Sunday, 26 July 2009

7 days to go!

incredible; only seven days remaining! this demands mutiple rapid fire exclamation marks!!!!!!

so holy moses, one week - what does that even mean?

- 107, 520 blinks until the race starts (it's what they say, who am i to question?)

- 43 times i'll have minor heart palpitations thinking about race related issues, most of which are completely ridiculous (ie. how will i remember how many laps i've done?)

- 168 hours to work out how i'm going to strap my power bar to my bike in bite size pieces without making my bike look like a candy store (previous attempted was laughed at, a lot)

- five times i'll wake up too early, launching out of bed to bike/swim/run and then remembering it's time to rest and wondering if my body will recognise a sneaky session?

- two more times i'll be able to list my week's training activities, oh, and were her ears burning? here she is;

monday > hilly run 40 minutes

tuesday > short wetsuit swim in sea (sight practise)

wednesday > speed cycle 45 minutes (with intervals),
hilly run 40 minutes

thursday > speed cycle 40 minutes (with intervals), short wetsuit swim in sea (sight practise), 45 minute hilly walk (counts?)

friday > rest day

saturday > 40 minute run (undulating), 2.4 km swim training session (wetsuit)

sunday > 50 km cycle

so i've got a few things on my mind, the usual stuff, i'm sure;

- will my goggles fill with water? no previous problems but on saturday they filled up about six times - not feeling confident, might switch back to ye olde crap but more reliable goggles. will test again next swim practise and probably make rash decision on day.

- how will i get my stupid power bar onto my bike without facing public ridicule? see pic below, they have smiles too big for their faces, but no candy store

- need to get spare inner tube + bike checked over. she was clanking loudly on todays long cycle and was a little embarrassing. guess my re-assemble from car travels weren't so kind.

- should i use the Co2 cartridge without practising? i'm scared of them. bike shop man said i'd burn my hand from the cold. lots of warnings of exploding. i'm a big wuss. may not be so much of a wuss when faced with flat during race...?

- worried about right arm during swim. wearing my tri suit under my wetsuit has given me painful dead right arm for first 15 mins of swim - think there's just too much restriction happening. thought about rolling down tri suit + just wearing bikini top, then pulling up later, but this sounds complicated + very big potential for accidentally naked exposure. maybe should just cope with 15 mins of dead arm?

- have not done a full length 40k bike/ 10k run brick in training. this is going to hurt beyond words. i'm aware of my foolishness, but yet announcing it for hope of redemption

so the week ahead! will sneak in two more training sessions early on, then it's rest rest. there's nothing i can do now to be faster and/or better, which is relatively comforting, so guess it's just a matter of enjoying it *gasp*

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

the agony of wetstuit 101

we're halfway through pre-LDN training week (whoops i mean holiday) and efforts have been severely hampered due to adverse weather conditions. this is my first attempt at a week-long english summer holiday, and the experience does test ones patience.

the other morning, after a lovely run along the coastal path, i went down to the ocean for a swim. i was feeling a little apprehensive over the impending cold, and much to the enjoyment of all of the rugged up beach goers - proceeded to put my wetsuit on. i was feeling quite good about myself, and a little bit hardcore, when i zipped myself up and realised i'd put the stupid thing on backwards! here's the moment i put two + two together;

i'm super glad this mishap didn't take place at an event! anyways very traumatising as then involved another fifteen minutes battling it off + on again. as they say though, worse things have happened at sea, so i kitted up and was feeling quite chuffed when finally i was ready to embrace my english summer swim! thankfully we didn't have a mirror at the beach, otherwise i would have known i looked like this;

now that's a look! so the swim itself wasn't as cold as i thought it would be (those wetsuits do a good job), and my sighting was pretty spot on. all around good stuff!

due to the rain, my first ride will see me head off early weds morn for a longish stretch of country road which i can time trial down. won't worry about getting miles down now, need to really concentrate on speed as this isn't something i train for (ever). and maybe i'll finally get around to improving my cornering *cough,cough*

the good news is i've managed to run each day along the coastal path - which is hilly enough for an old lady to move to one side as i ran uphill and rasp, "you shouldn't be *doing* that!" here's me during a quieter moment on the path, with a rare glimpse of sunlight (read: generic brightness);

and i did promise a few old fashioned goals, so it's time to share. my forecasts are a little rusty, because the main section, the bike, i really don't have much of an idea of what i'll be hitting. so i'm guessing this one, and giving myself a bit of room for inaccuracy because i'd rather over-estimate than under. i've also put my projected times with my age group placing based loosely on last years results. here she is;

swim (1.5km)

in the pool i’ve been hitting 30 mins consistently, but my competitive nature is going to run into overdrive on the day - so will probably manage to shave a couple of minutes. the only issue will be swimming off course/getting kicked in the face/goggles coming off/cramp from cold

estimated time: 29 minutes (71/272)

bike (40km)

i don’t have a confident estimate of my bike, but based on long rides and my previous sprint tri’s, i’m going to take a preliminary stab in the dark. tbh, think i'll do better than this (hoping!!!)

estimated time: 1 hour 20 minutes (189/272)

run (10km)

finally this number has decreased! it's still a crappy old time, but good for me!

estimated time: 57 minutes (rank: 189/272)

(transition 1 + 2 : six minutes)

total estimated time: 166 minutes (2 hours 46 minutes)

age group estimated rank: 165/272

so the main goals i'm hoping to achieve are this:

1. finishing! this includes avoiding a cramp in the swim, a flat on the bike and/or a stitch on the run
2. subbing 2.45 (would be amazing!)
3. subbing or even getting anywhere near 2.30 (impossible! but still on the wish list!)

here's hoping peoples. but lets put things into perspective; at the moment i can't even get my wetsuit on the right way around.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Gasp! Results of the 10k!

take a seat kids. take the closest thing resembling a seat, grab it, and allow your backside to make contact, to prevent all manner of inevitable shock based collapsing.

this morning i (with a couple of mates) ran 10k in London’s Battersea Park Self Transcendence Race (that’s not shocking part, btw, keep reading). it was a club run, so everyone looked like hardcore runner types - pretty intimidating. here’s a pic of me looking a bit too excited as we wait for the race to start.
to give you an idea of what i was looking to expect from this race - my last waddle through (i mean run) of a 10k saw a finish time of 1hr 2mins.

here’s us discussing our lacking pre-race plan (not sure why Jenni’s looking so disgruntled, or why my hand is looking quite so dodgy...)
now - as you know, i’ve been putting in the hard yards. it’s been a tiring, frustrating process for a non-runner, who really, essentially, doesn’t enjoy running. BUT i’m a stubborn competitive fool, who loves a challenge. so i’ve been working at turning around the waddle - into a shuffle. big step peoples.

and the results from this mornings race are in > are you ready? have i built this up enough? so much to the point you’re skipping this sentence??

well kids > i crossed the line at 56 mins!!

read that time and read it again, then shout for joy a little, and pump your fists into the air if nobody is watching (check this twice) > because that is officially *not* a waddling pace. i have progressed, like a kid getting rid of his mp3 player... to a shuffle!

here’s a pic of a small stumpy legged dog which i *definitely* overtook!

and here’s me running in a blur, which surely indicates more shuffle, less waddle.

i really honestly can barely believe i’ve managed to knock off around 5 minutes from my 10k time; it’s mammoth! it’s so mammoth, i had to eat a *whole* banana post race.

(slightly tedious side note: i say i’ve beat my pb by ‘around’ five mins because i can’t remember how many secs i had on my 1hr 2min time - but have a feeling it was about 1hr 2min 50 secs - and this mornings efforts were officially 56mins 55sec. that’s ALMOST 57 mins but i’m hanging onto those five secs, because screw you five seconds, if you think i’m going to round up and loose a whole minute sounding pace!)

so what is my number one top tip for Non-Runners Who Want To Run Faster Than Almost Stationary Objects?

- hill runs! they hurt, yes, but they get you outside of your stride/pace comfort zone. thanks to training partner, paul the PT (who runs at speeds reserved for small fighter planes) - i've ran outside my comfort zone, and the results are in; it works.

the bottom line is; you’re not going to run faster by running miles + miles at the same pace.

as always, let’s have a look at what i got up to this week;

monday > 20 min speed run on treadmill

tuesday > 30 min run outside

wednes > 30 km cycle, 5 km run

thurs > rest
friday > rest
sat > 10k race
sun > easy run

although i’m officially on holidays this week, i’ve put together a pretty comprehensive training plan which focuses on hilly runs and cycles. my 10k companions yesterday saw our car packed and did question who goes on a seaside holiday with a floor bike pump. i noticed a slight eye roll from an understanding (but equally non-sporty) husband!

this week, as well as eating ice-cream, i’m also going to concentrate on a few technical things which i need to get sorted; changing inner tube quickly, taking on/off rear wheel, using c02 cartridge, bike cornering, sighting in ocean, getting out of wetsuit, running after swim.

can’t believe it’s two weeks to go! seems totally unreal. will post again later this week some of my time projections + get some good old fashioned goals in place.

until then, it’s time for another ice-cream/afternoon snooze combo!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Bike, Meet Swim

here's my bike saying hello to the Royal Albert Docks (ie. the swim section of the London Tri!) long story, let's get to that, but first:

it's been a bit of a haphazard week. firstly let's recognise there's only THREE weeks to go until my first ever Olympic distance tri. shall we count those weeks again? one, two, three. ie. i may as well be doing it tomorrow it's so bloody soon!

what have i done this week? it's a good question, thankfully, with an answer:

monday: rest day
tuesday: spin class
weds: 50 km cycle (to + from work)
thurs: rest day
friday: 1km swim, spin class, 7km run (back to back!)
sat: short running hill session
sunday: 40 km cycle

there's a few issues with my progress, which i'm noting in point form to save your eyeballs (they need saving, really)

- my cycling training sessions typically aren't at race speed > so when i actually go hard + fast in training i find i can't sustain this for very long. BAD news.

- i'm officially rejecting gels, they suck. i tried them during my friday training sess and when it came to run i was hearing very dodgy things from my tummy and then got a bad stitch. am going to try out the bike shots and/or bar - and failing that will just use nuun in my water.

- my run, despite the stitch, went *really* well and i'm definately running faster! can't wait for the 10k next week to hopefully see the numbers go down. think i'll sub 1 hour now yippeeeeeee!

- went down to the Royal Albert Docks for a look see at the swim route and rode part of the cycle route. swim looks totally do-able, feeling good about that! cycle is much more undulating than i had expected, so harder work (but it's my strength!?) great location tho, can't wait to see it filled with tri folks + their friends/fam.

here is me wearing my ugly cycling sunnies during my rekky (how do you spell that?)

ok onto next week - the 10k run! my plan of attack is to spend the following week run focussed, and then switch to a big cycle focus the week after (which incidentally is my week of holidays, thanks husband for understanding there'll be more lacking morning time with me!) - then the last week will be resting + eating stuff (yes please!)

AND you'll be pleased to know i've worn my helmet on both cycles, although it's hidden from the pic above (i wore it, but lets not be photographed in it peoples)

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Confessions of a bad tri-er

these items have become a staple in my life, and it's time peoples, to share.

the lone running sock
*these little beauties cost £8, and despite their brilliance I just can't fathom spending £8 on socks again, so they're the only running socks I have. as a result, they get washed a LOT and have little tuffs all over them. but I love them. a bit too much. three words summarise these socks: not one blister.*

the laces
*these were my first tri-related investment. I love the random hot pink. I love that I haven't ruined the back of my sneakers for the first time in my life. these laces need to infiltrate the real world, they're just too exciting to be constrained to the tri world*

the running/biking shoe
*back during the half mara training days my old sneakers (which were incidentally new) would give me blister after blister, then i went to the running shop and walked out with these. they're like a second skin, i've never had a problem! so now they're sitting high on the window saying hello to my street. hello street.*

the old sunnies
*these are my regular everyday sunnies, and i used to wear them when running and because of their oversized nature; i did look very prattish. so in invested in...*

ugly sport sunnies
*now i'm much more legit in these babies. they're hideous! but do the job*

ok but i'm diverting a little, because the title of this post is 'bad tri-er.' from checking out other blogs, tweets and forums i'm realising i've developed a list of bad habits which i keep to myself. but i'm feeling a little AA this morning so it's time to purge + share. here's how i keep top of the game;

things that make me a bad tri-er

- i don’t wear a helmet (races exempt)
- i wear slightly inappropriate swimwear because the racing swimmers look ugly
- i don’t have clip-ins
- i don’t eat anything extra when training, or eat post workout
- i listen to my ipod when i cycle (and sing)
- i never race myself, and constantly compare myself to others
- i don’t use a heart rate monitor and still use mapmyrun to work out distances
- i get overtaken when i run. a lot. so far the list has included: small children, dogs with stumpy legs, fighting ducks and really unfit people who are clearly going for one of their first ever runs.

before i run off and cower, ready for onslaught, let me share my week's training efforts!

monday> 3.5km run, 30min swim
tuesday> 30min run
wednesday> 20min hilly run drills, 2km swim
thursday> 40min cycle
friday> rest day
saturday> 6.8km run, about 2km swim (coached tri-train swim wetstuit session)
sunday> not sure what i'll do today!

really happy with this weeks running efforts, looking to continue running focus into next week. 10km race is two weeks out, would kill for a PB! well, not really killll, but you know what I mean.