Sunday, 30 June 2013

Weekly catch up (9 weeks to go)

Arghh!  We're into single figures in the weekly countdown!!  Although I planned to take it a little easier this week (ahead of having a week off work where I'll be able to get in a few more hours), it's actually been a solid week of training, with nearly 13 hours banked.  I'm down a second run - I strained my right ankle slightly running on Tuesday and wanted it to feel better before I ran again, which it is now, but wouldn't have been if I had run on Thursday.  Even as the race approaches, or particularly as the race approaches, it's important to pay attention to little niggles and let them resolve, as half of the battle it seems is arriving on the race start-line in good health.

What did I bank this week?
Monday: 3k swim am, 2k lake swim pm (I was entirely shattered but Monika convinced me to do two...)
Tuesday: 10k run am
Wednesday: 2.5k swim am.  Was very tired in the evening so just did some pilates/foam rollering and got ahead with my chores so that I didn't need to do them on my morning off
Thursday: 5k swim, 20k bike, pilates class in the evening! (I had done my late shift on Tues, and so was able to get over to Witney for my pilates teacher's other class - looks like I should be able to do that for all but one of the Thursdays in July which is good!  Although I didn't get home until 8.50pm which was quite late to try to eat dinner and calm down for bed, it was lovely to do pilates again, so relaxing, although I really felt it in my abs and intercostals for the next couple of days.
Friday: exhausted heap of no training
Saturday: 3k swim
Sunday: 57 mile bike ride.  This was tough as it was SO HOT.  But yet again I managed to go sub 4h30 for 56 miles which is good :-)

10k of running (1 session)
16.5k of swimming (5 sessions)
112k of cycling (2 sessions)
1 hour 20 minutes of pilates.

12h 50 minutes of training banked.

What's the plan for this week?
I finally have a week off work!  It's my first week off work for 13 weeks, and I'm really looking forward to having one element removed from the equation of work/training/washing/chores/sleeping.  (I've already had time to make THREE cakes since finishing work on Friday :-D).  I plan to build in a few more hours whilst making time for some good quality rest as it's my first Olympic Distance Tri on Sunday.  The plan is not to rest for it, and not really to race it but to see how it feels as an indication for my half ironman.  The half ironman is further, but obviously I will have tapered for it!

Monday: lunchtime swim; evening lake swim
Tuesday: out on the bike with Claire - 40-50 miles - plus run off bike if time (I have appointments in the afternoon so depends if we're back in time!)
Wednesday: rest during the day, 3.8k swim race in the evening.  (I'm planning to do this without my wetsuit, and not exactly to race it as I won't be rested, but more to "see what I can do")
Thursday: 1h bike, long (1h+) run.
Friday: lunchtime swim
Saturday: rest
Sunday: Stowe Olympic Distance Tri

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Swim Super Series 1500m race

Mr Tuna has been away all weekend doing the Dreilander Giro - basically a 4 hour ride up some mountains, and then back down again - so I searched for something to occupy myself with on Saturday that would fit into my training.  Last year I did a number of 1500m races in the hope of sharpening up my swim, so the 1500m Swim Super Series race down near Maidenhead seemed to fit the bill.  Only 45 minutes away so closer than the ones I was doing last year, and since Google Maps upgraded their iphone app to include voice directions, not a problem to get to :)

I very nearly ended up there an hour too early - I'm glad I found out the night before as that meant an extra hour in bed.  It was very windy, and there was some question over whether or not it would go ahead - another big race had been cancelled.  I have to say it didn't look very enticing!

Anyway, had got there, and tempting as it was to stay in the car drinking tea, I had entered, so I had to get on with the job.  Into wetsuit and quick chat with my pilates teacher who was doing the 3k event.  Safety briefing, and then into the water.   

Both the 3k and the 1500m were starting at the same time, and I didn't manage to get a great position on the start.  There was lots of jostling and not very much space.  It was not surprising then that within about 60 seconds on the start my leg had been grabbed and my timing chip fell off.  It was a good job that Janette and I had had that quick chat beforehand as she had told me about how she's lost timing chips in the past, and that meant that I could formulate a plan of what to do.

In the meantime, it was swim two laps round.  Fortunately things spaced out a bit after about 1/4 way around.  Lots of the people in the 3k were very fast, and got away, and I was just behind a second pack a bit further behind.  Which I stayed behind, couldn't quite manage to catch them.  On the first lap I managed to swim pretty straight (my Speedo Fastskin elite goggles are AMAZING for racing in and sighting, bizarrely much better than the Super elites I was using last year), but I lost that a bit on the second lap.  Settled into a rhythm but the second lap was definitely a bit slower.  I lost a bit of time looking for the swim exit which was a bit further than I thought, and had a girl on my right shoulder - I didn't know if she was doing the 1.5k or 3k so had to push on.  Scrambled out of the very slippy swim exit and towards the finishing mat, yelling "I've lost my chip", and being followed very quickly by the other girl, so just clinching a second place.  Awesome!  

My time was 23:26 which really isn't that great.  It's possible that some of the good times I was achieving last year were because the course was a bit short, but more likely that my swim times have just dropped off because of training on the bike and the run.  Which is a bit disappointing.  But at least on this occasion it was good enough for a second place.  And, waiting around for the presentation was worth it, as I got a t-shirt, 3 energy gels and some 2XU goggles.  Always good to have a spare pair of new goggles, might try them at the lake tomorrow night.

Can't decide whether to enter more of these events.  My pilates teacher is doing the 1500m next time and she always beats me and I'm not sure I'd be competitive over the 3k given the field yesterday.  I'm turning into a pot-hunter!

Weekly round up (10 weeks to go)

10 weeks to go!  Argh!  Next week we'll be down into single figures.  It's mostly been a pretty good week, partly due to a slightly different work pattern that enabled me to get in an extra bike workout.  I only ran once, but my legs have been very tired so I don't think that's too bad.

What did I do?
Mon am: 3k swim; pm 1k lake swim (would have been nice if it had been a bit longer but I was really tired and only really went because it was Claire's last chance to practice for her race)
Tues am: 10k run - this was only 100 seconds off my 10k pb time so given that that was on still tired legs from last weekend, I was pretty pleased
Weds am: 4.5k swim (I had a late start at work); pm: 20 mile bike (I had the afternoon off work)
Thurs am: 4.5k swim; 30 minutes stretching/pilates/flexibility (I had another late start for work)
Fri: OFF
Sat: 1.5k swim race (separate report to follow); 2k cool down swim
Sun: 56 mile bike ride (Mr Tuna is away so after the club ride which today was very hilly and windy, I carried on and did another 11 miles to make it up to 70.3 distance.  I'm happy that despite the hills and the wind I managed to complete it in just under 4.5 hours which is what I need to do for my race.  However on race day I'll need to run a half marathon as well.  I'm hoping the adrenalin will carry me through as I've spent the afternoon exhausted.

10k of running
16.5k of swimming
76 miles on the bike
30 minutes of pilates, stretching and making friends with my new foam roller (I've been trying to do 5 minutes or so of foam rollering every night, usually whilst waiting for dinner to cook)

13 hours of training this week - eek!

What's the plan for this week?
I'll ease off a little this week as I am on annual leave the week after and want to get in some good training then.
Monday am: swim, pm: lake swim
Tuesday am: 10k+ run
Wednesday am: swim, pm: 5k run + stretching/pilates
Thursday am: longer swim, bike
Friday: OFF
Sat: swim?
Sun: bike

But for now it's back to resting on the sofa.  I am very very tired.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Weekly round up - or - what a lot I learned this week (11 weeks to go)

Two really key lessons learned this week, nothing technical, but more to do with how I handle recovery, which I'm going to apply in the remaining 11 weeks of my training.

After Blenheim Tri and my 30 mile ride the next day, I was pretty shattered.  My legs were sore and I didn't sleep well for a few nights which didn't help with the recovery.  Although I swam 3k on Monday morning, and was planning 2 at the lake in the evening, I was relieved when Claire the Crayfish was feeling a little apprehensive, and I got to swim gently round with her rather than trying to cram 2 laps in.  Tuesday morning, I made it to the pool, but as the day progressed I felt worse and worse.  Absolutely exhausted and nauseous.  I came home from work early and went to bed - but frustratingly couldn't sleep - and missed the planned bike ride.  I am still not entirely sure whether I had a bug or whether it was just exhaustion - we were also in the last week of term at work and about half the department had end-of-term-itis in some form or another.  I had to take a sick day on Wednesday - my first since December.  Fortunately, a day in bed sorted me out, and although I was still a little fragile on Thursday morning, I was able to take advantage of my usual Thursday late start and make up a little bit of training, at least I had stopped feeling sick.  Usual rest day on Friday (although felt guilty taking it, having been in bed all day Wednesday) and then back to normal?! on Saturday.
Lesson learned: allow more time for recovery after an event.  After Stowe Triathlon at the start of July, I will go for an easy swim the following night, and be very realistic about what sessions I can complete in the week following.

On Saturday I decided to put in a long run, my longest since February. Went surprisingly well, even though my run earlier in the week had found me still with sore calves from Blenheim.  Did 14k in just under 1h20 - very nearly on pace for a sub-2 hour half!  It was a little optimistic then to think that I could manage a long bike the next day, I woke up with DOMS in my calves and thighs.  But it had to be done - I needed to log the miles.  It was painful, and not having slept well either didn't help.  I made it to 44 miles before bailing out, which was a shame, as we were going fairly well, the ride was flat and I could easily have got in the extra 12 mile loop that I do sometimes, to take me up to 56.  But not today.
Lesson learned: I'll have to get up earlier one day in the week to get my long run in - 11k is doable on my current get-up time, but I need to be running a bit further than that now!  Long runs need to be 14 or 16k.

Total training for this week?
11.5k swimming
20.3k running
70k bike
1h pilates and flexibility
10.5 hours

What's the plan for this week?
Slightly different week to the usual routine due to slightly different working patterns - hopefully to my advantage!
Monday: am swim; pm lake swim
Tuesday: am run; [pm work late]
Wednesday: am swim [hopefully a longish one as don't need to be at a training course til 930); pm bike!  [afternoon off so hoping to get in 2 hour bike ride?]
Thursday: am swim, 5k run [no morning off but not in until 10am...] [if I don't get the run done before work, will get it done after]
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 1500m swim race, maybe an extra swim on the way home?
Sunday: bike
Bring it on!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Blenheim Tri 2013

I wasn't a happy triathlete either before or after Blenheim this year.  Rubbish week depression-wise and spending most of the evening before in floods of tears for complicated reasons was perhaps not the best race prep.  I enjoyed having my first lie in bed past 8am for weeks as we didn't have to leave until 10am but I could have happily stayed there until lunchtime.

Anyway, rather than a full race report, here's some good things and some bad things, and then a few pictures.

What was good
  • I loved being in an all female wave, which was the second of three all-female waves, which meant that there were no boy racers trying to overtake on their TT bikes.  
  • This also meant that I was able to hold my own to some extent.  I'll be fascinated to see where the splits come out in the overall results, but I was overtaking people for once, and did not get overtaken on any of the lumpy bits.  Well, not going up, I did going down....
  • When I got off the bike, after pushing it really very hard, I wondered whether I could run at all.  I managed to go around at a steady trot, picking people off, and only being overtaken by a few people, 
  • Apart from the swim, I was quicker in all of the sections than last year, even in T2 where I couldn't find my spot in transition.  And I was still over 10 minutes faster than last year, mainly due to the bike, but also due to a good three minutes on the run.
  • I've recovered quickly enough to be able to do a 30 mile bike ride today.

What was bad
  • My swim was dismal.  Over a minute slower than last year.  And really can't explain why, unless I possibly didn't sight that well.
  • There had been a bit of a cockup with the course, which meant that there was a mandatory 10m dismount 
  • It was either the above, or the fact that I couldn't find my spot in transition, that cost me the 13 seconds that took me over the 1h40 that I had my sights set on. 
  • My legs hurt so much after it, excruciating.
  • I was tired and grumpy for the rest of the day.
Here's a few pictures.

Weekly round up (12 weeks to go)

12 weeks out from half ironman now...scary thought but I can feel my fitness growing.  Yesterday I raced hard in a sprint triathlon (separate post on that to come..) and my legs were really sore last night, but I still managed to get out for 30 miles on the bike this morning at a reasonable pace, and felt like I could have managed to go on for another 10.  It's been a tough week, battling my depression symptoms, and feeling all out of sync due to slightly different working patterns.  But I got through the week, and I hope having my usual working pattern may make this week a little easier? 

What happened this week?
The proudest moment of the week was at the lake on Monday night, where I had got in to do a lap first before Claire the Crayfish.  She planned to get in and see how she got on, and I would catch up.  When eventually I caught her up, she'd got much further than either of us had expected, and I was waved on, so that she could complete the lap on her own!

Monday: am - 2.75k pool swim, pm - 2k lake swim (without wetsuit)
Tuesday: am - 11k run, pm - osteopath visit (neck now sorted out)
Wednesday: am - 5.25k swim, 14.5k bike, pm: 30 minutes pilates
Thursday: am - 2.5k swim
Friday: off
Saturday: Sprint triathlon (750m swim, 19.8k bike, 5.4k run) = 1h40
Sunday: 47k bike

I was surprised by not finding the bike ride too tough after hammering my legs yesterday; it was fairly flat but we maintainted a good pace.

10.5 hours training completed.

What's the plan for this week?
Monday: am - pool swim, pm - lake swim
Tuesday: am - swim , pm: bike
Wednesday: am - 10k run, pm: pilates
Thursday: am - swim, bike
Friday: off
Saturday: am run, swim?
Sunday: long bike with club.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Weekly round up (13 weeks to go)

Eeek!  Can't believe how fast the weeks are going by.  But I had a good week of training, with double training sessions on 4 days.  I've felt much more energised this week.  Not sure if it was not having wrecked myself on a long hard bike ride last Sunday (because I was racing), cutting gluten out of my diet again (after being a bit lax recently) or something else.  But I've felt ok and haven't even needed a weekend nap.

What happened this week?
Monday: 10k run, 1k recovery lake swim
Tuesday: 2.5k swim, 30 minutes turbo, 20 minutes pilates
Wednesday: 2.5k swim, 5k run, 20 minutes pilates
Thursday: 5k swim, 30 minutes turbo, 20 minutes pilates
Friday: OFF/visited osteopath (having issues with my neck...very painful)
Saturday: 1k lake swim with the beginners, 2k pool swim
Sunday: 47.3 mile bike ride

15k running
2k lake swimming
11.5k pool swimming
1h turboing
1h pilates
12 hours 

What is the plan for this week?
It's a slightly odd week as my late shift is on Tuesday this week, my morning off is on Wednesday this week, and I have my first openwater triathlon of the season - Blenheim - on Saturday.  I won't actually be pushing Blenheim too hard, I would like to beat last year's time, but I don't want to be too tired to get in some miles on the bike on Sunday.  So that will be an interesting balance to try to strike :-)

Monday: am: 2.5k swim, pm: 2k lake swim
Tuesday: am: 9k run, pm: osteopath visit
Wednesday: am: 5k swim, 30 minutes turbo, pm: 30 minutes pilates
Thursday: am: 2.5k swim, pm: 2k lake swim
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Blenheim Tri (750m swim, 19.8k bike, 5.4k run)
Sunday: 30 mile bike ride, 30 minutes pilates.

Triathlon Plus photoshoot

Today was the day of my photoshoot for Triathlon Plus Magazine for an interview with me which will be published in their August edition as part of their "We're inspired by...." series.

I was pretty nervous about it - I'm the girl who got bored after 30 minutes of wedding photos and the deterioration in my enjoyment of being photographed there can be charted through the grump expression in the resulting photos.  Add to that body image issues as so many women I know have, and the fact that the first part of the shoot was going to take place in front of a load of people from my tri club.  However, it wasn't too bad, and I look forward to seeing the finished results.

We started with some shots of me in my wetsuit (with a bit of water tipped over, rather than me getting in the water and thus starting to shiver) at the tri club lake at 7am this morning.  Unfortunately, Mr Tuna was Photographer's Assistant at that point holding a huge reflector so no pictures of that.  I didn't mind too much having my photo taken wearing my mirrored goggles as it was very easy to just remain expressionless.

I then had to help with the last beginners' swim session, so there was a hiatus for an hour or so, during which time Mr Tuna and the Photographer went to scope out locations for the next bit of the shoot.  We actually ended up along the route that we cycled along only a couple of weeks ago, just below Wittenham Clumps in Oxon.  Cycling shots were taken along the road (and I tried not to shiver as I was still a bit cold from the swim); I think I cycled along it about 10 times.  Unfortunately most of Mr Tuna's shots were blurry or I was far distant, but here's a basic idea:

We then went up onto Wittenham Clumps themselves.  What a beautiful day.  Here I had to run up the hill a little way a number of times.  In order to make oneself look like one is running, it is important to lift the knees up and keep the arms in.  Apparently some people find this really difficult but it was ok.

Finally we went to the business park where Mr Tuna works to get a portrait of my face taken against a white wall.

So that was that.  We were over by about 11am, and so I was able to get a swim in before lunch.  Happy Verity.  I'll be interested to see what photos they choose to use and the article will be in the August edition of Triathlon Plus on sale on 22nd June.