Monday, 29 September 2008

the last swim

one of my first posts on this blog was The First Swim, now, here we are, at the Last Swim (i'm so quasi dramatic)

it's six days until the triathlon and i've got one more run and one more bike up my sleeve, then that's it!

so, the final swim, how did she go? my time for 400m was 7 mins 36 seconds - very happy. if i can get under eight mins on sunday, i'll be stoked!

let's re-cap how my training has been for the last week:

monday: 1/2 hr cycle, 20 min run, 1/2 hour swim
tuesday: rest
wednes: 1/2 hour cycle followed by 6 min run
20 min cycle followed by 10 min run, 10 minute cycle followed by 5 min run, 1/2 hour swim
friday: rest (well, sick actually, but who's counting?)
saturda: 25 min swim, clocked time of 7 min 36.
sunday: 2 hour cycle, around london - so not fast

have managed to stick pretty well to my aim of training 5 days out of 7 - which actually was a lot easier than what i had imagined. because i've had shorter training sessions (usually max. 1 hour at a time) - i've been able to slot the training easily into my routine.

as a result - i don't believe i'm going to perform much faster than what i could have achieved nine weeks ago, but i do definately feel more prepared, physically, for the tole on my body. hell, i'm actually looking forward to it!

so time wise, i'm still expecting much the same as i did when i started this blog:

swim (400m): this one's a bit easier to anticipate thanks to trusty stopwatch! - 7 mins 40 secs
bike (23kms): no idea, probably about the same as everyone else - 56 mins?!
run (5kms): still expect to be hitting the 30 min mark, which will place me right at the back!

i've definately focused more on cycling and swimming these past nine weeks, as i knew my running would need more than nine weeks to get better (like try a decade) - but this is also a tester triathlon for me, and being the end of the tri season - it's also an indicator of whether i want to continue training over the winter and compete in next year's season.

in the meantime, six days remaining...!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

al: trainer of mice triathletes

three announcements:

1. thought we had a mouse in the house, ended up being a false alarm. sorry, not tri related, but if i trained the mouse to run, swim and cycle - that would be a different story, right??

2. am starting to look forward to race. big news. not sure i've experienced this sensation yet, usually have thought about race with mixed feelings of dread and competitive spirit. now feeling like there isn't much more i can do to get faster/better so am now actually looking forward to it.

compare this feeling to not having studied very much for exam at school, the calm that washes over when you walk into the exam hall, knowing it's too late now.

3. am ready to love new bike, but alas, she is not ready to love me. my trip to richmond park on the weekend wasn't quite as effective for a multitude of reasons, one being her seemingly ineffective gears.

took it back to bike shop - he tells me there is nothing wrong with the gears. again. i'm just not convinced.

went for another ride this morning, to make sure it wasn't my sanity wavering - but the gears just aren't as good as my Ye Olde Ruste Mountain Bike - and how is that possible??

i want to change gears, for her to find that gear, straight away, no questions asked - but she doesn't respond like such, but rather hangs out, has a cup of tea, with a lot of clunking about, then slips into gear.

off to another bike shop today, hoping for some answers.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

week two: television vs. training

so - three new purchases, how did they fare?

1. the new bike: is so fast i have to brake on straight stretches of road. hills are an absolute push over. hoping that my fear of speed and being squashed will be over-ridden by my competitive nature on race day (only two weeks away).

2. the new tri suit: has been bike tested (uber comfy, has padding and everything) and run tested (holds everything in place, nice). have already managed to damage it a bit. brill.

3. the new bike helmet: is sitting in the same place i threw it when i got home from the shop.

i tried to manage a brick session on thursday but failed - i just couldn't manage 1 hour of intense cycling - not due to my lacking ability, but because of the surrounding roads. figure there's not a lot of point in bricking unless i get my cycling intensity up for long enough....?

anyway, my lame brick attempt involved cycling for an hour and a half, then coming home and watching an episode of Project Runway Australia (got to love it) - then heading out for a fast-ish 11 minute run.

my legs afterwards were pretty high on the sore scale - which goes to say what they're going to be like when i actually do it for real, without a reality show to break things up.

tomorrow am going to head out to richmond park - london's biggest green space - see pic above or-

brilliant cycle paths, so should be able to pick up some speed (without fear of being squashed by cars) and then can follow with a painful, joyless run.

i'm loving the painful joyless runs

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

the giant has arrived!

big news - the bike has arrived! what's the bike goss, you ask? here she is:

1. she is blue

2. she is a giant (not in size, but in label)

3. she visited the bike shop twice today for alterations

4. i have not fallen off (yet)

in other very exciting news, a visit to the tri shop this afternoon led to two terrific purchases. firstly - a tri suit! what the hell is that, perhaps you're asking - well here's a handy picture of the very one i did purchase (though i didn't opt for the pink colour....)

rest assured ladies, there leaves nothing to the imagination in one of these little numbers! but i'm hoping that by moving with speed, i'll be applying a motion blur to myself, and nobody will see anything but a few blurry pixels.

my second purchase at the tri shop was a bike helmet. firstly, i refused to buy into one of those alien ones - then the dude at the shop told me the one i was buying (an old school skating type helmet) wasn't good for tri's and i told him that, not being an alien, or wanting to look like an alien, i would not be investing in the alien helmet. so now i'll look very softcore at the race, but at least i won't look like i have a second head under my arm pit (typical alien feature)

haven't been training, too busy buying stuff. big bike ride tomorrow - and my first major 'brick' (a cycle followed by a run). here's to good times ahead!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

holy moses - three weeks to go!

as i have a mini freakout over the impending event - let's recap on training this week:

mon: 30 min swim
tues: 2 and ½ hr cycle (up to epping forest; lovely)
weds: 45 min swim

thurs: 40 min gym
fri: rest day
sat: 45 min run (along a coastal path; double lovely)

sun: rest day

there's a question I’m being asked more, which is “With all this exercise, are you feeling the benefits?” On a day to day level, getting up at 6.30am and moving about for an hour or so before work, I do find myself more content with my day. However – this is not always the case – and sometimes exercising can do quite the opposite – and put me in a bad mood.

this week featured some pretty terrific ups and downs, would be interested to hear on other folks experience of this. here is my down, followed by my up.


two and half hour cycle – feeling good on the way out, got to the forest, was nice and hilly and muddy. On the way back started getting hungry and tired and sore. Got home, checked my time verses distance on google maps and realised it was yet ANOTHER stupidly slow time. Felt rather miserable, still hungry but nothing to eat in the house and didn’t cheer up until well into the night after a very satisfying meal of sashimi. So, figure – exercise doesn’t always make you feel better, and eating well post exercise is a must must must.


wednesday swim I put myself to some speed training. the aim was to find a quick 100 metre pace which didn’t make me want to hurt small kittens. Up and back I went, and couldn’t get faster than 1 min 54 seconds. then my lane started getting a bit crowded, so off I popped into the slow lane for a bit of underwater swimming (got to love it!)

when I returned for another time test, I managed to do my 100 metres in 1 min 48 seconds! I was well chuffed, and put my fandangle new time down to my underwater swimming (and all that lung stretching which results)

I’m interested by the idea of exercising changing your mood; a friend suggests his mood is emphasised after exercising – so if he’s in a bad mood, he ends up in a really bad mood, and vice versa.

Hmmmm – I think my bad mood might just eventuate from realising how crapola I am!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Tri Preparation: Getting Down with Public Body Exposure

I’m writing this week’s blog-tastic entry from a train, traveling slowly across the spanish coast. This post might be a little longer than usual, but damn it’s pack full of exciting stuffs! Today marks the four week mark- one month remains! So what happened this week? Let’s re-cap on the training front:

1. no swimming! Bad bad bad, but did manage to spend an hour yesterday sea kayaking. Used my arms a lot, and fell into the water a few times while trying to launch myself into the kayak… hot.

2. ran twice – brilliant! even did a run along the beach – youch. If I’m a bad runner on land, throw sand into the mix and it’s all downhill. Stopwatch was nowhere to be seen, put it that way.

3. cycled a bit – still waiting for bike… hmfgh. Let’s not go there.

Now onto the exciting business: the issue of near naked-ness required for triathlon participation.

The Midriff

Four weeks to go: am really going to have to decide what to wear. Now, this may be fickle, but I recently learnt 92% of women perform better at sports when they feel good in what they’re wearing. so with statistics on my side, allow me to relay my experience Exposing the Midriff.

I’ve decided I’m going for a morning run on the beach, followed by a dip in the ocean. I’ve also decided not to go in my usual running garb (long pants, tank top). today – possibly enthused by the sangaria from the night before – I commit to testing the waters in Exposing the Midriff While Exercising.

If you’ve seen any of these sporty triathlon types, the midriff is out. However, I haven’t been involved in a Public Midriff Exposing Episode since the late eighties (when it was fashionable, for nine year olds). So it’s out, and I’m running. Fortunately nature is somewhat on my side, and I don’t have a particularly obscene midriff, so this is aiding my confidence. At first, I’m feeling a bit paranoid, then suddenly, as I pass the usual All Shapes and Sizes on the beach – I realise, it’s not so bad, and I’m running (so possibly a little bit blurry anyway) – and by the end of the run I’m Free Of All Midriff Insecurities.

So, that's great on one hand, but i still have NO IDEA what i'm going to wear. Invest in a tri suit for £80, possibly never to wear it again? Get over the VPL and wear my swimming costume running? Go naked, and win the event by all other competitors falling off their bike at the sight of me?

Maybe not.