Season Recap collected a few bags!!
Wow where do I begin after the high’s of 2013 Kona and becoming European / British Quadrathlon Champion I entered my winter training plan of 2014 pretty flat as I’ve been racing in endurance sports since the early 2000’s and it’s get harder and harder each year to better the standard you set the previous year. I needed a new focus and drive to get me motivated to train and the opportunity to go Professional came about after my Ironman Wales performance in 2012. I decided not to do it in 2013 as I would of have had to sacrifice my Kona spot so 2014 was to be the year.
2014 Season Plan was to Race Ironman Austria and Ironman Copenhagen as my 2 main races. Both went pretty well hitting low 9 hour times, setting new PB’s of 9:13 and then 9:07. Separate blogs can be found on my website but I was very pleased to come away with 55 minute swims in both races showing the 20km swim training weeks i'd done earlier in the year had being worth it. Living in the UK I also decided to enter both UK based IM events as they are local so Ironman UK in Bolton and Ironman Wales both got entered as well.
Ironman UK didn’t go well I had an ok swim but then on the bike a mechanical brought my race to a stop early on.
Ironman Wales went much better and Just 3 weeks after Denmark I was on the start line in Tenby. IM Wales is such a great race and if I was asked between UK and Wales I’d choose Wales every time the locals really get into the event and the support is up their with most races abroad. It’s not easy mind and is the hardest IM course I have ever done so if you do enter expect to be an hour slower than most Euro IM courses. Wales also brought me a top 10 finish as a pro and this is pretty cool as this confirms my status as a pro for the 2015 season if I want it. I’ve not decided on this yet as I feel the pro thing has been ticked off and I know that really I’m a decent level Age Grouper and not a pro. It’s something I can always look back on though and say I used to be a professional athlete (although I hold down a Full time job Fire Fighter and a part time job as a PT & Triathlon Coach at the same time).
After Wales the opportunity to enter and race Ironman Barcelona came about I really wasn’t sure whether to enter or not as this would be my 5th IM start of the year and also 3rd in 6 weeks so not ideal prep. But as they say “you don’t know unless you give it a go”, So I decided to give it a go.
As an event I’d recommend it as it’s great for spectating and a fast bike course. The Bike is that fast I managed to set a bike PB of 4 hour 47 mins and this was with a 6 minute delay due to a puncture. The Barcelona swim is tough as it’s a point to point along the coast line and if you’re unlucky like we was its all against the tide. The 4 lap run is flat but an honest 26.2 miles and exposed to the sun.
After a slow swim and fast bike I was into the run at Barca in sub 6 hours so potentially had a shot at the sub 9 but I was just not up to it after a long season and one too many Ironman’s after about 10 miles into the marathon I really struggled and pace dropped and dropped and I ended up running a 3 hour 40 min marathon my slowest ever apart from 2010 when I did Outlaw as my 1st ever Long distance. So I finished Barca in a disappointing 9 hours 37 mins after struggling on the run. Emily said “9:37 with a slow run and a puncture on the bike I don’t think you realise how good you are” ha she’s my biggest fan always trying to make me feel good.
Anyway on a whole it’s been a great season 2 personal best times in both my A race events and a top 10 as a pro at another, I raced all over Europe and towed the start line at Austria, UK, Denmark, Wales and Barcelona. Racing an Ironman is pretty special and the feeling when you finish makes you forget how hard they are actually are and within a day or two you find yourself looking for another.
2015 ?? who knows at the minute I’m just looking forward to going on Holiday with Ems without the bike and wetsuit!, and then i'll set about planning and training for 2015.
Lastly this season would not have been possible without my sponsors so a massive shout out and thanks to my dad, Claud Butler, Xterra Wetsuits, Metres to Miles, Pickering Cottage, North Lincs Council, Tom Lane Sports therapy, East Ferry timbers and Keyo agricultural services.