2011(b) – Races

5-6 Feb – Double Iron Lanzarote
27 Mar- Kingston 16M Breakfast Run

2011 – THE RACES


I keep telling myself at the start of every year that I should treat it asif it’s my last.  The last few years I’ve thought that might be more fact than fiction, especially with the struggle to get adequate training time in for Ironman, Double-IM and other Ultra races, as well as the various injuries (and occasional illness from immune system supression) that comes with it.  Saying that, 2010 was actually markedly better than 2009 in terms of injury.  It may be that I consciously took steps to reduce risks, backed-off in training sessions when previously I would have pushed myself further.  I’m not as gung ho as I used to be and prefer a long light session to a short ‘dynamic’ one.  Who knows.  The addition of Elagen supplementation to my training has definitely boosted my immune system.  Granted I fell ill in December and almost in January of this year, but that was from association rather than anything I’d done in my own training or lack of sensible diet.  Speaking of my diet (which I’ll mention in a general post later) one major exclusion this year has been alcohol.  Ok it’s hardly part of a diet and some people (inc myself) would say it bares no nutritional significance (apart from a number of unwanted cals).  Anyway, I don’t think I’ve gone through 3 full weeks without alcohol since I was a young teenager, and I can’t say I miss it.  Just like any drug, once the addiction and routine has passed, the body forgets.  My intention is to have a few drinks in Lanzarote after the Double-Ironman, and take it from there.

So for the 2011 racing season I will again be thinking this could be it in racing terms.  I’m now 37 years old (38 in the summer) and with other potential commitments on the horizon need to consider the future.  I prefer to train optimally.  I’m not the kind of person who can turn up at a race and just jog through and complete it.  That’s just me.  If I can’t race at 100% (or as near as) then I won’t race at all.  I’ll train until I feel I’m fit enough and then think about racing.  Of course for most popular endurance events that can be a problem as they fill-up quickly.  I’ll enter these in advance, and then fill the rest of the season with smaller races and enter as late as possible.  2011 will be another year focusing on Ironman (once I hopefully recover from the Double next month) and perhaps one or two ultra off-road runs again. 
The main races will be:

5-6 February – Double Iron Lanzarote
7600m sea swim, 224mile bike, 52mile run
I will blog about this race in the next week.  Just over two weeks away now!

As well as the Ironman+ races, I’d really like to have a go at smashing my current marathon PB.  I’m entered into the London Marathon having achieved GFA in 2009 (2:54) and would really like to go <2:45.  I appreciate that is a huge jump, but I had leg issues in the previous PB and know (race results) that I’m capable of 2:45 or even better with adequate training.  Unfortunately I’ve been unable to do that level of training, although my long-distance running has been solid and I’m in a better place than previous years.  Of course it may also depend on what the double ironman does to me and how I recover off that.  I reckon I will have around 5 weeks training before the

Kingston Breakfast 16 Mile Run (27 Mar)  This is a great precursor to the London Marathon for many people in the area, being just 3 weeks before.  My aim will be to get at least <1:36 and preferably around 1:34-1:35 (5:55/M).  I will need to run 6:17/M at the London Marathon so this will be the perfect benchmark and let me know where I stand and how I should pace the marathon.  I also have a few clients in this race so looking forward to seeing their PBs too ;O)

17 Apr – London Marathon

There is currently a large gap after the London Marathon.  There are a couple of potential races.  I’d like to return to Merchant Taylors Tri to defend last years win (may not get that opportunity again).  But I’ll probably get back into some solid Ironman training and do maybe one half distance eg Weymouth.

I have the Worcester Sprint Triathlon on 26 Jun which is a nice sharp little race not far from where my parents live.  Always nice to have their support at one race in the season.  Yve of course is always keen to support me which is great.  I’ve done this race twice before and come second.  On both occasions I felt very strong.  In 2009 I went straight from this race into Challenge Roth (Ironman-Distance) with a lot of confidence and I definitely think it helped me get the sub9.

10 Jul – Challenge Roth (Ironman-Distance)
This time I have course familiarity on my side.  I also go into it knowing I should be x mins up on 2009 by the time I start the bike.  In 2009 I had the best race of my life to get the sub9 but it didn’t start well.  Breathing problems (‘panic attack’ to some people) just 200-400m in meant I had to take a break at the side, and then fight back through the field after.  I still did 58mins, but could have gone quicker.  I then spent an extra 1min in transition fighting with calf compression.  This time around I will be starting in the sub9 ‘elite’ wave just behind the pros.  It means I can find a good draft and work hard to a 55min split.  With a faster T1 I should hopefully be 4mins up on 2009.  And that’s how the rest of the race will go – 2011 vs 2009 splits.  I should be back with the Argon and same wheels so only the engine will be different.  I had a blinding bike (4:46) and run (3:08) in 2009 so it’ll take a lot of hard to beat those splits. 

At this moment in time (and subject to serious change) I’m hoping for:
Swim – 0:55
Bike – 4:45
Run – 3:00
T1+T2 – 0:05
That gives me 8:45 overall. 
I know that sounds a stretch but I feel confident I can be fitter than 2009, where I would have achieved 8:55 with a strong (for me!) swim.

31 Jul – Ironman UK
A four week break between the two Ironmans which is not a lot but I’m hoping it’s enough to enable me to have a strong performance.  Last year I was disappointed in all three disciplines particularly the run.  So a good course PB will be perfect.  I won’t say any more than that.

No major plans throughout the following two months.  I enjoy taking part in Defra AC and Civil Service events (mostly track and field around this time of year) and meeting team mates, so will take part in a few here and just generally enjoy myself now I know the worst of the season is over.   My next a-races will be the Hever Castle Triathlon, and then hopefully come in the form of Ultra runs.  I certainly enjoy heading out to the hills and getting some long runs in.  I’d love to have another go at the Brecon Beacons Ultra and run on behalf of Elagen.  Maybe run the northern part of Offas Dyke (the section I missed two years ago) in two days and bivvy overnight somewhere.  I’ve always fancied multi-day running with just a small backpack and bivvy, but I’d need to pick the right conditions – a full moon and unseasonably warm (for late autumn) and dry weather would be required.

Looking forward to another season.  Whatever happens I’ll have a great time and push myself to the max, that’s all you can ask isn’t it!

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