I am much more comfortable pulling a race to pieces, but this one just went really well for me….
Enduroman Double Continuous Ironman
My last Iron distance race was 2015 when I did the Outlaw, which also included my last open water swim. I did manage to do a novice triathlon at Galashiels this year after Erin did the junior triathlon. This was to be another part of my journey, could I push myself to do the Enduroman Double Continuous?
It had been quite few years since my last marathon and I was getting more and more eager to run one again. Stirling marathon seemed perfect for it – close by, low key and at a good time. I signed up early in September and was really excited about it for months. My training was going well, especially my running. I was quite confident I could go under my target time of 3.15, possibly even under 3.10.
First race of the year was the Tranent sprint on the 29th April – delayed from the rubbish weather at the end of March.
I had been desperate to try a swimrun since I heard of it three years ago when the first Inch by Inch took place in Loch Lomond. But for one reason or another it never happened for me. So, when Ali suggested that we do the Breca Coniston I was quickly on board. Sure, it was in October, but if she was willing to get in the water, I could not seem like a wimp. We agreed that as a season ending race, one that neither of us had specifically trained for, the focus should be on having fun and not pushing hard.
We got a look at our fellow competitors during the kit check and the race briefing the night before. Like on so many occasions, I felt intimidated by other athletes, everyone looked so professional. There were even sponsored teams with matching kit! I don’t know what Ali felt, but all this seemed to bring out some inner racing beast in her. In a very excited tone she pondered on our chances: “Look at that team with the Orca kit, I wonder if they are fast? Those people seem fit! I wonder how many swimruns have they done? I wonder if we could beat them?” Then she started talking about where we would make our move, “The last 6km run, that’s when we push hard! Or the last two shorter runs?” Ali was getting her game face on and I was getting worried. I suggested we’d leave the decision on any sprint finish for the race day, at the same time thinking worriedly that my casual day on the hills was suddenly becoming a full-on race.
In the morning Ali revealed she had dreamed about getting a superman tattoo across her chest. I’m not familiar with psychoanalysis, but surely it was her subconscious saying she had a superwoman inside of her who was about to come out. And I? Well, I still felt like I was going for a bit of a fun in the hills. Finally, as we were driven to the start by the organized bus, I felt some pre-race butterflies. Maybe I was ready for this after all.
We spent about 15 minutes running, squatting, stretching and generally moving about the assembly area. The race basically started with a swim and we needed to be sweating before getting in the water. We were in the middle of a big group for the first swim. I must have swum most of it with my head above the water to not lose sight of Ali. We did a good job staying together and being equally matched was a big part of it. I had volunteered for swimrun Inch by Inch a month ago and that really was an eye opener in terms of finding a partner. Swimrun is a team event and it does not matter how good you are if your partner is not with you.
The field became quite spread out within the first 40 minutes and for a while we did not see too many teams. We knew there were some teams ahead of us, but were not sure if they were mixed, men’s or women’s. Before the longest 15km run we got word from marshals that we were the first female team. Nice! We were now over two hours in, but I had hardly noticed the time passing. We kept to a steady pace, making sure we could easily talk.
The hours of moving started to hit home a few kilometres into the longest and also the hilliest run. We were now close to half way in. Many of the trails were quite technical, needing more effort and focus. We managed to catch a few teams but I hit a low and was finding it a bit difficult to keep up with Ali. Fortunately, the final kilometres of the long run section and the promise of some swimming did wonders for my mood and I was able to overcome the tiredness.
We were catching teams again and for a while I felt we could move up a few more places. But frequent switches between shorter swim and run legs were not in our favour. During the transitions and the aid stations the difference between us and more experienced swimrunners became quite obvious. We were taking much more time getting ourselves together and organized. The gels I had stuffed down my neck were now swimming around somewhere in my wetsuit and I could not reach them. The elastic on the pull buoy was too loose for the run legs. The list of little things that slowed us down was long and there was a lot to learn. But we continued on in good spirits, checking our watches suggested we were going at a sub 6h pace, our best-case scenario time estimate. I was relaxed and it seemed like a simple trek left to the finish.
Then we arrived at the last swim and immediately I was taken aback. The water was very choppy and a strong head wind was blowing across the surface of the water. We hesitantly got in and started swimming. A couple of strokes in I looked back and saw Ali holding on to the kayak. Oh no! Ali assured me and the kayaker she was OK and had just swallowed some water. We continued on with the kayaker following us most of the way. When I turned my head to breathe I could see a rainbow stretched across the sky. Over there, just a few hundred meters away on the shore, it was a beautiful autumn day, but in the water, it was so hostile. It must have been the most difficult 800 meters of swimming I have ever done. When we were out of water we cheered, and hugged. There was still about 1.5km of road running left, but that did not concern us. In the last kilometre we found strength to sprint past another team and plunged towards the finish line smiling and happy. Swimrun had lived up to the expectations – it was the most fun I have had racing!
posted by Mirjam Allik on
SATURDAY BIKE RIDE INFO:
Route – 47km – 29 miles. About as flat as we can get in Scotland. The start and end of the ride has a few sets of traffic lights, junctions etc. There is a potential coffee stop at halfway in the ride but if cold / wet we will
Probably not stop. Route map here: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/1806274580
Abilities – this is what we class as group 1. The average ride speed will be between 20-24kmh. On flat windless roads (ha ha!) we will sit at ~24kmh. Uphills will be done about as slow as we can / need and clearly downhill / tailwind is faster and more fun. Stronger riders will sit at front of group to make it easier for others in the group but must keep to correct pace. I’ll look after this!! All riders of this ability and beyond are welcome but fast folk need to ride easy / sociable and keep within group limits.
Time and place – meet at 8:50-55am departure 9am sharp if possible. FRONT DOORS OF SOAR INTU BRAEHEAD. Return pre 12pm as long as coffee stop is prompt!
A working bike is essential!! Please check your bike the day before the ride. http://www.bikeradar.com/…/how-to-safety-check-a-bike-43297/
Helmet – no helmet, no ride. Please also ensure it fits and is correctly adjusted!!
Spares – please bring spare inner tube, tyre levers and a working pump. I will carry basic tools.
Money and phone.
Clothing: dress for the weather!!! Minimal flappy / loose clothing really helps though!!
Banter – yes please. Bring your best chat / jokes!!!
posted by John Dargie on
Welcome to week 1-4 of the new training year. This week and block we’ve got new stuff we haven’t done before:
The Brutal Extreme Tri
The Brutal had been on my radar for a few years ever since stumbling across a TV programme late one night about an ex Welsh rugby player who was doing it but I had been putting it off as too hard or too far away or too something. Recent years has seen it gather some media attention, particularly in 220 Magazine and so earlier this year I decided that the time for procrastinating was over and took the plunge one evening and pressed “Enter”.
Here comes the new training year!!!:
Monday is the start of 2017-18 seasons training. We will have the usual 4 week structure of training building and recovery and also 8 week training objectives.
So for the next 8 weeks (25th September – 19th November) here’s what’s on:
– SCOTSTOUN SWIMS focus on relaxation, technically controlled aerobic swimming with kick and head position work / feedback.
– ALLANDER SWIMS focus on breathing and arm action out of the water / hand entry next 4 weeks, then underwater propulsion / catch 2nd 4 weeks. Small hit of kick training every session.
– BIKE – Wednesday turbo focus on pedalling ability / co-ordination, bike setup and riding position and short hard training hits.
– BIKE – Some weekend organised rides – coach led fortnightly on Saturdays for differing abilities each week.
– MTB SATURDAYS – non coached see Facebook page weekly for info.
– RUN TUESDAYS – longer mixed ability group aerobic warm up and shorter main set with a little tech development and some real pace development work.
– RUN THURSDAYS – strength development, some aerobic mileage and some stuff to make you breathe hard!!
– RUN SUNDAYS – non coached off road base building runs – see Facebook page weekly for info
PLEASE NOTE SESSIONS ARE FOR PRETTY MUCH ALL ABILITIES. LISTED ABOVE THERE IS LOTS FOR EVERYONE AND THAT IS WHETHER YOU ARE NOVICE OR NATIONAL SQUAD. THE PERCEPTION THAT SEEMS TO BE FLOATING AROUND THAT THE SESSIONS / CLUB IS FOR PERFORMANCE ATHLETES IS UTTER GARBAGE!!!!! There is chat, banter and laughter at all sessions and you can push yourself as hard as you want.
KEY DIARY DATES:
Wed 27th Sept – 1st Bike turbo of the year – please come and get your off season bike training off to a good start.
Sat 30th Sept – Bike ride road skills coached session in west end – sign up at www.proendurancecoaching.co.uk.
Sat 14th Oct- flatish bike ride from Braehead to Kilmalcolm and back slowish pace 21-24kmh ~2hrs
Sat 21st Oct – PARKRUN – 5th yr Anniversary of Victoria Park Parkrun – Get a benchmark down!!
Sat 28th Oct – Flatish bike ride from braehead to Renfrewshire. Pace 24-27kmh 2.5-3hrs.
Sat 11th November – long ride from Glasgow for strong riders ~100-120k 28-32kmh 3.5-4hrs.
Sat 18th November – PARKRUN – challenge yourself!!
posted by John Dargie on
Thorpe Park Sprint
Over the past few months it’s been a bit quiet for me compared to the start of the season as I decided to race less and train more in order to try to get fitter, improve my swimming and running and have a crack at qualifying for the 2018 Sprint Distance European Championships in Glasgow.