After the duathlon champs I was like a dog for a few days. Mainly as I didn't feel I got to push enough and didn't have my usual legs on the bike.
I vented to coach, was pretty quiet and annoyed for a few days and then put it behind me taking the lessons I felt relevant.
The lessons are pretty obvious - run strength wasn't where I had hoped but also it was a very competitive field with very strong experienced duathletes and fast runners so to be expected.
I have to be patient with my run, it is progressing and it's a long term focus for me not short immediate gains. Nonetheless, gains are being made and hopefully I can continue that trend throughout the season.
I did learn that my legs just weren't there on the bike though and that was alien to me. Cramping on the second lap was also new and continued from there.
So I move on and it took probably 10 days for the muscles to recover properly. I had a sports massage and whilst I did some reasonable volume from the next day, it was kept at aerobic intensity so nothing too strenuous. There's no doubt the standard duathlon distance is a very tough race and requires substantial run strength to compete near the front.
Things ramped up a bit from the second week and I'm now in the middle of my last block before my first main race - Tri an Mhi National Middle Distance Champs.
Finally a triathlon is approaching. It's been way too long and I'm glad to be kicking off race season.
My training has been tailored to 70.3 racing and this is one of my planned top 3 races this year so let's hope all goes to plan on race day.
This weekend a group of us from Base2Race headed to the Tri an Mhi course for a recce.
The sign above didn't stop us from braving the renowned icy lake and we managed to jump in and splash about for a whole 5 mins or so.
I must say I expected it to be colder for some reason. It did take some getting used to but I think it's manageable. The legend that is Liamo Williams was in and out to a buoy and back no problem. An inspiration to the rest of us, Cold? What cold?
Granted I wasn't in there long, but it was just a tester and certainly by the shallow sections there is no problem in my opinion at all.
By contrast, I was in Seapoint today and that was colder! So give me a swim in Tri an Mhi lake any day please!
I realise last year the temperature was touch and go, and this year it has been moved to a later start at 12pm so I'm very hopeful of the swim proceeding as normal.
It's the National Middle Distance Championships after all, we haven't done all this training to face up to another duathlon again as we've been there done that this year thanks!
I figure at worst it will be 2 x shortened swim loops with lots of safety about to ensure all competitors have no issues. A nice sunny day would help no end and fingers crossed all goes to plan for the race organisers and competitors.
Stopping for a cup of (Watery) hot chocolate to help warm us all up was nice, but I don't think I'll be returning I'm afraid!
The course itself is an honest, lumpy and worthy one in my opinion.
The run course is not easy, some long sections where you can see ahead quite a bit and also some inclines to deal with so that will be a challenge.
Some stretches where you can see quite a bit ahead, so this will either be good or bad for racing depending on your position and how you are going. Certainly it will help people chase and should be a good thing for most I reckon.
It is certainly lumpy, is subject to wind and has a nice hill to deal with each lap as well. Overall I thought the surface was good. Mainly country roads but relatively good condition although there is certainly some pot holes to keep eyes peeled for.
The course is long with 2 laps of just under 47km so combine that with the hills and it won't be any low bike splits. I'd hazard a guess at low 2:30's at best but wind/conditions could easily flip that either way.
So overall it's a tough course, challenging and a real test of the distance and strength in endurance in my opinion. The lake was calm and very clear, lovely really so let's all hope for some more sunshine and a degree or two more and we'll be laughing.
Obviously the greater water mass is taking longer to warm up and it was slightly cooler outside today as well so that prob didn't help.
I managed to swim a bit more this time and it was good to be back in the open water.
My wetsuit has seen better days - 2 seasons now and unfortunately I didn't take enough care putting it on enough and it has a lot of nicks and glued marks. I'll likely be into Base 2 Race to pick up one of the new fancy ZeroD wetsuits soon. A few of the gang have them and are singing their praises so I'll test one in the flume and see what I think.
Lastly, a big congratulations to Kevin Thornton on winning his first 2 races, and in fairness cleaning up at Joey by over 5 minutes is very impressive stuff. Anyone targeting the National Series has their work cut out there that's for sure. I don't think Kevin has a weakness and is only getting better and better. Fantastic start to the season.
Mark Horan is also off to a great start qualifying for Vegas again after a fine race in New Orleans 70.3. Mark and I have similar race calendars this year and hopefully I can keep him honest and close last years gap. In fact we probably have similar priority races as well with Tri an Mhi, Kilkee and Vegas all very high on the agenda so here's hoping we can push each other to some competitive racing.
There's no doubt the Base 2 Race group has made some solid progress as shown already. The rest of us are just itching to get going at our first triathlons so it won't be long now.
So that's all for me for now, it's back to around 10 days of hard work before taper starts for my first A race of the season, and first triathlon of the season full stop.
Stay happy, stay healthy and see you at the start line.