Sunday 26 June 2016

Week 4. I am Rex the brave jedi

Wow, only 4 weeks to race day! Feel like I have been training for ages and I guess I have. Such a difficult thing to do when you have a family, a job and a house that is being built up around your feet. It'll all be over in 4 weeks...
Monday started well. It was my wife's birthday and the summer solstice. Celebrated this day by first getting 3 of my prized bikes ready for sale - that's right, 3 of my bikes are currently on Ebay! Out with the old (make room for the new...). Training started with a spin on my turbo trainer. Wow, this was hard work but felt great. It had been an age since I had used this trainer and this was a first using my winter bike. I reckon this was the first session that I wasn't using my small chain ring too. (My retro bike was on this trainer previously, now that bike is up for sale). For those that are interested, my session lasted 1 hour 15 mins and I cycled at an average speed of 28.8 km/h with a cadence of 86 revs per min and an average heart rate of 133 bpm - not sure what all this means really, but pleased I can record it. Was watching a Warpaint gig on my iPad during this session which helped keep me cycling. After my spin, I dug out my old Ghost 7's and had a run in them. These shoes felt ok and I ran about 10k in the summer sun. Hmm, I just might wear these shoes for my race... Completed this wonderful day in style with my lovely wife, much food and a wee bit of rum!
Tuesday was pants. I had one of my headache's again. My left eye was also very sore - really felt like something was trapped in there. Made today my rest day. Hmm, not sure I'm going to be able to fit a lengthy cycle ride into my training this week.

Wednesday saw me go for a run. I had been lazy during the day - this was a forced run due to me feeling guilty for doing nowt during the day. I set off after my tea and think I should really have let my food digest first. Really am not best pleased with those Brooks Ghost 8's either. Hmm, naff shoes and indigestion. Not the best of days.

Felt much better Thursday. Cycled to work and back commute style. Cycling today felt great but think it is high time I got my commute bike (Genesis single-speed cyclo-cross) serviced as it's making funny noises. Hmm, maybe the bottom bracket needs replacing again?!

Friday was another feel good day initially. Ran into work and really enjoyed this run. My shoes today were my old Lunarglide 6's - really am thinking these will be my Ironman shoes. Had plans of swimming later in the evening but my feel good feelings had dissipated. Paralysis of will prevented me swimming.
Saturday came and I decided to take out my newly built up road bike for it's debut ride. My Specialized bike had it's previous groupset and wheels swapped over (lower spec but newer). This bike felt like a rocket. She felt more comfortable, light and was super zoomy. In the lower gears the bike made some funny noises - not sure if it was the front mech or the press fit BB (have read they are known for creaking). Most unusual for me to take my 'summer' road bike on a work cycle commute.
Sunday was pretty awesome too. In the early hours of the morning I took myself to Ragley Lake for an open water swim. I was the first person in the lake and pretty much the last person out. I swam 4,000m in under 1 hour and 50 mins! To me that's a lot to shout about. This was the furthest I had swam ever and this was 200m over Ironman distance. Better yet, if this was the Ironman event, I'd have been 30 mins away from the cut off time. A much needed confidence boost and didn't feel quite so bad with that being my only swim of the week. Saw Phil at the lake too which was nice. Who's Phil? - you know, the geezer that got me into this triathlon lark in the first place! Shared my exciting story with my family once home but joy turned to sadness when I realised our Melody had caught Lunar's chicken pox. Also noticed that my wet suit had chaffed my neck somewhat too - it's never done that before (have probably not been in my wetsuit for that long before). 
My week of training finished with a run in my Ghost 8's and they were perfectly fine. I just ran for about an hour whilst my daughter Lunar was at Sunday School. Have to fit training in when and where I can!

Not a bad week on the whole but not brilliant either. Had planned to train for about 16 hours but didn't even make 12. I only swam once - but was real pleased with the swim I did complete. My running wasn't too bad and was only slight off target. Cycling was poor - I never used my IM bike and didn't put enough hours in. Maybe I'll focus more on cycling next week. At time of writing this blog post my race is 3 weeks away today!

If you'd like to become part of my Ironman journey, you can! All you have to do is support one of my charities listed below! Big thanks to those that have supported/sponsored me already. 

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Sunday 19 June 2016

Week 5 'Bikes not bombs' (Tri's not tanks)

Week 5. Week 5! Arghh, that means that right here, right now (Monday 13 June 2016) there is only 5 weeks until my IM event. To be more exact, there is only 34 days to go! Arghh!
This week started wet and horrible. Forced myself to run in the rain and ran about 13k. The run wasn't too bad to be fair.  I plodded up the Slough and Wagtail Lane in the wet, awful rain but I was dry and warm underneath my Adidas running jacket. My old Asics XC shoes were my kicks of choice and surprisingly they were super comfy. Both AccuWeather and my BBC Weather app predicted the rain would stop. With no rain predicted, I took my IM bike out for a spin. The apps lied and the rain chucked down. My adventure started following the Isoman route but after about 40k I nearly slipped off. My front tyre had punctured. Grr, it was raining too. Fixed problem by putting in my only spare tube and thought it wise to head back home save risking further puncture. About another 10k and I was home complete with a dirty bike. My new tyres didn't really feel any different to the old ones I removed. Previously had a 23mm on the front and a 25mm on the rear - now have a 24mm front and rear. Vittoria Diamante Pro III Radiale are my new tyres of choice simply because Lin got me them a while back for my birthday. These folding tyres replaced a Continental wired front tyre and a non-specific rear. My research suggests they get an average review of 4/5. Is nice running new tyres that have no nicks and cuts.

Tuesday came and saw me complete a 10k run commute into work. After work, a dip in Ragley Lake was on the menu. I managed to complete four laps (something between 2,800 and 3,000m) in the space of about 1 hour and 20 mins. At the lake I bumped (literally) into Jommy Mitchum and later John Legge which was cool. Jonny M whizzed past me in the lake like he was motorised (perhaps he had wind?)! For the first time in ages, I got cramp whilst in the water. John Legge advised getting hold of some calf sleeves and said they helped with both cramps and recovery. Better yet, these sleeves can be worn under the wetsuit and left on for running and cycling. Hmmm, I like wearing compression socks for long distance running but they'd be a struggle to get on quick time after a cycle ... maybe calf sleeves are the way to go? Maybe I should invest in Hilly socks too, following some super advice from Barbara Hackworth.
Wednesday was a seriously wet and horrible day. I got soaked through to the skin on my commute cycle into work. The return was little better - I was wearing wet clothes and then the heavens opened again. Pah! My calf muscles were hurting quite bad too, I reckon it was down to the cramp I got in the lake the previous day. Worse still, I also had ear ache which I guess was caused by water in the ear. Wednesday was great though because I collected my newly built up Specialized Roubaix. My buddy Russ had essentially replaced the groupset and swapped my wheels for some cheap ones. The previous wheels and bits and bobs had done that many miles they were seriously worn and 'beyond use'. Slinky is now an 11 speed machine too! Will have to wait for a sunny day before a test ride. Oh, and Chris Hodge will no longer be able to cuss my 'gay' (as he refers to them) cables flopping over the bars.

Deliberately rested on Thursday and Friday as my calf muscles were still painful. My ear ache had not gone either. At this moment in time my headspace wasn't great either.
Saturday came and I forced myself to go out for a run. I ran for just short of 2 hours so was quite pleased with this. My run was along tarmac all the way so I was wore my Ghost 8 shoes. I didn't wear my new socks and I didn't add vaseline, though I wish I had. My feet blistered again and my right foot in particular didn't feel to comfy. Am not best pleased with these shoes. Really think my Lunarglide 6's will be used for my IM race.

Swam Sunday morning. The lake was closed so I settled for a pool based swim. No issues with cramp or earache today. Covered 2,500m in about 1 hour 20 something minutes. Good job I'm faster in a wetsuit.
Sunday was also father's day. Was missing my own dad as he was away on holiday. During fellowship today, the speaker informed that we are all privileged to have a heavenly father. My wonderful kids (and SJ) got me the awesome cards pictured above.
My final piece of training this week was a 4 hour cycle covering just over 100k. Suffered with real bad hay fever on this adventure - felt like a right wimp. Chose not to use my IM bike simply because the heavens had opened again. Really was quite a wet, miserable week this one.

Despite the week being damp and miserable, it was pretty good on the training front. I swam just short of my target (swam both in pool and open water). Cycled well over my target 8 hours including a  4 hour trip (just a pity I never used my IM bike as much as I would have liked, nor tested my new build). Ran my planned 4.5 hours and used my terrible new shoes too! Right here, right now, there is only 4 weeks remaining to race day. I'll beg you all for sponsor monies next blog post. Cheers :)

Sunday 12 June 2016

Week 6. Don't know...

Training for an Ironman event is relentless. No time to rest, no time to sit. Just a case of get on with it.

My training this week started well. I met up with my blind buddy Roger and we went for a tandem cycle together. Last time I had cycled with Roger was back in January. We had a great 3 or so hours on the bike and the usual cafe stop to fuel up.

After my cycle ride with Roger, I took my IM bike 'Kay O' to have a check over. I figured with about 6 weeks to go to my event, now was a good time to get bike checked over. Must swap the tyres over to my special race ones...
This was the day that I also ran in my new kicks. I purchased a pair of Brooks Ghost 8 shoes. Previously had Ghost 7's which were pretty awesome. Not convinced I like my new shoes. I ran about 10k and my toe's blistered for the like the first time ever. Have never had issues with running in new shoes before. My run took me to meet my daughters at nursery where I got a lift back home with the Mrs. Once home, I ordered a pair of anti-blister socks.
Tuesday saw me run to work commute style. After work, I went to Ragley Lake for an OW swim. Managed 4 laps of the lake. Some say a lap is 750m others say 650m. If we take a lap as 650m, I swam 2,600m in a time much quicker than any of my pool based swims (still slow). Am not sure if I really do swim better in a wet suit or whether my maths is just pants. My buddy Mr Mitchum says it's all about technique and suggests 'bubble, bubble, breath'. I'm mot sure what he means but it sounds like champers and rest is the way to go?!

Wednesday was my 2 bottles of champagne and rest day.

A cycle commute took me to work and back on Thursday. Great weather to be cycling in - all sunny. Had ideas of running in the evening but that didn't happen.
Collected my IM bike on Friday. All good except the rear wheel had 'rough bearings'. The rear wheel will have to remain rough - I don't think it's anything serious to worry about. My anti-blister socks arrived in the post and I figured I'd try them out with a 10k run. I also applied Vaseline to my feet first. These socks were double layered, using a 'twin technology'. A 10k run would be a suitable test I thought. After my run, I inspected my feet and all was fine - no blisters and no major discomfort. Now, was this down to the socks or the Vaseline, or both?! Having collected my IM bike, I naturally wanted to test it but the weather forecast was horrid - heavy rain was predicted. Decided to take my winter bike out instead. Cycled for a bout 5 hours in all covering some of the Snowdrop Express route and stopping at Whitlenge Tea Rooms for food. So much for the rain - there was none. Instead of getting wet, I got sun burnt.

Saturday was mostly spent with my family. Lunar and Melody now have their own rooms and this was quite exciting. On the training front, I ran about 15k and this time used my same new socks minus the Vaseline. My big toe didn't blister but one of my toes looked nasty with a build up of dry skin (no major discomfort). I know these new shoes (Brooks Ghost 8) might be 'breaking in', but they're not quite as comfy as I had hoped and I'm thinking maybe I should run in my older (Nike Lunarglide 6) shoes (during race) but they have ran nearly 700k already. Hmm, decisions...
Early start Sunday with an open water swim at Ragley Lake. Folk report the full lake lap is 750m (not 650m like I was told earlier in the week). Distance didn't really matter as only the smaller lake laps were to be swam today. These smaller laps were 400m and I swam 7 laps (2,800m) in a time of 1 hour and 13 mins which is great for me. That would mean I'd have another hour to swim 1,000m more come race day (providing my maths is correct). My plans to add a run to the end of this day were thwarted. However, I have now fitted new tyres to my IM bike that I hope to test tomorrow (review to follow).

At the end of this week, I don't feel too bad. My race is like only 5 weeks away and I have trained quite hard if I'm honest. Spent about 2.5 hours in the water (would have been happier with 3), cycled nearly 11 hours (but did not touch my IM bike) and ran for about 5 hours (would have been happier with 6) this week. So, I trained hard but had planned to train harder. Tested new shoes and socks and remain a bit miffed with these products. Hope my tyres fare better tomorrow. My diet has been largely 'eat-as-much-rubbish-as-you-like' but I'm convinced I've lost weight. Hold on one, I'll go weigh myself ... I weighed in at 83.5kg. Hmm, that means I have only lost like 2kg since the start of the year (but have been over 90kg in the past). With 5 weeks to go, maybe I should eat less rubbish and eat more good stuff. Oh, I don't know....

Sunday 5 June 2016

Week 7. Slow you are, train you must.

Monday was a Bank Holiday and I was still feeling as rough as a badgers backside. A trip to out-of-hours GP confirmed what we already knew - I was suffering with a virus. Advised to stay out of bed and eat Paracetamol and Ibuprofen regularly.

Was feeling better on Tuesday but not right. The demons in my head-space were commenting about all the hard work that had now been undone due to me being ill. I wished the voices hadn't reminded how close this pending IM event is.

Wednesday was the day that my training kicked off again. I ran into work and then ran back after work too! My usual runs from work are largely un-enjoyable, however, I actually enjoyed this run. Maybe the thought of getting further away from work was appealing?!

Thursday was kinda like Wednesday except that I swapped my running shoes for my bike. My legs were feeling achey from the run the day before - or were they feeling achey because they had been out of action for a spell? Who knows?
A folly spotted whilst on my jolly.
Friday felt like a proper training day. My day started with a 2,500m pool based swim. The swim was ok, but how I wish I could go faster.
Following the swim (and much faffing about and eating etc), I jumped on my IM bike and cycled for over 4 hours. I essentially cycled to Evesham heading for Cleeve Hill. After Cleeve Hill, I tackled Fish Hill and then Saintbury Hill before heading home. I figured some hill climbing might 'make up a little' for the time I had spent away from training.
It was a very hot day and my poor pegs got a tad sun burnt. To finish my day off, I ran for a stretch after I got off the bike. I had wanted to run for a couple of hours but only managed one. The heat was so strong that I was feeling quite sick and dehydrated. I had also lost the £1 I had put into my pocket for emergency drinking purposes. D'oh!

On Saturday, I swapped my IM bike for my winter one and cycled to work and back. This was an easy way to add a couple of hours cycling to my training. Tried to force myself to run when I got home but that didn't happen.

Sunday started with a 2,500m pool based swim. Still slow - train I must. It took me 1 hour and 26 mins to complete this distance and it took me the exact same time on Friday too. I might be slow but at least I'm consistent! Finished my training with a XC run. I didn't run for as long as I wanted but not too bad considering the heat.
This weeks scores
All in all, not a bad week. I had wanted to train for about 17 hours and came just short of that target. Pleased with my cycling. Would like to open water swim more and invest more time into my running. Not long to race day now...

Happy New Year 2022

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