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Ironman Joe Skipper in action

With the massive enthusiasm for sport fostered by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, MBF Blog runs a series of pieces about sports and technology and related matters in the coming months.

We also sponsor a local triathlete, Joe Skipper as he trains and competes in Ironman competitions.

Next week we hope to run an interview with Joe, but this focus is on his latest blog/news and what it costs personally to participate in what must be the most challenging of all mega-distance sports.

The loneliness of the long distance athlete has never been more in focus. Joe headed his 17 September blog, ‘The dangled carrot never gets any closer….!

Always Aiming for Better

Joe began his latest posting with acknowledging that while patience is a ‘wonderful thing’, people always want more and faster than before. That’s human nature for you. He was in Galway and came 8th overall when he had pushed for a top 5 finish. His initial thoughts were unsurprisingly of personal disappointment.

However, reflection told him that ‘there were some strong old boys’ in the race, and his outcome was reflective of where he is at the moment. Because he has experienced a podium place (top 5) before, albeit in a weaker field, he wants to taste it again. A personal best is always going to be a benchmark to improve on.

That feeling that comes from not doing as well as you hoped or knew you could, is the spur to all sports people from the amateur novice to the professional. Joe said that while every race is different terrain, without that aiming high ambition, how would he ever improve?

Onwards and Upwards

Joe has one more race this season, and was determined to focus on training in the build up, a sort of ‘shit or bust approach.’ Train, eat, sleep, train is the mantra, and Joe is embracing it to the max. Tapering is part of this process, early nights, a few short, hard sessions, good sleep.

The mental process is just as important as the physical, as the 2012 summer of sporting excellence taught everybody. Joe was visualising the race ahead, making mental plans and thought that it helped that this was the last race, so he could push to his limit and ‘trash’ himself.

One interesting point from Joe about the Galway event was how he got into a battle over a stretch with a particular person, pictured on his web. From the bike ride to the third lap of the run stage, it helped to have a kind of pace-maker. Unfortunately the opponent pulled away, but another valuable lesson was learned by Joe as he continues to build his strength and skill, bit by bit.

Joe will report next week, and we’ll be catching up with too.
In the meantime, he has uploaded bike data and run data for all those interested.