Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2011 Stats - Positives

Swim: 9.63 km, 2.3km/hr - Much further much faster overall. This is very good.
Bike: 129.76km, 19.2km/hr, 1217m el - Big drop off in distance but casual speed increased.
Run: 40.17km, 8.4km/hr, 493m el - Further than Jan but not so far as Dec but generally faster. Need to do more climbing.
Other: Walking 12km.
Strength: At least 2 hours - but not enough.

I love stats time.

Spoke too soon

After a weekend of hauling furniture up stairs and scraping adhesive off the kitchen ceiling I have pulled a muscle in my neck and am off line again for a time. Hopefully not long. I don't think I can survive losing this much sleep.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rest and achieve

Blog - first official rest day. By that, I mean the first day I can put my hand on heart, say I've done 3 good days training now I get a day off.

Ok so I ruined it with a 3.5 hour drive but at at least I'm making up for it by going to bed at 8.30. What follows for my reward is glorious adaptation.

I set out to try to achieve my 6.5km run target for this week and manage 10km instead.

I found it a real bonus to wear my watch to run as my Garmin, tucked away go my bag or a pocket is such a faff to look at. At least as I time my run I know roughly how far I have been. The first 10minutes to the lane. 37 minutes to the tiny hamlet of Blinknoll must be 5km but I've messed about taking a picture so call it 4.5. 45 minutes to the canal and some muddy patches but my legs feel like they could go on for ever. It's an hour by the time I reach the end of the canal and I run up the last bit of trail to the road into Wootton Bassett.

I must be over 6.5km. I check with the Garmin and I'm so tantalisingly close to 10km (9.24) I decide I can definitely manage 0.5km more. I'm not doing that well as I've muddled minutes and decimals, expecting the distance to click over to 10km when it hits 9.6. Thankfully I realise my mistake and stop the Garmin at 10.12km outside the newsagents where I go to buy a tri mag to get me through the rest of Friday and the weekend without my bike, swim kit or a tv. I am over the moon. Apart from the usual aches and pains associated with me running for am hour I've had no muscle or joint pain and only the slight threat of a blister on the new insoles.

I'm not in the right socks. Most of all I really enjoyed this run. I made it a long one by not going too fast, not adding unplanned hills (largely because it got too boggy and I was enjoying myself too much to get wet feet) and taking care to move my running onto my toes... Or at least my midfoot. I feel like I have again waved goodbye to the person who used to say, "running doesn't get any easier, I just go further and faster". That was an easy run. Ok, it was longer than expected but I did some shopping in Bassett and even managed a shuffle home. I sincerely hope good times are here to stay.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Swim Test finally completed

It's taken a while but the swim test I had planned for last week has finally happened - that is, I have finally managed it.

I am starting to conclude that I can't swim 2km with a pool full of playing children. I shouldn't even attempt it and just wait for a day when I can get out of bed in time to make it to a lane swimming session.

The First 10 - For the first time ever I looked at my watch before 10 laps were done. It said 7 laps. How depressing.
The next 20 - I managed to get into a rhythm and get up to 33 laps before I looked at the watch. A few manic overtakes of the man doing verrrrr...yyyyy wide breastroke, slowly, in the fast lane. Don't even get me started on him swimming down the middle of the lane.
The next 30 - I was joined by the regulars. An older man who swims crawl faster than me and a young guy who swims breastroke about the same speed. Slow man finally moved over a lane and at one point I got between the two fast boys and tailed the toes of the crawling man in front. A fun speed boost but the breastroke man got fed up and went round me again. Another play joined the foray and I did a few hard fast lengths getting swept up in the dick fight malestrom. Looked at the watch at 66 laps.
The next 10 - had to have a burp-stop to alleviate the nausea. Dropped the dickfight and took to long, slow strokes. I dropped the focus on hand and arm position and instead adopted a more straight-on approach to my body position in the water, which seemed to make arm bend instead of straight on entry. It was more comfortable and felt more effective so I stuck with it through to 74 laps.
The last 10. Phleurrragh. Going as slow as possible to avoid being sick. Counting pairs of laps as 3 to go sounds so much less than 6.
The warm down - a lot of slow stretching sitting as still as possible.

It was a hard 2km swim. It was not the fastest nor the slowest. It was fairly accurate - I only gained one lap on the watch which I shouldn't have and I think this is because of my burp-stop or the foot cramp lap where I had to stop to hold onto the side for a bit.

Without being mean to myself, I think I can discount all previous 2km efforts before I bought the poolmate on the basis of my counting being RUBBISH. If I can't do this sub-50" now, there's no reason I should've ever managed it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


There's too much negativity in this blog to reflect how I feel today.

I have never before challenged my employer to shake themselves up and find me work. While it hasn't got me anywhere yet, it will. There's stuff in the planning and I feel good about myself because two different sets of people want to hire me. Meanwhile, what can be more perfect for a triathlete than a well-paid job where I can sit and do next to nothing all day? The boy needs help but that's my only necessary task.

This morning I rode to work on the race bike. I did one-footed riding which, combined with the newly fitted tri bars gets me used to the bike position and improves my pedalling efficiency. It's an easy work out but an effective one. Amusingly, for someone who's already late for work, it also makes me slower.

Riding on the tri bars highlighted the fact that they are skew since I adjusted them after my last ride. They're fixed now after a casual lunch break.

I feel like it's all ready to go. I do need to check it as it made my hips hurt after the Sherwood forest ride.

On Sunday night when we returned from Bassett I set about reading an old season planning diary. Not that old... Just 2years old from the year when I bought "the cyclist's training bible" and tried road racing. The break down of effort for the one discipline was useful and I definitely ended that season a stronger rider than I started it.

It has occurred to me that (now I've got my gear heart rate monitor out) I should apply this same tool to the decidedly more complex sport of triathlon. I could probably go out and buy the "triathlete's training bible" but I could somewhat guess the end for less money and at least come up with a plan that's a good-enough shade of better than nothing.

While hours of sitting about on the sofa planning numbers is not going to help me improve physically, it can contribute towards making me mentally more convinced in my training plan. Whether that is, "is it going to work?" or "am I going to follow it?", only time can tell but the two questions are probably less exclusive than I think. The author himself indicates that a bad plan is more effective than no plan. I'm not sure that includes one which can't physically be followed. One thing is for sure, there's not really a plan now. What exists is a series of targets - all written at Christmas when I was feeling quite good. They can not all be delivered every week, I have to pick them carefully.

So the swim plan will be separated into two sessions per week except for test weeks which are hard. The bike plan will get broken down by time, spinning effort and hillyness and the run will get broken down into distance increments followed by speed increases I feel I can manage.

Key is my tendency to over-training and if I can manage that by planning... I should see results - particularly if I manage tonight's over-enthusiasm by planning instead of getting home and dragging myself out for a run. Oh, y'know that sounds so tempting.

Otherwise I have to try to avoid getting distracted by things off the tri radar. Getting as much of the house finished before the tri season really gets going them getting it on the market so I don't have to think about it. Aside from housey chores I need to distract my non training hours with the glorious pursuit of reading tri magazines or checking out what my team mates are up to as they usually inspire me to try harder. This is an un-disguised excuse for reading facebook a lot. Doing laundry of course counts as tri training.

But back to the positives. I am up to 5.5km on the new feet. I've fulfilled all of my health resolutions - feet, jaw, other tests all clear.

Now I'm just wanting the sun to come out and for the gym and the pool to empty of all of last christmas's new years resolutions. I tell you what, they're a well resolved lot around here .


An attempt to do my target run this week was 1km short of planned.

OK so I wasn't tired, it was cold and I decided I'd better get back to work after lunch but still, I felt like giving up.

I have no idea what's wrong with me but I just have to have faith that I'll get there in the end.



For all I love being in Sheffield, I hate going back to my house in Wootton Bassett... And I hate going back because I love that little house.

When I'm in it I am cosy. I am home. I sit on the sofa with TSK. It's not big enough for us and all our shit. It's unfinished and unkempt and nobody can care but us... and we don't.

I hate coming here because I hate leaving it. I hate going back to the big prissy house in the middle of useless.

I love being back in Sheffield and I still hate certain people at Halcrow for throwing my life into this kind of chaos right now.

Ha. Right now.... 12 months have passed and I'm still dicking around with getting it on the market... And still trying to wangle a job which means I get to make money on living in it. Conflicted? Not me

Friday, February 18, 2011

Woop woop

Swim efficiency up by 1% - despite the fact that I didn't get around to completing the 2km distance again.

Followed it up with a 3o minute bike and a 15 minute run on the machine. Occasionally let the heart rate go high - the music said I had to.

Looking forward to the next effot to get that swim.

Falling into place

The man I went to see last week was there to offer me a job, not a dog. My current employ is not directly matched to my skills and I do want to stay in Sheffield, not move to Bristol or Warrington.

Although I was offered the job, I sat down with my employer yesterday and talked through the options of working on projects outside our department and outside their normal skills set. It was all done and dusted after the close of a meeting...

Almost. I rang through to Bristol and yes, they would love to have me on their Project. They are talking about me today. So after all the pent up stress and emotion of the morning I went out for a very short run.

I've never run for less than 20 minutes. I ran up my usual hill, took a footpath up some old sandstone steps, worn into slouchy curves by a century or more of use. The steps came out at a church. I ran around the graveyard and slithered down a craggy heap which I soon realised was filled with the earthy spoils of the gravediggers work.

As soon as I reached the leet, I ran up the hill to another set of steps back to the churchyard then down a side-street, up steps again before dropping back down to the village. It must've been 10 or less but it was really invigorating. All up until the bit where I got cornered by the crazy lady in the shop.

Monday, February 14, 2011


HR max 176 - 178.

Trying not to go over 20-30% of training above 80% of maximum. 70-80% of my time at 123 - 150 bpm. Given that most of my workouts over the last few weeks have probably (some deffinately - 5 since Jan 29th) been above that it's no wonder I'm burned out and incapable of getting up in the morning.

I listened to my body this morning and stayed in bed. By the time I got up it was too late for a swim and I forgot my bike lock keys so no swim after work either.

I should start wearing that lovely heart rate monitor I paid for.

New Feet

Before (on the left) and after (two on the right).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Update on the feet

So the first few km is completed - a run around Todwick village. I went out pretty fast to warm up and see what the new feet would do. Once I'd gone over the hill, I just relaxed and let things roll so I didn't hurt myself. By the time I got to climbing back up to the A57, my left calf was starting to hurt a bit. This is the leg I put most of my weight on so I'm not surprised it started first. I could feel Thursday's session in my right knee-pit but not too bad, just residual pain really.

By the time I got to the entry back into my driveway I had to walk as the pain in the left calf was getting a bit constant. I can only imagine that I haven't ever used this muscle before which means I have a bit of work to do to get it up to strength. That's what I'm going to do this afternoon - plan getting my running back on track as the swimming is going well and the bike will, eventually, take care of itself.

I could deffinately feel that my stride was lengthening, that my feet pointed forwards instead of shuffling with a sideways gait and that my foot felt more transitional and flexible rather than flappy.

The upshot is, compared to other similar distance runs this one was pretty quick considering I walked the last 150m. In terms of speed, it's closest to some of the fittest runs I've done like Birdlip Hill and other Horizon training, Blinknoll hill in swindon in March and runs to work in June. It's surpassed by last summer and my very effective Guildford run on new years day (it must've been the ice that did it!).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sunday rides a day early

I did not feel like it this morning. Oh no but I knew that I had to. Two days had wasted away with nothing more than a run on the treadmill at the podiatrist, a woefull step class and a 4km ride to the doctors for my... y'know, nasty 4-yearly test. Healthy but not an athletic lifestyle.

The new feet arrived on Thursday. The results of the running test showed a transfer of my weight into the centre of my foot (not perfect but much better than the extreme outsides from before) and straight transition off my toes into the next footfall. The dodgy deceleration at the end of each step is gone ergo, I should go faster.

I thanked my podiatrist a lot, agreed to let him use my feet in his biomechanics lecture to Sheffield's running community the next day and ran off through Attercliffe in tiny running shorts in order to get over to Aughton for my step class. I proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes trying to persuade my feet not to cramp in the car. I'd been driving or in meetings all day and eaten nothing but crisps and chocolate. At least at the gym I got some fruit juice.

The step class, though basic, slow, a little tedious and patronising was what I made of it - a good work out. I suggest I will have to join Ponds Forge to experience anything as intellectually challenging as the Peterborough class. My god I am a step snob...and Peterborough is my benchmark. Friday I had the afternoon off to meet a man about a dog. More of this another time.

I rushed back in and out on the bike for a quick blast so this morning my legs were well and truly suffering from the day after the day after syndrome.

I quite fancied a run to try out my new feet but today is to be the nicer day of two and I'm only allowed to start running a short distance in the new feet... Unlike Stuart who ran 22 miles in his then complained of blisters.

Reluctantly I set out on my bike with TSK knowing two things: that I'd feel better for it and that I'd be rubbish company.

I didn't realise just how tired I was. My poor step class was obviously some kind of benefit. My calves were about as effective as boobs attached to the back of my legs. Great hunks of flesh slapping around behind me. TSK speculated it's the time of year. Bless his optimism. I feel like I'm rubbish at everything just now although the occasional climb felt better than last time we did it. I was rubbish company, though the good news is that I was comfortable on the bike. I just wasn't enjoying any of our stops. We couldn't find anywhere open that we actually wanted to sit for food / coffee. We bought cakes from a shop then sat to eat them in the closed down café of a caravan park. It was a while before we reached the main Sherwood Pines centre and indoor coffee abounded by mountainbikers and families.

After the brief interlude I set off, head down again, just happy to be churning out the miles to get home. I'm sure TSK would have wanted to do more but he escorted me... And my now aching hip home.

Thankfully I was also right about feeling better and hopefully, in between the rainshowers I'll make it out in my new feet tomorrow.

Friday, February 11, 2011



New phone. This is what I managed to transfer from the memory, to my laptop.

I am not at all proud of this but it does at least work.

I guess there's this really good photo of the hallway and the charger cable but I can't actually rotate that.

It's all a bit rubbish and this phone is more disapointing than I ever expected.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I am Triathlete

I have been gramgineering my bike.

Thanks to Mr Threadgold I have replaced the spacers on my steering tube. The old fat chunky one is replaced with a lightweight machined-down version and the skinny over-size one that came of TSK's mountain bike is replaced with a titanium one.

My ride to work was 2 minutes faster than fastest (at this time of year) and i wasn't even trying. This is due to the tri bars and not the 2.?g saved on my spacers. My ride home was decidedly slower since I went out of my way to look for one of dad's gloves lost on Sunday's walk. It was very satisfying being in plus temperatures, happily foraging around for gloves by the glow of my bike light, not actually worrying about getting cold.

Tomorrow I have to "pop" down to Gloucester for a morning meeting before winging my way back to Sheffield for step class and my podiatrist fitting in the evening. I am deffinately going to need my Friday afternoon off. So much for cunning plans to work on my house when I'm down there. I won' t even get to swim in the nice quiet pool or take a run up big old Birdlip hill. I will be looking forwards to new feet in the evening though.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Long swimming

Having watched a competant swimmer last week, this morning I combined her style with some of the tips I have picked up reading triathlon magazines. While I have manged to improve the entry of my swim stroke, I learned last week, using the paddles that the most efficient way to extract my hand from the water is to slice it sideways, losing the drag generated by lifting the dead hand flat out of the water. A tip in the magazine to touch a pool-buoy between the legs morphed into me concentrating on withdrawing my hand at the full extent of its stroke, paralell to my thigh. A rather impressive swivel of the wrist and elbow leads to a slicing re-entry of the hand in front of my head.

It certainly felt faster - the swim being smoothly executed without the jerky decellerations that I'm used to at the end of each stroke.

The swimovate Poolmate (love it!) meant I didn't have to bother with counting my laps although it either lost or gained one because my odd / even count was out. Either that or I teleported to the other end of the pool at some point.

The final speed was up compared to last week but the efficiency was down so I'm going to hazard that the poolmate dropped a lap, not added a lap. Still, I erred on the side of caution and did one more lap than I needed. While I was still absolutely baked at the end - foot cramp, feeling sick, the lot - I managed 2km in the morning and that's a lot to be happy about.

Alternatively, when I sprinted to pass someone who wasn't going to let me have an easy time, I probably dropped the stroke efficiency through the floor resulting in a lower average.

I'm not quite up to the speeds I was recording in January and December prior to my week off for skiing but I'm getting there. I just hope those record speeds were due to lax counting.

I'm not quite sure how the top men and women manage to swim 1.5 - 2km every morning. By lunchtime and knackered and my sinuses are still full of water but, I might as well have a go at getting somewhere near to that.

Amazing what happens when you read the instructions. Efficiency is an index figure (not a percentage) which should go down. At 51, I am at the better end of the "average" index of 50 - 70. I can look forward to being "above average" soon, I hope.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Once I start resting I find it hard to stop. Mind you, not much of a rest weekend. I spent all day Saturday cleaning and tidying the house in prep for my parents visiting. I am talking 9am till 5:30pm. Hours I am not accustomed to working!

On Sunday, I got up early to finish with the hoovering then we had a good, fast 12km walk with mum, dad and the dogs.

Howling wind this morning has made it really difficult to get out of bed and do something. I was going to ride but I think there's going to be a gym or swim session tonight and a trip to work in the car.

Time to pack the kit.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

New Feet Part 2

So the man is to make me new insoles which straighten out my stride by making my big toe do some work instead of wallowing around out of the way while the middle toes take all the weight.

The old supports have support in the wrong place which causes my blisters and makes my foot too stiff. The new one will support towards the back of my foot where the load is transferred from my leg and otherwise the support will flex where it should, stopping the blisters.

The great news is, I don't need new shoes for now. The electronics said that my shoes still support my foot. This is good as I do like the ones I have.

The appointment hurt in ways I didn't expect - somewhat sideways and upwards - which shows how much damage I did on my long run on Wednesday. Time for a day of swimming on Friday so I went to the pool and managed to knock out 2km for the first time since we've been back off holiday. I even indulged in the pull buoy for the firs 40 laps to take the stress off my legs.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Penticton Race Report 2005

Just found this little snippet of additional information to add to current archive history.

Penticton race review

Swim: 35:17
Bike: 2:23:58
Overall: 3:26:13

New feet?

Something is not right with my feet. Canadian podiatrists fixed me new feet in 2006 and they've been brilliant since, helping me to run up to 20km and easily manage the 18km run to work.

Then I went skiing two weeks ago and now I can't run long distance any more.

Knee pain, hip pain, hamstrings hurting, walking around like a wobbly hippo the next day. I need to resolve this now, not sit around waiting to see if it goes away. It's entirely conceivable that my feet have changed in the last 5 years and if not, I'm quite happy to have a new, spare, more flexible pair of insoles to sort out my rubbish feet.

So today I'm off to the podiatrist - if I can cope with another session on the running machine by 6pm after a run to work yesterday and an uncomfortable walk / run home.

Reading t'interweb today, it's entirely likely my trainers have worn out. Whilst I've read in tri magazines that they should be replaced every 3 months (scoff!) and ignored that because I'm not an ironman triathlete, I did read today that they should be replaced every 300-500 miles which, in the last 15 months is more like it - well 250 measured miles anyway.

I feel an expensive day coming on.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Choose Tri

Choose life. Choose triathlon. Don’t choose. Do all three. Choose a fucking scary wetsuit, choose a rubber cap, choose goggle eyes, choose X2U, Speedo, tiny shorts and vest tops. Choose goose poo, grassy feet and sun visors. Choose the most expensive bike in the shop. Choose painful running. Choose a skinny team vest that leaves nothing to the imagination. Choose energy gels in a range of snotty flavours. Choose an Ironman and wonder what the fuck you're doing bashing pavements in the dark. Choose sitting in transition trying to skin your wetsuit off your aching body, wondering why there’s still two disciplines to go and trying to get wet feet into shoes as they spin by on your pedals. Choose slogging your way to the finish line, cursing the commentator for reading out your best achievements, when it was nothing more than not killing the fucking wheel suck that clammed to your arse all the way round the bike leg.

Choose life. Choose diversity. Choose triathlon.