This report/update had been a little while in coming. For that I apologise.

After the disaster that was losing the father’s race at my son’s year 1 sports day it was time to move to more the familiar territory of all things Swim, Bike and Run with the Primera Swashbuckler Middle Distance Race.

Organised by the Race New Forest Team at the stunning Buckler’s Hard location I knew the race would be a high quality event and with the event being the club championships for Thames Turbo I knew the standard would match. I try to resist the temptation of looking through the start lists but I had a sneak peak and saw a couple of names – primarily young Doug Hall a very talented if slightly bonkers athlete. Racing for second place I thought for a moment, before I got myself into the frame of mind that I knew what times I was capable of and it would get me the position that the time deserved.

I feel that some people are too obsessed with placing and positions and percentages in age groups etc. Don’t get me wrong I love the satisfaction of winning but I feel that age group racing for the majority should be about performance – do your best and get within your predicted time and you should be happy. If that means you are at the finish line before everyone else then Woo Hoo – beers on you.

Anyway coming in to race day I knew there was something missing – my training has been building consistently. With this season’s goal being Olympic Distance racing and having trained for a Marathon in November all my running has been short and sharp, laying speed on to the foundations laid by marathon training. Looking through my training log just now the last time I ran above 10 miles was November 4th 2012 – the day I ran a marathon (not THE marathon) in New York. A conservative guess came to the conclusion that I would be able to get to 11-12 miles in a reasonable time and then I would have to hope that I could carry on.

So we start – with 62 miles until the impending explosion. The swim was great – I decided to follow some feet for this race. But those feet were too slow and Doug already had a lead that I wasn’t going to close. So once again I find myself swimming in calm water, glancing back to see 3 or 4 people on my toes. I must say thanks to James and Craig from Zone3 for my Vanquish wetsuit. It really is the best suit I have swum in and I am happy to recommend any of their suits. Especially to people who need a bit of extra buoyancy.

Swim done and onto the bike. Doug was out in front but I found myself catching him fairly regularly. By the end of the first lap I was with him. I felt good and was riding within myself, not wanting to push too hard due to the run coming up. Most of the second lap I found myself trying to shake Doug off, but ended up thinking it was silly to expend too much energy and let the run sort things out. Once again the Argon18 was quick and comfortable.  I had a Retul fit done at the beginning of the season at Primera and getting a proper bike fit is one of the most essential things when racing. I struggle to think why some people would spend thousands on a bike and not have it fitted to them (or them fitted to a bike) when it such an easy process.

Through transition and out on to the run. My plan was to stick at 4 minute kilometres. All being well that would get me round in just under 1 hour 30 for the 22km route. Which I would be more than happy about. I set off and the first km was 3:50, then a 3:54, 3:51, 3:50 and a 4:01. I couldn’t slow down but I was feeling good so decided to carry on. The next 5 km were all under 4 minutes as well. Then next 5 were between 4 and 4:05 which was good but the legs were going by now. And by the time km 16 arrived my splits were 4:21, 4:20, 4:16, 4:28, 4:19 and then the battery went – both on me and the Garmin! By this point I was ahead of Doug and knew that he was fading as I was. I try not to look back when I race but occasionally when I did I could see he wasn’t there. I had the victory and it was time to shut it down. Slow right down and cruise in. However as much as I told myself this – there wasn’t any other option. If I was running neck and neck with 2 miles to go I am sure I would have put up a fight but as it was I was running as fast as I could go and it wasn’t very fast!

I staggered up the final climb and into the finish chute. The last 400m has to be the best end to a non-Ironman race there is. Especially on a sunny day. People cheering, children running around, an amazing view (although as an athlete you don’t appreciate that till you have finished. I tend to be looking about 6 feet in front of me at the ground) I was a bit of a state at the finish so I was checked over by the medical team and was passed all clear.

I was over the moon to win and with splits that were within a minute or two of what I predicted made it even better. I still have yet to put together a perfect race over the middle (or half Ironman) distance but my kit and equipment once more didn’t let me down.

For those interested my nutrition was 1 bottle of H2Pro on the bike (would have been two but a bottle fell out) with 3 gels. The on the run I took a serving of Xecute from Extreme Endurance, and another 4 gels with water.

Next up is the big one. The Dambuster. Worlds Qualifier and race that I have been aiming towards for the past 12 months. All I have to do is come in the top 5 in my age group and I will be safe. I know what time I am capable of but I think I am going to have to do something pretty special. With one week to go I think I am ready for that to happen.

Special thanks must go to my supporters and sponsors.
Extreme Endurance
Scott Running