I spent a few days in tropical Lowestoft a week or so ago, sitting by the sea in the sun drinking cocktails and talking politics. OK, not quite. But I did have a really fun few days doing some hardcore training with (behind) Joe Skipper, Rob Brundish, Nick Baldwin and Sam Baxter. It was a fairly intense but very fun few days which ended with a 100 mile time trial down a dual carriageway. Yup, that was my idea.
All training camps should end with a 100 mile time trial…. At 4am on the Sunday morning as we were forcing breakfast down with shattered bodies and tired minds I’m not sure I was the most popular person. But in actual fact we managed to jolly ourselves up to ride pretty hard and I think all of us were pleasantly surprised with our times, particularly given the preceding few days. I often turn up to time trials tired but sometimes I think just use that as an excuse not to push myself. This time, I knew the others were all just as tired as me and there’s a lot to be said for peer pressure in getting the best out of each other. The boys were loads of fun to train with – healthy competition between each other and good banter, even if they did drop me in the middle of nowhere at the end of the first day.
Anyhow, the upshot of the camp was that I talked myself into entering Ironman UK, which is now only 10 days away. So after the 100 I made a deal with myself – if I could do a decent long run the next day I’d enter. The long run was fine. So I’m in. Mmmmm. That wasn’t what I’d planned to do in August!
Thinking rationally though, I’m sure it’s the right decision. I’d originally planned to go to Wiesbaden for the 70.3, followed by IM wales and potentially Challenge Barcelona. In fact, I’d also originally planned a late season Ironman in the States. But the fact is, travelling abroad to race just doesn’t really appeal to me right now. Travelling is great if you have time to enjoy it – but at the moment life is pretty much 100% made up of training and trying to finish off my Phd. When I’m working I think I should be training and when I’m training I think I should be working. And I know full well if I did travel abroad I’d probably spend a lot of the time there trying to get some work done, rather than making the most of wherever I was. At the end of the day, I didn’t see the point of doing a race I didn’t really want to do. And the other side of the coin is that I’ve always wanted to race IM UK as a pro – particularly since I missed out on Wimbleball. So, my plans have changed; IMUK and then IM Wales. And I blame the boys in Lowestoft!
In the meantime I had a fun time last weekend at the Vachery triathlon. Seriously, this race kind of sums up what I think triathlon should be like. Not too corporate, relaxed and friendly. Great bike course with a bit of everything in what I’d describe as “Quintessential England”. Interesting out and back run course with some off road, some on road and hills. And a bar! Somehow the organisers have managed to put together a very generous prize fund (more than UK 70.3) and as a consequence attracted a strong pro field, which was more or less equivalent to that of UK 70.3, certainly for the women.
I was going into the race fairly tired so wasn’t sure how I’d get on – after UK 70.3 my main goal was to start and finish and enjoy it. But in a nutshell – horrendous swim (Susie and I may as well have been doing backstroke blindfolded), good bike and good run. I was very pleased to get the win, albeit only just, ahead of Holly Lawrence (who was running incredibly) and Susie Hignett, without destroying myself too much. More to the point it was one of the most fun races I’ve done in a long time. If only there were more races around like this!
So time now for one last week’s training before a taper for IM UK. There’s then 5 weeks until IM Wales so fingers crossed I’ll be good to go for both. Bring them on!