Monday, April 16, 2012

Preparation In Full Swing: Wicklow Adventure Race? Done!

This week was a quiet one on the training front, as I figured the best way to prepare for a race was to actually go and race, but more on that later. Tuesday was an off day, just easing back into the routine after the long weekend. Wednesday morning I was back in the pool to do 10x100metres with 60 seconds rest between each, averaging about 2.15 for each. Desperately slow even for me, can see a real difference when I miss a few swim sessions, that time was at least 10 seconds slower than a few weeks ago. Wednesday evening was also an interval session, this time running 5 x 1km with 60 seconds rest. Averaging 3.50, again slower than I'd like but conditions weren't great. Thursday morning just did a quick 30mins of weights/core training. Friday again was a rest day as I tapered in preparation for Saturday.

Drove to Dublin Friday night to break up the journey, even so the alarm still went off at 5.00 Saturday morning. I was soon heading south into the Wicklow mountains to take part in the Wicklow Adventure race. I knew on entering this race I wasn't fully race ready but I knew if I could get through it in one piece it would set me up nicely for the trip to Waterford in 5 weeks time to take on the Beir Bua Adventure race. At least the south east in May should provide far better conditions that what I met on the start line Saturday. Thunder, lightening and sleet with snow on the mountain tops had me wishing I'd packed a jacket. The race kicked off with a 9km run which had a lot of sections on the way up that had most reduced to a walk, the descent was also tricky as wet stones on the trail meant staying upright was a real challenge. A 15km cycle followed which just served to remind me that I should have brought an extra layer. A 2km Kayak followed, which was ok for the 1st km, but I really started to feel it in the Abs and lower back by the 2nd km. It's definitely an area I'm going to have to work on before Waterford, if I'm to survive the 6.4km kayak in the Blackwater (at least I'm told its downstream).

Next up was a 8km cycle but with 284 metres of ascent in that 8km it was lowest gear and grind for most of it. I Made a mess of a gear change as I rounded a corner to find the road suddenly arching upwards at what seemed like a 45deg angle, chain came off and then got entangled between the chain rings. Could have been worse it didn't break and the 2 or 3 minutes to took to get going again would have been a lot more if I'd been unluckily enough to have a puncture on the day which has happened to me before. The end of this cycle had us almost to the top of the Sally gap where we dismounted and began another 9.5km run. Which started fine but as soon as the course started to creep upwards once again, it was all I could to do just to keep walking let alone run.

Finally we topped out and the legs started turning over again in what was a fast descent, passing quite a few people on the way back to the bikes. The last 26km cycle literally flew by as it was nearly all downhill. The final 3km run was tough, coming so late in the race but at least it was relatively flat and gave me a chance to reel in some of the quicker cyclists.

I crossed the finish line 4hrs 43mins after starting in an overall position of 45th. On reflection a result I'm happy enough with, it is still only April after all and with another 5 weeks to go until race day in Dungarvan, I should be able to improve on that and get a little closer to the top 20. Mind you maybe I should say 4 weeks training, this week could be a washout seeing as how it's taken me nearly 5mins just to climb the stairs today, I'm that sore and battered. Still it never ceases to amaze me how selective the human memory can be.

From saying never ever again only 24hrs ago to sitting here perusing and planning my next big day out.


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Adventure Racing Competition In County Waterford, Ireland. - Live For Adventure
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