On Sunday I finally got to dust off the race cobwebs and go for a 10k blast on a hilly course in Wicklow.
I had no idea of my pace, what to go at, so it was a case of try hang onto leaders and see where I end up.
It helped to have fellow Pulse club members Mark Horan and Colin Bolger alongside me. These guys are fast runners so I was happy to bench mark myself and see where I end up.
Rewind to last summer and I'd be around 4.5+ minutes behind over a 10k so perfect opportunity to measure progress.
I had a soft PB going into this, only 10k I've done is off the bike at tri's so 39:30 at Caroline Kearney which was even a little short so talking 40mins ish.
So I was confident of dipping under this despite the hilly course.
Race start and I'm at the front with the lads, a fast 500m descent before turning up a gradual ascent to 2k. I tucked in behind Mark and Colin here and matched their pace.
2k-6k was rolling, couple flats but mainly rolling. I lost a good bit of time mainly on descents here and the guys pulled away.
Better technique, better pacing and just faster running here to gap me!
7-8k was mainly flat and I held 3:35/km pace before turning onto a nasty uphill climb and steady ascent then to 9km, turn around point then and fast descent to finish.
As I was heading to the turn around I saw Mark chasing the leader in 2nd place, a minute later and Colin passed with a comfortable gap on me.
I chased down the last km but he was in the distance and too far ahead.
Mark finished 2nd in 35:12 - superb time for the course.
Colin in 5th with 35:57 and me over a minute gap back in 6th with 37:05
Looking back over my Garmin file I think I can push harder, but that's to be expected being first dusting off of race pace cobwebs. Perhaps more importantly is the lack of DOMS after what is now 2 days later. Legs feel good and I'm ready for a solid training week again so no interruptions. This perhaps suggests I could've pushed a little more, along with my fast finish around a bend where I nearly joined the crowd after maxing out the racing line/underestimating the turning circle!
So a substantial PB for me and on a hard course, I was happy with that. Shows solid progress and just 1:53 behind Mark - so down from 4.5mins last August. Decent improvement and hopefully that continues... I know where I've improvements to make so that is the main thing!
Well done to Colin and Mark on some fast run times for March and on a tough course! Solid running lads, I'll catch ye soon I hope! ;-)
The last couple of weeks saw a recovery week followed by a build week.
Now in the recovery week I didn't feel tired at all, which would be expected after the previous hard few weeks. A little strange then that come the start of my build week I started to feel tired and a bit jaded. This culminated in a bad turbo session on the Thursday where I failed 3mins from the end. My legs just didn't feel it and hadn't for the previous few days. I knew my diet was good and if anything I had been eating a little too much to ensure no lack of energy, however I also knew my sleep had been below par for some time now. I use an App called Sleep Cycle, big in Japan apparently. It works via resting beside your pillow and in theory detecting movements in sleep thus good vs restless sleep. And also can be set to wake you up at lightest part of sleeping. Now this is all subjective, however the good thing about this is you set it when going asleep, I'm generally fast to fall asleep and then turn it off on waking. Thus an accurate tracker of sleeping hours... the last 50 odd days showed up an alarming figure... 5 hours 40 minutes...
And I was wondering why I was feeling it... Why so little sleep, well I'm a bit of a night owl and just going to bed late for no reason in many cases. So time for early nights, and since Thursday I addressed this and aim for 7 hours each night now. Come Sunday I was already feeling better and ran a solid 10k.
So I think I caught this in time before sickness or injury would probably have resulted.
Training has been going well all round, consistent, good quality sessions and I'm loving every one of them. I literally come away from each session thinking how beneficial that was and looking forward to each one. Race season won't be long approaching so I'm aiming to maximise the remaining race free weeks and focus on keeping up what I feel has been a very solid base and build period.
I'll take some more pic's as I get around to fitting this - it won't be this weekend as I've a wedding and nephew's birthday to squeeze in around training and life, but hopefully the following one.
I already have a Profile Design aero bottle, but it's the massive one and is just too damn big for purpose really. I'd seen Torhans being used by Chrissie Wellington and others and like the look and size options - Aero20 being 650ml of fluid and Aero 30 being 800ml ish I think. I opted for the 20 as Olympic's are my main races this season along with a 70.3 at end of season.
I'm planning on using this as my main hydration instead of a bottle on the Frame. A little excessive? Perhaps, but I know that when I reach down I stop pedalling/slow and there's really no need for it is there :-) Especially in shorter races.
Come the 70.3 I will have to have a re-think and either add a bottle to rear of saddle or else on the frame but that's an age away yet.
I can't believe how fast training and the last couple months have gone.
I've been with my coach for 2 months now and couldn't rate him higher.
Every session feels beneficial, almost completely customised for my needs and my improvements are pretty apparent even to me. I'm just getting the work done and enjoying every minute of it.
I am now just 5 weeks out from my first triathlon of the season.
In the interim, I'm hoping to do the Sportsman Duathlon in middle of April as a tune up both for transitions as much as race on TT bike etc before heading to Limerick.
Joey Hannan Olympic, a course and race I'm looking forward to for a number of reasons.
I haven't done this race before, the pool swim in 50m sounds good to me and there's also a few athletes I'm looking forward to measuring up against last year to track progress and see how close I am to my planned goals for this season.
From what I gather, the bike is a harder out and then turn around and faster return before what I assume is a flat 10k around the vicinity of UL area.
I've solid hopes for this race, have a few names I want to beat which will remain nameless and also just the fact it's the first race of the season and kicks off the start of it all again! Final note on gadgets... So in previous posts I've blabbed on about power meter this and that, my mind is still set on waiting for the Vector - be it version 1 or the probably smoother version 2 whenever that may be. After my 2 arrivals this week as pictured above, I've just 1 more purchase planned before I'll be race ready shall we say. A garmin 910xt is still in the back of my mind, but not needed until my 310xt either packs in or takes a 3 foot jump like the last one and dies on me. So my next gadget isn't so much a gadget, more a modification. I want to customise my aero helmet from it's white Spiuk Design. I'd love to wrap this in a carbon film and then add the Pulse logo and design through it, so will see if I can make it happen. If you know a man that can, please point him my way! I know sticker/printer shops may be able to help with the Pulse Stickers on, it's more the Carbon Wrap bit that may be hard due to the curves etc. Vehicle Wrapping crowds are now on my contacts list and I just need to find a day to pop into them and see what can be done! and if a reasonable price!
So hopefully soon to be amended... here's my current aero helmet along which will hopefully be changed to reflect the new Pulse colours for this season.
This would be Black background, Red heartbeat and then Pulse in White going through it...
Watch this space...