So we’ve entered a race and set a target for the year. Last year the blog was a very public way to keep me honest about my training and to show people what we believe is required to qualify for Kona. As it happened I didn’t actually qualify so that part didn’t go so well.

It’s not much fun to fail in public but I keep on telling myself that I’ve only failed when I quit trying. I thought that maybe I’d try for a Kona slot again this year, but I also thought that if I didn’t tell anyone what I was trying for I wouldn’t have to suffer the shame of a public failure again.

But that felt a bit like like cheating, it felt dishonest. After setting out to do something and do it in public I felt that I should continue to do it publicly or I wasn’t really being very straight about it. It felt like I was skulking off into a corner to try and do it secretly and if I was successful then I’d pop out all “TA-DA!! Look what I did! See I told you I could!” Happy to celebrate in public but if I failed that would be better done in private. 

If I failed I could just carry on like nothing had happened “Qualify for Kona this time? Nah I was just racing for shits and giggles”

I could save face. I could avoid the embarrassment and shame of failure. The problem with that is that it felt like I was a fraud. It felt like what I’d imagine getting a Kona slot in the lottery or buying a slot in the auction would feel like. Kona should be earned. I’ve always felt it was a little disrespectful of the athletes who have put in the incredible amount of work required to get there that someone else could stand on that same start line by simply writing a cheque, being a famous celebrity or pulling a winning lottery winning ticket.

You don’t get to the Olympics or a world championship in any other sport by buying an entry into a lottery.

Rant over.

Anyway, I do want Kona again. I really want it. I’ve a huge burning desire to get back there. It’s like no other racing experience on the planet. And when I got there last time I was in the most unbelievable shape. And I desperately want to feel that fit, that superhuman again.

So I’m putting it out there once more. I’m chasing that Kona slot. I’ll live with the shame of failure if I don’t make it but I’ll feel better about myself if I’m honest and up front about it. It feels like the right way to do it.

Did I tell you which race we’ve entered? No? It’s Ironman Florida in November which at the time of writing is 22 weeks away. The next two months will be all about getting fit enough to train. We are taking a slightly different approach to the training to last year given the problems we had. I’ll go into that side of things more over the next few weeks.

Anyway let’s get on with the weeks training…


Monday 5th 1:05 (1)

Run 1:05 11.5k

Easy run. Nothing to see here, carry on with your business.

  • Energy 5/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 9 hours
  • Sleep 8 hours

Tuesday 6th 1:45 (2)

Swim 1:00 3200m

Run :45 8k

  • Energy 6/10
  • Motivation 9/10
  • Work 9 hours
  • Sleep 11 hours

Wednesday 7th 1:30 (1)

Swim 1:30 4300m

  • Energy 7/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 8 hours
  • Sleep 9 hours.

Thursday 8th 2:35 (2)

AM: Swim 1:30 4000m

Long Course M/S 8×200 going on 3:40

Splits 3:24, 3:25, 3:26, 3:24, 3:25, 3:29, 3:29, 3:27

This session was with Patrick and it’s incredible how quickly the adaptations happen early on. Two weeks  ago I couldn’t hold this pace for 5 x 200 without thinking I was going to die. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t pleasant but it didn’t hurt quite as badly and I did 8 of them instead of last weeks 5.

PM: Run 1:05 14k

3x3k tempo.

Splits

  • 4:12, 3:56, 4:05
  • 4:05, 4:04, 4:07
  • 4:09, 4:07, 4:01

 

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 9/10
  • Work 9 hours
  • Sleep 7.5 hours

Friday 9th 2:45 (1)

Bike 2:45 76k

Close to Ironman effort effort, big gear

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 8 hours
  • Sleep 9.5 hours. Good

Saturday 10th 1:15 (1)

Run 1:15 14k

Parkrun 20:40 4th

I warmed up before the Parkrun this morning and felt like a complete bag of shite. I was sore and tired and really didn’t feel like hurting myself in the race. I briefly considered not running but discarded that idea as soon as it popped into my head.

Ash would kill me.

Anyway the last time I raced here I felt exactly the same before the race and I actually finished second that time so maybe I might still go ok.

I lined up at the start and again had a moment of doubt and questioned the wisdom of putting myself right up at the front. The anonymity of the middle of the pack would offer an easier run. Before I could do any more doubting or feeling sorry for myself we were off.

Immediately I was in 1st place. Shite I thought. I’ve started too fast and I’ll blow up and look like a tool….But what if I haven’t gone off too hard? I might actually win.

Now it’s important to point out that both of these thoughts have gone through my head before we’ve done 100 meters of a 5k race. Jeez I’ll be worn out with the conflict in my head never mind the running.

I took the first corner still in the lead and there was what felt like a small group forming around me. I didn’t look around or back to see who it was but I guessed there was ten or maybe a dozen. The first time up the hill would thin that number down a bit.

I stayed at the front and tried to hold the pace. I was going hard but not quite at my limit. When I say not quite at my limit what I mean is I was at about 95%. So I didn’t really have too many more gears. In fact I’d be lucky to hold this pace to the end.

As we went through 1k I thought I could hear less footsteps behind me and the runners there were breathing hard. At least whoever was there wasn’t cruising I thought as we turned into a slight downhill section. It was at that point that one of the runners came up alongside me and started talking.

Holy fuck.

He’s either playing mind games and is also on his limit or he’s cruising and will run away from me shortly. So I answer him through gasps and then another runner comes up alongside and also starts talking.

Jesus what is it with these two?

The second runner is Sean, a Tymon Parkrun regular and he’s won here before. It’s been quite a while since I’ve beaten Sean.

Fuck. Maybe I won’t win today after all. These two are killing me with the chatting. Jesus do they not know we’re racing and this is supposed to be hurting?!?

I try to answer like I’m all under control but I can hear that my breathing is harder than theirs is and I’m sure my legs must be hurting worse too.

So I decide to accelerate.

Just to see if they actually are feeling better than me.

Hours later as I write this I’m still trying to decide if this moment is one of stupidity or heroic racing courage. Of course I want to believe its heroic racing courage, I fantasize that I’m a bit like Steve Prefontaine or Mark Allen or Eddy Merckx. But to be honest I’m sort of leaning towards it being a moment of stupidity.

I also didn’t have much choice in the matter. One second I’m running in the group. The next I’m pushing to get away. It wasn’t a conscious decision it was purely instinctual, which, like I said doesn’t necessarily mean it was the right thing to do.

The first talker comes back to me and sails straight past opening a gap of about 10 meters in a couple of seconds. Obviously taking my mini surge as his cue to start the real racing. Then Sean comes by and bridges the gap to the leader. The last runner of our group of four also comes around me and looks like he too will bridge back to the lead two. But he sort of stalls and I decide to have another go.

Maybe my legs aren’t as fried as I thought as I come around him and push hard until I make it back to the two leaders. I manage to hang on for about 10 seconds and the elastic starts to stretch as my last surge catches up on me.

My breathing is hard and ragged and painful. My legs feel like jelly. Very sore jelly. And I think I want to puke. A gap opens again and I lose a couple of meters. I dig in and hold it. I’m now absolutely running on that red line. This is 100%. I’m on my limit. Like the sort of limit you can only hold onto for the last 400 meters. But there’s almost three kilometers to go so this might not end well.

I don’t think I can go even 1 second a mile faster without blowing up. Then in that strange way that sometimes happens the body sort of accepts that this is the work level that’s expected of it and it settles into it.  I slowly reel the leaders in again and then I’m pushing past my limit once more. Almost as soon as I make it back to them I start to get dropped.

I’m coming to the end of the first 2.5k lap and I very briefly dream of pulling out and going and lying down and putting an end to the pain. I can only imagine what Ash would do to me if she even knew I was thinking it so I quickly squash the thought and turn to start the second lap and the second time up the drag.

I feel like I’m completely falling apart and going backwards but every time I look ahead I see the gap is holding at about 20 meters. Everyone else must be suffering too because I’m definitely going slower this time up the hill.

I hit the turn with about 1.5k to go and try to pick up the pace a little. I surge to accelerate and try to hang onto the pain. I think I’m being caught and might lose 4th and the fear of this keeps me running on the red line.

Ash always reckoned that 4th was the worst position to finish in. It’s still funny how hard you’ll push yourself to finish in the worst position in a race. In the last kilometer I drop a little further back from the leaders but not far back enough to get caught by the runner behind me.

  • Energy 6/10
  • Motivation 7/10
  • Work —
  • Sleep 6 poor

Sunday 11th 2:50 (1)

Bike 2:50 69k

Hill repeats

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 8 hours
  • Sleep 8 hours

Total Hours / Sessions

  • Total 13:45 (9)
  • Swim 4:00 11,500m (3)
  • Bike 5:35 145k (2)
  • Run 4:10 47.5k (4)
  • S&C —

Monthly Accumulated Hours / Sessions

  • Total 15:15 (10)
  • Swim 5:30 15,500m (4)
  • Bike 5:35 145k (2)
  • Run 4:10 47.5k (4)
  • S&C —

So that’s the week all wrapped up. 3 swims, 2 bikes and 4 runs. At this stage 12-14 hours training will be a fairly standard week as it’s a very busy time of year in work. If I can average 55-65 hours of training for May, June and July and put in three big months in August, September and October I think that will be enough to get into good race shape.

May went well and so far June is on track but it’s all very easy to plan from the comfort of the keyboard. It’s quite another to actually make it happen for close to thirty weeks.