Friday, 25 July 2014

Catch up! Ironman Lanzarote & 70.3 UK

 I'm a little shocked that so long has passed since I've updated this blog - life has been hectic and time passes very fast! 
So a little recap of 2014 so far: 
From February through April it was work, work, work with the training camps - Epic Woman, the 4th EverydayTraining Endurance Camp Lanza, the first running of a Beginners camp with Trisports Lanzarote and then EverydayTraining King of the Mountains camp in the Pyrenees.  All very different groups of people, high energy,  hard training and great fun in the sun! 

Whilst out in Lanzarote, I took part in the infamous Volcano Triathlon, run by Club La Santa. One of the most challenging Standard ( 1.5/40/10k) distance races on the circuit...made especially so this year by the very very windy conditions. I had a good race there too, finishing 3rd in a semi- elite field (the winner was last years runner up at the Ironman) with the fastest female run split of the day.  

The main event for the early part of my season was Ironman Lanzarote (may 17th); if I'm honest the less I say about this the better. It was a disappointing race other than the fact that I performed "reasonably" across all 3 disciplines, conditions were good and I had good support from the many friends & colleagues on the island and the friends and athletes that I coach who were also in the race. This would also be my 5th time at this event, which was my first ever Ironman and also my first ever race in the Pro start in 2010, an achievement that the race organiser mark with a special award that i was looking forward to receiving.

However, most else about my day was disappointing - primarily I felt that my favourite Ironman race has been spoiled by the admission of 2300 competitors - creating very rough and congested and conditions in the swim, and issues with drafting, congestion and safety on the bike. Perhaps I  let this effect me rather too much - or spent to much energy focusing on negative aspects - and rather than working my way forward through the strong field from the 8th position that I was in at the start of the run. I've never quite understood what people mean when they've told me that they "just did not have their legs on" on the bike - something I've been lucky enough to avoid - until now. But this day it's just how I felt - riding out of transition, where i'm usually having to battle with myself to keep a cap on my power, I just seemed unable to hold even my "sensible" racing wattage without what felt like extraordinary effort. With a long day ahead of me, I didn't worry about this so much, as consider it a  bit odd and actually thought that a steady start should prove to be a good thing later in the day once I started feeling better.  To be honest looking back I can't really recall whether I did start feeling stronger, but at least I had plenty to focus on with the negotiation of large groups of cyclists spread across and along the early sections of the route making it very difficult to avoid being in a drafting position. This improved a little after the long drag up Fire mountain and by the time we hit the hills at the far end of the course the field had spread. I came off the bike in 8th position in a time of 5hr 50. slower than last year and my target, but windy condition sand the congestion on the roads could have accounted for this 

To be honest up until this point I'd not enjoyed much of the day, with the battering i took in the swim, slow time and sluggish bike. However the run at Ironman Lanzarote is a real highlight - with the beach front course enabling great access for spectators and ensuring fantastic atmosphere and support through the afternoon. Following a very hot week leaden up to the race, we knew it'd be hot out there on the run, and I had prepared for this as best one can.Carrying my own drink in a small bottle makes it easier to stay on top of hydration without having to stop at aid stations during the later laps, and having my mum out on course at the "hand-over' station with cool refills was an enormous help. I started the run as usual trying to hold myself back to a sensible, sustainable pace…after 15km or so i was really suffering - not from the pace as such, but simply just lack of race specific training or any long runs since the marathon.  Looking back I'm disappointed in myself that  I allowed my self to slip backwards and out of the top 10, even more so when i saw the very cool trophies that were awarded down to 10th place.   Putting a more positive light on this, I could tell you that out of the 33 professional women on the start list, which included several former winners of this race, I finished in the top 1/3rd. But the truth is that it was not a result I'm pleased with. 

2 weeks later I'm back out working on another of our camps. this one a King of the Mountains cycling oriented week in the Pyrenees. Great fun and long hard days on the bike. Not what one would think of for great recovery...but I seem to have recovered quickly after the Ironman, and managed to rebuild a bit of base fitness in a short period of time  -by riding 6+ hours in the mountains every day and drinking a lot of beer. 

Returning to the UK just a few days before Ironman 70,3UK which is very near to my home, I made a late call to race it! The organisers were very obliging and allowed my late application, the  weather was perfect and being my home race I can always rely on tremendous support out there around the course. I was pleased with a PB on that course and a 3rd place finish, 2nd pro. Being passed by an age-grouper in the last km was a bit gutting...if only I had been aware that she was closing I'd have been able to prevent that, but even as it turned out that does not effect the payout ,which was the main objective.

This tough little 70.3, and the Ironman and high-volume camp prior to it of course, required quite a bit of recovery after …and it was a little later than i'd hoped before i was able to start my training build towards one of the main events of my season; Ironman UK.

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