two hours.
Then bang, five weeks out from my first serious 70.3 in Mallorca, my ongoing achillies problem returns with a vengeance, resulting in virtually no run training leading up to the race.
Everything went smoothly getting out to Mallorca and after a few days of resting it was race day.
Due to the large numbers of competitors, Mallorca was a wave start this year and I started 1 hour after the pros and my wife, Helen, also doing her first race this year.
We lined up on the beach under the start banner with everyone jostling for positio. I deliberately stayed back and moved to one side confident that I could swim around them all. This worked a treat and I stayed out of the mayhem and jumped on the leaders feet letting him navigate me through the hundreds of people who had set off in the previous waves. A great swim and I was out of the water in second place in my age group.
A quick run up the beach, helmet on, a run through the longest transition I have ever seen and onto the trusty Lios Javelin and into my comfort zone. The plan was to nail the bike and see how the foot was and it was going to plan. The Mallorca course is pretty much 10k pan flat – 10k up a mountain – 10k down back down – 60k pan flat which suited my training perfectly.
I worked with a fellow competitor , after I realised I couldn’t drop him, to set the pace on the front and we came into T2 together with a good lead in 2hours 20mins averaging just under 40kph.
Bike racked, then a shuffle to tent to put my trainers on hoping that by some miracle I would be able to pull it out the bag and the legs would respond. They did for first 5k and I managed to pull out a few minutes lead in my age group, then boom, the achillies went again along with the rest of my legs and I knew it was going to be a very long dark 16k. I didn’t want to start my first Ironman 70.3 experience with a DNF so I had to resort to the fartlek option, running 200m fast, a quick stretch, a walk then run again. Taking all this into consideration I was pleased to finish the run in 1hour 40 mins.
My total race time was 4hours 35mins that placed me a credible 10th in my age group and 65th overall. Fully run fit I now know I can compete with the best in my age group and I look forward to Ironman Staffs 70.3 in June where I will be aiming for put my name on one of those championship slots.
None of this would be possible without the support of my super triathlete wife who also got round the tough Mallorca course in sub six hours, the Royal Navy/Royal Marines Triathlon Association, Steve at Liosbikes and Tim at Stolen Goat. A big thanks guys for your continued support for the forthcoming season.