Sleep is a great thing. Combine that with Vitamin D and maybe fish oil your on a winner. I can control the last two but the sleep end of things is a in the hands of my children. Any time from 4:51am-4:59am one of my kids will rise. Even at such a young age they look out for each other. God forbid one might sleep in, the other one will sort that out!.. Ha! not this morning mammy and daddy!!

Saturday last I raced in the National Standard championships in Athlone. My 5th race in as many weeks. If truth be told I shouldn’t of raced, I was starting to feel my heavy schedule taking its toll. But I had to race. The nationals only come round once a year, the chance at winning a national title doesn’t present itself too many times in your sporting career. I’ve had good success in recent years on the Athlone course and I knew if I trained smart all week that I could bring myself to the starting line fresh. Rob held the reins. I’ve trained hard leading up to all my races in recent weeks but last week I brought the load down and focused on Saturday. What I never had before a race in years in 11 hours sleep. Going to this race minus the family I drove up the night before in my camper van and pulled up the side of the road at 1am. Driving so late was dangerous but a trick I used was thee old windows down and sing your wee heart out trick. I forgot how much i can belt out a tune. Backstreet boys- millennium was on repeat the whole way there. I Slept right through until 12 mid day. Recharged and Full of caffeine  I was on the line giving myself one option. Win. I was asked before kilkee why I was racing so much and I explained my reasons.  ‘Well once your prepared to finish 2nd’ was his reply. I never prepare to finish 2nd but accepting 2nd is different. 

For the record i made it known that this race shouldnt be the nationals. It is a great race but not one for the nationals. One wave- ready steady GO. only option.I wanted to voice this before the race rather than after. People would say it were sour grapes  but luckily this didn’t turn out to be the case. But I still stand by what I said. 

The race was set in waves, all determined by age group. I had a competitive wave with Joe lynch(defending Champ) and Mark Nolan starting with me. Other guys like Trevor Woods, Bjorn Ludick, Stephen Early all started in waves in front and behind leaving it very difficult to understand where you are during the race. What I had to do is win my wave and hope that would  beat the other guys. 

The swim was cut short and changed to all downstream due to the heavy flow in the shannon. It suited me and left a usual larger gap to the race leaders at a minimum. We were like Bullets coming down the river. I swam as if a nettle was stuck in my Sailfish G Range. Lynch and Nolan were right there and once I had my feet in the bike shoes I knew I had put big time into them because what was in the back of my mind was the run. If anything could catch me out today was my run legs in the latter part of the race.

I studied my bike file from last year where i biked really well. A little heavier but stronger this year should my legs be going well I felt I could better my previous years performance. Doused in Sport Eol from Helvetica  I turned the legs over hard. My  long pins  burned but what held them together was my compressport quads. Looking down at my power numbers I knew I was on it and comfortable. I had the right gearing too from experience of the course and it paid dividends. Wind was up and a little longer this race was mine to loose had my run legs not turned up for the party, Here is my file

I transitioned really slow. I just cant seem to get my run shoes on quick enough, that sort of time can cost you races. I ran out more conservative than previous races knowing should I go too quick Mark Nolan could run me down. Athlone is packed with competitors, atmosphere electric, race commentary from Peter Jack is entertaining. It really is a top venue for a race. But as i said not for the  the  national championships. This was the course and structure for this year and I like everyone else had to fall in. I felt the same as last week on the run, sore and willing on every kilometre. It is 4 laps in the centre of the town. Watching where the  competitors were in my wave I knew I had a sizeable lead but still unaware of the other waves. Mid way through the run I lost count of the laps and was unsure Did I have one more to do or finish. I had to ask Noel Kavanagh(wicklow tri) and Stephen Early(who pull out from an ankle injury) did I have one more to do. I did of course and really had to work hard to the line.

I was given the win by the announcers as there were live timing mats indicating this. To say I was a proud man is an understatement. Having a national title only reminds me that working as hard as I do has its rewards. Winning that race hopefully gives me the National Series also. So its rest time and no racing until Antwerp on the 22nd of july.. Not long away but a rest is welcomed.

Winning a national title you would think the prize giving would be special and one for the memory bank but no I just drove home. Because the organisers  messed up the results in the first two years of the race  there is no prize giving. Instead they post them out!!..’here honey your national medal arrived’  I would think this is  due to the volume of competitors and chips malfunctioning and innocent beginners not doing the whole course. There are positives from this race but the most important things you’d expect  are negatives.
When winning a national title it should be celebrated and I should have had that opportunity to take it all in and enjoy the post race atmosphere . If I were the sponsor I’d be asking questions too. That surely is a national paper picture. I’m sure it will be presented at the end of season TI diner but it’s not the same. I will donate my prize money (i dont know what it is yet!!) to Pa Tiernay who is racing Ironman …Pa completed the Frankfurt Ironman in true Ironman fashion and showed amazing character… The charity he is

Next up 70.3 Antwerp, Estonia 111, Galway 70.3 and then  challenge barca!..

Thank you everyone for the kind messages.