Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 36 Wet Day 37 Wobbly

I can't explain what pleasure I get from walking to the pool.

Further pleasure awaited me afterwards.  My Christmas sales shopping.  No work to go to, just shopping.

50m swimming.  No real attitudes to deal with.

1600m.  I have re-verified Day in the Lakes results and I am now swimming as fast as I was in June last year.

This bodes very well.

Day 37 and Payback.  A very slow run.  Granted I was going "straight up" but a day of sitting on the sofa without eating much took its toll.  Stupid Hippo.  Stomach cramp, lots of walking and a 42 minute 3.5 mile run.  I suppose I should take my 8.5 mile walk on Boxing day as my long run for the week... even if we did churn out a 35 minute mile.  Sad face.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My 2012 in Pictures


Half Ironman Training - gets off to a roaring Start despite icy weather in January 


North West Passage - the most confusing Audax ever and mostly completed below 4 degrees C. We narrowly escape with our lives after riding down the M65 sliproad at 9pm and retreat to the pub to eat cheese and onion pie with beans.


The Best Day at Work Ever - A safety stand-down day and 62km of bike riding over Emley Moor and Stannington 


Hell on the Hills Duathlon - my first (and possibly only) multisport event win 


A brilliant day out mountain biking in Wales with an old school friend. It was even more fun when I found all my gears. 


The Olympics

A very wet "Day in the Lakes"


The Wedding Season Kicks off in Style - with a very busty affair in Sussex. I am reunited with family I haven't seen in 15 years and we get to swim in the sea & go mountain biking as part of the package.
A very memorable Hen Night involving Zorbing, drinking, feeling very ill, much tea and a mountain bike ride with Silver Lining propping me up.


Married Mr R & celebrated with a picnic on Burbage Moor, a paddle and an insane Celidh 


Our Honeymoon - and a trip to the beach goes down well with Trepid Explorer 
A Honeymoon filled with colour
My Dad gets an "Old Git" award at the 50th 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross 


TSK completes the Monsal Hill Climb and I have a very proud day out.
I tell one person about my ambitions for 2013. 


The Concept of Ironman in 2013 Starts to Brew 


The North of England 'cross Champs goes well and I commit myself to 6 months of ironman training by telling some people 
Christmas dinner with friends.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

You can't please all of the people all of the time & today is not your day... Or, "Time to Start Saying No"

Day 33 I cycled to work.  I couldn't sleep on Sunday night - which is weird after venting my spleen to the internet, which usually helps.  I meant to get up early and go for a swim but instead, I slept in and failed to swim on the basis that they shut at 1pm on Christmas eve.

I did a fair old training ride with some efforts thrown in for good measure and a jot of hill climbing... but no running, no swimming, just a ride.

Day 34 was Christmas day and rather than doing the proverbial turkey we went out for a lovely ride with some friends into the peak district on the mountain bikes then had a restrained, though very tasty meal at home.  I would've felt quite smug except for the large volumes of alcohol consumed (for me)... but then still no swim or run.

Day 35 I had my arm twisted to go out for a walk with the folks.  They're not as sprightly as they used to be so definitely no run or swim today - though I probably could've swam faster around Ladybower reservoir... even today.  It's left me tired, soalked and achey and whilst I keep telling myself I've the rest of the week to catch up with some training that I've missed

So if you invite me anywhere over the next few weeks, do bear in mind that I might say no and don't be offended... and if I do happen to say yes just know that I might sod off for a run for a few hours or ask you to point me in the direction of the nearest pool.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

All Gone Downhill - Day 20 - 32 The Edited Version of Demons Inside

Saturday 8th December said that I was looking forwards to the North of England Cross champs the day after and indeed it was good.

Day 20 - A race which started with me feeling sluggish left me feeling like I'd put the "E" in endurance when I started riding up the steepest of climbs on the penultimate lap and ended the race riding up it.  I put a sizeable gap and two other riders between me and the girl I'm usually doing battle with.

Still, it's amazing how much a small set back can rock the boat.

On 10th something went wrong at work.  There's a host of stuff going on in my life but I don't take criticism well and I heard a lot of "nobody loves you" and felt a bit same old same old.

I was so angry I told my boss about my depression and anxiety, that the only way I cope sometimes is to go swimming at 5:30 am so the reason I sometimes get in late is that I've already been swimming and, Oh! that breakfast I'm eating... yeah, that's the second one of they day and BTW I eat it whilst I work.

Nothing seems to have come back on it.  So that was Day 21.  I racked up some impressive hours on Monday but after that I worked to rule a bit.  If I have to be in at 9, that's me, out of there at 5.  It was refreshing.  Actually declaring the day done and over with.  Actually doing a day's work and leaving on time?  I should do this more often.

So for a week the depression loomed large on the radar.  I lost all will to live for a while but in true Trepid style, instead of contemplating suicide, I just took some incredible risks.  I cycled to work in the ice (Tuesday - Day 22).  On Wednesday after another icy ride to work and back in the evening I managed to swim 1km (Day 23) and on Thursday (Day 24) I ran the 8 mile to work, getting a lift back to the city.

On the day we had freezing fog, when I stepped out the front door and fell on my ass, I drove to work (Day 25).  Some people decided they couldn't get to work!

On Day 26 I did a 200 km ride from Stockport out to Malpas, Market Drayton and back.  I hadn't done more than 40 miles since Monsal Hill climb so 126 miles was an achievement.  My legs were fine but my neck felt it.  I didn't really care if I finished the ride or got run over by a bus but I met some lovely people whilst we were out there.  The pouring rain from Goostrey (nothing good happens there) back to Stockport and the potholed roads gradually disappeared in the company of strangers, the communal joy of Christmas lights and the love shared in pointing out Jodrel Bank to people who otherwise wouldn't have known where to look for it. (it's where LBHN used to work).

At least living life on the edge (even if it was for the wrong reasons) was making me feel better.  Little bits of self-treats - no matter how insane - were turning my mood around.

Facing the final full week of work in the office was too much so on Day 27 and my birthday I went to do a site visit and then worked from home in the afternoon.

Day 28, Tuesday 18th I travelled to Wolverhampton in the car to look at an installation so I didn't do any training until 19th when I travelled to East Anglia on the train with a very heavy bike and managed another run in my shoes along the beach and the cliff tops.

Thankfully my depressive thoughts evaporated with the sea air and the only thing drawing me to the top of the cliffs was the beam of my head torch.  I resisted and ran up until the time when it looked like three potato harvesters were coming to kill me.  Fearing the confrontation of angry farmers more than the death throes of a potato harvester, I decided I'd run far enough and headed back to the hotel for dinner.

Day 29 saw me on site again in Bacton.  This time a productive day followed by a few hours of working on the train again.  The exercise for the day was the 10 mile ride to site into a roaring headwind with 20kg in my panniers at least.  Exactly 40 minutes - perfect cyclo-cross strength training for the nationals in Bradford in a month's time.

The day didn't end too soon though.  Once the computer battery ran out on the train (with 3 hours of journey time remaining) I finished off some paperwork.  Having promised the client his drawings on Friday, I worked on them till 3:30 am once I'd got home. Bless TSK for making me dinner and putting up with me coming to bed at 3:30.

Not surprisingly, Day 30, I drove to work - 4 hours later.  Ready to slam anyone that accused me of being late - I only had to work 1 hour to make up my 40 for the week but I stayed till 5 pm.  Got my work done, avoided the Christmas shoppers - all that jazz.  I had to face up to the grim fact that Friday was D-Day for selling my house at Woot Bass before Christmas.  I had to accept defeat first thing in the morning when I discovered that £8000 was still outstanding on the cash payment by my pathetic buyer and that the £8000 could only be paid by cheque.

Incredibly I wasn't phased.  I wasn't really surprised.

By 16:30, my house was sold.  I had the weekend to look forwards to looking forwards.

By this point, I felt like my training was truly shot, though reading back on this, it isn't really.  I managed to squeeze quite a lot into a very stressful time.

It was a crabby day on day 31.  I could've gone swimming - indoors or outdoors to be fair but I had to make a Christmassy effort with the house.  In the afternoon I went out with my friends and it's always good to go out with friends.  I have some really good ones and I had a great meal with the Norton Wheelers.  I *will* ride with you again boys and girls.

Day 32 today.  I've done no training for three days.  Today was a nice day and I could've done the chip butty ride with Sheff Tri but no, I got some important finance stuff done and made my house look vaguely like a home - for us and for our Christmas day friends and anyone else who happens to come by.

With Woot Bass gone and the new house to do nothing with but look forwards, I suddenly feel incredibly light and happy.  I watched Strictly tonight.  Lewis enthused me about getting a bit more value out of my gym membership.

Only next week will tell whether this rest has been as good as a change.  I've been sensible.  I've listened to my body and I have regenerated.  I've done what The Counsel would have advised and it seems to have worked.

Anyway, I have all of Christmas week to train whilst TSK is at work.  I have survived the last week and in a difficult financial climate, I have sold a house.  All in all I feel like quite a clever and lucky person right now.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Days 17, 18 & 19

A mix up with housekeys locked in a car at the garage
An angry day of exhaustion
A trip to the pool which was closed.

Not brilliant enforced rest days.

North of England champs on Sunday but should be good.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Day 16. Beach Comber

Difficult to get up today. Five goes at the snooze button and I was suffering whiplash from yesterday's crash but looking out of the window to see what the weather was doing woke me up enough to get the enthusiasm for Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth.

Not that the weather was that good and Marine Parade was dull once I'd passed the all-closed-up pleasure beach so I went in search of the real beach. Once I'd remembered that wet sand is firmer than dry I got running again. I tried to take a picture of the sunrise but it was a mere sliver of crimson beneath very big grey skies. So I photographed my trial shoes under different conditions.

Running next to the ocean is so catatonic. It reminded me of the best of my time in Folkstone and without even getting wet the waves washed over me. I put a foot on the breakwater then ran back to the pier near my hotel. I checked the Garmin to see if I had run the necessary distance but sadly I'd forgotten to zero de pooter so I had no clue. The knee started to hurt so I clocked my lap (4 miles - woo hoo). I'm hardly surprised though, my sore neck is the same side as my painful knee and I'd been running on a sloped beach in a sloppy fashion so as not to scare my Achilles. After 37 minutes I headed back to the pier, sat in the wet sand, took my shoes off and wandered into the sea.

That I managed not to scream is amazing. I think I've been in colder water in spring in Scotland but I was trying to figure it out. I stood for a moment feeling the sand running out from underneath my toes and the water sploshing around my ankles bubbling and tickling and the seeping pain of cold purging through my legs and it was overwhelmingly exhilarating.

I stepped out and walked over to my shoes and instantly thought "I need to do that again". I felt like I'd missed out on that happy place where your body momentarily adapts to the cold and feels warm before you actually realise you've just gone numb. I walked back in, full of determination and enthusiasm to make the most of a mad morning. Like a child running towards a favourite slide at the park, screaming 'again' I paddled away, my brain silently squealing in delight. I felt alive! Then I felt painfully cold in the feet. An entire stage of cold water swimming skipped, I ran away for the last time, sat by my shoes, lay back in the sand, lifted my legs into the air and arms outstretched I wiggled my feet at the cold December sky.

Enough toy time. Back to the hotel for a shower, breakfast in cycling clothes and a ride to the client's site along the dockside. Sometimes enjoying this job is about making the most of its most rubbish bits.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Days 14 & 15 - Turning points

Day 14 was treated as the programmed rest day, despite doing nothing on Sunday.

This is fine because I am still working on looking after my brain and not letting myself become over-tired too often.

A 5:30 am start to get down to the pool, swim and get to my meeting on time.  I slept really well last night which is a good job.  I woke in the “middle of the night” feeling hungry so drank some Yoghurt drink and went back to bed.  There was the usual kerfuffle (who knew there's a "real" spelling for that) that ensued – TSK going to the loo, Lenny coming in for cuddles, TSK getting up to let Lenny out, putting my earplugs in because I’m now too well rested to sleep through TSK’s satisfied, heavy breaths.  It’s a noise I find incredibly soothing when I’m tired and only midly irritating when I’m in the zone of half-sleep, half-ready to get up.

No sooner had I gone back to sleep than it felt like the alarm had gone off so I got up and resumed my breakfast along with the let-back-in cat and headed out to the pool.

I churned out 1200m with 6 x 25m sprints which hurt less than usual.  I say churned out because I really was indifferent about getting out after 1200m but I don't want to overdo things so out I got.  My Achilles tendon was starting to hurt a bit from the pushing-off.  It was a bit stressed about my rediscovered mid-foot running style at the weekend.

I had my 4 x 25 s sprints on the bike on the way to work (let's ignore the 25kgs of stuff I had on my bike for the trip to East Anglia).

I crashed on a canal bridge but that's OK because I was going slow and the impact was absorbed by aforementioned stuff.

By 10:30 in my meeting I was falling asleep.  By 10:45, fuelled by coffee and a spot of stretching I was back with the programme.

The meeting finished at 12 and I jumped back on the bike and headed for the station.  5 hours later I arrived in Great Yarmouth for tomorrow's meeting.  I won't say fresh... but not nearly as knackered as last time I was down here (and hopefully without food poisoning this time).

It's 9:15pm and I'm about to do my teeth and sleep so that tomorrow I can be on the beach before the sun rises with my headtorch and my new (borrowed) feet ready to put them through their paces in sand and also probably along Marine Parade when I get fed up of the hard work.

On the day Chrissie Wellie announces her retirement, I'm doing, well, nothing significant other than what is significantly starting to become a bit normal and a bit second nature.  Smiles!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Day 13

Planning fail.  'cross race was yesterday.

Great excuse for a rest day since I am tired, grumpy and uncoordinated today.

I have been planning, which is positive and have figured out a way to score my weekly training complete with a spreadsheet - which is always good for an engineer.

Feeling ordered allows me to be free to train.

Now where's that turbo?

End of week 2 - 88% complete.

Day 12 Epic running again


Leaving at 2pm.
Finding a new path up Wyming Brook.
Realising I didn't have any batteries in my headtorch but carrying on regardless
Running up the hillside with every step shattering into broken ice and expecting the entire landscape to smash and crumble into the lake taking me with it.
Venturing onto the moor in the setting sun and getting back down to the A57 in time to take the paths home instead of the main road.
Startling a curlew as I ran past in the twilight.
Scrambling along (and down) the clifftops above Rivelin rocks
Exhausted but 8.5 miles in the bag AND NO PAIN.
My city

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Shoes and Stats - November 2012, Month 1 and Day 11

So, after an 800m swim with 8 x 25m sprints thrown in and a ride to work the new shoes got their first outing on Day 10.  I ran in my usual shoes on Thursday at lunchtime and specifically noticed that my knee started to hurt after just 2.2 miles.

On Friday in the new shoes I did exactly that distance without any hint of pain whatsoever.  It was 30 seconds slower but not on the same route and I could've quite easily spent that trying to avoid the freezing cold puddles down the footpath at the back of the industrial estate.  I'd had a cold cycle to work and my feet were nice and toasty in these shoes.  I wasn't going to change that by running through puddles.

I tried out the new running position that the boys at the running shop so kindly decided to share with me and made it stick through most of the 2km.  It felt weird and freaky and made my thighs work more but it didn't feel completely wrong and obviously isn't any slower than my normal clumpy running style.

I wore them to the pub in the evening.  Not as a fashion statement but because it was the Sheffield Tri AGM and I figured most people would be in trainers.  I got a recommendation for a good training race in the new year and signed myself up as club secretary so it was a good evening, a nice walk into town and back so the shoes live to fight another run and my triathlon addiction lives to fight another year.

The month has been good and I have enjoyed my training this week.  Far from being exhausted I'm looking forwards to getting out this afternoon for a run or a ride - I just can't decide.

The new stats look good.  Bring on another month of the simple plan.

Swim: 7.65km 2.3kph.  Compares to last month: 4.95km, 2.6 kph
Bike: 188.65 miles 10.5 mph, 
2363 m. Compares to last month: 356.62 km (223 miles), 12.7 kph (7.9 mph),  2767 m.
Run: 25.78 miles, 5.2 mph, 824m el.  Compares to last month: 49.5 km (30.9mile), 8kph (5mph) avg, 667m

Detailed: Phase - Prep - Targets not yet calculated for the simple programme

Swim - Speed 6.35% Endurance 94%
Bike - Speed 24.5% strength 6.5% Endurance 69%
Run - Speed 3.75% Offroad 16% Hills 2% Endurance 78.1%

Time in the zone: 2hrs 16min