It's January, and the internet is groaning under the weight of blog posts setting out peoples' extravagant goals for the year, so not wanting to be left out, it's probably time to write down a few things.
If I was to remind you that in 2014 I raced my first sprint distance triathlon, and in 2015 my first Olympic distance race (along with several more sprints), you might - if you're familiar with triathlon distances - hazard a guess at the obvious next step. There may be a further clue in the fact I made a point of racing a half marathon last year, as well as doing some fairly long open water swims and bike rides.
In case you haven't figured it out, my main aim for the year is to get a half-ironman distance triathlon - 1900m swim, 90km bike, 21km (half-marathon) run - under my belt. Lower-case 'i' deliberate, because it's not going to be with 'Ironman' trademark owners WTC - much as the 70.3 Staffordshire race is fairly local, I can live without £200+ entry fees for now. That said, I have actually spent £200+ on entries - but I've signed up for two events.
The first is the OSB Events 'Outlaw Half' in Nottingham on 29 May. Close to home and one of the bigger non-WTC events in the UK with something like 1400 entrants. I raced, and enjoyed, their sprint triathlon organised as part of the same weekend last year. The second is the 113 Events Cotswold Classic on the 21st of August. Conveniently close to my parents house, and apparently a fairly fast/flat/easy course - so in a way it's something of a backup policy in case the Outlaw Half doesn't turn out how I want it to.
I've already run down the Outlaw Half finishing chute. I've only got to go about four and a half times further to do it again. Should be easy right?
So how do I want it to turn out? Well, finishing is obviously a first priority, but I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about times. I think I should be able to get under six hours. If I manage to hit that at the Outlaw, I'll come up with a new target for the Cotswold Classic. Otherwise, I'll just hope that the fast course and a few more months training makes the difference.
I'm also intending to race the Nottingham Uni Varsity sprint tri again this year (24 April). Partly because it falls conveniently about a month before the Outlaw Half, and I think a bit of reminder of how to put my shoes on quickly would be good, but also because it was a really fun race last year.
I'll be book-ending the triathlon season with a couple of running races (if you'd suggested to me a couple of years ago that this would be the case, I'd probably have laughed at you). To get things started, I'll be doing the Bath Half-marathon on 13 March - mostly to give a bit of focus to working on my running over the winter. After my infuriating 2h00m12s at the Severn Bridge Half last year, I would have said (a couple of months ago) that anything with a '1' at the front of it would be OK, but with that couple of months of training behind me, I'm starting to think I can do 1h50m. Can I? We'll find out in seven weeks.
To round off the year, I've entered the Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon on 25 September. No time expectations for this one, it really is just to run it and see what happens. Again, a year or so ago, I'd have flat-out said I couldn't run a full marathon. These days, I'm starting to believe, although there's a fair amount of work still to do.
I'll be doing the Cycle Derby 160km Spring Classic sportive again on 1 May, mainly to keep building up the cycle miles. Hopefully, the weather will be a bit less horrible this year.
Then, between the Outlaw and Cotswold triathlons, I'll be going along to another - the full ironman distance Cotswold 226 event run by the same organisers as the Classic. Not to race the triathlon, but because they're running a 3.8km swim race on the Saturday (16 July), and a 'Tri rules 180km sportive' (ie no drafting, TT bikes allowed, bad fashion choices positively encouraged) alongside the triathlon on the Sunday. I've entered both, just for a bit of fun and to get a feel for the area the Classic is held in.
Attentive readers might note that, between this and the Nottingham marathon, I will hopefully end the year having done every element of a full-ironman distance triathlon individually - much as I did all the elements of a half-ironman last year, but that's something to think about in the autumn.