Saturday, December 03, 2016

Back to work with good intentions and a "week of the bike" kind of week

Saturday, 57 miles ride, 5hrs 40min, 1900m climbing

The weather was good and I was in the mood for a long ride - especially after last night's temptation towards the darkness and the fact that I had a lovely new coat in a delivery on Friday night.

I packed an extra warm layer, spare leggings and the coat and wore thick gloves, hat, buff and a softshell jacket with venting.  The leggings were long but not fleecy, given a gentler weather forecast.  I have to admit, I didn't think I'd wear the coat but it was a good audax load to train with.

I had a broad plan to ride to Buxton, head over some favourite roads around Kettleshulme and then back via Chapel en le Frith and the Snake.  I headed out to the peak via Hathersage, turning off to Great Hucklow because I wanted to ride smaller roads and stopped in Tideswell for lunch where I was served awesome pea and ham soup and washed it down with ginger pudding.

I wiggled then over to Buxton around the ugly Fairfield quarry but on obtaining Buxton, I ran out of courage and faith that I could still be in a reasonable state for tomorrow if I did anything other than wobble home.  However, it was my intention to wobble home, not go directly so there was still plenty of fun to look forwards to.

I briefly touched on the A6 then took a back road away around Harpur Hill.  Still heading South so I turned for King Sterndale and attained an ominous sign that said there was no access to the A6 - which I actually wanted to cross, not access.  After some map deliberation I decided to push my luck and see how far I could get on a road that petered out into (at best) an un-claimed trail or at worst, a private road.

I rode through the lovely hamlet, past the church and the village green until the road deteriorated into the track I was expecting then headed off down a steep hillside.  I peered over the edge - there was an alternate footpath but that went steeply through a field and crossed the railway at an undefined point.  I hedged my bets with the trail and walked my bike down the steep slope as the tyres were incapable of grip on the wet rocks and leaves.

To my joy, the track continued over a stone bridge above the railway and descended further downhill to the A6.  Mission accomplished.

Unfortunately I couldn't access the path on the other side.  It was a proper footpath so I climbed back out on my bike on the A6 and descended again down into Millersdale before turning for Litton to avoid a second pass of Tideswell. 

Foolow was next followed by Eyam where I forgot to turn left but I was in the mood for a walk so I went down a narrowing lane then got off and pushed my bike along a footpath through the trees for some way.  

Having enjoyed the occasional walk on the TNR, I enjoyed my woodland ramble quite a lot.  I made a joke of it as 4 wool-coat clad loveys walked the otherway, saying, "Don't ask, I just fancied a walk with my bike, OKay?".  Thing is, that was exactly what I fancied.

Down the steep Sir William Hill, (can't believe it's a race the other way) and over to Grindleford where I knew where I was going - straight home, finally.  I hauled up Froggat so slow and hungrily that I nearly made a deal with myself to stop at the Costa in Broomhill but eventually decided on the direct ride home, sucking it up until I got back to the house and stopping only to buy my dinner on the way home.  Better to save the money for more adventures hey?

I had sore shoulders at Sainsburys so I guess I need to do some more 60 mile rides before I progress into longer distances but it felt good to be ready to do that much at least.  In order to get my purchases in my bag I had to put on my new coat which was fine as I needed another layer for the cold down hill to my house.  I congratulated myself on chosing a size that will fit perfectly over the contents of rear pockets full of stuff in a fleecy jersey.  So the coat got a wear and I am officially pleased with it.

Friday, 17 miles ride to work and home via town

See previous post

Thursday - rest day

Recovering from the long drive home on Wednesday evening.  I got to the end of the day and realised I had forgotten my turbo trainer for turbo.  The thought of borrowing one was all the excuse I needed not to go.

Wednesday - 4.4 mile run, 54:41

Despite a rubbish night's sleep, I was awake at 6:30am.  Blessed the service engineer for suggesting a 10am start and got myself out for a run along the Grand Union Canal fuelled by nothing more than a biscuit.  SO pleased I reccied the local area on google maps / bikehike the night before and indulged in simple run down the canal one way and back on the other side.  

It was beautiful in the clear morning air and I watched the sun rise on a very frosty (but dry) landscape.

A day on site put me at 14000 steps for the day.

I drove from Aylesbury to Worksop for a massage which left me a bit nasal and wobbly but was well worth it given what's coming up... Well, whether it was worth it or not, I enjoyed the chat!  I left Jackie's very motivated.

Tuesday. gym

A surprise hotel in the South of England got me into the gym because I forgot my head torch for running. I at least put in 3x10 squats of 10kg and some bridge once I got to the hotel gym.  I was tempted by a dip in the pool but it was only 16m long and I was hungry so that had to wait.

Monday.  Ride to work and back - 15 miles

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Dreaded Works Christmas Do

I have had a great day on my bike today.

I started the day in a bad mood, dreading the annual social parade that is the Christmas Do, the time of the year when I realise that my life is so very different from some others and I don't necessarily relish that difference or, potentially live up to other's expectations - not that I care anymore.

I did still want to ride to work so I tossed caution out the window, dispensed with image and rode to work wearing the trousers I intended to wear for the evening with a change of blouse packed.

The new Alpkit pants are very comfy for riding in and only escaped from the security of my socks once but avoided being snagged in the chain. They are incredibly sretchy - akin to being in a reasonably thick pair of leggings.

When I left the office at 4.45 it was drizzling so I put on rain legs and coat to be on the safe side and headed out into the traffic, remembering at that moment that I had meant to put makeup on but probably not a bad thing, given the drizzle and all. Of course I was soon away from the traffic on my canal route and enjoying the ride as the rain got heavier.

I was disappointed to find out my friend's indoor bike park is now more exclusive since he moved out so I parked the bike in the rain, marvelling at the number of buildings with overhangs and porches that could accommodate covered cycle parks under their wings and yet, there lie barren and bleakly well lit every night... I mean why spoil a building with the messy practicality of a functional bike park?

Still, I used the building cover to shelter whilst I  removed overshoes, helmet and gloves and reorganised my spare bag to protect clean clothes from messy cycling shoes as I pulledon my suede boots. I considered changing my shirt but concluded that I didn't need to be that hobo and this is Sheffield city centre on a Friday night, not a cyclo cross race car park. The restaurant would have to cope with my cycling jersey for a few minutes.

I seamlessly changed into my flowery blouse in the ladies' loo, despite the cubicle being so small the door clipped the toilet seat. I even treated myself to a pairof knickers instead of padded cycling shorts.

Once changed I rejoined my colleagues, relieved that mountain biking Simon had an empty seat opposite him along with Andy who was on his last day with the team. It was effectively his leaving do so I was glad to have spent another pleasant evening with him again (we were on site together last week).

After our lovely meal they tried to make me go in a spangly place filled with spangly people. I put my nose in the door and lots of spangly faces eyed my mucky Carradice and suede rigger boots suspiciously, drew their boggling wine glasses closer and shuffled in the uncomfortable shoes they had been standing up in for too long already this evening.  We seemed to be at the back of a long line of people standing at the bar to get a drink they could stand up and hug for too long and I was starting to struggle with claustrophobia.

I made brief apologies to Simon then bolted for the door.  Without a second glance for Andy  (who was still smoking at the door) I paced down the street to where Phoenix was parked. I sat down on the dry, covered steps and changed back into my cycling shoes, rain legs and waterproof jacket and added my helmet to my hat. Now, I know this isn't a good look - l checked in the mirror the other day and my face is too small for the ensemble - but I didn't care tonight. It was fucking warm is what it was.

As I wrapped the waist band of my rain legs around my waist the straps cut wet slithers of cold across my belly fat where the thin tops I was wearing were not tucked in to my trousers, I thought, 'this is the worst of Audax' - this cold and this damp. This recycling of wet cloth to be rewarmed with every disembarkation from the controls and yet I would rather be leaving a control right then.

I snaked through the streets of Sheffield and gradually the drunk people thinned out.

At home I briefly didn't feel like stopping and I nearly pitched the tent for a trial winter bivi in the garden but remembered why we don't do that - because cats.

So I put bread on to bake and settled down for an evening of recovery - recovery for furtherment of adventure tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A grounding and stabilising week at home

Sunday: Bradley Woods Cyclo-cross 5.6 miles, 43 minutes 30s

Much as I'm looking forwards to cyclo-cross today, I'm also yearning for the day when I can go for a long ride on a Sunday - or generally doing whatever I feel like.

To be fair, I started off feeling positive.  Then I got stomach cramp and had the worst start ever with 5 people passing me in the first 5 minutes.  Once Lynn came past I relaxed and even considered quitting the pain was so bad.  Thankfully, that got rid of the stomach cramp and I went on to regain five places, one of which was a place on the podium as second FV40.

It was a good day.

Saturday: Kind of a rest day.

Washing bikes from last weekend's muddy cyclocross AND swapping the curtains from downstairs to upstairs so there's no more mould trap below the windowsill.  The upstairs curtains have now been sawn off and will soon be replaced by new ones when I get around to making them up.

Friday: Ride to work and back - 11.3 miles, 66 minutes

So sick of driving now and it had stopped raining and being shit and turned into quite a pleasant morning.  

I left my house and turned up the hill and felt the satisfying out-turn of the weight training earlier in the week - every pedal stroke carrying me further up the hill than usual.  The ride in was lovely.  

I didn't feel like riding home in the daylight around 4pm.  I hadn't even recalled that it was Black Friday and Meadowhall would be hell so I'm glad I worked through, into darkness, completed the task I'd set myself to do on Friday and eventually left around 8:30pm.  Thankfully the traffic had died down and I mostly had a pleasant ride over the hill (avoiding all the boy racers) and climbed seamlessly up to home.

In retrospect I should've left at 4 anyway and taken the long ride home but it's already been a really long week.

I got to bed - obviously late - and climbed grumpily into bed.  TSK had discovered mould that had grown up the curtains, along the wall and down the back of the drawers where all our clothes live.  I couldn't sleep with wheezing and got up and went to sleep on the sofa, where I stayed from midnight till around 6am.

Thursday: 15 mile turbo 51 minutes. 3.5 mile run 32 minutes

Had a meeting at work that started at 9am to tell me about how to avoid stress.  I was stressed because someone made me miss my yoga class.

They only gave us 45 minutes for lunch, despite me asking for longer so I went for a run anyway and walked in 15 minutes late and sweaty but no longer stressed.

Managed to stretch the working day to 6:24pm and still arrived at STC Turbo in time to wait for the Beavers to finish their evening Beavering. Some satisfying spinning drills followed my more intense strength work - 9 minute intervals now and I did it properly instead of messing about.

Wednesday: 1 mile swim , evening weights

Back to the gym in the car as the rain eased off but I still felt a bit soft.  45 minutes to swim a mile broken down into 400m sets - with a couple of 150m sets towards the end.  It felt much better nursing my way through it like that.  Every set was more controlled.  I was still tired at the end but looking forwards to gluing it all together into a successful set one day.

The only day of the week I finished on time so I went in the loft to do weights whilst waiting for TSK to return from whatever he'd been up to.  Upped the reps and some of the weights.  Mainly felt smug.

Tuesday: Yoga

Starting easy, right?  With a trip to the gym on the way to work and an intense breathing session to build lung strength.  With all the racing I do on weak legs, I think my brain might ooze out of my ears if my lungs get any stronger.

It's a problem with yoga, although I love it I never really know what I'm going to get from the classes but occasionally I go to one where I learn something new and very useful.

Monday: Rest day

Cyclo-cross was tough on Sunday and Monday was pissy wet.  I've hardly been at my new job a week and I needed some time in the office to process all I had seen, talk to some people, plan.  It turned into a week.


Swim: 1mile
Bike: 32 miles 
Run: 3.5 mile

Monday, November 21, 2016

Ugh. A week of looking forwards to the time I can work outside all day and still train.

Sunday - Cyclocross 6 miles, 45 minutes

It took a bit of self motivation to get out since I was feeling like I had a cold but once I arrived and set Andrew off, I felt better. I got a bunch of chores done that I have been meaning to tackle for some time - saddle position, new cleats in my shoes. 

I got a flying start but this time it stuck beyond the first corner and to my amazement i held 3rd place for some time before Hannah came past.

I was passed by 2 girls on the hill climb as I wheezed my way up but they both remounted too early and I ran back past hitting the slalom descent first, fast and sideways.

Andrew told me I was fourth and I did my best to reel in 3rd place but inevitably Sinead, 20years my junior slipped by just as my bike started to clig with a pile of leaves i accidentally rode through.

I did a half lap on Red whilst Andrew cleaned out my best bike then changed back onto my trusty steed until my chain dropped off, thankfully within sight of the pits and just before the finish line, which I crossed on Red in 5th place and way ahead of my usual result (even taking into account that many of the fast racers were overseas).

Finally a cross race close to what I know I can achieve. Question is: was it a  week of working on my feet? Last weekend's weights session? Or 5 minutes turbo session on Friday night? Who knows?

Saturday - Walk 2 mile

A week like this deserves a rest day sometimes. I reytturned some overpriced cloth hes that really didn't match me as much as the tag implied and  we did a supermarket shop.  All good intentions to do some weights when I got home evaporated so instead we walked.

Friday - Swim 1350m, 1.19 mile turbo.

I didn't set my alarm but woke up naturally at 6am.  Thank you thank you! Oh! Rest day.  Surprisingly, I felt like getting up, so I did.  Had some breakfast in my room and set out for the pool which, I had learned on Monday, opens at 6:30 am.

The post code for the place was not in the database on the satnav so I chose the nearest one but then as I approached, started following the signs for the leisure centre.  On arriving at the
leisure centre, it didn't look like the picture so I checked if there was a pool, only to get the answer, "No it's on the other side of town".  The chap gave me the street name and I found it instantly.  It was on the road that I used to approach town.    

On arriving at reception at 7:10 I found that on Fridays the pool opens at 7:30.  Oh well, another late start at the "office".  I got changed and waited further until we were allowed to pay our money.

The promised 33m pool was split via a boom into 25m + shallow end so I was further disappointed but otherwise, it was water, not too shallow and there was a glimpse out of the window of the sandstone railway bridge arches as I ploughed up and down.

The swimming was not as fruitful as expected.  I managed a constructive 15 minutes during which time I discovered that my watch was struggling to count laps (only 13 lengths logged - should have been around 30). The rest of my time was frittered away doing kicks - although kicks are productive and a constructive way to spend another 15 minutes.  There were a few laps of breast stroke thrown in, though I left the pool without any idea how far I had swum today.

At the other end of a working day that involved liquid nitrogen (I could watch it boil for hours), more walking around and a 3.5 hour drive back to Sheffield over the Snake Pass in the snow (and being strong and not going for a run in the icy rain), I went to a party and sat on a turbo trainer for 5 minutes, racing (the substantially smaller) Eddie, in aid of Norton Wheelers affiliations.  Eddie was riding an adult's bike without a saddle but sitting on a towel tied on with electrical tape.  All the other grownups had raced for 10 minutes whilst I refused blankly to play.  Since Eddie was only doing 5 minutes I agreed to keep him company and be almost beaten my somebody 1/3 my size.  The sacrifices I make to encourage the youngsters.

Thursday - rest day

I say rest day... an average office day with no exercise for me looks like around 4000 steps.  

On Thursday I did 6304 steps - mostly between 8am and 3pm.

It wasn't a particularly physical day - wandering around checking pipes - and it involved some substantial food intake - but at 3pm the light rain we'd been managing all day turned into a downpour and the four of us rushed to huddle in the electrical building to avoid being drenched.  The diesel generator was propping the door open and, having been inhaling its fumes most of the day I was now overcome by them.  

When the rain eased off, I stepped back out into the "fresh" air and immediately felt a bit rubbish.  My brain could not concentrate and I gave up and returned to my hotel room to "do some paperwork".  Whereby I had a bath, drank some coffee which had no effect so I went to sleep for 45 minutes only to be woken by the boys wanting to make a plan for dinner.  

I dragged them out to a 16th Century Forge pub and we ate beautiful food.

Wednesday - 7 mile night roadie run

I had planned to ride to the conference but as I was heading back to Carlisle I took the car and found that parking at Old Trafford was insanely easy.  Suitably informed on the process of lifting in the nuclear industry, I headed North again back to Carlisle.  

I'd organised to have dinner with my colleague in the bar at around 7:30 when I arrived but to my relief he wasn't answering his phone.  To my relief because I felt like running.  I text'd him then set about figuring out what to do.  I realised I didn't *feel* like running but I wanted to so I wore my road shoes and set out to JOG as much as I liked - just jog.  Just as far as I wanted to go.

Well, jogging turned to running and I got funky with the route finding and set myself on a much longer trail.  Considering this was a jog and a few walk stops to check the map I got back to the hotel after a 70 minute 7 mile run, pretty pleased with myself.

As I walked back, the colleague rang and colleague II arrived and we all ate mediocre hotel food together.

Tuesday - 15 mile MTB mainly road. Some trail

Tried to get up at 5 without success. At 630 managed it then finally got out by 7 and rode for as long as I dared.  I am concerned that this new aspect to my work will put paid to future training consistency but also aware that spending 7 hours of the day on my feet will be superior to sitting at my desk all day in terms of benefits.  

A little embarrassingly, as I rode past the site, the team saw me coming back to the hotel to get changed.  A good day of walking around site followed. Knackered in manchester preparing for a conference tomorrow and starting to doubt why I am doing this to myself..

Monday - restish 

But with shit loads of office work and a long drive.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

This week limped into...

Sunday - 42 mile ride 976m el.

I didn't feel like cyclo-cross this morning and then I discovered that the parking was not at the event and it sealed my desire for a longer ride.  I've enjoyed what I took from the Alps so much I don't want to lose the strength endurance built up so I changed the tyres on my spare wheels for roadies and took the lightweight bike out. Possibly frivolous for this time of year but it stayed dry and I had a lot of fun.  

I wasn't packing any low gears so I had to struggle on the hills which was doing good for my self-confidence as I took everything in my stride.  So different from my last roadie ride.  After lunch in Hope we set off up Mam Nick, aced it then dropped down Winnats and headed home over Surprise view. 

Everything had been within my limits.  Thanks to the weather there was more dripping with sweat than swearing about being cold.  Might as well make the most of it while I can.

Saturday - Strength training - Prep phase

When I have day like this I have to remind myself I said I would train consistently. Not just burn myself out too early on. Consistency takes restraint as well as dedication

I didn't feel like doing anything this morning.  The outside didn't feel welcoming and even the inside felt chilly in the loft.  The thought of taking my car anywhere was not appealing but, having sat on the sofa till 11 reading my book, I had to do something and set my mind on starting my strength training for this season.  Starting at the bottom - never comfortable and a little tedious.  High reps, low weights to get used to it.  Still wore me out good and proper.  Had to eat before going out with TSK for lunch.

Weight training wasn't explosive or amazing but it was really satisfying starting something that will contribute to success in July.  Keeping it up will be the key.

Spent the afternoon getting ready for Sunday racing.  It's nice being able to do my strength training then not worry about Sunday 'cross.  It feels like I'm paying the Alp proper respect.

Friday - Rest day

Filled with working, I used the car to get to and from work to give me a break from the training and the stupid.  I very much deserved it.  However, the work wasn't easy so not much of a rest day.

Thursday - Lunchtime Run 6.7 miles, evening turbo 20 miles.

Given I had to take the car to achieve turbo in the evening, I packed my running kit and luxuriated in the traffic knowing I would otherwise be effortlessly carriaged to my training sessions that day.  Set out at lunchtime to run the canal and the bastards had closed it so I ran even further than usual, nearly plonked my ass in a rancid puddle of muck and had a generically horrible run through North Rotherham's dodgier industrial estates and MeadowHell.  Sprinted back to the office to get back in time for lunch servings, only to be suprised by a 28 minute 5k and my fastest mile in training.

Rushed over to turbo arriving just on time without any traffic hold ups!  Another strength training session with varied resistance.  Proper tired me out.  20 miles passed quickly with a lot of banter though I'm not entirely sure I believe my pooter that I did 20 miles in an hour.

Wednesday - 1600m swim, MTB to work & back

Bloody cold this morning - finally!  Still I felt like swimming so I did swimming.  Took a long time to get changed 3 times out of / into all my cycling gear.  Ploughed straight through crawl swimming and managed to churn out a mile for the first time this year.  Very satisfying until I realised it took me 42 minutes.  Oh well, I've been here much later in the year and still salvaged it.

Wobbled into work down the canal and got completely filthy again after my shower.  Then spent the evening riding home awkwardly, slowly nursing a slow puncture and a sore hand where I pinched my hand in the pump.  Went out of my way to find street-side pump stations since my own wasn't working out for me.  Got in at 8:30pm having left the office at 6 ish.

Tuesday - Yoga

Chris yoga is harder than Helena yoga.  Always more upper body with the men!  So nice to mix them up and get a bit of both.

I meant to go to track in the evening but I worked hard and was tired.  I left to get to track early but it was too early so I went home to cook delicious food instead.  Considering I was missing 3 of the ingredients, it didn't go too badly.  At least I got an early night and had fresh bread in the morning.

Monday - bike to work & swim 1300m

After Sunday's hangover, I didn't really feel brilliant all week but I set out on Monday to make myself catch up. The first half of the week was a success with a new project to look forward to at work  but it waned from there as fatigue and the reality of the tough week ahead set in.

A steady wobbly ride to work via the pool where I hauled my way through 6 kick laps and a total of 40 lengths.  At least the kicking seems to be making a difference.

Monday, November 07, 2016

This week was

Saturday - 30 mile mountain bike 1000m climb

Took EmVee out with good intentions to do a really long ride.  Didn't leave till 10:30 and with it being winter and having taken a weird turn off route, just resorted to linking together a bunch of lanes I've never ridden on before.  It was blissful as everything worked out and I was really satisfied to achieve 30 miles without really thinking about it.

Went out later and got so drunk that I needed  Sunday as a rest day.  Oh well, never mind.  I guess it's the time of year to do it.


Decided to make Friday a rest day and turn Saturday into something worthwhile instead of sitting around on the sofa complaining at being tired from Friday's training.

Thursday - yoga bike 11 miles

I went to see Helena for a wringing out.  I was tired but doing sun salutations between a full rising sun was perfect and the leg strength sessions to go with it. Yes!

I took the car in to work along with the bike and turbo trainer and churned out a nice 11 miles over 45 minutes in the scout hut.

Wednesday  - bike 7.5 mile run 11 miles

I got up at my leisure feeling tired but after breakfast managed to persuade myself to ride so long as I took the mountain bike. 

A bloody enjoyable trip to work and managed to take my running gear for the journey home. Forgot my head torch but didn't let that stop me and carried my bike light in my hand. Did most of the canal, only  using the light for the dark bridges. When I left work I was doubting I would run the whole thing , especially the point of the run home - the 100m hill climb at the end.

When I got there I floated up it like it wasn't even a hill.  It seems something great has happened to my running endurance... now if I can just get some sleep!

Tuesday - swim 1km yoga 

Morning swimming pool session with 6 lanes of kicking. I called it quits when I got bored and went to work. A snack of peanut butter ryvita meant that I was ready for yoga before lunch and stretched most of Sundays race and Thursdays squash out before doing some strength exercises that set it all back again. The only downside is not making it to track running. 

Monday - rest day 

A great day for a job application. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Good weekends follow a rubbish week

Saturday October 29th 13:55 - Road Bike ride 27.5miles in 2h:34m - 646m el.

Baby steps to success. Take my squash-broken body out for a very slow 2.5 hour ride in the rain. Get back to the house on dry roads. It wasn't a hard ride, it's just that my legs hurt all the way round. Didn't get out of breath, raise my heart rate or work up a sweat. Very efficient!

Off to the hair dressers to persuade them on some compromising image between professional engineer and badass mountain biker.

Sunday October 30th 19:36 Wakefield Cyclo-cross & 10k offroad run 1h:02min

Ace to see Ali Sea today and race together again. Shame I couldn't offer more encouragement, I got caught up in a battle with Nicky Hartle. So glad I have company to race with this year. I might be slower but she is MUCH faster. Keeps things interesting and gives me a great work-out. TSK enjoyed his race but lost a place due to an undiagnosed flat tyre in the last lap. I rediscovered my triathlete legs today and managed a cheeky 10k in the Rivelin Valley before collapsing in a heap in the shower.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A game of stats that I forgot to play

I forgot to play this game last year... logging my stats for progress throughout the year.  It's a good game that often makes me feel better about what I'm doing.  Last year I felt like I was over-reliant on it so I stopped but November is a good time to review the previous year.  It's the boundary where I get sick of being crap at short fast races and plod off to enter something endurance - Celtman, Kielder (December), Helvellyn, they've all been entered in the deep dark winter of the year before.  So I'm getting in early with Alpe d'Huez and playing, what was last year?

First of all, there's 2015's view (post-Celtman recovery from PE year):

This years 8 months of training for Olympic tri does not look too much different in some alarming ways to Celtman but has been much more fun:
Swim - 25.2 miles 34hours 8mins. (half!)Bike - 1748 miles 159 hours 11 mins 24.2km climbing. (almost identical!)Run - 224 miles 50hours 14 mins 8.3km vertical climb. (happy!)
or a total of 289 hours training

In 2014, I wrote this about my Celtman Training:

Training since November:Swim - 55.5 miles 35hours 57mins. Bike - 1782 miles 159 hours 41 mins 24.8km climbingRun - 388 miles 88hours 20 mins 14.2km vertical climb.  
or a total of 281 hours training

So what yield do I have from my Kielder Ironman year 2016? - still an Ironman year but without the life-threatening illness.

Swim - 63 miles 77hours 28mins. (what happened to the speed???!!!)
Bike - 2761 miles 295 hours 10 mins 55km climbing
Run - 431 miles 132hours 14 mins 12.4km vertical climb. 

or a total of 504 hrs training.

It's odd that I feel more proud of my Ironman now than I have been all year.  I still think, with all that extra training, that it should have gone better but it makes me extremely happy that I have entered a big race like AdH.  Whilst I swore I'd never do another Ironman, AdH is a nice balance between a short swim and my favourite bit - a big serious kick-ass bike ride.  With Torino Nice still sitting in my legs and enthusiasm for long, hilly rides on the mountain bike not actually subsiding, I feel a swell of confidence where yesterday there was a little bit of terror.

The last thing to say on this is I have compared the few cyclo-cross results from this year from previous lap times on the same courses and whilst I don't feel like I'm doing well (last year was incredible in the literal sense) I am actually lapping faster than in recent years.  Apparently I just have more awesome competition nowadays which I think is a great thing.


Finally.  Decision made.  2017 Tri target: Conquer the Alp
Alpe d'Huez
Three trips to the Alps this year then*.

*though possibly one in the Dolomites instead

Friday, October 28, 2016

A cluster **** of a week

Actually, I allowed myself a pretty sweet rest week, after Monday's "recovery" ride on the mountain bike on my new Jones Bars.  They're nice, but I feel like I'm riding a 1950's motorcycle now and not too sure they'll be any more comfortable than the old bars.  Only time will tell... a lot of time to see if they still make my hands hurt after 800 miles of up.

On Tuesday evening I sent an (apparently) controversial email stating a few facts in somewhat lighthearted way.  This led some people in senior management to think I was losing it and others to email me in a rage.  I largely shrugged it off, indicated that I wasn't sorry (apparently cages had been rattled and some people had had to do some work) and I remained convicted to the message I had sent.

In the middle of this day I had to ride over to the hospital to collect the great news that I don't have breast cancer although it had taken 2 biopsies (an apparently a massive meeting) for the doctors to reach this conclusion.  You know how it is, you're not to worry but you do and then you realise it's a massive fucking relief.

I'd like to say that I handled it incredibly well except I found myself on my easy ride home on Wednesday evening, crying my eyes out from all the hassle.

I expected to have a terrible night's sleep so I took some herbal sleep remedy and instead slept like a baby and woke at 5am steaming ready to go so I swam.  I managed 4 whole lengths of kick drills (improving) and swam in total for 30 minutes.  I'm not overdoing it and am improving on last year's swim record of ONE session in October.  I am intending to improve further on ZERO in November and FOUR in December.

I further washed down Wednesday's cruddy day with a game of squash - my first in 8 years - whereby I at least made an impression on the SHEQ manager at work so hey, that's always a new department that might have me!

Let's just say beating a small ball against a wall was great at easing the stress, less good for my body which is now in a broken heap on the sofa.  I gave it a wring out on the yoga mat this morning then let it do nothing else all day.

I feel like I've regained my composure now and spent most of the afternoon considering what to do with the cluster that is next tri season.

I have realised that the world tri champs is in September - a time when I'd much rather be repeating the Torino Nice Rally.  So I won't be qualifying for the world champs.  I have to admit I am mildly relieved since the prospect of racing flatly around Rotterdam at vast expense wasn't appealing.  So I need a new target.  I can't decide whether to make it a second Euro's qualifying race or a really hard half Ironman that I've had my eye on for a while.  £/fun, the half Ironman is much better value and I get to kick off my altitude training a month earlier!

I stumbled across this wonderful blogger who speaks her mind incredibly fluidly.  My favourite excerpt so far being: "I like triathlons and I've done a few but... it's just, I can't stand... Triathletes, 'Yeah I know!'".  So there I am, I am out of excuses.  It's time for me to enter one of the least triathloney triathlons there is that I think I can still do with my cold water incapabilities.  If it's in July - why am I entering it now?  Because I need some fucking focus and motivation and direction is why.  Because I need to be training for something next year, not for something in 2018.  Because I need to be tired all over again and have some reason not to get stuck in the office... every bleeding... day...

And as I start to plan a bunch of long hilly rides - on and off road - I'm only left with one question... on this winter - "Cyclo-cross, what *IS* that???"