The beginning of an Ironman swim is no place for the faint hearted. Two and a half thousand testosterone fueled athletes going at it hammer and tongs. No quarter is asked or given and it's no place for the faint of heart.
It signals the beginning of a relentless day of effort, swimming 3.8km, cycling 180 km and finishing up with a full 42.2km marathon.
Needless to say, it's not something you can just turn up and do. And my training officially starts today. Coach K has sent his plan, my 'warm up' week has ended, the ice has thawed and the rains have arrived signalling the beginning of six months of intense training. Bring it on is what I say... Bring it on.
I'll keep you posted through the months that follow and you're going to have to bear with me as, and those of you who have traveled with me in previous years will know this, Ironman training is as much a drain mentally as it is physically, requiring lots of lonely hours spent pondering the meaning of ones life and how, frankly, it would be much more sensible to be sat in front of a fire drinking coffee and reading the papers.
Coach K has tweaked my plan which is, of course, trademarked and TOP SECRET. What I can tell you is that he (after two years) has put me on a 'three weeks on, one week off' regimen that involves three weeks of increasing effort with a drop off to rest and recover in week four. Then another three weeks of more intense effort than previously and a week recovering... and so it continues. And, before you ask... Coach K's idea of a week recovering may not align directly with yours. I'll still be training, it's simply that the intensity will have dropped a little.
Anyway, you'll get the hang of it as, I guess, will I.
Let me introduce you to the cast of characters in this unfolding drama...
Myself - aiming for a 10 hr 15 minute split at Ironman Germany, July 5th 2009.
Fiona, Erin and Alice - my Ironwife and the two Iron Filings. A constant source of encouragement and inspiration.
Ironmate - Coach K, Markymark, Mark Kleanthous... my coach and sometime training partner - also a member at Team MK.
Team MK - my Tri Club and full of top class athletes. Twenty six of us are taking part in Ironman Germany (IMDE) this year.
Graham Mackie - the man with no nickname but all the gear. Good mate and training partner at Team MK.
Colin Bradley - the man who introduced me to all this. Three time Ironman and now sprint triathlete and drinking partner. Aiming to qualify for GB this year at sprint distance.
Tom and Helen - great mates, sometime training partners and top athletes both aiming to qualify for Hawaii at either Ironman Lanzarote this year or Ironman Switzerland.
Gabriel Sayer - Runtilyoudrop. When not saving lives this vascular surgeon hangs up his scalpels, holsters his dry wit and produces Ironman displays of ever increasing brilliance. Again, we sometimes train together. He'll be aiming for Hawaii too at Ironman Lanzarote this year.
Rob Quantrel - This year will show us what he's got. Came in just ahead of me at IM Austria this year after we ran the marathon stage together. Rob's just moved or is moving to St Albans so we'll be training together this year.
So, now you know the main characters, sit back and enjoy the show as the drama unfolds.
My warm up week looked like this:
Mon - 60 mins swim drills
Tues - 60 mins swim, 54 mins bike turbo
Weds - 60 mins swim, 53 mins bike turbo
Thurs - 45 mins swim (looking after the kids lane at Team MK session)
Fri - 60 mins swim
Sat - 90 mins mountain bike with Team MK
Sun - 130 mins solo mountain bike, 15 mins run off the bike
Total time training 10 hrs 12 mins
Swim distance 10km
You may recall Dave was treating me last week for a shin injury. We're pretty sure it's medial tibial stress syndrome (or shin splints as was). It's reacting well to ice and massage and I've been taking some sneaky anti inflammatories that I have put by for such an occasion. Running will be light over the next week but hopefully the injury will clear. I think it's a result of the increased mileage I did training for the aborted Luton Marathon late last year.
And what of last week's film quote? Mark Robson (not Goodson) got it, correctly identifying the words as being from Stanley Kubrick's FULL METAL JACKET. They were spoken by R. LEE ERMEY as GUNNERY SERGEANT HARTMAN, in an unforgettable tirade of abuse directed at the new recruits (and the audience) over the entire first half hour of the movie.
Tell me from which movie this is from:
"There's no right, there's no wrong, there's only popular opinion."
Couple of new bits on the blog this year. I'm going to be listing all of the movies I watch at the end of each week - I'm hoping these will appear on blog roll at the right of the page. I'm also going to be listing my Tri gear which will (hopefully) appear in the same area. Wish me luck as I battle with technology.
So... onwards and upwards.