So I’m not going to get any fitter in the next couple of days. So whatever level of fitness I have now hopefully I hold onto there’s no point doing big miles or runs now it’s not going to make any difference.
So how prepared do I feel going into Ironman Lanza. I think everyone is the same in terms of the bike. The weather has been awful and no one has got in as many long hilly rides as they would have liked. I notice on tritalk website in the uk, there appears to be a lot of people pulling out of lanza due to the winter we’ve had. Hopefully that might make the swim a little less crowded. The past week or so there’s been loads of banter going on about how the three Wicklow lads will fare in Lanza. So I may as well give it a go as to how I think it will pan out.
Swim- I do think a lot of people will be surprised by my swim and transition. I am going with swim togs under the wetsuit and then doing a full change in T! I know Liamo is going for full trisuit. I just don’t think this is going to come down to a few minutes spent in transition. So in short I think I’ll be out of the swim in 59:59 I’ll be on the bike in 1:10. I think Liamo Dillon (who is swimming very well) will be out of the water in 1:08 but will despite a fast transition will still start the bike behind me. I think he’ll take me on the bike early enough, i’m planning on doing the bike to power. I think compared to my fellow Wicklow men I’ll be starting the bike very very slow. I expected Robbo Moran to get out of the water around 1:20 mins and pass me on the bike after about 20 Kilometers. Rob is strong as an ox on the bike and he’ll be looking to put in a serious time in lanza. I expect Rob to be pretty much gone for the day. I might see him towards the end of the run. Rob will prob do the following
Liamo will got past me at around 20k too. In fact I’m not sure who to expect going past me first Robo or Liamo. However I think Liamo will start the bike strong and slow down in the second half. I’d hope to stay within 30 minutes of Liamo getting off the bike. I haven’t done very much run training at all but I am hoping to get on to the run much fresher than previous years as I’m going to go slow and pace the bike much better. I feel if I can hang on to Liamo within 30 minutes we’ll have a real battle on the run, which could go either way.
Liamo Swim 1:10
Liamo Bike 8:00
Liamo Run 5:30
Damo swim 59:59
Damo bike 8:45
Damo Run 4:55
Less than 7 days time we’ll know how close I am to predictions.
Let the Games begin.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | 2 Comments »
Seem to have bumped into a lot of people this week who I haven’t seen in a while. People I suppose that would know a hell of a lot more about swimming and swimming times than me. They usually all seem to ask the same questions. What are you doing your 100′s off?
The truth is I don’t really time myself that much. I’m not sure how to answer that question. Although I do know it’s slower than someone who is looking to swim sub 60 should be doing them off.
Rose Leith who is a top class swimmer and was one of the first ladies out of the water in lanza last year in just over the hour was swimming a set of 400′s 10 of them so 4k and she was swimming them in 6 mins. So coming in around 5:45 15 second rest then going off again. My Pb for 400 meters is prob around 6:05 and doing that I’d be hanging at the wall throwing my guts up. The thought of having to kick off and do another 400 just wouldn’t happen. I could possibly do them off 7 mins but that would equate to a full 10mins slower than Rose.
Dom O’Hanlon (long time Dillon supporter) has got out his Calculator and put in his guess for my swim time. The thing with Dom is he’s very calculated, he doesn’t just stick a finger in the air and have a guess based on that. He looks at previous results current training and all that lark. So I was really interested to see what time Dom would come up with. Dom doesn’t event think I’ll break 70 minutes. Dom reckons i’m going to be somewhere around 72mins. This is based on science. Dom puts all the figures into his calculator and it tells him roughly what time someone should be able to do.
So all the signs are pointing towards around 70-75 minute swim based on previous times current times in the pool so why the hell do I feel so confident I’ll still break 60 minutes?
There’s a couple of things I don’t think Swim times or Doms Calculator can allow for.
1) Facebook marketing. I’ve told the whole world I’m going to do this so I have to do it. You can’t really put that into Facebook.
2) I’m 36 now. There’s been many times in my life that i’ve been told I can’t do something, to me it’s more motivation to do it. Playing Rugby I was too skinny. Doing Triathlon I was too fat. Swimming I had no technique. You get through these things.
3) I’m not too concerned about the rest of the race. The bike is 8-9 hours recovery from that swim. The run is just about hanging on in there. The other guys were pacing themselves for a race, i’m not.
4) Watched far too many rocky movies to cancel the underdog out. I’m going up the front of that swim and going to give it socks. Don’t rule me out just yet.
I’ve been chatting to a few sub 60 minute swimmers and started watching a few Ironman things on telly. It’s pretty scary actually how few break the 60 minutes. I was watching Challenge Wanaka and they showed the pro men only about 9 or 10 of them broke the hour. Only one Lady broke the hour a swiss girl. Current couldn’t have been that bad it was in a lake!!
I was chatting with Andy Kavanagh he did 58mins or something last year in Germany. He was telling me one of the sets he did before going was 10*400′s and he swam his 400 meters off 6 minutes. So that means he was coming in at around 5:45 taking 15 seconds rest then going off at 6 minutes. My best time for a flat out 600 meters is 6mins 09 and I was shattered when I did it there was no way I could do another one after it never mind 10 of them.
However I’m still convinced that I am a much better sea swimmer than I am pool swimmer. It’s my last straw and I’m clutching to it for dear life. I also have the advantage that I’m not too bothered about the rest of the race, it’s just survival really but I’m willing to give everything on the swim, i’m sure on the day Andy was pacing himself better. Rose Leith who did very close to 1hour did the same set as Andy did she was one of the first ladies out of the water in lanza last year. I know I couldn’t hang on to them for two lengths in the pool but again, I’m hoping for big things in the sea!! I also watch an awful lot of Rocky so I suppose I believe in the impossible.
Despite everyone telling me they’ll have a bet on my time I’ve only had two bets and we’re getting close to the deadline. So if your feeling brave you go on to the mycharity page and then just send me a facebook message on what time you think i’ll do then when we close the book on 16th May i’ll publish all the guesses. So far it’s easy to get a free pair of runners as there are two people with 6 guesses between them.
Below is the link to the website.
http://www.mycharity.ie/event/damian_mckeevers_event/Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments Off
Well we’ve finally started to see some sort of decent weather. I have cut back a good bit on the swimming the more people I talk to the more worried I get about the bike and Run. If you’ve been following my posts you might have noticed I don’t have a very scientific approach to training. There is no plan as such. If I think i need to do more biking I simply drop the other two and do more biking. Then someone asks how the sub 60 is coming along and I think jeez haven’t been in the pool in 8 days and do 10 hours of swimming that week.
Cycling is the latest craze. I’ve discovered through some old Garmin files that my biking is down a lot on what I would have covered for Ironman France. Ironman Lanzarote is not the course to cut down on your bike training so this week it was about getting used to cycling again.
Went out for a long bike With Rob Moran, Think rob thought I was joking about the pace but god I was suffering like a dog. We were going up the Wicklow Gap and I could see one of those big birds of prey. In Ireland we don’t have the real big ones but there’s some big enough ones. Big enough that Farmers are always worried about them taking away the lambs round about this time of the year and although it’s illegal to shoot or kill them it is going on. Anyway as Rob was flying up the Sallygap I noticed one of them swirling above my head, I was really suffering at this point and barely moving it has to be said. Out of the corner of my eye I saw it swoop down, I thought it was going for me. I was about to shout, “Hey i’m still moving here i’m not dead yet” when I noticed it was going for a small mouse close to me in the field. So the birds are defo circling my lanza campaign.
I’m not really sure what to do with the bike section. Like I said i’m not very scientific with the training but I do own a power meter and have read a little bit about them as they are supposed to be the best way to train and pace for an Ironman. I re tested myself to get what’s called your FTP (Functional Thresehold power). This basically means the amount of power you could hold for 60 minutes. Because 60 minutes is too long a time to concentrate and keep re testing yourself the test is usually 20mins and then multiply by .95 as this is roughly how much you would have slowed down if you went on to 60 minutes.
I tested myself again and I have an FTP of 266. Which in theory actually isn’t that bad considering I’m such a poor cyclist. However the real key figure is when you work out your power to weight ratio, and because a lot of triathletes would be in around 70kg (divide FTP by weight) they would have a power to weight ratio of 3.8 which would be sort of decent. I think to be a top age grouper you need to be 4 or more but because i’m 88kg it means i’m even worse at the all important power to weight ratio barely gives me a 3 which is pretty poor to be fair. Anyway for the Ironman than you are supposed to work off between 65% and 75% of that figure to hold those watts over the course of the Ironman. I’ve done this on most of my long bikes and whilst it feels fine and I feel really fresh getting off the bike I’m going dog slow. I mean really bad, averaging 20kph type bad. So I’m not sure what to do. Should I abandon the power meter and go on feel. I reckon if I do that I should be able to come in between 7:30 and 8 hours on the bike. Or do I go with power and realistically be looking at a 9 hour bike split. As a friend pointed out 9 hours is a very long time to be on the bike and your going to be bolloxed anyway for been out that long.
I’m still only really running once a week but it’s long and it feels very good which is surprising as i’m doing so little of it. However I really want to get to the marathon in slightly better state than I have the last 3 Ironman i’ve done.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | 1 Comment »
So after last weeks humilation in the Race to Crucifixtion I decided to concentrate on the bike get out for two or three real good bikes. I was hoping to do a bit of running too but felt the bike was more important.
My swim group sort of breaks up a bit when the kids are off and I feel like i’ve been plugging away at the swim for some time and felt it might be a good idea to just take a full week off the swimming and see how I feel next week. So I managed to get out on the bike and I really do think I’m in big trouble in lanza. I’m really not that concerned about the run at the moment because i’m not convinced i’ll be making it off the bike. If the race was on tomorrow and I replicate the distance and amount of climbing we have to do in Ireland and do a route in the wicklow mountains it is going to take me 9 hours. That’s not taking the wind in lanza (which is supposed to be terrible) into account so that could potentially knock me back to 9:30 -10 hour bike time. The cut off including the swim is 10:30 so I really do think i’ll be struggling to make it.
I’ve really struggled with the long bikes this year, between weather and time to do them, hopefully weather picks up a bit and I can get out for 5 5+ rides before we go.
Liam is in the same boat as me we both went out for a long hilly bike Yesterday and struggled badly. Our other lanza compatriot Rob Moran is flying. He’s really put in the effort and I think he’ll go very well. Fair play to him it’s a big commitment and he’s put the effort in.
5 weeks to get my ass in shape for this, Back swimming this week so first day was today and I felt great in the water.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments Off
The sub 60 minute swim has prob never seemed so far away as it does right now. We had our Race to Crucifcation on Good Friday.
Liam has done two Ironmans now and he’s a steady swimmer usually coming out at about 1 hour 15mins. I reckoned if I’m to break 60 minutes I need to be doing a half Ironman at least 8 minutes faster than him. So in we got, amazingly he went off at a fast pace, we did 134 seconds for the first 100 meters. He then started to fade but not as much as I had hoped. In the end I only lapped him twice which meant I only got two minutes ahead of him not the 8 I was looking for.
Got on to the bike and lost about 3 mins to him in transition so he got a bit of a head start, I half expected him to be on the bike ahead of me. What I didn’t expect was for him to hold or actually increase the lead. We had the hills front loaded on the course which I thought would have suited me. We climbed a little over 1000 meters which still wouldn’t be as hilly as a half in lanza. I decided to work off heart rate and power purely I didn’t even look at speed or time so had no idea what sort of time we were heading for. 60k into the cycle and still no sign of Big Liam. Started to wonder was I taking it too easy. My power was around 200 average and I was going towards the top end of my estimations (heart rate didn’t work until second half for some reason). I did feel very comfortable but I wanted to feel very good getting on to the run. I got on to the run and felt great at the start. We were hoping to have an aid station near my house that we would run by 4 times but I didn’t finalise arrangements with Kelly and so we were both on the run with no water or gels or anything for that matter. It started off very well and was getting 5:15 kilometers on average on a very hilly run course. I started to bonk about kilometer 12 I could feel it. Eventually I actually ran in to the house got myself a water and mix with something and got back out there. Let the clock run whilst I did all this so final run was 2:07 it wasn’t as good as I hoped but the last few k really slowed up. Hopefully that was more due to lack of nutrition as oppossed to me just dying.
So things aren’t looking great going in to Lanza. Firmly beaten by Liam Dillon who was favourite to be the last man home. That honour has now fallen to me. Swim seems more than a little ambitious considering I couldn’t break it for a half. It also looks like i’m in serious trouble on the bike. With only 5 weeks of training it would make sense to concentrate on that. I haven’t been able to do long spins.
I will put a bit more of an effort into the bike and Run but i’m too stupid to give up on the sub 60 minute dream. Whilst it now seems very unlikely i’m going to plug away.
Whats that famous japanese saying fall down 7 times get up 8!Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments Off
That was prob my worst week of training just gone. I am a fair Weather cyclists and I just don’t do rain and cold. I couldn’t bring myself to cycle in that so I didn’t. It meant a week mostly in the pool. The injury I have is stopping me doing running so I’m just down to swimming and biking and trying to do maybe one run a week. Ideally I need complete rest from running to let the injury heal I will do that once lanza is over but for the time been I think I can manage one run a week, which is all I did. So Noellie Kavanagh was back this week, however said he was on a recovery so only saw him in the pool on the Monday. Stuggled motivation wise than when he wasn’t there. I really can’t do sets on my own so I generally waited around until someone of similar enough ability came in and then tried to hang on to whatever set they were doing. Tuesday and Wedensday were bad days but did a decent enough set on Thursday. When the great Mick Grogan got in to do his 500′s. I can usually hang on to his warm up one than it’s a struggle after that. I lead out the second one and really felt like a burst a lung on that. Then let him do 500 on his own and joined him for another. It was only 1500 meters I did but our pace was 1:34 per 100meters which is bang on the pace I should be doing on the day. Have to say I couldn’t keep that going for 3.8k so hopefully with the suit it becomes easier.
Friday I was going for a nothing set when Damo from shoreline came in. It was great cause I thought I was only going to end up doing maybe 500 meters but ended up 1900 meters in the end and we were doing 100 off 1:45 so was a tough pace. Think the last 500 we dropped it to 1:50 but we were still coming in at around 1:35 just having long break. Ashley Gardiner joined us too, he’s going very well in the pool for a man that’s only getting in twice a week.
So I have my head to head against Liam dillon this Friday. The race to crucification. We may have to alter the route. The current route has us going up the sally gap but if this weather persists we will have to change that slightly. To try and get the hills in we might do the block but when we reach the top of long hill swing a left and go down red lane than go back up long hill again, reckon it should give us the extra 13k we need to make up the 90k if we are taking Sally gap out of it. It should also give us 1000 meters of climbing which is nearly half of lanza.
So predictions for the race. It won’t be a wetsuit swim so I won’t be looking to break 30 mins. Wouldn’t be able to in a pool sans wetsuit. This race should give me a rough idea where I am swim wise. I’d expect to get a big enough lead out of the water on dillon that I can get on my bike before him. The man is like a ghost in transition so if I don’t have more than 5 minutes on him he’ll be out of the pool after me but on the bike before me.
Once on the bike I just need to hold him off. If he doesn’t catch me on the bike it’ll break his confidence. He’s the pride of the bray wheelers they’ll all be out routing for their man to bring it home on the bike. So mentally if I can get on the run before him it might ruin him. The run is going to be a struggle for me no doubt about that. I haven’t got the running miles in the legs to pull off a good half marathon. If I did a 2 hour run and had a 10 minute lead going out on the run I don’t think he’ll be able to go sub 1:50 on the run. So that’s the plan take my 5 minutes lead out of the water build it up another 5 on the bike and hopefully hold him off on the run.
Lead from the front, break his spirit. The run route is going past my house so my little Girl Grace and Jonah my boy and my lovely wife Kelly will be out to give me some water. They will of course provide Liamo with water too, theres talk of a a legend of Kilcoole AC Paul Cunnigham joining us on the run.
RTE sport are going to bring the mobile team down and they are looking forward to broadcasting live from Greystones. The two biggest names in Triathlon going head to head. There hasn’t been such anticipation since Mckeever V Dillon in Ironman Nice 2011. Where the big man came out on top due to an excellent run/walk strategy that took McKeever by surprise he tought walk/walk strategy would beat Dillons run/walk strategy.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments Off
So with my swim training partner off in Lanza sunning himself it was hard to do the swim sessions this week. I needed to do something different. Normally I go down to the pool and just copy what the great Noellie Kavanagh does in the pool but he was away taking part in some warm weather training in lanza.
I was speaking to Liam Dillon who is a triathlete of some note. He was saying in his training plan he’s supposed to be doing a half Ironman on Easter bank Holiday weekend. He was talking about going down to do the swim in Greystones. I personally think it’s far too cold to be swimming in the sea at the moment so suggested we make up a route around Wicklow and the two of us race each other. We can start in Shoreline in Greystones. I was thinking about the swim part of it wondering would I be able to swim the half Ironman in under 30 minutes in the pool. I might be over stating it here but I reckon in the open sea with wetsuit on i’m going to be 10 seconds faster per 100 meters. However this swim was been done in the pool. It got me curious about going down to the pool with the wetsuit on and seeing if I could swim 3.8k under 60 mins.
So I got in and gave it a go. It was roasting from 300 meters out I felt like I was been boiled in a bag. At about 600 meters I knew I couldn’t do the whole thing so I changed the goal posts slightly and we went for half the distance in 30mins.
I was delighted when I did and extra two lenghts but still came in 29:38. I was pretty tired but think a lot of that could have been due to the heat more than anything else.
If I do this swim under 60 mins I’m going to be burning up some matches in the swim that will surely come back to haunt me on the bike and run. I never said anything about doing anything other than finishing the bike and run so I can live with that. The bike is going to be slow and painful, hopefully I finish it and get on to the run. I’m not expecting miracles it’s going to be a long day out there.
Lots of the club were over training in lanaza so i keep hearing how tough the course is. I’ve always put a bit of comfort in the fact that i’ve done nice and whilst it’s not rated as tough as lanza it is the next best thing. In nice you climb for 2200 meters in lanza you climb for 2400 meters but lanza also has the wind and Nice is only 172km. Lanza is the full 180km.
The weather has been too poxy to get out on the bike. Hopefully it clears up for this week i reckon I need a good few long bikes between now and dd.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments Off
Starting to get a bit worried now. For the past 5 or 6 months I’ve been doing this heart rate based training and to keep my heart rate below 125bpm I’ve really had to slow down. Now everyone tells you don’t worry after a while of doing it your speed will start to come back up and you’ll be doing the same speed for way less effort.
So on the bike i’ve stayed away from group cycling as much as possible and have been a slave to keeping the HR under 125bpm. To achieve this i’ve stayed away from the major climbs around Wicklow as it’s really hard to keep it under 125bpm if you are climbing up the shay elliot.
So I decided to go out with the Bray Wheelers wear the heart rate monitor but just ignore it and try and keep up with the wheelers as best I can. First climb and it wasn’t even a big climb and I’m struggling again at the back of the group. Had a quick look at my HR and it was at about 145. Luckily we re grouped at the top of the hill but I don’t know how i’m going to climb hills and keep it low.
Running has been curtailed as i’ve a bit of an injury at the moment which is only really allowing me short runs on flat surfaces. I think I should be back to running 2 hours in about 2 weeks time but there’s no point in pushing it at the moment so I’m just keeping it to 1 hour sessions max.
Swimming is going well. I’ve noticed my average pace for all the swims I did this week was 1:36 per 100 meter that it only 2 seconds off my race pace. It doesn’t take into account the 2 hour recovery i’m giving myself at the end of the pool though.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | 3 Comments »
There’s a good crew from the Wicklow Triathlon Club who are going over to Lanarote to train in the next few weeks. One of my buddys is over there at the moment (Rob Moran) doing some extra training before the rest of the crew arrive. Rob decided to commit himself fully to Ironman Training about a year ago and has been building up for this race now for some time. I think he’s going to go really well. He’s making me nervous though. He keeps sending me texts about how hard the bike course is. I won’t have the time to go over there and see for myself which is a pity, I’ve done France 3 times and I know it’s a tougher bike course than France which is hard to believe. France has 2100 meters of climbing Lanza has 2400 meters of climbing. Lanza also has very strong winds which isn’t a factor in France. I hate high winds on the bike. I’m not sure if it’s the way i’m set up on the bike but wind seems to slow me down more than it does other cyclists.
So this week was ok from a swim point of view. I was reasonably consistent. I missed my swim training partner (noellie Kavanagh) was on an easy week this week. So I thought we’d be doing drill sets and crap like that. Little did I know that he wasn’t going to turn up all week. Aparently easy week for Noellie means no swimming at all.
Biking was good this week, did more biking this week than i’ve done in years. Still pretty slow stuff but good just to be out. I got out on Sunday with Bray Wheelers group. All the training i’ve been doing is about keeping the HR under 125bpm, but when your in a group you’ve just got to keep going so it was good to get out of that HR zone for a while. Was struggling going up the one big climb that we did and my HR went up to 146bpm so I was pretty close to my max.
Running- Was a very poor week running wise. With only 9 weeks of training left I can’t afford to do no running which is what happened this week. My Kilcoole AC session which is on Mondays is like mass very rarely miss it. I was down in Galway this week so missed that. I am supposed to do one run off the bike (didn’t happen either 5 punctures on that ride!). The last one is typically on a Sunday which is a long run. I’ve missed this a few times now but I decided to take an extra bike session instead after all the talk Rob Moran was saying about how hard Lanza bike course is.
So few changes next week. Going to make sure I hit 3 runs totalling 4 hours of running. Going to swim 15k, apparently that’s the amount of swimming I need to be doing to get under 60mins. Mick Grogan who is fireman and a good swimmer is going to give me a tow on Thursdays. Its prob good idea to get pushed by someone who is a lot faster than me. Myself and Noellie are pretty similar speed in the pool, this guy is a lot faster so if I can try and hang on might be good. I got a good push on Tuesday swimming with two of the life guards in shoreline. Now in fairness one of the them was a real proper swimmer and the other lad was way better than me too. I lead out the first 400 meters I’m sure they were prob back stroking behind me but counted it wrong and ended up doing 450 meters instead our average pace was 1:34mins per 100 meters which is exactly the pace we are supposed to be holding to come in under 60mins but I was at my max and couldn’t have held it for even 500 meters. Damo lead out the other 400 meters they decided to do 350meters steady and blast the last 50 meters the whole thing was at max for me so I could hold their toes until 350 meters then they were both gone, Think they came in 5.45 and I was 6:10 they really put time into me on the last 50meters.
Looking forward to getting the runners on this week.
Damo.Posted by damian under Uncategorized | Permalink | 1 Comment »