Road to Kona – 3 weeks to go

3 weeks – are you having a laugh? It seems as if someone has their finger firmly held down on the fast-forward button as I try and scrabble around ensuring that all the logistics are sorted as well as getting the actual training done. Katie’s spent the last 5 hours scouring the internet for the perfect bikini to wear for the underpants run; proper first world problems.

For some reason, I’ve decided people want an insight of what’s going on inside my head with the finish line in sight. If I’m being perfectly honest – I’m actually really struggling. On the surface, social media and recent results can make it seem like everything is rosy. I won the highly prestigious Brighton Triathlon last weekend (might as well retire now),  I’m logging a ridiculous amount of training, and I’m privileged enough to be racing at the Ironman World Championships in just under 3 weeks time. Things are great right?

Well – not quite. I think everyone goes through their own personal struggles in a training cycle, and deals with them in different ways. I’ve felt completely flat all week. I’m just not enjoying it. Throwing my toys out of the pram. What’s the point? It’s all a load of crap.

It’s been a struggle to get out of the door and do anything. I should be absolutely buzzing; racing in Kona is all I’ve ever dreamed of. But instead, at times, I’ve genuinely thought about not bothering with any of it. How ridiculously pathetic; so many people I know would trade in their own mothers to get a place on the start line in Hawaii. (This isn’t something I’d consider, as I wouldn’t get a good price for mine, and she’d probably talk them to death).

I took a couple of really easy days to try and get my head together. Katie made me remember why I’m doing this sport; because I love it. We drank a couple of beers and chilled out a bit. Things started to turn around; I ended up going into the weekend looking forward to training again after a full rest day on Friday.

Saturday was a big run session. 5 x 5km alternating between 3 hour marathon pace and tempo pace with no recovery in between. It was going to be hard; Katie to the rescue once again. Quite handily, my tempo pace matches her 5km PB pace, so I timed it so I could reach the start of Burgess parkrun for my 2nd ‘tempo’ section and run with her in a PB attempt.

I could tell she was fairly nervous, so I attempted to say things of a calming but motivational nature, most probably making things ten times worse. Luckily we were quickly underway, the time for talking over. We took it out hard for the first mile and she was absolutely flying – if there was anyone who was going to drop off the pace, it was me.

Disaster nearly struck during the 2nd mile, as a couple of rogue geese picked the wrong moment to waddle into our path. For the first time since we’d started, Katie spoke, with a hint of terror in her voice: ‘They’re going to get me’. Heroically, I charged at them whilst she remained on a straight course, putting my own life in danger for the sake of a sub-19 5km time.

Thankfully, the next few minutes were bird free, and we entered the last mile. Being in charge of the pacing, I knew barring disaster she was going to do it. But there’s no way I was going to let her know that. Instead, I kept insisting it was going to be so close, and she needed to draw out every bit of strength and speed that she’d worked so hard in training to attain.

Crossing the line in 18:50, she shattered her 5km PB by 18 seconds, and she was absolutely exhausted. But I’ve seen how much work has gone into this Chicago marathon campaign, and I was so happy to see her rewarded with a time she thoroughly deserved. I literally cannot wait to see what happens in 2 weeks time.

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We went the whole way round like this

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Sunday dawned, and with it some absolutely horrific weather. I’d already made the decision after seeing the forecast the previous evening; I’d be doing my 5 hour ride indoors. Mentally, this was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done to date, but I kept myself amused and just got on with it. Don’t give yourself an option to not do it, and then doing it becomes easier.

I also kept the windows firmly shut and didn’t allow myself the luxury of a fan with Kona in mind. I ended up consuming 8 litres of fluid. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life – if I’d been collecting it I’m pretty sure I could’ve filled a small lake. I don’t think anyone would want to swim in that though.

A surprisingly good 40 minute run off the bike followed, and that was another training week wrapped up. Just a few more hard sessions to go before we travel; motivation well and truly restored.

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8 thoughts on “Road to Kona – 3 weeks to go

  1. Thanks for the comments about your Mum! She is working on the talking! Glad the motivation is back. You’re the reason I’m running and enjoying it and I suspect a lot more peoples inspiration too.

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  2. Loved the blog – and also your honesty. We all get the bumps in the road and after Ironman UK I’m not surprised you might feel fatigued. It’s a short recovery period but you’re absolutely smashing it and will have the time of your life in Kona.

    Also congrats Katie and damn those geese! Sounds like Chicago will be amazing!

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    1. Thanks Coralie, that’s lovely of you to say. It’s nowhere near as insightful as some of the great stuff that you put together, but thought I’d write something regardless. What’s next for you on the road to Lakesman?

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  3. Hey there Joe,
    Very well done so far! I completely know how you feel. I did an Iron distance tri on 2.July 2017(in New Forest), 2 months before Ironman Wales 2017, for which I was training(and have been following your blog since then after reading your blog posts about it). It can be hard motivating yourself for the long session again after actually finishing an Ironman, I know, but you got this it seems 🙂 I am thoroughly enjoying your blog, it is a big motivation now that I have moved away from the UK and training is much harder to motivate for, since I am not around my training group and there are not as many races or people training around here. Thanks and will be tracking your way to and in Kona. I have no doubt you will enjoy it to the max! Cheers

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      1. Moved to Singapore few months ago. I already did a couple of tris here. One with very little success(on the run), as I started suffering from an ITBS shortly after coming here and getting the completely wrong shoes recommended to me by a shop assistant(rookie mistake from my end)… However kept doing what I could, as I had already signed up for Ironman 70.3 Bintan and actually managed to qualify for 70.3 Worlds next year(granted, much easier then achieving that in Europe). Your blog post about IM Bolton was a big motivation at the time – way to grind it out after the accident btw! Really impressive and well done! 🙂

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  4. Well done Joe and Katie – both hugely inspirational as always! That park run time is unreal Katie!!

    This post is really well timed for me as I’ve just had a very “low” week struggling for motivation for Week 14 of New York marathon training. Good to know we all go through these feelings and a bit of rest can put us right!

    Looking forward to more updates as Kona and Chicago draw ever closer – keep smashing it you two!

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