Sunday, September 30, 2007

Aquathlon DNF

I suppose it was asking too much to come back after 3 weeks out of any sort of training (part incompetence at taking the right kit away with me, part laziness and part having a cold) and do a 300m / 2400m aquathlon. I withdrew after 6 lengths, never having got remotely comfortable in the water, feeling extremely breathless and very annoyed (at myself). I still feel shaky. (I'm now sitting in the office killing time until I can retrieve my unused kit from transition and slink home.) Should have gone for a bike ride - it's a lovely day.

Ho hum. Back on the horse, as it were. I've signed up to be part of a Tri-Anglia team for the Hereward Relay and I've got the long stage, 11.6 miles. Since all the November half marathons I was thinking about are already full, that will do instead. (Edit - I'm actually more motivated about that than I sound above! :) So, I shall start getting back into it:

Monday - beginners. Hoping to get Mark along...
Tuesday - club run, but something short and slow
Wednesday - I definitely need to swim - I guess it can't be any worse than today!
Thursday - efforts - take it a bit easy though
Friday - swim or gym
Saturday or Sunday - bike

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The big day!

The big day dawned bright and early, but I was already on the road by then ;) Aiming to arrive for 7am (like the other nervous first timers) meant leaving home about 6:15am (ouch), with the sun yet to creep over the horizon. Still, the early start was worth it for a good spot in the transition zone and plenty of time to get changed and chill out.

Warming up in the very shallow kiddie pool was interesting (avoiding grazed knees and bruised toes), but was definitely worthwhile. (Kate and I would have liked to have incorporate the flume for a flying start, but somehow that's not in the rules - spoilsports.) Running on adrenalin and a warm up got me an 8:46 for the swim - given that my previous best was about 9:30 I don't know where else that came from. Annoyingly one of the eyepieces on my goggles slipped and filled with water when I pushed off (too enthusiastic...), and I swam the first 3 lengths with one eye shut before coming to my senses and pausing to sort it out (much better).

Thanks to all Kerry's advice on Wednesday I was able to set up my stuff for the minimum of fuss in transition, and I was close to Kate and some other friendly beginners to compare notes and prevent stupid mistakes when setting up. Don't think I've ever seen so much talc in one place... While I didn't rush T1, I reckon I was about 1:30 from leaving the pool to getting on the bike. Luckily I had left a spare water bottle with my stuff, so I was able to wash the grit off my feet before putting socks on - that wouldn't have been pleasant on the run! Dry feet, socks on, shoes on, number belt, glasses, helmet, grab bike and go. I didn't have the problem of feeling unsteady on the bike (having not had time for a test ride yesterday) but I did wonder whether I should have borrowed a pump to check the tyres (forgot that). Too late! One to remember next time.

The bike was fantastic - the best bit of the event for me, just a lovely route (in glorious weather) and chance to really go for it. I passed one person fairly early on, but then on the hill just after Flixton my chain came off, and while I was fixing it she and another cyclist passed me. After an initial panic that the gears had jammed again, I calmed down and put the chain back on :) It just looked like the derailleur had somehow pulled the chain that bit too far inwards - it didn't give me any further trouble, anyway. I soon passed one of the cyclists, and caught the other one a few miles away, and managed to reel in another on the main road not far from the end. Max speed was 27mph, with an average of 18.0, giving a time of about 41 mins for T1 plus bike.

Jelly legs through T2 and out on the run, but no cure for that! Took it a bit easy until the first downhill, envying all the incoming runners. The course seems to be almost constantly up or down hill - it's one thing saying it doesn't go all the way up St Margaret's Road, but it goes nearly that far! Every turn I was thinking I would see Hannah, who was marshalling the U-turn, but I was disappointed many times before she came into view, just after Trish (coming downhill) told me I was nearly at the top. The last hill back to the finish wasn't as bad as I had remembered from going down it, although the sun was blazing down from straight ahead which didn't help. Managed just under 18 mins for the run and T2, which I'm really pleased with given the terrain as that's under 9 min miles.

Total event time 1:07:30, which given that I was hoping for under 1:10 is amazing, and I must have lost a couple of minutes fiddling with the chain too. It's hard to shave much off on short events but I'd definitely like to think I could be approaching an hour next time - under 1:05 at least. Official results are here - 5th in my age category and 15th out of 36 ladies. Massive credit to everyone for all the help and support beforehand and on the day, especially Kerry, Clare, Kate, Trish, Marie, and of course Mark for all his patience with me being out training at evenings and weekends!

Everyone had a great race and was pleased with their time, and I think it was one of the friendliest and best organised events I've done. Everyone was really keen to help you out and explain the rules and procedures, which can be a bit overwhelming for first timers used to nice simple runs, and the support from marshals and other competitors was brilliant. I think the bug has well and truly bitten - I'm still grinning, I'll definitely do this one again, and am up for a crack at Norwich next year (1500m / 39km / 10km). Watch this space! (I'm still not tempted to join Trish on her Ironman though...)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Last steady run?

A nice little legstretch over lunch, some more 10-min miling over 3.5 miles through the woods and by the river. Lovely.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

In transition

Quick run with Kate before swimming - good steady 10-min miling.

Loads of useful advice from Kerry at swimming tonight - just hope I can remember it all! If I give myself plenty of time on the day, I think I will get there. The two main lessons seemed to be "fasten helmet before touching bike" and "leave bike in correct gear", with lots of extra tips about the way to leave clothing so as not to get in a knot.

Activity wise we were a bit limited but still managed 2 lots of 400m followed by a dummy transition and a run around the high school sports field (brrrrrr). I learned some valuable lessons:

- stepping straight out of the pool and getting into your trainers makes for very wet trainers (longer transition distance on the day should hopefully allow more water to run off)
- tri suits hold more water than swim suits (which runs down your legs and into your trainers...)
- not wearing socks will lead to blisters, if 200m around the field is anything to go by

My swims were both around the 9:30 mark too. The first, without warmup, felt messy and inefficient; so did the second, because I was tired and cold!

Annoyingly I got cramp twinges on both runs - that's the only thing I'm really worried about (well, that and punctures). They seemed to be better the second time when I didn't go off like a rocket and was a bit more warmed up. My consolation is I've not had them on a run after a bike ride.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Beginners into improvers

The beginners had their first run "after" the course today - lengthened last week's route a bit and took 40 mins. It's still great to see people surprise themselves with how they can improve!

Plan for the week

Tapering off a bit this week...

Mon - beginners (30-40 mins)
Tue - nothing
Wed - swimming / transitions training
Thu - efforts or steady run
Fri - nothing
Sat - gentle bike ride - I need to get the feel for the road bike again after a week on the trusty hybrid!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Another double bill

Ketteringham loop - 17mph average - 52:45 cycling time (one stop at pesky traffic lights) - 2:15 faster than last time
Around the block - 8:24/mi average - 29:05 running time - 0:40 slower than last time

A great session overall. On the bike I had a slight headwind on the way out, but managed to get up to 25mph in the sheltered parts of the road beyond East Carleton. With that wind behind me, heading for Ketteringham along the straight, I made it up to 26.3mph (and 27.2mph down the hill going back to East Carleton... just after that, going up the other side, I fudged the front derailleur adjustment and changed down rather than tweaking it out of the way of the chain - d'oh!). My legs were more leaden on the run this time, no doubt due to pushing harder on the bike, and I was getting very tired at about 2 miles, so I was surprised to be only 40 seconds off last time.

Only a week to go.....