Saturday, 30 August 2008

week six: training results

this week i put the stopwatch aside, and approached training from a new perspective: actually enjoying myself. crazy concept i know.

i'm still not following a training schedule, am more working around when it's time to wash my hair. so, what did i get up to this week:

sat: 45 minute run through park/along canal
sun: rest
mon: rest
tues: 2 x 50 minute cycle
wed: 45 minute strength training at gym
thurs: 15 minute run through park
fri: 30 minute swim

the big news of the week - is i've finally found a bike! it's a second hander, and it's being delivered in a week or so - can't wait.

the bad news; for those who know me; is that it's a racer.

i'm prone to falling off bicycles. let's say there's been a few tumbles. some alcohol induced, some not. the worst, without doubt, was The Great Fall of 2006 - during a three day cycle tour in southern france. whizzing down a hill, hitting some wet leaves in the gutter, going down, million miles an hour, cheek scraping along the gravel until coming to a rest at the bottom. i had to be scraped off the road like those cartoons when coyote gets squashed. when i rolled my trousers up, my skin rolled off too. i couldn't bend my knee for a coupe of weeks. still have a bump on my forehead, as a little reminder.

so GREAT the racer will make me go fast. but i have a feeling this is going to take some getting used to, as the sound of my cheek on gravel does tend to flashback when i pick up speed...

Friday, 22 August 2008

week seven: personal trainer laughs at me

some points regarding week seven

1. spent time at the bike shop. lots of time. buying nothing. did not notice hot bike man.

2. tried on a few tri-suits in the local tri store. they look HIDEOUS. i stopped wearing bike shorts in the early nineties. was hoping to keep it that way.

3. have resigned myself to a swim time of 8 minutes. this will not kill me, which i figure is a positive start to the race.

4. personal training session at gym tonight. personal trainer laughed at me. to be fair, i could not lift the gym equipments 'no weight' option on the knee exercises... i did have my knee reconstructed, so bit of an excuse, but that was eight years ago, so excuse is running a bit thin.

5. knees aside, body is taking shape after week 3 of training. still can't run, but will try to look as good as possible while trying.

6. need to buy new bike. this week. not from hot bike man (husband reads blog)

Saturday, 16 August 2008

saying goodbye?

am buying into this whole thing now. made three purchases this week:

1. laces for my shoes, to make the tieless (see pic above). will save time from not having to tie my laces during transition.

2. light blister free socks. apparently most people in the race will go sockless to save time - but that will make my run pretty painful - and it's already going to be damned painful

3. triathlon magazine. i felt like a bit of a knob buying it - but did actually have some handy tips on swimming stroke improvements and general stuff to make me feel scared (like running with your bike and jumping on mid jog -- surely this isn't necessary???)

training this week went well - 5 days on, 2 days off.

biggest session was yesterday, with a 30 min cycle, 15 min run and 20 min swim. i was absolutely spent after that.

am weighing up getting a new bike - not just for the race, but also to use thereafter. my little rusty mountain bike has been with me for years, and we've been through a lot together (and fell over a lot together). i've only recently put slicks on her too, so she's looking pretty good. but she's heavy, and slow, and a bit embarassing. maybe it's time to move on...?

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

the point of no return

very busy end of last week/weekend - four whole days passed with not a gear, goggle or gallop in place

am making up for it now, swimming on monday (8.30 mins - slow slow slow) and tuesday was a 20 min high gear cycle (ouch) followed by a five minute run (so pathetic not worth mentioning, right?)

tomorrow am heading in for another cycle and run combo- this time will chain myself to the treadmill so i don't get off early. might try running first, then cycling, in an attempt to minimise the 10.3 million excuses i seem to invent with every stride

in positive news - have just registered online for the triathlon. no turning back now - especially not for £39

here's the link to the event, ironically titled 'fun2tri' -- the fun element has yet to be determined...

Thursday, 7 August 2008

swim: timing with quasi precision

yesterday morning i headed to the pool armed with my old mobile phone, tucked into a black sock, stuffed into a little plastic bag. this was not an attempt to make an underwater phone call, but rather an effort to time myself with a little more precision than the clocks at the pool.

so after a two hundred metre warm up, i waited for the minute to tick over, and swam 400 metres as fast as i could. which, to my grave disappointment, didn't feel terribly fast. exercising 5 days a week is starting to catch up on me.

however, upon reaching the final lap, pulling my little phone out of the sock, trying to hide what i was doing from the other swimmers, the quasi accurate results were in.

and they were in the 7 minute range! how many seconds, i can't be sure (as the phone didn't show seconds) - but my guess would be 7 minutes 30 seconds.

must admit, feeling a bit pleasantly surprised, so yesterday purchased a proper water resistant stopwatch to confirm said time.

ever the pessimist.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

the first cycle

today: first preparation cycle.

into central london, 50 mins each way. have just found out how far this is with mapmyride ( 13 kms. Oh dear.

apparently for the triathlon (according to last year's results) i'm supposed to do 23 kms in about 53 mins. even if i factor in things like stopping at lights, turning corners, almost being killed by taxi drivers - i'm still stupidly off target.

today, as always, fellow london cyclists were whizzing past me. the only cyclists i overtook were older than my mother, riding one of those little foldy bike things, and children so small i almost inhaled them.

i figure there's no way i'm going to be able to time myself properly before the triathlon, so i guess i'm just going to have to keep cycling into work every other day and work on building my cycling fitness.

unfortunately at London's Most Povo Fitness Facilities (ie. my gym) they don't do spinning classes. wish they did - because i really don't think i could manage using the bikes at the gym - if treadmills are a 9/10 on the boring scale, then bikes are not far behind. why wouldn't we want to be outside, it's called fresh air people - and taxi drivers who want us squashed!

am going to sneak another post in tonight - in response to a few comments on my last notation on the curse of the bad run...

question: why is every run a bad run?

Okay, so here’s the process of the Bad Run:

1. decide to run, feel positive, get my little outfit on, stretch this way, stretch that way, hit the road

2. feel good for about 200 metres, then my breath catches up and I feel lethargic, enter first thoughts of Hopelessness (this will be a reoccurring theme during the run)

3. try to find my pace, which is inevitably slow, in a bid to control breathing. Settle into pace – usually start feeling comfortable after about 10 mins

4. feel like I should be going faster, otherwise what’s the point? Might try a couple of speed bursts or try to quicken my pace. Again, can not breath, feel sluggish and this is when the Why Are You Doing This flashes in neon overhead and I think I may as well start walking to catch my breath, then feel like crap for having walked, and back to square one

So, possible theories as to cause of the Bad Run:

1. I’m running because I know I have to, rather than from actually wanting to do it
2. I like the idea of running more than the process itself
3. I’m comparing myself to too many other people, rather than trying to progress at my own pace
4. I just don’t enjoy running

The interesting thing was, the only time I’ve actually enjoyed running was when I was training for the half mara earlier this year, and I was so proud of myself every time I hit major mile markers – the impossible was becoming possible!

Now, however, it’s shorter distances, so it’s all about speed speed speed. I’d much rather run for 10 miles at my Plodding Pace, than do 3 miles flat out.

But I’ve signed up for this, so I need to change something; but what? way of training? way of thinking?

Bad Runs need to become Better Runs

Monday, 4 August 2008

week eight : bad start


bad run. again. why does running hate me?

beautiful evening, sun setting behind the park, lovely trail, not too hot, not too cold, new songs on my ipod, what more could i be asking for?

running ability perhaps?

Sunday, 3 August 2008

training results for week nine

1. results: thursday: first swim

thursday was the first preparation swim. got to love the english.

indoor pool: two lanes open. filled with 1. people going so slowly they were officially 'bobbing' and 2. people resting from their bobbing, hanging at the end of the lane, making turning impossible

outdoor pool: the deep section is in the middle of the pool, the shallow sections at either end. so they've corded off both ends of the pool. turning now impossible. determining actual length of pool now also impossible. big clock shows minutes only, so accurate timings also impossible.

so with widely inaccurate precision, i timed my 400 m swim at 8 minutes.

feeling quite positive about that time, being two years out of the pool. checked this against the results for last year's event, and looks like i should aim for about 7 minutes. sounds do-able??

lots to work on. my breathing was all over the shop, i have no pace, and my arms felt like they might drop off during the last stretch.

am concentrating on normal lengths, and also swimming arms only, to build strength. am happy doing this as it's my favourite way to swim anyway. i have no idea if this is what i should be doing, but i did read somewhere that i need to preserve my leg strength for the other legs (there's a lot of legs in that sentence).

2. results: saturday: runswimcycle in one day

was feeling really optimistic yesterday, regretting all optimism now.

woke at 7am and headed to pool/gym so i could use the indoor pool while they still had four lanes open. bee-lined for the treadmill with the aim of doing half hour, but jumped off at 15 minutes (had a million excuses for this: treadmills are boring, i was running a bit faster than usual, am early in my tri training, am about to go for swim anyway, might go for bike later, haven't had breakfast am feeling weaker, forgot to bring my water bottle, blah blah just get off the bloody treadmill already)

into pool - noting the fast lane was dotted with breast strokers (not the fast kind, at that). by the end of my swim noted all previous occupants had deserted the lane. did 400 metres, fast as possible, had to stop for a breather at 200 metres, and arms really felt like they were going to detatch themselves from my body. really need to work on arm strength.

also need to buy one of those little floaty things that go between the legs - so i can go arm only lengths. usually pools supply these (along with kickboards etc) but i am unfortunately attending possibly the most povo pool in london. the front desk is littered with posters reading DO NOT ABUSE OUR STAFF - which at first i felt was surely unnecessary, but now realise it is not. they are so rude, SO rude, i have vowed to change memberships to the (dreaded) Virgin gyms once this triathlon is over - but in the meantime, i need their long pools for the training. damn their long pool monopoly.

later in the day, cycled down to the art shop in Angel (about 25 mins) and was feeling good until the trip home. hadn't eaten lunch, started feeling weak, after a smoothie felt a little better and managed to get home - albeit slowly. even after eating was really tired the afternoon/evening.

so, end of week nine, what conclusions/thoughts/regrets/aims do we have?

* need to establish a training plan. possibly even stick to it.
* need to work out race outfit - am i going to run in my swimming costume, without sports bra?
ladies how is this managed?
* need to add arm strength training into the mix. like i need another thing to focus on.
* get that little floaty thing. must have a name?

and into week eight we go!