Saturday 30 May 2015

The first week of Marathon training.

Monday: Run 2 (10k)
Monday: 'Run 2' was my first run of the week. Ouch, that hurt. In retrospect perhaps I should have rested after Sundays tri-session.

Tuesday: Forced rest day. I ached, especially my ankles. Realised I had 18 weeks to go until my Marathon. My planned marathon training started this week. 2 pairs of funky lock-laces arrived in the post, kitted my shoes out accordingly.
Wednesday: Interval run (10k +)
Wednesday: Intervals. Today I ran just over 10k using the following formula: 10 minute warm up; 6 x (1 minute fast then 3 minutes easy); cool down to finish. The tow-path was closed before I reached my destination so I had to take an alternate route. Added about 0.5k to my journey but it felt kinda nice to run all the way down Broad Street into work.
Today was also the day that my funky wet suit got delivered. How exciting! I just had to try it on there and then. Am not sure when I am going to use it though - Ragley Hall Lake just happens to not be open this Sunday. Typical. SJ said she'd run me a bath... I'll review and blog about this wet suit after I have tried and tested it. All the gear but no idea...
Don't pass gas in a wet suit!
Friends have given lots of advice in terms of my new swimming pursuits. Never pee in a pool (cos it apparently turns the water pink?!) Oh, and never pass gas in a wet suit!

Thursday: Cycle commute. General run of the mill cycle. Nothing in particular to shout about. My commute bike has saved me about £585 in travel fare's to date though - that's something to shout about!
Friday: Long run 8 miles (13.4k)
Friday: Long run. Ran SJ's 8 mile loop in reverse. Was lucky to miss most of the forecast heavy ran.

Saturday: Cycle commute. Wasn't going to cycle but work have now put a stop to parking on a weekend. Grr! Used my faster, lighter single-speed road bike for this trip.

Sunday. Day of rest. No tri-club today. Birthday celebrations as Lydia and Millie Payne both age somewhat.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Isoman triathlon, really?!

So whacked again after my tri-session that I didn't even think about training on Monday. That hill running proper pained the muscles in the back of my legs. The weather was real pants too. Hmm, I wonder if I'm becoming a fair weather sports type?
Intervals were the flavour of the day for Tuesday. I ran a 10k route which followed the formula: 15 minute warm up; 6 x (1 minute fast then 3 minutes easy); cool down to finish. Followed my usual commute run from Kings Norton (only added a run around the Church at the start). This run hurt a little with a little burning sensation in the back of my calf muscles. The chart above clearly demonstrates my faster pace (higher peaks) for the 6 intervals.
Mid-week was a great day for adventure. I hooked up with my blind buddy Roger and we took his tandem ('The Beast') out for the day. We cycled a loop we had cycled before which passed through Fladbury and Crowle. My handling skills had definitely improved as I was now able to use all the gears with no major issue (except 1 tiny mishap when I changed up instead of down up a hill climb). We stopped at a cafe and had bacon butties at about the mid-way point which was nice. It was great to pass a random 'other' cyclist who knew Roger and better yet to bump into another of his 'tandem partners' near the finish. Roger is such a legend and I look forward to cycling with him again in the near future.

On Thursday I ran. I ran an alternate route of my 'Run2'. Essentially I followed much of the No.5 cycle route from King's Norton into work. Have cycled this stretch lots so it felt kinda weird running it.

Friday was a cycle commute day. On the way in, part of the tow-path was closed as they were gritting it. Not sure why they do this, the tarmac was a much better, speedier surface. On the return leg my saddle came loose. Easily fixed and onwards I went.
After my cycle commute, I checked out my Facebook account and impulsively signed up for a triathlon event. This event is the 'Isoman' triathlon being held on 18th July 2015. It just seemed to make sense at the time. The event was a triathlon (obvs), I had just joined a triathlon club... I am not doing PBP. The event is local. It's being held on a Saturday (not the traditional Sunday). The advert read 'do something different... do something amazing'. I wanted to be different. I wanted to be amazing. There was only limited places available. I signed up! Most triathlon events are biased mainly towards the cycling (my favourite and best discipline) and to a slightly lesser extent towards the running (my second favourite discipline). Shockingly, the aim of Isoman is to address this imbalance and create a triathlon for which all disciplines demand an equal level of excellence.
They say to excel at Iron distance triathlon you must be an excellent cyclist/runner. To excel in Isoman you need to be an excellent triathlete. An excellent triathlete I am not. Horrors! My swimming is poor, proper pants you might say. However, don't panic too much (I tell myself), I don't plan to do the 'full event', rather just a 1/4 of it. Indeed I have signed up for the quarter event!
This still means I have to swim a very, very long way - 1.75 miles in fact. A swim in open water! I don't think I've ever swam a mile! Not sure I've ever swam in a lake either. This is certainly a challenge for me. I don't even own a wetsuit. Bizarrely, 26 years ago to this day, my parents acquired a wetsuit for me (to use for windsurfing purposes back in the day). Maybe it's a sign...
Saturday was devoted to my long run. I ran an 8 mile (13.1k) course that my wife, SJ had created. This is the furthest I have ran in one stretch, in a long time. Surprisingly, I didn't feel too bad. My Lunarglide shoes were just fine but I really want to put a pair of those funky lock laces in them.
SJ's 8 miler
Finished the week with a session(s) at my tri-club. Indeed, this was a swim/spin/run session. The swim was as hard as expected and my technique still sucks. I swam endless lengths with a leg float at times, not at others. Attempts were made not to touch the top of the pool as I turned and swam back each time. How am I ever going to swim 1.75 miles open water?! Spinning was so hard too. Never expected spinning to hurt so much and never expected to sweat so much. The bike was awesome, way more advanced than I ever expected with toe straps, and lots of adjustable options. I think I didn't have my bike set up right and boy that was a painful 20 minutes. Quite a shock being a reasonable cyclist but a naff spinner. To finish, we went for a run. Only a short run (1.5k) but this felt kinda weird after using arms and legs so much in the sessions before. We ran around the running track at Abbey Stadium (which strangely I had wanted to do for years), then around the cycle track, then another lap outside the cycle track. Whacked! Boom, what a week!
My eyes looked like my run above after todays tri-session!

Sunday 17 May 2015

Orca but no whale...

So whacked after my first triathlon club session that I chose not to do anything exercise-wise on Monday. My calf muscles felt a bit achey-breaky and I didn't want to risk any sort of injury. Aid's sprained ankle has kept him from exercising for about a month now!

Tuesday was my first run of the week. I ran my 'Run 2' route in the rain. My new cap worked just fine in keeping the rain out of my eyes and face. Really am starting to look proper geeky.

Wednesday was a nice cycle commute. Felt kinda weird to be back on my cyclo-cross 'commute' bike as my cycling has reduced a little since my 'other activities' have increased and have used alternate bikes on my last couple of adventures. A burnt out mobility scooter was passed in both directions of my commute. That's got to be the first time I have seen such a burnt out vehicle on the no.5 cycle route. Hooligans!
Wanted to do a long run on Thursday and SJ had prepared me a nice (hmm) 8 mile loop. Sadly it was raining hard and I played the fair weather runner card. Instead of running, I went for a swim. This swim was just a whole bunch of lengths in the pool. I was sporting goggles and a swimming cap which made for an altogether different experience. The goggles certainly prevented me from getting sore eyes (but became misty quite frequently, despite being 'anti-fog'). The swimming cap worked ace. I had never worn such a geeky cap before and didn't know what to expect. Once in the pool, all thought of myself wearing a cap disappeared (bet I looked a sight though). Once out of the pool, I removed my cap and wow, my hair was dry! It might sound obvious, but I wasn't expecting that! Ha!
At this juncture I must point out that Lin had gotten me the swimming cap - in fact she has gotten me 3! Thanks Lin. Lin also won a whole bunch of triathlon gear in a raffle (book, floats, my goggles, etc, etc) and kindly gave all that stuff to me. How awesome! Better yet, SJ got me a rather funky Orca RS1 Killa tri-suit. This suit looks amazing and gets great reviews. Again, not what I expected at all - it is wafer thin, weighs nothing and can squashed into a little bundle that would fit into your hand (I thought it would have been more like a wetsuit or material like swimming trunks or something). I wanted to wear it today, on my Thursday swim. I thought better of it, and figured it would have to wait until triathlon club day.
Friday saw me complete another bicycle commute. Just for fun I cycled an alternate route to my norm in both directions. I passed the burnt out scooter landmark though and was surprised it still remained.

Saturday was Parkrun. It was nice to see Phil B there again. Neither of us achieved a PB. This was my 7th Parkrun to date and I finished in 61st place out of a field of 338 runners. My official time was 22:27. I guess being a 'good samaritan' and helping a fallen runner up at the start didn't do my time wonders. The guy I helped out didn't express any thanks, he just said 'well there goes my chance of a good time', I replied 'same here'. This was probably the most congested I have seen Parkrun and the start line was moved due to a local fair.  Up until this Parkrun, my times had improved on each successive run.

Sunday was 'tri-club'. This week we swam for an hour and then ran straight after. The swim was great because a chap called Lee (I think) really 'looked after' myself and 2 others - 'the impossibles'. I am really not a great swimmer. Lee was getting us to complete a number of 'drills' to help us improve technique. We would have to lift our elbows high and tap our shoulders on each stroke, then brush our thumbs alongside our thighs and all sorts of other wonderfully weird stuff during different lengths. Sometimes we used floats and sometimes not. The session finished with me performing my first water somersault 'thing' and then kicking off the wall as I turned. I have little idea what the other triathletes were doing.

The tri-suit SJ had gotten me was awesome and made it's debut during my swim. It's quite a trick zipping it up/down though and I usually need help. I kept the suit on for the run session that followed.
Only 6 of us attended the running session as a number of folk had participated in events earlier in the day. The session took the form of 'hill repeats', which was a new concept for me. We took a gentle jog to the foot of a hill and then ran up and down it, about 1k each way. I stuck with the fastest runner and chatted till I was out of puff. On the run down, I felt obliged to copy this faster runner and 'high 5' each runner we passed - this appeared to be the normal thing to do amongst the others (on 2 occasions I completely missed the hand). At the foot we rested until we were all grouped together. Then we ran again (hence the 'repeat'), only this time we all agreed to race (except 1 who was whacked). I followed the fast chap to the top and ran past him to the finish! I'm sure he could have beaten me if he so wished, but hey, I came first! I was ready to run a third repeat (as was one other) but it was decided we best jog back to the start. Am enjoying this tri-lark.

Sunday 10 May 2015

'Duathlon Doo', 'Triathlon Tim' call me what you like I've had a swim...

This week I thought I would write out a basic training plan (below) and see if this would help motivate me.
Sure enough, on Monday I cycled to work and back. Since it was a Bank Holiday and I knew the roads would be quiet, I chose to use my single-speed road bike. I love this bike. The commute in was a real blast. Cycling back was a wee bit menace because it took my Garmin a while to locate satellites (hasn't behaved like that before).
Monday was also the day that I paid £40 to enter the ballot for a place in the London 2016 Marathon. Do I really want to do this? SJ still swears it's awesome. I won't know if I've secured a place until early October. Early October is when I attempt to run my very first ever Marathon. Read about it here: Doo's very first ever off road Marathon.
Sticking to my plan - on Tuesday I ran. Had extended my 'Run 2' run (by running around a little bit of green in Kings Norton) to make this run a fully fledged 10k. I ran faster than last week and covered a now greater distance too. Had put these funky elastic 'lock laces' into my trail shoes and truly rate them. These lock laces allow you to slip shoes on and off quick style without having to undo any laces and make the shoe easy to loosen or tighten as your feet swell. These lock laces looked funky too. Pricey at about £6 a pop, but I daresay I'll invest in a few more for my other shoes.

Wednesday was a great day. On Wednesday, sticking to my plan, oh yes, I swam! This was my first swim in donkeys. I really wasn't sure if I was going to be able to swim but I managed a few lengths. According to my funky TomTom watch, I swam 0.84km (42 lengths of a 20m pool), though I really don't know if that was accurate or not. Once I entered the pool, I asked this random guy (Phil) the length of the pool (20m). After swimming, I chatted to Phil for a short spell about my cycling, newly started running and this, my first swim. He suggested I join a local triathlon club and gave me some details. I just might meet this guy again...
Thursday I ran again. I ran into work. Worked. Then I ran back. I covered about 8 miles altogether, running from Cadbury's to work and then back again. I was wearing new 'kicks' on this run. These shoes were road shoes (as opposed to my usual trail shoes) and as sad as it sounds were brought because they make me think of my daughter Lunar. These shoes are a pair of Nike Lunarglide 6's. Research suggested they were awesome and I got them relatively cheap. Crazy eh?!
Crazier still, in my humble opinion, was the fact that masses took to the polling stations. I read about all the party's in the Metro magazine and they all had negative points in one way or another. We all knew folk should have voted for Miggy! Miggy!
Friday and my plan went to pot. I didn't cycle. In fact, I didn't run or swim either. Instead of cycling, I had fun with my family. Lunar and I spent time at Monkey Music which is always a treat.
Parkrun was written off on Saturday as I chose to spend more time with my family again. We took a trip to the Severn Valley Railway that ran from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. This was an awesome day.

Sunday was another change of plan. I didn't take a day off. Oh no, I joined Redditch Triathlon Club!
The club has sessions each week. This week it was a swim/bike 'brick', which was essentially an hour in the pool followed by a period on the bike. Swimming was hard work. This week, the plan was to build up stamina, so it was mostly just swimming lengths. The pool was divided into 3 lanes - fast, medium and slow. Of course I was in the slow group and was slowest member of said group. Instructors would give various instructions about swimming at different paces for different lengths, I essentially just swam (swam 2 lengths fast) as that was task enough for me. Towards the end, we were supposed to get out the pool, complete 5 press-ups (yeah right) and get back into the pool and swim some more. It was obvious I was a newbie, I was the only guy to 'forget' my goggles. Towards the end a chap called Lee lent me a pair of his - cheers Lee! I was whacked when this hour was over! According to my TomTom, I swam 1,449m though I am dubious about this.
The bike session was amazing. I completed my first ever time trial (TT). This TT only stretched for (just under) 12k and amazingly was part of my commute. We were all started off in 30 second intervals and when my time came, I pedalled as hard and as fast as I could. I wanted to make up for my poor swimming performance and think I did just fine. On the outward stretch I passed at least 2 cyclists (though they were slowed a little by a bus). Just as I was gaining momentum, I heard an awful sound and thought my wheel was coming off. I didn't want to stop as I wanted as fast a time as possible but had to slow to figure out what was wrong. Luckily it was just my bagman holder coming loose - I ignored it and sped on again. At the half-way mark we got photographed (see above) and then had to race back to the finish. I passed more cyclists and felt truly awesome. Not sure what my time was, or what position I finished in - but who cares, I had lots of fun and was pleased with my performance. Some commented 'not bad for a newbie ... more like a probie'. Think I am going to enjoy this club. Thanks Phil.

Saturday 2 May 2015

Preservation. Prevention. Oh, and another PB!

Started the week with what I am now calling my 'Run 2' run (name inspired by 'Song 2' by Blur). This is a run that I have created that is not a fast run, neither is it a long run, it is just a run. It's a nice run that spans 6 miles (just under 10k) and is easy for me to complete as it starts at Kings Norton and finishes at work. I hope to run this run on a once weekly(ish) basis. To date, I have ran this route twice. I think I should consider trying to improve my pace a little though.
Run 2
Tuesday was meant to be a day cycling with Roger and The Beast (his tandem). Sadly, I woke up with a sore throat and a bad head. Worse still, the heavens had opened and it was wet everywhere. Ride with Roger was postponed.

Juice Free had suggested I have a rest week and take it easy. I guess this week indeed was just that. Whilst I was able to rest from exercising, I spent some time creating a JustGiving web page for my upcoming marathon event...

On 3 October 2015 I plan to run the Heart of England Forest Marathon to raise awareness (and monies) for suicide prevention. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 50 in the U.K. Papyrus is a charity that is specifically targeting the prevention of young suicide and would benefit from any monies I am able to raise. Please help me, to help this worthwhile charity and help prevent suicide. Please click this link to sponsor Doo.
The Heart of England Forest Marathon has a 'life preservation' theme too. My entry fee ensures that a tree will be planted in the Heart of England Forest. It's fair to say that life preservation should be made a priority.
Finished the week with another Parkrun. This was my 6th Parkrun to date and I finished in 33rd place out of a field of 307. I ran as hard and fast as my legs would allow and raced (and overtook) a random chap to the finish. At the finish I went crashing into the folk who stand at the finish line with their clicker things. Ha! Thus far, each time I have ran a Parkrun event I have gotten faster and sure enough this time was the fastest I have ever ran. My time was 21:39 which meant, in runners language, I had achieved another PB!

Happy New Year 2022

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