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A couple of AG wins and a DNS...

Total topics: 388
Total posts: 1284
 
A couple of AG wins and a DNS...
Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:17 pm iainm
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Since my last blog at Worthing, when my tri mojo was reinvigorated, Iíve mainly been focussing on my running with the goal of a good half marathon time in November. Ironically, Iíve had a couple of AG wins in smaller races during that time (as well as a DNS!)

Castro Urdiales Triathlon Ė DNS

I always look for a local event when we are on holiday and Iíd spotted this race in Northern Spain about a 45 minute drive from our campsite. Iíve never raced in Spain before, so I thought it would be fun to add it to a list that includes France, Switzerland, Hungary, Australia and NZ.

Sadly this one wasnít to be and became my first DNS in a tri ever (or certainly for a long time!). I negotiated my way through not speaking the language, registering and racking my bike, then walked down to the swim start (about 15mins from transition). By the time I got there I wasnít feeling good. I tried going to the loo but that didnít get rid of it. I just had stomach cramps that become progressively worse. When I told Pip I decided to drop out, she knew it was serious. There was no way I could have swum by the time they did start. I was doubled up in pain and in the end took the unpleasant decision to make myself be sick. It wasnít pretty, but almost immediately I felt better.

God knows what had caused it. In transition I had taken one normal High5 isotonic gel and drunk a watered down mix of Lucosade Sport. I checked the expiry dates afterwards and neither were out of date. All I can think is that either the gel was a bad batch (which seems unlikely) or that the Lucosade had reacted badly to sitting in the boot of a hot car.
Either way, a fairly unpleasant experience and generally disappointing.

Noja Aquathlon Ė 1st Male Vet

This event made up for it completely. Iíd noticed this event was on at the same beach as our campsite, but hadnít planned to enter. However, after my Castro tri disappointment, I really wanted to do it and take part in at least one Spanish race, even if a sea swim is about my worst possible discipline.

It was the Cantabrian regional championships, so there were a lot of club racers out and very few Ďfun runnersí as such. The race distances were 2.5km run, 1km swim, 2.5km run. Fortunately on the day of the race, the sea was pretty fierce with thumping waves that even good swimmers would have had trouble with and the run/swim/run because a run/run/run, with a twist. Competitors had to do the first and final run as normal, but come into transition, take off their shoes and race number, run down to the sea, along in the shallow surf (it came up to knees at the highest) then back round and up to transition again. No doubt there were a bunch of good swimmers there cursing their luck, but it suited me perfectly and I put in a good performance running the 5.75km total in 22:15. That was about 18:45 5k pace for the on-road sections, so I was very happy with that.

Even better was when we came to prize giving. Iíd thought I had a chance of AG prize and while I donít speak Spanish, I recognise ĎIain Martiní when I hear it. How cool! They got to call their race an Ďinternational eventí and I won the largest trophy of my triathlon career plus Ė get this - Ä50 in cash. That is unheard of in age group triathlon in the UK and mine was just the male vet prize. I worked out in all that they gave away almost the entire entry revenue. They may well have had money from sponsors and/or the town of Noja (it was the mayor giving away the prizes), but itís still highly unusual when you come from the UK. I was not complaining though.



Falmer Virgin Active Triathlon Ė 1st Male Vet

I really enjoy this race. Iíve done it the last four years now and had decent success. The swim is short (400m) and in a pool, the bike (27k) is undulating with one big hill (Ditchling Beacon) and the run (5.2k) is mainly trail and also slightly lumpy. Itís a nice, friendly event organised superbly by @brightonmultisports and, most importantly, I can cycle to the start from my house in less than 20 minutes!

I felt completely relaxed, put in a good swim (6.57 for 400m Ė surprising considering my recent lack of time in the pool), a solid bike (1:16 off my best Ė but in 2013 I doing a lot of miles on the bike) and a good run (within 15secs of my best in 2012). I knew I wasnít in the top 3, but I thought I had a chance of an AG prize and at prize-giving they put a huge smile on my face. Two AG wins within a month, another trophy for the cabinet and £50 of vouchers. Smile



Half Marathon training and next upÖ

The idea of a quick half marathon time was to try and get a GFA for the New York Marathon next year. However, it looks like school term dates are going to put the kibosh on that, so instead Iím just going to see if I can set a new HM PB. The race Iíve chosen - the Thames Meander Half - is eight weeks away on Nov 7. Itís on the river path, so itís flat, but the path could be in poor condition if it rains much in the lead up to the race.
In terms of training, my swim volume has dropped away from an average of 27km per month for the first half of the year to around 10km per month since then. At the same time my running has gone up to 50-55km per week. The cycling hasnít dropped away too much as Iíve kept with a long ride at the weekend for aerobic endurance without the stress of another long run session.

Next up is the Brighton Marina Triathlon, which is another local race I can cycle to and has a really nice community, local feel to it. Think of it as the opposite of a Human Race event and youíll get the idea. I have to do a decent time, not for local bragging rights, but because Iím going to the AMEX to see Samoa v. USA in the Rugby World Cup for a midday kick-off! Itíll be straight off the run, back home, shower and then out the door. An AG win is unlikely this time with a couple of local 40+ pals racing, but with form like mineÖ. Wink


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Worthing Triathlon Race Report
Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:43 pm iainm
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After losing my mojo somewhat in my last race at Geneva, I found it again at Worthing this Sunday. What is it that makes the difference from one race to the next? No idea, but I went to the race relaxed and calm. That in itself was a big achievement as I'd already reached Lancing when I realised that I'd left my helmet in the wardrobe at home. Shocked Shocked Shocked

Yes, I did break the speed limit over the next 20 minutes, but I made it in time to register ('You're cutting it fine!') and rack and even then still felt pretty relaxed. I knew all I had to do was go as fast as I could to place myself as high as I could on the roll-down list to qualify for the ETU Champs in Lisbon 2016. If it didn't work out, it wouldn't be a biggie, I'm hoping to do the CCC in August, so I'd have more time to get some run miles in my legs.



Swim - 31:45 (154/398, 22/54 AG)
That's a pretty poor swim time. It does include the run to T1, but it was still 30:48 out of the water. And yes, it was in an increasingly choppy sea, but I guess the disappointing aspect of this is that history repeats itself - last year at Bala, despite a great bike and run, I left myself too much to do. I'm just not that great at swimming, despite having tried to work on this year, with coaching and extra sea swimming.



Bike - 1:11:19 (89/398, 12/54 AG)
I lost a few seconds in T1 as I dropped my goggles and went back for them, but I felt good all the way on the bike. I went out of the saddle on the hills and tried to keep turning quickly and smoothly all the way. However, the numbers say my average speed was just 34.6 kmh, which is too low. It's not a flat course - 380m vertical in total, but an extra 1kmh should have been possible.



Run - 40:08 (76/398, 11/54 AG)
At least I can be unambiguously happy with my run. Although I made a rookies' mistake and took some extra time to find my slot in transition, I ran strong. I'd told myself to leave it out there and I ran a negative split again as in GVA. Truth is the course was probably short, but it was a good run and I suppose in retrospect, I should have pushed it from earlier.



Qualifying
The point of this race was to try and qualify for next year's European Champs. The first four athletes qualify automatically and after that you go on a list based on your % of the winners' time. My number crunching shows me currently taking the last of those roll down slots. There's one more qualifying race in Bala in September (where I just missed out initially last year). Unless there is a super fast athlete setting the threshold, then it's highly likely I'll move down that list, which will leave me where I was last year, waiting for someone to get injured!

No doubt I'll discover that, as last year, 30 seconds would have seen me qualify automatically. But there you go, I have to accept that (at Olympic distance) I might be in the top 30 triathletes in my AG, but I'm not in the top 20. It's not the end of the world, just frustrating.

Next race
I'm off on holiday to Spain next week, so naturally I've found a local race to enter. Should be fun. This is the swim course...


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Race Report: ETU European Champs, Geneva
Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:52 pm iainm
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I went to Geneva with modest goals: execute my race well, swim sub-28min, finish strong and not be the last Brit across the line. I suppose 3 out of 4 ain't bad, but I left feeling fairly deflated at 47th place (of 79 starters) in the 45-49 AG.



Swim - 28:35 (51/79)
The lake was magically 21C on the day (probably because they measured it at 5am), so it was a wetsuit swim. I decided to use my Finis tempo trainer (as discussed here) to try and help me keep focus and set it for 68 strokes a minute, which from memory delivered around 1:45-48 pace in the pool - putting me on target for 27:30. The idea was to stop myself drafting behind anyone who was too slow for me and try and keep the effort level up. The swim felt good, I felt smooth, and apart from the final buoy (passed on the right, not the left, which I didn't realise until too late) my line was pretty good. So disappointing to clock 28:35. My Garmin made it 1662m, so theoretically if I'd swum straight that's a sub 26min time, but I'm not sure how accurate they are in open-water.



Bike - 1:06:36 (46/79)
The bike was flat all the way round the edge of the lake, but with one short (5min) but steep (7%) hill that you had to climb twice. I was pretty cautious on the first descent, but I should have done better. It's hard to know how much the average speed was affected by the hill, but on the flat, I don't seem to be able to crank out the power enough and I wasn't fast enough/honest enough (delete as applicable) to latch on to the small groups of drafters who passed me. Mad



Run - 43:27 (43/79)
I was actually reasonably happy with my run. I started slowly, but once I'd got some water inside me I felt much better (it was hot - even at 9am) and ran a negative split, gaining 4 places from T2 to the finish.



Overall - 2:22:39 (47/79)
On the one hand this was a good quality field. And it's my last year in this AG. Plus it was pretty damn hot. Excuses aside though, I wonder if it's really worth bothering with trying to be competitive at this distance when I'm giving away 2-3 minutes on the swim. My previous GB races have been at Sprint distance and I managed top 30 finishes. The question has been often asked on Tritalk - what is the point of team GB age group racing? I have to ask myself - why do I actually do triathlon? What am I trying to achieve? I can enter smaller local races and finish in the top 10 and maybe win an AG prize. I guess events like this are more certainly 'bigger' and it certainly wasn't easy to qualify, but I need to rethink next season. I didn't enjoy this race enough, so maybe it's time to switch my attention back to ultra running for 2016, which I enjoy more (and involve no swimming!).

BTW I can 100% recommend Bike Box Alan for air travel - so sturdy and pretty easy to move around


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Arundel and Midsussex Triathlons, plus a couple of duathlons
Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:43 pm iainm
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Time to blog again - plenty of events to cover before I head out to the ETU Champs in Geneva in two weeks' time.

Arundel Standard Triathlon - 1:59:57 (6/105, 1/19 AG)
Overall I was very happy with this race as I picked up 1st Male Vet, although I was 1:45 slower than in 2012. The swim was disappointing - a minute slower, which I put down getting overtaken and then stuck behind a slower swimmer. I took it too easy drafting behind him when I should have put in more effort. Then to cap it off, the (unnamed) dickhead didn't let me overtake after two lengths of tapping his ankles, then told me to 'eff off'.



That got my HR flying. I tried to tell the marshall at the end of the swim what he's said, but he just thought I was swearing at him and the race referee came over to talk to me in T1. I lost a bit of time trying to explain and she understood, but I was fuming and not focused at all on the bike. I was slightly faster than 2012, but I find it hard to keep my focus on a 40km bike. I should be doing better than av 33.6 km/h on a course like that (one 5 min drag and then mainly flat).

If you like challenging runs, you'll like Arundel. They send you out along the river than after 5 mins or so it's up and down 4-5 times. Good if you like hills (each one 3-5 mins). I was 1m20s slower than in 2012, but I guess I'd been doing more running then.



Still I finished 6th overall and 1st AG. The dickhead apologised to me on the bike (apparently he was on his way back from an injury...?) and I told the referee and organiser I didn't want to make a complaint. It was also a lovely day as my mum was over from Australia and she got to see me go up and pick up a prize.



BTRS Duathlons - 1:01:37 and 1:01:49 (2/34 and 1/17)
I've managed to fit in a couple of midweek BTRS duathlons, which have been great high intensity training sessions. They are also unusual in that they are a mass start, so you know exactly where you are in the field and how far ahead/behind you are. This puts very different pressures on you compared with racing the clock and it's interesting to me how it's 'easier' to run faster when you know the guy behind you is gaining 10 secs every km! Smile

Midsussex Sprint Tri - 1:09:55 (9/272, 4/51 AG)
I entered this because it was near, a good sharpener in the lead to Geneva and, I have to admit, because I thought I could probably win another AG prize. Well, two out of three ain't bad - I missed the AG prize by 15 seconds. It being a pool swim, there was no one to chase but the clock and I didn't do it well enough. Pretty sure I could have eked out a faster run split if I'd known. But I wasn't unhappy. It was the last day of a three week block of training and I'd cranked out a tough turbo session on the Friday before the Sunday. I'm happy knowing I'm in good shape and I'd done my best.



Two weeks to Geneva - warming up nicely
I don't have any massive expectations for the ETU Champs in Geneva (12 Jul). I'm very happy to be representing GB again (even if I had to shell out to buy a new zerod trisuit). As I only got my place on the roll down, my goal is to beat as many other GB athletes as I can.

My swimming feels in decent shape. I've been getting into the sea once or twice a week, my numbers in my tougher (20 mins threshold, 4min off, 20 mins threshold) are edging up and my running feels good. I ran a trail 10k race in sub-42 yesterday and felt strong.

My real goal is Worthing (26 Jul) where I want to qualify - first-time round this time - for the ETU Champs in Lisbon next year. So two big races in the next month - hopefully I'll have positive news in my next update.
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Steyning Triathlon
Fri May 15, 2015 2:34 pm iainm
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Following the hamstring injury, I've adapted my training, reducing my intensity and cutting down my running significantly. So far it seems to be working, as I've put in a few good performances since my last update.

Best ever Park Run
Not my fastest, but according to official Park Run stats, my 18:35 in Apr 2015 was worth more than 18:10 in September 2010, this was a better achievement relative to my age - with an Age Grading of 78.26% Cool. This was a complete surprise. I'd run 19:18 at the Fulham Palace Park Run the week before. I put in an 18:55 the following week, so very encouraging.

AG win at Steyning Triathlon
The conditions were shocking for this race, with rain lashing down in high winds. At least it wasn't particularly cold. Decent result though with 6th overall and 1st 45-49 (of 9) and 2nd MV40.

My time was slower than last year, which I suppose given the conditions wasn't that surprising. However when I took a closer look at my training s/sheet, it showed that last year (while training for the City to Summit), I did a 2 1/4 hour run the day before & 5hr bike 3 days before. And I still managed a faster splits for all disciplines than this year. To be fair, this was after 7 months of consistent training and at peak volume, just before the taper. I was super fit and this year, I'd just had four weeks of come back after an injury that took 5-6 weeks out. Still, it shows that you can still be fast in a shorter distance tri on long distance training.



1st Midweek Duathlon
This was a small field, so the win wasn't such a big deal. More encouraging was my pacing for the runs. At 3:48 min/km for the first 2.33km and 3:50 for the second run of 4.85km that was surprisingly fast. It compares to 4:22 min/km for the Steyning 8km run (contains hills), but I rarely run faster than 4:00 min/km for any multisport run leg, so another good metric.



ETU Euro AG Champs, Geneva
Bonus - having missed out by 90secs on qualifying at Bala, I eventually received the roll down email and will be donning the GB team kit again in July. That helps compensate for having to drop out of the the Brighton Half and Marathon Smile



Next Race is at Arundel next week - I'm looking for another good AG result, one month further down the line on my recovery...
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On my way back from a hamstring injury
Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:23 pm iainm
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Itís been a while since my last update, mainly because Iíve been recovering from injury. Training for the Brighton Marathon was going well, bang on track, hitting my target miles and my target speeds and looking good. And then, without any warning, at the end of a recovery week on an easy 30 minute run, I felt my hamstring go.

Itís a strange feeling, if youíve never experienced this. With other injuries you might think ĎOh, Iíll just run this offí, but with a hamstring you know straight away that thatís it. I stopped immediately and walked back to the house, hoping it wasnít too bad.

No Brighton Marathon
Possibly I could have still made the marathon, but after two weeks it seemed to have recovered pretty well and I decided to start the Brighton Half Marathon and run it Ďsteadilyí at marathon pace. Bad idea. I knew from the start that I didnít feel right, and dropped out after 20 minutes. That poor decision put me back two weeks.

I decided to go for professional advice and saw Mitch at Studio 57, who worked his physiotherapy magic on me, as well as giving me lots of positive messages. I also made a quick decision to withdraw from the marathon. That was pretty depressing as it had been my ĎAí race of the year, but you have to be both realistic and pragmatic. I wasnít going to be able to get in shape to run my target time and Iíve enough marathons under my best that thereís nothing to be gained for simply Ďgetting roundí.

Itís not just the body, itís the mind
Instead I reviewed my triathlon race plans and scheduled out a slow, cautious rehabilitation over the following three weeks. The recovery has progressed fairly well, but the challenge with coming back from injury is as much in the mind as it is in the body. Itís taken me 7 weeks to have the confidence to go harder and faster.

In the last week, Iíve had my first tentative track session and a steady-paced Park Run (19:18 at a short Fulham Palace Park Run Ė just 4.8km for some reason, so more like a 20:00 5km). Yesterday I did my first bike Time Trial of the season at the TTTT. My time was 2Ĺ minutes off my best, but was better than I expected for where I feel right now.

Steyning and Arundel Triathlons
Iím planning to do a few more time trials and park runs over the next few weeks as a good way to see where I am, but the overall goal is to get 4-6 weeks consistent training. If I can achieve that, I should be able to be at a good performance level by the Arundel Triathlon on 24 May. Before then my first race of the season will be at Steyning Ė Iíd love to do well there, but Iím going to train through and see it as a good training session with my focus further ahead.

My new goal for this season is no longer a marathon PB. I have a half marathon PB in mind for the autumn, but in terms of triathlon the Worthing Triathlon on 26 July will be my ĎAí race and Iíll be trying to qualify for the 2016 ETU European Champs.
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About Iain
 
I'm a 50 year old triathlete and runner, competing since 1992. I have competed in 119 triathlons and 20 marathons (including 6 ultras). I am supported by Profeet - sports footwear and orthotics specialists.
20167Goals
 
- GFA time at VLM
- Qualify for World Triathlon Champs
- AG podium local tris
- Stay under 76kg





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