Sunday, 29 June 2008

Do Not Overtrain Do Not Get Injured Do Not Get Demotivated

“Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right.”
~Henry Ford

So I realised I was sadly lacking and despite doing an Olympic training plan I had a long way to go so upped the training.

Did a spinning class for the first time. Wasn’t sure what to expect but knew the purpose of me going was so I could cycle out of the saddle. I couldn’t. Pedalled really hard, sweated buckets, thoroughly enjoyed it and at the end, when everyone had left, learned how to get out of the saddle, was extatic.

Had a really productive rest of week and was really looking forward to a hard run with Alexia on the Friday but sneaked in an extra bike session and put into practice the standing up on the pedals and pinged my hamstring!

No training for another week which got me contemplating the state of my swimming.

I can swim breast stroke in a pool - not fast but pretty much forever. I can do crawl and my crawl has improved dramatically since I learned to breath out underwater (don't laugh! I've been doing it wrong for 40years!) Anyway I've had 2 open water sessions which have proved I can do 250m crawl however I cannot do breast stroke in a wetsuit. My legs come up and I basically end up treading water horizontally if that makes any sense. I'm expending a great deal of energy and not moving forward. If there was a local pool, where I could swim for an hour every morning I'd be able to increase my crawl distance over the next 3 weeks but without absolute dedicated practice 500m is too much to make up. Our local pool opens at 7. I've got to be back for 7.45 to get the kids to school so half an hour isn't enough. In a way you can blag the bike by getting off and pushing up the hill and the run by walking but the swim if you run out of puff you're finished!

So after much weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth I’ve withdrawn. A DNF is a failure a DNS is even worse but I can’t spend the next 3 weeks getting stressed to the moon knowing I’ll fail and then there’s the fuelling the can’t swim fire by putting myself more under pressure that I’d probably barely manage 25m.

So I’ve had my entry rolled over to next year when I will concentrate on my swimming and blast the distance.

The other thing is the Diva’s is full and there is a waiting list. It’s only fair to give someone who will finish the chance.

So was suggested that Oswestry was on the same day. Great solution put all the training to good use and enter that instead.

So I put a little post on Wrecsam Tri’s Forum to say that I’d pulled out of the Deva’s and was taking the easy option of Oswestry and what were the courses like in comparison. Well… the Elite Bobby Edwards said Oswestry was tough, the World Number 12 Paul Williams said stick with the Diva’s and other people basically said the same. So I’m faced with a dilemma. So I ask the question how does it compare to the old Mold route and am told about the same.

I’ve been putting this little darling off for ages because, apart from it being horrendously hilly I’ve never been sure how long it would take and as you’re all well aware I have to be back for school. I did it this morning leaving at 7.55 and left the route for Mark and a note saying come and look for me if I’m not back by 9.30.

Was ready to turn around at the Ruthin Road roundabout but plodded on. Mark has always said to me I should have trained up that way. He said I'd only know if I was fit if I could get to the Swan. Well I did. Had to get off a bit after but soon got back on and then got off again by the Rainbow and then just after Loggerheads. I absolutely loved the lanes. I learned more this morning than I have since I started. I blasted the hills. Kept pretty much on the big ring and used the down hills to get up the other side. Had to get off by Eryrys school and another killer of a hill but then the wooshes back were amazing. Getting off 6+ times is ok in training but not for events so I'm giving Oswestry a miss. I'm so glad though that I considered it because it's forced me to do this Mold route.

Took 1 hour 43 minutes and when I got back Mark had put the bike rack on and was coming to look for me.

So now we have 9 weeks to Llanrwyst. I believe that course is a bit lumpy but it can’t be any worse than what I’ve done this morning. I’ve got 9 weeks to conquer 6 hills. Today was race distance so it’s going to be incorporated within the training plan. I need to formulate different training routes – there’s plenty around here. I think I’ll do what I have been doing the opposite way to practice steeper hills.

Three weeks after Llanrwyst is the Flintshire 10K. I’m still not doing much more than 5k. The plan is to increase it by 10% weekly and add some interval and fartlek sessions. (I absolutely hate speed work!)

The plan in the beginning was do not overtrain, do not get injured and not to get demotivated. Yes I’ve let all three happen but I’ve learned some very important lessons and will do my utmost not to let them happen again.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Manley Mere - Tri Again

Oh my God where in the world do you start this?

Off to he Doctors on Tuesday who in no uncertain terms told me not to stop training.

Blood tests Wednesday and appointment for X-Ray next Monday. If it's too painful to run just cycle and swim! It's not painful - just swollen. She thinks part of my metalwork might have become loose or dislodged so in a worse case scenario I'll have to have it all taken out but it could be possible if it's just a little screw that I could have it done by keyhole. Entirely possible though that it's just the heat and because I've laid off the training circulation is sluggish. Was reading on tri talk when people taper their body fights back so maybe that's what mine's been doing.

So the training Tri on Wednesday. They said it was a Club training so I couldn't do it. Then they said they'd squeeze me in. Then I got the list saying there were 5 spare places and was anyone interested. Cerys my swimming teacher said she'd come. I mailed them back and they said it was Club only! grrr so I told Cerys and she'd also been in touch with Sal the Divas secretary - I wasn't sure if she was back from Vancouver and she said that Cerys should just turn up. so mad panic after work. Mark put my rack on. I got changed and broke the zip on my tri suit so ended up putting a swimming costume on under it. Left my kit bag on the top of the stairs. grabbed my wetsuit and Morgan decided to throw my bag down the stairs and follow it head first. So off to casualty complete with bike rack and me panicking that I haven't got any knickers on!

His nose is very grazed. He's got a big bump on his head but basically they don't think anything's broken and we've got to see GP in 10 days.

Reasonable Nercwys loop Thursday

Saturday decided to wear my new running vest. Tip – never race in a new vest. It kept riding up and showed my vast belly – was totally mortified.

Off to Manley yesterday. I went off first in the slowest bike group and I was last which says a lot? Failed on one hill too was mightily peed off. Longer than the ones I do but no steeper. No excuses just don't know the course. Will get out there and conquer it a few times before the race. Cracking course though. Quite twisty and up and down but ok if you get the cadence going down and change early enough. Sal says I need to use the balls of my feet and raise my seat so there's the jobs for this week.

Didn't run as there wasn't much time and takes me forever to get in my wetsuit.

Absolutely hated the swim. Was only 250m the same as last time but I seriously wanted to get out once I was across the mere. Last time I had a canoeist and a club swimmer by me most of the time. This time I felt totally isolated. We were supposed to do 2 X 250m I felt quite chuffed that I'd done 1 but towards the end got my stroke and confidence and second wind. Important lessons learned:-
1) I can swim
2) I didn't consume half the Mere
3) The support guy's are there to help and they obviously didn't think I needed any help
4) I really didn't need any help.

Got out and said to the guy at the side "Hated every minute of it - that's why I'll be back next time!"

Got out of my wetsuit reasonably ok so T1 isn't quite as daunting.

I need to say to you now exactly the same as I did last time. I desperately need to lose weight so that my wetsuit fits better. I need to get some serious swim practice in and I need to get to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and add an extra 30 mins training a day.

Have an extraordinary story to tell about Sue the Ironlady but need her permission first,.

Monday, 9 June 2008

The wonderful Sue mailed me last week to say that she’d had a little jaunt to Bala the previous weekend. I told her I was jealous, then changed my mind to envious. She’d jumped in the car, had a swim in the lake, then coffee and done the standard bike. The sheer luxury of being able just to train without the responsibility of getting back to take kids to school or rescue Mark from Morgan.

Yesterday was my first time at Bala to view a Triathlon.

It’s 45 minutes from home so consequently it’s a place I’ve visited on numerous occasions. The journey is very picturesque over the moors and fast winding roads. Radio on full blast – you get the picture?

Yesterday the weather was glorious, which makes everything look better, but I can quite honestly say I have never seen the lake look more beautiful. I’d “volunteered” to marshal but because I’d worked all last week, and Mark had looked after Morgan all week I needed to give him a break so could only manage a couple of hours. I was allocated timing the swim. Then delegated to counting the swimmers back in. I stood at the side of the inflatable swim finish and the hairs on the back of my neck well and truly stood up and I had to swallow hard. The sight of 3 waves of swimmers out in such an idyllic setting was quite moving (how dare you say sad cow?). That picture doesn’t actually do it justice.

I was amazed at how quickly they got back and then the “fun” started.

It’s not difficult to count swimmers back in but it does take quite a bit of concentration and…. it would have been a good idea to use the finish line as the counting point as there was quite a bit of overtaking on the pontoon. Never mind in the end I balanced. (pretty good considering I never could in my 17 years of banking!)

Just had time for a quick catch up with Paula and Alexia (The Wrecsam Tri girls who were timing the run) before heading off home. I didn’t recognise Paula in her civvies.

Looking at Tri Talk today the general consensus is that it was a fantastic, well run race and this years bike course, with enforced changes because of subsidence is better than the original. Fantastic times in overwhelming heat but.. the greatest of respect to Elizabeth Hamer-Davies finished in 8hous 20minutes 20seconds – fabulous achievement to finish. Must be one hell of a determined lady and quite an inspiration.


Back to me and my training, or more to the point lack of it.

Well I haven’t trained – according to plan. I’m still really tired. I’ve put on 2lbs despite giving up alcohol and takeaways and my ankle, which I broke 3 years ago has swelled up like a balloon. I don’t want to risk further damage until I’ve had it checked by the doctor so I’ll be just cycling for a day or two. Self diagnosis is training has improved my circulation and stopped the swelling.

And then.. There’s a Chester Tri training tri at Manley on Wednesday night and I’ve managed to grovel myself a place. Hopefully I’ll do the swim and the bike and the run is a kind of half way round the Mere and back twice so I’ll see how I feel.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Over The Blip

I can swim! I can swim! I can swim!

OK I have been able to swim since I was 4. I can pretty much carry on doing breast stroke forever. Even if the coach tells me I’m totally inefficient, swimming forward with my arms and dragging myself backwards with my legs. When I did Chirk I did 5 lengths crawl then alternate breast stroke crawl because the crawl tired me. When I did the open water the breast stroke was too tiring in a wet suit and I swallowed half the Mere when I did crawl. Last night I had a one to one lesson with Cerys, who I’ve known for a long time, her son used to play football with my daughter, she is a swimming coach in Mold and she is doing the Deva Diva’s.

We started off, after I’d warmed up, with a float, breathing out under water and breathing in on alternate strokes. Easy! Then without a float. Easy! I couldn’t believe it. In 10 minutes she had broken 40 years bad swimming habits. I wasn’t out of breath. I wasn’t tired.

Bring it on open water.

I’ll back track a bit now I’ve got that euphoria out of the way.

Training has been alright. Nothing spectacular. Doing what I intended to do so pretty much on track. Not improving time wise. Still finding the bike hill hard. Still running a hilly 5k in 40-42 minutes. The only thing stopping me going longer is time. I’ve got to be back in a morning to take the kids to school.

I’ve felt tired though. Maybe influenced by outside factors.

My mother in law broke her nose so my husband had to spend some time with his parents last week.

My big kids went to Italy with their Dad on Sunday for 2 weeks.

There are 2 people on holiday from work so I’m working every day this week and having to start at 8.

So I’ve decided…. Or it has been decided for me…. To treat this week as a consolidation week and just do a bit and hopefully train harder, stronger, longer and faster from next week.

I still haven’t been to the gym to start my pilates and spinning so need to get those booked for next week.

I took a spin in the car to recce the old Mold Sprint bike course. It is horrendous. Hill upon hill upon hill. And I mean hill not incline.

This basically knocked the stuffing out of me because it got me thinking that Llanrwyst is hilly and if it’s worse than Mold there’s no point me doing it.

Call in the cavalry - Iain from the gym

“Don't let ANY hill put you off or bully you. You've come too far for that nonsense. Train on them and conquer them. Again, learn to use your gears in the correct manner. Small gear, big cadence, tiny chance of walking. Control pace and breathing on bike and run. Try to arrive at the bottom of a hill in the right gear, the fewer times you change down the better for your rhythm. The same goes for the run. Maintain consistent run speed, try not to speed up or slow down significantly, changes in pace sap strength and confidence. Better to start slow and continue to run over the top than start too fast and have to crawl.”

Llanrwyst is 13 weeks away. Piece of cake!

And then.. I got letter of the month in Zest. Pretty remarkable as I hadn’t written to the magazine. It was all about the book that my sister in law bought me for my birthday. But hey ho who am I to complain? £74 worth of Liz Earle skincare products. Woo hoo!