Ironman 70.3 Marbella race report: Andrew Fraser-Cole

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Here's a great race report from WhittleFit coached athlete Andrew Fraser-Cole (coached by coach Lawrence) about his recent Ironman 70.3 Marbella race, hope you enjoy it!

Of late I’ve come to start my season at a big race where hopefully the sun will shine. This approach not only throws you in at the deep end straight away but can also help banish the winter blues and give you a break to look forward to. 

Based on their underdog & alternative ethos I’d joined SWYD Tri club in January so I had further motivation as I’d be sporting club colours for the very first time. Since starting endurance sport a few years back I’ve never felt the need to join a club - almost always training alone. Having been a heavy smoker & drinker for almost 30 years and relating to how Mathew Pritchard turned his lifestyle around I felt as though SWYD Tri fitted best with my outlook on endurance sport and I really wanted to race for them. As it happens I did have the best club Tri-suit at the race and that’s a non-negotiable fact. 

Swim (1.9k): I set off in the 30min pen and hit the water with a dive, temperature was ok. 4 bouys to turn around on the L-shaped course, I decided to stay out of trouble and not risk a clout to the face so found some clear water and stroked it out. Swam until my hands touched sand & onto my toes into T1. My Garmin suggested I’d swam 200m extra, who knows? Time 32mins

Bike (90k) : fast straight road so tucked on the bars until the climb around 5k after which things got lumpy. Soon found my gearing in 36/28 so when it got steeper cadence dropped to 75rpm in order to stay within my power target. Potentially a 30 on the rear would’ve meant spinning a bit better on the climbs. Strange creaking & grinding noises coming from my bottom bracket(?) gave me cause for concern and worries that it would actually disintegrate and I’d DNF - but the noises were intermittent and I just hoped it would hold as the remaining kilometres ticked down. Fast straight descents were fine as you could see the course well ahead - tuck & pedal. As usual went over my power target for the first hour and struggled to hold it for the last. Knew I had to ship fluid before the run so dropped it on the last descent. Wee.....Sorry if you were behind me.  Time 3hrs

59407820 2253621781380561 7923093270928818176 nRun (21k): socks, shoes, cap & 4x gels onboard - time to make up for my bike shortcomings. First Km a bit too lively coming in at 3:45 I had to park my enthusiasm and aim for my target between 4:10 - 4:20. Mallorca last year taught me that the lunchtime Mediterranean sun will dictate your pace if you overcook the first 10k. Luckily the wind had picked up so running into the headwind was good (I know, doesn’t make sense does it?) made up around 36 Age Group places on the run and attempted to put the hammer down for the last 4K but the effort went up, pace stayed the same. Crossed the line with a 1:29 run, 5:09 total for the 70.3

All in all I’m happy with the performance to get off the mark early in the season. There’s no hiding place in these races - European IM 70.3 racing is the pinnacle of the sport as far as I’m concerned so it’s humbling to go from Age Group podiums in local races to 42nd in Age Group here. Don’t get me wrong, finishing in the top 20% is not a terrible outcome but these races definitely expose & magnify your weaknesses.

Factor in the break from your workplace, sunshine, perfect tarmac, mainlining espresso, meeting other like minded athletes and you may conclude that training hard & racing is enjoyable and thoroughly worth it whatever position you cross the finish line in.

Team WhittleFit racing roundup - 12th, 13th & 14th April 2019

 

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We had quite a few WhittleFit athletes racing this weekend, lets see how they got on: 

  • Dead Sea Half Marathon: Merry used the Dead Sea Half Marathon as a tough training session on Friday, coming home in 1hr31. Well done Merry, bodes well for next weekends race and your upcoming races. 
  • Ultra Tour of Arran: Myles Povey successfully completed the Ultra Tour of Arran this weekend. This event looks stunning, if you fancy doing something a little bit different, check out the Ultra Tour of Arran. 
  • Bynea 30 mile TT: Andrew Martin and Lawrence Cronk raced the Bynea 30 mile TT yesterday, congrats both, Andrew placed 3rd (2's off 2nd place) and Lawrence placed 7th. Well done guys, this bodes well for your upcoming big races! 
  • Llanelli half and full marathon: We had Finn Artenz (half) and Craig Fowler (full) racing the Great Welsh Marathon race. Despite sickness, Finn secured 3rd place in the half distance race and Craig finished bang on schedule (3hr26) for the full distance marathon, as part of his training for Ironman Wales in September.  
  • Tour de Gwent sportive: We had lots of coached athletes and friends taking part in the Tour de Gwent sportive, well done all on a very cold morning!  
  • Amman Valley Sprint Triathlon: Josh Lewis raced his 1st ever triathlon at the Amman Valley Sprint Triathlon yesterday and came a very commendable 17th place, well done Josh! 

Team WhittleFit racing roundup - 6th & 7th April 2019

 

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We had quite a few athletes and lots of friends of WhittleFit racing this weekend, lets see how they got on:

  • Vienna Half Marathon: Lyndsay and Craig Patterson raced in Vienna this weekend at the Vienna Half Marathon race. Having not really trained many long miles Lyndsay still came away with a time only a few minutes off her PB and Craig was solid, running under coach Chris's orders to run at marathon pace (to help protect an ongoing injury). Well done guys! 
  • Machynlleth Sprint Triathlon: Steve Rowlands raced the Machynlleth Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, and sneeked a win, by 4 seconds! Great work Steve!
  • Reverse 10: coach Henry raced the Reverse 10 mile race on the weekend, coming in the top 10 and 1st vet, nice work coach!
  • Challenge Salou: James Peters raced the middle distance triathlon in Salou this weekend and came away with a sub-5 hour time and a PB, nice work James!
  • Penarth Duathlon: we had lots of friends racing the Penarth Duathlon (a great turn out!) and coached athlete Luke Pryce came away with an excellent 3rd place for his first ever podium! Great work Luke.
  • British Elite Duathlon Championships: Tom Foster raced in the Elite field at Bedford this weekend at the British Duathlon Champs. This was a stacked field and Tom did himself proud, mixing it with the elite and full-time professional athletes finishing a very respectable 25th position.
  • RWC Vale Ultra Half Marathon: Cath Colleypriest, Emma Edworthy and Ben Tipping raced the Vale Ultra on Saturday (Ben did the 18 miler (edit: Ben finished 9th) and Cath & Emma did the 32 mile race). Very impressive displays all round, well done all, the WhittleFit coaches are extremely pleased!   

6633 Arctic Ultra: The aftermath……….

 

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It’s been a few weeks since I completed the 6633 Arctic Ultra and I’ve had some time to reflect on the cold, the wind, the distance and the endless pulling of the pulk. I’ve written several blog posts after the race and these blog posts have been quite cathartic and made me think more about the actual race itself. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment and forget the little things that were going on at the time, so writing the blog posts were a good exercise for me.

There were a few things I didn’t mention in the blogs (because I forgot or didn’t appreciate them then), one of them was the amount of sleep I got over the 9 days of 'racing'. After counting up the sleeps and my mini-naps I calculated that I had 19 hours sleep over 9 days, which works out at a little over 2 hours of sleep a day……for 9 days! This explains the fatigue and the hallucinations, but one thing we must remember is that this was self-inflicted. I chose to sleep so little. I had to keep moving to meet the cut-offs (and keep warm), so sleep wasn’t a priority; moving was a priority. A good friend of mine who completed the 6633 last year told me before the race “If you aren’t moving, you aren’t finishing”. And this is so true. You have 383 miles to cover in 9 days, so you have to keep moving. Not sleeping is a form of self-torture and it was my choice at that point in time. Sleep deprivation can drive a person crazy (there’s a reason people use sleep deprivation as a tool of torture) and my mind was all over the place at times!

Read more: 6633 Arctic Ultra: The aftermath……….

6633 Arctic Ultra: CP7 to the finish (Gateway to Tuktoyaktuk)

 

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We're cold but have to move to get warmed up. We also can't hang around as we know that we're very close to the cut off time and need to move quickly to make sure we get to the finish line on the Arctic Ocean before 10:30am tomorrow! 

We haven't seen that many other athletes since day 3 of the race and we know that David left the check point at Gateway about 4 hours ahead of us, so we're pretty sure we won't bump into him; and as we're not racing it's not important to us at all. We start to warm up, then have to stop for some running repairs on Hayley's contact lenses. As much as I tried I couldn't push that little lense against a squashy eyeball! So her three layers of gloves come off and she pops it in in a flash......easy! 

We continue on and we come over the brow of a hill. Hayley stops suddenly. She pushes me forwards and says "Is that a bear?" Now I'll be honest, my long distance sight isn't the best, but I did see what she was talking about. Indeed, in front of us was a tall dark creature, standing upright on two legs. It took a second to come into focus, then I noticed that the 'bear' had a small 2-man tent and a pram. It was David (yes, he was pushing a jogging stroller/pram rather than a traditional sled). He had just gotten out of his tent, was stood upright, stretching in his large black insulated jacket and trousers. We were safe! 

David was struggling, he just couldn't get warm, so had decided to get into his sleeping bag and try to warm up. He was talking about quitting, but the sunrise had slightly swayed him and was now contemplating carrying on. He'd called one of the support crew and we all decided that Hayley and I would continue on and that he would probably catch us up later on down the course. 

Read more: 6633 Arctic Ultra: CP7 to the finish (Gateway to Tuktoyaktuk)