So, what comes next?!

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It has been a long time since I wrote that last post.

I was not sure whether to actually put the following onto this blog. I’ve only told a handful of people about it and even that was terrifying. However, re-reading my post following the Triathlon back in September the decision was not a difficult one. The unwavering support I got from every single person who read the blog and the unreal feedback I got too (a lot of people appear to like my ‘chatting shite’ style of writing) was enough to spur me to write again?

So, just what is next then? In short, utter ridiculousness. In long, carry on reading and you shall see.

After the Triathlon, my training didn’t carry on as  it had prior to that weekend. Rest week led to rest weeks, which led to Christmas and New Years, which lead to my 30th birthday which led to eating and drinking all the goodies in New York at the end of January. I had trained sporadically during that time but never got into a routine. Which isn’t too bad, but I had signed up to do Reading Half Marathon on the 19th March. Oooops.

Once back from New York in early February, the running started in earnest. Man alive had those few months taken their toll. First 5km out after coming back was tough. It was a slow slog where I got terrible back ache, which I completely blame on belly having got me (youtube if you’ve no idea) and was putting strain on my lower back.

Carried on with running 2 or 3 times a week and then it came to a week before the race. Did 18km at just a bit slower than I’d need to hit my target time. It felt really great and the pace was not a problem. God bless muscle memory, as otherwise the 5 weeks wouldn’t have been enough to get into a place where I felt comfortable.

Race day arrived. Paul and I said that we would run the entire thing together as our pace was pretty much identical in training and be good to have the company. Where I was meant to be running in the 1:45-1:55 contingent, Paul hadn’t put down a target time so was placed in the 2:10-2:20 group and wasn’t allowed to start up with me. I didn’t want to run this without him, so I went back to his group and we started at the back.

IMG-20170319-WA0000Due to this though, the first half was spent overtaking via weaving in and out of competitors or going long ways around turns. over the first half of the race our pace was much higher than I had planned for to the extent that we did the first half about 3 minutes quicker than I’d planned for. Even after slowing the pace a bit and taking on a gel, I felt the legs starting to get heavy and with 3km to go, I hit the wall and hit it hard. I checked my split times after the race and was averaging just under 5min/km pace. Those final 3 were, 5:19, 5:35 and 5:59. I entered Madejski Stadium and the atmosphere was incredible (which it was every single part of the route I must say). Despite being close to being sick and wanting to pass out I managed to do a sprint finish. Then I collapsed into a heap by the barrier. Paul helped me back up and the finishers bag with mars bar etc in helped bring me back to a less than zombie state.

Strava said I hit my target time of 1:45 but official chip time was 1:46. I am really proud of it and I know if I fuel better and can pace a bit better from the start, a bunch of time can be taken off. I will be back next year.

Now I have told that tale, I will go ahead and reveal the future target. It is…………..going to take 3+ years to get there by my reckoning, but I am now aiming to qualify to become a GBR Age group athlete in Duathlon.

Mad, yes. Tough, hell yes. Achievable, we’ll find out.

You might be wondering at this point why Duathlon and not Triathlon, given this is a blog that focussed on the later. Well, the answer is simple, I am still utterly terrified of deep water.

Following the Reading Half, my training was still geared toward the Triathlons, getting some more strength work into my training as knew my endurance was at a pretty decent level. In mid-April I then went out to do my first open water swim of the season and despite the water only being 10 degrees, I started off feeling strong in the water. This was to be short lived, with me having a full on panic attack about 120m from the shore. Not going to go into more details but it has knocked me for 6. The decision to move away from Triathlon was tough, really tough. Despite never really enjoying swimming and always having to force myself into the pool, I felt really defeated initially. Being the stubborn sod I am, I didn’t want it to not end on my terms.

Then I read the blog post from last year (oooooh, foreshadowing earlier in this post) and realised I had not been defeated. I managed to do things last year I would never have imagined I could. I challenged myself and I came out victorious on the other side. Nothing can ever take that away from me and I will never not be proud of what I achieved. Would I have liked to have gone up the distances and eventually done a full iron distance race? Absolutely. But things change and so I can’t dwell on it. I have set myself a challenge which is totally different from what I have done before. It is not half as terrifying but the work and commitment needed far surpass that of last year. Plus I partook in a Super Sprint Duathlon at Dorney that I’d planned to get some race speed and sharpness and I absolutely loved it, finishing 4th in my race. It was what led me to my decision and immediately felt less burdened somehow.

Where do you guys, those reading this, figure? Quite simple, please just keep those kind words flowing. I read it all and every comment means a great deal.
If you know people who would like to help me on this journey, through advice, expertise, coaching etc.  Any and everything will be massively appreciated (I’m sure my Nike deal will happen any day now).

I shall leave it there for now, thank you all for reading this.

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