Thursday, August 12, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
A few days has passed since I completed the Beast of the East and now that the pain has subsided I thought I might be able to give a more realistic account of the day. I was lucky enough to win a free entry for the race through the TI awards dinner last winter, well through a bit of jiggery pokery I swapped with someone else. What was I thinking!! I could have completed a sprint but I chose the Beast. There must have been something internal telling me to give it a go. I suppose I didn’t really think it be be that hard considering I train on most of the bike course most weekends and a hilly run is a hilly run isn’t it?
The run up to the race was a bit hectic with helping out the committee with a few bits n bobs. They had a tough job, and put in an enormous amount of work which was clearly evident on the day.
Morning of the race:
I got up earlish, 6.45am, had breakfast and headed up tp Lough Dan. I was a bit nervous, more of the swim than anything else, due to my lack of swimming last winter. Although the last few weeks had seen me pick it up a bit and for the week before the race I swam every day in Wicklow harbour. I changed wetsuits a few days before the race as My brother in laws was a tighter fit and let in less water and I felt more bouyant in the water.
Transition and set up was quick and easy. As I had the Spirit Land Rover Discovery, I was lucky enough to drive right down to T1 as the Discovery was supposed to be on show for the sponser. My set up was straight forward and the only item I changed was the front wheel. Instead of using my Zipp 404 front I opted for a corima 4 spoke as I was getting a bit of a noise from the Zipp and I thought the carbon may be compromised. I was also wearing the new club 2 piece tri suit, other than that all remained the same from previous races. I was riding my Scott Plasma II Ltd.
Time passed quickly and before I knew it we were all listening to Paul give the race briefing and were all in our wetsuits. I was in wave 1 which I was delighted with as there was no more hanging around. In we went to the lough to the sounds of Sean Kelly on the bagpipes.
And then the hooter blew, we were off. The usual mad dash for 50 m ensued, very little of the washing machine took place, everyone was being very polite! I got into a rythem fairly quickly after the first buoy as there was a long 600m straight. I was between 2 groups and it was erily quiet and a little strange with the dark water and the silence. I managed to get the odd feet for a bit here and there but overall was on my own for most of the swim. I really enjoyed the swim in the lake and sighting was made easy with the new WTC buoys. I exited in 30mins, which O was happy enough with as it was a fresh water swim. There was a few hand at the end of the pontoon to help us out which was a bonus.
T1 was ok, 2.20mins which includes a lon run with the bike to the road.
Within the first km you hit the first climb at a length of 1.2km. I had been up this a few times in training so I knew what to expect. I tempo’ed up it. My breathing was a little hard but considering I was just out of the swim, it was to be expected. After that it was down into the TT bars and goive it a bit of welly. I planned to go hard on the bike as I knew the course and where you could really push it. There was a headwind on the out section. I passed a lot of people up to the halfway mark, came across Siobhan on the little climb out of Annamoe. Quick hello as I passed and then re-concentrate on the task in hand. I was using Paul’s Corima 4 spoke and something was wrong with it. I was getting a clacking noise all through the cycle. People could hear me coming from 100 m. I was so embarrased by it, I was starting to apologise to people as I passed them!! I knew all of the stewards on the course as they were all from the try club and the cheers were brilliant and really gave me energy to pusg harder. The way back was quiet as I seemed to have found my place, I wasn’t gaining on the guy in front and no-one was gaining on me. I worked hard to Laragh and then turned knowing there was only 6km to go and 3 more climbs. They were tough, not that they were excessively steep, just tired legs after pushing hard on the previous 32km. I struggled a little on the third and then recovered on the descent back into Lough Dan. I was happy with the bike and mega happy with my place, 9th into T2 from Wave 1.
Quick change here, runners, visor and glasses on and I was away. 1.45min, why so long!!! I couldn’t get the heal of my runner on right!! Got to work on that.
Leaving transition I felt great, full of smiles, Craig Doyle was compare and making a joke at my expense. I headed off on what I knew was going to hurt. Same initial start as the bike, after 1km up that dam hill again, this time a lot more slowly. I knew my stride length was short but I thought that was just due to the tiredness and the hill. At the top my dad was at the first aid station, I ran through, quick hello/ About 0.5km up the road I started to cramp in my hammers, mainly the left, not too bad but I couldn’t make my stride length any longer. I continued to aid station 2 at 3.2km, stopped for a quick stretch, then my quads tightened. The nest 2 km were spent running slowly and stopping to stretch. I got passedhere by about 4 runners. I was fuming with myself for cramping, my own fault, I only had about 300ml of drink on the whole bike, a ridiculously small amount for such a tough course. At about 5km the cramping subsided and I was able to pick up the speed. Mentally it was a tough run and I felt I really had to dig deep to get to the end. 7-8km is slightly uphill and that was hard, saw my dad again but was in no mood for talking, I just wanted to get to the descent. I let rip as I knew there was 2 guys who could catch me. By the time I got to the last junction I was clear of them so knew I wouldn’t have to have a sprint finish against anyone, I was running on empty by now. The final 300m on grass is a nice way to finish. And the view running back down to the lake was stunning. Loads of WTC heads about shouting encouragement for me and Craig calling out my name. I crossed the line in 2.32 overall, run time 46mins. Run could have been better but it’s a tough run and I did stop a wee bit to stretch.
It is a great race, marshaling was excellent, fantastic setting and I would recommend it to all club members to put in for one of the 5 slots in 2011. Will I do it again? maybe, but I’ll train specifically for it. It is as the name suggests a beast.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sunday, November 15, 2009
11.30am, 3rd November and the Aer Lingus steward announced it was time to board the plane. This was the flight which was going to take me to the USA and my final race of 2009, IM Florida. Instantly, I felt a slight pang of nervousness, no going back now, not that I would. I have been building for this race for the past 16 weeks, and now within 4 days it would become a reality.
This report is going to be slightly different to previous reports as I’m going to update it as I go along when I get some free time. I hope to record an accurate and honest viewpoint of how I feel for the next 5 days.
We are curently about 30mins into the flight to Orlando. We upgraded to the business class seats for comfort and it was worth it. The seats are huge and there is plenty of room, no stress here. Everything I do from here until Saturday will be done while thinking of the race in m mind. Its how I work. If I take something on it tends to consume me. It freaks Paul a bit but its just my personality. I tend to be like this in work also. I’m an organised person so when racing it tends to slip over. I think it’s a good trait to have. Paul would probably disagree and say I go OTT or have OCD.
Anyway, the flight is going to be 9.15hrs so the plan for me will be to relax as much as possible, watch a movie, sleep, read, hydrate, eat well and add to this report.
Gareth and Derrick and on the same flight so the full representation for Ireland at IM Florida 2009 are all from Wicklow…….
What are my views on the race coming up…… well I have a few concerns….. nothing major but as I said before, its all in the planning. I’m nervous about the start, not the swim length, that’ll be fine, its the other 2853 people around me I’m nervous about. It’s a mass start and differs from Lanzarote in that there will be a lot more people entering the water at the same time and therefore a lot more thrashing about. My plan will be to move over to the right and wait probably 30 seconds after the start gun to enter. The main aim is to have a comfortable swim. Whether I go 1.10 or 1.20, its irrelevant. I would like to exit the water calm and relaxed and focussed for the bike. I saw some of the photos of the transition and it looks long. I’m expecting T1 to take 6-9 mins.
I’m going to wear a tri top and pair of Assos uno shorts, comfort being the priority. I’ve also decided to wear my road bike shoes and not the tri shoes. Bella Bayliss has likened the bike to 5 hrs on a turbo. From that statement I gather it will be tough out there. I’ve thought about this a lot and spoke to various people about the approach I should take. The information has been everything from go easy and save it for the run to go balls out and hope to survive on the run…… I have probably completed 10 cycles greater than 160k in preparation for this race and have tried various options to see what works for me. My conclusion is that I need to conserve on the bike and hold a gear just under what I could push. I have found that I run better of that scenario. Also, I recently did a 180km on the N11, back and forth, back and forth in 5.30hr and then did a 6km run. I found the run tough, primarily due to the constant peddling on the bike. While there may be no hills in Florida, there is no respite on the legs either. This could cause issues in the latter section of the run. I hope to complete the bike in 5.30 – 5.45 and get off feeling somewhat fresh for the run.
T2, I reckon will be also 6-9 mins. I will be putting on compression socks, nike, and wearing my old favourite Zoot running shots. I may change the tri top. Adam has kindly loaned me an old tri top he used to wear. If I wear it, I hope nobody gets a shot of me in it….. as it sort of resembles a bra top….. similar to the one Andy used to wear back the early WTC days, but I’ve tried this on and it is mega comfortable.
The run is where I have been putting a lot of my training time. For the past 6-8 weeks I have been running up to 65km per week, with a long run anywhere from 29 – 36km every Sunday. I think I’m runnning well and I so want to have a good run on Saturday. I missed a sub 4 hr marathon in IM Lanzarote by 9 mins and I really want to get it this time. Based on my Sunday runs its possible. I will just really need to dig deep and focus during the latter half when the body is screaming out to stop. My aim for the run is 3.55hr
Based on the above times I’ve given above, the range for my finishing time could be anywhere between 10.47hr – 11.30. Then again, all that could go out the window with a puncture, upset stomach, tired legs etc etc etc. I’ve prepared well and those times are within me if my race plan goes to schedule. I hope it does.
Time to clock off now and watch a movie and dinner.
Movie was good, dinner was wooful, cutbacks I reckon!!!
5 hrs into the flight now and all going well, many many trips to the toilet, yes I’m staying hydrated. The seats are great but its an old plane and not as plush as I was expecting. The movie system is archaic and even with my Bose speakers its hissing like crazy. Its doesn’t make for comfortable watching.
Gareth stopped by for a chat, good to hear another perspective and what his plan is, pretty much the same as us ‘go out conservative on the bike’.
Fast forward to land. 2 hrs it took us to get out of the airport. We hired the car from Hertz and it took another 20mins to get to their offices. After a brief wrong direction we got on the right road and drove north. We stopped in Gainesville for the night. Hotel was as dodgy as hell but hey all part of the experience.
It only took 4 hours to get there on the Wednesday morning and the hotel was right at transition, and an added bonus, a sea view of the gulf of Mexico, fantastic views. Although we had a swim, bike and run to do we couldn’t help ourself and headed down to register, excitement was building. Registration was quick and aided by all the over 50’s in Panama city….. Straight after we hit the Ironman shop for some retial therapy, my second favourite pastime. The choice was huge, so much better than the expo at Lanzarote. We made a few purchases and decided to head back get the bikes together and bike the run route and then do a 30 min run. The run is roughly like a lolipop and flat as a pancake. Without even trying we were hitting 40kph comfortably. Without knowing it we passed Garrett and Derrick, they shouted at us but we never heard a thing. Back to the hotel and out for a run. It felt good, held a sub 5 min pace, 10min stretch and we chilled for the evening.
The next few days we were very relaxed and took it easy, stayed out of the sun, read , listened to music, visitied the expo again and again and plenty of early nights. We also drove about 30km of the bike to check it out. Although very flat it was really exposed and wind could be an issue.
Friday the 6th, day before the race and we were up at 6.30 and completed our last 3 sessions by 8.30, had breakfast and took it handy. We racked our bikes about 1.30pm and dropped our T1 and T2 bags into position.
As odd as it sounds we had pizza for dinner…. Very early about 2pm and then just snacked for the remainder of the evening. Paul snoozed for the afternoon, I measured the salt content in all the food I was planning on consuming to ensure I had an approx of 400mg/hr. I supplemented with salt tabs for what was missing. I packed 6 salt capsules for the bike and 6 for the run. I also had calculated my calorie intake for the full bike and run. This was to work out at 450 calories per hour on the bike and 5 gels in the run, I had practiced 5 gels on all my 30km runs and knew I could tolerate them. We were in bed by 8.30pm. I had no problem sleeping and the alarm went off at 4 am.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
2 hrs planned for today and well I just wasn’t up to it. No, that’s a lie. I was but I just didn’t feel motivated. Not sure why, legs were fine, no injuries. Think the toll of training is catching up with me. We decided on an out and back route and we cut the time by 15mins. As it was now to be 1.45hr we didn’t leave out any water and didn’t use any gels. We both started together and were holding an ok pace 5.15min/hr, slow for me a little faster than normal for Paul. However, I was fine with that. I just wanted to complete the time, distance was irrelevant. When we got to Ashford, I felt a lot better in myself so picked up the pace and ran at 4.30min/km for about 3km, just a little test really to check how I was doing. When you are running well you really notice the fluidity and it feels great. Then I doubled back and continued the run with Paul. We held a 5.05min pace (I think) for the remainder of the run. I ended up running 20km in 1.42hr, not my finest ever run but 20km all the same. I was happy with it as I felt fine and recovery from the run would be quick. Real taper starts tomorrow, every second day off wahoooooooooooo. Oh sh*t, that means the race is around the corner!!!!!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Moley, Jamie, Jenn and myself set off, all of us with our own goal in mind, mine close to 30km at an even pace, have 3 gels and focus on smoothness of technique. I went nice and easy for the first 3-4km, to loosen up and ensure my muscles were warm. Then just got into my stride. While it didn’t feel hard, it didn’t feel easy!!! If that makes sense.
I had my first gel at about 8km, early enough, just to make sure really, topping up the reserves, then another at 19km and 22km. Really I didn’t space the gels well enough but I got caught out with the placement of the water stops.
I finished up on 2.17hr with exactly 29km completed. I was thrilled. I really felt that I managed to control my pace for teh duration of the run and there was definitely more in the tank.