Belated 2014 Round Up – Jan-Jun –
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Belated 2014 Round Up – Jan-Jun

So this is part one of a rather belated 2014 round up.

TLDR: Largely disappointing

My first race of the year set the tone for the year. The Helsby Half was on again this year, after a last minute snow/ice cancellation in 2013. I went out ok for the first few miles, but was really struggling after 7 miles. I slowed right down, and had decided to turn it into a training run rather than a hard effort. However, something clicked at the 10 mile point, and I engaged my inner Bevan Docherty, putting the power down over the last 5K to finish in 1:45, which isn’t a bad effort (although way off my PB of 1:39).

Training wise, February is where it all started to go down hill. I had a general lack of mojo, alongside a few niggles that I allowed to impact my training. Despite swimming being the discipline I like the most, I allowed apathy and a sore shoulder to stop me getting in the pool from the end of January through to the middle of May.

Cycling was restricted to some spin classes, and running was very hit and miss.

It’s therefore no surprise that I detonated in the Wilmslow Half in March, again after 7 miles, although this time I had no finish to bring it home, and finished in a very disappointing time.

Things started to get better in April with the first of two open 25 mile time trials. Although I hadn’t been getting in the volume I would have liked, I had still been getting in more bike training than previously. I was therefore very happy to knock two minutes off my 25 time with a 1:13. Still very poor by tester standards, and it left me very much bringing up the rear, but it was a nice improvement.

I also race the Pwllheli Sprint Triathlon for the second time. I had a mixed bag, the swim was slower than 2012 with a 6:19 for 400m, but that was off no training for the best part of 3 months, so wasn’t too bad. The bike was 1 minute quicker than 2012, which was quite a nice improvement given the distance and the head winds on the fast part of the circuit back into town. The run was disappointing, 25 minutes for the 5K, but was a reflection of the state of my running.

May was the first target race of the season, the Milton Keynes Marathon. If you’ve picked up on the theme of disappointing runs, you probably already know how this went. I practised a version of the run walk strategy that I was planning to use for the Bolton Ironman, run a mile, walk 45 seconds. It went quite well up to 16 miles, and was on for my target of circa 4hrs, however my lack of long runs really hit home, and the last 8 miles were a bit of a death march, finishing in 4:22.

By the way, despite marketing it’s self as a flat course, the MK marathon is far from flat! The first half is all on closed roads, with some gentle inclines, nothing too bad. However, the second half is run on the Red Ways around Milton Keynes. These are very nice cycle/foot paths that are a great way to get around, and quite nice to run on. However, each time they cross a road, there is an underpass, and the Red Route dips down to the underpass, and then back up to road level. These dips are really tough on the legs as they aren’t long enough to get any respite from the downhill, and the up hills, whilst short, are really sharp.

The MK marathon was a turning point, and I started to get my act together training wise. The looming Outlaw Half made me get back in the pool, and I also got the wetsuit out and into Salford Quays for a bit of open water practise.

Although it’s not necessarily the best way to train, I love racing, so I tend to schedule in as many races as I can. June was jam packed, with Triathlons and running races.

First up was the Outlaw Half, exactly half the distance of the Bolton Ironman, although on a largely flat course. Just a couple of weeks of swimming was enough to get my swim speed back up to a reasonable level, and I went 2 minutes quicker than at The Vitruvian last August.

The bike was also much improved over The Vit last year, going 2 minutes quicker, albeit on a flatter, but significantly longer, course.

However, the run was a disaster, going around 15 minutes slower than at The Vit. The weather was extremely hot, and with hind sight, I didn’t do anything about that, and just slowly cooked on a course with very little shade. I should have used some of the water at the aid stations to cool myself down, but I’ve never been one for chucking water over myself during races as I find it usually ends up in places you don’t want it, causing problems you don’t need. However, lesson learnt for next time, go with the lesser of two evils. I also started way too quick, doing 26 mins for the first 5K, when I should have been closer to 28 mins.

Two weeks later it was the Windsor Triathlon. This was my third ever triathlon back in 2011 (after Tatton Olympic and Wilmslow Sprint). I’ve been itiching to come back and see how I go, with a few years of training and experience under my belt, but the date has always clashed with something else.

The swim was interesting because of quite a strong current in the river. I did the final 600m back down stream in around 4:30 due to the current assist! Due to some cock ups in the earlier waves, the swim turn round was moved to the last but one buoy. So, 6 minutes faster than in 2011, but a little short.

The bike was three minutes quicker than in 2011, but there were some horrendous head winds to contend with, so I’m confident I could go a lot quicker. The final part of the bike is a descent out of Windsor Great Park, back into town. In 2011 I was spinning out going down there, in 2014 I was having to work really hard into the wind to maintain even 20 mph!

The run continued the theme of just being shit. 3 minutes slower than in 2011!!! No excuses, just not enough work.

I finished up the month with the Round the Reser race. It’s a nice little 5 mile trail race around Valehouse Reservoir in Tintwistle. It starts just across the valley from my house (about a 10 minute warm up jog away) so it would be rude not to partake. Once again my run was pants, 3 minutes slower than 2013, and further reinforcement (as if I needed it) of how shit my training had been.


Posted in bolton2014, roadtoroth, Triathlon.

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