Sunday, 23 September 2007

End of season inspiration...

Following last weekends race in Bala this week has been pretty chilled regards training with a couple of good rest days (Monday & Wednesday) and plenty of good food. By the time we got home last Sunday I was pretty knackered and although I'd wanted to properly start the build to Dublin Marathon (Monday the 29th October) this week I figured another fairly chilled week would do me good... so here I am ;) I did manage to slot in a good couple of run sessions in the last seven days though, with a good pyramid treadmill session (3 min @ 18kph, 6 @ 17, 12 @ 16, 6 @ 17 and 3 @ 18... with a two minute walk in between each) on Tuesday and a comfortable 20 mile run at 7:30s with Tony on Thursday then yesterday morning I chucked in a nice 75 minute run including Kirkstall Hills.

Today we had a great time at the Ilkley Triathlon which is brilliantly run by Leeds & Bradford Triathlon Club. It's a fantastic event and very much inclusive with loads of first time and novice triathletes completing a 500m pool swim followed by a testing 9 mile bike and 3 mile run. After marshaling all morning H and I joined in with the family AKJ to form a girls (Jo, H & Andrea) and boys (Flaps, Andy and me) team. Flaps kicked off the boys race with a strong swim, handed over to me for the bike and Andy finished off in style with a rapid 3 mile run. An hour or so later H lead the girls team out with a quick 20 lengths before handing over to Jo for the bike and then Andrea took the baton for the anchor leg to round off a fantastic day.

I know I keep saying it but tomorrow really will kick off four weeks of serious structured training starting with a timed mile in the pool at 6am (target sub-25:15, pb currently 25:04) and then a nice easy hour on the turbo in the evening followed by a steady 4 mile run. Next Sunday sees us in the Great North run but it will be treated as nothing more than a hard training run so I expect to hit some pretty big run mileage this week. I'm not sure what to expect from the Great North as I don't feel that fast at the moment but the 1:25 half marathon at the Vitruvian two weeks ago would suggest otherwise... watch this space ;)

So, what do I mean by end of season inspiration??? I've long believed that in order to be inspired you must surround yourself with inspirational people and at this time of the season when energy levels are beginning to flag and motivation is falling this is even more important. There is so much more to training than 'training' and sometimes it is important to take your foot off the gas and open your eyes to what those around you are achieving. I've been extremely fortunate over the last few days to have friends and family who have shown me the way and reminded me how great it is to push yourself to the limit and truly achieve...

I'll start with today's photo which shows Jessica KJ carrying the Southerns flag over the finish line in Austria this summer to become an IronKid. Last Sunday she was competing in her first ever cross-country race whilst representing her school (Ackworth) in their Inter Schools Cross Country Championships and finished 7th overall in the under-11 girls 2k race! Even more impressive was the fact that of the five girls from her school who qualified ahead of her she beat all but one on the day. As an athlete she has the perfect balance of determination (to push herself to the limit) and patience (to listen, learn and improve) and will no doubt go far.

My second inspiration of the week is my amazing step father Ray. He's currently walking from the west coast to the east coast of England which will see him cover around 200 miles in 15 days and on Saturday evening H, Mum and I popped over to Reeth for dinner with him and his two Framlingham team mates Vic and Mary. A few hours in the company of those three was enough to seriously charge my motivational batteries and I can't wait to cheer them over the finish line this Friday evening in Robin Hood's Bay.

Thirdly, my new bike training partner Ben G set a blistering time of 2:02 for 50 miles in yesterday's Yorkshire Road Club 50 mile time trial. This beat my own pb by a whopping 12 minutes but where you go mate I WILL follow so keep blazing that trail and I look forward to smashing through the two hour barrier with you early next season. I figure that if I can keep up with Ben on the bike all winter then going sub-5 for 112 in Frankfurt will be the result ;)

Fourthly (nearly there), Andrea KJ ran the anchor leg for the girls in the Ilkley Triathlon today and seeing her running so strongly over the final 400 metres having set off with real conviction to conquer the seriously hilly 5k run was an amazing experience. As triathletes we can easily become desensitised to the things we achieve and today was not the first time Andrea has shown me 'why' we do this.

And finally... just when I thought she'd done everything there was to do this season H goes and qualifies for the British Triathlon Team for next years world championships in Vancouver!

To be honest, as I sit here and write this I feel like I could go on forever listing the friends and family who have inspired me in some way. It's amazing actually, when you stop and think about the wonderful things that other people can bring to your life!

I'll leave you with this quote which I have taken from a blog that I subscribe to that is written by a legend of the ultra-endurance world, Gordo Byrn...

"I’ve greatly leveraged my ability to achieve by strengthening the person closest to me.

Once you have the right people around you, spend your time strengthening them and assisting with the achievement of their goals -- your efforts for others will multiply when they come back to you."

T ;)

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