The Masterplan v1.0

Now that the fog of illness and antibiotics is clearing I need to start planning my next move. I’ve thought about it quite a lot over the past couple of weeks. I now have the opportunity to consider all of my options, put together some goals and decide on my next attempt at Long Distance Triathlon:

Bolton was booked partly on the wave of euphoria after successfully completing Wimbleball in 2011 and partly in the knowledge that there would be a screaming bundle of baby hampering any plans I had to train after this year. Now that IMUK has been taken away I am going to take my time and not eneter any races at this distance for a few years. There are 2 main reasons for this; the aforementioned baby is going to be the most important thing for me and I don’t want to commit the time needed for Ironman at the expense of my family. Secondly I have time to get fit, really fit, from couch potato to Ironman in 21 months was achievable, but it would not have been comfortable – a long hard day at the metaphorical office. Now I have the time I can build a firm base of fitness from which to try again.

I have my eyes set on Ironman Western Australia at the end of 2015 or 2016 – that is open for discussion with Russ at the moment. Seeing as I can take my time I may as well do this in style and combine it with a trip down under. Bussleton Pier

3, or 4 years until I enter another Long Course race is a quite a long time so I need to set some goals, both intermediate, for the event itself and further down the road. Giving myself the time to build this fitness means that completion is not really a worthwhile goal. Sub-10 is the pinnacle as far as I am concerned, but that requires a lot more commitment than going under 12 or 13 hours. I think this goal will dictate a lot of my intermediate goals so I should probably decide on this one first! My intermediate goals are a bit simpler, in no particular order:

Wimbleball (A yearly occurrence I think – it requires a lot less training than a full and is a useful fitness yardstick)
Brighton Marathon – An ‘A’ Race for 2013 and a good opportunity to focus on something specific
Maidstone Half Marathon (2013) Another permanent feature on my calendar
Alpine / Pyrenean training camp – A week / 10 days riding up in the mountains with a bit of swim and run chucked in – I need to be bike FIT for this so perhaps late 2013, maybe 2014
Short Distance Tri’s – Fun, fast.
Swimming Race – I don’t want to do this, I hate swimming, but if I want to be good, I must!

Long term – This one’s up in the air at the moment. I plan on staying fit my whole life so perhaps I don’t need to figure this out just yet.

So I have the start, then end and a few bits in the middle, I still need to do a but of work, but I hope to develop this plan with Russ and my family over the next few months, I have the luxury of time so I want to make sure I get this right.
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IMUK Withdrawal

M-Not

I should be running through my kit list, checking, re checking, packing and re packing everything ready for IMUK this weekend, but instead I am looking forward to heading up to Yorkshire on Saturday with the family and being on the other side of the fence as a spectator on Sunday.

When I started feeling a bit odd on tuesday night 2 weeks ago I thought I might have a cold or something minor. When I woke up on the Wednesday I knew there was something slightly more serious wrong. By the time I went to the Drs I was pretty out of it so I didn’t really think too hard about what was going on, just that it hurt, a lot. By the time I got to the hospital and they’d started dosing me up on painkillers and antibiotics I was beginning to wonder whether I’d make the start line for IMUK. When they told me I’d be staying in for a couple of days I sort of knew I’d not make it, but I was hoping for some kind of miraculous recovery.

It wasn’t until my 3rd night in hospital that it really dawned on me that I was going to have to withdraw. In the end it wasn’t a hard decision to make. My body was fighting a pretty full on kidney infection, I was going to be on antibiotics for 3 weeks and putting myself through an Ironman could not possibly make my recovery any better. With a baby due in 3 months staying in the race would have been both stupid and selfish.

Nearly 3 weeks later and it was definitely the right decision. although I feel better, I still don’t feel 100%. The antibiotics are pretty strong and the symptoms of the infection are only now totally gone. Jumping into a 13Degrees Celsius lake at 6am Sunday would have been a mistake.

There is of course a deep sense of disappointment that I won’t have the chance to get that medal round my neck on Sunday night, but there are more important things in life and I will be back fitter, faster and stronger next time.

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Wimbleball 2012 – Pre Race Report

Cold Rough Swim Practice

Training has been a little hit and miss over the past few weeks, 3 different flavours of injury and a full work schedule have not helped and neither had the pressure I’d been heaping on myself, see Great Expectations

Friday:

Set off for the lake at around 6.30am, I was going to leave earlier, but I didn’t want to get out of bed and I thought it was better to save my energy for Sunday. After a smooth journey down I arrived to find my tent already put up which I was pretty pleased about. Gary, Rob and I got registered and headed out for a run. I’d forgotten how stupid the big hill out the back of the campsite is and running up it had me worried for Sunday so I decided not to. I would allow myself to walk up that hill as the benefits of running up it would have been far outweighed by the repercussions later on in the run. After the run we went down to swim practice and promptly turned around as the swim was between 2 pontoons approximately 5m long with 20m between them.

Saturday:

Woke up to rain which was to be a bit of a theme for the next 24 hours, swim practice part 2 was at 9am so we headed down to the lake hoping for a better situation than Saturday. The area available was much bigger, but so were the choppy little waves all over the surface of the lake with 17mph winds blowing across the surface. I really hated that swim practice. Swimming, and more specifically confidence in the water has never been a strong suit of mine and the choppiness of the water and the 14Deg temperature really put me in a bad frame of mind for race day. After that I went back to the tent to lay in my sleeping bag for a bit, warm up and pack my transition bags listening to the wind and rain. We headed over to check everything in via the bike repair stand in our rain jackets as the gears were giving me some problems over shifting going up to the big cog. The mechanics were really helpful and fixed me up in about 10 minutes. The rest of the day was spent laying down in the tent reading and listening to the rain and wind as last year I spent all day wandering around on my feet and felt really tired for it. The race briefing at 4pm was late because there were lots of families in the briefing tent and other athletes could not get in. I was a little disappointed when all the people I had been mentally sizing up because they looked less fit than me were asked to leave and were replaced by another few hundred fit athletes who were much fitter than me. What I could hear of the briefing over the sound of the rain beating down on the tent was a bit style over substance this year, instead of having 3 people who really knew the course talking about it, they had the race announcer presenting it and he didn’t really know it well enough. After the briefing I ate some more, sat around for a bit and went to bed hoping the rain would have stopped by the morning and the wind die down.

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Great Expectations

I had an epiphany last night, I would sit down if I were you, this might come as a shock. I am not a professional athlete. I know! It took me a little while to come to terms with it, but when I did I felt much better than I have done in quite a while.

At the start of the year training was going very well, I was totally committed to the cause, losing weight, not drinking, eating absolutely perfectly until around the end of March when the concentration slipped a little, there were a few weekends here and there where I wasn’t as disciplined as I could have been. I really, really enjoyed them. I was still training hard and getting fitter, but I couldn’t shake off a feeling of guilt. Every time I’ve cracked open a can of beer or me and C have been out for dinner I have had a little voice in the back of my head berating me “This isn’t training” “Craig Alexander / Lance Armstrong / insert name here doesn’t drink beer” “You’re supposed to be losing weight, pizza isn’t Ironman food” I was lying in bed awake at night worrying because I’d committed to a certain weight / body composition / abstinence from alcohol and I wasn’t doing it. Getting out and training relieved the guilt a little, but with work and other things getting in the way of training and picking up a few little injuries meaning I am unable to train the guilt wouldn’t go away, it was becoming all consuming, the whole process was not fun. I didn’t want to do it anymore; no more training, no more dieting, no more Ironman I just wanted to quit.

I hadn’t spoken out loud about it, the internal duologue with my guilty conscience was quite enough, but I talked to C about it yesterday and she reminded me that I am supposed to be doing this for fun, not to win anything, or beat anybody, just for me, but I had put all of these conditions on myself that were making me unhappy. This year I have lost a load of weight, I feel good about myself and I am fit enough to get round an Ironman, which is what I originally set out to do. I spend so much time reading about the Crowie’s and Macca’s in the sport and I’d started to put unnecessary pressures on myself to be like them. There’s nothing wrong with pressure, or wanting to emulate the top professionals, but I am a 31 year old man who fairly recently got his arse up off the settee to set out to do this. I’m not a professional athlete and I don’t need to beat myself up for not acting like one.

It was less than 2 years ago I set out to do this and I’ve already achieved a lot that I’m happy with, I am getting better at running and cycling, I’ve got one Half Ironman under my belt and should have another one come Sunday. 5 weeks after that, providing nothing goes spectacularly wrong I should be standing in Bolton City centre with and Ironman finishers medal around my neck, and if I’m not for some reason, I’ll try again another time. I am committed to long distance triathlon, I love the training, I love the racing (when it’s over mostly!) I definitely have some more weight to lose, but my little epiphany made me realise I don’t have to do it now, I have plenty of time. The achievement of balance always seemed to evade me, it was either training, dieting and working hard or drinking and eating and doing nothing, but it doesn’t have to be like that! At the moment I (injury excepted) have balance: I can enjoy the training and enjoy the rest of life. If I’m not 65kg on race day and holding 30km/h on the bike then so what? It was only my arbitrary conditions that piled this unnecessary pressure on me anyway. That doesn’t mean I’ll train any less hard, it just means the pressure is off a little and I can enjoy pushing myself rather than feeling like I had to.

Perhaps, given the time again I might not have gone straight to Ironman this year, I think trying to concentrate for 7 ½ months was, for me, too much to handle and this pressure has stemmed from attempting it. I’m looking forward to spending much more time on running over the winter and having a go at the Brighton Marathon in April 2013, I will certainly have a 16 week block of diet and abstinence leading up to that and hopefully get closer to my body composition goals, but if I don’t then I’ll try again and not stress too much about it. It really is all about balance, as long as the miles are ticking over and I’m enjoying then that’s what matters.

MDot

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Mr inconsistent

As the West Ham song “I’m forever blowing bubbles” goes, Fortune’s always hiding, for me, it’s not so much fortune as consistency. I seem to be unable to string together 2 weeks at the moment, and less than 3 weeks from Wimbleball, it’s not ideal.

Last week was a combination of work and a mild injury potentially caused by work. Off the back of a brilliant 106 mile bike on Sunday I managed to log 0 hours on Monday (Long day at work) a 45 minute run on Tuesday 0 on Wednesday and Thursday as I was out at other offices. So come friday my plan was to do a run and a bike session. 30 minutes into my run and a searing pain in my leg. Stopped. Stretched. Jogged home. Had a stretch and a roll and hoped for the best. Jumped on the turbo a bit later (not fun when it’s baking hot outside, but I just can’t replicate the intensity onthe streets of London) I lasted 12 minutes! Same pain, same side.

I rested for the rest of the weekend, I wasn’t too annoyed about it as the pre wedding, wedding and resulting hangovers would have made it annoying anyway. Got Physio on Tuesday and I’m back!

A total of 1hr 58m training completed out of a scheduled 15hr 38m is far from ideal, especially when compared with the previous weeks 14h 49m completed.

I was really disappointed with it, but, I have put in the hours before now (although there have been some exceptions) and I do have some more weight to lose which is free speed really, so I’m not going to get down about it. looking forward to a ride this weekend and re-tapering down for Wimbleball – 2 weeks on Sunday!

I’m hoping I can find some fortune down there..

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9 Weeks to go…

Although this small corner of the internet doesn’t hold testament to it I have actually been doing a lot of training.

With around 38 hours in March, 31 in April and 24 in May already (Bike and Run – Swim not included) I’m in pretty good shape, I thought I’d write more during the run up to race day so I can get out all of the thoughts that are keeping me awake at night!

61 Days until race day…
I’ve had a pretty solid week, I think I’ve only sort of missed one session, which was the long run as I just
didn’t have time on Saturday. I am going to try and get it in this afternoon. I have had a weekend across all three disciplines which I am pretty pleased with.

Run:
This training stuff works! Every run I feel stronger and faster, since the start of the year I’ve taken around a
minute off my km pace, I know a lot of that is down to weight loss, but I’ve stalled recently and I am still seeing increases in pace, setting my fastest ever 10k this weekend and a painful 5k test set by Russell on Friday!

Swim:
It’s not brilliant, but an average speed of 2:05s/100m works for me. I’ve still got time to play with here and getting the practice in open water is, for me, really valuable. I am happy to swim for hours there, but I get angry at the pool within about 30 minutes! I know the pool is where we do technique and get faster and it’s important, but that doesn’t stop it being boring!

Bike:
Forgot that The Castle Ride is quite tough in places. Comparable climbing to Bolton although no SHL or anything like it really. I’ll caveat this by saying there were 4 stops on this ride so a bit different, but I definitely could have run after that ride yesterday. I do have some slightly concerning pains in my knee, but I think I can keep that under control with more foam rolling and I’m going to try and get fortnightly massages in until 2 weeks before the race – I think! I do need to work on nutrition, I was a bit stupid yesterday in deciding that I’d wait until the first feed stop to eat so I was struggling for a while. I will be ordering some PowerBar gels this week as that’s what they use on the Ironman courses. I’m sure they’ll be fine, I just want to check I am happy with them. It’s better for me to use the on course stuff so I don’t have to carry it all with me. On the whole a solid ride.

I’m going to make my first prediction, not sure if it’s totally wise to do this, but I need a target to focus on.

I currently have:

1h40 swim
10mins T1
8hrs Bike
10 mins T2
5hr Marathon

=15hrs.

So with any luck I can be in the pub by 9.30pm!

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Week in review 5th March – 11th March

Monday
Training:

11am Kickboxing. At 10am I receive a text from Stu which reads “PAIN!!!!” As I am Stu’s first victim of the week he likes to get in the right frame of mind to beast people for the rest of the week by torturing me for an hour;

Running around the dojo with a medicine ball above my head
Slamming said medicine ball into the ground
Raising medicine ball from arms parallel to the floor to above the head in the squat postion
Steering wheel twists in the squat position
Squat, but with my back agains the wall, squeezing the medicine ball as hard as I can and raising it up and down

rest

Hopping roundhouse kicks into the kickshield x 10 off each leg
Hopping Side kicks into the kickshield x 10 off each leg
10 hopping front kicks off the left leg >> Sprint the length of the dojo and back
10 hopping front kicks off the right leg >> Sprint the length of the dojo and back
10 hopping front kicks off the left leg >> Squat jump the length of the dojo and back
10 hopping front kicks off the right leg >> Squat jump the length of the dojo and back
10 hopping front kicks off the left leg >> Hop the length of the dojo and back
10 hopping front kicks off the right leg >> Hop the length of the dojo and back

repeat the same for side and roundhouse kicks.

I think there were some burpees in there for not making the jumps / hops in an arbitrary number of goes that seemed to decrease the more tired I got.

And that ladies and gentlemen is a “warm up”

A mildly disappointing section of padwork, I am definitely coming on in some areas, but others need a lot of work. I struggle a bit more when I’ve had a big weekend on the bike and running, but that’s to be expected and for the time being triathlon has to take precedence.

Post technique work there was an arms circuit which consisted of somewhere in the region of 100 bicep curls, I lost count and the will to live after a while.

As always, loving the Kickboxing at the moment and I’m going to concentrate on it over the winter andwork towards some pretty new belts.

Put down 800cals although I think that is an underestimate for 90mins work.

Eating:

Breakfast – Yoghurt and Honey and Fruit
Snack – Banana
Lunch – Chilli con Carne
Snack – Jackson Spice Flapjack
Dinner – Chicken Tagine and White Rice
Snack – 2 x rice cakes
1998 Calories

Tuesday
Training:
Swim: Still got some pain in the shoulder so I binned it off very quickly

Eating
Breakfast – Yoghurt and Honey and Fruit
Lunch – 3 slices Pizza! I was in a workshop all day.
Dinner – Thai Turkey Burgers and Vietnamese Salad
Snack – Banana
1624 Calories

WednesdayTraining:
Run: Wasn’t actually supposed to be running today as I was due to do a threshold test on the turbo, but I don’t let reading training plans get in the way. Lunchtime run to tower bridge. Good, fast pace, I think this is the first time I’ve done a flat run in ages and those hills are certainly paying off. 750cals
Bike: Swapped in next weeks threshold session. 10min warm up 3 x 12mins at 90% of ftp with 3 mins recovery 5mins cooldown 450cals

Eating
Breakfast – Yoghurt and Honey and Fruit
Snack – Banana
Lunch – Chicken Salad
Dinner – Chilli Con Carne and a bit of cheese and some soured cream
Muller Yoghurt while I was watching the telly
1705 Calories – I think this is too little. I was trying to make up for Tuesday’s pizza.

Thursday
Training:
Swim: Shoulder still painful so went for a sports massage instead. Actually a much better way of spending an hour that staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool!
Bike: Had an hour to spare so I repeated Wednesdays turbo session. 10min warm up 3 x 12mins at 90% of ftp with 3 mins recovery 5mins cooldown 450cals

Eating
Breakfast – Yoghurt and Honey and Fruit
Lunch – Chicken Salad
Snack – Eat natural Cranberry, pistachio and chocolate bar
Dinner – Coley fillets with Chorizo and Roasted Vegetables.
1478 Calories

Friday
Training:
Run: Local SE London run, 45mins / 8.06km / 600cals

Eating
Breakfast – Yoghurt and Honey and Fruit
Snack – Fruitus bar – gluten free fruit thingy, I’m trying out new fuels at the moment. This one did’t make the cut.
Lunch – Chicken Salad
Dinner – Steak, Jacket Potato and Salad
1809 Calories

Saturday
Training:
Bike – 4 1/2 hours on Leo’s Kent Three Peaks – Wrotham, Blubell and Hollingbourne hills. forgot my garmin. Boo! Mild pain again in the outside of my left knee but I now know it is overuse and its my ITB so rolling and stretching solves the problem.. 2250cals
Eating:
Breakfast – Porridge and Honey
Flapjack / Eat Natural bars when training
Coffee and Cake!
Frijj Milkshake post training
Um… Chicken Shish Kebab and a few chips. Oops.
3073 Calories

Sunday
Training:
Run: New long run! Very happy with 1hr15mins for 13.07km, did a double loop of Peckham Rye park 1000 cals

Eating

Breakfast – Scrambled Eggs, bacon and mushrooms
Lunch – Late breakfast so didn’t really bother
Dinner – Roast Chicken, Potatoes, Parsnips, Cabbage, Peas, Beans. courgettes, aubergine

1655 Calories

totals:

Training
Swim: 23m / 2mins
Bike: 152km / 6hr 25mins
Run: 30.27km / 2hr 55mins

Eating
Calories in 13513
Calories Out 14227
Difference: -714

Weight Loss – 1.2kg

Current weight 88.2Kg

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