Wifey's sister and bf were up for the weekend of Hell and Back as they were both entered also.
We all figured it'd be a good laugh, but Dan and I are competitive and wanted to give it a lash as well obviously.
I had some pretty solid training that week, but reduced volume the weekend due to race. Worked out well as myself and Dan (Wifey's sister's bf) headed into Base2Race the Saturday to register and also get a gait analysis done and pick up some new runners. Not for race day, but for thereafter.
I'm a neutral runner and was happy when Saucony Kinvara 2's were brought out by Kevin. It seems every man and his dog have these and rave about them so I was happy to grab them up.
Dan has a slight ankle rotation and got a set of Mizuno's I think to suit his landing. The video analysis really showed this and how the new runners suited his landing so hopefully they work out well for him.
Hell and Back - 10km Run, 11 Obstacles, Mountain/water/mud etc
So onto Race day and we all ensured we were at the front for the start.
A little intimidated by all the Amphibian King guys (yellow tops) all wearing the fancy dancy Trail runners with grips set for snow, there was I in my Adidas Boston's 500km in the tank and their last official outing! Ah sure I was here for a laugh and so be it.
Dan had a pair of Reebok Zigzags or whatever they're called, looked a decent set of grips on them and Kevin said they'd be quite good for the race too... Kevin didn't try to sell us a pair of Trail runners for the race, I suspect he was frightened when he saw our naturally amazing gait analysis and figured he may be in for a run of it so best to keep them in runners just in case....
Good plan Kev, good plan....
So bang goes the gun and a quick sprint before a run through a bit of water and a 2km or so gradual incline. This really seperated the bunch and I got a little gap on Dan. I was running around 10th and tracking a friend and fellow Club Mate Colin Bolger. Colin was in his dancy trail runners and Amphibian King yellow top so I said I'd try hold onto him for as long as possible. He's a fast runner and has been secretly getting in some miles recently... Facebook shows he's been enjoying the student lifestyle too but there's still not an inch spare on him so he's obviously putting in the miles to match (with the student hours no doubt!)...
I managed to keep Colin in sight and the leaders as we got to the top around half way mark.
It was here it all went downhill.... yes, literally too!
So onto some fast descents and we're running into the mist/fog down a trail the side of the SugarLoaf, there's some fast footsteps behind me and as we turn onto a muddier path and I slip on my ass they soon pass me! Ah... so this is where the trail runners would've been handy!
I back of a little as I was losing control, slipping and close to flying over a ditch.. I'm passed by another heading down here before it levels off and most of the front 5/10 are back in sight.
As I'm running down here, slipping each step I realise I'm in the zone where you're going too fast to have any control and subject to terrain/luck! I back off after this, I've no interest in getting an injury in a fun race and coach would not be happy and neither would I facing reduced training volume/quality ahead! It wouldn't have taken much to slip onto my side and cut/tweak something or worse so I stayed at a moderately fast pace but controlled on downhills as much as possible.
Colin has a bit of a lead now on me and I'm now in a bit of clear space and on my own...
I actually run off track a little before realising where I should be going, no one ahead, no one behind and I just carry on going through the wooded area.. I get stuck in the mud before being told keep right... great, I'm left and waste high in mud and can't move my legs!!!
I manage to pull myself out by a branch and there's 2 guys closing now and being told keep right... Bastards! :-)
I pull away a little on the flats and keep a 20sec gap or so... back to the finish area now and I accidentally skip 3 bales of hay! I was running on the right and looking ahead at the big pile of 6 or so bales, just thinking the ones on left were markers! Idiot eh! No matter, it wouldn't have made a difference either way and I went up and over the big hay pile and finished in 11th Place, with Colin a couple mins ahead in 10th.
Dan finished well in 26th just a couple mins behind me, he carries a bit more muscle being taller and into Cross Fit a good bit so he did well compared to us less glamour muscle bound cardio freaks.
We both agreed it was a great hard race, but could have done with a few more of the challenges. It was very much running orientated which was grand, but no harm in having either some harder/longer challenges or some more ones. Ideally, you'd have 1 at each km mark or something so people knew ah 2 down 8 to go etc.. That's subject to location of course and not easy/possible so we were being too critical. We all enjoyed the race and it probably had a good enough mix of challenges in fairness.
Be nice to add some extra's such as the ladder swing climbs or rope climbs possibly - not missing much but those would be good. A ladder climb over a water feature would have been great we reckon!
To sum up, a great race, not one to do if in middle of important training/race season but an enjoyable starter/finisher to the year. Great course and nice and tough.
So, this week's training started with a couple easy days and then onto a Kenyan Runnning session on Wednesday evening. This was hard, I went into it thinking about my landing and trying to ensure midfoot/forefoot. Coach had confirmed from a recent run that I was still landing on my heel a bit and this is something I want to improve.
I thought I had already moved to midfoot but clearly not! And from checking my tread wear pattern on runners this is confirmed!
A saving grace may be my gait analysis in Base 2 Race by Kevin showed a midfoot landing which was what I wanted, so hopefully the Kinvara's will help me get there as they've less of a heel/toe elevation - just 4mm so I'll see if this helps me.
Anyway, onto the session and it went well but calves were sore afterwards.. Sore again doing Thursdays Turbo and sore on Wednesday's bike and hilll tt also.
So heading into today's long easy run I wasn't exactly confident, but legs did feel a little better.
This run turned out to be over 23km and mainly mountain/trail running. A very scenic and enjoyable group run and around half way I started to feel my calves loosened up! Weird but they genuinely felt better... I was wondering was I going to suffer afterwards but can confirm not. My legs feel fresher than they have since Wednesday so happy days.. This is prob due to both calves stretching out and me not thinking about gait at all on the run. However it was a hilly one where I was on forefoot and if anything using calves a good bit... Go figure!
I had a look at the soles of Kinvara's afterwards and the heel is showing a bit of wear so we'll just see how it goes.
I'm just going to get the running in and see if coach wants to change my gait as we go on. I don't want to think about it and get injured as a result so will just get the work in as best I can.
So, I've been thinking about my goals and plans for this season more this week.
Currently, my goals are regular top 10 finisher in National Series, qualify for 70.3 Worlds in Galway and aim for a podium at a NS race if possible.
So I'm thinking of changing these a little, moving the 70.3 to the background and mainly focussing on National Series and prioritising this. It will depend on how the race season goes so may be a moveable feast, and depending on where I finish in races will lead to the rest of the season be it more NS races or other races or rest etc.
To prioritise the National Series, I think this will be best done planning races with some breaks in between where possible etc. My current calendar has some clashes of Hell of the West and Tri-Athlone back to back so one of these would need to be canned realistically, and a couple other changes depending how things go.
So I'm going to plan it more and discuss with Coach and then decide for definite.
I've entered Valentia Sprint Championships race anyway so that's a certain.
I have also decided not to do the Sportsman Duathlon next weekend as it would mean sacrificing training and compromising a couple of sessions. I'm not willing to do this, I also don't feel my performance is where I want it to be and I'm only 3 weeks with my new coach and want to get more quality training together before I start any testers/duathlons etc.
This week see's an increase in volume so I'm looking forward to it.
So this week will be a busy training week, a bit more deciding on race season and trying to nail down my focus for this season in a proper order.
- Proper Race Season Focus/Goal
- Finalise Race Calendar where possible