Sunday, 26 July 2009

Less than a week to go

Its been more than a week since my last post and I had left off with a disappointing race (Tri 2) where I had to thank my lucky stars for finishing. I must admit that 6 days before my 'A' race and my longest race yet my morale isn't too much better than it was last week. I've had 4 intense training sessions this week, a good swim on Sunday (my time for what I think was 750m has gone down to about 15 and a half minutes), a disappointing run on Tuesday, a tough cycle on Thursday, and another swim on Friday. Let's just say that although they were good sessions, they haven't filled me with confidence. That being said ... today I did a brick session, a 16km race pace cycle (the same course as my races) where even though I stopped on the cycle (I usually wear my trisuit and cycling shorts over them but my cycling shorts were in the wash today so the bike saddle was blooming uncomfy) I beat my PB on the bike leg. After that (a 10 minute break between the ride and the next leg) I went on a run of 2.6k (13.5mins) ... not fast but the legs were tired and its still below my 'goal time'. One of the things that was prevalent today was a very strong wind. It really did push back, cutting down speed by at least .5 or 1k (my bike computer was doing itss snazzy thing) so all in all it wasn't a bad effort.

As I said, its 6 days to go ... taper time ... I'll still be working but not as hard, its more maintaining fitness, keeping your muscles going and race ready and making sure you're not fatigued. And fatigued I am ... I'm knackered this weekend, it really wasn't a weekend. I felt like I was at uni, a whole weekend of work, sat on my sofa reviewing documents drafted by lawyers who I will not mention (suffice it to say they have lost any possible shred of respect I may have had for them - a document as far away from a term sheet as this, I have yet to see). They've made my weekend miserable. 8 hours yesterday, 8 hours today ... I'm now shattered but at least its been a productive day work wise and training wise. I can't believe these ppl ... such an incredibly shoddy job, I really can't believe it. A job that should have taken 4-5 hours (if the docs were properly drafted) ended up taking 10-12. Absolutely rubbish! Enough of this rant, the point is now showing our clients (and theirs) how absolutely sh?*$e these guys were (and what a waste of their money this exercise was)!

Chin up, a week of light training and shedloads o work ahead. On the bright side, my parents are coming to the UK on Friday so I'm looking forward to that, more race day pressure but more motivation for sure.

The fundraising is going well ... nearly at target ... so if you're reading and haven't donated ... what are you waiting for?! :)

Saturday, 18 July 2009


I took part in my second sprint triathlon today (the same course as the one I had done my first tri) - and here's my race (day) report -

4:30 am - the alarm rang - race - 3 hrs 30 ... time to fuel up (so I did) - and made my first mistake. My 'fuel' consisted of a large glass of water, 2 nutrigrain bars and a go ahead yoghurt bar ... with hindsight it wasn't fuel enough (more on that later)

5:00 am - headed back up to bed, read for 5 minutes and dozed off (mistake no.2) ... woke up at 6:30

7:00 am - headed off to the race (which is a 15 minute drive away) and stopped by a petrol station to pick up a couple of small bottles of lucozade bodyfuel (my racing liquid of choice) - had a swig pre-race, racked my bike, got into my wetsuit and rocked up to the pre-race briefing.

8:00 am - a quick warm-up in the lake and I'm ready to start ... as usual I headed to the back of the pack to avoid the washing machine that is the mass start (only 50 ppl there but it was pretty crowded for me). At the go I felt quite comfortable, set out, built into my rhythm and kept going. I kept getting squeezed by two ppl (one on either side of me) who seemed to have exactly the same stroke speed as I had and kept on wanting to come into my racing line instead of keeping to theirs ... I was sighting well, going dead straight (unlike the people on either side of me) who insisted on barging me and blocking my stroke etc. Getting increasingly frustrated I tried to kick on, speed up a bit to lose them ... and lose them I did for the next 200m. Being slowed down by three ppl ahead my 'wingers' caught up and contnued to hem me in ... a couple of elbowed hits later (received not given) I ws literally hemmed in ... two ppl ahead, one on each side and I must say it was hard work. Out of the lake and on the way to the transition area I felt very weak and dizzy, I could run to my bike, lost my balance while taking off my wetsuit, forgot to dry my feet (towel was straight in front of me) so my socks were soaked and full of grassy/muddy muck. Helmet on (also with a bit of a faff) and off I went. Winded and slightly dizzy, I hoped the first couple of minutes of the bike leg would see me recover and then push on ... oh how I wish ... about 1.5km into the bike ride my legs started to burn as did my lungs ... I was pushing a fairly weak gear so the complete lack of power was completely unexpected. Things just got worse and worse for the next 750m-1k to the point where I could either get off the bike of my own will, or fall off ... I chose to get off, sat on the kerb for a couple of minutes, leaving a small souvenir by the side of the road (some lucozade and some nutrigrain) and watched the last few people who hadn't overtaken me in either the swim, my awful transition, or my agonising ride until then go past.

I had two choices, give up and head back, or man up and continue, pushing as much as I could in the circumstances. Bearing in mind London is two weeks away, giving up would have been soul-destroying and confidence crushing. So I didn't bloomin give up, I got back on my bike and finished my ride, painfully, but I finished it. Once again, I had a choice, retire or do the run. Again, retiring was not an option, so I ran ... 5km of jelly legs and recurring stitches, some back pain, toe pain (I nearly broke my first metatarsal two weeks again) and general malaise, but I didn't walk ... I wasn't running fast but I didn't walk.

Crossing the line didn't have the exhilaration it held last time around, but I felt a great deal of pride. I persevered, I hung on by the very skin of my teeth and I finished. I came second last (massive 7oaks tri club contingent in the race) but anyhoo (not last at least :)). Talking times, my first tri took 1:21.05 - today, I came in sub-1:25 ... I'm still waiting for the exact times (I forgot to stop the timer on my forerunner) but it should be a sub-1:25 time. I had targeted a sub-1:20 sprint but that wasn't going to happen today. All in all, I'm happy I finished, and considering the state I was in this morning, it was a pretty decent time (for me).

The mistakes (aggravating/mitigating factors ... a.k.a. excuses) were the following:

1. have been feeling fluey for the last two weeks, not outright sick, but my body is fighting something off for sure

2. the toe is still playing up (damn thing) ... I can run, but its not comfortable

3. didn't take in enough fuel for the race - a proper meal next time (breakfast is a meal) even if it was 4:30am

4. I should NOT, go back to sleep after fuelling up ... I should have kept my body going, got some adrenaline pumping, tricked my body into believing that its not true that it should still have been in bed resting at that time

the rest was a combination of bad luck (my wingmen - though I think one of them was a woman, and the crosswinds on the bike course were completely out of my control) and a bit of complacency on my part (... having done it the first time around I assumed it would automatically be easier the second time around ... NOT the case) ahve ensured that the next two weeks in the lead up to london and any other races I take part in will have my full focus ... back in training tomorrow

Friday, 17 July 2009

TRIing again and building in excitement

There has been some training since my last post ... nothing too spectacular ... another 5k run (sub 28mins - which for me is ok) and another session on the spin bike (40 minutes to be precise) ... and just to add some spice to the mix I proceeded to stub my blessed toe while releasing my leg from a quad stretch on Wednesday which aggravated the pain that was going away ... nevertheless, I will soldier on and I will race tomorrow.

Yep indeed, 8am tomorrow sees the start of my second triathlon. Once again the aim is to finish, not to finish last, and if at all possible to finish in a sub 1:20 time.

The distances are 550m swim, 15.4k bike and 5k run. When you consider that I finished a 550/16/5 sprint in 1:21:05 ... and that this race will be 0.6k shorter (on the bike ride) it isn't too ambitious to try and chop off at least 1 minute off that time and set a new PB (it'll obviously be a PB for that distance coz its different from the distance I've done before).

My only concern is the nutrition pre-race, especially because its an 8am start and I need to fuel up properly very early in the morning.

On another note, my race number and race time have been published for the London Triathlon ... very exciting ... it'll be 2 weeks away tomorrow!!!

I'm racing at 3pm on Saturday afternoon which is fantastic because it means I can take it easy and there will be no need for those awful early morning wake-ups and I can have an early lunch and head to the race. For those of you who have been reading regularly my goals are still the same though I have a feeling it'll be difficult to beat my bike split goal ... I'll sure as hell give it my best shot though!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Of being remiss and other issues

Its been a looong loong time since my last post and last time around I was grumbling about motivation ... well ... plenty has happened since then, and here's a small summary of it

1. Holidays :) - Clare and I went to Malta on the 27th of June (until the 5th of July). It was hot, good fun and I did exercise ... indeed I went for a couple of swims (one sea based, the other pool based ... there were jellies so I didn't go for any long sea based swims) ... and 3 good 5k runs ... then I decided to add some spice to my training (you can spot the bad idea miles away can't you) and that spice (a.k.a. the bad idea) consisted of a football game with some friends ... and the result was an afternoon at A&E taking x rays of my right foot (the first metatarsal). Nothing broken but the first metatarsal is badly bruised and more than a week later still hurting.

2. Injury induced laziness - I've been limping since (shoes hurt but its bearable) but that shouldn't stop me swimming or even cycling really ... but it did ... I finally got my act together and got back to training yesterday (with a couple of swims in the lake) and today with a 30 minute stint on the spinner, a 400m swim and ... wait for it ... a jog. Yes I decided to try out the toe with running and it seems to be holding up fairly well ... so no more excuses (or at least limited ones). Its not exactly ideal to be taking a week off training three weeks before race day I know, but it has now happened and I have to deal with it ... and dealing with it I am ... this week will be getting back into the swing of things with training to ensure the fitness is up to scratch again.

3. Getting old - I turned 30 last Friday ... I'm not particularly hung up about it but it is quite a milestone ... it went off with a bit of a whimper to be honest ... not sure how I feel about that ... the work drinks were cancelled coz everyone was too busy, the dinner clare and I had planned was a bit of a disappointment (the restaurant wasn't quite up to expectations) and most of my friends are in malta so the celebrating wasn't exactly on the agenda ... on the upside ... I got some fantastic gifts (Clare got me a wonderful book about my favourite yacht, The Maltese Falcon ... look it up, its worth it ... my parents got me a Garmin Forerunner 50 with an HRM and a footpod as well as a bike computer, and my cousin got me a nice book about Foodies) and we've had a really chilled weekend (training apart).

oh, and by the way ... if you have some time and are not easily offended by stereotypical comedy, watch "Bruno" ... not as good as Borat but still funny in an 'oh my God I can't believe he's just done this" kind of way

I should be updating more often now we're back from holidays and I'm back in training ... till the next one