It’s fair to say that my 2010 season has definitely been my best in Tri so far, OK I only have had 2 full seasons in the sport, but the results compared to last year significantly better. I use the term result not only as a marker of my overall finishing position but also for timings over the same courses.
I started 2010 with the same race as 2009, The Beaver Middle Distance. A Middle-Distance Tri allows me to gauge my fitness as I run up to Ironman UK and highlights any areas that require attention, this year was clear, I was losing on the run which led to a significant increase in run training which still wasn’t evident at Ironman UK 70.3, a race I hadn’t done since 2006, but crossing the finish line over 20 minutes quicker than in 2006 was definitely good for my morale and confidence. I also qualified for Clearwater, but with my sights set on Kona, I turned down my slot, placing all my eggs in one basket.
About a month out from IMUK my form started to come good and I was really making leaps and bounds in all three disciplines, this was demonstrated when I won the opening race of the MKCA Corley Cycles Summer Series Criterium with a lone break with about 15 minutes and 5 laps to go, I built a lead of nearly a minute which the chasing group couldn’t shut down.
My times in the pool and on the run were also tumbling and I knew I could go under the hour for the swim at IMUK and for the first time was confident that I would be close to 3 hours for the marathon.
You can read my IMUK 2010 race report here.
The disappointment of missing Kona was very noticeable, and for a few days I was hell to be around, but gradually the disappointment was replaced with interest as I began to dissect my performance and see what went wrong. Off the back of this analysis I decided to do a few more races, taking 2nd at the openwaterswim.co.uk Aquathon and 3rd place at The BustinSkin Middle (Report here).
In 2009 I closed my season with the Frieth Hilly 10k and the Marlow Half Marathon, and decided that they would also close my 2010 season with the addition of the Rugged Radnage 10k. These races were only pencilled onto the calendar as the back problems that hampered me at the BustinSkin Middle were still rearing there ugly head.
My performance at Frieth showed my running was still strong and 6th place against the local runners just coming into X-Country form was a good marker, my time was around 20 seconds slower than last year but a last minute route change by the organisers increased the race by around 300 meters which meant I was quicker than in 2009. Heading into the finish at Frieth pictured left.
The 3 weeks between Frieth and the Marlow Half Marathon were characterised by zero training, I mean none! Not once did I venture outdoors with the intention of elevating my heart rate, why? Because my back was in agony, so I spent my time stretching and performing self-massage (the type that doesn’t have a happy ending!!).
As I drove with Helen to the race I was optimistic that I would be able to finish in the top 10, the severe lack of toilets with a que that was biblically long meant I was scrambling to get ready as the runners were being called to the start line. I set off at a fairly even pace and was running in second place for the first mile, I was caught by a guy from Chiltern Harriers who must of thought this was a 10k and passed me I decided not to get drawn into a battle and let him go and continued on in third place until mile 6 when I was caught and overtaken by two guys, my lack of training was showing and before long I’d faded into 8th position but as I crested the final hill I saw my 10k friend from early on and focussed on him as a target with a mile to go I had passed him and was in 7th place, I hung on for grim death and forced every last ounce of energy from my body, crossing the line in 1:21:26 I was surprised and elated to have finished in a time quicker than last years.
Next stop Radnage for a 10k X-Country jaunt then it’s racing season over for 2010, and a well earned break before I start training for my assault on 2011!
To all that supported me, my partner Helen and our beautiful daughter, my friends/training partners – Alex, Dave, Rob, Russ and Joel and of course my sponsors Tri UK, a huge thank-you and see you in 2011.