Fortnight of Fun

I’m now into week 3 of my training plan for Outlaw and currently I’m 12 and 0 in terms of sessions.  Good for me as there were definitely a few I might not have done had I not had a coach peering over my training diary.

More after the jump.

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Outlaw training plan – Day One

Today was the first day of my Ironman training plan.  Nothing major to start, just trying to build up some fitness and endurance and get used to training six days a week.

Oddly, while I always struggle to sleep before an event, I had a similarly restless experience last night even waking up before my 6:15 alarm.  Kit was all out and ready to go and I arrived at the pool with a set of 200, 400, 200 ahead of me, little did I realise my local pool, which I’ve never been to before was only 20m.  Not ideal when you’re rubbish at turns and trying to swim 3.8K so I might not use that one all the time.

However it’s nice to think that the journey has now started even if the destination is still a long way away.

The Decision

I’ve thought long and hard about and taken on many people’s thoughts but have decided, with some encouragement from watching IM Wales I know what I’m going to do in 2013.

Having discussed it with K I’ve realised that the opportunity might not come up again and I can really dedicate myself to this for the 10 months available, something that might not be possible in future years.  The colleague who got me into this crazy sport, Marcus, has recently started a coaching career and offered his services and I think that having a coach I know and can deal with my particularly needs will really help me.

I’m going to train hard, I’m going to stick to the plan and come the 7th July I’m going to become an Outlaw.

Wish me luck.

Full or half measure – my 2013 Triathlon decision

Here I set out my tri background and the relevant facts leading me up to making a decision about what I target in 2013.  I hope that by writing it all down it will both clear the murky waters in my mind and others can help me make the decision.

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BRAT Birmingham Standard Distance Triathlon

Very long overdue blog update but I wrote this and thought it should be uploaded here. Might even start writing some more entries!
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Cardiff Half Marathon

cardiff-half-marathon-773416937Since tri season finished I’ve been pretty focused on the running.  Going out 3 times a week for distances of between 8 and 16K and managing to steadily improve my average speed.

I agreed to enter the Marathon back after Kathryn and Ian did Bath but I didn’t initially sign up as I wanted to be sure my ankle could cope with it.  My target time was initially 2h15 but then I dropped that to 2h05, 2h, 1h55 and then in the week or so before decided that provided I didn’t blow up in the extra distance 1h50 was achievable.

To be honest from training it was suggesting that even 1h45 might be possible but would be a push and require me to maintain 5 minute kilometers for the entire duration of the race.  Chris was more confident in my ability to do it than I was but then at the same time I said he should be aiming between 1h50 and 1h55 whereas he was aiming for 2h.

We got their nice and early thanks to K getting us a great space nearby and moved ourselves up the field to start with people with similar targets.  There were 9000 runners in total all lined up by the City Hall.  The race started and I put in my usual couple of quicker KMs which would be needed if I was to stay anywhere near a 5minute average.  6K in and I was a minute and a half up on a 1h45 schedule and for much of the trip along the barrage had the 1h40 pacemaker in sight.

I felt strong on the slopes there were, often taking several people as soon as we hit any sort of incline – the advantages of training round here!  At around the 8 mile mark I started to feel a pain in my knee which was to get worse as the race went on but being still ahead of schedule I kept going and going and trying to block it out.  K was buzzing around town to try to see us as often as she could (and she did it much better than I did in Bath) and that always helped.  What didn’t help was being run down by Batman, Robin and a giant Champagne Bottle!

Coming into the last kilometre and a bit I knew 1h45 was on but was going to be tight so I digged in and upped the pace reasoning that I could worry about the pain soon enough, as it was as I approached the finishing straight I realised that my Garmin had under measured so when I thought I had another 150m to go I actually didn’t – final time 1h44:09.

Must admit to being over the moon with that time as I did think 1h45 was a little optimistic – Chris also came in not far behind pretty much bang on 1h48.   I knew he could do 1h50 if he pushed it but to beat that by another 2 minutes is good going – I’ll have to watch myself when he sorts out his chesty-coughy-cold-phlegmy-mystery illness.

A great event, course was really good, and my shiny new freebie oakley’s got their racing debut!  Do I want to do another – not just yet.  It’s taken 3 days for my knee to settle down again – seems it was some sort of inflamed ligament.

Survival of the Fittest 2009

Not the Darwinian sense this one but a “high-octane urban-based running event with obstacles designed to keep you on your toes” as the organizers put it.  Supposed to be 10K but actually more like 14K the race started and finished at the Millenium Centre via the Millenium Stadium but by way of a pile of hay bales, a construction site, some fire hoses, an army assault course, two trips into the Taff, a Parkour section, up and down steps in the stadium, a wind, rain and heat elements challenge and and 8 foot ball to finish!  There were other bits too but I can’t remember them all.

Chris and I did it as a team and it was great fun, apart from when Chris left me the wrong side of a wall I couldn’t climb and then an 8 minute queue at the penultimate obstacle just due to sheer number of people. I’ll get some pictures up soon.

First Anniversary

Sunday 20th September.  Our first anniversary.  It’s cliche to say it but it’s gone so fast.  We went back to Llangoed Hall for the night and had a great meal and stayed overnight.

Thanks all for the cards and gifts.

Tuska Tri Update

Meant to post after I did Tuska just never got round to it.  First of all I have to say that my theory that Tuska wasn’t much more than in the Aquathlon were sadly proved wrong.  Swimming in the sea at a time when the tide was dragging me backwards on the first third, the second third had waves trying to roll me over and the final third was straight back at the waves it was so much harder than a nice flat pool.

I’ve never thought about quitting a race part way through before but when less than 200 meters in someone is already rolling over for the rescue boat and it feels like I’m making no progress at all I must admit that I considered it.  At various points it was the cost, the shame and the sheer bloody-mindedness that kept me going.  At one point I told myself that I’d at least finish the swim and then my head woke up to the realization that once I’d done that bit I might as well carry on.

I finally rose from the sea like some sort of startled sea monster and staggered up the slipway and onto terra firma.  My slowest transition ever, and by my standards that is slow, but I was out on the bike and so pleased to be on my way.  I’d reccied the bike route the day before and knew there were very few flat bits on the course and some big old climbs so I tried to keep my energy but was still able to go along at a decent speed.  Being almost last out of the water meant there were very few behind me so I could mainly focus on catching people in front.  Was impressed with myself on the long drag up the A48 as I hauled in several competitors and it was very apparent that the weight I’ve lost training is definitely making a difference.

Finished the bike and onto the run where I hit a good speed early and managed to overtake 7 or 8 people on the way round – my localized hill training paying off here – and in the end I came home in a good (for me) time.

The swim was so hard though and although I’m pleased I got through it it’s made me realize that if I’m going to progress in Tri I need to learn to swim properly or at least better than I currently do.

Counting to 5. 1…2…3…3…4…5…

Or at least that’s what the marshals at the Cardiff International Pool Aquathlon managed to do.  When attempting a daunting, never before done by yourself 500m swim in a wetsuit you’ve never worn before you’d like to think that at least you wouldn’t have to do anymore than planned.

Marshal had other ideas when he called out 3 laps done twice as we went around the large triangular course they’d laid out.  It wasn’t just me but everyone in my wave who was affected.  I managed to do it mind and I guess in theory Tuska is now only a little bit more rather than 50% more.

Got out of the pool and into T1 – is it just T for a aquathlon or duathlon? – and managed to get the wetsuit off easy enough,  Took a while faffing with socks which I wouldn’t have done in a big race an set off on the run aiming at a run time of about 32 minutes.  Problem was I couldn’t settle into a rhythm at a fast enough speed and kept falling off the pace.  Managed to overtake several of the faster swimmers in my wavebut still only came in on 34 minutes.  Not really happy with that and the 32 minute target would have seen me jumping about 8 places in the field.

A good event though and less wary about Tuska’s swim now – although I do need to add a 22K bike in between with some killer hills.  Why do I do it?  To see if I can I guess.

Off to Maindy cycle track in the week for a couple of hours of leg spinning – must try and work on getting my cadence up to something respectable and a track is about the easiest way to do it I guess.