April 2010

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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.

Pola Park

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