Thursday 19 September 2013

World U23 Triathlon Championships 2013 - Hyde Park, London.

This was only my 2nd World Championships; I hadn’t raced at this level since 2010 when I raced Junior Worlds in Budapest in my 1st year in the sport. Back then I was na├»ve, I wasn’t exactly ready to compete, in fact I competed then with a double stress factor, but that is beside the point. In general, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I didn’t do myself justice at all.

This time around now as an Under 23 athlete, I approached the race having been in the sport a few years, and learnt an incredible amount in this time.
I stood on the start line confident, in honesty something I have very rarely done, I was upbeat, and ready to enjoy myself and leave everything on the course.

My race was  at 3pm on Thursday after the junior races and the U23 women, it involved a lot of waiting about but it also allowed me to watch the updates of the early races and watch my two good friends and training partners Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon pick up Silver and Bronze respectively. It is great to see athletes from your own training group do so well, and gives you a little bit of confidence in your own training going into the race.

I was ranked 46 out of 63 athletes, I managed to get a good pontoon start near the middle of the pontoon, pleasantly surprised by getting a slot further right than I thought I might have got.
I stood on the pontoon relatively nerve free, in fact the only thing I was thinking about was the fact that they were not playing the usual ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ theme tune.

The starting horn went of and I got off to a great start, two groups formed either side of me, and I was confident in my own swimming to swim by myself instead of trying to get on feet, it paid, I got to the buoy just before everything started to merge. I managed to get around the buoys relatively civilized. I wont bore you with anymore in depth detail basically I had a good first lap but dropped a few places on the 2nd lap. Coming to the end of the swim I knew I was near the back of the lead pack and I had to empty myself to guarantee making it I was red lining the last 100m of the swim and the whole way through transition. Leaving transition and still not safely in, I put a good solid first 2km on the bike and it paid off.

Our lead pack of 21 wasn’t working overly well but was putting time into the groups behind for the 1st 20km, we got the gap up to 90secs but then people started to try and break away which in fact slowed our pace down. This along with the groups behind becoming organized resulted in the gap being reduced right back to 35secs as we entered T2.

On the run and straight away I knew I hadn’t brought my run legs with me, I guess a year with little run consistence doesn’t cut it at this level. I had needed that 90sec lead but now that it was only 35 the runners from behind were soon showing me how to run.

Finishing 35th left me slightly disappointed, as I felt it didn’t reflect the performance I put in, although I didn’t have a fantastic run, I came and did everything I came to do:- do my swim justice make front pack and have a good strong bike, I guess I cant be greedy I came a long way this season.

I still have two races left to the season, one next weekend, my 1st Senior World Cup which will be in Alicante and then back to Spain 3 weeks later for a European Cup in Sevilla.

After Sevilla I will have some time off, and then get stuck into a good winters training ready for a breakthrough season ;)


Thursday 29 August 2013

Mid-Season Report.

Where to start???
Its more or less the end of the season for most and I have still not posted a single blog post, there are a number of reasons for this … it’s not just due to the fact that I have been lazy and constantly put it off, honest.

Well the start of this year was less than optimal, I was lacking a lot of fitness due to trying to train and complete a teaching placement in a Primary School, which I didn’t quite manage to find the balance, mainly because I managed to pick up every bug/cold possible, I guess that’s to be expected in a Primary School.

Once I managed to get over that, I really tried to knuckle down and get some good training under my belt before races started to kick off, but unfortunately I picked up a tear in my right calf which lingered and was harder to shake off than I expected, resulting in me pulling out of a lot of early races that I had been panning on kicking my season off with.

Who ever wants to write about the negative things? Not me, and hence the lack of blogging then.

You could have at least put up race reports you might say? Well to be honest there has not been many.

I raced Camlough ‘Crooked lake’ Triathlon, at the start of June, at superb race and one I will always do if I have the chance, and it was good to get my name back on the trophy after my absence last year.

Other than that I have only raced four time … four elite triathlons in four consecutive weekends. 
            Liverpool ‘British Elite Champs’  (sprint)
            Geneva ‘European Cup’      (Olympic)
            London ‘British Super Series’    (Olympic)
            Istanbul ‘European Cup    (Olympic)

Liverpool – wow, can you really be that rusty from lack of racing – Yes, definitely yes! Simple mistakes cost me the front group of four, whilst exiting the water 5th, and bad nutritional choices pre race, meant I went backwards on the run with bad stomach problems.

One week later …

Geneva – possibly the worst triathlon I have ever raced, (can I use the word raced???) … Participated in might be a better phrase.
A horrendous swim, an even worse bike leg and then the run; I think I have been negative enough already but I would have to resort to profanities to give its description justice. 

Then the season turn around point.

One week till London, and I sat on the shore of Lake Geneva chatting with my coach.
I had to ask myself; if I want to continue to visit places like this across the world, I really need to get my finger out.
I needed a change in thinking and I found it.

7th in London - 3rd out of the water, good cycle in the lead pack followed by a solid-ish run to result in a performance I was finally happy with and a good confidence boost.

Now for the fourth triathlon in the same amount of weekends – there was quite a few people who doubted I could back up this many races, but I had finally had a good race the weekend before and I was just going to ride the wave of new found confidence to get me through.

Istanbul European Cup- A great swim to excite at the front, a strong bike, got a break away with two others for lap 3 but unfortunately we got reeled back in,  it was then down to a foot race and I managed to come away with a credible 16th, something I am happy with considering tired legs with minimal miles in them this season.

A performance that has qualified me to compete in the Elite U23 World Championships in London on September 12th.

Now I am currently in a training phase doing all I can to prepare for Worlds, and to be ready to put a race together that I know I am capable of.

Hope you enjoyed my mid season report, even if it was lengthy, thank you for reading it all … your attention span is definitely bigger than mine.


Thursday 9 May 2013

Back at it.

A new blog… Finally.
I knew I hadn’t updated this in a while but didn’t realize it was a long as New Years …  better late that never.
It has been fairly quite since, hence the lack of blogging.
January and February I was on a five week placement in a Primary school as part of my degree which was brilliant but knocked my training a bit with being in Scotland in winter with snow at least once a week and constantly picking up colds and bugs with being surrounded by small kids.

I have been to Spain twice since then with the Irish Triathlon Squad, trying to get my fitness back. I have made a video from these camps which I hope you will find interesting, you might have already seen it but I might as well link it to my blog. I will hopefully make a few videos from time to time as a rather enjoy it, regardless of the fact that I don’t really know what I am doing and am just really playing about, but its something different I suppose.

 Last weekend I raced my 1st triathlon of the season, European Premium Cup, Banyoles, Spain . I had struggled with a strained calf in the weeks leading up the race, and was told not to do it incase I was to set my self back further, but I was going for different reasons, I hadn’t raced in 7 months and I wanted to see where my swim/biking was, it was a process based race not end product.
I didn’t have a great race, I felt swim fit but made stupid mistakes tactically which comes from race experience and sharpness; the whole reason I wanted to race therefore gaining what I wanted from the race. I have hopefully made the mistakes and learnt from them, hopefully not making the same mistakes when it matters. I was happy with my biking, so its about getting my run back up to where I want it and start getting some good results.

I have now reevaluated my race program and the main focus now is getting in some good run shape.

I have yet to find any photos from the race but when I do I will stick them up.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year,

I know that is a wee bit late but, better late than never; I have decided to do something different, and instead of writing a long boring blog post about how last year went i decided to make a short video from my races last season, Hope you enjoy.
It might not play on mobiles and iPads but I'm  trying to fix that, so check it out on a computer if you get a chance.