Holkham Training – Week Four

Well I’ve hit an absolute dip in my motivation to train this week – in terms of running anyway. It’s just been busy. On the plus side – my cycling has increase and I got my two hour ride in on Saturday so I really need to stop beating myself up – I also didn’t get my LSR in on Sunday – I decided cheering my mates on at Skipton Triathlon (why is it always cold there?!) was more important! I also really need to give some serious time to strength and conditioning work! I would also like some more sleep!

Swimming – 3250m – Nothing to really report here – although my pace wasn’t on form at all this week – I’m not too worried – it has fallen a bit by the wayside due to cycling….

Cycling – 69.6km – All on the road and none on the turbo. Managed to get a two hour ride in on Saturday to town but spent nearly an hour gabbing to friends – on the downside, had a head wind back. Starting to feel a bit more confident with my cycling in terms of getting my general fitness back.

Running – 15km – This is really poor for this week – and where I really need to be focusing. I had a really good run on Wednesday but still suffering with a hot spot on my right foot when I try to put any pace on – and I missed my LSR on Sunday due to heading off to Skipton and not really getting up early enough to go before.

Next week I am not working quite as much – I am hoping I’ll get some run mojo back but I am not feeling particularly hopeful at the moment. I think Monday and Tuesday will be write-offs.

 

Holkham Training – Week Three

This week has been a very mixed week. As much as my fitness is improving – Coniston 14, general rubbish sleep and being busy has wiped me out this week so I have barely stuck to the plan – on the plus side though – I’ve found some cycling mojo again and seen major improvements in my CSS time. I’ve also managed to be relatively sociable – a committee meeting, a trip to the cinema and a evening at my mates, eating and generally chatting.

Swimming – 2500m – A very short week swim wise. Literally just due to tiredness but still. I did my CSS test with a mate on Thursday night and surprised myself to be honest, I wrote about it midweek – see here if you’re that interested! Apart from that, there isn’t more to say – the swim doesn’t worry me – although getting round in a good time would be rather nice! Swimming at my local lake started this weekend but it is too cold for me at the moment!

Cycling – 45.7km – This has been the bigger thing for me this week – I ended up having to take the summer bike off the turbo to go and pick my car up from the garage on Friday as I knew my other winter bike wouldn’t fit back in my car with mudguards. It’s first time I’ve ridden my summer bike this year on the road – and it really brought back my cycling mojo – I’ve just been so down about my own cycling and lack of over winter. It was only 12km to the garage but I managed to hit some of the speeds I was in the summer – peaking at 24mph through Elvington – short, sharp blast – proved I could still do it! So on Saturday, after work, I managed to get myself out on the bike for a 20 mile loop around home and really enjoyed it. It did help that the sun was shinning to be fair. Just glad to be finally getting myself back out.

Running – 5km, Ok this is really poor, even by my standards. I was going to run post committee meeting on Wednesday but I was just so tired. This week has really got to me and my general enthusiasm has waned. I’m not worried and just putting it down to general tiredness.

I’m really looking forward to next week though – I have only one private tutoring appointment as opposed to three and because I worked Saturday, I am off the day job Wednesday as well as Thursday. Hoping the Easter holidays will provide a little bit of quiet and rest as I won’t be working bank holiday Monday either. Hopefully next week I will be able to stick to the plan a bit better – and possible up my protein and sleep! Oh and actually doing some strength and conditioning work – might be wise!

R&R coupled with improvements

Not that I needed reminded but as someone recently pointed out on Twitter, rest is as important as training. After running Coniston 14 at the weekend, I think general tiredness coupled with a busy life caught up with me yesterday – so I made the wise decision to have a complete day off training – and most of today too – knowing that I was going to swim tonight. I’ll probably write up a bit more about this at the weekend – but on a different note – taking the day or so off wasn’t a bad thing I was planning a CSS test tonight.

I dragged a mate out with me to swim tonight – because he needed to do his CSS too (according to me anyway!) so I sent him the set – and didn’t get a reply. I was mean though and sent him the advanced set! I still made him do the intermediate one. Because I am nice like that!

Anyway – on to the important stuff – I wasn’t really sure where my pace was at in all honesty. It was November when I last did my CSS – which was 1:59/100m – I was over the moon at this as I roughly knew I was around the 2 minute mark but to have it just under after a rocky year swim wise – I was very happy. Any one who swims regularly knows that it actually takes a lot of effort to actually bring the pace down in swimming compared to making improvements in running and cycling (unless your me then running takes forever).

Doing my CSS test tonight was definitely going into the unknown. I knew I wasn’t any slower than I was in November – my training has been quite consistent and I have been pushing myself more so when I got out of the pool and checked it – it’s come down to 1:52/100, – so 7s faster. That doesn’t sound like a particularly huge improvement but I am rather pleased with that – and will happily take that.

I just need to put some serious effort into my cycling as I know full well I have not been on it – and having just bought a brand new second hand Ridley Phaeton – its about time I did!

Holkham Training – Week Two

It’s been a good week – managed again, to stick to the plan – although when I originally wrote the plan, I knew I would need to tweak it for my race on the 30th. Had a good week on the swimming front, managed to fit things around work and socialising – so all in all, I am pretty happy – until I look at my to do list of neglected things this week! I’ve also eaten well – which was causing me worry – meal prep to the rescue. Just need to cut down on the sugary stuff now. I also ended up buying a new bike – more about this below….

Swim- 6400m –¬†Swimming is my favourite and this is no secret – this week has been a good week in the pool, managing three swims and an excellent average pace – so much so I shocked myself – maintaining 1:50/100m for 3000m! There is a story here though. There are two lads who swim together on a Tuesday morning (one swims Wed too). Sometimes when I have walked in, they have been swimming two abreast – which annoys the living daylights out of me. I admit, I have thrown dark looks and glares at them every Tuesday morning for the last few weeks. Anyway, after a moan to friends, I decided I might as well just get in and swim with them if they are going to swim in the medium lane when they should be in the speedy lane. So I did. I didn’t want to slow them down so I worked around them – and blasted out some speedy 100s – I’m not that horrible and insensitive to fact they were doing a set, faster than me and I was in after (both lads ended up moving). Similar thing happened on Wednesday and I was doing a longer set – again swimming with one of them made me faster as I didn’t want to hold him up. I am intrigued with their training and I think I really should apologise for glaring at them – partly because I want to quiz them about their training plan! Watch this space – there might be an update next week on this. I also think I could do to do a CSS test this week.

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The Ridley Phaeton T – what a beauty!

Bike – 32.37km – Well, I cycled a bit. I tried cycling after running Coniston 14 yesterday but there really was nothing in the legs. Again, this week has been a bit pants on the bike – empty turbo miles don’t make up for actually being on the bike. This morning’s effort was so hard. And worse thing is I try to push too hard when I cycle on my own. On the plus side though – I’ve just bought a triathlon TT bike. It wasn’t planned or anything – it was a link from a friend who was thinking of buying it. The bidding ended on it at 5.55am on Friday morning – I had a max bid of ¬£300 and really did not expect to get it. Yet coming home from my race yesterday – I picked up a Ridley Phaeton T and she is beautiful! I’d best get used to riding it if I’m going to race on it! I am very excited! I cant believe how light she is even though she is aluminium with carbon forks – I’m seriously debating putting the race wheels on her. Really need to RIDE MY BIKE!

Run – 36.65km – Absolute epic week of running – we are at the end of march and this month I have run more in a month than any other since I started running years ago. It’s paying off! Zone 2 running is working and my race at Coniston was good – to the point that I think I could have pushed it a bit more. I ended up with a half marathon PB – and on a hilly course with not that much more training than the last one so all in all – good week running! I am also going to add here that Tailwind Nutrition is the bees knees – kept me going with no side effects!

Overall – happy with this week – particularly with my swimming more than anything, I even managed to be sociable on Thursday night for Helen’s leaving do! I am still concerned about my cycling but now Coniston 14 is out of the way, hopefully I can concentrate on getting big miles in rather than long runs – next weeks LSR is only 75 minutes according to the plan! Best just crack on with the to do list thats been left now!

 

CTS Northumberland – Race Day Review

This is my all-time favourite race – and the only race I have done three times on the trot.

Coastal Trail Series Northumberland incorporated 4 different distances – 10k, Half Marathon, a Marathon and an Ultra and takes in the beautiful and scenic Northumberland coastline. It is so well organised and enjoyable that I keep coming back!

I drove up in the morning – as always, meeting my mate at the services and driving up in convoy. A cold and foggy start changed as we headed north and the sun burnt off the fog and the skies cleared. I always feel happy in Northumberland, although driving across from Beadnell to Bamburgh, I felt a bit choked up as memories from last year flooded back. I knew there was a bit of a risk this happening but on the whole, it was good to be back.

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The finish line flags

Parking up at the bottom of the Castle, walking up and registering, I was a little gutted that we weren’t inside Bamburgh Castle like in previous years (I later found out why – no Warden to let us in, and the stables were being converted into a bar!). The sun was glorious and as it was so mild – I decided to run in capri pants and t-shirt.

The briefing was long and thorough and because the buses were running late, I did get cold waiting to get bused to the start however, once down there and once running, I knew I’d be ok. It is genuinely the only time my mate has seen me smile before a run! Much to her amusement.

The start line was nearer the harbour this year (making the course 400m shorter with alterations to the finish line) but we didn’t have to wait as long on the start line to get going. I will point out now that anyone who has read recent blog posts or follows the Twitter feed, I spent two weeks very ill and did very little training for 4 weeks. Unlike last year where I actually trained! Regardless I wasn’t nervous, I just enjoy this race as a run.

We set off and my pacing wasn’t too bad. I know the area quite well and knew what to expect. People say running on sand/trail is harder – and it is, but somehow I seem to enjoy it more and run better. The first half of the race went well but there is always a but. After the checkpoint at Seahouses, I could feel the familiar feeling of burning on the ball of my right foot. By the 7k point I was really feeling it. I knew there would be a blister and I knew where I had gone wrong. I’ve been using Tri-slide (this is so much better than body glide) with my road trainers due to ongoing issues and didn’t need them with the socks I was using and neutral shoes. By 8k I was wishing I had a Shotblok or something just to eat, like last year. I don’t normally for this race but going at lunch time I was hungry by the time set off. What was most glorious about it though was just running the race, in the sunshine, in February in a t-shirt!

There was no major disasters or anything – I felt a bit sick – I was definitely working. The last 600m has always been horrific and nothing has changed. The race photos were actually pretty cool and I was smiling on them. I was glad to finish though – I always am!

The fish and chips with mates at the end was just the icing on the cake!

She wouldn’t believe it!

This post has been flitting through my mind without even realising it until today. I’ve partly categorised this under ‘Matters of the heart’ because it is a subject that is close to my heart – education…

Random thoughts this morning while heading to the gym to swim included the thought that one day I would like to write a book. I’m not sure if I ever will but if I do it will probably be related in some way shape or form to triathlon. I say random thought but I think it was triggered after seeing that Sean Conway’s new book is available for pre-order. This then got me thinking about who I would dedicate it to – which links in with a random tweet from someone the other day about school PE and former PE teachers.

To put this into a bit more context. The tweet in question was something along the lines of how being a chubby (fat) child, people presume you would be bad at sports – yet there she was having running an ultra as an adult. I was a chubby child, more academic than sporty. Sorry. Academic and non-sporty. I was rubbish at sports and dreaded PE. I had this the other day with some lad over on POF when I announced my dislike of team sports, he presumed that it was because I was rubbish at sport – not an uncommon assumption. He carried on to say that it didn’t matter if I was the slowest etc – I could still train and play – or words to that effect. I clearly put him in his place (don’t get me wrong, I’m not the fastest but I’m definitely a competent swimmer and reasonable cyclist). I just don’t like team sports such as netball (or football etc).

So all these thoughts and things coming together – if I wrote a book that was sports related – I would dedicate it to Mrs Houlston – one of my PE teachers from secondary school.

As you’ve probably guessed, I really did despise the majority of PE in school. Most of all team sports. Netball topping the list. Being picked last is demoralising. I hated most of it. Although ironically, considering my love hate relationship with running, I never minded XC and I loved badminton (the only sport I ever played as extra curricula at school – we were just allowed to play, it was run by the male DT teacher and with hindsight was probably rather dodgy!). That’s about it. You may have already noted – these are usually solo events. Even now I hate team sports or anything like that – although relays are fine. I put it down to school mostly but when its a solo sport, you’ve only yourself to upset/let down really, anyway this is going off point a little.

Where does Mrs H come in in all of this? Why would I dedicate a book to her?

By the time I was in Y11, I was walking a lot more, being generally more active and I’d started to lose the puppy fat that had plagued me for as long as I remember. No-one ever said I was fat or anything like that but I wasn’t slim and my mum always just called it puppy fat. There was a complete transformation in my appearance – when I show people my Y7/9/11 school pics they don’t believe its the same person.

There is one PE lesson, or rather snippet at the end of a lesson, that really stuck in my head. It was summer, we were playing rounders. Yes I’d been picked last again but as I wasn’t carrying the weight any more suddenly I was managing to run and get half/full rounders. We were walking back to the changing rooms and Mrs Houlston was walking beside me and just happened to say something along the lines of how well I’d played or compliment me on how much faster I was/fitter I seemed. I told her about the walking, she seemed impressed. I don’t quite remember the words, but I remember the feeling. I’d had a compliment/praise from a PE teacher! I was secretly proud as punch – praise was less meaningful in other subjects as I was pretty good academically. The other thing to note about Mrs H, especially compared to my other PE teacher, Mrs P, Mrs H was always more understanding of us less sporty girls – encouraging yes but never berating us for thinking we weren’t putting the effort in or make us feel awful. It’s like she knew how much we despised it and tried to make it tolerable (she did know, I’m sure of it!). Mrs P always seemed full of over-enthusiasm and had obvious favourites – the sporty ones. We always copped it.

That feeling that I got from the quiet praise and the fact she had noticed, means that Mrs H will always be a bit of a hero when I look back. Its been the comment thats stuck with me more than anything at school. It’s probably inspired me more than I realise too as I often wonder what she would make of what I get up to now! I’d like to think that she would be a little bit proud. She will have no idea just how much of a lasting impression her words have had and I would love to just bump into her one day and tell her. My inner teacher is reminded that teachers hold more sway than they realise sometimes and sometimes its the littlest things than make the biggest impact.

So if and when I do write that book… I will dedicate it to Mrs Houlston, with a massive thank you for recognising that I maybe wasn’t quite as rubbish as I thought and for just making my last term of school PE ok.

 

(I’m starting a triathlon coaching course this weekend. I don’t think she’d believe it!)

 

The Peer Pressure Run

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself” Jim Morrison

Even to the point of being a whinge bag about running – and randomly ramble about cycling. I have the best mates.

I know we aim to teach children not to bow to peer pressure. In some respects, I suspect the behaviour of my mates wasn’t really so much peer pressure but active encouragement by reminding me what races I have planned and that I really should be running. Three separate friends today, when I mentioned tonights club run, told me I should go as I debated staying home.

I bowed to pressure and went to run.

They were right, I do need to run more. Most of my races this year (that are booked) are actually running races. This is to keep me running as without it, I would likely sack it off but as it is, I have a half iron to do and so run I must.

I shall be the first to admit that my routing isn’t settled yet, or not as much as I would like, and my running mojo since the illness, is not yet back to the levels they were at before Christmas. Mojo lost. In general for training.

My mate, who was running the session, told me me I looked miserable all the way round – and to be fair, I probably was – but I suppose it was nice to actually be out, running, on a treadmill. I have lost my mojo with training in general recently – after having 3 weeks off, it’s the process of getting back to where it was feels like hard work.

On a more positive note, I’m planning on getting. a week pass for the leisure centre when I go on holiday (one of my favourite pools – with twilight swims!) and I’ve bought some new books to take with me.