After Dublin 70.3 I had a week off from doing any serious training. I sat down with dad and had a good talk with a good mate Sean Conway (Fear the Turtle Tri Coaching) about the mental aspect of training/racing and different approaches to keep things as positive as possible even when negative factors are thrown your way.
This seemed to work. Eight weeks of hard training planned where it was all about quality over quantity, hitting specific times, watts and a few key events to use as a gauge. Next was to enter a big race and to see what I could do. Challenge Paguera-Mallorca stood out a brutal course suits me as I dont have the big power to needed to ride a true flat TT. Hilly run...I could just imagine the pain!
First thing was to sort my nutrition out. I seen the Challenge events were sponsored by 32Gi Sports Nutrition. So this is what I would be using during the event. I ordered enough nutrition to last my training period and race day..I must say 32gi is a game changer,awesome nutrition. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to to take their training and racing to the next level.
Training went well over the next few weeks. I was flying on the run and bike. Limited swim training with all hard efforts done at target race pace was paying off.
I did the Omagh Wheelers western hills 100miler as a gauge to see where my form was on the bike. It was 5hours of flat roads, spanish like tarmac and 25degrees….NOT!...Brutal hills, wind,rain and classic hard roads. I loved it...It was tiring but not as brutal as everyone had been making out..This had to be a good sign!
Few more weeks of hard training it was time to fly to Mallorca!
Race Report! Challenge Paguera-Mallorca
I landed the wed night before the race and my training partner form sheffield Alex aka the “basque bullet” was landing the night before the race.
Chilled out, drank loads of coffee and got used to the glorious Spanish heat! Maybe factor 50 needed on race day! The whole resort was going crazy with banners on every lamp post and shop windows! This was going to be an epic run!
Day before the race I did a morning swim,well it was more like being thrown about by the waves, small jog and my legs felt great. Happy days I thought.
Registration and race briefing complete it was pasta party time...OOOsshhhh I have never seen so much pasta!!! I literally stuffed my face.
Morning of the race.
Swim - The waves were huge!!! Professional men and woman started 7mins ahead of us. Gun went crazy dash into the warm 24degree sea, waves crashing and people being chucked all over the place. It was actually quite funny. I literally dolphin dived for 200m to stay away from the breakers as some people tried to swim straight into them (bad idea) after 200m I got into my swim and was flying passing loads of people and got into the chase swim group. I think the clear warm water and huge amount of fish i could see was taking my mind away from the chop. I exited the water in 6th place.
T1 went smooth I heard a friendly voice shouting Vamos Vamos at me. It was my mate Alex. Extra motivation! The bike was a 2 lap affair with the first 10mile of each lap pretty much climbing. I was feeling good passing a few people on the climbs, we hit a small town halfway up the first climb the crowds were immense it took the the company of mr lactic acid away! After there was a U-Turn and I could see some of the pro woman and I was taking serious amount of time out of them and also a few male pros. I thought I was flying until some of the German/Austrain Uber bikers past me they were gone in a flash. The guy in my AG passed me about 30 mile in, I tried to stay with him but the effort would have killed my legs for the run. A half marathon is a long and lonely place when already blown.
I was sure to take on plenty of 23gi energy drink and gels as I knew the run was going to be a hot and hard affair. 2nd lap of the bike was a great confidence booster as I was passing some pro athletes and held my own with some of the top AG guys in europe.
T2 was immense the beats pumping..for a second I thought i was in Sallys nightclub! Into the transition tent the lovely spanish lady helping me with my shoes and socks informed me I was 2nd! 2nd seriously?? I knew i was flying but not like this!! When i heard this I thought its going to take a beast to take away this position from me.
My plan on the run was to run steady at 6.10min mile pace but when i jogged the course i knew i had to knock back to 6.20 pace as there was a 1.5km drag and we had to do it 4 times so it would have been crazy to try and run at that pace. My run has always been a strong point and it was no different today i passed a crazy amount to people who had got caught up in other peoples race! Always stick to your own race plan!!!!!!!!
My mate was yelling 2nd place keep pushing...vamos vamos vamos!!! I knew 3rd place Italian guy was running 1h18min half-marathon pace which is rapid after such a brutal bike. It was nice passing some male professionals it was good for the head and took away from my quads screaming!! With 3km to go there was an out and back and i seen the Italian dude flying I thought to myself “this is going to be the most painful 3km of my life but suck it up and go with him”. He caught up with me and I went with him. We were flying sub 5.50mile pace. He knew to put in a burst of pace to get rid of me. For 1.5km i have never suffered so bad and the heat was getting to me. With 1.5km to go my legs popped! I seen my 2nd place disappear up the road..it was survival mode and a proper sufferfest. I thought to myself how many times have i suffered around the lough in loughmacrory (my fav training location)..I actually ran one of my fastest miles when I was suffering the most a bit positive looking back at the race.
I crossed the line 3rd place AG!! Relief. That was epic I thought.
IMet up with my mate Alex and took a few minutes to recover from my effort. I couldnt walk after sitting down my glutes were like concrete. I think Alex had a good laugh at that.
It was pizza, burger and beer time!!
Prize Giving was great crowds were massive I couldnt believe I was stepping on the podium after such a poor year. I kept positive and worked hard and eventually it payed off. I believe it was a number of things that helped me achieve the podium were changing training to quality sessions and changing my nutrition plan.
A great race in a great location. It was nice to meet new people from different countries and share our race stories.
I hope the race report wasnt to boring and you enjoyed it. Next up for me is 2 weeks of chill time and then back at it.
My main races for next year will be the Challenge World Championships in Slovakia, Ironman Dublin and UK 70.3, Irish MIddle distance championships and Challenge Paguera-Mallorca with a few lower key domestic races thrown in for some top end training.
Thanks again for reading. Happy training people!!