Pressing Reset – Holkham

This has come as a bit of a surprise to even me but after seeing a Facebook post about changing my A race, a month of being far too sociable and thinking I can manage to balance everything, as well as a rubbish race last night and cold….. I’ve decided to quit Holkham and change to Outlaw X in September.

After speaking to mates last night and some equally awesome people on Twitter, this will come as no real surprise – there are multiple reasons for this and I am quite happy to share them – I don’t feel at all bad about changing my race or my priorities – in fact if anything, going to see Graeme Obree speak last week has just reaffirmed my own outlook to not really care what others think, to not worry too much about life’s purpose and to enjoy the moment. I’m not a pro and life happens and no-one will die as a result of me changing my mind!

So why the change?

  • I don’t think I will be race fit in 6 weeks. That is completely my own doing. I had a plan. I was, at the start, doing well to keep to The Plan. Then I booked too many social things and took on extra work with my own business and an extra day at work in the day job, that I’ve struggled to fit it in – slowly heading towards burn out.
  • I was too ambitious with my initial training plan – I think this may have contributed to my loss of running mojo. It had all started so well too! I know too well though that this does ebb and flow anyway.
  • My friend withdrawing meant that I was racing far from home on my own. Ok this is a bit of a no-goer as an excuse and her decision, like mine, has been the right one (so no feeling bad!!). Changing my race means I can probably actually get out on the bike more with her, which was part of the original plan when we discussed Holkham anyway so win win! We will be back! And I’d still like to do Holkham.
  • Delaying/changing my A race means I can take on board what I’ve learnt in the last three months and get it right or rather improve it. How many people honestly get to reset their training during a race season? We are still only just in to triathlon racing season and I’ve a reasonably ok base on which to restart – so taking this as a mini win.
  • I need to reset – building on from the last point. I’ve come down with cold/chesty cough and noticed last night how much it effects my riding. As well as getting a good kick in the backside about doing more hills and actually going and doing some S&C – as one of my mates keeps nagging me to do. I need to mix up my training again. I also need to swim more as I have signed up for Coniston End to End and that now lands BEFORE my half-iron distance race.
  • Outlaw X is quite a bit closer to home. I hadn’t sorted out my accommodation for Holkham but Nottinghamshire is closer – which has some obvious travelling advantages. I also think I know a few people who might be doing it so that’s a bit of a winner for me too.
  • The weather will, hopefully, stand a chance of being cooler. Equally, there is a higher chance of it being a lot wetter – but I don’t really do well in heat – to be fair, this is just an advantage of having a later race – it could end up being an Indian summer and hot!
  • It gives me chance to go do some sportive that I’d like to do which will help with training – after last years events and thinking about my cycle fitness by September last year – I was in a good place – hopefully I will be in an even better place by this September!
  • Hopefully I have learnt to not book in too many social events – or rather, balance them a bit better. I feel like, after 8 years of being in a relationship with someone who actually wasn’t that spontaneous and that up for mini-adventures, I’ve been making up for lost time. I don’t want to lose that but I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Alnwick Sprint a couple of weeks ago – why not incorporate my mini-adventures/road trips with training? So going forward, I want to incorporate them.
  • Triathlon/training has taken over a bit too much and I need to step back as well I think. Hopefully in changing races, I can actually take a step back. I am heeding the warnings of my friends about burnout before I do actually properly burn out.

Genuinely think this is a good call on my part. A middle distance triathlon was the goal for this year and changing it has all sorts of advantages. It also means that I stand a better chance of getting a time I am actually happy with compared to racing in 6 weeks and possibly breaking myself!

Roll on a summer of training and enjoying life!

 

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!).

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?!

Holkham Training – Week 7 & 8

To put simply – dire.

My mate asked me how it was going. My response – ‘Shit’.

Really struggled to fit in my training and if I am perfectly honest – I am a bit worried at the moment. Something is going to have to give.

I’m hoping that Week 9 I will be able to report that the Mojo has come back a bit and that I have managed to get some more miles in but what with work, tutoring and the club weekend away – this remains to be seen….

Brief summary…… Of two weeks

Swim – 6500m

Bike- 77.1km

Run – 16km

Think it’s time I started saying no to a few things.

Or took some holiday from work.

Or gave up work?

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.

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.

 

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!