Holkham Training – Week 9

Slowly starting to find my mojo again I think. This week was, in some cases, an improvement on last weeks. Doing Alnwick Sprint has helped I think and this weekend’s club trip away has also helped too, so I feel a bit more positive about next week, about my training and about maybe throwing in some sportive!

Swim – 0km – VERY unusual even for me. I didnt even swim in the Lakes – however, I think I may be suffering a bit from swimmers ear after Alnwick Tri. They are very cracklely!

Bike – 47.6km – Not ideal and less than I would have liked and in one day too. I did a 6 mile TT in the evening on Thursday – as I love a good TT but… it was so hilly! For a six-miler come and try event, I think it might have put a few people off! The rest of the mileage was a loop around home on my own, I feel pretty happy with the bike in respect of its comfortable but I need to really be upping my distance.

Run – 19.1km – More than I have done in ages! This consisted of three runs – one short slow dreadmill run, 5km Parkrun at Keswick and the 10km trail race. I actually enjoyed all of it too. I am hoping this is a sign from above?!

Ive been looking at my timetable for the next week – my biggest concern is the bike – I am off to Edinburgh next weekend for running races but I need to cycle – I’m just not 100% sure how I will fit it in yet. We will have to wait and see (she says, looking at sportive for June!).

The ‘Short and Nasty’ TT

It isn’t a secret that I don’t enjoy running. I find it hard to push myself to want to get better but I know that if I ran more and trained better – I would have better results. When it comes to cycling and swimming – I do not have these qualms. Most of the time. I also have found that I love a good TT.

Tonight’s TT was, to be blunt, both short and awful.

Six measly miles.

Six hilly miles.

4 miles of me wondering why I was there.

To drive to the wrong side of town to ride 6 miles. No wonder one of my mates didn’t rock up. I’ll be having words!

Either way – a baptism of fire. The first two miles were great, but if you go down, you have to come back up. I really have zero strength on the bike and really need to go ride some hills. It was a hard slog, although I had ridden 20 miles in the morning – one of my favourite routes that takes in my favourite TT too!

All the pain of cycling uphill was self rewarded with Guiness and chips and a bit of a natter – so all in all – not too bad an evening. My prediction on my time was pretty spot on too!

Roll on next week!

Alnwick Sprint Triathlon

Where to start?

At the beginning.

In the beginning there was…..

Haha ok maybe not. So it may have come to some people’s attention that North or ‘The North’ is my favourite place to be. More precisely – Northumberland. In fact the temptation to move there increases regularly. As a result it should come as no surprise that entering Alnwick Sprint Triathlon was a bit of a no brainer! I’d set a reminder on my phone – which didn’t work so originally missed out – until I spied over social media that some more places had become available as people hadn’t wanted them. Bingo! This was months ago.

Fast forward to the day before.

Accommodation was booked and sorted – I arrived in Northumberland in plenty of time. All good you’d thing – I was too early to go to my accommodation so decided to drive the bike route. Well what a BAD idea that was. I knew it wasn’t flat but argh – talk about putting the wind up myself. Undulating is a rather mild word for it! Either way – it was a scenic route but it did put the wind up me and result in some frantic texting! This kind of set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Stayed in my favourite village – Beadnell – at Farne Lodge – what a gem of a find! I’ll be back over the summer! Really nice rooms and didnt need breakfast so was more than happy – although a little gutted my mate couldn’t make it. In all honesty I had a bit of an emotional wobble about life which again was solved/helped by some conversations with mates and I snapped out of it.

I had some jobs to do work wise (I had taken laptop) so sat and worked through a bit of the to do list then headed over to the pub next door for tea and some Guiness – why not? I took a book and just sat chilling on my own – looking distinctly like billy-no-mates.

Netflix and bed.

RACE DAY!

My first triathlon in nearly a year. I really think I am one of the laziest racers in the club. Alarm went off, I hit snooze. I thought about moving and wondered how close I dare leave it before dragging myself out of bed and getting up. Ate some food – thought that was wise! Pulled on my trisuit and some trousers before loading the car and tootling off to Alnwick. The joys of knowing the area meant no worrying about getting lost and knowing exactly where I needed to be and how long it would take. Bonus points really.

Rocking up on my own was a bit novel. I HAD read the race pack re registration and the briefing but after liberating my race number and my bike and racking up in transition – someone kindly reminded me I needed to be at a race briefing! Perfect planning there.

Thankfully not before leaving my long sleeved jersey with my bike. I hate being cold on the bike. Even in a race.

Briefing done, Let the waiting game commence!

My swim wave was 8.30 – I’d put down 7:30 swim time when I entered which put me in the 5 wave – out of 7 or 8 so heading towards the top half. The wave in front – one lass was quite slow in finishing, leaving no time for any warm up so it was a case of straight in. After focusing on my form – I was annoyed that I forgot in for the first 150m. Then it clicked – higher elbow, more power, pull and relax – then things eased up and I managed to keep on the toes of the lad in front – I’d let him over take. Stopped my watch dead on last stroke – 7:19 thank you very much! I was over the moon.

Then I buggered up my watch. I use my watch in triathlon mode so little that I forgot how it worked – so trundled through transition with the full intention of keeping warm on the bike (so that could have been quicker…). It took me half a km to get my watch on to cycle mode but….

The bike had almost given me nightmares but there was no point in sacking it off – I needed to do it. Turns out though that as tough as it was – it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It was as undulating as it was scenic and in the end I was genuinely happy with my finish time – my average pace as 15.8mph which was better than I was expecting. My attitude on the bike is better than running – I seem to be able to push through the pain on the bike more than I do the run.

Talking of the run.- I faffed into transition – and as I set out on the run – remembered just how awful that heavy leg feeling is off the bike. I really should remember to do brick sessions. Either way – the run was four laps of the local secondary school – a long slow gradual uphill with a corresponding decent and in all honesty – once I got into it, managed to maintain somewhat reasonable pace for me, but I will admit I spent the last half an hour never wanting to do a triathlon again. I was properly miserable at one point! And so glad to see the finish line! At least the sun was shinning and. there was a good support crowd! The race photos are definitely amusing!

Of course after finishing – without having a support crew there, a flurry of texts went out with ‘I NEVER WANT TO DO A TRIATHLON AGAIN’. Obviously two hours later once normality had been restored I took most of this back!

Biggest worry now is actually getting enough training in for Holkham. Any chance I can take the next 7 weeks off work?!

Time Trial Start!

I discovered the joy of Time Trials last year.

On Thursday I reminded myself how much they hurt!

Thursday was the first time trial of the season – flat and just shy of 10 miles. We got sent off to park at the village hall in the village but I suppose that acted as a reasonable warm up.

My first ever TT was a bit of a shock – someone holding your bike while your clipped in with both feet was strange – now I’m used to it but stupidly forgot to change my gears and set off in too high a gear so getting that initial momentum was a bit tricky.

The route for the TT though is, for the most part, ok but it hurt from the get go – I just remember thinking – cycling from the car didn’t feel this bad! I kept glancing at my watch – I roughly knew what my time was from the last time and all the signs were good but even so. I tried riding on the drops but head wasn’t in it. Regardless – coming back on to the main road – I was starting to flag – at mile 7 I wanted to be a little sick I was pushing that hard! In the end – the last mile was into a headwind and I was pretty happy to finish – my feet were frozen too! The whole time you’re TT you hate it then love it when you’ve finished! My official time I think was 31:30 – not mega fast by most standards but second woman (to a teenager!) and not last! Boom! ¬†Definite improvement on last year.

The post TT faff though – I come straight from work and so my boot is full of work gear, my bike is on the back seat, and so the front seat was just full of everything else – as the photo shows! Just another two months of the same chaos (and hopefully a few less DOMS)!

Bring it on!

img_1262
Winter gloves, recovery, and safety – ticking all the boxes…..¬†

Holkham Training – Week 6

I would love to say that everything is going fabulously but it really isn’t. My running mojo has completely fled and I’ve just not been in the right head space – which isn’t really an excuse but with so much other stuff going on – it has taken a little bit of a back seat. I have however, had a good week of life in general – a flight to Northumberland, a really good bike ride with a mate and some swim improvements too, so not all is lost! I also seem to have signed up for Coniston End to End swim in August…..

Swim – 3500m – Consisting of only two swims – one set was 10 x 100m in which I averaged 1:45/100m – really surprised myself. A slight change in my stroke seems to have made a bit of a difference. The other 2500m were swam in the outside pool at the gym, the main set was 400, 300, 200, 100, 200, 300, 400 and to be fair I quite enjoyed it.

Bike – 67km – Monday’s ride! I rode every day of bank holiday but Monday was the longest ride I’ve done this year and with company too – which was awesome. As was the pub stop – I should have had pints as the halves went down too easy. The ride back into town, post pub was a bit speedy – think I averaged about 20mph! I was a bit shot though when I got back! Still need to sort my TT bike out but the weather was glorious, the company fabulous and the riding good. So despite not getting more rides in (shoddy weather/time) – it was good to get a longer ride in, especially after riding the three days previous.

Run – 11.7km – I lead the club run – all two of us – on Wednesday and did hills. After the horrific rain half an hour before, if no one had turned up I probably would have gone and run on a treadmill. I feel I have lost my mojo again which isn’t fun considering I have Edinburgh half marathon in 4 weeks. I was supposed to have a 2 hour run today – yeah that didn’t happen. I managed 30 minutes. I am going to have to buck my ideas up and get back on it some how. I might try running outside on Tuesday morning and combine it with a swim, so we will see.

Beryl Burton – Cycling Legend

The chances are you have never heard of Beryl Burton – arguably one of the greatest female cyclists ever. Her achievements were phenomenal and, despite having died in 1996, her 12 hour distance record still stands.

On Friday night, a few friends and I went to see the play, ‘Beryl’ – a play written by Maxine Peak, originally for the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It tells the story of her life and her achievements – not only on the road or time trialling but also on the track in pursuit.

She is still relatively unknown by so many people – yet even with today’s modern technology and bike, knowledge of training and nutrition, she still holds the record, as I mentioned, for distance travelled in 12 hours (277.7 miles if I remember rightly!). At the time, she even took the men’s record – which took another two years to be beaten.

The play itself was fantastic and I thoroughly recommend going to see it if you ever get the chance. Having read the screenplay while away on holiday, I knew the play but to see if performed live was really special. I also had a bit of a heads up on my friends so it was a pleasure from my point of view to see their reactions to her, and introduce them to the wonder that was Beryl Burton. A wee bit of a cycling heroine in my eyes – with an absolute compulsion to compete and win!

Holkham Training – Week 5

The week did not start off particularly well. I am not sleeping as well as I would like and waking up early with zero motivation or energy to get out of bed. I did start the week with a swim – which was good fun – slowing down is hard, but my week also started with the news that my mate, who I was supposed to be racing with, has withdrawn. In all honesty, I am not surprised. Life does, sometimes, get in the way, and sometimes you just have to say no, or cancel things to protect your own health. Having being in a situation where things can be too much, I do get it completely! And talking of things getting in the way – the lack of energy/sleep thing has been getting to me – the lack of sleep issue is partly related to the cat, but I have also started taking iron tables so we shall see. Hopefully energy levels will improve – especially with long weekend and a quieter week work wise.

Swim – 2900m – Another lowish swim week but…. more interestingly – I have been reading Swim Speed Secrets by Sheila Taormina – and so I tried adjusting my stroke on session and suddenly I was swimming 1:42/100m! I need to work on it to get it to suit and finish reading the book but wow. Just wow. The theory, basically – is that swimming is 80% about the pull, 20% rotation/other stuff so need to focus on the pull – and within this, reducing the number of strokes as well as increasing the cadence. Sounds simple but I suspect it won’t be anything but! She also advocates/points out the high elbow within the pull, or at least keeping it high to start. So work to be done there. I am also conscious that I need to be thinking about starting OW swimming.

Bike – 87km – Three days on the trot – to be fair, Ive really enjoyed cycling this week – the weather has been glorious for it and its been a long bank holiday. I’ll be going out tomorrow too! From a mid week post, you might have seen that I’ve finally put new wheels on my bike – and they have made quite a difference to be fair when putting the speed down. They aren’t really any lighter but the deeper rims are more aero and I have felt the benefit. I was a little gutted to be 1 second away from a QOM, without really trying. I’ve just enjoyed it. I even got to ride with a mate this morning – even if it was only for 4 or 5 miles!

Running – 5km – And on a treadmill too. This isn’t good. I have just completely lost my run mojo. End off. It’ll come back. Hopefully on Tuesday!