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!

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