Sunday, February 08, 2009
The Hard Yards...
"Ironmen are made in winter." So says a good friend of mine. It's a saying I hold dear to my heart and it means that when it's tough outside, it's time to get tough on yourself. Get out there and put in the hard work.
And so it was that this estimable mantra was put to the test this week. As I reported in last week's blog, we'd had snow and the children were off school for the day. In fact, last week, the snow continued almost unabated (and is still with us, thick and crunchy) and the girls managed only one day of school - imagine their disappointment.
So I had a couple of dilemmas. First dilemma - do I work through this (unfortunately, with an office five metres from my front door I can't claim transport problems) or do I play with the kids?
You know me too well.
My theory was this. There will be many days of work ahead and, when I eventually look back, I'm not sure I'll remember the days I spent working whilst it was snowing any more than I would a million other work days. But days with my children, spent sledging and snowman building... well, those are days you remember for ever, aren't they.
And so it was that, for monday and tuesday, we had some serious fun. Alice (11) and her buddies are old-school kids - like we were - they get out, get wet and cold and have no truck with adults 'nannying' it over them. They'd found a sledging spot some two miles trek over the hills and I was summoned on tuesday to join them. The pic I snapped shows them marching over to their destination. We had a great time and, although I think my best sledging days may well be behind me, it's a day I'll never forget.
Another similar day was Friday, when Fiona and I watched Erin (13) and Alice with their buddies having huge snowball fights on both the front and back lawns. Truly magical times.
All that said, it's presented me with dilemma number two: a training problem. Why? Well, look at the photos of the front garden and the road outside my house. Biking is obviously a no no, as is conventional running and the road to the swimming pool is fraught with danger and difficulty (more of that later).
So what's a boy to do? Well, improvise is what. For a start, it's my 'quiet' week this week in my 'three weeks on, one week off' cycle. So my levels weren't due to be as high as previous weeks. But this year's rule is absolutely no junk. If you can't make a session count, you don't do it. I needed a bit of canny planning but managed to improvise with judicious use of the turbo trainer (indoor bike trainer) and running around the snow on the Village Green.
The locals thought I was insane (as did Fiona, Erin and Alice) and it was hard going as the turbo trainer takes no prisoners and the heat and sweat of effort suddenly become the icy cold of a freezing run on the brick efforts I did (for the uninitiated, 'bricks' are blocks of bike/run, one after the other).
But the end result is a week of training I'm proud of. Some of the hardest yards I've managed, not particularly in the training itself but in the process of applying myself to the task in hand and knuckling down to the job of not letting a bit of the white stuff get in the way of my Ironman preparations.
So what did the week look like?
Monday - Rest day, just 30 minutes core and weights
Tuesday - 50 min 2.5k swim session, 45 minutes cross country run in snow
Wednesday - 1 hour 2.6k swim session, 2 hours arctic brick session with Graham ( 6 x 10 min bike plus 10 min run)
Thursday - 1 hour turbo session (increasing heart rate session), followed by 20 minute run
Friday - 1 hour turbo session followed by 15 minute run
Saturday - 1.5 hours turbo session (3 x 20 min bike plus 10 min run) followed by 45 minute 2.2k swim session
Sunday - Long slow x-country run in snow drifts. 1 hour 21 mins, followed by 35 minute 1.8k swim session
Total time training this week 11.86 hours
Swim distance covered - 9.1km
Bike distance - (turbo at, say 20 mph minimum) 80 miles
Run distance - 27 miles
Lots of you got last week's film quote, from WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO + JULIET, starring Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The words were spoken by Romeo and the link was, of course, Australia. Last week's movie, Muriel's wedding was an Australian movie and WSR+J was directed by Baz Luhrmann who hails from down under.
There's a link to this week's quote which is:
"It didn't make sense that I'd be there. I mean, these guys were hard-core hijackers, but there I was. I wasn't scared, I knew I hadn't done anything they could do me for. Besides, it was fun. I got to make like I was notorious."
A couple of curiosities this week... I'm having to use Fiona's car as mine is confined to the garage. Why is mine confined to the garage? A good question. Especially seeing as it's a BMW 730d turbo with more bells and whistles than a man could ever possibly want or need. I mean, the thing has a TV, fridge compartment, electric boot opener and closer yadda, yadda, yadda.
BUT !!!! Can it operate in the snow? Nope... it's like Bambi on ice - just slippin' and slidin' for all it's worth. And, when it hits anything too tricky - like the snow on my driveway, the computers take over. And you know what computers always say... computers say 'No'. I jest you not... wheels begin turning of their own accord, stopping, re-starting. And not only wheels on the same axle... the four hubs develop minds of their own. The beast got stuck on the driveway and I had to recruit a posse of eleven year olds to help push me clear while Fiona steered the thing back into the garage. Where it has remained since monday.
Luckily she has a manual car and we've been using that. Perfect. Not a problem. Trouble is, that's a built by our friends from Bavaria too so I'm not sure whether to be happy or mad or just laugh. I think I'll just laugh.
I also came across this on the internet recently in a moment of googling. It's the DVD cover of my last movie which has obviously been released in a new territory. France? I haven't been bothered to look it up but if anyone's got any ideas, let me have them. I kind of like the cover though.
Writing is going well... damned well. I've finished my latest treatment, given it a new (working) title, read through it and now must act on the 158 notes I gave myself.
This week sees me heading off to MK hospital for a pre-op assessment for my Varicose veins operation which is coming up on Feb 18th (more details next week). They made me laugh on the phone when I asked what it was for.
"To assess your fitness", they said. (I assume they meant my fitness for the operation).
"Well, if there's one thing you can be sure of", I replied, "it's that I'm fairly fit".
Until next week my hearties...