January 2019 in sports

As the year counter ticked over from 2018 to to 2019 I kicked into motion my plan to get better at this sports thing. This mainly took the shape of doing a lot more exercise and trying to stick to my training plan as closely as I can.

Here’s some numbers from Training Peaks:

Total time – 40 hours 29 minutes
Total distance – 726km

Running time – 9 hours 40 minutes
Running distance – 93.4km

Cycling time – 20 hours 6 minutes
Cycling distance – 620km

Swim time – 4 hours 37 minutes
Swim distance – 11,845m

Strength time – 3 hours 15 minutes

Those are the biggest numbers I’ve ever done, which is pretty exciting. I still have three whole months of preparation for Ironman 70.3 Barcelona so I need to make sure I can keep this up.

Somethings I need to work on:

  • Swim sessions – I was pretty lax in doing them and sticking to the target distances
  • Strength and injury prehab I have the time to expand these sessions
  • Sleep – I’m not getting in enough sleep. I should be aiming for over 8 hours a day
  • Food – I’m not regularly doing the meal prep I should be which means I am eating rubbish every now and then.

The Great South Run 2018

Definitely need new running shorts. 

Between my Sister, Dad and Mum the Terry family have completed The Great South Run a total of six times. Every year a family member has completed it I have never found myself quite ever wanting to run the 10 miles (16km) around Portsmouth. However, given my new found love for endurance sport I thought this year would be as good a year as any to give it a go.

I can tell you already that having done a few sprint triathlons, some long bike rides and few casual training runs does not translate to a very pleasant 10 mile run. 

The first 6km started out pretty well. I started chugging along the Southsea seafront at just under my target pace of 5 min/km and I felt fine. As we worked our way into through Old Portsmouth and into the Portsmouth Naval base I started to feel a bit sore around my chest, perhaps a sign that I was running a little bit too fast? I decided to keep my pace and carry on running and the pain quickly faded – a good sign, or so I thought. 

One part of the run takes you through the city centre and out to a roundabout and back. This is where the wheels quickly came off the wagon! I made it through the first water station and I was as much of a terror to the volunteers as Patrick Lange as I tried to grab bottles of water:

View post on imgur.com

The bottles were a bit of a pain to open as I was running along so I found myself running with bottles for a while as I opened and then tried to drink gracefully. In hindsight I don’t think it is possible to drink gracefully whilst running; in future races I will just accept that water face happens and take in what I can. After the aid station I had to navigate a short obstacle course of jelly babies as someone ahead of me must have demonstrated some poor hand eye co-ordination whilst picking them up.

Anyway, back to the de-wheeling of the wagon. The run leg to the roundabout and back was tough. For some reason the long straight road with a view of people running back the other way didn’t sit well with me. Somehow I survived but I think the mental hit resulted in me losing about 20 seconds a kilometer with half the distance remaining that meant I was very quickly losing time on my target time – shouldn’t have been so vocal about thinking I could hit that time oh well. 

The next leg of the race featured a run back towards Southsea and into some spectator heavy territory. The worst time to be thinking a quick walk wouldn’t be too bad. I managed to perceiver through the negative thoughts and stumbled by my Mum and Dad. Unfortunately I had been looking down at my watch at the time and the video of me stumbling along doesn’t look too great!

It had really started to get warm by this point and I was starting to feel the effects of it and seeing a water station bought a lot of relief to me! Shame it took me about three attempts to grab a bottle of water from someone. A couple of sips of water bought me back to life and for some reason I didn’t drink anymore than that! Got. To. Force. The. Water. Down. Me. 

Soon I was approaching the final turn in the course and heading back along the sea front to the finish line. This bit actually wasn’t too bad. I had a fixed goal of a helicopter hovering over the finish line so I was able to focus on running towards that. Felt a bit sad as the pacer for 1h 25 ran past me and I couldn’t make myself run any faster to keep up with him but I powered through. 

Before I knew it I was at the final 800m and then what felt like 800ms later I was at the 400m sign and then about another 800m I was crossing the finishing line. Which looked like something out of Saving Private Ryan but with people vomiting and the shell shock effect replaced by my hearing going for a bit and me feeling a bit wobbly.

So I made it through the race, definitely wasn’t what I hoped for but I’m glad I got it done anyway. Definitely need to pay more attention to training correctly for an event, completing the training plan and then making sure I fuel correctly during the event. 

The only fuelling on the course was provided by water, jelly babies and a free Sports in Science Gel. The gel was provided too late in the course for me; with about 15/20 minutes left which I don’t think is enough time for the carbs to actually get into the system. However, the electrolyte top up was very much appreciated! 

The Road to Barcelona

Those in the know will hopefully know that the title to this post is a play on “The Road to Kona”. I chose this as racing the Barcelona Ironman 70.3 is going to be the first step of many that I will take to race in Kona. For those not in the know? Kona is a big race on a little island in the Pacific; every year some of the best Ironman athletes descend on Kona for the Ironman world championships.

This post will outline my broad goals with triathlon and establish why I have chosen to Barcelona as my first 70.3 race next year.

What are the distances?
Ironman 70.3 –
Also known as a half-ironman. Gets it’s name from the number of miles in the race. It’s really 113km of racing, consisting of 1.9km (1.2-miles) of swimming, 90km of cycling (56-miles) and 21.1km (13.1-miles) of running.
Ironman – Is double the distance of a half (funny that, isn’t it?). 3.6km of swimming (2.4-miles), 180km of cycling (112-miles) and 42.20km (26.2-miles) of running.

Big picture goal setting

Right now I can set some arbitrary long range goals. These might change as I learn more about myself and what I can do. For now, I am happy with these goals:

  • Complete a sub-five hour 70.3 race
  • Achieve a top-10 age group finish in a 70.3 race
  • Compete at the 70.3 world championships – always wanted to visit Oceania
  • Complete a sub-ten hour Ironman 
  • Achieve a top-10 age group finish in an Ironman event
  • Compete at Kona

Motivation

When I finished my first sprint triathlon earlier this year I had found myself a hobby I was hooked on. I liked it because I was pushing myself to do things I didn’t know I could do (swimming 400m in a lake was a miracle at the time). I want to keep doing this by pushing myself physically and mentally at the half and full distance Ironman level.

I’ve never really been someone to keep myself super fit. In the past I would struggle to make myself go to the gym, now I go six times a week and actually enjoy doing it. I really don’t want to lose this new passion for fitness that I have recently found. It also turns out that I am super competitive, to satisfy my competitiveness I’ve really got to keep myself fit!

Another motivation is that I am finding myself at 25 years old with a great career but not much in the way of ‘achievements’. I think pushing myself in the sporting arena is a good way of putting a nice few acheivements next to my name and keep me happy.

Why have I chosen Barcelona?

I’ve chosen Iron Man 70.3 Barcelona as my first 70.3 distance race. It’s quite early in the season on May 19th, but not too early to prevent me from getting in a test Olympic distance triathlon in three-four weeks before the event.

The race has a bit of star pulling power: it was won by Javier Gomez Moya and Emma Pallant this year and Jan Frodeno (2018 70.3 world champion!) has made a couple of winning appearances (2017 and 2015). If I’m going to invest the money in an Ironman branded event I would like to attend an event where I might catch a glimpse of a big name pro as they cycle or run past me.

Racing a 70.3 early in the season will give me an idea of where I stand fitness wise and if I decide to race another 70.3 during the year I’ll have some idea of what I need to improve on.

A couple of other reasons I like the idea of racing the Barcelona 70.3:

  • It’s a sea swim, so the salt water will give me a bit of help in what is my weakest discipline.
  • The bike course has some hills – not my strong point at the moment so I will have a winter goal to work towards
  • The run course is flat which I think my body will thank me for on the tail-end of the race.

Goals

Outside of my broad goals every thing I do in the world of triathlon will be goal based. Hopefully when I set out to do something I will be have a goal and I will get something out of it.

I don’t know enough about the fitness I will have by the time I get to the mid-May next year so I can’t do anything as outrageous as setting time goals. But here are some arbitrary and basic goals for the time being:

  • Improve my diet and hit a weight of 68-70kg
  • Consistently complete my workouts
  • Research and find the best nutrition products and plans that will work for me
  • Buy aero bars for my bike
    • Get a bike fitting to get the most I can out of the bike leg
  • Find some nice brands that I want to wear and use
  • Spend a lot of time stretching and working on injury prevention, I only get one body so I need to look after it

Fitting this into other goals

A couple of years ago I started working on my private flying licence, which I haven’t quite finished. I have a deadline of the end of May 2019 to finish that so I will be working hard from February/March next year to get that done. It will be a tough few months as I try and fit the two in around each other!