Friday, February 22, 2013

Run on the Beach

Has perfected my first true ironman skill - the ironman shuffle. knackered run on the beach with cold wind and a bit of snow. #madeit

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Tough Day in a Good Way

Frreezzzinnng on site today. Hiding in the office then 1200m fast swim training. Unnerved by the elevating divide at the pool which disappeared as I had got to the end of my set. #12moretodo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roller babe

In 2009 Andrew bought me rollers (bike trainer, not hair curlers). I used them twice and then gave up because I kept needing to hold on to the hall walls.

Last night, after a bad day at work left me wanting for exhaustion in the cold evening air, I managed 50 minutes on them.  Granted, I sat with my elbow 2 inches off the living room wall and spent the entire time staring at a little oil spot on the front door to keep my balance but I managed it.

Roller session

The most distracting part of my training session was the Van der Graff effect of running plastic rollers with a rubber belt and rubber tyres on a cheap polyester carpet.  Made my hair stand on end and my elbow crackle with static every time it went near to the wall, bringing my fringe crashing down to stick onto my sweaty forehead.  Thankfully I got the hang of blowing out of the way without taking my eyes off that oily smudge on the door.

So glad no-one was passing with a camera.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day - What a difference a good night's sleep makes.

I set the alarm on Valentines day for 8am as my meeting wasn't till 2. I woke naturally at 7.15 and gleefully remembered my present and card that I'd packed away pending a last minute potential room change.  I was very pleased with my Moomin and rushed off to breakfast to get the normal day going.

I had two training sessions to do. Choosing between a small yet beautifully tiled and quiet hotel pool or North Walsham and a 25m but slightly manky public pool was tricky.

Choosing between an unfamiliar ride in Bury St Edmunds and  repeating the Cromer "47 minutes of darkness" ride with lights this time was easier. Especially when it started raining in Bury St Edmunds.

The pool was tiring. I enjoyed it at first but found myself looking at my watch after 632m (16 m pool).

I resolved to leave my plan of making-up Tuesday's swim and just focus on meeting Thursday's target. I must've gone off really quick or been suffering the effects of scoffing a lot of white bread to fuel the exertion of the day just before I got in the water.  

Probably both.

To my shame I had to breast stroke the last 10 lengths but I did do them along the bottom in the interest of blissful serenity, feeling like a fish and increasing lung capacity.

I got into the hot tub after and discovered how tired I was. I pounded my Achilles and soles of my feet and resolved to book an appointment with the masseuse.
Since I was so under par I tret myself to the sauna where I felt momentarily better then slumped again.  I sat in the changing room after my shower, drip drying.  I didn't have the energy to use the towel in its normal way.

One ineffective hour on site and I relaxed in to the 90 minutes drive to Cromer. Lunch fortified me into positivity. This probably had something to do with avoiding any form of fast food or unreliability in favour of the village organic caf and a very regal ploughman's lunch.    

Site work in Cromer was good and I got to spend a good balance of time on site and rewarming in the office.  I didn't arrive until late morning so by the time I left at 5:00  I hadn't spent much time there.

I got back to the hotel, changed straight into my cycling kit and headed out for the 47 minutes ride of darkness.  This time there was still some light in the sky and the sun set behind the hill(ock) as I rushed along the headland with a roaring tail wind behind me.  It is the only reason for me clocking 22mph.

In the villages and quiet lanes I got distracted by the usual diversion and ended up in the same muddy farmyard again but this time it made me smile as I sploshed through the puddles of mud and probably cow poo.  I rocked back to the hotel covered in mud and a little bit sweaty but ready for my valentine's dinner.  A lady in a red dress stood outside the hotel, smoking.  She was both hot and with cigarette and thought me completely mad.  I could tell by the look on her face.

It was 7pm by the time I got to my veggie dinner.  I wolfed it down, followed it up with pear sorbet - DE-LISH-US - and went to bed promptly, setting the alarm for 6:30, this time, to catch that sunrise again.

Well, I snoozed again so when I set out at 7:18 the sun was already on its way up.  
I turned South this time, finding new routes along and around the breakwaters allowed me to run on firm sand.  I had 5 x 20s sprints to fit in so I interwove them between the breakwaters until finally I had to chose whether to retrace my steps or paddle.  So I paddled.

Slightly scary climbing up the wet seaweedy steps
In a timely fashion I reached the turn-around point of my run just as the sea started to engulf the cliffs which protruded from the land mass above.  I took my last photo of the sun and started my retreat.

I wasn't particularly alarmed to see that the tide had come in as I'd reccied all of my escape routes onto the other side of the breakwater.  I knew that there was one hazard that I would need to pass, a new boulder field being constructed to protect the jetty to the beach.

When I got back to it, I realised it was as tall as me.

I clambered over the first few, more concentrated on the immediate task of not falling through the 8 feet deep gaps developing under my feet.  I could foresee trapped arms, torn ancles, broken legs going undiscovered for days as passers by walked along the beach, my cries muffled by the ocean waves and brisk breeze. 

Then I looked up and realised just how flippin' far it was.  It would've been a doddle in climbing boots but I was in ROAD trainers!
Sea of boulders
Thankfully, just as my heart was about to beat its way out of my mouth, I found a path.  A short scramble up a flinty scree slope followed by a steep down hill on concrete slipway seemed a little less scary than finishing the boulder field. 

All that and back to the hotel for 8am.  Breakfast and a 9am conference call.  Now that's what I call time management.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Week 2 - A helping hand from mother nature

I won't lie, it's been a struggle getting going after being ill.  Last week was week 1 and I managed all but two training sessions.  The last one - the 6 mile run on Sunday was a real slog.  The sleet and rain didn't help but after 3.5km, I nearly sat down on the wall outside Bramhall Lane and cried.  Serves me right for trying a city run really.

So I had my rest day on Monday, despite having to travel on Tuesday in the car.  I did enjoy my rest day Monday a lot.  I even left work on time to ensure I got a proper rest.

On Tuesday I chickened out of training again, choosing instead to have a long deep bath in the luxury of my freely upgraded hotel room.

then go for dinner with my new inlaws.  It was a lovely meal and so good to see them as we haven't done so since the wedding day.

So this morning I set the alarm for 5:30 but snoozed it twice (at half hour intervals).  I couldn't get back to sleep after the second so I got up and reluctantly over-dressed against the freezing weather and set off for my run along the Cromer beaches.

This time I turned towards Cromer and once I'd passed the flotsam on the walkway, had a lovely clean run along the shore edge.  Some of it was challenging, where the rocks were large along the waves so I was forced onto soft sand.  Some of it was really rewarding.  Eventually it came light enough for me to turn off my head torch and I noticed that the coastal temperatures were so high I didn't need my wool leggings on.

handy beach-hut?
With 700m to go to the turnaround point I decided to run to the end of the peir.

Cromer lifeguard museum - just me, my shoes and a fisherman
Tiny Arctic Turns scurried around the wooden deck picking up traces of food - chips, discarded worms and breadcrumbs.  As I walked by they flew over to the railings, sliding about on the steel posts like slapstick comedy performers until they gave up and swooped down to the ocean, suddenly transformed into graceful black and white darts.

Taking a turn for the better

 Cromer has its nice bits and this is the view back up the pier to the Cliftonville hotel and the church behind.
Nice, Cromer
After the peir and snapping holiday pics, I headed off up the ramp which leads to the town, thinking that it would be nice to do a circular run along the clifftops instead of trudging through the sand on the way back.  I was so glad I did because the higher elevation meant I was met with this view... and this doesn't portray half of the RED that was going on.

Here comes the sun
In case you need another look

 My first thought to myself was, "I'll never miss another morning run again because I'm being too whingey and moaney and can't be bothered".

My follow up thought was, "If I'd got up at 5:30 and got back to the hotel in time for the pancake breakfast I had promised myself, I would've missed this".

White toast and coffee seems a small price to pay for this view and an extra hour in bed.

Footnote, I was only 6 minutes late for my morning meeting.
Afterthought: Why do golf clubs get in the way of a good circular route?  Ho Hum, 3 more miles of soft sand.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week 1 continued

Day 2
I managed to keep the momentum going with a 5mile run at lunch time. It was bright and sunny so how hard could that be?

As I had ridden to work there was no question about catching up on day 1's ride. Despite falling asleep at work in the afternoon I stayed in until 7 and did the whole thing.

Day 3
I managed to ride to swimming to  properly enjoy it this time and felt like I was keeping up with Ruth and Chris... almost. I had myself a fast ride in to work but it was a hard day with a 7pm finish again so Fri turned into a rest day.

Day 5's ride was a cold one and must've been a hilly one too because after 20 miles I felt like falling asleep in the pub.

Today is currently feeling like another lost cause. All I can bring myself to do is loll about and do the occasional chore. I did go outside and move the Vanu so I could do some work on her but, despite wearing my running clothes, that was enough to persuade me that I don't really want to go out again.

My only option now for week 1 is giving up on it now or 6miles on the running machine followed by pool time. Hmmm.    

Finally persuade myself to go out by deciding that nothing in the house will be more exciting or enjoyable and deciding on a flat city route. Turns out I underestimated how tiresome city running can be. By the time I ended up at Bramhall Lane I was ready to stop for a cry. Fortunately I just managed to keep walking and got to Nether Edge so at least I could nosey at posh houses. I popped out at Sharrow Vale and ran straight home. 10k, 1 frustrating hour & 14minutes. Sore ankles should teach me for not wearing my insoles.

I refuse to admit I feel any better for that.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Official Plan - Day 1, Week 1

I'm still a little unwell but the thought of failing on day 1 was too much to bear so I stumped up 50p for the car park at Ponds Forge and did my 40 lengths of the pool. That wasn't enough so I kept going to 50 and am leaving the bike till tomorrow.

In other news my appraisal went well at work so we can now buy our house with confidence.    

Pretty pleased with that.

Sunday, February 03, 2013


I promised some positive words. That I've run and swam further than ever before at this time of year. That soon we will have our own house again and won't have to take 10minutes to shuffle bikes every time we want a different one from the basement.

All I want to do is get on with training tomorrow and yet the body says no. I have Claire's words echoing in my head "I never stop". I also have those famous words "listen to your body" in there too.  I don't ever want to stop and yet today we walked for 30 minutes and I had to go to bed for an hour.

Yet my hips are starting to hurt like the muscles I've worked so hard to build are dying and wilting away.

I keep stroking my thighs. Not through some perverse vanity but to check that the muscles I put there are still there

People will say I have been sick I should rest. I am too prone to accept that too well and overdo it, the rest.

I hate being ill. Not for the illness but the effect it has on everything else in life. I'm too impatient for illness and scared that if I let it, it will turn my life into one long series of rest days. So if you excuse me, I will try and come back too early and I will probably do too much.

The best I can hope for is achieving some balance and finding out which hats aggravate my head least.

I remind myself to ask nothing from my training and my training shall reward me in ways I cannot imagine.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Week -1 of Ironman training

So this is the end of the beginning.

2 months ago I started the preparation training for Ironman.  I have ended it with Shingles giving me three scabby welts on top of my head.

When I should be looking forwards to starting week +1 on Monday, I have actually spent most of this week with my feet up either in a hotel, on a train or in my house.

In a way it has been a timely illness since I've got a few things sorted for the impending house purchase.  There's nothing less taxing than filling in forms (except tax forms of course).

The end of preparation is also a timely clash with month-end meaning I have a perfect opportunity to do stats and celebrate something (anything!).

Swim: 8.7km 2.3kph.  Compares to last month:  6.5 km 2.8 kph. Compares to 2010: 6.53 km 2.2 kph
Bike: 305.2 km 16.64 kmph, 
3370 m. Compares to last month: 420.9 km, 17.9 kph, 4852m elCompares to 2010: 244.76 miles, 17.1 mph, 3220 m el.
Run: 33.5 miles, 5.1 mph, 923m el.  Compares to last month: 25.8 miles, 5.4 mph, 923m elCompares to 2010: 20.3 miles, 5.1 mph, 494m el.

Percentages complete: 55%
Week -5: 75%
Week -4: 39%
Week -3: 76%
Week -2: 88%
Week -1: 13%

Time in the zone: 20 minutes of measured 36 (55%)