Sunday, March 06, 2016

Week 5 - The real beginning?

Damn what a week!  I'm sure it's been, like 10 days long but no.

So weeks 1-2 were fuelled by recovery from the cough I had carried through from Christmas.  I spent most of it trying to catch up with the training plan and actually approach completion of it.  I was kind to myself.

Week 3 was a skiing holiday and week 4 was a "rest week" in the plan - so easy distances really.

This meant that this week distances suddenly shot from sub-standard distance (1500m, 25 mile, 10km) to super-standard distances (1700m, 40 mile, 9 miles aka. 14km).

Monday was a rest day during which I worked half a day then spent the rest travelling to Scotland where I got together with an old friend and spent a much-needed evening gossiping and catching up.  It was heavenly bliss.

Not great for getting up and swimming on Tuesday morning though so instead, I decided to hit the bike with a 45 minute ride.  I didn't fancy running in the cold.  I started to change my mind when I realised I had forgotten my music for distraction and couldn't even focus on my stats since I was missing my Garmin sensor and heart rate monitor.  All I could do is watch the minutes go by and I swear I watched every single minute tick over in a grey corridor of pain.  The only upsides: my bike set up is apalling and half my gears don't work after the 'cross season so I walked away from that training session with pride for having completed it and a to-do list as long as my arm.

Tuesday was a day on site of being on my feet so no, I didn't fancy the swimming in the evening either so I did some yoga and went downstairs for a successful dinner with the customer.

On Wednesday I had the luxury of the drive home to deal with where I spent a good few hours diverting via Kielder Water to recce a part of the run route for my Third Ironman attempt.  I was really glad I did as the sky was blue, I was treated to a military plane fly-by and I got a sense of the place.  The path around the reservoir weaves away from the shore on quite a few occasions so you're not constantly on top of the water.  This is all good.  Changing scenery and all that.

I also drove down some of the bike route and it really is well chosen, quiet, serene... at least it is during the week.  

Despite stopping for lunch in a quaint tea shoppe, I was home in time to head to the pool for my 1500m swim set that I'd missed on Tuesday.  10 x 50m (66m for me) sprints which were tiring but done.

Thursday was tired back at home day but I hauled my bike out and rode to work to put a tick in the 40 minute ride box (1hr 30 minutes of riding).

Friday was a day for swimming again - before work this time and churned through 5 x 150m (165m for me) sprints and 1500m swimming.  I took the run kit to work but lunchtime arrived sooner than I expected and I needed to eat not run so I brought my run kit home and set out down the Rivelin Valley.

I really didn't feel like it and plodded through the first 10 minutes before starting my sprint sets of 5 x 1 minutes fast.  At least the sprints kicked off the endorphins and the mud / road shoe combo fired my adrenaline.  I hit 20 minutes and put in a sprint on the way back just to balance up the times.  I picked up my non-sprinting pace from 5mph to 6-7mph and arrived at the bottom of our hill with 5 minutes to spare so took a longer route home up slightly lesser inclines, hitting the 40 minute mark with 25m hike up the hill to go and I took every liberty and walked it.

I hit the weekend with only three sessions to do and one of them was reduced from a 9 mile run to a 5.5 mile run on account of getting the big one out of the way mid-week.  This felt like a good idea at the time but now I'm not so sure, having faced Thursday and Friday with a certain level of physical fatigue that maybe should only be reserved for non-working days.

On Saturday I didn't feel like going out on the bike.  It looked lovely outside but ominous clouds kept drifting across and I knew it was effing cold outside so I pottered around the house until it I could delay doing my ride indoors no longer.  I was motivated for it and not for being outside so it didn't seem to grim to be climbing onto the rollers with blue sky outside.  A number of people told me they'd had a miserable, cold and wet day out and not missed anything so I was happy with my decision in the end.  It couldn't be worse than Tuesday - I had music and sensors and everything.

After 10 minutes, my arse could cope no longer with the aggressive saddle angle I had set up in the morning so I had a mess with tools and sorted that out.  After an hour, I had a pain in my left knee which wasn't going to let me continue so I messed about with the cleats on my shoes and resolved that one.  After a further 10 minutes the right knee also went so I did the same adaptations.  Each of these little rests contributed to me getting through the session.  40 miles in 1:51:10.  Mostly in zone 2.  I dropped my heart rates a bit as I felt I was trying a bit hard towards the end to stay in zone 2.  It's the fastest 40 mile ride I've ever done.  It should be - it was in an enclosed space (no head wind) and on a perfectly flat road (my rollers) so no surprises, but the fact that I more or less kept riding for 2 hours in one position contributed to the excellent speed.  If I can maintain that effort in an ironman, I'm on for a 6 hour bike.  That won't happen (because hills) but it makes me excited for what is to come.

I got off the bike really satisfied that I only have one day to go and only one session that I am really interested in.  The early week's 5.5 mile run will get done if I still have the effort after the 1700m swim that is taunting me today.

Most importantly the ride fuelled my enthusiasm - for that bike and for cycling again in general when such tiny adjustments in position can make a massive difference to comfort.  I started to wonder if my groin strain I have been fighting since May last year is caused by this cleat issue and set off in to the loft to examine my post-ride flexibility.  It was good.  Very good in fact.  In cobbler pose my knees got closer to the floor than they ever have - even I think since ballet school (I was 8 years old). I also managed a seated forward fold with my legs straight (showing that my ham strings have stretched out).  There's still work to do but definite progress.

I boasted yesterday that I'm going to race this ironman.  I don't want to get too ahead of myself.  All of my distances are only tiny at the moment but I'm adapting and it's exciting to see. I have niggles, sure but they're only induced by change.  They're nothing a half day's rest won't sort so I'm excited to go to the pool today and yes, excited about Monday off.  

Update to come.

Despite forgetting my swim watch and hat my swim went well. I reduced my strokes per minute to 55 and, in the second half, 54 and just churned out the lengths. The upshot is I did 1700m in the time it took me to do 1600m three weeks ago. 37 minutes. Not a record breaking pace for me but improvement is everything.

I went up to the gym to find they have even moved some yoga mats into the main area. It's a little weird doing yoga to gym-bunny music but I stretched out some of the body hangover from yesterday's bad head stand and had a play with the crow instead.

Rather than going for my run I went to Waitrose to contribute to family life or maybe just to pick up the new yoga mat I ordered to live in the car with me... or possibly replace the office one. I am being kind to myself now and gadding around the house. It's freezing outside and I really don't feel the need to get cold and wet anymore. So it's ski servicing for me and maybe some curtain making. Mistress to many skills. Master of none.

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