Author: Chris Hopkins

12 days to go!!!

Sorry its been a while since my last post. What a hectic couple of months it has been! I am not sure where in any Ironman Training plan it says about going for a 2 week all inclusive holiday to Cancun but I somehow ended up including it in mine haha. All this training and the commitment I have made to it has hindered family life at times so I think it was important we managed to get a nice family holiday in especially for the kids. Turns out it was a nice little training week where I got to run in 30 degree heat and swim in bath like water in the sea which was lovely too. Turns out I only put 2lbs on after the two weeks and have already managed to shake that off plus some extra.

Since returning from Cancun on Wednesday of last week, it was a quick turn around and time for the Wales Swim down Tenby as part of the Long Course Weekend. Dad and I rocked up Friday, registered and then took in the sights of Tenby, getting inspiration from all the kids doing their dip and dash races whilst reminiscing of my competitive school boy days. So much fun and high expectations. Great times!!! The swim was a full Iron distance swim of 2.4 miles. I had my eye on a sub 1hr 10 for it but realistically I knew that with the jet lag and post Cancun blues I was going to need something special to get it. Conditions were lovely out of the water, sun was out, gentle breeze and everyone was in great spirits down there. 6 o clock arrived and it was wetsuit on and in to test the water. Slightly colder than the last ocean I had taken a dip in but hey ho! 2100 swimmers were going at it all in the holding pen waiting for the gun. We were greeted with not only a klaxon but also a full set of fireworks which I think took the lungs out of some of the athletes, fortunately I was near the front of the pack and was in and away but time the smoke settled.

The swim was tough! Turns out conditions weren’t as great out at sea as they were on land with a nice steady chop but nothing too off putting. First lap felt good however my lines weren’t very economical and I am confident I must have swam much further than I needed to. It was the Australian style exit and re entry which was great fun and crowds packed the run way back into the sea. Was feeling slightly on my arse at the half way marker when a big the loud roar from Marc and Jo Barrow caught be by surprise and gave me a kick up the arse to get my head in the game ready for the last loop. My arms weren’t feeling to strong for the last half but got round it in a respectable 1hr 16, not my target time but all things considered I was happy. Most importantly though, I loved the challenge and being in with that many competitors all pushing themselves to the limit!

Now all I have left to do is finish some conditioning work this week, I was due to taper but after holiday I just want to get my body a bit more solid and some final technique and training drills will hopefully put the icing on the cake and then after the weekend its nice an easy through to Lake Placid. Dad and I are scheduled to fly into Boston on Thursday 20th and Drive across to Lake Placid where I can hopefully catch check in Thursday night and then get a bike recce on the Friday. Shit is becoming a reality now, I have had my bib number of 1518. I will post a blog when I get to New York and share a link to my Athlete Tracker. Full of mixed emotions of nerves, excitement, determination and the fear of the unknown. I am happy with my training I just hope I can get it right on the day when it counts. Dad is going to be in my corner so I am confident he will keep me in line and make sure I am pacing it right.

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One last thing before I check out is my Tenby Charity Position. Some of you may have seen that I have cancelled my Macmillan Charity spot and paid for my entry to compete in order to raise money for a friend and colleague who’s daughter needs life saving treatment in Boston and needs £50,000 to fund it. I want to compliment Macmillan on their understanding and cooperation in the process and have supported my decision. I have kept my goal of £2000 to raise for Little Lydia Germon. Her challenge is far greater than mine, she has more strength than I ever will, but if I can help her then I will try my utmost to ensure I not only get round this Ironman but also Ironman Wales in September too.

Please see my page https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/chrisforlittlelydia

I would be grateful of any donations to this life saving cause.

Until I next blog, I thought I would leave you with this. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. Successful people keep moving forward, they may make mistakes but they never quit! Be Successful in all aspects of life!

Peace out !

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Two Races into the Season

So, time for a progress report. Diet has been going good. I have been wanting to shift a few more pounds ready for the loungers races and all seems on track.

I finally got to kick start my season in the Llanelli Sprint two weeks ago. I felt a little heavy  on the swim, my shoulders started to get fatigued quickly which was a slight concern as it was only a 750m swim but I am putting that down to it being only my second swim in the new wetsuit, the first time being only two days before! The cycle went well considering it was my weakest and the run was good too. It was my first race which I had done the year before so I could see if there were any improvements and I was chuffed when I knocked 3 minutes off last years time.

The highlight of the race had to be running the last 2.5km with rugby legend Shane Williams. He caught me up at the half way mark of the run and I said to myself I can’t let you beat me. We went toe to toe for the last half until it came down to the finish line. We both started upping the speed and closed in on two guys in front of us until it came to the final 100 yards. I took it up another gear and thankfully for me, he didn’t have the gear to get up to. I was over the moon, and luckily for me, my dad was on hand to capture it all on camera.

me and Shane running

The second race of the season was this sunday just gone in Porthcawl. This time is was an Olympic distance. 1500m Swim, 40km Bike and a 10km Run to finish. This was my next challenge as I didn’t push up to this distance last season and kept it in my com for zone at sprint distance.

The swim felt fantastic, it was my first experience of a beach start swim which I loved! 130 plus bodies hurtling themselves into the sea at the same time. An australian exit swim at the half way point (exit the sea run 20 yards then re enter) was always a treat to experience. I felt really strong on the swim and its only going to get stronger. I was 16th out of the water in a time of 24 mins.

The cycle was a fantastic route, challenging, a couple of tasty climbs and some fast descents. Unfortunately for my I rode them like a tit and had to get used to the sound of bikes shooting passed me. Really was frustrated with it but I am not going to dwell on it, just hammer the time on my bike now ready for my next challenge.

The run was going to be interesting, I had put some effort into the bike but I had tried focusing on spinning rather than girding the lower gears so when I started the run I quickly started picking off those in front. I finished the run in 46 minutes and I had quite enough in the tank to really push the final 1km. I finished a respectable 66th in a strong field but I didn’t break the 2 hours 30 minute mark. With a strong bike I think I could definitely break it.

So now where to go? Time to push the distance some more, Sosban sizzler is two weeks away which will be my first half Ironman and a real eye opener into where I am with my training. How am I feeling about this? I can’t fucking wait! Bring it on!! The opportunity of a new challenge, pushing my body and mind further than I have gone before is something I can’t get enough of! Lets get it on!

What to do now….? Do I build on my strengths and get my Swim and run even stronger and even more competitive, or just try to maintain that and invest some serious time on my bike to get it up to a respectable standard?

That decision is still in process however tonight I tackled the hills of Mount Pleasant and Townhill.

To add to my recent challenges, I have had a fantastic boost of confidence with an offer of sponsorship from sports events company miTours. They have made a fantastic donation to my charity Macmillan and also covered the cost for a brand new racing suit. I am ready to kick on and looking forward to my first Half Ironman and then its one road to full Ironman!

 

Peace out!

 

14 weeks out!

Lets go again! It’s been a busy few weeks since my last post.

So where have I come since my previous post……. well I’ve been to Hot Pod Yoga which may I add was an absolute treat! I was very skeptical going in but what a great experience it was and based on this last week its clearly done exactly what I wanted!

I have really just been focusing on my stretching and flexibility, working my IT band and the surrounding muscles and putting the miles in on the bike and in the pool.

I timed myself again on the half Ironman swim and finished up in a steady 31 minutes which felt great and my goal now is to maintain that over the next few weeks but really focus on my Cycle and getting my run back up to scratch.

Last week I was up in Crawley with work and tested my leg out with a steady 5k which was pain free. Could it possibly be the light at the end of the tunnel that I have been searching and working for these past few weeks? I tested out a nice early 5k at the start of the week which again was pain free which left me with the next question, will it hold out closer to 10k which is something I haven’t managed to clock in 2016……!?

Tonight was my next test, can I go close to the 10k mark? I planned out a route which was relatively flat with some spicy inclines and decline to test out my leg. I picked Dan up who has been training with me the past few weeks and we headed off for Blackpill! Was a cracking evening for it and everything just fell into place! pacing was bang on, heart rate was great, floating around between Zone 2 and 3 and there seemed plenty in the tank both in the lungs and legs! A strong 300m finish at sub 4min/km pace was a nice little end of get the heart rate up at the end.

I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot however, I think I am ready to really kick on, stop winging about my fucking leg which I am sure my friends and family are sick of hearing these last couple of months and really get stuck into it. The goal is clock a half marathon by the 1st week of May and then slowly edge my way up to the 20 mile mark and get a couple under my belt come the end of june early july!

So, Where does my training go from here….? Now is my time to build! I have got my bike and run where I want it to be, I am going to maintain my swim but focus my time for the bike and run with a conscious mindset on continuing my stretching and yoga! My knowledge of training has improved drastically these past few weeks, really investigating heart rates and zones and now its also time to experiment my nutrition and get that race day plan in place!

I have learnt a lot about my self these past few weeks, my first ever real injury in the build up to my biggest ever personal sporting challenge and if I am honest, the first time in my life I have begun to question my capabilities of achieving my goals! I have been on a journey of patience, reflection and channelling my will to succeed in areas I chose to ignore in the past being young and untouchable or so I thought. Maybe this growing old malarky isn’t all that bad and you just need to remember that the body doesn’t always remain as it once was and it needs a bit of tlc along with the mind!

Dream big, keep focused, remain patient and these goals can be possible. Listen to others, trust your training and look after your body and mind! This is the attitude I have come to demonstrate and with that in mind I will remain on track to my Ironman goals!

Peace out!

 

18 weeks out!

So you may have to bare with me on this one. Writing has never been something of even a minor strength of mine but if I am going to put my body and mind through all this training, I may as well document it all.

Where am I right now and am I remotely close to where I need and want to be? Am I fuck! Right now I am swimming strong. I have timed myself on two race pace swims and I have done half Iron distance in 30 minutes and a full Iron distance in 1 hr 6. I should be pleased right? That is sadly as good as its getting right now!

I am suffering with my IT band which has made me very close and attached to my foam roller every morning and night, rolling the shit out of it hoping to finally get some life back in these legs.

21 weeks out got me suckered in to a 100km ride over possibly some of the sickest hills in South Wales which really knocked my confidence on where I want to be on the bike. I say it knocked my confidence but I only had myself to blame on this one! 3 weeks out of the sadly, poor nutrition and a severe lack of warm clothing caused the legs to cease and crumble but we soldiered on and with great support from Mark and Jason I made it back home! At one point I thought I was going to have to wave the white flag and call for help.

Since then I have clocked less hillier rides and also seen some PR’s on the Strava, even when they are at 6am! A few more short hilly routes and it will be time to tackle that 100km loop and this time I am going to fight fire with fire and ride away victorious! Gels and salt tabs and more, I am going in prepped and ready for this one!

Running is my final mission thats got my frustration and temper going off the chart! During all my time of competitive swimming, senior football in the Swansea League!!! and numerous extreme sports hobbies I have seen off growing up, I have never managed to pick up an injury. I now decide to conqour an Ironman and 3 weeks into training and I am riddled with injury! I start feeling good on a few shorter runs, as soon as I reach that 10km mark its game over! I take a week off running, start back up, shorter, then building up some more and then the pain kicks in again. Bollocks! The pain is a sharp shooting pain in the outside of my left knee and it reduces me to a point I am walking home with my tail between my legs.

So where do I go from here? I am swimming like a champ, cycling at around 50% to where I want to be right now and Running is nearly non existent! Am I going to be ready come July 24th, have I finally bitten off more than I can chew for the first time in my life? Confidence is in question and the big debate of where I go from here have been circling my head for the past few weeks.

I have had some words of encouragement from Mr Govier with regards to some Running advice for my training which has lifted my confidence. Can I get race ready for Lake Placid though, will I be able to get my IT Band firing where it needs to be again and get my cycling and running up to a standard close to my Swim?………

I refuse to go down without a fight and I will invest the time in my recovery and train smarter to try help. I am off back to my roller now but hopefully my next post will be more positive and the confidence will be back up where it usually is with me.

#flabdadtoironmanlad over and out!