Build up to the big one

So we’ve made it Florida, Panama City Beach to be exact. Its takes a bit of time to get here from Aberdeen; Fly to London, Fly to Atlanta, over night stay in airport hotel, pick up hire car, drive almost 6 hours to the beach across Georgia, Alabama into Florida all down rifle bore straight roads (apt considering the amount of gun shops we drove past).  The journey to get here was pretty stress free amazing what an iPad full of Paw Patrol, Mickey Mouse clubhouse and the Gruffalo to keep H entertained when he wasn’t in play mode can do.

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H better move….

If you haven’t been following what i’ve been up to this year. After tasting my first experience of an Ironman event in Mallorca back in May i decided it would be cool to try and take on a full distance event. Mallorca was a 70.3 event; 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. Full distance is simply double the distance for each. We had a bit deliberation on which event to target, and Ironman covers the globe so we had a lot to choose from. As this is a family  adventure wanted somewhere that was warm and could make a family holiday of the event. Personally i wanted it to be later on in the season to give me time to prepare for the event. After some persuasion from Julie, Florida was the choice. This race is ideal for athletes doing their first full ironman apparently. A wetsuit swim with a flat bike and run course. So we signed up, booked flights, Accommodation and the preparation began.

The training in the eight weeks since the IM 70.3 worlds in Chattanooga has been pretty consistent. I’ve been able to complete the vast majority of my training sessions, steadily building up the distances in all three disciplines. I was really happy that i completed my longest  ever run and swim workouts a duple week back.  Even more pleasing was that i manage to come out of the training block without an injury. This is definitely one of the main benefits from having a structured training program (Thanks the Ken at Total Endurance) and regular massage (Hannah at fit4it sports therapy is awesome).

In the biggest week of training a few weeks back i think i was somewhere around 16 hours of training for the week. The weekend i had back to back days of double training sessions. 130Km Bike ride followed straight after with an hour of running. This went  well, i felt strong and was really feeling the affect of the training progression. Sunday was a threshold set in the pool in the morning, then that even it was a 2 hour run. The swim felt good again, but by the time i got to the run i was in bits. Every step was agony and for 2 solid hours all i wanted to do was stop. This was at the end of a few big weeks and the training load had taken its toll on me. I was wrecked and it took me until the middle of the following week to been anywhere near recovered. There is something sadistic in pushing yourself to these limits, but i actually really enjoy it.

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Scotland can be pretty in the Autumn, Craigievar Castle Aberdeenshire in the background

I’ve no idea why to expect on race day, stepping up to this distance is certainly going into the unknown. I don’t know how my body is going to react to the ordeal that its about to go through. How quickly will it break down? Will the heat and humidity sap my energy too much? Will i be able to take in enough calories during the race to keep me moving?

Youtube Ironman races and you will come up with some comical footage of elite athletes on their hands and knees just trying to cross the finish line. Only a few weeks back in the World Championships in Kona Hawaii, the mens race favourite and two time defending champion Jan Frodeno was lying at the side on the road during the marathon as his body began to give up on him. It can happen to anyone. This distance is not to be underestimated

imagesJan Frodeno in serious pain, Kona Oct 2017

Since we’ve arrived in Florida i’ve been able to get some decent training in to keep legs working, checking out both the bike and run courses. Was surprised how windy it was out on the bike. It could be a hard slog heading back to the beach into a head wind. The Run course is pretty flat, it makes its way along to St Andrews State Park. Which is pretty much a swamp area with tons of wild life.  The temperatures have been rising every day also, which Julie has been loving, me not so much as i try to figure out where i might be on the course at a given time in the day.  it was around 28deg C today at 3pm, the marathon could be all about survival. As a family we’ve had some good chill time down on the beach however; digging holes, chasing birds (seagulls) and dodging waves. Proper bucket and spade holiday stuff.

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Gaffer keeping a watchful eye… 

This afternoon was the IronKids event. A 1/2 mile for under 6’s and a mile for 7-13 year olds. We had seen this done in Mallorca earlier in the year and didn’t enter Harrison as he was a bit young. The limit this time around was 3, but we were told to ignore that if he was ‘active’, not a problem there then. Julie took him round the course; sometimes running, sometimes being carried. But having a blast the whole way round, absolutely delighted with himself chatting away and giving out high fives to anyone looking.

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19 months old smashing his first race

IMG_4610Medal and a cow bell…guess which one gets more attention.

Time to eat even more carbs and get the feet up for tomorrow; 2.4 miles in the gulf of mexico, 112 miles on the bike followed by a marathon in the heat of the day., can’t wait… What do you do on your Holiday?

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