Hey peeps ✌
I’m sitting here with my running gear on under my pajamas looking out at another snow/hailstorm, ready to run out the door at the slightest sign of sunlight. Until (if) that sun arrives I figured I’d do a blog about the weekend I just had back racing.
First up though I suppose I better fill the gap on what I’ve been up to since my last blog post in October (you can check that out here). I’ll keep this bit brief to avoid it becoming a pity party. To sum up the last couple of months, I moved back home to Nenagh in September and adult life hit me in the face. Hard. And I was not ready for that 😂 I had a debt still to pay off from my last year in college and racing abroad so I just got to work. Between lifeguarding and coaching I ended up averaging between 45 -50 hours a week at work. Nothing out of the ordinary for most people but I just got a bit pissed off and half depressed from working seven days a week every week from September to now so I couldn’t find the motivation to get any training done.
But none of that matters, it just had to be done, and it has been done 🙂 I’ve got my feet under me now so I’ve cut back my work hours to 25 hours (as of this Monday) a week which seems dead handy compared to what it’s been like.
I still recorded all the training I was doing. I’d say I averaged about 4.5 hours a week from October to the start of January. Just doing the odd bit to keep me sane but nothing structured or focused. I just seemed to find my mojo a little more in January and upped it to a whopping 9 hours a week for the last two weeks of January and first half of February.
I’ve started heading back into Limerick to swim with the group two morning’s a week and I’ve actually found my swim fitness after about four sessions which is class. I thought it would take weeks of hard work but I’m pretty happy with how quick its come back together. Training with the group just lifts my motivation so when I’m home I get more done too so its a win win!
So back to the weekend of racing. Firstly, I never planned on doing two races in two days. I know I make stupid decisions more frequently than most but this was never the plan. I had originally intended on doing the Athy duathlon about three weeks ago now, but that got postponed by a week thanks to storm Ciara. Problem was I was at a festival in Amsterdam with my brother/cousin the same weekend it was rescheduled for so I couldn’t do it.
I had entered Naas a while ago, but then Emmet Kelly (race director for Tramore duathlon and overall sound fella) asked me to come down to Tramore. He sold a good pitch so I said I’d head down there and give it a craic since I’d never been to Waterford before. So here’s how this one panned out.
After getting back from Amsterdam I was fairly written off for a few days and desperately needed some sleep. With work and training early I didn’t really manage to catch up on it. I was working until 10 Friday night and still had some packing to do when I got home so there were a couple of tantrums thrown at home in the silence of the sitting room Friday night to say the least…
Did a bit of a jog Saturday morning and didn’t feel too super so I decided I’d sit in on the first run, see what way the bike panned out and then run hard for home. It was a damn windy day and my contact lenses were blurry as feck so I didn’t really want to be on the front until I had to. Thankfully Sabian took off at the start and he’s a tall enough fella so he gave me and Chris a good draft around for 95% of the run. For the number nerds I was only wearing my pink Casio stopwatch on the run but we went through the 4k mark in 13:00 which would give 16:15 for the full 5k. The run actually felt super chill and I had to remind myself I was racing half way through so I was pretty happy coming into T1.
Average enough transition but solid jump at the mount line gave me a bit of a gap on Chris and the rest. All I had on my Garmin was speed and distance and I didn’t even know it had gotten power data until I uploaded it afterwards. Chris caught up maybe 3k into the bike and I slowed a bit in the hope he would take the lead. Doesn’t matter what the fek your power meter is saying when Chris goes by with intent at about 55k an hour… I got up to speed and held on for about 60 seconds but that was it and he just hammered me from there until t2. Strava tells me I averaged 331 watts for the segment so I can’t complain too much with that for now.
The second run was uneventful as we were both locked into first and second place. I decided about half way through the second run I would probably do Naas because I needed to win at least one National Series race that weekend. (It was at this point I managed to get out for my run today…)
Fair play to Chris and Marc Flavin for the day out. I really missed the race scene and how nice people in the Tri community actually are so it was nice to be on the start line with everyone again.
Fast forward to Saturday night and as my mother would probably have said if you asked her, I was a grumpy f**k. Tired legs, tired head and trying to pack to do it all again in Naas. There are a couple of ITU race/Superleague format where its a qualifier race Saturday and finals Sunday so I tried to convince myself it would be good to try it out and see how the legs hold up back to back.
Soooo… onto Naas! Firstly this was my first time heading to Naas. I got a text from Niall Foley at 10am when registration opened saying that there was hardly anyone there yet. That was the finest so I rocked up a couple of minutes later and only saw a few cars and thought “yeah jaysus there is hardly anyone here”. Reason was that I was in Naas racecourse, not Punchestown where the race was on 😂 Thankfully they are only a couple minutes apart so another little drive and we got to registration eventually!
Quick spin with Niall and my legs actually felt alright which was good. Set up transition and went for a warm up around the race loop. I wont lie I stopped and walked at one point and half prayed for a miracle 😂 My legs were shot but I just presumed once the race started they would kick back into life.
Off went the gun and off went one of the lads in his nice new Nike 4%s down the hill. I was happy enough to sit in again for the first run. After about a mile Niall Cornyn turned to me and said “lets go”. I don’t think Niall realized how fried my legs were and I had no intention of burning any matches until I absolutely had to. He decided to push on himself and the second half was windy enough so I sat/hung onto him until we hit T1.
Same plan as Tramore here, hit the mount line and go from there. I realized pretty quick Niall had no intention of doing any turns at the front, but that wasn’t my biggest concern after a couple of minutes. I very quickly felt like I was dying on the bike 😂 In my head it just became a game of “get to the finish line as fast as you can” which ended up in me feeling good for a minute and trying to lay down some power, and then dying, and then repeat that process for a while. Felt like I was cycling like a donkey going from 30 to 45 and back to 30kph with no consistent effort being put in until Paul Carroll came trucking past me just at the turn around. Even still I was still pacing myself like a donkey trying to keep up with him. I was stunned to see my average power on strava for the course was 312 watts for just under 28 minutes, again I’ll take that all things considered.
Myself, Niall and Paul ended up leaving t2 pretty much side by side which was cool. I cramped up pretty fekin bad in the first few steps and couldn’t get my foot to turn back up. My mother thought I rolled my ankle with the way I was landing on my feet 😂 The two lads dropped me pretty quick but we got onto the downhill after about 400m and I managed to get stretch things out and get back past Paul here. I held the gap with Niall from the bottom of the downhill most of the way around but I just got too tired and he was running to well at the end so for the second day in a row, I settled into second place and held that to the line.
Overall I’m happy with my weekends work. Two solid days, lots of fun and an honest reflection of where my fitness is. I will however never recommend to anyone to do two duathlons in a row and I won’t do it again unless I have to!
I have to give a massive shoutout to my sponsors here. Things like having two race suits and plenty of warm up/cool down gear from VeloRevolution to use was a real nice comfort when getting things organised. Following Evan Lynch’s nutrition guidelines I must have went through half my Kinetica supply over the weekend to make sure I felt good and I think I can say it did the trick 🙂 Also my first spin out on the new race whip from Moynan’s bike shop. Peter has a few tricks of how to get a bit more aero and find some more speed so I’m looking forward to going even faster on the new steed in Naas again in a couple of weeks time 🙂
Until then boys and girls, I got some training to do 😉