A promise to resurrect my blogging was made, and I so wrote this one - then forgot to post it...
So here goes, Take Two:
I guess that last year I just got so behind it seemed like too much to ever catch up on ...so here's the breif summary of my 2015 racing:
Having had a pretty good race season, or at least end to it in 2014 - and I measure that cheifly by a couple of podium positions in home races paying me well enough in prize money to temp me to invest in just one more year racing with the Pro licence through 2015. It certainly made financial sense, I'd just achaibed a new PB in Ironman Barcelona (falling short of my sub 9:30 goal due to a 6-minute stand in a penatly tent) ...and I remained succeful by my own measures as a Pro.
But even with the planned close of my professonal racing postponed a year, I found myself investing more of my time, energy and enthusiam into my coaching and developing local projects under EvereydayTraining. Anyone with their own business knows how time consuming any new venture is, I suppose in truth that's really what I wanted to be doing, and not the 25-30 hour training weeks that had enabled me to be competative in Ironman. So I went through the motions ...picking it up as best I could each time a scheduled race was on teh horizon...and my 11th place finish at IM 70.3 Staffs (my first race of the season) showed me the truth loud and clear - you can't blag it!!! Despite having been in great shape through Feb and March running training camps in Lanzarote in truth I'd put in minimal work to maintain that abd certainly not trained myself into race readiness.
That was a good kick up the backside for me though, and with Ironman UK on the scheudle about a month later just what I needed, and I really did manage to pull my finger out (still juggling a lot of lifestyle changes) for what I felt was a decent race n Bolton. True, it was one of my slowest Ironman finishes, and 6th is the furtherst down the feild that I've finished there...but it was an absolutly gruesome day and given where my fitness was and that I stood on the start line just wishing that I didn't have to do it, I truely raced to the best of my fitness. Beyond it actually, due to the incredible support that I recieved on the day - bth from fellow copetitors and friends who had made the effort to come over to support. And, more importnat I really really enjoyed the day, which was just the tonic that I needed.
Going into Ironman 70.3 Dublin, a new race in 2015, I was feeling more confident on the start line...although for me it was really another medicore race performance, only just getting into my stride on the run to finsih 6th (again), but like IMUK it was a real blast of a weekend, including the race itself.
The Big One in my mind was Challenge Weymouth...where I'd placed 2nd last year and had all season to train and race into shape. Past experience shows that I tend to race my best later in the year...so my hopes were on this one to be a race that would end my season and life racing as a Pro on a high note. being the ETU championships did mean that this Challenge race attracted a stronger feild than had assembled last year - most of whom registered rather last minute - but I still backed myself for this one based on my knowldege of the area and expereince on the course. It's pretty much on my own doorstep too, so I was in my comfort zone in that regard and would have a lot of support on the day as well as being freindly with the race crew. It all helps.
Whilst it's quite normal myself disconnected from the front of the race after the swim, at the back of my mind was the knowlegde that I really had not put in the sort of training over the season that I'd been doing in previous years (even as an age-grouper!) and so, I suppose that I cant be too surprised to discover that I didn't really have the legs to put in much of a chase on the bike. I've heard people talk about "having no legs" on the day ...and I'd not understood it before as my legs have always been pretty reliable and showed up when they heard that there was a race on.... I reckon that the truth is that you make it happen if you believe you can.
Racing Ironman is so painful at times (yes, even for those who are the very best in the world at it) that you have to KNOW that you can push that hard, to KNOW that it'll be worthwhile if you do....any doubt in your ability to do so and "common sense" kicks in.
So, having made up virtulaly nothing on the bike, that run was a pretty misreable exercise in will power. By the halfway point it was clear that I wasn't improving my position, and was on track for a pretty dissaponting time result too. The weather had turned proper nasty. Had I not been in a paying position (and I had my sister check that there were no time % rules in pace), I'd have withdrawn. But, the fact that my mum and sister had travelled to watch me trudge up and down in that weather, and both believied that I could still turn things around, kept me going. As ever, crossing the finish line ( which I crossed in 8th place) felt great and I enjoyed the rest of the weekend. I didnt really spend too much time beating myself up about it ...at the end of the day I was pleased that I had perserved and finished, and knew that I had only gotten the result that I'd earned.
So the racing season finished on a bit of a downer rather than the swan song I'd have liked ....but I wont say the same of my time racing as a Pro. Maybe I ought to have stuck to my plan of "retiring" after 2014, and in my head it was already over hence why my lack of commitement to it in favour of thinsg that I felt had a "future" ...but there were some fun times, great moments, and learning all the time.
I've had fantastic support since 2010 and even before from sponsors, friends, family, employers, coaches, race organisers, homestays and most of all other athletes in the community. I will contuine to race, seek new challenges but more of my time will ( legimitmatly) be given over to feeding back into that community, with EverydayTraining and Team Reko.
Now that's got that cleared up, on with 2016 ....shall, we?
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