Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rained on

Little effort session over in Eaton Park (since we are apparently not allowed to use the grass track any more!) - efforts of 1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-2-1 minutes, with a minute rest in between each time. Thinking of the race tomorrow I didn't push it too much but still had a good session. It was pretty muggy out there, wonderful when it rained though!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The C word

Swim session:

400m warm up
8 x 100m sprints on 2:30 (aiming for 30s rest)
4 x (25m right arm, 25m f/c, 25m left arm, 25m f/c)
150m cool down

Then got out of the pool and got inner thigh cramp. Couldn't stand up - had to get back in the pool and go over to the steps. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Apart from that it was great. All the 100m reps were <2 mins apart from the last one (2:02). Tried the single-arm drills with the "dead" arm beside the body, instead of in front. Still tricky though. On the left arm reps I get some big wave sloshing over from behind every time I breathe?! I spend so much time spluttering and floundering that I don't think the drill is actually helping much - probably just need to practice more though.

Out of the loop

Oops. Another catching up post - back to daily blogging from now on.

8th-13th July - on holiday in Wales. Some walks, but no running. Walk 1 - walk 2 - walk 3 .

16th July - swim session, 50m reps starting on 1:30 and decreasing by 5 seconds, with 2 reps at each time band. Down to 1:00 and then back up. I made it to the second 1:00 one but then rested the next at 1:05, and sat out another couple as I was getting cramp :( After that it was drills.

Thurs 17th July - short run after I missed Lorraine & co going out for efforts.

Fri 18th July - gym session. 10 mins rower, 20 mins stepper, tricep pulldowns.

Sat 19th July - lake swim, 1500m. Intwood loop with Kerry & Clare, average 14.1mph.

Mon 21st July - club run/with Mark, 4.2 miles, 40 mins.

Tues 22nd July - lunchtime run with the girls, 4.3 miles, 40 ish minutes.

Thurs 24th July - trying to stay in the shade around the Broad and along the river! 3.9 miles, 39 minutes.

Fri 25th July - Worsted Festival 5. Ran with Mark, good even pace all the way. Didn't spot the mile markers until mile 3, 27:21, i.e. 9:07/mile. Slowed down a little after that (also paused at the water station) but finished in 45:57 and 46:01 for about 9:12/mile (thank you Mr Sprint Finish!)

Sat 26th July - lake swim then helping out with the Broadsman.

Sun 27th July - relaxed bike ride (14mph average) with Trish and Rob. Shipdham, round the houses to Hingham, and back via (down!) Bradenham Hill.

Mon 28th July - helped with beginners' session one, then ten minutes around the block.

Tue 29th July - club run, 6.7 miles, 1:03. Started out a bit fast, with hindsight (felt comfortable at the time!), stuck with Hugh (or rather he stuck with me...). Struggled a bit on the hills but kept going apart from trying to sort out my shoe (rubbing inner sole) and stretching to ward off cramp a mere mile from home. Grr. A good run, further and faster than I would have done alone, but not as quick pace wise as Friday, even allowing for a couple of short stops.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Norwich Olympic Triathlon

Awake at some time beginning with 5 (alien territory), with everything prepped yesterday it was easy enough to have breakfast, pack the car, and trundle over to County Hall. While "my" marshals (Mark and mum) took the bus to Whitlingham with most of my gear, I cycled the bike, successfully negotiating both the steep downhill and County Hall roundabout (no mean feat when you're still half asleep). Everything went pretty smoothly, registration and transition setup were fine, with the only question being whether I would need the bin bag I had brought to keep transition gear dry... the weather forecast had steadily improved since the first long-range forecasts for the weekend, but it still seemed a bit questionable. Consensus seemed to be that it would stay dry, so rather than be responsible for a stray bin bag blowing around transition, I took the chance.

Plenty of time to get changed, check and re-check all my gear, and try to prepare mentally. I suppose I was most worried about the mass swim start, but watching the two waves before mine, I realised it wasn't going to be that bad, and just holding off for a few seconds would give me reasonably clear water. We got 2-3 minutes to acclimatise, and then it was off - this time (unlike Waveney) with a handy 10-second warning so I could start my watch. The water was actually quite warm, and I had no problems with breathing or swimming. Sighting was interesting, as the buoys were yellow just like the 75-odd swim hats all around me, but really it was hard to go wrong, especially with the canoe marshals. I had a couple of quick stops to try and remove water from my goggles - no idea how it was getting in, as the seal was tight when I tried to let it out! But it was definitely in there. The first 800m took forever, but the other two buoys came up soon enough, and then the exit to transition. I misunderstood the exit marshal/helper's warning as "mind your step" (on the gravel bottom) but "mind the step" was more like it, as I nearly cracked my toes on the edge of the concrete launch ramp. Still, no harm done, and I could wobble off to transition while removing the top of my wetsuit.

Removing the bottom was a little more interesting, especially with the timing chip to be careful of, but I made it through and out on the bike reasonably well, I think. Two and a half minutes.

Took a while to settle down on the bike, and nearly came a bit of a cropper while fumbling to replace my water bottle after a drink - careered onto the gravelly edge of the road, but managed to hold it together, and also escaped without a puncture (lucky!). Also my eyes felt puffy, I guess from the water in my goggles. Either something in the lake, or the residue of the soap I used to stop them steaming up! It died down eventually, but was a bit irritating for the first 20-30 mins. Felt very very slow on the uphills, but couldn't quite manage standing on the pedals, so just geared down for the climbs and tried to make amends on the downhills and flats. I knew I needed about a 17mph average to give me a shot at the magic 3hr finish time. I consumed the freebie energy gel (from registration) and wished I had brought more. I consoled myself with diluted fruit juice, water, and some broken up home-made energy bars, but I think nutrition strategy has to be a priority for improvement next time! The rest of the ride was uneventful, the country roads being quite attractive in the sun that had decided to shine with a vengeance now, and I passed a few riders, which was a bit of a boost. The (comparative) heaving metropolis of Poringland (two roundabouts and two zebra crossings) passed without incident, and I hit my max speed of 31mph on the road out of there. Almost home, and just about on time too, so I tried to follow the advice about spinning faster on the approach to transition, in an attempt to avoid the old jelly legs (or worse, cramp).

Transition 2 was pretty fast, hindered only by my inability to lift the bike high enough to get the saddle on to the bar (it did seem a bit high - the bike didn't touch the floor). Bike shoes off, run shoes on, just about remembered to remove my helmet, and off I went. Elapsed (race) time on my watch was about 1:58 and there was Trish yelling support at the run exit. Over an hour left to do 10k - looking good.

So I thought.

I figured the first 10 minutes would be pretty slow. No problem, over an hour to do the distance, so just ease into it and don't do anything stupid. My legs were heavy, but no cramp or other twinges, and I plodded on along the lane. Unexpectedly, there was mum (hurrah!) directing runners off up "the" hill (boo!). Discretion overcame valour, and I walked up (but not until out of sight of mum!). Once I got going again, I tried to fix on the runners ahead (or overtaking) me, but just couldn't summon the energy - I felt like they were operating in a different gravitational field to me. I wished I'd brought my water bottle, but to be fair there were three water stations (very much appreciated) and I'm not sure it would have made much difference. I completed the distance as a run/walk, never really settling into any kind of stride, however slow. I flicked my watch over to the time, rather than stopwatch, figuring that I had missed my chance of 3 hours and it was too depressing to see it go by - in retrospect maybe that was a mistake, but without km markers and with a different finish to the club 10k runs, it was hard to estimate. Lots of encouragement from passing runners and all the marshals (thanks!), but I just couldn't pick it up. I saw Marie ahead of me on the double-back section by the lake, not as far ahead as I might have thought so that was another boost, but it didn't last long! Debbie also caught me up around the back of the lake, but again I was too exhausted to do anything about it. All I wanted to do now was complete.

When I got off the potholed gravel and onto the tarmac surface of the old Whitlingham Lane, I flicked back over to the stopwatch, only to see 3:00:00 slide by. So close! I began to wonder if I could have shaved enough time off had I only kept running, but no time to think about that as there were Trish and Rob shouting encouragement at the finish turn. Rob also shouted "only 2k to go", so I confirmed the "2" with a gesture over my shoulder at him, and tried to smile at Granville who was lurking on the last turn with a camera. I really must have been completely drained as I plodded over the line, and was extremely glad when a nice lady gave me some water and took off my timing chip so I didn't have to bend down. What service!

Finish time 3:01:20 (results linked from here). Photos on Derek Haden's website, but they are so unflattering I won't identify them... :) *

Swim 33:22 (33.4 secs per 25m)
T1 2:29
Bike 1:21:24 (17.1mph as per computer)
T2 1:12
Run 1:02:52 (10:18 per mile)

So, am I pleased? Yes, overall. Pleased that I could get so close to 3 hours when I clearly had a rubbish run and need to improve a few things. Pleased that I had a great bike leg and swim (compared to 32:36 for a pool 1500m with no little run at the end). Pleased that I managed to keep going for 3 hours solid! What do I need to improve?

1) nutrition. More gels/energy drinks through the bike and even into the run. When I looked at the empty gel packet later, it said "consume 3-4 per hour of activity"...
2) run training. I didn't run much more than race distance in training, and never on tired legs. Having some good ~1hr runs in the last week or two lulled me into a false sense of security. Next time, I would do a session where I bike the Ketteringham loop and then run a 10k, and tuck in at least one shorter, multi-brick session too.
3) bike leg? Not sure if I need to throttle down a tad on the bike - would rather get fitter so I can maintain that speed (or improve it) but then do a decent run on the end of it.
4) goggles. Kill that damn leak once and for all! Perhaps I pull faces while breathing or something, and the mask seal doesn't flex with my face.

I finished off with a massage, since East Coast Therapies were doing them for donations. For the most part, it was pretty relaxing (even the almost-painful bits were clearly "good for me" in terms of finding those stubborn knots in my calves), but when the marquee nearly blew away, it got a bit interesting! Therapists, competitors and spectators managed to disassemble the thing before it disassembled itself all over Thorpe, and the last part of the massage was al fresco. I thought they deserved the donation, towards a new tent if nothing else... seriously, my legs have never felt better after an event than before, until now. I think I may have to invest more regularly.

Overall, a great day. I don't think I enjoyed the run much at the time, but at least I have plenty to go on in terms of improvements, and I still wasn't as slow as I could have been or thought I might be! I reckon I have missed the boat for another event of the same distance this year, but there's Waveney 2 (hopefully) and the Aquathlon to come, and plenty of time to concentrate on the running. Next year, I'll be even more ready...

* Oh okay then - if only to remind myself I'd be quicker AND look better in tri gear if there were less of me...

Friday, July 4, 2008

Little leg stretch

Last real activity before Sunday I guess. Yesterday was too busy, but I managed to head out for "half an hour": around the block via Lizzie's (OK, a chat stop!), 2.4 miles in 22 minutes, feeling pretty good.

Just a bit of bike prep tomorrow, and then the tri on Sunday! Weather forecast: wet :(

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Easy week this week as most of the class seemed to be preparing for the tri on Sunday. 400m warm up and cool down, and a selection of drills in the middle. Lots of concentrating on glide, which is great as I do think that makes a big difference in the open water swims especially. Thought I'd give the tumble turns a miss as I don't think they'll be helpful in the lake!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bike loop again

With company this time. Went out around the Ketteringham loop with Neal, so slightly more of a social ride than last time on my own, but still managed 16mph average, which is fine for this week. Just keeping the old legs moving!