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Season ends with a bang (literally)

Well It's been a mixed season performance wise, which ended unceremoniously with a bang on Sunday 25th September. Early season races were blighted with coughs, colds and generally feeling under par. By early May I started to see a glimmer of form appearing over horizon, just in time for my main focus for the year, IM 70.3 Barcelona. 

This was my first race abroad and though training and fitness wasn't were I wanted to be, I was going to take it easy and enjoy the experience. Pre-race on Saturday morning promised us perfect conditions, 23 degrees and the Mediterranean Sea like a milk pond. That's said we were informed it would be wetsuit compulsory as the water temp was, and I quote "bloody freezing". Not a problem I'm from up' North, it always freezing. Sunday morning and I get my 5am wake up call, throw down some energy bars and juice because the hotel I'm staying in can't be bothered to open the restaurant for the 200 athletes staying there, and I make my way over to the start. First thoughts were 23 degrees, not likely, it's 7 am now and already nearly 20 degrees. Second thought was milk pond my arse. The waves were 6 feet high crashing onto the beach. Anyway time to brace myself for the cold and to do a warm up swim. With the expectation of freezing my bits off I took a deep breath and dove in. Cold? They'd obviously never swam in ecky delph, that's cold. So to my surprise it was actually a warm if choppy Med. 

The swim was largely uneventful and and I hit my target time of around 40 min, though I did leave the sea a few inches shallower after swallowing copious amounts. 

The rest of the race went pretty much to plan. Bike leg was a hilly affair with 3 climbs each taking around 40-50 min to ascend. Onto the run and by now it was near 30 degrees and zero shade on the run course. I set out a bit too quick and suffered between 5-15 km . This wasn't helped any by pouring cold water onto a head you could dry an egg on. At the start of the season I wanted a sub 6 hr result in Barcelona but due to illness etc early season new this was no longer possible. New 6:30 hr. With 2 km to go it was looking close so I pushed as hard as I could and sprinted (in my mind I was like Usain Bolt, but probably looked more like a bag of bolts). End result, 6:29:42 mission accomplished.

After a chill and general riding over summer it was time to finished my season with a few running races, pb's at both 10 k and half marathon and I finished the season on good form. 

So with a training plan drawn up and a new winter training base (bigger shed) I was all set for a good block of winter training. However, the road had different ideas. Sunday post work was supposed to be an easy 2 hours in zone 2. After only 5 km I had an altercation with a roundabout and some oil and down I went, breaking collarbone. 

Oh well these things happen and a good reason to focus on some needed strength work over winter. All in all an up and down year, but looking forward to coming back stronger and fitter in 2017. 

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