Saturday, April 23, 2016

Weeks 10, 11, 12 - some time away from blogging

Despite my best efforts, the "All of the things" post did actually do me some damage - OR - it made such a big impact on me because I was already brewing for a cold at the time.

By Sunday evening I was sniffling and on my rest day at work on Monday, I had real, proper throat tickles.  On Tuesday I rang in sick and didn't go back to work until Thursday and even then, only at 60% capacity.  I did no training until the weekend when we went down to see the In-Laws in Guildford.

On Saturday morning I hauled myself down to the pool (doesn't open 'till 9!!!) and swam with the fast, mean people.  Never been so clobbered in my life.  What a bunch of arrogant cocks! And that was just the women!  I will try not to make that mistake again - though I will probably have to.

My swim was followed by lunch and a 65 mile ride.  Whilst I had plotted myself a great route with the hills at the begining and rolling countryside at the end, the logistics of getting out of Guildford evaded me and I ended up doing the route in reverse, with a 2 mile long climb which was sustainably above 20% for 1/3 mile.  I thought my lungs were going to explode!

I got home to instructions as to what was happening for dinner.  I surprised everyone by heading out on a brick run.  It was only 15 minutes but by the time I got back I had catching up to do.  "Showered and changed and ready to present to the family"... or, "sitting in the shower for 5 minutes wondering how the hell I am going to stay awake" - that's more like it.  It's a good job my Rodgers family are scintillating company and understanding.  That's all I'll say.  We were safely tucked up in bed by 10pm.

Everyone else went out for a birthday walk.  I took to the trails around Guildford.  Not sure what it is about this place but I ran around the course backwards before looking at my watch to find I was 4 miles short of the easy 10 mile route I had planned.  Clearly I planned a 10 k route instead.  Oh well.  Charting that one off to bad planning, I drove TSK back to Sheffield as he was picking up the cold I had passed onto him.

Thankfully in week 11, I managed to get back to it.  Swimming on Monday to make up for missing some training on Sunday with a delayed rest day again.  Swim ride on Wednesday, cramming everything into a more-than-comfortable-looking carradice camper saddle bag.

I managed 10 miles of beautiful running in Brisnworth on my lunch break to switch for that shortened run in Guildford then wobbled into Acellerate sports later in the afternoon for a beating by the physio.  I realise how much I've missed this and vowed to keep it up, booking myself another session in two weeks time.

On Friday I was booked in to go to Brighton - a perfect excuse for a rest day.  I arrived late, chatted, didn't calm down and then stayed awake until around 1 am getting my Garmin routes (so carefully planned) onto my phone as I'd completely forgotten to bring my Garmin with me.  Quite frankly I'm in such a place that it's a wonder that I remembered to bring my bike with me.

I was conscious of needing a swim but am so tired of watching tiles slide by that I jumped on the excuse of there being no decent swimming facilities in Brighton (except the sea of course) and decided to focus on cycling and running for the weekend.  It was pretty close to cold all weekend so the sea wasn't appealing and the cycling was, quite frankly cold enough.

It was beautiful though.  I cranked my way through 65 miles of country lanes and the occasional steep but nothing serious.  Not even Ditchling Beacon which I climbed in no time compared to the previous time I rode it on a touring bike.  I returned home, changed into running shoes and wobbled around a 20 minute brick run.  Unsatisfied with suburban jogging, I made my way onto the cliff tops before slithering down the chalk surface in my road shoes and falling into the house for a shower.  At least this time I wasn't on my knees and popped over to Vicki's for pre-race dinner, advice, encouragement and hugs before her bold attempt at the Brighton Marathon.

Marathon day was perfect for me.  I saw most people start, including Vicki and then headed over to cheer for her on my way back to the house I was staying in.  There, I got changed, had second breakfast, packed a rucsac and set off running to see the marathon at various points.  I was trying to see Laura Campbell but failed but did manage to catch Vicki at many points no thanks to the tracker which was struggling with my phone, or android, or something... Thankfully, Mr P was sending me regular text messages to tell me where they were and how long ago she had passed and I responded with rather inaccurate data on where I was so he could let her know where she would see me.

I jogged or ran between spectator spots.  Chatted to other cheerers, helped people track their athletes, talked to previous marathon runners and encouraged people - most memorably the blind runner who gave me an extreme grin and the rhino's who were all very appreciative of a cheer and Dave and his monkey. I helped people stretched and offered water or snacks to those who were struggling.  Most importantly I kicked their arses and got them moving again.

I waited patiently at mile 23 point something, my wares (Vicki's wares) spread out on the grass for her to choose her poison when she arrived.  She wanted food so tucked into a Torq bar and also salty energy drink as the race organisation had run out.  I had some concentrate stuff in my bag so I ran with her until we found a source of water then I mixed the stuff and we set off towards the finish with that.  We walked / run the next 2.6 miles together.  Me talking away randomly about how the day had been and who I had talked to and what I was going to do next.  She ran, and walked, and tried to make excuses about running but then naturally started leaning forwards to run again so we did for a bit until the cramp started so we walked for a bit and we ticked off a few people and a few people passed us but we didn't care.

I tried to dodge photographers as I wasn't racing.  Loads of people were cheering for Vicki in her named Altzheimers Society vest and cheering for Vicki's mate.  Eventually those people were too many as we neared the finish line so I smacked her on the bum to finish then ducked under the fence and left her to it to reign in the accolades and encouragement and finish the thing on her own.  Lucy saw her finish as did Mr P and sissy and her dad.

I walked through to the meeting area - through all the people - and gave my friend my coat whilst I struggled into the PJ bottoms I had brought to wear if it got cold.  Once the family was together we ate Indian and Vietnamese food on the beach on wooden benches then headed into town to find, first beer, then a coffee shop and then to just get a taxi back to the house.  I left them to it and walked home.

I had a lovely meal with Lucy's family who are all delightful and had a damn good chat about anatomy and Lucy left me with some good advice for keeping my legs healthy and trying to get rid of a tightness in my hamstring that's been bothering me for some time.  Let's just say it's in the kind of place that physios don't really want to get too intimate with and that's difficult to treat on your own.  I walked away at 9pm with a free tennis ball and drove into week 12 in my car, starting with an appointment in Berkshire - convenient!

The meeting was an all-day affair so I'd booked to stay overnight.  However, a colleague needed a lift home and, as he's an OK person to spend time with, I used the excuse to cancel my hotel room and make it back to my home, husband and training a day early.  So only one rest day then.

On Tuesday I had to confront the horror of white tiles again and the prospect of catching up on that 3km swim... until I realised it was Tuesday and the summer and therefore, Open Water Swimming!  Woo hoo.  Super excited.

I brought all the layers - because I do.  This year I'm wearing a shorty wetsuit (thin, shorts, no sleeves) underneath my main wetsuit to add a layer.  I'm also still wearing a fleece surf vest and have invested in new gloves.

Fully kitted out for the cold, I enjoyed it.  The new gloves werent' to heavy as they kept the water out well and the bootees did their job.  The new under-suit seemed to improve things.  I was only expecting to do one big loop but managed a short loop too.  I also got out in a reasonable condition too so went for a run around the lake which turned into two loops.  All in all, it worked out very nicely.  In theory, if cold water swimming is worth twice the pool distance then I made it count.

Wednesday got me into work on my bike and it was so nice when I left the office that it quickly became a 20 mile detour home.  Some good distance training towards the ironman and I also had a bit of a blat to get some speed miles in for Lisbon.

Thursday turned into a rest day.  One of those where I packed the car in the morning for swimming and running and then just brought everything home again.  It wasn't that I didn't feel like it but work just wasn't going to let me get out.

On Friday I made my own time by running to work.  I think arriving at 10:30 is acceptable when you've been in until 7:30 the night before.  Unfortunately I forgot my insoles (I was trialling running without but meant to bring them to add when/if needed) and so it became a bit of a slow painful 8 mile run which made my knee horribly clicky in the evening.  No pain but I just had the impression I was walking upstairs with a bag of bolts in my trousers.  I've destroyed two pairs of shoes this year by running with my rather chunky orthotics in my shoes.  They lift my feet (good) and make my heel bone rub on the fabric at the heel causing it to rupture and give me blisters.  The shoes are ruined within 40 miles.  I need to see Colin again and get some new new feet because this path of destruction can not go on.

This morning the clicking carried on but I had a new Garmin to play with so I had to get out and do something.  I'm racing at Stockton tomorrow so I took my tt bike out for a potter in the Peak.  25 miles today & 25 miles tomorrow is on the cards (making up the 50 mile ride in my training plan).  The fact that this is supposed to be an easy week in the plan will be done-for by the racing malarkey tomorrow but so be it.  Maybe I can't have everything but I can try.  Cakey eaty.

I'm almost running my distance tomorrow (albeit with a bike ride in the middle) and the "almost", again will be negated by the racey part.

I've had a super-cold bike ride which is, at the moment, giving me all the excuses I need not to go swimming again.  I've chores to do including modifying the bike before tomorrow and fixing the brakes on my 'cross bike before I forget and kill myself.  The race tomorrow is a duathlon.  I have 5 weeks to fix a fast swim and 8 weeks to sort out the long swim - all of which is going to be helped by warmer water temperatures as the time goes on.  If it sounds like I'm justifying laziness to myself you're right - this is, after all, supposed to be a rest week... and I might just go and sit on a tennis ball again.

We went to the cinema on Friday evening - because this is the kind of thing you suddenly find that you're able to do on a Friday when you're on a rest week.  Since we went straight from work, we had 90 minutes to kill with a pint and some cake and some adult conversation in the bar before our film.

We went through the 8 weeks that are left of the ironman training plan.  I'd say that I can't believe I'm half way there but TBH I feel like it's taken forever already but at the same time I actually feel like I'm more than half way there so that is at least something.

All the short, fast races I have entered before Lisbon can be switched to fall onto "easy weeks" of the plan.  Whilst this isn't brilliant since racing isn't easy, it does mean that my volume is naturally reduced in line with the plan.  So that's a good start.  It also means I won't mind missing the occasional session to make it an easy week because that all contributes towards better race performance.  I also keep reminding myself that the speed sessions are almost as good at maintaining distance as the distance sessions - from what I learnt last year.

What's great is that after Lisbon is complete, I'm straight into taper for Ironman.  So as long as I'm still doing the high mileage (with little racey things as rests in between), I think it will come together reasonably well.  I'll be doing 4k swims and 10 mile runs in my sleep.

So I walk away from week 12 with a strong confidence that I will finish this Iron distance, put in a reasonable show at Lisbon and survive the whole thing.  I hope I don't have to eat my words.

I had to pull out of the Slateman savage (given that it was the week before Lisbon) but have replaced it with entry to the Legend Half from Plas-y-Brenin.  Whether this is wise, or foolish is beyond me but it was better than letting an entry go to waste.  It's in July after all the A-list races are gone.  I'll enjoy it I hope but it's not too important to me.  If anything, it's a good excuse to keep training - if at a reduced volume.  I'm kind of looking forward to that race the most because there's no pressure.  Maybe I should take something from that.

For now though, my focus is on sitting on the sofa with my feet up, debating packing something for tomorrow's race and reshuffling the plan to fit.  All of this with a cat on my knee.  Get me and my multi-tasking.  It's good to know some things are eminently achievable.

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