Saturday, March 21, 2015

City Pier City & beyond

As previously written, I headed south to The Netherlands at the beginning of March to compete in the City Pier City Half Marathon in Den Haag. The weekend was a success, being able to run a race and spend some time with some great friends in the same weekend was an added bonus.

The weather was warm, well much warmer than in Sweden, t-shirt weather in fact! This was all new to me, just the single layer of clothing to protect from the elements and a need for sunglasses too.
The first 5km went really well, ahead of schedule in fact and very relaxed with a good HR. Andy, my friend and old race partner met me around 5-6km and was screaming encouragement from the side whilst sprinting along behind the other spectators...what a boost to have someone screaming for you!
I saw him again at 12km where he popped up, again screaming encouragement and split times. My second 5km was 3secs faster than the first which showed I had a really even and relaxed pace and I still felt really great. At 15km, I was a little slower over the 5km as the race hit the coast and my inner temp started to rise but I was well ahead of schedule and feeling good. As the course turned back inland with the final 5km being an almost straight line to the finish, the wind which was a real cooling influence on the way out vanished and my HR started to climb which in turn meant my pace started to drop. No matter, head down, gritted teeth and pushed on to the finish, only to be greeted once again by a screaming Andy on the side at the final 600m. I'm sure if he could have jumped the barriers to run down the finish straight he would've done so! So I completed my first half marathon of the year in my fastest time since 2002, ahead of my realistic target and with little mileage on asphalt in the legs, I was very, very pleased and I hope to take that positive feeling into the next few months.

So what's next?
We've signed up as a team of 3 for Rock The Trail north of Uppsala on the 19th April 2015 including our coach, friend, head sponsor & co-owner of Form in Knivsta "Niki Tramontana" into the team. This will be a race of ~9km orienteering / ~16km MTB (distances as the crow flies) and we're really looking forward to it, not only to compete together but also to include Niki who has been a great help for us the past few years and to introduce him to multisport instead of triathlon which is his passion.

This means training starts to move towards trail running and mountain biking more over the coming weeks.... Lately we've had 2 contrasting weekends. Last week was sunny & fresh and we managed to fit some time together on a Saturday for a lengthy trail run around the forests and trails of Knivsta. This weekend, it's back to snow and cold again...what a time to start getting out into the forests on the bike once more...what Spring? On a positive note, on my ride today I noted the ice is quickly receding from the lake, so not long until the kayaks make a splash!

We do now both need to get more time on the mountain bikes as Lidingöloppet MTB 65km is fast approaching on the 2nd May followed possibly a week later in Skövde for Billingeracet MTB 79km. Lidingöloppet MTB was our first long MTB race in Sweden and I have fond memories of the course, but also of the cramps which set in late into the race, I'm going to be training hard to try and avoid that part this year....I'm sure Jon is hoping he won't suffer the amazing catalog of mechanical issues he faced last year!

Train hard, train fun!

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