Sunday, 8 November 2015

"It's OK, my watch will lead me".....starting up on them trails, and the Gower 50.

As with most occasions when I race, the general feeling on completion, is to record the process for later years.

I've done just that over the years, but have faultered recently, and not recorded the past half dozen events, for whatever reason.

I then decided that 2015 was to be a 'run focused' year, with a complete sabbatical away from the quite wonderful sport that is triathlon.

The year began by cementing some new, run based friendships, and joining Chippenham Harrriers in March. This certainly aided my passion for running, whilst also taking some great advice/chit chat from some very experienced club runners.
It's a great club, for all abilities. Website here > ChipHarriers

This also (typically) led me to not being quite satisfied with taking a decent half marathon PB at Swansea in June, coupled with an average marathon PB at NYC last Autumn.
It left me realising I wanted newer, bigger/longer challenges, and as Harriers Mark & Adam were entering the Marlborough Downs Challenge, I signed up too.
It's  a 33 mile race up over the Downs, through some beautiful Wiltshire countryside.

It was a great introduction to running a little longer, on some rather mixed terrain.
A finish time of 5hrs32mins was, I thought, a fairly decent first effort.
After coming through that finish tape, for the next 45 minutes, I had quickly decided there and then, that I wasn't going to attempt a long run like that again, as I felt pretty horrible.

However, after several more trail based runs, and some conversations with ultra guru Jamie, I started turning my thoughts slowly towards a race that was around and about my old hunting ground.

The Gower 50, on paper, looked rather a too romantic choice for me to take on my first 50 mile effort, what with the memories I had from my childhood, - living close to, and experiencing this beautiful part of the world for many years.

In the end, I actually entered just 9 days before race day, though all through the summer, I'd had it firmly in my sights.
My training was then strictly tailored to suit, consisting mainly of several mornings on the quite fantastic 15.5 mile loop that starts, and finishes at Castle Combe.
It takes in over 2k of climbing, on very mixed terrain. A solo 31 mile double loop in August, being the grimmest, yet most valuable soirĂ©e over that very useful training regime.

After a very useful 20 mile reccy of the back end of the actual Gower 50 route with Stacey & Michelle of a very early Saturday morning, I was set fair for October 10th.

up over Rhossili on our reccy

A 7.30 start for this one, and all roads led to Llanmadoc after an overnight stay at Mum's.
Ange drove me down with plenty of time for the briefing , and waved us all off bang on time.
A most beautiful deep orange glow of a sunset set the tone for what was to be a great days racing.

red sky at morning...
#svr crew +1 rogue











My main, and very clear goal for this race, was to take on the first 30 miles in a very sensible way (slowly), with only one main rule - walk ALL the hills.
Kit on board was Jamies's 12l Salomon race pack, x2 500ml bottles, gel/number belt with x6 PowerBar gels, x8 SIS bars, & the mandatory kit list.

The first 60% of this day was always likely to be the harder part of the day, and so it turned out to be.

I was lucky enough to run a large chunk of this first section in the varying company of Marc, Nick, Ian & Nic, all members of the legendary Swansea Vale Runners - Stacey & Michelle
were also present, but were both off like hares, and I wouldn't see them again until the finish line, after they both smashed out very impressive, quick times.

On departure, the first highlight of the day was finding ourselves quickly on the lengthy 5k strip of pure beach that lead us up to Rhosilli, and CP 1 (5.5 miles). Pace to this point was averaging a comfortable 10.5 minutes per mile, though it seemed to take no time to arrive there.
Still running with the SVR lads, we left Rhosilli, after a brief stop where I took on a couple of biscuits, squash & some nuts, hit the cliff path and headed east towards Port Eynon point, and the first click point.
At registration, we were all issued with a small click point punch card, and instructions to visit 5 locations along the route, and punch said card as we went.
Interestingly, I was to actually drop mine shortly after the the second location at Oxwich Point, but luckily, a runner not far behind us, picked it up, and was offering it up as lost. I checked, and it was mine.
Phew!....that said however, at the finish, no click point cards were actually checked. Go figure.

The section from Rhosilli to Port Eynon (7.5 miles), is quite a beautiful place to run, with varying cliff terrain, awesome sea views, finishing with our second beach run to the car park at Port Eynon, and CP2.
The pace had slowed to an average of  13 minutes per mile, through this section, with any hill of note walked, as planned.
Another fairly brief stop to refill bottles, and again I went for the biscuits, nuts & a couple of sweets.
I was also taking a PowerBar gel every 45 mins or so.

I was feeling at 85% at this stage, and began wondering whether to step it up from this CP.
A 20 second chat with myself realised that with 37 miles to go, it would be a risk.

The next section over to Southgate was 9 miles, and would take in yet more breathtaking landscape, including the quite yucky, and very steep & slippery up & down of  Oxwich steps, with a drop down through the woods to another long beach section along the whole length of Oxwich Bay.

This was the first time I had a chance to catch up with Ange, Mum & the boys. It always gives me a massive boost to see their smiling, concerned, yet encouraging faces.

I lost the SVR lads at the start of the beach, whilst catching up with the family, so I then put on a steady, but consistent pace along the whole length of the bay.

The dune at the end was very steep, with dry sand. I had caught up with a couple of other runners, and it's here where I learned how to 'dune draft' off the guy 12 inches in front of me....wherever his foot took off from, mine landed, and it worked a treat, seemingly giving me firmer sand to launch off from.
Around the cliffs again, and we passed by the beautiful Three Cliffs Bay, (with the 3rd clip point at Pwll-Du Head), across the stepping stones, and up and even steeper dune.....cue 'dune drafting' episode 2!

CP3 was at Southgate, in amongst all the 'Grand Designesque' cliff top houses, and the pace from CP2 to here, was now approaching 14 minutes per mile.
My plan of being sensible early on, still well in place, and working just fine. I would say I was still feeling at 75% at this point, with no feet issues, but a tweaked right knee, taken on one on the quite rocky, loose descents.
This is one of the huge delights of this race,  - the terrain can change inside a third of a mile, from loose stones, to wet sand, to dry sand, to soft trail, to deep wet grass and back again. A real bonus to keep the mind focussed!

views to die for
cuddle up!



My stop at CP3 was, again not too long. Coke was taken here for the first time, and I continued with the salted nuts & biscuits, that were going down a treat. I left with the SVR crew, and we started off maintaining a sensible pace.

CP4 at Mumbles Head was 7 miles around the coast, and it was there that I had planned to meet Ange & crew to change shoes, & re-stock with different foods. Though I rate the Salomon Speedcross 3 on the soft, slippery stuff, they are certainly not the comfiest shoe for going past 25ish miles, and at this point, what with all the sand in my socks, I was glad to pop the Asics racers on. I figured this may be a risk, as I knew there was still off road sections towards the end.

Pace on the last section was now at roughly 15.5 mins per mile, again the sensible approach had been maintained through that part of the course. At the final beach section at Caswell, I had lost the SVR lads, so tabbed along alone for a couple miles, before catching up with another couple of lads at Langland Bay, and we chatted, and stayed together for the run into CP4.

This checkpoint was my longest stop, after changing shoes & socks, and eating as much as I could muster, (which was quite a lot), given they had CANAPES on offer - Amazing!!
Hugs were exchanged , and then it was tarmac all the way through Mumbles, & up the onto the cycle path to CP 5 at Dunvant.

At this point, I met up with Nigel, who had surprised me, and cycled down to ride alongside me for a while. And a bit further on, I also met up with Jon, who was out on a planned training run, who decided to tag along for the tarmac stretch up to Penclawdd & CP 6.
Thanks for the support (again) dudes.

That 12 mile section from Mumbles to Penclawdd, is largely un-inspirational, flat, & quite boring, especially after the quite beautiful first 30 miles or so.
It did, however, include a slight detour off the main road just past Gowerton through Alt-Wen Woods to tick off clip-point 4, and of course, CP5 at Dunvant.

I was still feeling at least 45-50%, so I decided to push it along a bit at this point.
I just zoned out, and tried to maintain a decent pace on the cycle path. I stopped literally for 60 seconds at CP5, grabbed a handful of something, and just zoned out again, back into the pace that had got me there.
That 12 mile section was at an average pace of roughly 9 mins 25, and I was happy to be able to hold and maintain that pace, especially as I was now into un-chartered territory with regards to length of the run.

On arriving at CP6 at Penclawdd, I was still feeling strong, so again, I maintained the pace on through Crofty, picking up the final clip point, and heading out onto the marsh road, and towards home.

I again picked off another 4 or 5 runners through this section, but it was here on the seemingly endless marsh road, that it became a mental game. I succumbed to a bit of run a mile, wait for the watch to beep, then walk for 2 minutes. This worked, and eventually the road came to an end, and the most surreal part of my day unfolded.
I was still alone at this point, just approaching the village at Llanrhidian, when a runner came running towards me, insistent on there being a bull blocking the road up ahead, and he had been 'turned back' to divert around that part of the village via the marsh.

Long story short - by this point Mike Tate and his group had caught up with me, and all 5 of us ended up taking the unofficial 'diversion'. It quickly became apparent that this would involve jumping into a dyke filled with nearly 3 feet of water, and scaling a barbed wire fence.
15 minutes lost....at least!

I've since thought long and hard about this episode, and I think I made the wrong decision in listening to a stranger, and should've gone with my instinct to investigate the 'bull' for myself.
You learn, huh!

After this debacle, I got my angry head on, and legged it out of the village, leaving the other 4 in my wake. Apologies to Mike and his crew if I helped us all make the wrong decision.

Due to my haste, CP7 was quickly upon us at Llandimore, and it was here that I felt quite dreadful for the first time that day. Looking back, with the upped pace over the previous 15 miles or so, I had not really upped my food/fluid intake accordingly, and even though I got to CP7 knowing there was only a mere 3 miles to the finish, I was properly knocking.

Twas a case of 'sh*t or bust' here, so I crammed about 3 biscuits in my mouth, eat them quickly, swilled down a whole cup of coke, followed by more biscuits, and a handful of nuts to run off with.
It took about 10 minutes, but luckily I got it going again, and it was just the numbers on the watch ticking down that got me home.

Surprisingly, I caught up another group of 3, and passed them with my newly found vigour.
Rounding the last tarmac paved corner just at the firing range, I was faced with the most amazing surprise - Jacob & Charlie were at the bottom of the huge last very steep climb up to the finish chute.

That pretty much made my day, and all three of us scrambled up the bank to the cheers and warm welcome of quite a crowd, silouhetted up on the cliff top, -  including Ange, Mum, Stacey, Michelle & Chris (thanks for the support & pics pal!)

After crossing the line, J &C either side of me, I was genuinely surprised how OK I felt.
Then realising I had clocked 10hrs 32mins with a finishing position of 26th of 142, the day was complete.
my heroes

This race is a must for anyone who appreciates a long, beautiful run, through one of the best places on earth.
VERY well organised, second to none marshalling, a t-shirt, medal & hot meal to boot.
Run, Walk & Crawl Events - my hat is off to you.

It was a pleasure to spend time with the SVR crew on the day, amazing to Stacey nail his day with a 9hr 40min time, and see my fellow Chippenham Harrier Michelle nail 2nd female & 8th place overall!

Huge thanks to Jamie & Adam for lending me some essential kit, and as always, and most importantly, I'm simply unable to train for, or attempt these events without the unquestioning support from my darling (now runner) wife Ange, and my 2 little heroes J & C.xx

JC - November2015

#ontothenextone











Sunday, 18 October 2015

#turbovember4

So, we approach November again, most racing is just about done, and time comes to commit to maintaining that valuable fitness that has been banked this year so far.

Turbovember4 is gonna help with that.

We've added an extra aspect this time, for anyone who wants to 'go large', - details below.

Let's try and really grow the group of people involved, & smash the totals logged last year.


Again, this year, we are very lucky, and priveliged to have Elivar Sports Nutrition getting involved and supplying some awesome prizes.
Click on their link here>Elivar to see the amazing range of products - the watermelon 'Endure' comes recommended!!



Details of how prizes will be awarded to follow.


House Rules (standard)

Its very simple. Turbo for all 30 days straight during the month of November 2015, with a couple of simple stipulations.
  • A minimum of 30 minutes on the turbo every day in November, and the following sessions must be ticked off (as a minimum). 
  1. At least x3 turbo/run brick sessions - (i.e. - minimum 45 minute turbo, then minimum 20 minute run straight after turbo session ends)
  2. At least x3 90 minute turbo sessions.
  3. At least x1 120 minute session.


House Rules (XL)

In essence, the same as the 'standard' version, but longer.
  • A minimum of 60 minutes on the turbo every day in November, and the following sessions must be ticked off (as a minimum).
  1. At least x4 turbo/run brick sessions - (i.e. - minimum 60 minute turbo, then minimum 30 minute run straight after turbo session ends)
  2. At least x4 120 minute sessions.
  3. At least x2 180 minute sessions.

Other points of note.
  • As this is a turbo based challenge, the aim is to do just that, but if you must insist on riding your bicycle outside, a maximum 3 outside rides can be logged during the 30 days, BUT, the 'it counts as half' rule must apply - i.e. - if you ride outside for 60 minutes, it only counts as 30 minutes for turbovember.
  • However, if you are racing during November (duathlon, sportive etc..), this can be 'logged', in full for turbovember, but still counts as one of the 3 permitted outdoor rides.
  • Gym/spin bikes are permitted, but only if you are really pushed for time, and its the very last resort.

We have a Facebook page which is a great place to update all on your progress, ask any questions, and even post up some 'turbo heaven/hell' pictures of your progress.

As always, all things spreadsheet are devised by Excel/IT guru KennyB0y, click on his name for his twitter feed, -  and my twitter is here > JC - if you need to ask us any turbo related questions, or just to get involved with the twitter banter.

Click this link > data entry to view the active spreadsheet, where you can enter your name, choose 'Std or XL', log your minutes turbo'd, and check the current league tables.

PLEASE NOTE*** - There are 2 tabs on this active spreadsheet, 

1. 'Data Entry' (this is where you log the minutes you turbo). Simply type in your name/nickname/twitter name into the beige coloured row 9, then choose 'Std' or 'XL' from the drop down menu, and then enter hours turbo'd (in minutes), starting on the '1st', which starts at row 12, '2nd' in row 13 etc etc..

2. 'League Table' - as it says, a table ranked by minutes logged.
This table is purely for reference, do NOT enter any data here, it will take care of itself.

A point of note - it is substantially easier, and MUCH less frustrating to input your minutes turbo'd on a PC or laptop - there is no deadline to input your daily minutes though, and you can enter the previous couple of days at the same time.

BUT - you can, for example enter data via a smart phone/tablet (e.g.iPhone/iPad), but it is quite slow to respond to your touch. 
If you are patient however, it is possible to do it, if a little frustrating. 


Good Luck!!

Lets see how many hours we can turbo, and smash last year.
Remember, you will thank yourself at the Christmas party in December.

JC.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

turbovember 3

Its that time of the year again.

Racing is just about done, and it is the time to think about maintaining that valuable fitness that has been banked through the past year.

Turbovember3 is gonna take care of November 2014.


And after the amazing success of last years' turbovember efforts, its clear there is value in going again this year.

We have kept it the same as last year, so do not forget the 'penalty' for riding outside!

After all, for this special month, we all live by the 11th commandment of #lovethyturbo

Let's try and smash the amazing total of hours logged last year.

Remember, you will thank yourself at the Christmas party in December.


Them 'Rules'

The goal is to hit that turbo for the 30 days straight during the month of November 2014.

This will bring huge rewards on the path to improved cycle speed/endurance/fitness.

  • A minimum of 30 mins must be ridden on a turbo-trainer, on every day in November.
  • Any outdoor November rides can count - BUT, they count as half. - so, for example a 60 min outdoor ride, is equal to 30 mins on a turbo
  • Within the 30 days, the following must be ticked off (as a minimum), but hell, go as long as you want!!!  - 
  1. At least x3 turbo-run brick sessions (minimum 45 min turbo, then minimum 20 min run)
  2. At least x3 90 min turbo sessions.
  3. At least x1 120 min sesh.
Other points of note.
  • As this is a turbo based challenge, the aim is to do just that, but if there is a very good weather window, then a maximum of 3 sessions out of the 30 can be done outside, but the 'it counts as half' rule must apply - see above.
  • However, if you are racing during November (duathlon, sportive etc..), this can be 'logged' as one of the 3 permitted outdoor rides.
  • Gym/spin bikes are permitted, but only if you are 'timecrunched'.........though having said that, a gym brick set is a good pose, and usually puts other spinners to shame.

As always, all things spreadsheet are devised by excel guru 'Arris the beancounter', his twitter is here > KennyB0y ,my twitter is here> @davmort - if you need to ask us any turbo related questions.

Click this link here > TV3 data entry spreadsheet (and add to your favourites), to view the active spreadsheet, where you can log your hours turbo'd, and check the current league tables.
Also, see details on this sheet of details of amazing prizes you can win, again, very kindly donated again, by the wonderful guys at Elivar Sports Nutrition

There are 2 tabs on this active spreadsheet, 

1. 'data entry' (this is where you log the minutes you turbo). Simply type in your name/nickname/twitter name into the beige coloured row 8, then enter hours turbo'd (in minutes), starting on the '1st', which starts at row 11, '2nd' in row 12 etc etc..

2. 'league table' (this is as it says - it will automatically configure the league table) do NOT enter any data here, it will take care of itself.

A point of note - it is substantially easier/less frustrating to input your minutes turbo'd on a PC or laptop.
You can, for example enter data via a smart phone (e.g.iPhone), but it is quite slow. If you are patient, it is possible to do it. 


Good Luck!!

Lets see how many hours we can turbo, and smash last year.

JC.



Thursday, 10 October 2013

#turbovemberII

So, after the amazing success of last years' turbovember efforts, it seems criminal not to go again this year.

We have kept it almost the same as last year, but we have built in a little penalty for riding outside!!
After all, for this special month, we all live by the 11th commandment of #lovethyturbo

Let's try and beat the quite amazing total of hours logged last year.

Remember, you will thank yourself at the Christmas party in December.

Them 'Rules'


Goal is to hit that turbo for the 30 days straight during the month of November 2013.

This will bring huge rewards on the path to improved cycle speed/endurance/fitness.

  • A minimum of 30 mins must be ridden on a turbo-trainer, on every day in November.
  • Any outdoor November rides can count - BUT, they count as half. - so, for example a 60 min outdoor ride, is equal to 30 mins on a turbo.
  • Within the 30 days, the following must be ticked off - 
  1. At least x3 turbo-run brick sessions (minimum 40 min turbo, then minimum 20 min run)
  2. At least x3 90 min turbo sessions.
  3. At least x1 120 min sesh.
Other points of note.
  • As this is a turbo based challenge, the aim is to do just that, but if there is a very good weather window, then a maximum of 3 sessions out of the 30 can be done outside, but the 'it counts as half' rule must apply - see above.
  • If racing during November (duathlon, sportive etc..), this is permitted as one of the 3 outdoor rides.
  • Gym/spin bikes are permitted, but only if  'timecrunched'. ........though, a gym brick set is a good pose, and usually puts other spinners to shame.

As always, all things spreadsheet are devised by excel guru KennyB0y so click on this link >>>> TURBODATA2013 to view the active spreadsheet, where you can log your hours turbo'd, and check the current league tables.

Good Luck!!

Lets see how many hours we can turbo, and even beat last year.

JC.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ironman Wales.



Sunday September 8th 2013.

And so to another crack at a long distance triathlon, in the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire.

Having entered the race online just 2 hours before entries closed, my approach to it was markedly different from 2011, & Lanzarote in 2012.
Main difference being, -  only 'officially' having a lead time of 12 weeks from entering to racing.

In all, the training was closely based around a blend of the plans used in '11 & '12, and now, with the 'fear of the unknown' feeling removed in the lead up to this race, I enjoyed the training somewhat more, and it may have led to a more relaxed attitude, which, to this day I am not sure was a good thing.

Having arrived at Tenby fairly late on the Friday evening, after a convoy with fellow racer Richard Harris, my Iron experience didn't really start until the Saturday morning, and it turned out to be a tricky/frustrating race eve.

After registering early on the Saturday, it was back to the caravan for last minute checks and kit packing.
As usual, with a JC Iron Race, lessons were learned, and the first one was that Zipp's valve extenders can prove to be very unreliable.
During the final bike check, as usual, I ensured the tubs were taking in air normally through said valve extenders. An issue with the front wheel -  no air would go in.
So, (as usual), I removed valve extender, turned it round to release a little pressure off the threaded top end of the valve. This worked just fine (as usual).
Then, on attempting to replace the valve extender into the rim, and screw back it onto the valve, it was......squeaky bum time!, - the valve had shifted about 2 mm to the left, thus preventing the valve extender to be screwed back onto it. Slight sweat on at this point.

So, fast forward 4 hours, and after spending 3 of those hours at the Continental mechanics' stand at the expo, the old tub was ripped off, after a huge 'man vs glue' struggle, a new Conti tub was taped on (with the quite awesome Conti valve extender system fitted), by the very helpful 'tub guru' Shelley, and the job was a good 'un. The seriously calm, effective, and downright amazing service I received from Peter, Matt Scott, and the rest of his Pembrokeshire Bikes crew, was second to none.
Nothing was a problem. A rare thing these days.

This led to me being the absolute last person to rack his bike, with the race referee berating me quite formally.

NO-ONE here....except me!


Things had to get better.

Race morning was, as always, a nervy affair, but all orchestrated well with ironwife Mrs.C right at my side.
After picking up Rich and ironwife II Ange, we were driving through the narrow Tenby streets in the dark, right up to transition.

After a rather prolonged wait in the expo area, we all trudged the kilometre or so to North Beach.
I'm not sure Ironman Wales got this timing exactly right this year, as there was easily 500+ athletes still bottlenecked up on the road above the swim start at 6.52a.m.!

This led to a rather swift 30 second thrash about in the rather warm water, before dashing back up into the starting pen, just in time for a great rendition of Gwlad.



7a.m. -  gun goes, and its the sight that makes Ironman special - 1600+ people all trying to swim in the same direction, at the same time.

all good to go

I have it from a reliable source, and Kona qualifier Richard Lewis, that this year's swim was a tad long at 2.51 miles, and as the sea was much calmer than the race of 2 years ago, there was no danger of me bothering my 2011 time of 68 mins.

On reflection, just seeing the first buoy was difficult, and it seemed to take quite a while to arrive at.
I had no real bumps out to that first buoy, and the 'lazy river' effect of being dragged around it, was strangely calming.
People were still trying, (and failing) to swim around it, but I just went with the flow.

As in 2011, getting from buoy 1 to 2 seemed, by far the most pleasurable stint, and sighting off the lifeboat ramp, makes it all much easier. On rounding the second buoy, where it did actually get a bit feisty, the home straight, and using Gosker Rock to sight off, always gives a mental lift.
Lap 1 split of 38.41, which, for my predictable pace, was pretty much bang on.
Lap 2 was a similar experience to lap 1, and again, strangely, it was a little bumpy around the 2nd buoy.
But having said that, a second lap split of 40.54, and a swim split of 1.19.45 was fine with me.

regulation swim


So, opportunity knocked for T1, and I was keen to destroy the very poor 19 mins I posted 2011.
I decided to fully remove the wetsuit on the climb up out of North Beach, and did just that at the very first chance I had. By the time I pulled my shoes on, and stuffed my awesome Zone 3 wetsuit into the supplied bag, I was up and away through the town, and the amazing throngs of noisy supporters.

My T1 planning worked nicely, and I was away, and on the bike in a much more respectable 12.02.

I chose to wear a long sleeve compression top for the bike, with no jacket. This, as I was to find out, was going to lead to another lesson learned,.... the hard way.

*that* compression top


The bike had been suffering with a fractionally loose head-set leading up to the race, and so a week before I left for Tenby, took the bike to be checked over. I got some fairly shoddy service, after an absolute guarantee to replace the headset bearings (which never happened).
So, after a 're-setting' of the original bearings, I was then 'guaranteed' that this wouldn't cause any problems.
Not the case.

By the time I had reached Angle, I was forced to stop at the aid station, only to discover the headset was loose again. This was not good for the mind, especially on seeing all the ambulances/crashes in that area, just minutes before.

I pushed on, and soon, it was the weather that came to take my mind off the loose headset.

I think it was roughly about 30 minutes or so before I got to Narberth, that the weather got nasty.
Wind was not the problem here, but cold, torrential rain. Visibility was quite poor, running water on the lanes was quite twitchy, spray from anyone up ahead....all these issues were 'do-able'.

What was not 'do-able' was the serious drop in my body temperature (torso).
By the time I had got to Narberth, for unscheduled stop number 2, and quickly getting told by the mechanics that I should pull out, my apparel error had become blatantly obvious.

the horror that was lap 1 of the bike

Perhaps the fact that I couldn't speak to these guys for my teeth chattering uncontrollably, was proof enough that the compression top really did a great job at lowering my body temp too far with the help of that crazy rain.

At this point, after these very helpful guys had re-tightened the headset, and re-assured me the forks were not going to fall off the bike, 2 of them stood either side of me, and literally rubbed my torso vigorously for 2 minutes or so, threw a disposable plastic rain mac over me, and sent me on my way.
Those volunteers - heroes, and quick thinking race savers. Thanks guys, you saved my day.

I rode with this plastic 'wind sail' until I had passed through Tenby, and started on the second lap. That really did slow me up somewhat, but it was a necessary evil, and it raised my body temperature up to a point where I could go on without it.

I was now carrying 2 emotions - anger at the loose headset, and the shoddy service at the unnamed bike shop, and relief, that the guys up at Narbeth had revived my core temperature, and saved my race.

From here on in, the bike was much more enjoyable, and I managed to claw some time back from the 2 unscheduled stops, which had lost me approx 10 mins or so.



To record the bike split of 6.51.39, was probably not such a bad result, considering.

With the emotion of relief now forgotten, it was now the anger that was driving me, and I was very keen to at least have a good run after the below average swim, and completely un-enjoyable bike experience.

I set the tone, with a respectable T2 of 3.43, which included a minute in the loo.

With the bike fail still niggling at me, I decided to push on straight from the start of the run, which was not in the original plan.

I was carrying x 2 Gu gels with me at the start, and decided to hold on to them until the latter stages.
I stopped at most of the initial aid stations to pick up my snack of choice, which was the ritz crackers. I carried them along the way, and just nibbled very small pieces every 2 minutes or so.

pushing it on!


Due to the lap system on this rather tough, hilly run in Tenby, there is very much a nasty case of 'band-envy' on the whole of the first lap, and half of the second lap, and it really does irk to see someone 'sprinting' along with 3 bands ,and you have only 1, or even none.

But, as in 2011, I was able to push on, and maintain. This then provided me with actually, the first really positive phase of my day to date, and it gave me some pleasure to recall the hard L4&L5 interval training, which had provided me with the ability to maintain at this late stage of my day.

going past the amazing 5 arches...again


The support, especially on the run section of Ironman Wales, is frankly, humbling.
If you are not as lucky as I was to have an amazing family group in Tenby for the day, there is always noise & encouragement for all athletes of all abilities, from all of the crowds that make the effort to support.

Having said that, I was absolutely chuffed that my amazing wife & 2 little boys were there, along with my Mum, Dad, Barbara, Jon, Bri, Tom, Anneira, Carys, & the Woods' family. I thank you dearly for your support and encouragement. I can't wait to pay it back over the coming months when you race.

The noise, the cheering, the name calling, the cow bells, the pumped fists, and the overall passion given out around those small streets is quite amazing, and it makes you feel very special.

Special respect also needs to go to the area outside the '5 Arches' pub, where a huge bunch of the twitteratti were in fine voice. My amazing Iron family of Ange, Jacob, Charlie & my Mum, were in fine voice, along with the Harris Family (especially demon photographer Ang), Nige Devoy and his clan, Rich Lewis, Stu Bennett, Rob Warlow, & Martin Lewis to name but a few.
I also was lucky to be 'coached/driven/shouted at' by the unrelenting ultraguru that is Jamie Woods.
Hats off bud! Your passion was felt.

By the time I had managed to get the 4th (red) band on my arm, I knew that the rather tough Tenby run had been paid the respect it demands, and yet I clearly felt that I had run my strongest 26.2 to date.
The run this year had been confirmed at 26.2, as in '11 & '12, rumours had it that the course was short.

The last mile or so of the Tenby course, has to be the most pleasurable experience one could want from a long days' racing. You get extra loud shout outs (if that is possible), because you have the 4 lap bands on, and as the supporters know this, they give you a different type of shout out.
Not anymore is it........ 'Go Jase!', or 'Keep it up!', or 'You're looking strong!', but you now get afforded the sacred 'It's done', or 'You are home bud', or the seminal 'Round that corner for Ironmen only'.

This truly is what Iron memories are made of, and never to be forgotten.

Hitting the Esplanade up above the South Beach at Tenby is a very special experience, and the noise is just breathtaking.
I was so happy to finish so strongly after a rather testing bike, that I rather goosestepped up that finish chute.


Done.
Home.
And with an all time marathon PB of 4.10.15.

The official time of 12.37.24 ranked me 407 overall, out of 1600+ starters, and 47th in my AG.
I am happy with that, but the reality is that there were lessons learnt, and at least 20 mins lost to the bike issues/apparel mistake.

Done,....Home.


IronmanIII

It is, at this point, imperative for me to stress a very important point that sometimes gets overlooked. 
Whilst deciding to race, and then putting in the weeks and months of training for an event such as Ironman Wales, it becomes blindingly clear, that without the undoubted support and faith shown by my wife, and also the understanding of my beloved 2 little boys, it just would not happen. 
I love you three very much.

The A team.


So, next time, I will do it properly eh?
There is always something to learn for next time, when you race Ironman.

JC out.......










Sunday, 11 August 2013

T-minus 28 days.

So, it's just about 4 weeks to my fast approaching date with Tenby, and my third effort at racing Ironman.

Writing this on the plane back after a week's holiday/swim/run/core/weights training in Lanza, (which was pencilled in on the plan as one of the x2 peak weeks), I feel that I am, at this point, approx 75% ready to take on this tough race for the second time.

It'll be interesting to see how the week enjoying some awesome family time, and a whole lot of extra sleep will impact my race readiness. A very yummy increase in calories and general food intake, will also need to be accounted for over the coming weeks, and from today, a 28 day ban on alcohol, coupled with a restricted caffeine intake are hopefully going to ensure I will be ready. 
Needless to say, there is still a solid 2 week block to nail (especially on the bike), before I can class myself as race ready.

The family break in Lanza proved very useful, and it enabled me to nail several solid sea swims, amounting to approx 10k of solid efforts, culminating with an effort of approx 3.5k, and all in the paradise like waters off Playa Blanca, and frankly, it doesn't come much better than that.




On completion of the bigger, last swim, I was happy to be exiting the water feeling very relaxed, with a low HR, and with the feeling that I could have easily swam on.
I marked out a lap of roughly 700m or so, using a small yellow buoy as a halfway marker, and I found the multi-lapping sessions good for the mental approach that will be required to race Tenby (across all 3 disciplines).

The goal for this race?

As before, primarily to finish, without injury, but with a smile.

I was genuinely delighted with my effort/time in 2011, and the 'head goal' is, that if I can match that 2011 effort/time this year, I will again, be genuinely delighted.

The 'heart goal'? - that would be unwise to dwell on, but rest assured, there is one.

Roll on a beer at the infamous Five Arches, and the completion of what should be another awesome day of Ironman racing.

JC out.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

decisions....? made.

Self denial, is over.

After a strong, and long period of 100 consecutive 'base' training days, culminating with a solid effort at the ever improving Cotswold 113 middle distance triathlon last Sunday, the focus is now locked in on another visit to the gem of a race that is Ironman Wales at Tenby, Pembrokeshire on September 8th 2013.

After (quite literally), a last minute entry, it is odd to find myself gearing up to go long again, but with less than 12 weeks to race day.

Nervous?, absolutely.

Excited?, definitely.


I suspect I am in a similar place as I was in June 2011 (training wise), but now also carrying the priceless experience gained from racing long twice in an 8 month period at Tenby, and the quite awesome Lanzarote.

My goal is, as always, to finish the race, with a smile, and a feeling that I gave a wholesome, measured, and concentrated effort on the day.

This Ironman thing certainly has an appeal, and the community is, if anything, just getting closer and more supportive.

I'll post a few more updates on progress over the coming weeks.

HOW much do we love this sport?

JC out.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Decisions, decisions.......

It's that time of the year again, when all around are entering, or have entered a race, their 'A' race, or in fact several races.
At time of writing, I have entered.....nothing.
So, what gives?
After all, I am currently on day 20 of a great training streak, which is even involving a number of structured pool sessions.

Perhaps it was my gallant(dodgy) decision to enter the Gloucester marathon, which was due to go in late January this year, and then duly got cancelled (with NO refunds) due to the stoopid snow.

Perhaps it is due to having raced x2 Ironman races in the space of  8 months....

Perhaps it is due to me getting all operationally retentive with regards to the family business...

Or, perhaps it is due to the fact that I am looking for something a little different.

Don't get me wrong, the whole race/holiday/family experience of Lanzarote Ironman (culminating in running down that finisher chute with my little men, to be welcomed by Kenneth Gasque), was truly the best triathlon experience I have had to date.

And posting my quickest ever super-sprint effort (with not much training), at the Warminster triathlon, was also a big highlight for me last year.

But, I remain peculiarly unconvinced to commit to pretty much anything at this (late) stage, as far as race planning goes.

However, there is one thing that does keep coming up in my thinking process time and again, and that is the Enduroman Double.

This looks like a tough day.

But walking through the visualisation process, (and having read a number of inspiring reports/blogs on the event), I feel it's something I could have a good shot at.
That is, aside from the 52 mile run, - likely in the dark..... through woods.....over tree roots.....and over many, many, many laps.

So, that is, where it's at.
For now.

An update will follow

JC.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

#turbovember....


Ok, here are guidelines for our #turbovember challenge.

The goal is to hit that turbo for the 30 days straight that is the month of November 2012.

This will bring huge rewards on the path to improved cycle speed/endurance/fitness.

"Rules"

  • A minimum of 30 mins must be ridden on a turbo-trainer, on every day in November 2012.
  • Within the 30 days, the following must be ticked off - 
  1. At least x3 turbo-run brick sessions (minimum 45 min turbo, then minimum 20 min run)
  2. At least x3 90 min turbo sessions.
  3. At least x1 120 min sesh.
Other points of note.
  • As this is a turbo based challenge, the aim is to do just that, but if there is a very good weather window, then a maximum of 3 sessions out of the 30 can be done outside.
  • If racing during November (duathlon, sportive etc..), this is permitted as one of the 3 outdoor rides.
  • Gym/spin bikes are permitted, but only if  'timecrunched'. ...tho a gym brick set is a good pose, and usually puts other spinners to shame.

Good Luck!!
Lets see how many hours we can turb.....

JC.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Gower Olympic Distance Triathlon - September 2012


Saturday 29th September 2012. 


I had wanted to enter this race for some time, but with the heel issue still lingering, it was actually the Tuesday before race day that I was convinced the heel was not going to be an issue. 

I had convinced Rich Harris to race here too, although he was concerned it was gonna be a chilly one. Another good friend was making his 'debut', and I was very excited to see Huw Phillips take on this tough race.

This race is in an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the Gower Peninsula, and the weather on race morning certainly helped it look even more amazing.

Lining up for the swim start on Port Eynon beach.

So, after leaving Mum's house at 6am, Ange had kindly driven me to Port Eynon for the 7am start.

I was there in good time, and racked the bike right next to the bike exit.
Having met up with Rich and Huw, banter was exchanged before heading for the sea.

The sun was so bright, it made it difficult to see the first buoy, but once we were off, I just followed the group in front, and that worked nicely.

The was quite a bit of jostling out to the first turn, and it got quite feisty around that first buoy.

The swim was, from then on, uneventful, as the pack spread out, and I completed the 2 lap swim in a time of 27.05 (ranked 98th* out of 193 starters). 
*All rankings do not account for the people who participate in a different race to us, on the same course as us, but at the same time. - i.e. 'relays' (wtf?)

I suspect the swim was a little short in a straight line, but I think I would have added extra metres on, due to my swim not always being pin straight.

Still, out and up to T1, and overtaken by Rich on the sand!! 
Again, more banter was exchanged.

He's done me!


T1 was OK. Timed at 2.11 (ranked 81st). 
Note to self. 
Put socks on before taking wet suit off. 
20 seconds lost.

Out onto the bike, and the steep climb that is upon you within 30 seconds of getting on the bike.



As the weather was quite good for riding, I decided to hit it as hard as I could on everything but the real climbs.
I passed quite a lot of quicker swimmers, and had a enjoyable ding dong with 2 riders, one a much older guy in all green kit. 

I eventually managed to stay ahead of both of them to the end, though the green kit guy was just a second or 2 behind me when we arrived at T2.

Overall, it was an enjoyable ride, with again a majority of the ride spent on the aero bars, except on the 3 biggish climbs.
I got it up to 72.5 km/h coming over Cefn Bryn.

I'm catching you!!

On getting back to the village of Port Eynon, there is the very steep, narrow hill to cruise down, so I got out of the shoes before the descent.
This worked nicely, as when I was about 20 metres away from the dismount line, I was already over the top bar, and perched on one pedal. I then hit the ground running, and scampered into T2 just ahead of green kit guy.

My bike time was a pleasing 1.14.41 - ranked 44th, and a very pleasing 14th in my age group. 

The bike has been my strength this year, and now a very solid winter of turbo work will help maintain this.



This smooth entry into T2 had me thinking 'fast' and, for once, I was genuinely happy with my T2 time of 45 seconds - ranked 17th.

Now onto the least enjoyable action of the morning, and the area I will need to take a long hard look at for next year.

This run was always going to be a struggle, what with me running only for roughly 5 hours or so in the 6 weeks leading up to race day. Still, even with that excuse, its clear my run needs some real work.

I had some awesome support whilst lapping on the run, with Iron Family Ange, Jacob, & Charlie in attendance as always!

Also in attendance was Mum, Dad, Barbara, Jon, Cerys, Anneira & Tom, -  all giving out the noise and cowbells. 
It is so motivating to hear and see them at races like this.

Also, I must thank newly crowned Welsh Ironman Rob C , & the best Gower Tri marshall (& 2013 Welsh Ironman) Rob G for their attendance & vocal support.!

The run went something like this - soft sand, hard sand, dunes, VERY steep hill up to Bank Farm Caravan site, long draggy climb up through said site, to a turn point, and then 'fall' all the way back down to the beach, back to finish area, and repeat for another lap.

My run was OK, up to the dunes on the second lap, and then an enforced 'power walk' up a small section of the steep climb up to Bank Farm. 
Although I was passed by about 4 or 5 runners at this point, I still power walked past two who were 'running' 
Rob G was the voice of reason here!


Hating it.


I do not have splits for the laps, but I'm sure that lap 2 was somewhat slower than the first, as when passing by Rich, he was making up time on me.

I caught up with Huw on the hard sand back to base, and roughly remember muttering some obscenity on my lack of enjoyment during the run, as I shuffled along past him.

I picked it up somewhat on hearing the PA, and realising my run would be over soon.
I finished with a run time of 53.29 - ranked 99th.



 
Happy days.
That damn run!
So, final numbers were 2.38.12 - ranked 72nd overall, & 27th in my age group.



On reflection, it was a very enjoyable outing, made even better by the amazing support I had, & the amazing job done by the many marshalls out on the course helping, directing, and encouraging!

And the cream on the cake was to see Huw finish strong, happy, and motivated to look enthusiastically to his future goals. 
Welcome on board bud!

JC.