Thursday, June 25, 2009

The plan...

I know some people are actually reading this blog (amazing), and I need to mentally rehearse things anyway, so for non-tri people here's an insight into my plan for the weekend. Guaranteed to cure insomnia!

Staying here - The White Cottage B&B - about 9 miles from the race location. We'll get there mid-afternoon on Saturday and then go over to Emberton Country Park for early registration and to suss out the route there. Sunday morning at 5am is not the time to be looking at the map for the first time! Then it's time to seek out something good for dinner - steak or pasta I think - maybe here? And after that an early night!

What about kit? Working through it logically:

Directions, entry confirmation, British Triathlon card.
At registration collect race number, timing chip, swim hat.

Plastic crate to hold everything!

Tri-suit, sports bra, wetsuit, swim hat and goggles.
Timing chip.
Old trainers or flip flops to walk to the swim start.
Watch, hair bobbles.
Inhalers, sun cream, Bodyglide to prevent wetsuit chafing on my neck, liquid soap to rub on to stop my goggles fogging, and tissues to dry it off.

Transition 1/bike:
Two towels, one to stand on and one to use. Talcum powder to go on towel and in socks (and everywhere else, usually...).
Socks, bike shoes, bike top, all prepared for easy putting on when wet.
Number belt, stocked up with energy gels, and numbers attached.
Buff headband, helmet, sunglasses.
Bottle of water, to drink and/or wash off feet before putting socks on.
Bin bag to cover shoes/clothes in transition if it looks like rain.

Bike! Track pump to ensure tyres are at 100psi when I set it up.
Saddlebag stocked with spare tube, puncture patches, multi-tool and tyre levers.
Bar bag stocked with CO2 inflator, spare cartridge, and energy bars (kind of like this - cheers mum :) pre-cut into chunks to grab easily.
Drinks bottles - one water, one fruit juice and water.

Transition 2/run:
More gels.

Towel and shower stuff.
Food and drink for after the race: peanut butter bagel, banana, chocolate milkshake.

Oh yeah, and some supporters :)

Last run

A very gentle run, as much because I was cooped up all day as anything else. Just out past Lizzie's and back, 26:30 for 3.8km, 11:13/mile which is pretty much what I was aiming for. I was aware of my shoulder, but it wasn't affecting my breathing like it was last week - I'm still a bit ginger about clearing my throat/coughing, but it's not really a big deal. I'm sure I will have more to think about than that!

So, that's it for now. I can start packing up all my stuff and thinking through the day. Wish me luck!

Scouting out the routes

Just been checking out the race details properly:

Transition closes at 6:45am. Ouch.

Swim - 2 laps of the lake - there are various lakes (see maps linked below) but I assume it's the one to the north?

Bike - 2 x 36km laps and 1 x 20km lap. Map
This includes about 3.5km on the A428 and about 4km on the A509, the rest is B-roads and minors. A few interesting climbs but there are the downhills to go with them. The route passes the country park twice before finishing so it will be good for support too. I should pass at about 1:20-1:30, 2:40-3:00 and then 3:20-3:50 to come in for T2.

Run - Four ~5km laps. Map
Also good for support, and mostly flat. Two drinks stations and four laps equals unlikely to get dehydrated. Hopefully it's OK for supporters to hand you gels? If I can make sub 35 mins for each lap I'll be happy (sub 2:20 total).

So, at worst...

Swim and in to T1 0:50
T1 + bike 3:55
T2 + run 2:25
Total 7:00

At best...
Swim and in to T1 0:43
T1 + bike 3:27
T2 + run 2:10
Total 6:20

That's a fairly big error margin :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Last swim

A gentle half hour at the Sportspark, swimming comfortably and not too slowly (1:04 ish for 50m), no problems from my shoulder although it was a little stiff this afternoon. Miles better than last Tuesday though.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hard easy run

I went out for, and did what should have been, an easy run but it was tougher than it should have been. Only out over the marshes, an old favourite route (not to mention mostly flat!), but it was hard work for some reason so I eased up, averaging 9:48/mile. I did feel a little bit wheezy (humidity? pollen?) so perhaps it's just that. Whatever - it was a leg-stretch, which was the idea.

A day off on the wherry tomorrow (no quanting for me!), and a gentle swim on Weds plus a final gentle run on Thurs, and that's me done until Sunday.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Easy bike

Still trying to get my saddle back to the right place after it mysteriously dropped on Friday - kicking myself for not having marked it somehow before! So, off I went around the Intwood/East Carleton loop, for an easy spin and a few adjustments en route. I think I've got it now, and I can also say the right place is 10 rows of carbon fibre weave below the bottom of the logo on the seatpost! In some ways it could take a little more height, but I also remember that when the seat height compared to the pedals felt spot on, I felt unstable and nervous when starting and stopping, so I think I've got the best compromise. I did the 24km in just under the hour, 25km/h average, nice and easy. So that's probably it on the bike now. Hopefully a short run later, then a couple more in the week, and lots of drinking water and eating pasta :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Last open water swim

Since my previous swim was Tuesday's aborted one, I was a bit wary about swimming this morning. I didn't want to pair up with someone and then have to give up halfway, so I just nabbed a lift down with Kerry to catch up with people and gather a bit of sponsorship (thanks folks!). Then I used the novice swim to see how things went, with no pressure for speed. Good plan I think - it went really well. I had a lovely, relaxed swim, and no real problems with my shoulder. I can feel it's not 100% right, but it's not stopping me from actually swimming, and if anything it's a good incentive to maximise each stroke and therefore take fewer.

I was able to stretch out because "my" novice group of Sam, Nicky, Sue and Lynn all had an excellent swim and completed something in the region of 1000m - one lap out to the buoy at ~300m, and a couple more around a nearer buoy that's about 100m away. It was brilliant to see them deciding "we're just going to do another one" when just a couple of weeks ago they were very nervous of doing anything other than going from the deck to the beach. What progress! I know they are all going to do brilliantly at Norwich, and look forward to giving them a cheer as they pass my marshal point on the bike route :)

So, that was a reassuring session for me and I'm feeling more confident and geared up for next week. Still wary of the shoulder, but there is no stopping me now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Personal photo shoot

Still resting my shoulder, I decided to skip efforts last night (sorry Lizzie!) and then spent all day Friday on Hathor at Womack Water, seeing 160 visitors (including about 100 primary school children and assorted parents and helpers) before doing a Wonderwoman-style quick change to become Triathlon Girl. Not for some more training, but because Kate from the tri club, who's an Evening News journalist, had organised a photographer to take some shots for a story she's going to write on my fundraising efforts. Excellent!

So, feeling only mildly foolish, I posed with my trusty bike in some odd places - coming up the stairs out of the hatchway, and on the roof of the boat - as well as some action shots on the road by the staithe. Hopefully I'll get a PDF of the article when it appears, for the club scrapbook, and I'll link to it here. Let me admit now, before any smart-arse notices from the photos, that yes I was "riding" in my trainers (SPD cleats on Hathor's lino? I don't think so!), and somehow my saddle had dropped a bit so I probably look a bit squashed. I think I also have at least one big smear of grease on my leg but you're not a real triathlete without at least one chain tattoo, right?

With one week to go, I also want to say a HUGE thanks to everyone who has sponsored me so far - I know some of you are reading this. Between my online total at Everyclick and pledges I have on paper, I'm over £400 and heading for the magic £500 target. It's a huge incentive for me to keep going and give it everything, both training and on the day. So from me, and on behalf of the wherries and everyone involved with them: thank you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Exploratory run and a few good tunes

Thought I would head out for a gentle run to see how the arm/side held up - things had been feeling a bit better over the day. It wasn't quite the easiest run ever, but nor was it the worst I've had. The main thing was not clearing my throat, as the coughing movement was about the worst thing I could do, whereas running itself was not really a problem and even breathing hard was OK. I did seize up a bit for about 20 minutes after I got back, but that's not a big concern for me on race day.

I think as long as I can keep ticking over with a few small, easy runs, and at least one (also easy) bike and swim, I'll be fine.

I decided to run with music again, just in case I needed helping through the run, and this time used my mp3 player's SenseMe feature, where it had scanned my library and put the tracks into categories like Upbeat and Energetic. I went with energetic, and while some of the choices were a bit ropey (Frank Sinatra's New York New York, and the Star Wars theme), it turned out to be inspired to start with a bit of ISIHAC*. Others were right on. In particular, in the last bit of the run I was delighted to get She's So Lovely to help me up the hill on Cantley Lane, and then Kirsty MacColl kicked in with There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis and it was blast off. Pain in the side or no, I was running with a grin and a turn of speed. After that, Moxy Früvous popped up with My Baby Loves A Bunch Of Authors and it was all over. Nice one :)

* One Song To The Tune Of Another: Rob Brydon singing Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mister Hitler to the tune of the Carpenters' Yesterday Once More. Unofficial mp3 from here. Sublime....

55 minutes - 5.6miles, 9:56/mile. Significant difference between the first 40 minutes (3.9mi, 10:13/mi) and last 15 (1.7mi, 9:16/mi) - not that 40 mins was the boundary between slow and fast, but I just happened to look at my watch then.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Aborted swim :(

I'm hoping I haven't done anything serious and/or daft - yesterday I was crewing on the wherry (yes, the very boat I am supporting by doing this tri!) and in amongst all the shoving, heaving and other quant-related activity I seem to have pulled, twisted or otherwise slightly knackered something somewhere. There's a niggly little pain under my armpit when I breathe in and do some movements, although it's not really bad. However, when I swam today, only ever intending to do a relatively gentle swim and concentrate on lengthening my stroke, I could only manage 15 minutes - breathing in with right arm extended (as I do at the start of every length) was not comfortable at all, and so in the end I gave it up as a bad job. Still, I only did it yesterday, so maybe if I rest it until the lake on Saturday (or beyond if it's not much improved) then it'll be OK. I hope! If push comes to shove on race day I reckon I can grit my teeth and get through it, but it'll be annoying if I can't do as well as I want to because of this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Big ol' brick

56km on the bike, out to Hickling (to find the wherry, and Mark), and then as immediately as possible a 12.2km run. That was pretty tough, but it was hot, and my legs were suffering after I dropped the saddle (I thought) a weeny bit to get some confidence back.

The bike was out via Wroxham, Worstead and Bacton, which was not bad at all - a few climbs, but also at least one cool descent. By switching to a couple of bigger roads to Worstead, it would make a good route for another time. From Hickling the run picked up part of the Weaver's Way and a slightly unofficial (*cough*) path along a farm track that I thought was the right way, honest guv. I should have gone on through the woods for a bit further before picking up a different track. Still, not a "git orf moi larnd" to be heard, so no harm done. It was slow, very very slow, but I left the watch running the whole time apart from one loo stop (interesting, in a tri suit) and one bit where I was trying to work out the way. Made the mistake of learning the bike course really well at the expense of the run, but it all worked out in the end apart from the non-footpath. So in truth it was probably a bit quicker than I have by the watch, but I'd rather underestimate my speed than over.

Consumed: half each of an apricot and pineapple bar, water and water/apple juice; 2 gels and more water.

Felt much better in the last half hour than the first. More gels needed?

Also, following a bike service (new chain, couple of new cables), the seatpost creak has gone. Yippee! Apparently it's down to water getting into the downtube via the slit at the back where you tighten it around the seatpost. Advice from Geoff at the shop: bathroom sealant! Hmm.

Bike 56km, 2:07, 26.8km/h including a max of 50.5 :D
Run 12.2km, 1:27, 11:20/mile (!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Two more swims

1) open water, 1500m, no watch so no time. Felt longer than usual, and the water was cold. I never got into my rhythm, and was holding up buddy Rachel which I felt bad about. She moticed that my stroke rate was too high, probably due to stress from the cold and from feeling slow! So that's something to concentrate on next week.

2) novice session, out to a 375m buoy and back (among a few other short loops). Most people made it fine, just one went back in the boat due to threatening cramp and slightly panicked breathing. I tried a bit of long, slow stroke swimming, and it felt pretty good, but I couldn't just go off as I was watching the novices!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Slow plod

After half a day of conference, plus sitting waiting for, and on, the train, it was time for a slow evening plod, another around the block (sort of) with Lizzie. Neither of us was doing especially well, and I seem to have deleted the time (oh dear). Worth it for a leg stretch though, and yet another lovely evening to be running.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Capital run

In London for a conference, managed to squeeze in 40 minutes for a morning jaunt around Regent's Park. Didn't make it to the zoo or Primrose Hill, but had a nice toodle around the flower beds and trees, getting a dose of green.

6.5km, 9:54 mile. Probaby something to do with copious amounts of red wine round at the Finnish Ambassador's gaff last night...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Late one

Got back from Manchester about 7pm, but still managed to fit in an around-the-block run with Lizzie. Slow, but worth it after sitting around all day! Can't remember the time, though...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Another double day

Lunchtime: 40 mins straight swim, no counting, no timing. It felt pretty warm in the pool, I must be acclimatising to the lake! Good just to swim and not have to think about it, enjoy being in the water without a wetsuit.

Evening: 46 mins run, just under 5 miles - 9:15/mile is a little over what I planned as recovery pace, but it was a good run. I probably won't fit many others in this week so plenty of time to recover further!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blazing new trails

I wanted to do 13 miles today but was a bit fed up of the same old routes. OK, so there are only so many ways you can start a run, but I thought I would check out some new paths further out in the sticks. I started by going out to Ketteringham via the road - after last week I didn't trust that footpaths across arable fields would be clear, especially the steps down the wooded bank near Ketteringham depot, which needed a machete last time I went that way. From there it was over to Hethersett, and then the new bit (exciting) involving some field-edge paths over towards Little Melton. They were all very well used, clear and easy running, so I would do them again. From LM it was back over to the Hethersett road and home. Total 13.3 miles / 21.4km.

I took just 2 gels (having had breakfast not long before), which I took at about 1:00 and 1:30, and that worked fine. I took water but didn't drink much of it, it wasn't hot and in fact rained for about half the run. I was a bit worried about crashing towards the end of the run, but I just didn't, it was fine, and if anything the last 45 minutes was all good solid running, whereas the first 30 or so were very slow and leaden with a couple of pauses to stretch. An overall average of 9:55/mile was beyond expectations but just about the pace that I would hope for in the tri.

Being without my trusty running buddy Lizzie (away for the night at Byford's, lucky thing), I took along my new MP3 player - just quietly in one ear, so as to hear traffic, but tuned into the radio it just gave me enough company to keep me going. The earpiece needed a bit of help from my headband to stay in, and when it started to rain I realised it wasn't the greatest idea having it out with no cover, but on the whole it worked to get me through what could have been a mentally very long run on my own.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Making up for lost time...

A busy week including meetings, wherries, race marshalling and a trip to London meant that I didn't get anything in at all. I really should have (note to self) as swimming at the lake this morning was definitely a bit of a struggle - but it was also very windy and choppy today, probably the worst conditions I've swum in. Trish and I made it to the buoy in 16:50 (15:30 last week), swimming non-stop), although benefited from the wind behind us on the way back (15:50, total 32:40). Standing in the water by the deck was just like being in a wave pool, really, and swimming was a constant battle against facefuls of water (outward) or feeling as if we could be body-surfing (return leg). We certainly felt we'd had a workout! Didn't envy those people swimming two laps.

Later on I headed out on the bike, timing it to meet Mark back down at the lake so I could help with the novice swimmers. I had a gentle warm-up riding to UEA to get my bike helmet and glasses, which I left there on Friday, and then made my way out to East Carleton to do one quick loop before heading to Whitlingham. I didn't record the overall time, but the 9.1km of the loop was done in 17:27, so 31.2km/h. With a headwind on the return segment it was a real push, but I was pleased with that and it was good to have a blat for a change. Unfortunately the headwind persisted all the way to Whitlingham, but I was there on the dot of 5:30, so good timing!

Last week I had an annoying creaking on the bike, still present this week - but more of a plasticky creak than an aluminiumy "dink" noise like I had a couple of months back. Didn't have time for much investigation but it seems to be the seat post (which is carbon fibre) - I loosened the screw by half a turn, not wanting to suddenly find my seat dropping, and that sorted it for a bit but towards the end of the ride it returned. I'll make sure Mark mentions it to the bike shop when he takes it in for a service this week while I'm in London. I wonder if I should drop the saddle a bit anyway, I had a couple of nervous moments when starting off at junctions.

The novice session went well, it was still a bit choppy but much less so than this morning. I stayed with the more cautious group, going between the deck and beach for a while to get them more settled in to being in the water, but by the end of the session we had ventured out to one buoy (100-150m maybe) and back to the deck, which was (rightly) met with a real sense of achievement. OK, so they are not going as far as some people, and not always swimming crawl, but they all made real progress in that one session and should be really pleased with themselves!

Monday, June 1, 2009


A nice steady recovery run following yesterday's exertions, just out over the marshes. Tough going on tired legs, but definitely better for it. 3.9 miles in 40 mins, so a good solid recovery pace. It was also bye for the summer to running parter Claudia, off back to Germany until her next contract in August. Club runs won't be the same!