So the plan was to attend an Ironman 70.3 familiarisation camp down at Wimbleball lake this weekend, staying at the lovely Three Acres Country House and doing some eating and drinking with the wife in the sunshine…
Arrived in Brushford on Friday afternoon, quick run, nothing exciting to report..
I set the alarm for 5.30 so I could neck a flapjack and some fruit before I went, because I decided I would bike over there, it was only 5 miles they told me, turned out to be mostly uphill, in fact, the uphill turned out to be the biggest descent of the course, but I did it in reverse first.
I arrived at about 7.20 (20 minutes late) and we headed straight down to the lake. We did some warm up stuff, gettin the blood flowing through the arms and legs which I found really useful and will definitely use. We got in the water and the plan was to swim an out and back of about 200m to a buoy. I started and as soon as I got to the end of the pontoon I had a bit of a panic and had to stop and go back to the remedial swimming group 🙂 We spent the next 20 minutes trying to swim around a buoy between two pontoons about 20m apart. I was fine going there, but as soon as I go there I don’t know what happened, but I ended up with my head out of the water unable to get it back under. The coach who was with us, Duncan, was really helpful and he worked with me to get back to real basics and just complete a lap between the pontoons without having a panic! In the end we got there and I went out to one of the closer buoys (20 / 25m from the pontoon – into the lake) and back again. I just couldn’t go out into the deeper water. Everything I’ve learnt in the pool just went out of the window, I couldn’t keep my head under or breathe properly which meant that technique went right out of the window. The swim is a serious concern for me for race day. I’ve got to do an assessment at the lake in Larkfield before I am allowed to swim there, 2 x 300m which I have booked in for this Saturday.
Was supposed to grab breakfast now, but left cash at home and they didn’t take cards, more nuts and a half a flapjack
After a quick shower we headed out onto the bike course. I ended up in the slowest group of riders, which was absolutely fine as I was probably the strongest in that group which was nice from a confidence point of view. The first 7k or so out of the lake is an uphill drag which is not as bad as I’d thought it might be, the next 20k or so are pretty cool rolling countryside which was absolutely beautiful to ride, then comes the main descent (Which I’d already gone up) and then the first of the 3 real climbs begin. The first of which is a short, sharp climb that takes a couple of minutes to do. The 2nd is not quite as steep, but much longer (I fell off halfway up this one, but managed to restart after dusting myself off) and the last climb is longer than the rest, but not quite so steep and you get a fairly decent descent into it to carry some speed through. I was definitely tough, looking back on it now, I think it will be ok. (Provided I can get through the swim)
Once we returned to the lake we had lunch (another flapjack, an orange and some nuts!) and a briefing with the coaches there for the day. Things I took out of it:
1) I am going to get change my rear cassette for a 12-27 and perhaps put a new wheel on it, just to make the climbs easier. As the race director said, no one is going to give me a bigger medal because I had more difficult gearing.
2) I’m going to use my own gels – I have only briefly tried the powerbar ones and I don’t really get on with them, but I get on well with the High-5 ones and I can just get water from the feed stations
3) New tyres, chain and a service before the race ( will get this done with the cassette / wheel)
4) Will arrive early on race day
5) Can get in the water from 06.35 for a warm up, maybe a bit early, but will definitely want to get warmed up and used to the water.
6) Gradual 2 week taper
There is more, but I’ve forgotten!
The run is not as tough as I was lead to believe, I was pretty stiff and starting to cramp up before we started and the heat was absolutely relentless. It’s a bit of a weird route: it’s not as hilly as I’d feared, but not as flat as I’d hoped, in face, I don’t think there is one flat part of the whole area, it is rolling up and down everywhere. 1 lap completed in 46.07 gives me a half marathon time of 2h23m half marathon time (or thereabouts) At the time, I don’t think I could have completed another lap, well, I didn’t want to, and I knew that I didn’t have to so that may have played a part.
I woke up on the Saturday feeling pretty reasonable, no massive aches or pains (Apart from a few bruises) as I would expet after completing less than half the course. I am thoroughly petrified by the swim, but the rest I think I can handle. As long as I can get out of the water inside the hour and not get a DNF then I can definitely get the bike done in the 4 1/2 hours I’ve got available and I’m certain that I can do a half marathon in the 4 hours remaining, I think I could walk it in that long, obviously I don’t want to do that. The next 6 weeks are going to be absolutely critical. I am packing in the booze after Friday’s BBQ with the hope of being able to drop another 6/7Kgs by race day which should give me a big boost.
Traning this weekend
It’s a long weekend this weekend, so my plan for training currently looks like this…
Friday – Meeting up with Mr Hannigan for a bike at 8am – probably 3/4hrs
Saturday – Swim assessment at 11am and some more practice after that, followed by a long run (2hrs) – I really need the confidence of knowing I can run a decent half marathon, I’m worried about the distance a bit and I know I can run a sensible hilly half marathon in around 2hrs (standalone) I want to get that feeling in my legs to know that I can push through.
Sunday – Cycle to the coast – 6/7hrs total cycling, but leisurely for the most part, nice day out, but perhaps junk miles?
Monday – OW swimming again – as much of this as possible!
I have referred this to the coach for his nod of approval. I am concious that there is a lot to do and only really 6 weeks left to do it in, but I am equally concious of overcooking it and falling apart on race day.
53 days 15 hours until race day.