2017 so far

So, after a hectic final year of university, I can now finally compose a report on what I have been up to in 2017. It has been a busy year having to find a graduate job and also having very important exams. Thankfully, the pressure is off now and I can look forward to graduation soon.

Winter Training

Winter training went okay for me. I tried to make improvements in all disciplines but unfortunately had a few injuries which limited my training. Falling off my bike on the icy roads wasn't ideal but thankfully I was introduced to power meters meaning indoor training was much more enjoyable and purposeful. It was my saving grace over the winter period and I feel it has significantly helped my biking performance. Sweet spot intervals are brutal but they certainly help!

Central Lancashire Half Marathon

The Central Lancashire Half Marathon is a good test to see how my winter training is going. I completed the event last year in 1:29:22 and this year everything went right for me. I perhaps started off too quickly setting a new 10km PB but sustained a sub 4:00min/km pace and completed the half marathon in a new PB time of 1:20:19. It was a good start to the new year.

Manchester Marathon

Manchester Marathon was my first ever marathon. I didn't really know what to expect but I set out a target of sub 3 hours. I tried to keep hydrated and fueled myself with High5 isogels every 7kms but it probably wasn't enough. The target of 3 hours seemed set but I really suffered after 35kms and eventually finished in 3:02:19. I will take on board what I learnt from this race with it being my first marathon and hope to break 3 hours soon.

Battlefield Long Distance Duathlon

The Battlefield Long Distance Duathlon is a great race is start the triathlon season. It is a very challenging course with lots of elevation on both the run and bike. The distances comprised of a 20km run, 80km bike and a 10km run to finish. The first run definitely does make the rest of the race painful due to the build up of lactic acid. I even got cramp on the first bike loop so eased off slightly. I wasn't quite sure how my positioning was going but ended up overtaking the leader with 2km to go on the bike. A quick transition extended my lead and knew the last leg would be brutal. My plan was to try and smash the first half of the run as it was all down hill and then hope I had the legs to get my up the big hill to the finish. It all went smoothly until just after the hill with 3kms to go. I just had no energy left and ended up getting overtaken by the eventual winner and runner up. I will definitely learn from this experience and hopefully perfect my race strategy next time.

Outlaw Half Triathlon

I love the Outlaw Half Triathlon. It is a well supported race and the competition is always high. I went into the race hoping for a sub 4:30 time. Having not swam in open water in 2017, I was unsure how the swim would go but the time spent in the pool definitely helped taking a minute off from last year. The bike leg went fairly well but after 50km I decided to save my legs for the run. Unfortunately, I didn't make any improvements on the bike leg compared to last year but I felt fresh coming off the bike. I ended up running a personal best half marathon time for a middle distance race. Even when I finished I still felt like I could keep on going which just shows that the fitness is there, but I need to learn to suffer even more.

Lakesman Bike Course

The Lakesman is an incredible race based in the Lake District. My step dad, Paul, was competing in the race so I decided to do the bike course as training. I set myself a target to average 35km/h over the 180km which would be a personal best. I felt good throughout, only suffering on the final climbs back into Keswick. I feel like I aced my nutrition which bodes well for the future. In the end I actually averaged 36.3km/h which I was delighted with giving a personal best under 5 hours! I then went on to support the rest of the athletes by dressing up as 118 along with my mum and sister. It was a great way of giving back to the triathlon community and really hoped we helped those athletes suffering during the marathon. Paul smashed his previous personal best coming 9th overall on a very hot day. In actual fact, we love this race so much that we are both going to race next year! Who will win? We'll have to find out!

Llandudno Sea Triathlon

My preparation going into this race wasn't ideal. After a stressful few weeks of exams I needed some time to relax so ended up going to Barcelona with my best friend from university, Sophie. It was just what I needed to de-stress, however I just didn't find any time to train due to all the site-seeing we did. I wouldn't change it though as sometimes you need a break to refuel. Going into the race I felt confident of what I could achieve. The sea swim seemed challenging along with the very hill bike course and run. I ended up being very slow in the sea swim, with the cold sea temperatures not helping me at all. Sea swimming is definitely a weakness of mine which I will hope to improve before Ironman Wales in September. Onto the bike and I knew I had to make up time on the people ahead of me. All seemed to be going well until about 18kms in the bike course when I, along with many others took a wrong turning. Someone purposely sabotaged the bike course by changing the direction of one of the arrows. This completely threw me off and it turns out I cycled an extra 5kms. I had to just refocus and smash the hills. I knew that my strength was to get up the hills quickly and not lose too much time on the descents. Fortunately for me, several of the other athletes also got diverted by the sign and I ended up passing them on the steep hills. I arrived at T2 not knowing where I was positioned but the out and back run course meant I could figure out where I was placed. The run loop was simply up and over a hill and back, which was tough but suited to me. I worked out that I was in second place and ended finishing there too. I was delighted to finish 2nd, even after the diversion. It was a great race to prepare for Ironman Wales too as it had similar elements with the sea swim, plus lots of elevation on the bike and run.

To conclude

To conclude, I am happy with how this year has gone so far. I have suffered from several injuries but hopefully the worst is behind me and I can get into a hard training block over the summer months. My next race is the Long Course Weekend in a weeks time followed by a few weeks in France where I can smash my training in the sun and not having to worry about the possibility of rain.

Central Lancashire Half Marathon

Manchester Marathon

Battlefield Long Distance Duathlon

Outlaw Half Triathlon

Lakesman bike course

Llandudno Sea Triathlon

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