Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tigger Torr Fell Race

Big scary brother of the Tiger's todger, the Tigger Torr race is mooted as the first fell race of the season.  Whilst I don't really have a fell running "season" it's nice to do a race at the start of the year when my hopes for the year ahead are running high.

This year it's been snowy so the course was changed to a shorter less aggressive course.  It doesn't matter to me.  I don't remember where I've been anyway.

My warm up consisted of a lie-in, deciding whether to run or not considering how tired I was and then packing my car, hunting for my special insoles (not found) and driving quite fast around Sheffield to park a long way from the course and running up with a sweaty fist of money hoping registration was still open.

It worked although I still felt a bit sluggish from the get-go seeing a lot of people pass me along the first road section.  Once the bog hit I improved, running with bad technique lady and Gunnie.

I spent most of the race with my head down unfortunately, watching where my feet were going.  You had to get behind the right person if you wanted to draft someone out of the wind.  Pick the wrong guy and you were likely to trip over him as he fell down in front.  Eventually I settled on someone with a good eye for bog hopping and was occasionally able to look up at the snowy edges set out before us.  It was smashing under a bright blue sky.

We plunged down to the brook and the lady in front of me stepped into the stream up to her thighs.  She hauled herself out the other side.  I thought I'd clear it with my long legs but as I went to leap over her first step, I ended up standing right where she had been.  Another step to the opposite bank then a huge step out.  The marshalls were wrapping up the first victim of the day.

We ran over Higger Torr - the peaks that everyone will see jutting out of the moorland on my wedding breakfast pictures.  For a moment I thought I'd lost everyone as we plunged on to the next tor and down to the bridge at Burbage Moor.

(c) Paul Foot
The next part reigned hell down on my already cold feet.  For 12 minutes we ran along the footpath which runs along the bottom of Burbage Edge.  We splashed and sploshed and I suddenly got slower and slower as my legs started to get tired from the constant battering and the fact that after 6 hard miles of slush, mud and snow I'd now reached the limit of my running performance.  Of course, running on the flat I didn't actually get slower, just slower compared to everyone else.

When we set off back over to Whirlow, above Fox house I felt like something was going chronically wrong.  Having read Jill in Alaska too often, I knew what this was - Frostbite.  It wasn't just that I couldn't feel my feet, they had actually, genuinely disapeared.  I progressed through the horrible itchy pain that comes with very very cold feet that feel like slabs of steak on the end of my legs to feeling that they were just fine and completely non-existent.  Must be OK because they don't hurt anymore.  As I tried to continue to run on the stumps left at the end of my legs I realised it was dangerous.  I could no longer lift my feet to set them down.  They slithered left and right and my body lunged fore and aft trying to redress the balance.  My frost bite had chosen to kick in when I was most vulnerable - in the iciest spot on the course.

The chap next to me fell on his ass and slid.  I got out of the way, deciding that if there was a time to stop and put on a wind proof, this was it.  I didn't need it on my body but it might just tip my core temperature enough to send blood to my toes.  I desperately needed to increase my heart rate too.  I had to ignore everything that my body was telling me about pain and make it hurt more.

As I put my coat on I shouted up the hill to the oncomers, "take it easy it's really icy".  Obviously a lot of people thought I was just being a bit paranoid as one after the other they stacked it.  A few looked up as if to say, "you could've warned me how bad it was".  It's how I would've felt.

I asked the marshalls to go to the top of the slope to stop anyone getting hurt.

Off the hell slide, I finally reached the path to the finishline and hammered it.  I was so pleased to see Lynn and Darrell cheering me on full of enthusiasm.  I took enough time to say, "Either my feet have thawed or I've got... (damn couldn't think of the word) frostbite!" I yelled as I raced off down the trail.

Splat!  The man in front of me went down and yeowelled in pain, putting his hand up like a footballer waiting for the stretcher.  I waved back at the marshal who had seen me steadying him, telling him not to get up. "I've dislocated my knee cap" he said.  I was really glad he was wearing baggy leggings as I couldn't quite make it out but he did seem to be wiggling his patella around inside his clothes.

Then CLUNK! he was OK again.  Clicked back in.  Me and the guy next to us set off on our way, leaving the marshal to help the guy hobble to his feet.  We went hell for leather, determined not to be passed by a man running on only one good kneecap.

Then there it was, the mushy field we'd run through earlier.  The last painful 400m of road.  The finish line.  Feet positively burning I crossed the line grinning and headed back to the car to give away some old running shoes.

Good news, 8.8 miles done all without my proper insoles and whilst my legs are tired, not a glimmer of long-lasting pain anywhere.  FTW.

Days 62 - 66

Day 62

A drive home to Sheffield followed by a half day in the office followed by Tap.  Brilliant.  Exactly what I needed.  A fun way to get me onto my toes and doing drills without actually doing drills.  Made a lot of noise.

Day 63

A crash day.  Too much driving and a lot of work.

Day 64

Back to it with a little ride to work though still a hectic day so I did little more than ride home again and crash out on the sofa.  At least I cycled around with my cycling shoes in the bike bag.

Day 65

I hit back at my training programme with a really really long sleep followed by dedicated doing the things I was supposed to do.  25 miles in the slush on my bike followed by a 2km swim to make up for slacking off the rest of the week.

It's the first time I've done a double-hit Saturday on my training programme and honestly it was nice to have Chris to chat to in the pool to make me feel a bit more human through it - or at least like I had some crazy company!

Finally jumped out of the water at 7:30pm and walked home for dinner.  Comatised the rest of the evening & slept so well.

Day 66

Fell race today.  Oh dear.  Subject to update.
Tigger Torr race report

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 61

Keeping up the pressure with 10 hours on site in the cold fresh air and a swim after work. offsetting today's bike till tomorrow with tomorrow's run being replaced by a tap class. Gonna dance this ironman over the line

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 60. Shit! Has it really been 60 days since I started this?

Rest days are sometimes hard to do.

When you've been driving all morning.  You suddenly find yourself at a hotel with the day ahead of you and at least 4 hours of daylight but it's not really worth going to work is it?

I was so tempted to go out on my bike or go for a run but for once, work *was* more important and what could be worse than getting all cold when I could've been sat in an armchair staring at the sea and pretending to work?

Not a bad rest day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 59 - 8 mile run

10 years ago when I stopped winter mountaineering, I never thought I'd find myself kicking steps in fell shoes in the middle of a Sheffield winter.

Today was beautiful.

The new run style was used intermittently.  TBH, mostly towards the end of my run session as I got tired, I found it more relaxing to start springing over and up things on my toes.

I did start to tire a bit and walked some of the uphills but didn't walk anything out of the ordinary all the way back to my door.

Very satisfied.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Living simply - Week -3 Days 53 to 57

As far as training is concerned, this week has been the week from hell.

Workwise it's been amazing.  There are times when you have to look after your job and this week has paid off big time.

After the national champs I managed a swim and a bike ride before leaving for Welsh Wales, hastily completing a last-minute order as I headed out the door of the office.

I steadily got colder and once I arrived there was little incentive for me to go for a run.  I had a recover evening and got up at 6am to do a lap of the heathland before breakfast.

I've been reading a book called, "Born to Run" which is very inspirational.  It's about some of the world's greatest ultramarathon runners and where they get their enjoyment of running from.  It's about living well, enjoying yourself regardless and living a stress-free lifestyle.  I read a passage that night which read,

"You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back..." (Anne Trason).

I didn't feel very inspired when I got up at 6am but nevertheless I got dressed and pranced about in reception trying to warm up as the garmin sat on the wall outside and loaded satellites.

In the dark morning light, my headtorch gave me a little bit of protection from the quarry trucks rolling up and down the hill then finally I found the rambling lane which takes me across the heathland and set off to play on the sparkly frost.  I ran all the way down into a valley then back up, retracing my steps until I found, in the rising sun, a grassy knoll to summit.  Everything was done very slowly because of the excruciating cold.

For a moment I tripped over a bramble which woke me up substantially. I continued to run, watching the sun rise and enjoying the industrial sounds emanating from the brightly lit quarry.

I turned to retreat through Windmill making sure to retrace my steps as much as possible to get 5 miles in before breakfast.

I was amazed at how far I went on an empty stomach with little feeling of over-exertion.  I had managed to achieve Ann Trason's state of running comfort.  Whilst small steps seemed to come slowly, I enjoyed every one of them.  I somewhat enjoyed the porridge that followed.

On site I dealt with method statements, risk assessments, contractors turning up, a truck with stuff on it and a driver who refused to offload (swift call to his boss).  I caught errors before it was too late & anyone died.  I liaised, I chatted, I walked and walked and walked around the site.  I had a lunch of hot chocolate as I had no money on me.

I wandered into the canteen at 3pm.  A daytime talk show was on the TV talking about women's body image.  Some feminists had been protesting in their pants.  A beautifully made-up, manicured and coiffeured lady was talking about how women can improve their body image and how they should put less emphasis on looks and glamour and more on the person within.  I looked at myself in the glass of the coffee machine, in my purple fleece hat, my oversized purple pertex fleece that I've owned since I was 21 and three layers of trousers (top layer waterproof) and as I juggled contractors and dealt with the fact that my liquid nitrogen delivery was late I felt like I ruled the world.  I felt like I had made it.

I set off through the car park to put my phone on charge and stumbled over something wrapped around my feet.  The knickers I'd been wearing yesterday were still, somehow, wrapped up inside the fleecy leggings I was wearing and somehow I hadn't noticed them or noticed the fact that they had made a sudden bid for freedom.

Image of control, poise, effectiveness and dominance disappeared in a flash until I realised no-one had noticed and I laughed out loud at myself.  Still making it.

Thursday went badly in a way.  My nitrogen was delayed for another 5 hours so progress was slow but everything worked out OK.  The client finished some other work in our area then my crane driver set up and we moved the vaporisers into place for lifting.  The piping guys started making up pieces in anticipation of starting work and I busied myself with organising next week's work on another site.

Finally my Nitrogen arrived along with the commissioning engineer and we filled the baby tank.
The commissioning engineer showed me how to vent the baby tank when we'd done and we set about installing the new vaporisers.  The lifts went well.

The new vaps were bolted down and I left them to the piping work whilst I had some coffee.  They'd pretty much done when I got back and I started the pressure test as the client stood by.  The drivers had to leave at 6pm to avoid exceeding their legal driving time.  With the test passed at 5:30 pm we started the new vaporisers and shut down the old ones.  Ice slowly formed on the feed pipes to the new vaps as they worked silently.  To my relief the ice stopped there, proving that they were operating much more efficiently than the old ones.  The pressure gauge held.  The day was mine.

Now, to empty the baby tank.  Well, let's just say that dumping 1700l of liquid nitrogen is fun.  Boiling liquid seething around our feet and generating our own vapour clouds in the cold Welsh air.

After 30 minutes it got a bit boring.  The client and I huddled in the boiler-house, warming our gloves on the spindles of the valves on the steam pipes.  The piping engineers cleared up their stuff.  By 6pm it was time to let the driver go and the tank continued to drool liquid nitrogen at a slow rate.  We left it to its own devices, briefing the night fitter not to taste, touch or play with the liquid nitrogen.  The client and I parted company for our respective families and a well-earned hot bath.

I will send the truck back for the baby tank another day.

I did manage to swim with my mum on the way home to Sheffield.  I stayed the night in Manchester and did 80 lengths at the pool.  Such luxury to be in a lane twice the size of those at ponds forge and share it with only two other people.  Less of a luxury was the chlorine congestion that I suffered from afterwards exacerbated by the poor body temperature regulation that was left over from the previous day.

I held my teleconference for the next project from my parents house before embarking on the trip over the Snake Pass and spending an afternoon in the office enjoying the thanks and congratulations for a job well done in Wales.

It turns out that, in spite of all my worries about it being a rubbish week for training that I have achieved quite a lot and feel good about everything as a result.

There's a very lot to be said for this living well lark.  A very lot indeed.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Almost giving up on the National Championships - A campaign for change

I turned 39 this year.  In cyclo-cross terms, that means I’m nearly a vet and it also means I’ve been riding cyclo-cross for 25 years.  Today, my mother forbid me from being 40 and I’m inclined to agree with her but it seems I might be forced to take drastic measures just to keep on riding the national cyclo-cross championships.

Every year that I have lived and raced in the UK I have ridden the nationals although when I was 14, it was a much more satisfying affair.  An old-school course in Sutton Coldfield with all the great and good of the British Cyclo-cross association.  Elbows, mud, hairy drop offs and an hour of racing.  One year, I think I even raced both the schoolboys and senior events.

Most of the people are still there – and some new ones – for in 2001 (or 2), a headstrong group of people from the North West and Notts and Derby stood up and voted against the BCCA disappearing into the mists of the BCF.  We lost.  Did cyclo-cross lose?  Who knows.  It could’ve disappeared off the radar forever as the BCCA.  It could have flourished as the grass roots, friendly sport that it still is – except for one day of the year.

The national championships is taken over by the UCI.  It’s an elite race now and the rules mean that riders are pulled from the race as soon as they are lapped – sooner if they’re not riding a lap within 80% of the leader’s time.  With my experience of this rule, I stopped riding the UK national championships.  Preferring instead to save my money and get a better work out running around the course encouraging my friends.  This year I thought I’d ride – given that the race was on home territory.  I have to say that the Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association did a wonderful job organising this pro level race.  Brilliant marshalling, wonderful support, excellent facilities.

My issue is with the UCI and the associated BCF puppets.  In the women’s race today, over 15 women were pulled out after their third or fourth lap and 35 minutes of racing.  At the end of the race, only 10 riders remained.  I believe that's less women than completed the first national women's cyclo-cross race in the 1980's and in a field of 40 that is a huge number of eliminations.   If it hadn’t been for Nikki Harris’s astounding win over Helen Wyman, the race would have lost interest for so many of the supporters – only there to cheer along their gal – wives, daughters, sisters and team mates.

Personally, I entered the event expecting to be pulled out (though not so soon) as I’m no elite rider – I’m not even much of a local competitor preferring to win seasons through dedication, not speed - but to see 15 other confused women on the wrong side of the barriers wondering “what kind of a race is this?” left a bitter taste in my mouth.  I looked forwards to a furious sprint to the line and tried my best but my fellow competitor didn’t even realise the race was over so there was no sport in my race.

There’s talk of resolving this with a separate vets race which obviously, as a “nearly 4-oh” I am all in favour of.  What happens though, when the elites turn 40?  Will I revert to being put of the national champs for life?  What about the young girls? The lady pulled from the pits, inconsolable because she’d built up her dreams of riding in a national race and really wasn’t expecting some nasty official with a clip board to kick her out?  What about the young girl whose parents had driven her up from Birmingham to race for just 25 minutes?  She was enthusiastic and filled with pride on the start line.

I took up cycling not because I wanted to be like Chris Boardman but because I wanted to be like my dad.  Sometimes in life the best role models aren’t the superstars but our own parents.  If we don’t encourage the mothers of the future Vicki Pendletons in this world, who’s going to bring them to cyclo-cross or track races every Sunday?

I know the national championships is an elite race but in a field of 40, do we not think that true professionals can pass lapped riders with a swift, “on yer left” (or right) on a course which is legally wide enough to pass a bus?  If we’re going to set a cut-off time, can we not set a lap time so that I know that if I can’t lap in 9:30 I will be pulled from the race.  Pitting me against Helen Wyman you might as well ask Fatima Whitbread to guestimate her sprint time against Jessica Ennis.

What I do know is I’ve now bought this blasted license so, short of taking up road racing, my plan is to spend the three months after Ironman getting blisteringly fast.  By god when someone puts the first women vets nationals on my home ground (Derby), I’m going to trophy the hell out of this ridiculous licence, get my money’s worth and try and maintain my dignity next year.

(it’s all talk in case you were quaking in your boots!)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Catchup days 48-52

Days 48 - 51 were just crammed with work.  Getting everything ready to happen on site and trying to keep two clients happy at the same time.  I managed a lunchtime run to cover my 4 miler and that deteriorated into a run through sewage down by the canal side.

I didn't mind resting up for a few days through Friday and Saturday because, with the Nationals creeping in I didn't want to exert myself.  On the Saturday we had a day of shopping and drinking coffee.  General stuff that keeps us happy.

I bought a pair of tap shoes in the hope that they would get me up onto my toes and give me a little something non-triathlon to enjoy once a week.  Sadly, the classes slipped under the radar this time as they're on a Wednesday now and that was the day I wasn't at home.

I was happy to get the cyclo-cross nationals out of the way.

It's a day that marks the end of the year and the beginning of the tri season for me. It's one less thing to worry about, juggling cyclo-cross races with my triathlon training.

I'm looking forwards to the season ahead.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Day 47 - rare 30 minute bike ride to darkness and beyond

Oh, "radio mast".   There's an interesting sign I should investigate.  I left the hotel on my bike and put on full beam.
With in a few hundred metres it went out. Back to the car to get a lock so I could lock up outside the post office shop of course.


I decided to check out the lane to the radio mast until my light went dead then descend back down a route already known. I could do laps of the village until my allotted 30 minutes was up.

On lower beam, the light kept on going and going until the track had passed the uninteresting radio station and gone back down the other side of the hill again. Perhaps it will last...

Back on tarmac I turned left, figuring that if I keep turning left... blip... no light. Now the times between blips off got shorter and shorter until finally I gave up turning it on.

I told myself, "I'll get to the top of this hill and I'll see Overstrand and the radio mast and the distant lights of Cromer.

At the top of the hill I saw the distant lights of the radio mast. Still, I continued on the theory of the perpetual left turn eventually making a circle.

I was riding very slow. Expecting every decipherable shadow to be a pothole. There was reflected light off Cromer bouncing from the cloud but it was lost in the deep hedgerows.

I struggled along, my confidence improving as the hedges thinned and a silver strip of tarmac was continually visible. I arrived at a village. Hard to tell which one. The pub was not familiar.  There was a turn, but Right to follow the main route or left with the program?

Without my light I didn't know if left was even a dead end.

Time to dig out Gloria. If I was to be fucked up by my light, I wasn't going to be alone or lost while being fuckedup.

Gloria is the only good thing about being old school and owning a Nokia phone - smart as it is - she is a mostly accurate, perfectly well spoken, high clarity satnav voice who has calmly got me out of sticky audax dilemmas and into meetings on time. She sits in my pocket, talks me to my destination clearly and the only problem this time was I was considerably off course.

A lot of chatting in my pocket was required and when she mentioned 2 km I knew she was right about me being off route.

A proper English thicket scared me senseless when I was plunged into complete darkness. It just felt like it would be bumpy. In desperation I gave lighty one more try and it had at least regenerated just enough to get me past the only potholes my wheel might have been genuinely drawn to... though I suspect if I drove the roads tomorrow I would conclude I was feckin' lucky.

Out of the trees I turned the light back off to let it regenerate again. I started to enjoy the night riding though I suspect my mood would have changed considerably had I hit a pothole.

Finally I saw the lights of Overstrand and I burned the last few electrons of energy on getting drivers to dip their headlights and the approach roads to the hotel. I know it was daft but in a new year culture of having no excuses I couldn't be drawn on the point where I should've declared it daft.

When I think of the number of cars I actually saw (1) was it so stupid? Or was it just natural?

I'm not in a hurry to try it again...and I'm saying that for TSK's benefit but if we love the things we do, isn't it healthy to enjoy them in their simplest forms?

Now I shall demonstrate the fine art of its simplest form.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Day 46 - A dark run

I love staying in Bury St Edmunds.  I stay at the Fordham St Genevive based Suffolk golf and country club and I swim 100 lengths of their 16m pool.

This time I ventured a run which went through the dodgiest areas of Bury St Edmunds and resulted in me running along some very dark lanes without any footpaths or a light.

Dangerous, over-exciting, wrong.  That's me.

I made my distance though, despite a few dazzling moments from oncoming vehicles and a lot of standing on grass verges whilst trucks roared past.

When I found my site the next day, I passed by on my way to pick up a forgotten toothbrush from the village stores.  The village where my site is based is beautiful and completely lovely running teritory.

Perhaps next time.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Day 45 - Back on the programme with an awesome bike ride

It started off with a sunny day.  By the time I reached Redmires Reservoirs I was plunging into thick cloud with that kind of lakeland feeling of watching the weather approach.

Onto the tops and I hoped I would pop out the other side.  I swung around the headland of Burbage then plunged down and down towards Hathersage, stopping to take a photo on the way.

On the basis of the view, I decided to head up Mam Nick and do more of a low ride around Edale.  I descended into Hathersage, where I saw Lynn and Darrell on the tandem and a pack of Sheffield Tri riders.  A lot of waving.

I felt hungry by the time I got through Hathersage so I bobbed into the Woodbine for lunch as I know I can lock the bike up and enjoyed quiche and scone with a very nice coffee.

I completely forgot about Edale when I left the caf so headed into Castelton and purposefully set about exploring a dead-end road I'd not used before... honest.  I was actually hoping to find a way onto the Mam Tor road but was disapointed by a gate so I took another photo.

I retraced my steps and settled for Winnats Pass.  Ass.

I tried to keep my calm, embarking on the climb, knowing that the last time I did this (I mean rode it all) I was on a tripple chain ring with a 1:1 ratio.

All was well up to the visitor centre, then I stood up for a bit and my hamstrings ached from working on my bike yesterday.  NOT good.

I sat down for a while as the gradient continued to steepen and tried to convince myself that if I'm sitting down there's still something left.

I got through the really steep bit by staring at a sheep as I hauled on the bars and hoped to high hopes that I wouldn't hear a popping sound in my hamstring.  Once the sheep moved out of view I stared at some bloke's wife walking down the road until the gradient eased and I could sit down again.

Thank you to whoever shouted, "go on Trep" as I fought to find my breath.

Once on the main roads I decided to head for the Derbyshire Dales instead of trawling back through Edale and facing that final kicker over to Mam Nick.  A kestrel sat ontop of a barn, its face turned away like a shy child so I couldn't recognise it as a bird until I was passing right by.  Beyond that, a house had a garden fence full of cats - 6 different ones - each with its own fence post to sit on.  I plunged into Perrydale & around Eldon Quarry, narrowly avoiding a man carrying a shotgun and wibbled my way over to Great Hucklow, Foolow and Eyam, taking the high valley-side road back into Grindleford and ride up past Froggat and the wedding venue to finish off the day.

Tempting as it was to go into Longshaw for another brew I deferred to going home in daylight as I didn't have a light.  Once I got to the city, though, I made my new way home, chosing the hilly rides over the hills of Sheffield instead of trawling through traffic on Eccleshall road.

82km & 1635m climbing.  I think that ticks a few boxes.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Days 42 - 44

Ugh.  Back to work.

It's all gone critical - timewise - and I'm not sure I can make it but I'm doing my best and I'm not sure that will be good enough for anyone.

I did manage an 800 m swim on Thurdsay.  An apparent token effort but I'd done a lot of swimming last week whilst the pool was in 50m mode permanently.

Friday was a day sitting in the car on my ass and talking and phoning and not a lot of excercise involved.

I got home, set about the task of using SAP to create a PO then went to bed at 11:30 pm after being grumpy at TSK.

He was very patient with me and left to go for a 200k this morning after bringing me a little kiss.

In the absence of motivation I have cleaned bikes and ordered some bits which is pretty constructive given the state they were in and what I'm going to do with them tomorrow & next week.

I'm going to be on the road but I intend to take ALL the toys with me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Day 41 Addendum

Technically I should've biked yesterday & today should be a rest day - since I didn't feel like going out.

Spent the whole day being lazy making up for staying up late last night.

The lethargy just got worse as the rain came, the wind picked up and the sofa became more and more comfortable.  The light fell.

Finally I persuaded myself to go out for the prescribed 30 minute ride.  It can't be that hard... I mean not even as hard as going for a half hour run but it's really difficult to imagine a 30 minute bike ride.  I went.

Of course after 12 minutes I was having a great time.  I didn't care that it was raining.  I didn't care where I was going but I kept going up and west as long as I could and then thought about going home when I couldn't be bothered any more.

Eventually I turned down a byway and by nothing more than the beam of my bike light and luck, rode up some slippery flagstones alongside a ford and a brick wall before heading back into the city.

Met up with TSK for a beer and dinner.

Crackin' start to the new year.

2012 Review

Ended the year with a game

That year is finally over.  Not that it was  distasteful year but it seemed to drag on a bit towards the end.

First of All - Day 38 - 40 or 40 days of ironman training prep

A fast km in the pool left me happy that I am swimming as fast as I was this time last year.  

This time of year is all about offsetting so I declared that the combo of my 21km MTB day in the Peak on Christmas Day and my impending cyclo-cross on sunday subtotalled the equivalent effort of a 40km bimble on peak roads plus a 30 minute easy ride with sprints.  I also declared that the 5 hours slog in the pissing rain with my parents more than made up for a 6 mile run.  I certainly deserve it!

That only left me with a 30 minute run to do on Christmas week so I set out to attack the run again.  I was a bit more careful with steep hills this time and managed to clock 28 minutes 59 seconds.  That did me.  I felt good this time though - not bad.

Day 39 was aforementioned 'cross race which more than made up its element of bike training as well as a sizeable portion of running training both up those cobbles and in the muddy puddles (lakes) of Todmorden park.

Day 40 was the official start to week -5 of my 20 week plan so the swim made it through on the Monday since it's closed today (1st Jan & day 41).  The pool was heaving but I held my own despite bony old lady doing breast stroke in the fast lane kicking me in the knee, elbow and ribs - way to go!  1600m in 34:27 - not bad considering the 'cross race yesterday which only really effected my effort level as I had to breath consistently every three strokes instead of 3 / 4 / 5.  I didn't have my watch with me so I'm hoping I did more lengths.  It always feels like I'm over-counting when I'm in but afterwards it often pans out that I'm not at all, I'm under-counting.

So Day 41 is the time to set Ironman training aside for a moment and look back on the year that was:

Part II - December Review

Swim: 6.3km 2.8kph.  Compares to last month:  7.4 km 2.5 kph. Compares to 2010: 4.85 km 2.6 kph
Bike: 420.9 km 17.9 kmph, 
4852 m. Compares to last month: 305.04 km, 16.6 kph, 3833m elCompares to 2010: 134.2 miles, 20.3 mph, 1142 m el.
Run: 25.8 miles, 5.4 mph, 923m el.  Compares to last month: 25.78 miles, 5.2 mph, 824m elCompares to 2010: 45.36 miles, 7.9 mph, 1008m el.

Percentages complete: 66%
Week -9: 63%
Week -8: 71%
Week -7: 33%
Week -6: 95%

Time in zone: 4hrs 17min

Part III - 2012 Review

Swim: 30.72 km, 2.4 kph  A summer lost but a speed increase.
Bike: 4370 km, 15.4 kph, 57,900 m el. Further but also slower as I carry more about
Run: 346.38 km, 8 kph, 8608 m el. Again with the wedding excuses.

Which compares with 2011

Swim: 54.78 km, 2.3 kph
Bike: 3386.49 km, 19 kph, 40,547m el.
Run: 520.39km, 6.9 kph, 10,865 m el.  That'll be the Truncing.

And... since I've never done this before, 2010

Swim: 35.19 km, 2.2 kph
Bike: 3357.73 km, 16 kph, 37,752 m el.
Run: 440.03 km, 7.6 kph, 6,627 m el.

So using 2011 as a benchmark for the rest of the year as 2012 is nothing in-particular to aspire to unless you're planning a half-ironman and a wedding.