I was lucky enough to get a few days way in Mallorca at the start of April – someone spotted very reasonably priced flights from Shannon, so before I changed my mind we booked into Club Pollentia on the north of the Island, where I had stayed previously when doing the Mallorca 70.3. The area and hotel are cyclist & triathlete heaven. We rented full carbon road bikes from one of the 2 onsite bike shops, and with indoor and outdoor heated lap pools, it was perfect. Breakfast was like a Garmin convention, with IM/Cycling/event T shirts all on display before about 700 bikes rolled out onto the roads of Alcudia. The weather was nice enough for shorts, although windy, you did need arm warmers and gillets for the decents. We did 4 good days of training, with plenty of hills, and some run and swim. I did my first >5 hour ride, allowing me to practice nutrition and imaging what it might be like in Frankfurt in July. The one thing I did notice was the bottom of my feet really felt like they were on fire after 4.5 hours – not sure if it was the heat or friction or a combination, but I have invested in some proper bike socks which I hope will sort the issue.
Joey Hannan was a great day, the club and Limerick did themselves proud. I have never done Joey but have been in the background for the last 8 years. You could feel the energy and excitement of the new triathletes, those stepping up distance and those heading into 70.3s in Mallorca, Barcelona and Lough Cultra. While ideally I should be doing an Olympic, and a Half in the run up to July 9th, I am not planning on doing any actual events, but rather doing the distances here. This is mostly from a time perspective – I don’t want to spend time traveling to and from an event when I am pressed for time anyway. And neither too I want to push too hard and undo the work I have done so far. Over the next few months I will miss the banter and comraderie of the events (which is one of the big reasons why I am in the sport), but we have plenty banter on our long spins too (just no coffee stops!)
At this stage I can honestly say I have never felt better. Looking back over my training data for last year (when I was training for Challenge Salou HIM) I was doing about half the distance and half the time, but it was all a slog and I now realise ‘junk miles’. I think the key difference in how I feel is firstly the intensity of the sessions, and secondly there is a purpose and objective to every session, which I now have some understanding of. I have learnt the you defiantly swim better in the morning – its difficult to get a feel for the water when you are tired, and the same is true of running – keeping a steady pace and Heart rate is so much easier in the early morning.
Not all sessions go well – last week I had a super long run, one shocking and one good swim session. Saturdays long bike left me broken (granted we did have the last 2 hours into a strong wind), but the next day’s run made up for it. I took my first dip in the open water on May 1st and it was great to be back in the sea.
With less than 10 weeks to go the IM is very real now. My aim has always been to complete rather than complete, and I feel confident now that I can do it.
Part two here