Review of 2013 Season
When Steve suggested that I wrote a review of my season for the website I thought: “who is going to want to read about a distinctly average competitor with far too many years on the clock after the high flying achievements of himself, Josh and Luke?” But then, there may be quite a few of you out there who, like me, know that we are never going to be elite athletes but who want to make the most of what we have. So here goes. I signed up for coaching with Steve in January and I think the first few weeks were some of the hardest – partly dark, ice, dark, rain, wind, dark etc.; partly post Christmas food-induced lethargy; but also getting used to upping the training. I had two 10ks early on and the first being cross country and rough conditions didn’t really reveal much but the Lincoln 10k was disappointing. Putting that behind me there was the Paul Kirk sportive in April. As you may know, this event took place in ferocious winds that I wouldn’t normally venture out in on foot let alone on a lightweight road bike. Despite the slog I enjoyed this ride and was pleased to finish faster than the previous year and with a lot more in the tank. Grantham Sprint was the next up and went pretty well despite foot cramps in the swim and stomach cramps on the run. I then did two of the Runners World Trailblazer events, the first in Sherwood and the second at Bedgebury in Kent. The latter was a real family event with my sister, my niece and my eldest son joining me on the run. It was a great day out capped by my best time for that course and a good sense that I was feeling stronger. The following week it was off to the domain of my other sister and the Great North Swim. This was my first ever pure swimming event. I just about made it to the start on time and what a start! I thought I was going to die – thrashing arms and legs everywhere and I couldn’t get a breath at all. It seemed unlikely that I would make it to the first buoy. A bit of stern talking and I managed to get going although by now I had shipped several gallons of lake water. Coming back things were much better and I was pleased with 36:33 which, spookily, was also my race number. The experience stood me in good stead for the races over the summer. Bowood held their debut triathlon at the end of June and this was a great event despite the 400m run uphill from the lake to transition! I enjoyed whizzing round the 3K cycle laps and the run was beautiful if hard work up and down past waterfalls and the like. I even managed an age group win. Throughout the summer I participated in the Lincsquad TTs and the Scunthorpe duathlons. Although the duathlons started with me bursting my tyre 50m into the cycle I had some performances I was quite happy with and I loved the Barton course which I hadn’t done before. Well, I loved it in retrospect – when actually faced with the second run up those hills I did rather think I would much prefer to go home. The TTs didn’t start too well either and I was beginning to think my goal of a PB wasn’t going to happen when suddenly something clicked and I broke my PB three times in a row. Objective 1 for the year under my belt. Thinking if I did a longer course the swim on my projected Olympic length debut would be less daunting, I entered the Grafham 2 mile. Rosie, Amanda and I had a great day swimming with shrimps and then cycling round the lake. I was even pleased with my swim time (1:03:37). Then came the serious stuff: my first priority A race and my first Olympic length tri at Allerthorpe. I nearly got shunted off the swim course by a load of rubber ducks (yellow hatted swimmers from the previous wave heading for the exit) and lost my banana exiting cycle transition otherwise things went extraordinarily smoothly. I was chuffed with a time of 2:37:53 and a trophy for 2nd in age group. Things went a bit pear shaped at the National Club Relays when the intervention of a wasp and a high speed collision with another competitor led to injuries to me and, worse, to my bike. I managed to complete the event but after struggling on training for a bit listened to the advice of the physio and withdrew from Doncaster Classic Triathlon. This was a hard decision, not least because it meant I wouldn’t achieve Objective 2: to complete 2 Olympic length triathlons. Steve winning on a fractured leg didn’t make me feel better about the decision. However, with Objective 3 being to PB at Brigg Sprint my focus turned to preparing for that. Running was out for a couple of weeks but Steve gave me some horrible sessions on the turbo and swimming. Race day dawned and I was really nervous. The zip in my trisuit breaking as I was due to go for the swim did not help. Dave Hinch and several safety pins to the rescue and we were off. Again things went smoothly although the wind on the cycle course was tricky. Amazingly I beat my PB by over 2 minutes and gained another age group win, a good end to the season in a great race.
Many thanks to Steve for all his advice and patience over the months, it really made a difference.
I’d also like to mention my father who died just before Easter but who has been much in my thoughts throughout the season.