Monday, April 20, 2009

The first ton is the toughest...

The first 100 miler of the year is always a tough one. I've been putting it off now for a while, filling my time with countless sixties, seventies and eighties, getting up to an 85 miler a week ago. But on Friday I took the opportunity to cycle from home down to Bath which was billed as 99.97 miles but ended up at 104 miles. A tough ride on a miserable and wet day but 5 hours and 40 minutes later I allowed myself the luxury of a few beers to celebrate.

In fact, I allowed myself the luxury of two days golf and beer to celebrate so I'm running short on training time at the moment. I'm also feeling extremely guilty as I've had a light week so will keep the blog ultra short this week.

I have a week of training before heading off to Italy on Sunday for the Big Cow training camp. My girlies think it's a holiday but I keep telling them how grueling it will be. I'm looking forward to it and will report back when I return. If I can update the blog from there I will.

So what of training this week? Like I said, pretty light...

Monday - 2 hour 15 mile run
Tuesday - 3.5km swim set, 5.6 mile run
Wednesday - 25 mile bike
Thursday - 30 mins turbo plus 1 hour bikes setup
Friday - 104 miles bike ride
Saturday - Golf and ale
Sunday - more golf

Swim - 3.5km
Bike - 139 miles
Run - 20.6 miles

Total time training 12.65 hours (including bike set up)

Thanks this week to my father who acted as support crew on my long bike this week. Also to the boys of the Ebola golf society for another suitably raucous weekend.

The girls are back at school, the sun is shining and I'm off for a swim.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Right said Fred...

Time to rock n roll. Time for the gravy. Time to get serious. Today marks the end of my build phase towards Ironman, having completed base training and increased base training for the past three months.

I'm now ready to get serious about all this.

I only wish I had a plan to share with you but, as its Easter, I'll be getting my next week's plan from Coach K sometime tonight or tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to ramping it up though. The past few months have seen me emerge stronger, fitter and lighter than last year at this time, better and faster (I'm convinced) in all three disciplines. It's now time to remain focussed and train towards the all important Ironman Germany race.

Yep, that's right... 'race'.

I'd never looked at it this way before, just seeing Ironman as an 'event' but chatting with my mate Tom (more of why I was able to chat with him in a minute) on a long-ish bike last week, he told me to forget the notion of 'taking part'... at the level I'm at now, I'm 'racing'. And he's right. It's about performing and shaving time. Perhaps even shaving legs. Though I think that might be a step too far for my long suffering wife.

We've had a good week here at Old Thatch. Monday saw me taking Erin up to Manchester to catch a performance of Macbeth (you may remember I'd raved about it in a previous post). It was just as good as ever and, most importantly, Erin was knocked out by it. We also took the opportunity to look around my old alma mater, Manchester University, visiting the John Rylands University library and not only looking around its vast stacks containing millions of books but also seeing the fragment of St John's Gospel which is on view there. We took a walk around the Drama Department and also dropped into my old Hall of Residence -Woolton Hall - where Erin saw my (now somewhat faded) name on the President's board. We returned late on Tuesday after a great couple of days together.

Wednesday saw our good friends Tom and Helen joining us for a couple of days. Unfortunately T and H live in Leeds and, true to form, the M1 was shut on the morning of their journey south. Still, with a bit of route planning with my Team MK bike buddies we managed to divert our ride and meet up with them in Stewkley, riding 52 miles together and following it up with a quick 2 mile run off the bike. The weather was so glorious that we had to pop home, have some lunch and, as you do, nip out for a hilly 13.1 mile cross country run. The following day we banged out a quick swimset of 2km and then went on a 62 mile bike ride followed by a 2 mile run. If you don't know Tom and Helen by now then you'd be forgiven for thinking they were either mad or Ironmen. In fact, they're both, training for Ironman Lanzarote in six weeks time where they hope to qualify for the World Championships in Hawaii. They're great friends, great fun to have around and we're looking forward to seeing them soon, whenever that may be. Today's photo is taken on our 62 mile Thursday bike.

Whether it was a reaction to Liverpool's thrashing by a much improved Chelsea or a little over training, I was under the weather for the next couple of days and took a rare day off on Saturday. In fact, it's been a wonderful family Easter, with lots of quality time in the company of the girls and - belatedly - getting back into training on Sunday with a 42 mile bike and 2 mile run.

The week was like this:

Monday - 80 mins 3.1k swim set
Tuesday - 30 mins recovery run following Sunday's duathlon
Wednesday - 52 mile bike, 2 mile run, 13.1 mile x country run
Thursday - 10 x 200m swim set, 62 mile bike, 2 mile run
Friday - 1 hour hill walking, 5.6 mile run
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 42 mile bike, 2 mile run

Swim - 5.1km
Bike - 156 miles
Run - 28.5 miles

Total time training 17.75 hours

Big thanks this week to Helen who took some fabulous photos of the girls and our home. Top talent, that girl. Congratulations to Colin who, after mucho hard work, ran a PB in his 10k race at the weekend, setting himself up nicely for a final month of training before his first qualifying race.

Thanks also to Marcus for helping me fit my compact chainring ready for my upcoming training camp in the mountains of Italy. I'll be climbing like a mountain goat, especially since my weight has dropped below 14 stone for the first time this year. And that with all the easter eggs too!

Hope you've had a great Easter.


Monday, April 06, 2009


You know how it is... training is going well again there's a warmth in the air, the sun is on your back, you're suddenly getting the bike miles in and your TT bike is staring at you from the rack where it has hung all winter.

What shouldn't you do? I'll tell you what you shouldn't do... you shouldn't take it down, stick it on the turbo, and completely change the saddle and bars position. That's what you shouldn't do.

Of course, that's what I did.

Suffice to say that my introduction to duathlon at yesterday's National Duathlon Championships was a painful one. True, it would have been painful anyway as a 10k run, 40k bike and 5k run isn't something you'd do to relax. But I knew something was wrong when I got off the bike. My glutes were stretched and sore, something I've never experienced in three years of cycling and the 5k run was a bit tricky to say the least. A bit of ice and massage helped and things aren't so bad today but Coach K will be round this week to put my saddle back to its proper position.

I was a little disappointed with my biking in the duathlon, I felt my power output would have resulted in a better time. I'm going to put much of this down to my incorrect positioning and also the fact that these 'middle' distance events are not my strength. My huge engine means I can go long with relative comfort and I can hold my own in the sprints with a decent range in explosive power. But Olympic distanc events are always tricky for me. It's hard keeping a frame my size going at near sprint pace for between two and two and a half hours. But anyway, I had a decent enough day, 40 mins for my 10k, 1 hour 09 for my 40k bike and 21 mins for the 5k run (actually it's apparently 5.3k)... for a total time of 2 hours 12 mins. I placed about one third of the way down the field which I'll take for a 46 year old doing his first duathlon in the National Championships.

My week's training had eased back a bit once I knew I was going to do the event (I entered on the Tuesday of last week) but still I managed a respectable amount of time in the saddle whilst juggling the demands of a busy week at work.

I've been finishing off a series of ads for a client which have required much to-ing and fro-ing with Clearcast, the regulatory body that approves ads as being legal, decent, honest and truthful. It went to the wire but we managed to get our ads on air in the form that we wanted. I'm not gonna jinx anything with my writing by saying any more that it continues to go well. I'm still on the long form version of the story which I will then develop into either a book or a screenplay or both. Watch this space.

Oops.. maybe I just jinxed it. What the hell. Life's too short.

The girls have finished for easter so it's great to have them and their laughter around the place. Alice had her buddies around on Saturday and they 'walked' the rabbits (believe it or not, you can buy leashes and harnesses for rabbits so they can be walked around the garden). They also then played 'mums and dads' where the rabbits played the part of the family dogs! Needless to say, Rosie and Tinkerbelle spent the afternoon cream-crackered, snoozing in their run under the warm springtime sun.

And, speaking of the girls... I have to make a fulsome apology. Fiona tells me that I must make it clear that last week's photos of the girls were not representative of how they normally look seeing as how they were slathered with make up. I fully accept it might have looked like we were presiding over a village-based Lolita factory and my intention was solely to indicate how they had grown up rather than trying to make them appear like wannabe Miss Junior America winners. Erin was actually going to a fancy dress party which accounts for the Tiara and strange dress, and Alice was going to take part in a dance performance.

There... apology complete. I'm a good dad again.

I'm currently waiting to see if I can get tickets for Macbeth tonight in Manchester. If I can then Erin and I are going to drive up tonight, watch the play, stay overnight and I'm going to take her to see my old Drama Department at Manchester Uni.

This week's training was

Monday 75 mins 3km swim sets, 45 mins tempo recovery run
Tuesday 75 mins endurance 3km swim sets
Weds 5 hour 85 miles Team MK ride - easy/medium pace. 5.5 km run off the bike. Strong
Thurs 45 minutes 15 mile ride on Time Trial bike (first of the season). 1 hour Team MK swim session
Friday 45 minutes 15 mile ride on Time Trial bike
Saturday 75 minutes 40km bike ride, 15 min run off the bike
Sunday National Duathlon Championships, 10k run, 40k bike, 5krun - 2 hrs 12

Total time training 15 hours

Swim 7.8km
Bike 165 miles
Run 20.5 miles

Big ups this week to Helen for her fantastic 50 mile TT time and to Ben G for the same. Also to Thomas Peoples, aka Tri Talk's Poet, for a fantastic sub 2 hour duathlon time. Top work fella.

And so we must depart... I haven't even had time to catch any movies this week. Hopefully, Tom and Helen are coming down on Wednesday for a training day so we'll have a long ride, long run and short movie.

More next week...

Toodle pip...