Sunday 28 February 2016

Week 21 MacMillan/IronMan/Kay-O pIMped/Aquathlon

Hi! This week's blog has started off with a lovely pic of Doo's running vest to remind you all that he is attempting to complete IronMan UK this year and is wanting to raise money for MacMillan (amongst other charities). At time of writing, only 141 days remain until the race begins! Horrors! Please dig deep my dear friends and sponsor me by following this link: Or, should you prefer, you could always donate a gold coin to Scope by following this link: Am also planning to raise money for the Christadelphian Meal A Day fund and a Suicide Prevention charity too (further details to follow).

Ok, back to the training report. Well, this week started off just fine with a run commute into work. 10k. Interval style.

Tuesday was great too. Managed a 3,000m swim (which still takes me ages to complete). Following my swim, I spent just over an hour on my turbo trainer. I do like doing multi-sport on the same day.

Wednesday was a busy day work wise, however, I managed to squeeze in a quick run. I ran the Studley Triangle. A nice simple 5k run around my village.

Thursday was great, mostly. My day started with a 1,750m swim. After the swim I picked up my newly built IronMan bike. This bike was really 3 of my 'old bikes' rolled into one. My mate Russ took bits and pieces of 'Tony's Theme' (the TT bike Lin had kindly gotten me), the shifters from 'Slinky' (my S-Works Specialized Roubaix) and added these parts to 'Kay-O' (my old road bike, that was being used as a rather neat single-speed built by my buddy Chris). The (semi) finished result was quite awesome. Kay-O had been pIMped, ready for IronMan!
Kay-O, after a tad of pIMping
So great to use Kay-O for my pending IronMan event because she's so lovely and has a wonderful history to boot to. Kay-O cycled LEJOG (twice), took me from London to Geneva and completed the PBP amongst other wonderful adventures. What a machine!

Anyways, I took this new machine to see Russ again (and quick ride into Redditch). Russ fitted her with some lovely new tri-bars and fitted me to my new machine. Further work is required - plan to get an inline seat-post and a tri saddle (so I can get my arms in a better position). This further pIMping looked great. Just check out the pic I took once back in Studley.
Further pIMping
New, super cheap, tri-bars
Once back in Studley, I though it only right that I go on a decent trek to test out my new bars. I took a trip out to Broadway Tower. Figured this would be a good trip because it's mostly flat with a beast of a hill at the turn around point.
A great route to test new bars
To be fair, it was a great ride to test out my bike full stop. She performed well. Gears moved across just fine. She felt relatively comfortable. She felt super fast. I had never really used tri-bars before and was surprised that I got on with them ok. I won't lie, they are not the comfiest invention in the world and my arms wanted to move away from the pads at times, but, they were ok and I was able to use them for the most part of my 70k adventure.
Is this a double, not a compact?!
My bike (or rather, me) only really struggled climbing up them big hills. I'm convinced this bike has a double chainset as opposed to a compact. This is an IronMan bike now and built for speed. I found climbing much harder than I am used to (and think it's down to gearing). I don't intend to use this bike for ultra-distance events and believe the IronMan will be the longest event it will enter. It can climb big hills (and fast) just not with the ease that I am used to. I think and hope this bike is purpose built. I certainly rode this bike a good 2k per hour faster than I think I would have otherwise done. Great test ride!

Friday was a rest day. Rest day of sort's. I was in London at a psychiatric liaison conference with Flair et al. No training but much fuelling!
Lunar is a dancer..
Saturday morning was spent watching my little Lunar exercise. She was super excited at her ballet class and looked wonderful too. In the afternoon, I took Winter for a 60k trek to Whitlenge and back. This was a section of the Snowdrop Audax that I cycled last week including the infamous Pig's (not Phil's) Hill. 

Finished the week with my first ever aquathlon event. Yes indeed, Go Tri had put on this mini event and as Rhona wasn't able to participate, I felt obliged to take her place. The day I was Rhona... this is starting to become a habit of mine (do you remember the day I was Jonny M?!)
The swim brief
The event saw 50 participants gather together at the poolside. We were give a brief (every 10 participants) and then entered the water. With 30 second intervals we were let loose to swim 400m. Apparently, the slowest swimmers went first, I was number '24'. These eight lengths seemed pretty tough but I managed to catch the guy in front of me (he had stopped at the pool side about 4 lengths in). A quick walk took me to the transition.
At the transition, I fumbled. I didn't bother towelling myself and didn't bother putting my socks on. My shoes were real hard to get on but I managed (had never ran without socks before). The marshal (Charlotte) told me not to bother with my top saying the run would warm me up. So without further ado I set off on the 2.5k run.
The run went ok and sure enough I did warm up. I passed at least 4 people, which gave me a buzz. About half-way around a marshall mis-directed me so I added a few extra seconds/metres to my run. Oh well, no real harm done. 1 guy I passed earlier, I passed again which was a bit weird. My un-officail time for the whole event was about 15 mins. I'll post official results when they are available. No medal for finishing but I did get my Triathlon Redditch hoodie at last - bonus!

All in all, a pretty fine week. Only about 30 mins down on my planned training time. With the family I have and the job I do, I did pretty well - wahoo!

Saturday 20 February 2016

Week 22 (and the Snowdrop Express 2016)

Not a great start to the week. Monday and Tuesday were 2 consecutive 10k run commutes into work. The first interval style and the second more of a slog. Nasty 9-9 shifts prevented me from doing much more.

Wednesday was spent on the turbo trainer. Only a 40 min spin though and then back to work until 9. Work always gets in the way of fun.

Nothing happened Thursday and Friday. Nothing except work and a work based jaunt to London. Oh, and the fact I felt run down. (In actual fact something wonderful did happen - I picked up my IronMan bike from my mate. Never had time to test this bike and still need to fit some aero-bars. Am sure to blog more about this in the passage of time).

Sounded like a gloomy, dull week, right?! Wrong! Saturday came and turned the tables around. No work and much cycling! In the early hours of the morning, I cycled across to Hartlebury ready to join lots of folks on the wonderful Snowdrop Express Audax. Have cycled this event more than any other.
Snowdrop Express Cycle-warriors
The audax set off from the super Whitlenge tea rooms. So great that so many of my friends had rocked up. A whole bunch of us started the event together. On the 'start line' above we have the Meekon, a bunch from Wythal (Andy, Jez, Phil and a guy whose name I can't recall), Aid, yours truly, the Cross brothers (one of which took the pic), Jamie and Trev. Wow, what a bunch. Jonny Mitchum joined us moments later. Chris and Ron were sorely missed...

Felt so good to cycle a 'proper' event at last and was awesome chatting with so many friends. So much history and adventure shared with these folks and a new adventure happening as we spoke. A nice easy trek took us to the first control in Upton, about 40k away. Mark Rigby was the control stamp guy - nice to see him after some time. Toast, flapjack and tea went down well before we layered up and started out to the next control. It had started to rain now but nothing heavy or major menace.
No.7, my weapon of choice for this adventure. It had disc brakes and everyone was so jealous etc ... ;)
Heading away from Upton, Aid and I passed Charlotte and Lou (tri club members) cycling in the opposite direction. We shouted 'hi', and 'hi' was shouted back. I don't think they had any idea it was me. Lovely route as I remembered it was. Just before Evesham control we were stopped at the lights - I jumped these because I knew my wife and kids would be waiting for us at the control. I wasn't wrong, inside the control was SJ, Melody, Ma and Aunty Christine. Lunar and my Pa were asleep in the car.
Trev, Jamie, Doo and Melody Moo
 Melody made me real proud. She was dressed in some rather funky cycling apparel. Didn't she look great?! SJ fed me well here and brought me a full English! Yummers! Before we set off for the final control (i.e. the finish) Lunar and my Pa rocked up which was great. Whilst at this control, a guy came over to me and said 'Hey, I remember you from about 5 years ago. You were taking a sleep on the side of the road during the Bryan Chapman'. Bizarre. I remembered him too but the details were sketchy.

Aid and I cycled most of the last leg together. I think Aid was wishing he had trained a little bit more for this event. This leg was quite hilly and Aid hadn't been on his bike for about a year. Even so, he reached the top of Pig Hill before I did...
We used to name Pig Hill as 'Phil's Hill'. It was so called because it appeared to be Phil's nemesis and despite many tries he had never beaten it. Today he did! Well done Phil! Pig Hill was the last hill before we reached the finish. At the finish it was nice to see some folk had waited to say 'good bye' etc before shooting off. We celebrated our finish with hot drinks and jam and scones. And then, I cycled home. What a wonderful adventure! My 113th completed audax event to date.

In retrospect, my week started pretty naff. I didn't swim at all. No long run was completed. My training hours were looking short. In all, I completed about 11 hours of training which I guess isn't so bad. Had wanted to swim on the Sunday but head coach (wife SJ) instructed that I rest. Guess there's always next week...

Sunday 14 February 2016

Week 23 'Glory through suffering'

This week started really quite naff. My first training session was a pool based swim. The pool however was over crowded and I just wasn't 'feeling it'. I managed just 900m before I made myself get out. With the new pool prices, what a waste of 5 pounds twenty that was!

Tuesday started off pants too. I decided to run to work, interval style. After about running 3k my TomTom test watch crashed and no data was recorded. This was most annoying and the second time it's happened too. No major panic, I knew my run into work was a good 10k. The rest of the route was ran fartlek style using the bridges as indicators to speed up and/or slow down again.
My Rapha roundel
On a brighter note, my Rapha Festive 500 roundel was waiting for me at home. The 'Festive 500 has challenged cyclists to ride a total of 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve'. As a participant who completed the full 500, I was proudly presented with a woven patch, an official badge of honour for the journey I undertook. The Rapha folk also sent me a funky beer mat which will have pride of place on my office desk. This was the 3rd time I had completed this challenge now and look forward to entering again at the end of the year.

Feeling a bit more positive, I span my legs a while later that evening. 55 sweaty minutes on my turbo trainer. Am pleased it's getting some use now.
Broadway Tower
Midweek went pretty fine too. My urgent care meeting at work was cancelled so I was able to have a day off. Yay! Headed to the pool nice and early and swam 2,000m in about an hour. Had wanted to swim further but was suffering real bad with cramps. Once home, I readied my winter bike and cycled a lovely 116k adventure. It was a fine day, the sun shining, but man - it was chilly. Was nice to see the snowdrops in bloom. My wheels took me to Broadway Tower which is just so beautiful and my legs allowed me to push my bike up both Saintbury and Fish Hill. The return leg was a bit random - I essentially followed much of a Strava route cycled by another (cheers Lou). I cycled much further than planned and had to stop in Fladbury before I flagged. I stopped at the cafe that Roger introduced me too. Food this time round was pants and pricey. Felt good once home as I was starting to feel the cold. Not sure if I felt so whacked because I swam early on or just because this was the first time in a while that I cycled the great outdoors. God's creation is truly awesome. I thought about adding a run to my day but that thought was quickly dismissed!
The Great Outdoors! 116k cycle adventure
Thursday started off real cold and Jack Frost made an appearance. Had wanted to cycle to work but did not change my commute bike tyres over to the winter one's - I honestly thought that perhaps we were gonna skip the winter season this time around. Left the bike at home and took a train into work. All was not lost, however, as I ran back from work to the train station. Nice 10k run. Once home, I climbed onto my retro bike and cycled turbo trainer style for just over an hour.

Friday was a great day. This was my loooong day! First off, I swam 3,050m which is the furthest I have swam in my life. Following my swim, I took a long run, just short of 20k. Sweet!
Long run, 19.9k
Saturday was an easy day. Just jogged 5.5k before I started work. Was a push to get myself out exercising but I'm pleased I did.

Sunday was a rest day. Originally had plans to do stuff but it didn't materialise. Ah, my mother did book my accommodation ready for IronMan though ....

Sunday 7 February 2016

Week 24 (Wish I had time to do more)

Great start to my training week. First off, I swam 3,000m which I'm sure is my furthest distance to date. Following my swim, I ran a bunch of hill repeats covering a distance of 10k.
Following day was a run commute into work. 10K, interval style. Relatively fast run. Nice.

Mid-week was spent on my turbo trainer. Yes indeed, Wednesday was Tim Tom Taylor's Turbo Training Triathlon Time. I spent a hour cycling my retro bike without going anywhere. Still, as yet, have not moved onto the large chain ring.
Muck and Josephenus!
Thursday was pants. Bon Voyage to my bro and niece. :( No training today.
Friday was pretty awesome. SJ and I had a day off together. SJ accompanied me to the pool and timed some swim sprints for me. I swam 1,500m in all but timed a 400m and 200m swim respectively. My times were 11:29 and 4:29 respectively (I might have swam 50 extra metres on the first swim - is hard to concentrate on counting with so much stuff going on). SJ reckons I move my arms too slow. Jane later commented that I'm not lifting my elbows up. I know my head should be lower. Grr, swimming is so hard!
After my swim, we went for a McDonald's followed by a curry a short while later. This fuel helped me power my retro bike in the afternoon. I cycled for an hour and 15 mins on my turbo trainer. Nice spin, however, I am missing the great outdoors.

Rush to get to work on Saturday because I snook in a sneaky turbo session. Cycled for an hour with relatively low resistance. There was no way I was going to run today with the wild wet windy weather.

Finished the week with a 1,600m swim. The pool was a little crowded today and my swimming wasn't great. Pleased I went for a swim though. 

Total training time this week was about 8.5 hours which is still on the low side but at least it's creeping up. I think I need to start doing 2 activities a day where possible. Surely, when I start cycling the great outdoors my training times will increase too.

Happy New Year 2022

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