Road to Kona – 5 weeks to go

Quite unbelievably, it’s been over a month and a half since Ironman UK, where I finally punched my ticket to the Ironman World Championships (most of you may not have heard about this yet?)

For the one of the first times in my life, I found myself injured in the immediate aftermath of the race, with my disagreement with the car leaving me slightly worse for wear and forcing me into a decent break from training; not necessarily a bad thing. I didn’t run for two weeks, just ticking over with some light swimming and biking.

After a 3rd week of larking around and continuing to eat and drink far too much (zero regrets), it was time to get back on the horse and start preparing for another Ironman. The bike was off getting some TLC so I was consigned to training on my roadie. Paul and I got our heads together, or more accurately, he sent me a plan and told me to follow it. I can handle that.

Since that point, it’s been a case of just plugging away – no superhero training sessions or one huge breakthrough workout; just consistency, day after day and week after week. The ability to wake up the next morning, injury free, and go again is one of the most important things in endurance sport. There are always mornings where the thought briefly flicks through my head – I could just not bother today. But then I remember all the other highly motivation individuals heading to Kona; this sets me right.

Over the last 5 weeks or so I’ve banked some solid track sessions and long bike rides. One workout that stands out, took place on the weekend of one of Katie’s best friends weddings. My grand plan was to cycle for 5 hours to the venue, before a quick change and freshen up, all in plenty of time for the ceremony. Everything was going to plan, until the moment I got out of the shower and realised I’d forgotten one key element of my wedding outfit; my trousers.

After numerous calls to an otherwise engaged Katie, I had to think on my feet and gave the reception desk a ring, explaining there was no way I could go to the wedding in a pair of super short running shorts (I’ll spare you a picture). A couple of minutes and a root through the mystery lost property bin left me with a pair of rather worn, oversized pair of trousers. Beggars can’t be choosers.

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I haven’t really raced in the period since Bolton, but I know someone who has.. Katie is now just 4 weeks away from the big race in Chicago and watching her training has been the perfect inspiration for me. After having more than her fair share of injuries and bad luck, things are falling into place nicely.

A few weeks ago, she laced up to take part in a 10km in Battersea Park, with a new PB firmly on the agenda. Unfortunately, she had muggins here volunteer to run with her. Despite trying to distract her with my aeroplane running arms and ‘motivational’ chat, she duly smashed through the 40 minute barrier, running 39:30.

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‘You’ve done it mate’

Then, this weekend, we were on the road early on Sunday morning, heading to Chippenham for a half marathon. As usual, I think I was more nervous than her, as she sat there in her usual ‘as cool as ice’ demeanour during the drive down. We bumped into John and Kelly, who I’d met for the first time at the London marathon this year. It turned out Katie and Kelly were aiming for similar targets, so ended up running together from the start.

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I’d brought my bike along, so I was able to whizz around the course and be at various points to support and make some stupid videos. As the race progressed, I couldn’t believe how strong she looked, constantly moving through the field and picking off one runner at a time. I’ve got to add here, this wouldn’t have been the first choice race for Katie, with the course being undulating and quite twisty, but unfortunately this weekend was one of the only dates that fitted in with all the other plans we had.

Combine this with the fact that a strong wind had decided to make an appearance, and it definitely wasn’t a day for fast times. That made Katie’s new 1:27:58 PB all the more impressive! On a fast, flat course, I’m sure this would be a minute faster at the very least, having ridden the route and experienced the conditions myself. All very positive signs for Chicago.

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So, just over 4 weeks until we jet off to the Windy City. I’ve got the Brighton Olympic distance triathlon this coming weekend as a final sharpener before the small race over the lava fields of Hawaii.

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