TRIATHLON

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The workouts are now just part of lifestyle. The times are tapering off as I experiment with this current intermediate program. There are days I feel like superman and days I feel like this task seems too monumental to fit in with all the other responsibilities that are part of making a living. But the other day I came across this amazing quote that is now forged in my head and gets me through those tougher ones,

” When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.” Erma Bombeck

Intermediate Training Level 19/20*

Monday > Run 90:00 minutes 3 x 5 minutes at race pace

Tuesday > Bike 75:00 min easy

Wednesday > Swim 60:00 minutes Open Water | Run 40 minutes

Thursday > Bike 90:00 | Brick 15 minutes+ 5 minutes @ 10k pace

Friday > Swim 60:00 minutes pool (focus on stroke delivery, catchment, breathing and hip roll) | Run 40 minutes 4×800 meters at 10k pace

Saturday > Bike 150 minutes (2 x 5 minutes @ 40k pace

Sunday > Swim 30:00 Open Water (recovery) | Run 70:00 minutes easy

*Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.


***If you’re feelin’ a bit generous please head on to JustGiving website where I am raising money for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I am at 40% raised and hoping to make it 100% for the 2010 London Triathlon in August. Thank you.***

Running behind in this week’s update so I’ll have to keep this short. Building a business and training are not always an easy thing to do.

Last Sunday I went for it and did my own DIY 70.3 Ironman Triathlon. Nobody around me — just me and the elements of the day.  Began with the swim in a +2 C morning at 7:00 am and then it just went on for the day. I wanted to practice eating and racing and I report it was no easy task. It all began with gastrointestinal problems halfway across the lake. I had to swim back to the clubhouse otherwise the few open water swimmers who showed up would not have appreciated my gifts. 21 minutes into the swim I headed for the toilet instead of the finish line. Once I felt ready again I made my way back to the lake and began the day again. Swim done I headed for the bike.

The bike was alright … aside from 2 flats along the way. The tummy was “ok” and I downed two gels and pushed had two litres of sport drink along my ride. Bike down so I headed for the run.

As soon as I got into the run my side and stomach started to hurt. At first I knew it was really bad gas pains so I ran it out until I relieved myself. But soon the severe gas pains turned into a stitch in my right side. With 12 miles to still go, I  dug deep and ran the hilly terrain of the Chilterns and across farm fields through icy winds.  The run through a path in the middle of a 200 acre rapeseed crop felt like I was entering heaven. The sweet smell and colour was absolutely stunning. The stitch was still there but I was focused on getting this accomplished. 6 and a half hours later I arrived home. Not the best time I know — but given the day I was happy to cross the finish line of my first Ironman 70.3 distance to no crowds to applaud nor first aid stations to assist.

This week the tapering begins as I set my sights on Switzerland. I am really looking forward to this event now that I have this session done. I look forward to the colours and cheers that an Ironman event will bring. Some areas of concern will be flagged for me now as I am in the event – most important will be the right side stitch thingy. That will slow me down considerably. And flats. Oh I don’t want flats!!!!

So this week looks like this:

Intermediate Training Level 18/20*

Monday > REST

Tuesday > Bike 60:00 min easy

Wednesday > Swim 60:00 minutes Open Water | Run 45 minutes

Thursday > Bike 120:00 | Brick 15 minutes easy

Friday > Swim 60:00 minutes pool (focus on stroke delivery, catchment, breathing and hip roll) | Run 45 minutes 4×800 meters at race pace

Saturday > Bike 180 minutes (2 x 15 minutes @ race pace after a 1 hour warm up w/ 10 minutes rolling recovery | Brick 15 minutes

Sunday > Swim 40:00 Open Water (recovery) | Run 90:00 minutes 3 x 5 minutes at race pace

*Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.

UPDATE

I took both Tuesday and Thursday off as I was feeling fluish. I made it to the lake on Wednesday morning  for a 6:30 am swim and the temp was +1C.  I did 70 minutes in the lake and it took my feet until 2:00 pm to feel warm again.  By Thursday I NEEDED the rest. Slept long, ate well and now Friday I feel much better.

***If you’re feelin’ a bit generous please head on to JustGiving website where I am raising money for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I am at 40% raised and hoping to make it 100% for the 2010 London Triathlon in August. Thank you.***

 

The days are counting down now to Rapperswil- Jona 70.3 Ironman and I am terribly excited. With every increase in training load and its check off the list, I feel all the more confident in completing this event. Yes — simply completing. I know that if all goes well my time will be good. And if its a very good day my time will be very good. For me. I won’t come in first , I won’t come in last … and unless the bike suffers a mechanical breakdown I should think I won’t get a DNF. So the pressure is off. In the midst of my training I simply can enjoy the process of training… the reward of being active.

This is a long distance away from my days of picking a sport and having to be the best in it. Obsessed with the dream or fantasy of being the “great athlete” my days in any number of sports I attempted were numbered as I looked at the fading star of being elite. Something in triathlon tempered this attitude. I think more than the training it has been the lifestyle that it forms around the training. The work/ life/ tri balance that one must engage in to make it to an event and finish across the line running and not walking, with breath intact and not collapsing from exhaustion. Plus along the route of training there are a variety of rewards that become part of the day. Here are just a few recent examples:

Waking at 4:30 am to make it to the lake for a 6:00 am start on a Sunday in pouring rain.

Being the only person in the lake, and carving a path through the still water as the frost from your breath hangs just above the surface.

Running through the forest to deer passing across the path.

Riding on the turbo trainer to a full moon which illuminates the garden in an indigo light.

Being caught in a time trial road race and competing with the athletes while on a long, solo training ride.

Hearing the dawn chorus while packing the gear to head off to a training session.

Being the only car on the highway while the sun is rising.

Running along the smooth, firm sands of the beaches along the North Sea while smooth tidal swells caress a morning sun.

And of course watching the midlife rim retreat to form that adolescent waistline again.

So yes there is the first race of the season in just over a month’s time.  That will be fun and exciting no doubt. But this journey I am on — the dedication and discipline that’s required in order to finish the race to the best of my ability has benefits far beyond the focus of that single day – that one event. The day becomes so full of micro events and experiences that simply training for the sport enriches one’s life far beyond the conditioning of the body and mind. The spirit, whether in the moment or upon reflection, can bloom with this feeling of life being stuffed with rich moments. When the pain of a maximum heart rate or oxygen starved lungs is over, one can retain the details of the event and recognise that for that moment which called them to be an athlete, life became just that much more complete.

***If you’re feelin’ a bit generous please head on to JustGiving website where I am raising money for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I am at 40% raised and hoping to make it 100% for the 2010 London Triathlon in August. Thank you.***

Intermediate Training Level 17/20*

Monday >Make up session for Saturday — mechanical breakdown on bike rescheduled long ride =  Bike 195:00 minutes (2×30 minutes @ race pace after a 1 hour warm up w/ 10 minutes rolling recovery | Brick 15 minutes

Tuesday > Bike 90:00 min easy

Wednesday > Swim 60:00 minutes Open Water | Run 60 minutes (4 x 5 minutes @ race pace after 20 minute warm up w/ 5 minutes between).

Thursday > Bike 120:00 | Brick 15 minutes easy

Friday > Swim 60:00 minutes pool (focus on stroke delivery, catchment, breathing and hip roll) | Run 50 minutes

Saturday > Bike 210:00 minutes (3 x 20 minutes @ race pace after a 1 hour warm up w/ 10 minutes rolling recovery | Brick 15 minutes

Sunday > Swim 40:00 Open Water (recovery) | Run 110:00 minutes with hills.

*Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.

Well I’ve enjoyed my last recovery week before my race in 5 weeks. What a fabulous week with the highlight being Open Water Season starting on April 24th at 7:00 am. All week there was this concern at the back of my mind of how impossible it would be to hit the water when it was only 4 degrees C outside. I didn’t even ask the temperature of the water. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it. I was. But come the day, I kept to myself, march onto the deck, pulled my wetsuit on and went straight into the lake. Not a word said to anyone — I just wanted this part over with. Being the first off the dock and into the water was a bit surreal. The calm skin of the lake’s surface oscillated in this dense cold soup. Maybe this is what achieving zero G feels like. Everything went incredibly silent. I was fully immersed now in this icy jello.

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The water was absolutely gorgeous at Denham Lake. It was clear, clean and I felt like I was swimming in some of the lakes in Europe or in the North — but not twenty minutes out of London! It was fabulous. As I put my head into the water the panic breath that comes from being submerged in icy cold water was not there — so forward I went. The swim was one of my poorer ones, really tight and contracted stroke — but considering my goal was simply to see if I could enter the water and STAY in it, well I guess I can give myself a star for effort.

Only about 12 of us showed up and this is the thing about open water early season which is so unique — only the die hard fans show up and this kinda unites us in a kinda super human sort of way. If only for that hour where frosty breath meets the horizon line of the steaming lake, or your eye goes numb from cold water entering the goggles, or you come out on dock with your fellow Saturday morning athletes cheering you on for just doing it — however you line it up – for 60 minutes or so there is this feeling of invincibility.

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Wednesday we all are at it again – but now that the inaugural splash is over it will be time to bob in the lake – eye up the buoys and mark out the times as the raw cold stroke warms to the seasonal increase in temperature.

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Below is Week 16 Intermediate Training schedule. Weeks 16 and 17 will be toughest in the 20 week schedule. Then its all a slow curbing of the intensity until race day. I will be in the lake more than the pool now – conditioning myself to both the cold and improving the stroke in the new conditions.

***If you’re feelin’ a bit generous please head on to JustGiving website where I am raising money for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I am at 40% raised and hoping to make it 100% for the 2010 London Triathlon in August. Thank you.***

RECOVERY WEEK 16/20*

Monday > Off

Tuesday > Bike 90:00 min

Wednesday > Swim 60:00 minutes Open Water | Run 55 minutes (3 x 5 minutes @ race pace after 20 minute warm up w/ 5 minutes between).

Thursday > Bike 120:00 (10 minutes @ race pace) | Brick 15 minutes easy

Friday > Swim 60:00 minutes pool (focus on stroke delivery, catchment, breathing and hip roll) | Run 50 minutes

Saturday > Bike 195:00 minutes (2×30 minutes @ race pace after a 1 hour warm up w/ 10 minutes rolling recovery | Brick 15 minutes

Sunday > Swim 40:00 Open Water (recovery) | Run 105:00 minutes with hills.

*Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.

The week in review. 

What a week. Given that all the airports were shut down this week it has been a real pleasant experience running in the evening to absolute quiet. The sky is completely blue without any jet trail scars — it’s amazing.

The swimming could be better given the pool I am at has maintenance work going on with its plumbing so no showers are available. Now — given the UK is so Health and Safety paranoid should there not be a flag up re/ the quality of the pool water as every one and their dog jumps in without any showers? Not that too many peeps shower before they head into the pool anyways. But if you think that over about 350 – 500 people are dipping into the same water each day and the showers have not been on for a week… makes you wonder doesn’t it? Oh … but wear a crucifix to work for 30 years now that’s a REAL health and safety issue — NURSE FIGHTS COUNCIL . Come on!!!!!

Bring on open water this week… a summer full of no chlorine and floating babies is what I enjoy.

The cycling has increased yes, but taking it on the road now that the weather is better has been a transition in itself. Road cycling in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is incredibly complex. The roads in parts are an embarrassment to the Council’s and are like wading your way through mine fields at times. I am not being melodramatic here. One has only about a two foot envelope to cycle through – there are now “shoulders” to ride on … so you ride in the traffic…. problem is that traffic is doing anything from 40mph – 80 mph for those nutters who have more ego and ignorance than road sense. Oh and here’s another one for you Health and Safety freaks who seem to avoid the real issues as your busy chasing retiring nurses wearing necklaces – I refer to the following image to establish my complete understanding of the politics here:

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DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE POTHOLES!!!

So you come across a foot wide pothole which is 6″ deep and you either move into traffic or chance skirting the curb, hitting the bike onto an embankment and then well… who knows. Swallowing flies coming off the fields, racing through bee lines and having one or two hit you in the eye or forehead, the wind and the smells of rotting road kill all make transferring from the turbo trainer to the road a significant move. I have two rules though – no riding in rain nor towards the evening. The roads are poor enough and the drivers worse and I certainly do not wish to up my stakes in the “am I going to survive this ride” gamble.

Finally – This week’s “Ew… now that’s gross” is a toss up; is it the huge bug I swallowed that tasted absolutely dreadful or the dead diaper I found in the shower of a new pool I tried out this week? I can’t decide.

I am looking forward to the week ahead and a bit of respite from the first four weeks of heavier intermediate training. Recovery week and then off to the last 4 week section of challenging training before the first event of the year. and just a reminder:

***If you’re feelin’ a bit generous please head on to JustGiving website where I am raising money for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I am at 40% raised and hoping to make it 100% for the 2010 London Triathlon in August. Thank you.***

RECOVERY WEEK 15/20*

Monday > Off

Tuesday > Bike 60:00 min

Wednesday > Swim 55:00 minutes | Run 45 minutes

Thursday > Bike 90:00 easy spin

Friday > Swim 55:00 minutes | Run 40 minutes

Saturday > Bike 150:00 minutes with hills

Sunday > OPEN WATER BEGINS Swim 40:00 Recovery | Run 95:00 minutes with hills.

*Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.

***If you’re feelin’ a bit generous please head on to JustGiving website where I am raising money for The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. I am at 40% raised and hoping to make it 100% for the 2010 London Triathlon in August. Thank you.***

The next few weeks are going to be the hardest consistent training I’ve done. But I am actually feeling quite strong and ready to take it on. I think the worst will be in two weeks when we head into open water in a chilly 6:30 am 5 degree C morning to do our 2km – 4km swims. Some of the tri peeps I meet at my local shop are already quaking at the knees at the thought of it. It’s the cold to the head that gets to you … but you get used to it… as with everything else… it’s just getting in there and doing it.

WEEK 14/20*

Monday > Off

Tuesday > Bike 90:00 min

Wednesday > Swim 55:00 minutes | Run 55 minutes 3 x 5minutes @ race pace after a 20 minute warm up w/ 5 minutes between.

Thursday > Bike 120:00 minutes followed by 00:15 minute brick

Friday > Swim 55:00 minutes | Run 50 minutes

Saturday > Bike 195:00 minutes -3 x 15 minutes @ race pace after 1 hour warm up. 10 minutes rolling recovery followed by 15 minute brick

Sunday > Swim 40:00 Recovery | Run 100:00 minutes with hills.

*Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.

I’ve been asked by a few people now – How do you train for a Half Ironman?

It’s really just about finding the time. As Week 13/20 is accomplished I thought I’d write down the training sessions.  Each session is followed by 15 minutes of a stretching program.

Monday > Off

Tuesday > Bike 90:00 min

Wednesday > Swim 50:00 minutes | Run 55 minutes

Thursday > Bike 120:00 minutes followed by 00:15 minute brick

Friday > Swim 55:00 minutes | Run 50 minutes

Saturday > Bike 180:00 minutes – 3 sets of steep hills.

Sunday > Swim 40:00 Recovery | Run 95:00 minutes with hills.

Retro Tri

I have been wanting to post this since I returned from my trip to Manitoba. My parents had moved house and I was left with going through years and years of collected things that would one day mean more to me. This is one of those items that I continue to keep. I love the look of this photocopied photo that was part of the Riding Mountain Triathlon results package they sent out. I remember this day all too well. My father standing out in the early morning rain and cold. The wind slapping both spectator and competitor alike. The half hour delay while we stood on the shoreline, none of us in wetsuits. Vaseline all over my too thin body, shivering, shivering, shivering. I think 300 people signed up for that single morning but only 86 showed up to compete. It was the cold. Very cold. And although I stood with these Iron men and women I unfortunately did not finish. I got hauled into a boat after I was watching hamburgers and french fries dance at the bottom of the lake — something like this — Let’s all go to the Lobby!— This is what happens when the cold gets into your head.

Years later I look at the sport and how it has changed. It has grown to such popularity and I am glad for it. I have this day to remember back in ’87 — at its grassroots level and just starting out. Both me and it. We were so full of glory and hope. It still fills me in that very way. Each training run, swim or cycle — when its over I stand, look up at the sky and think — I am still filled with glory and hope. I look forward to another 25 years having a relationship with my Triathlon.

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Well folks, it’s that time of year again and I hope to make it a PB. Completely excited about the months of training and  fundraising ahead and hope to raise the bar on last year.

Last year I had a phenomenal experience both in racing and raising funds. I came in as a last minute entry and hit 61% of my 500.00 target within only 2 weeks. This year both the training and the fundraising are beginning way ahead of schedule. The training has been year round, and now that the green light has been given for fundraising, I hope to achieve a PB and raise above the 500.00 target.  So although we are months away, don’t be shy to be the first on the board with your sponsorship. Your donation goes direct to NSCPP.***

The NSPCC is special to me because it provides the opportunity to catch young people at that critical point where the impact of their help is most needed. Fear and abuse can be understood and councelled and over time championed to provide children with hope and belief in their potential. Investing in children in this manner is something I deeply respect.

Below is more information on the charity and using Just GIving. International sponsorship/ donations are also accepted so if you are reading this overseas there is no escaping my request to help donate :). Even a dollar.

The charity’s tagline reads on the back of my racing singlet:

“There’s a child depending on me” so let’s make it happen.

Thank you in advance.To contribute please go HERE

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Running in -37 C is an inspirational experience but running through a herd of white tailed deer in -37 C is something out of this world!

I never thought I would appreciate running in the icy cold air of Winnipeg, Manitoba but I have to say that it does something to the spirit if not the body. Being out in the streets and parks and breathing in ice crystals for air fills the lungs with some sort of Arctic cleanser. I am left feeling exhilarated and alive. Completely beautiful in the joy of being human.

Well I made it. 4 months ago I felt really disappointed that I was going to miss this year’s London triathlon but I luckily got a space on the NSPCC’s TeamGO. I will be racing the Olympic Distance on 2nd August. I m hoping to hit a personal donation target of 500.00 for a charity I feel really proud of representing. Throw a kid a lifeline for less than a day’s fare on the Tube —  PLEASE DONATE HERE.

Swim 750m Bike 20km Run 5 km

1:28:38.

I lost a good 10 minute in the bike. Having just bought my TT bike and never have ridden in that aero postiion in my life, and not once practised nor felt the “switch” in muscles in T1 and T2. Hoping to pull 5 minutes off, if not 10 in the next one on June 10th.

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have been talking about triathlons for a long time. A very, VERY long time. I almost drown in one a while back and since then I have been afraid to return to the open water, to race. But last night I finally broke that fear – entered and swam – coming in in the middle of the pack having started at the back. The “washing machine” was not as bad as I thought but I did get kicked in the face and a heck of a jolt when a foot hit me square in the chest from some guy doing breast stroke. Finally realising that in the water it can be a bit of a battle zone I thought “go for it” and began swimming both defensively and offensively. You just cannot get this in any pool. In a pool if you get aggressive you have to deal with it when you both are at the wall. In the murky, mud churned lake it’s all “hit and run”. With swim caps, goggles, black wetsuits, a tornado of sediment and the odd minnow running for cover,  you can’t tell your aunt from your uncle.

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Balancing training for triathlons and work is no easy feat. Now with the first tri of the season done the training increases and the disciplines become more focused. Last night’s tri at the Eton rowing facility was amazing – the weather was textbook perfect — except for the odd fishfly making kamikaze hits at my open mouth – I had to spit out 2 of the nasty things — it was a fabulous time. I am in for the next event – June 10th and looking forward to the Liverpool Olympic Distance one on 21:06.

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Eton Facility

I do have one niggling thing to mention though — what’s up with the entrance fees to these things? Really – there must be some high insurance premium that is eating into the organisors’ budgets or its a real money making scheme. 47.50 I paid for this one. I even had to buy my own snacks at the end of the race – even WATER! Thank you Red Bull and For Goodness Shakes for offering their freebies. But looking at the recent Triathlete’s World magazine – their “235 Great British Races to Enter” section I see that all the fees are quite expensive (30 gbp and up to 85.00 gbp) until you go north.

But to level things out here I think everyone enters the races for a different purpose — and maybe I was the only one looking at the cinnamon doughnut thingy and going  “Yum Yum” and then realising that I didn’t bring any cash with me.

Next time I’ll pack a a cinnamon doughnut thingy – maybe a box or three – you know – to sell of course.