That’s my race number heading into the last of the Ballycotton 5 mile summer series tonight. With an aggregate time of 1:34:22 for the first three races (32:32, 31:26 & 30:24) I have a one minute advantage over number 50, the cut off point for the all important series T-Shirt. While normally I should have no problem staying in the top 50 with a cushion like that my training since the last race has been less than ideal. Run For the moment I have reverted to running in an old pair of Asics Gel Nimbus as they don't flex as much as the racing/minimalist shoes, which only aggravates my injured toe more.
After a gap of a week my first run following the Bo Peep triathlon was a 5 miler on part of the lost sheep triathlon run route following a full recce of the hilly bike course. While I could run comfortably, despite the fact that my toe was still tender, my lack of fueling coming off the bike made for a very tough 5 miles. Martin, my running partner, who had a better fueling strategy, felt very comfortable at the 7:16 pace.
Last week was a bit better with 5 runs totalling 42 miles, although I noticed a distinct lack of sharpness when it came to my 2 speed sessions. The first on Wednesday consisted of 6 x 800m approx (on road) at a target I-Pace of 5:48 and all I could manage was 6:00 to 6:10 pace. The second on Friday was 6 miles at T-Pace (target 6:20) originally planned at 3 x 2 miles but changed to 2 x 3 miles with 0.5 mile recovery. Again I struggled to get anywhere near target pace and was happy that I managed to maintain the 6:33 pace average achieved for the first 3 miles during the second 3. It could have something to do with the fact that I was on holiday in West Cork - all that extra rest could be playing havoc with my routine - that and the fact that speed is the first thing that suffers when you take any time off running.
Having missed a weeks running I have essentially abandoned the 3-week peaking phase of my 5 to 15k programme leading up to today’s race and therefore do not expect to be in peak 5 mile race shape. My primary target is to remain in the top 50, which should be achievable – I reckon a time under 32 minutes should do, although I won’t be complacent. Bike The reduced running was matched by a corresponding increase in time on the bike, covering 243 miles over the last 2 weeks. A week after the Bo Peep Tri I was back down in Kerry to cycle the 53 mile Lost Sheep course with Martin (also doing the lost sheep) Adrian and Steven. While the course consisted of two category 1 climbs the most challenging part of the course was the switchback descent from the Healy Pass, which was particularly precarious in the wet conditions. Bob had asked recently why it is called the “Lost Sheep Tri” and while I don’t know the official answer I would imagine that the presence of sheep wandering along/across the road on the barren Healy Pass landscape may have something to do with it.
Swim Swimming has always been the poor relation of running and cycling only getting a look in when the opportunity arises. Over the last two weeks this opportunity was Inchydoney beach where I got in about 4 to 5k, even venturing out twice without the wet-suit - I soon learned that comfort is higher up my priority list than pride and returned to the wetsuit. Anyway spending the first 10 minutes of a swim slowly acclimatising yourself to the cold water is a waste of training time.
I think my wet-suit is at the end of it's useful life though as it tears easily and while putting my foot through the neoprene could be solved by cutting a piece off the bottom of the leg the tear across the back of the suit following an aggressive tug on the zip may be more difficult to sort out - I can swim in it but may be taking on more water than I need to.