5-6 Feb – Double Iron Lanzarote
A REVIEW OF 2010
Another year comes to an end! 2010 has been a tough year. I tried to set the bar a little higher once again and introduce some new challenges. With one week remaining the stats show I’ve managed 2.0hrs/week more training than 2009 and yet there was no apparent development, in Ironman terms anyway. Outside of Ironman I had some good performances in a mixture of events including runs, duathlons, triathlons and what turned out to be a very enjoyable trail ultra a few weeks back.
From a business perspective I have worked a little harder and taken on board a few more clients for coaching, but I’m at my limit again. I love working with athletes and seeing them improve. From my end it’s just a case of working with numbers, but they have to do the hard work. But having been there myself and started from the bottom I know what its like, and can empathise. Probably one of the most exciting and nervous experiences of the year was the Enduroman Double-Iron(man) event in the summer. I had 4 clients participating and was there to crew two and cheer on the others. They were all awesome, and I was so proud to have coached them and been there to experience it with them.
Before a brief on how the year panned out I have to thank my family, and girlfriend in particular. They have always been so supportive and believed in what I’ve done, despite some crazy (from a neutral perspective) decisions/races, and the odd grump when run-down and hungry off the back of solid training blocks.
Here’s how the year panned out:
Great start to the year. Just like 2008 I spent the first two weeks of January visiting my girlfriend’s family in Suhl, East Germany. It sits amongst the hills and mountains so I had plenty of fun running around in the snow inc xc ski routes. On one of the days I got to meet the GB Biathlon team in Oberhof, and they were good enough to give Yve and I free tickets to watch the sprint format races. We both love Biathlon. In fact, the better part of my training gear is all Odlo and Bjorn Dhaelie!
A week after returning to London I was off again with a friend (Dan) for our very own two week ‘training-camp’ in Puerto-del-Carmen, Lanzarote. We stayed on the west side of the town, so I was able to do more mountain running. Only this time it was 20c rather than -20c!
From March into April I started taking part in events to get sharp. They were all average performances – see Results page. Towards the end of April I did a 3-day multi-day bike around the south of England and West Midlands. I spent the first night in a B&B and the second with my folks. In previous years I’ve done longer blocks of 4-5days and 2 x Lands End to John O’Groats self-sufficient with camping gear. The Lejogs were for the experience, but also the opportunity to put my legs through some serious training. I’ve always tried to get 1-2 blocks of bike training in during late Spring since then.
The first of the triathlon races. With Ironman Germany just over 2 months away I decided to get a couple of olympic distance triathlons in to practise transitions and getting out of my comfort zone. I was also keen to get competitive again. I was quite pleased with both, winning the Merchant Taylors Tri (and just missing the course record), then third at VO2 South Cerney.
JUL-AUG – THE IRONMANS
At the end of Jun I travelled to Germany to take part in Ironman Frankfurt (Euro Champs). This was without doubt the worst experience of my life, and I decided to scrub any record of it. The race had a huge amount of slots for Hawaii Ironman Champs and I knew I’d qualify easily if nothing went wrong. Unfortunately it did. There was a heat wave during the week (40c) which, coupled with no air-con in the Hotel and marginal sleep killed me off before the race even started. The non-wetsuit (because of high water temp) swim actually didn’t go too badly, but I can still remember climbing on the bike out of T1 and having no feeling in my sore legs. I just wanted to go back to bed. In hindsight it was a case of heat exhaustion, and there was not a lot I could have done about it. I ended up walking most of the marathon just to get the medal, free food and beer! It didn’t help having 000s of Germans celebrating a thrashing of England in the World Cup either…
Germany was a big blow to my confidence, but I still had Ironman UK to turn it around. I had 4 weeks to recover and then maintain my fitness into the Ironman UK. I booked myself into a nice old (listed) Hotel about 30mins from lake and transition, and spent a few days there on my own to relax before the race. Yve joined me on the day before the race and I stayed at a friends (Paul) in Preston. They were both awesome during the race itself and I spotted them shouting at me about half a dozen times on the bike – Team Daz certainly perked me up! Unfortunately the shoulder impingment I’ve had in the previous two years came back and I lost sleep, but at least I didn’t line up feeling exhausted like Germany.
I was much more calm going into Ironman UK, although the swim was a bit of a disaster as I had a panic attack similar to Roth (2008). At Roth it cost just 2-3mins as I was in a wave, but here it probably cost 5mins as I had a lot more people to negotiate and fight with after I got myself together again. Despite this, I flew through T1 and the first half of Lap1(/3) on the bike to get into the top20. I let a friend (James Peet) and a group of others go by later in the bike which cost me time and positions at the end of the day, but I held it together. The run was ok but I had stomach issues for the first time in an Ironman and lost a few mins. 19th overall. Unfortunately 4th AG so missed a trophy.
Throughout the following two months I kept myself very busy. After crewing at the Double Iron UK event (which left me exhausted for a week after despite not racing), I did the Civil Service Track and Field Champs in Eton, then packed for a two week hiking trip with my brother Dean over the West Hignland Way and Great Glen Way. This included a couple of days in Fort William to climb Ben Nevis and get a little running in. A little more track and field on my return, a half marathon orienteering race with a client/friend, and then the Sevenoaks Triathlon where I came third. The best race I’ve ever done for prizes!
A few more hard weeks of training (including the Civil Service road relays, and Fast and Furious Duathlon where I came second behind Richard Stannard. Great fun) before a holiday with Yve on the island of Comino near Malta. I’d picked up a slight cold before we headed out. That with the crazy storms for the first few days and a bit of a fever (I can hallucinate or sleep walk during fevers. Something I’ve had since I was a baby. Well Yve had a shock on one of these nights to find me running on top of the bed facing the wall!) it was a strange experience. But it all cleared up and we loved it.
Took a little while to get back into training after the holiday and had a surprisingly disappointing 5km race. But it all came good for a Civil Service XC Champs race, followed a week later with the Brecon Ultra. As I said in a previous blog, I loved this race and it’s something I’d like to do more of in the future once I’m satisfied with Ironman.
Since that race I managed to sell the Ceepo Bike, keep my Elite status with BTF for another year (should I wish to use it) and signed up with a new race team. Looks like I could be racing in yellow next season with red running shoes – I’ll certainly be easier to spot than all-black! Will talk about the 2011 season in the next blog.
Not the best weather to end the year from a training perspective with gyms closed and snow stopping any chance of road cycling. But I did manage to get plenty of early runs in to keep the weight down over xmas. Great end to the year.
I’d like to wish all my family and friends a very Happy New Year!