Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back to Reality and thoughts of Klagenfurt

Okay. England lost. What are you going to do. But what a ride it's been. So - enough of that already and back to the reality that is IronMan training. Specifically I've been thinking long and hard about my goals for Austria 2008 and have come up with what, for me, is be a pretty tough target.

At IronMan Austria in 2008 I want to complete the course in sub 11 hours. Yep, that's right. Sub 11. Starting with a 10. Now, quite whether a 15 stone 45 year old (46 at the time of the race) ex rugby player with no cartilage in his right knee has what it takes for this... I'll leave you to judge and post accordingly.

I think I have.

I think you can do anything in life if you will it to be.

So I'll be starting training in earnest from tomorrow. I've been ticking over so far and, unfortunately, still have this damned calf injury which pinged again on Sunday. So I can't run for at least another month. But I'm going to swim and I'm going to cycle.

Which explains today's picture.

The bike is, I figure, what it's all about. I swam 63 minutes in my IronMan this year so know I can do that. I ran 3 hours 22 mins in the Amsterdam Marathon a year ago. So I know I can do that. If I can get my bike legs into some kind of working order and build on my first year of cycling I'm convinced I can hit my target. I'll be working hard on the bike this winter. Mucho turbo as they might say in Spain. I'm also going to work hard on bike nutrition. Ensuring I can get off the bike fit enough to run a decent marathon.

So - I've set myself some goals for the component parts of IMA. Here they are, along with the approximate percentage improvement required to improve on them from last IMA's times.

Swim - 60 minutes (5% improvement on this year)
T1 - 5 minutes (100% improvement on this year)
Bike - 5 hours 30 mins (10% improvement on this year)
T2 - 5 minutes (100% improvement on this year)
Run - 4 hours 15 mins (10% improvement on this year)

Total time - 10 hours 55 mins

Finally a BIG UP to my friend Tom Williams (see link to the right to Tom and Helen's IronMan blog) who ran the Dublin Marathon in 2 hours 58 minutes. A fantastic achievement and a great end to a wonderful season. We're going to see big things from him (and H) next year. Keep it up Tom but enjoy a rest, eh... make the rest of us feel human for at least a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fingers Crossed

Okay... usually I'm a good trainer. Diligent. Focussed.

Not this week.

This week I've been making plans for the weekend when I once again will be sat in a stadium watching England attempt to win a Rugby World Cup. I have my lucky hat and shirt from Sydney 2003 and so can do no more... all I will say is keep your fingers crossed and we'll see.

Been ticking over actually on training. My coach Mark K doesn't want me doing a huge amount of stuff before I start to run again and even then he's a great believer in a six month training programme for IronMan. So I'll be gradually building up distances again over winter and doing other, fun stuff like ciruit training, long walks etc.

Mark and I did a 45 mile bike on Saturday morning which was great. Felt very good. I've also been keeping the swimming going, doing several 2km sessions down the pool. But really and truly... how can you concentrate on anything at the moment with all that's going on in the rugby world...

For Harry and St. George...

(and by the way... no... I have no spare tickets)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Lost Weekend

Forgive me friends for I have sinned. I have forsaken training to follow my heart and chase The Holy Grail of a second successive World Cup.

I was in France from Thursday to Monday morning playing a little golf but (mostly) drinking and, of course, watching the amazing rugby matches that took place. We watched England v. Australia and France v. New Zealand in a sports bar in Le Touquet before heading off to Paris where we had tickets for the Argentina v. Scotland match.

An amazing weekend and thoughts of IronMan were far from my mind. I have only now (Thursday 11th October) been able to recover and think about training so will get back on the bike today and swim a little tomorrow.

Kind of hard though when your weekend training was lifting pints and body surfing down Le Touquet High Street supported by a hundred Frenchmen.

I did manage to reduce my 10 mile TT to 26'13" before I went but that's pretty much it!

I've had to decline the offer of a ticket for the semi final as I value my marriage too much but do have permission to go out once more to the final (repeating my epic pilgrimage to Sydney) if we get through as a ticket awaits me. Fingers crossed and happy training.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Little Perspective

My best friend and running mate's father died this week. Cyril Harper wasn't a young man and he wasn't (we had recently learned) a particularly well man. But the speed of the departure due to a sudden heart attack left us all stunned. He will be missed.

It was Keith who got me on the running trail some two and a half years ago now, by announcing he was going to run the Stratford (Shakespeare) marathon. Enthused by his dedication and curious to my capabilities, I signed up. Since that time we have run together many times and he has followed me on my IronMan journey(s) with pride.

His dad's passing has thrown some perspective on why I do this. Fitness is one thing, yes. But really, deep down, it's to live life to the full. To set challenges and follow through on them. For frankly... who knows when we, or those close to us, may not be here any more.

And one cliched saying I've always believed is that "life isn't a dress rehearsal".

Training was tough this week with work commitments but I managed to get in three swim sessions totaling 7.5km and three bike sessions of my usual 10 mile TT into a ferocious wind (no PB this time!), a 32km ride over an hour and a longer 80km ride on Saturday to get the distance back into my legs.

I may well go out and try some light running this week. It's been two week since my calf last 'pinged'. But the lay off from running is very frustrating.

I'm due to meet with Mark K my coach on Wednesday to outline the work for the year ahead in preparation for IronMan Austria. Thursday will see me travel to France for a golf day on the friday followed by a trip to Paris for the Argentina v. Scotland Rugby World Cup quarter final on the sunday night. Suspect any training this week will need to be early on !

This week's photo is from my first marathon, with Keith. A great day. A life changing day.

Have a good week everyone.