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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 2 weeks to go “feeling like an idiot”

You eventually reach a point, or at least I do, when you’ve had enough of the training and you feel ready to race. Maybe ready isn’t quite the right word, maybe I just feel like I’m at the limits of what I can do to get ready for this one.

I sometimes think I almost love the training and lifestyle more than the race itself but at the end of the day the race dangling out there in the distance is what motivates and drives me to keep on pushing when I might back off if I didn’t have the pressure of an event hanging out there.  Read More

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 3 weeks to go “hanging by a thread”

Aisling is giving me sessions a couple of days at a time depending on how I’m coping with the load. How I’m handling it is changing by the day and on Monday I’m not coping so well. I feel like I’m hanging by a thread.

I was down for a three hour run. It was a “just get it done” run. No structure, no intervals, efforts or pace targets. It was a “just get three hours on your feet” sort of day.

I lasted 2:50 and just couldn’t bring myself to add in a last 10 minute loop once I arrived back home. I was empty, both physically and mentally. I tried not to look at the rest of this weeks training stretching out ahead of me because I was so tired I might just cry at the thought of another 6 or 7 hour training day.

It’s funny how when the training builds to this level that the sheer difficulty of it can knock all of the enjoyment out of it. The exhaustion makes what would be the simplest of sessions on any other day seem insurmountable.

Maybe torturous is a better word.

I was so happy that tomorrow was a day off. Ais hadn’t given me the weeks work yet and I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t want to know.  Read More

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 4 weeks to go “Suck it up buttercup”

Monday was hanging out there in front of me with a combination of excitement and trepidation. Excitement because for the last few weeks my fitness has been on an upward trajectory and Ais had me down to do a very big day which I always love the challenge of.

Trepidation because the last couple of weeks have been hard and I was tired and it could end up being a 7-8 hour slog instead of an enjoyable long day of training.

It was to be a 4000m swim, 5+ hours on the bike and to run off it. Back in 2013 that became a fairly regular way to spend a Monday and I always think that those long days had probably the biggest impact on fitness of any session, of course first I needed to be fit enough to cope with 6, 7 and 8 hour training day or it would have the opposite effect and leave me flattened.

I’ve done a couple of them this year but at a much easier pace than Monday was to be at.

One of the funny things about these training days is just how long they take. My normal long days consist of a bike and run and I’d often have 6+ hours done by 1:30 on Sunday and then go into work for a few hours. Because I was including a swim it meant that I wouldn’t get onto the bike until after 10am. So I leave the house at about 6:50 am and usually dont finish at about 5pm.

The whole day is gone, just like that. There’s usually only time for a shower before dinner when I’m done, then we walk the dogs, have a coffee and then it’s time for bed. I’d forgotten that and I somehow am always surprised that it’s tea time when I’m done. Anyway lets get on with it…  Read More

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona 5 Weeks to go “guilty pleasures”

I was 3300 meters into the planned 4k swim when I saw Patrick gliding effortlessly through the water towards me. “Shite” I thought, and not for the usual reasons. I wasn’t worried that he’d be kicking lumps out of me. Patrick was on an easy week after swimming the channel last week. I was also almost out of time and needed to go to work so there would at least be a limit to my Patrick imposed suffering.

Rather I was thinking “shite” because Patrick is very old school and looks at us triathletes with all of our swim toys with derision. I knew if he saw me all banded, pull-buoyed and paddled up then I was in for some stick. So I was hoping to finish the last 400m of the 5 x 400 set with my paddles, pull buoy and band before he arrived. Unfortunately I’d timed it rather badly because there he was.

And now I was caught playing with my toys.

And with less than 50m to go too. Shite.

If he had arrived 2 minutes later I’d have had my guilty pleasure and he would have been none the wiser.

Damn, here he comes.

Read More

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Lionel Sanders at Kona 2017

Lionel Sanders is a force of nature. He’s changing himself and along with it our sport.

Every so often someone comes along who changes the rules. Someone who redefines what is normal, or reasonable or even what’s possible. Lionel has been challenging our perception of what’s normal or reasonable with his unorthodox training methods. Training almost exclusively indoors all year round was unheard of before Lionel.

Now he has shown that he has what it takes to change how races at run and he is determined to etch his name on the monument of our sport, Ironman Hawaii. Read More

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Robs Blog: Chasing Kona: 6 Weeks to go

Walking into the pool this morning Ais left me in no doubt that the next four weeks are going to be tough. She’s happy with where my run is but still feels that the swim and bike are the weak(er) links. Having one weak link isn’t necessarily a disaster but two would be a problem.
I’ve been given my orders.
1. No more missed swims. Minimum of three times a week in the water.
2. After that every spare minute for the next four weeks is to be spent on the bike. Which today as we are having something of a three day Indian summer in Dublin sounds like all of my birthdays have come at once. If the weathers nasty for a five hour ride though I might not be as excited.
Three years ago after back surgery I spent two months flat on my back unable to swim, bike, run or even walk very far. It taught me that even a hard, wet or cold day on the bike is better than that experience.
Even aside from being physically able to train I always feel very lucky at just how supportive Aisling is of my Ironman stuff. I talk to lots of people who have to quit the sport because it causes too much friction at home, or because they work or commute insane hours, or they’ve just had a baby and training suddenly drops from being one of the most important parts of their day to being something that they are lucky to do twice a week.
The next time I complain about how hard it is to train in Ireland feel free to give me a metaphorical (or an actual one if you live locally) kick in the arse.
For anyone who’s feeling sorry for themselves that they got wet or cold on their last bike ride.
Suck it up.
You should instead feel a little bit epic that you were one of the hard ones who suffered through it.
I’m sure that this will garner me all sorts of rants from those who don’t agree but fuck it. I’ve said it.
#rulenumber5
Anyway let’s get on with how the week went. Read More

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