FOUR WEEKS TO IRONMAN …
Been an interesting three weeks since I last posted. Training building building building – with one or two hiccups, but what would training be without hiccups, right?
Weeks 7-to-go and 6-to-go were interesting and devastating at the same time. Basically, … remember when I said that if everything went pear-shaped on race day, that my goal was to know that I could never say ‘It’s all because I missed that one workout’? Well, that little goal went to pot somewhat as I received the most devastating family news that knocked me for six – and threw my headspace right out of the game. A 2-hour run turned into a 2-hour walk (token gesture) to try and get some perspective. Having said that, looking at my diary, I muddled blindly through all the other sessions that week – culminating in Steyning Tri (http://rawenergypursuits.co.uk/) on the Sunday.
The tri was not officially on my training plan but was, I think, constructive – just as a learning curve. Certainly it was that! I road tested my precise Ironman clothing once again – and am happy with all of that! The weather was bloomin’ awful – wind, rain, yuk, yuk. I certainly learned some valuable lessons!
Lesson 1: When you set out your transition gear, cover all with a bin bag so you don’t come out of the swim and be greeted with sopping socks, water-logged cycle shoes – and that thermal hat you were going to wear under your helmet to ensure warmth? Yep – that was soggy, too!
Lesson 2: When you set out your transition gear, cover all with a bing bag so you don’t come off the bike and be greeted with an optional pair of sopping socks and WATER-LOGGED TRAINERS! At the very least, put your trainers upside down! I actually had a second pair of trainers in the bottom of my transition bag and I pulled those out (because running in wet Hokas is like a weight-training session!) – but I also had to then run in bare feet, which culminated in unwanted blisters!!
Hey ho – can’t complain. Every day’s a school day and this was GREAT in terms of education!! I fought my hardest and still came in last overall (no surprise there – that’s my usual spot, anyway).
Swim was slow but slightly thwarted by the man in front who hadn’t read the rules that said ‘if your feet are touched by the swimmer behind, stop at the end of that length and leg them past’. After three lengths of swimming practically on top of him and tapping his feet and being ignored, that last little straw broke (stress week (see above)) and I grabbed both ankles and pulled him backwards – and overtook! #lanerage Sorry haha
Swim: 19:45 (800m)
T1: FOUR MINUTES (4:04) And no – I STILL wouldn’t come last. Did make me laugh, though – serious clothing issues and time wasted being pissed off that all my clothes were soggy
Bike: 1:25:59 (40km) – actually quite pleased with this – not the average speed I was looking for but considering the weather and my state of mind I was very happy with this.
T2: TWO MINUTES (2:12) – still far too long (should’ve been about 30 secs) but I really wasn’t chasing times (as you can tell)
Run: 46:52 (8km) – Yeah – I was ok with this. The run was actually quite hard but I didn’t walk anywhere so happy! Just one niggle: my new, favourite and absolutely my Ironman Cairns choise of shoe – the most fabulous On Clouds – https://www.on-running.com/en-gb/shop – they SQUEAK when the surface is wet!!!! Annoying beyond belief!! (Now got ‘dry weather’ shoe choice and ‘wet weather’ shoe choice because they nearly drove me mad!! haha. Oh well … all in all:
TOTAL TIME: 2:38:55
Six weeks to go
That thing I mentioned about devastating news and my headspace? Yup, this was the week it sank in – and I sank with it. Decent swim set on Wednesday and forced a respectable brick session on Thursday but the rest of the week was, unfortunately, a right-off. This’ll be the week that comes back to bite me. Having said that, I’m not going to look with regret. It wasn’t laziness or apathy …. I just could not emotionally get in the game and I’m going to accept that what it is and move on.
Five weeks to go – BIG WEEK!
Big training week. And yes, I’m BACK!! So much out of my control, concentrate on the things that ARE under my control, e.g. my training.
And indeed, a big week it is. 2 x 5+ hour bike rides, interval sessions, bricks, Iron distance swim … and a long run (which I’m about to do soon as I’ve finished writing this!)
Great week – and plenty more learning going on. Hit a big wall on my bike on Wednesday, which sent me back to Mark Laithwaite’s AMAZING series of articles on raceday nutrition – a must-read for any endurance athlete. Read the latest one here – and link to the previous ones (http://iancorless.org/2015/05/06/race-day-nutrition-part-seven-marc-laithwaite/)
I’ve learned to stop stressing about my speed on the bike. I need to settle down and just enjoy the race day that’s coming. Don’t make the cut-off? Sod it, I’ll do the run anyway and still cross the finish line. I need to just keep training, keep the consistency and know that I’ve done all I can do.
Back in open water again – what an amazing feeling – but how hard is it to swim in a wetsuit!!! Argh! Am I the only one who just finds this HARD?? Oh well – just got to suck it up and get on with it. I’ve tried once again to focus on increasing my stroke rate these last couple of weeks – but when I look at the stats afterwards it appears I am going NO faster. Now, this might defy logic, but I guess that when I increase my stroke rate I’m reducing something else somewhere. Technically, I’m doing something wrong. Conclusion: When I increase my stroke rate I don’t go any faster BUT I get tired more easily so I’m going to stick with what’s working with my lower stroke rate for now (too late to be changing technique – need to just focus on distance now).
Long bike on Monday was lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng. But it got done. Long bike on Saturday with the BTRS group –http://brightontriathlonraceseries.co.uk/ – was FABULOUS. 40 miles on a mostly beautiful route in and around the South Downs, lovely company and very useful race day chatter (thank you Steve McMenamim – https://www.facebook.com/steve.mcmenamin.9. Dropped the group back at base and continued on with Keith Jackson for a further couple of hours. Is this guy strong on his bike or WHAT!! The first half an hour I was getting very frustrating because I was struggling so hard with the headwind and could NOT keep up no matter what I did. Why have I just got NO POWER in my legs? It just will not happen. Does my head in. Anyway, after half an hour – and making it clear to Keith that he should power ahead and not get frustrated waiting for me (would meet him at the end) … I decided to quit stressing and just focus. Had a great ride after that – apart from a tumble off my bike. Case of miscommunication. Came to a fork, I knew I needed to turn left, then had a last-minute change of thought and decided perhaps it was a right turn? Didn’t quite manage to communicate this to my bike, which continued left, while I turned right!! Interesting! Desperately tried a slow-motion uncleating of my right foot, followed by a roundhouse kick to an imaginary head to set up my impressive midair flip which would result in me landing lightly on my feet before my bike hit the ground. I think it needs more practice. I didn’t quite make it. Scraped and bruised knee and a pulled calf muscle from the failed uncleating business *sigh*.
**Wee note to car drivers** When you see a cyclist falling into the middle of the road it would be very much appreciated if you would take a sec to roll down the window and yell a quick (even if insincere) ‘You allright’? – rather than merely driving AROUND ME!! Is this a good time to be grateful you didn’t just drive over me?
OK. That’s all the news for now. That’s it. I think this is kind of the official countdown now – FOUR WEEKS TO GO!
Is it time to pack yet?