Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Bike failures & other things that are sent to try us

Saturday I planned a big ride, some 85 miles from home to my brother-in-laws in Walton On Thames, Surrey.  I planned it on a website called www.ridewithgps.com an excellent resource if you have a GPS bike computer like the Gramin Edge 800.
So all was going well until mile 55 around Addlestone, Surrey when the rear mech hanger came off.  Now these things are meant to break if you crash on the drive side, this hadnt broken, it just stripped its threads and the bolts holding it to the rear dropouts came away.

After some swearing, cursing and even a visit to a bike shop that was a mile from my breakdown I got it fixed at Sigma Sport in Kingston in the end so all's well that ends well.

Sunday I was out and riding around Surrey, up and over Box Hill.

In a way this was a blessing in disguise, what if this happend in the race itself?  Game over.
What if it happened on holiday in Portugal?  Likelehood of tracking down a spare?  None to zero.

This week to make up for missing a few hours I'm taking Thursday afternoon off to put in some hilly miles that I missed Saturday.

The heatwave continues, training continues regardless, cycling in this heat I can deal with, running for 2 plus hours in 25-34 degree heat is becoming rather tiresome & boy is it tiring.

On the plus side, my stats since the start of the Fink programme are looking impressive, especially swimming, now well over 100 miles swum so far & still about 7 weeks to go so at least another 60km to swim before the day!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Half Ironman Sunday 14th July - Marlow

So the first big test arrives, a Half Ironman 70.3 race.
The week prior to the race I spent in the United States on business, luckily timings worked well as I was tapering to this race so no big volumes this week, I found a pool to swim in that wasnt full of fat Americans, the YMCA at Hackensack & it even opened at 0530 as well.  $18 to swim in cool clean water in a 23 metre pool was great as the heat & humidity outside was debilitating.  I arrived in NY around midnight Saturday, at 0600 Sunday morning I was out running 2 hours in 34 degrees & 130% humidity.

The heat was incredibly debilitating, thankfully Wednesdays Brick session was done in an air conditioned gym and Thursdays run was again done in 30+ degrees & 120+% humidity, hardcore!

Race day Sunday 14th July

A beautiful English summers day beckons, it's 7am I'm treading water in the Thames waiting for the off.  The horn sounds and 1.9 km awaits.  The washing machine is on full speed, arms crashing into other body parts, kicks in the face & head, thrashing the water to a foam, a few minutes go by & I settle into a rythm and try and draft another swimmer.  The turn point comes around quickly, still a few swimmers around me at the turn, I spot swimmers ahead of me & I can see swimmers still swimming upstream 3-400 metres behind me so I'm not last.  I can see the finish, I pick up the cadence & exit the water in 33 minutes.  My best ever 1.9km by a long way, into transition.

On the bike and its a climb out of Marlow onto the Henley road for a 2.5 lap 56 mile bike course, only 2 hills, well 1 hill you ascend twice, its not steep just a long draggy climb for 3 miles.  The roads are in shit state, potholed and rough as anything, I see lots of people punctured & a few walking bikes back to the start as they have destroyed their tubeless tyres.

Bike course uneventful for me and I complete in 2:51, into transition for the change to run.

The run course is 4 x 5 km laps, by now the temperature is into the 30s, 2 laps in and I see a lot of people suffering on the run course, also still a lot of people finishing the bike leg, even some people on TT bikes and pointy helmets, always nice to beat moneyed triathletes!  Lap 4 done & into the finish chute, total time 5 hrs 10 minutes, my half marathon time was 1 hr 40 mins.  Mentally I'd set a target of 6 hours, I smashed it.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Week 20 - Time for an update!

Well what can I say, sorry for the non blogging the last month or so, life just passed me by.
So here I am almost 20 weeks through the 30 week plan.

Here's a few headline statistics.
Swim - 152 kms
Cycle - 1493 miles
Run - 488 miles

In those 20 weeks I have missed 1 day of training through illness (food poisoning) so I've been really very lucky to avoid injury & illness overall throughout the 5 months or so. Next week begins the final run for home, 10 weeks of 'peak' phase training, volumes & intensity goes up again, swimming distances go up to 10.5 km a week from 9 & the volume of Zone 4 (anaerobic) work goes up to around 20% of the total.

There's also a half Ironman to look forward to in a few weeks time at Marlow with F3 Events.

On the subject of races, I raced the Toshiba Windsor Triathlon a few weeks ago, its an Olympic distance race so 1.5 km swim in the Thames, 42km cycle & a 10km run.  Finished in a respectable 2hrs 34 mins placing 55th in my age group, not too shabby for an old git.  In the grand scheme of things an Olympic distance race means nothing in terms of an Ironman distance race though!  Just good practice at transition & a good open water swim practice.

Here's me on lap 1 of the run, looking and feeling fresh!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Week 7 - Sunshine at last

The highlight of the week had to be the appearance of the sun for most of the week which meant cycling and running was all conducted outdoors.  The fact that the cold East wind is still blowing hard meant temperatures remain unseasonably low, I mean really low, like January low.

The dry weather meant the Venge got used again for just the second time, a 40 mile ride on Saturday but sadly that ended with a minor niggly fault in that the front mech stopped working due to a loose or faulty connection somewhere so the bike has gone back to Specialized to be sorted, hopefully I will have it back tomorrow fixed and ready to go.

Swimming is improving in terms of the mere fact I feel so much stronger in the water, not quicker just stronger and much less tired after 2500 - 3000 metres of ploughing up and down the pool.  Clearly my stamina is growing after coving some 35 kilometres in the past 7 weeks at an average of 5 km a week, that will move to around 9 km a week in weeks 11-20, something I never thought I could achieve 7 weeks ago.

Running is also noticeably improving just merely by the fact I have to work so much harder to get in and stay in HR zone 2 now, consequently distances covered in the 60 -75 minute run sessions are creeping up to over 8 miles in 75 minutes.

Week 8 will be great as I'm taking the week off work, I can train whenever I want but will be aiming to get it all done early and have the rest of the day with my family wherever I can.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Another week done

Week 6 ended with the 2 coldest days for outdoor training weve had so far.  The forscast for Saturday was rain in the morning & drying out in the afternoon, so the plan was to do the long ride Saturday afternoon, in the dry.

I awoke Saturday morning to the sound of silence, no sound of water trickling off roofs, no sound of rain lashing windows.  Hmmm things are looking up maybe I can get a dry ride in this morning?  I threw back the curtains to be met with the glare of bright white snow on the ground and thick snow falling heavily & constantly.
Hey ho, train hard, fight easy and all that.  On with the thermals & out on the hybrid for 2 hours off & on road, even up and over Walbury Hill.  The added weight of the hybrid & the extra width of the tyres made progress slower than normal, the biting wind & snow made the ride rather uncomfortable, but it was done & I had the rest of the day to do other stuff.

Sunday I was up early, it's my birthday but I'm out doing my long run at 8am, back home by 10 past 9 from the sub zero conditions in time for a family breakfast & presents including 2 Triathlon books & a Garmin cadence & speed sensor, how thoughtful of my family!

Lunch out with parents & sisters family, the rest of Sunday was spent vegetating in front of the TV with a movie, log burner on full & a few glasses of wine.

There has to be an end to this weather, sadly it doesn't look to be coming soon, the icy grip looks set to remain for at least another 10 days, spoiling yet another holiday weekend coming up.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Week 6

Monday was the usual rest day.
Tuesday started off well after dropping kids at school I headed to the pool for the swim session which just seemed to fly by, I also felt stronger in the water again, it's strange but I swear I could feel the water better today and was able to glide easier rather than fight the water, weird.

Tuesdays swim was as follows.
300m warm up
5 x 100m Drills
12 x 100 @ 20 secs
5 x 100m Drills
200m cool down

2500 metres total.

In the afternoon an hour run in HR zone 2 on Greenham Common.

Wednesday was spent in London and upon arriving home I got the turbo trainer out of the garage and sat in the kitchen in front of the best of Red Nose Day on BBC iPlayer for 45 minutes in HR Zone 2 followed by a quick change and out for 15 minutes running on Greenham Common, loving all this outdoor stuff and it was still daylight just.

Slight worry about the fact I have either started going down with a cold or maybe an allergy, will see what develops....................

Sunday, 17 March 2013

End of Week 5

So Friday was a straightforward enough day, 1 hour run in HR Zone 2, duly completed out on Greenham Common in the miserable drizzle that's arrived, cold as well.  Soaked to the skin it was an uneventful afternoon with the relief of central heating to come back to.

Saturday was a busy family day, my son was playing Judo in a national judo competition in High Wycombe (he won a Bronze Medal to go with last years Silver), my daughter needed taking to a ballet lesson, so opted to do the latter & stuck the bike in the boot.  The weather was dreadful to start with, torrential rain but no wind & I needed to put in 1 hour 45 minutes in HR Zone 2.  A completely unknown route for me, I just picked my way across country & ended up in Streetly which is famous for it's hill, which today I avoided.  By the time I headed for home, the wind was up & the sun was out & it had stopped raining, several places along the road near Pangbourne were completely flooded & I needed to unclip from pedal & freewheel through the giant puddles to try & keep my feet dry.  The slog back along the A4 from Theale was all into a strong headwind which meant controlling heart rate was tough along with trying to maintain a decent forward speed.
5 minutes from home & I have a puncture, I timed myself, this was in the rear tyre & it took me 4 minutes to be up & riding again.  Job done, 1hr 45 minutes ride time covering 28 miles through Berkshire.

Sunday, up early get the run out of the way, 1 hour in HR Zone 2, within moments of leaving home it's snowing, heavily & it keeps on snowing throughout the hour I'm running, in fact it only stopped snowing as I write this at around 4pm.  Soaked to the skin & very cold it's good to be home again for a decent breakfast & the day is still ahead of me.

Week 5 done, so 1/2 way through the Base phase.  Totals to date.

Swim - 25,840 metres so just over 25 km & over 10 hours in the pool

Cycle - 233 miles & 14 hours in the saddle

Run - 106 miles in 15 hours