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Club session for me last night (12 x 300 off a staggering 90s static recovery. Miss. Endurance Monster was fully recovered long before 90s was up, so not sure what I gained from it!).
Another year older and wiser today. Ho-hum.
Happy b-day Jools!
PMJ - Sounds like an interesting place to run and visit! No idea how warm it is here at the mo but just popped out of the office and there is a very warm breeze it actually feels like summer at last!
Menn - Sounds like the conditions will be perfect for your 1/2. What's your A target for the race?
Appears to be quite common on here that the speedwork does most of the damage. I for one can only hack one speed session a week and my recovery is slow. Jeezus I'm only 39 what am I am going to be like in 10 years time?..............
The 5 miler was a C race really GM, this Sundays Coastal Run is a B race- although one of my favourites. I assume you are not running the Coastal Minni, how about you Poacher?
Happy Birthday Jools .
Of course its just a niggle Speedy.
Sorry to hear of your DNS OO.
Yes I will be at the Coastal OO! The reason I missed the Bridges last night was down to a mix up where I thought it was tonight and had promised to take my son to Junior Harriers for the first time on Tuesday night. He was lucky to get a place and couldn't make the previous 2 club nights so I was keen to get him there. Can't say I was that disappointed when I saw the heat! Really looking forward to Sunday. Poacher won't be back in the country so its down to you and me!
Happy Birthday Jools
CNBA to go to the gym so I'm catching up on emails instead. Heel only hurts when I'm wearing shoes or on heavy impact, so maybe tomorrow I'll brave the elliptical in Totes Toasties (to stop my feet from slipping).
Ant - that's a shame. Sorry I couldn't help out with a lift
birthday salutations Jools. Any plans for tonight?
i struggle to truly get two proper sessions and an LSR in every week Gerard. Good if I manage it but that only seems to happen just over half the time
good luck on Sun Minni and OO
menna- that forecast will be fab if it happens. This Sat is the first of two proper PB attempts at HM for the summer. Not sure how fit I really am but will do my best to give it proper beans from the bell. I'll def need everything to go in my favour for that to happen. Did an HM about a minute over PB in may so we'll see what happens.
Speedy - "totes toasties" ......wtf??? Are they a goth thing??
I'm sat at my desk working...
Er, no Frazerelli. They're socks with grips on the soles of the feet. Everyone had them in the 90s. Except you aparently!
Hope you've currently got a drink in hand (and a few in your belly) Jools. Happy birthday.
Good luck for the HM Fraser.
Happy birthday Jools - hope you didn't have to stay too late!
Sounds like you need a bit of a rest Ant.
PMJ - I'm intrigued. Can you not tell us exactly where you are and what you're doing there?!
Talking of being in a strange country, I'm up in Aberdeen at the moment. .
Hoping to make it out first thing for a run along the beach although apparently I've got to run all the way around the golf course to get there, rather than being able to run through it.
Cant believe how expensive hotels are up here - 150 quid for a room at the Premier Inn. And apparently this is one of the cheaper options
Happy birthday Jools. Miss Endurance Monster, absolutely. I recall that Hilly was given a decent set of intervals to have a go at: 25x 400m off 60 seconds recovery. I tried that one as well. It's a bit of a tester, trying to keep the pace constant yet tough. I think that the aim is to get some lactate build up, and push on through it. Don't forget your mile warm up and again warm down, and you'll have done a decent evening's work.
PMJ. If they find you've got a GPS they'll shoot you.
Lorenzo: Try Pembroke: £50 for a double room. Aberdoom does sound pricey.
PMJ - you weren't blindfolded on the way there by any chance, were you?Ant - sounds like you're having a great time - maybe something will turn up and you'll get a lift to Lytham after all.GM - similar change in the weather here - seems to be getting more humid too. Hideous weather for a race, I'm afraid.Jools - belated birthday wishes - good celebratory reps.Lorenzo - enjoy the beach run,Blisters - sounds a bit like one of Zatopek's infamous sessions.10 miles @ 7:05 m/m d&d.
There might be more heat on Sunday Minni! Do you know whether the tide will be in or out this year?
Belated b/day wishes Joolska- hope you sneaked in a couple of swifties after work...
8 miles for me last night. The foot seems much better although pace was sluggish. Not expecting great things for Sunday but will try my best for the V50 prize though.
Hope it wasnt too late for you yesterday Jools, MHR for the day.
Will see you there Frazerelli but I am a DNS I am afraid. Went out for a tester last night and has to bin it due to being too painful after mile and a half - I knew already after 200 yards, but gave it the chance to ease and it didnt. Doctors today and on light duties for the next 7-10 days minimum inc no agitation to abdomen. Think the static bike might be getting an airing again.
Happy birthday yesterday Jools!
Massive post coming - bear with me
Race report plus campaign overview: for those interested (and I suspect there are one or two) in having a crack at an IM race I’ve also included my tri journey and some of the tips that I’ve picked up along the way so apologies if this goes on for ages!
After a few stuttering marathon campaigns, every one of which was beset by injury and illness I decided to try a bit of cross-training to supplement / replace some run volume in the build up to Abingdon 2012. I had been suffering with foot shin pain for a couple of years and wanted to try to get fitter without ending up on the physiio table. “Consistently consistent” always seemed out of reach. I’d observed that TR and Keir’s cycling efforts had given them a big aero base and thought that maybe cycling was a good option and I was already swimming once or twice per week (mostly breast stroke). In July 2012 my benevolent employers offered the cycle to work scheme so I picked up an entry level carbon framed road bike – shiny and white! First few ventures were a bit fraught with danger but started to get the hang of it and within a couple of weeks I’d found a local tri in September (Olympic distance) as a test event. I put my name down and started to panic about the swim – the furthest I’d swum was about 0.5km so started to spend more time swimming front crawl and increased the time in the pool to twice per week with more time spent on swimming on less time messing about with my kids. As a complete novice to this I booked a session with an open water swim coach in Windermere.
*TIP 1 – UNLESS YOU HAVE A SWIM BACKGROUND, GET PROFESSIONAL HELP WITH YOUR SWIMMING. The session was very difficult. I was flapping about in the water, the difference between a shallow heated indoor pool and a murky, cold lake full of weeds and currents was huge. I really struggled to catch my breath, heart was racing, form was terrible, I was weaving all over the place and started to have doubts that I’d be able to do this for any length of time. A few tips on sighting, how to get used to the water temperature and control breathing, and some form drills started to pay off within the session. I went away and worked on the drills in the local pool. I also made a point of going back to the open session that the coach held on a Friday night with other OW swimmers and was able to practice mass starts, sighting, turning at buoys, being swum over, drafting etc etc. I was at the back of the group but made significant progress in confidence over the next month. *TIP 2 – GET PLENTY OF OPEN WATER SWIM PRACTICE IN A GROUP.
A week before the first tri, the entries opened for the Outlaw race and in a moment of over-exuberance sitting in a hotel room with nobody there to say “don’t be stupid”, I clicked on the “enter here” button and the credit card details were in…. Oh dear.
Went to the Buttermere tri that weekend and looked aghast at the distance that the first turning buoy was placed away from the start line and couldn’t even see the second one! Despite the fears, the swim went very well and ended up with a faster time for 1500m than I’d managed in the pool and following the coach’s advice, I’d stayed out of trouble and drafted without mercy the whole way round. I had a big beaming smile as emerged from the water and then jumped on the bike to get going up HonisterPass. Bike course was tough and made me realise that there was a LOT to do to get the bike fitness up and to improve my bike skills as people whizzed past me on both the up and downhill sections. The run went predictably well and I passed a chunk of the field. Reflections after the race were that this was really quite a lot of fun.
I quickly realised that I couldn’t make up a schedule so bought “Be Iron Fit” by Don Fink which had easily accessible tips and info on prep and racing and had 3 thirty week schedules in the back of the book (1. get round, 2. intermediate, 3. competitor). Looking at the volume of training I thought the maximum I could squeeze into my life was the intermediate plan and training began in the middle of December. I had talked to my wife before hand that this was going to be time consuming but it really did eat up the hours and caused a bit of friction at various times.
*TIP 3 – MAKE SURE YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER IS ON BOARD WITH THE TRAINING VOLUME AT THE START
*TIP4 – GET A STRUCTURED SCHEDULE THAT IS ACHIEVABLE
*TIP 5 – BE PREPARED TO GET VERY GOOD AT TIME MANAGEMENT – GETTING UP EARLY, DOING TWO THINGS AT ONCE AND BASICALLY HAVING ZERO TIME FOR DOING ANY KIND OF RELAXING!
The plan was broken into 3 ten week sections: Base, Build and Peak
10 week Base phase:
Started at 6hrs per week and peaked at 11hrs structured roughly as:
- 2 swims per week of an hour including drills, steady swimming and a bit of interval work
- lots of low HR cycling with an increasingly longer ride at the weekend peaking at a 3 hr ride (which seemed like a mammoth outing at the time!)
- steady, low HR running with a max LSR at 90 mins
I followed the swim plan well. I did a bit more on the bike, maybe with an extra spin session and a tad longer on each of the longer bike rides but did hardly any of the running as my foot was knackered. I found it quite easy going on the body despite putting more training time in than I’d ever done before and could feel my fitness building steadily and felt really quite healthy. Having the discipline to stick to the low HR zones and just tick along patiently was greatly helped by the fact that I wasn’t running.
10 week Build phase:
10 -13 hrs per week
- 3 1hr swims per week
- increasing bike volume including some short intervals and a long ride up to 4hrs
- steady running with some strides and a short intervals and the long run peaks at 2hrs
I did very little running again and did slightly more on the bike. I managed 3 swims per week most weeks but occasionally only 2. Still feeling good by the end of this phase and body shape starting to be noticeably different and lost a few pounds too.
10 week Peak phase:
10 – 15hrs per week
- 3 1hr swims again which were a bit more challenging to squeeze into the 1hr slots
- more bike volume again with long ride peaking at 5.5hrs
- longer running including longer brick sessions and more interval work
Started to run again but kept the volume low and only increased the times by 10% each week. I only caught up to the planned run volume by the start of the taper – oops – and my longest run was 16miles. I didn’t do any fast running at all but found myself getting quicker with time anyway with my natural plod pace at 138bpm HR being about 7:30mm by this stage which was pleasing.
I threw in an Olympic distance race in Rhyl 4 weeks before the main event as a practice and was pleasantly surprised by the comfort on the bike and my ability to run a 41min 10K on the back of it which was far and away the fastest pace I’d done any running for about 8 months. I was intent on practising transitions under race conditions and also to practice fuelling on the bike whilst being able to stay focussed on a steady pace and not get too carried away. The event went very well with a much faster time than I was expecting (2:22 vs a hoped for 2:45) and I was filled with confidence and started to look forward to taper and the race itself.
*TIP6 – SCHEDULE PRACTICE RACES – A HALF IM WOULD ALSO BE SENSIBLE BUT I COULDN’T FIT ONE IN TO MY SCHEDULE AND DIDN’T WANT TO RISK MY FOOT
Pre race and kit prep:
Kit becomes such a big factor compared to just simply running around a bit!
The swim is fairly straightforward with a decent swim wetsuit and a pair of goggles which are comfortable, don’t leak in open water (they do seem to vary from pool to OW probably due to the water temp and the seal), are tinted if your event will take place in a sunny place
The bike is where it gets interesting. (In chronological order) As well as a bike I ended up buying a helmet, bike shorts, cycling top, bottle cages, bike shoes and clipless pedals, track pump, spare tubes, tyre levers, saddle bag, mini pump to attach to frame, lights, tri shorts x 3, winter gloves, clip-on aero bars, an aero helmet, another cycling top, new handlebars after bending mine in a crash, bike-fit, fingerless gloves, race tyres, more inner tubes not to mention the mountains of malt loaf and High5 energy source. And I was conservative compared to what I wanted to buy…!
The run, a pair of trainers
The Race: Arrived in Nottingham feeling ready and primed although I’d had a long week at work and disturbed sleep (the fire alarm at my wife’s business premises went off at 3am on the Saturday morning and I had to get up and travel to sort it out!!). There were loads of people bustling around the venue and there was a swim event on in the lake which looked very tempting with the heat of the late afternoon. The lake looked long!
I went to rack my bike, ensuring my tyres were nicely pumped up and then attended the race briefing where the chap strongly advised us not to pump our tyres up until the next morning because they are likely to explode in the heat of the sun! I had to sit there for an hour worrying that my tyres would be in shreds by the time I got back. He talked through the course and the rules about not drafting on the bike etc and warned us about managing our hydration properly since it was going to be a hot one. As soon as he finished talking I legged it to the racking area and let the air out of my still intact tyres and realised about 300 other people were doing exactly the same thing J
Packed my transition bags with relevant items and hooked them onto my numbered peg in the transition tent then stood and pondered the routes through the two transitions to familiarise myself with the plan for the next day.
Back to hotel and very early night (9pm) and got to sleep eventually. I was disappointed to be woken up at 2am by some noisy Eastern European voices laughing their way down the hotel corridor and got out of bed at about 2:45am. Breakfast in the room and made sure I had my stuff together and then headed off to the venue at about 4:30.
Loads of people arriving by then, with some looking quite happy and most looking a bit worried and focussed but there was a crackle of excitement in the air. Quick check of kit in the transition area, pumped up the tyres and then wetsuit on and through to the starting area.
With about 10minutes to go before the start the announcer called “number xxx, please return to your bike. Your rear tyre has just exploded”. Oh dear. Heard another chap say, “b*gger, my goggles have just snapped”. Oh dear.
Got into the water, a balmy 19degrees and looked quite clear. A plunge under and it wasn’t too bad at all and (for Speedy’s benefit) didn’t taste too bad. A quick paddle around and then we were penned back against the jetties. I had positioned myself on the outside edge of the fast pen thinking the super speedy boys and girls will dash off and I will have a bit of clear water behind them.
I was gazing around at the view and then the horn went and we were off. It was a touch hectic but my breathing was calm and I tried to swim steadily. I found it hard to get any clear water though with people trying to swim over the backs of my legs and I was strong enough to kick them off me and to the side. There were plenty of punches to my head but nothing serious and the feet in front weren’t going quick enough for me to draft effectively so I was weaving about and trying to find a good line to take. After about 600m it started to settle down a bit and I found some feet to follow and just settled down into a nice rhythm. At about the 1km mark the small group I was with came into contact with a another larger group and I take a heavy whack into the face which detached my goggles and I ended up with a lung full of water. Quick readjustment and then coughed and spluttered my way clear. I realised then that the group I was with was about 20 metres to the left of the main body of swimmers so decided to take an adjusted line across and join the bigger pack in time for the turning buoy at 1.9km which gave me a spell in uncluttered waters. Hit the group just at the buoy and the tranquillity was soon lost as I fought my way through the next 50 metres to get to the next turn. A bit rough for the next 200 metres or so and get a kick in the head as someone took a wild line across the pack. Still feeling good though and start to pick the pace up a bit since I am maybe a bit too relaxed. With about 500m to go I put the burners on and have the most enjoyable part of the swim, identifying people ahead as targets, catching them, drafting for a few seconds and then surging past for the next victim. Great fun. Suddenly I could see the finish arch and with a quick burst of pace and kick of the legs I was being helped out of the water by one of the volunteers. 1hr 9min on the clock (bang on target) and I really could have gone round the course again quite happily. All going well so far!!
Trot round to the transition area, wetsuit off, towel rub down and get the bike kit on and waddle back out to get collect the bike. 5mins T1 time and before I know it I’m over the mount line and clipping in. A quick whizz round the lake perimeter road, past the crowds and then we are off onto the roads!
I didn’t have my Garmin on the bike (it only lasts about 4 hrs so decided to save it for the run) so just rode to feel and felt really comfortable. The plan was to take some food (malt loaf, Clif bar or gel) every half hour and take Hi5 as fluid replacement plus some extra energy. The course is made up of a Southern and Northern loop with bits in between joining them up and linking back to race HQ. Whizzed through the first section and hit the southern loop in good spirits. Course had a few minor undulations but felt fast and I had been on the bike about just over an hour when I asked a chap I was overtaking how far we’d come so far. “Just over 22miles” came the response. Excellent, that’s much quicker than I’d planned and might have been an alarm bell on another day but made the decision to try to carry on at about the same speed / level of effort bearing in mind that it was going to get much hotter later. “Make hay while the sun shines not as hot as it’s going to later” and all that.
There were plenty of people to pace against and to chase down which made a big difference to my ability to concentrate and stay focussed on keeping the effort level consistent. I also passed several people who had punctures or other mechanical issues and I was thankful that I’d had no such problems.
I glanced at my wrist watch a while later and it was 9am. My planned finish time was 6pm. That’s a full work day in race mode and I’ve already done 3hrs… Suddenly had a dark thought and quickly put it aside.
*TIP7 – DON’T THINK ABOUT THE WHOLE RACE – IT’S JUST TOO MUCH TO CONTEMPLATE – ONE SECTION AT A TIME AND THEN RESET IS THE ONLY WAY TO MENTALLY GET THROUGH IT.
Came out of the Southern loop and then had a long slog up the road to the Northern loop. There was a bit of a headwind (about 3mph but I felt it) and a large pace line went past me which was a bit demoralising. Hit the northern loop and after a couple of sharp turns I was on the climb up the only real hill on the course and lo, there are all of those riders who went past me about 15minutes ago! Chased them up the hill and then pushed hard over the top for a very satisfying and very fast 3 or 4 miles of passing people.
Went passed a few folks at the side of the road having toilet breaks and realised I hadn’t needed to pee yet and was at the halfway point so had a go (whilst still on the bike obviously!) but was very disappointed with the resulting volume so made a conscious effort to drink more. I had taken a bottle at each aid station but had probably only drunk ¾ of each one before ditching it at the next station and replacing it. Obviously not enough. I enjoyed a spell of overtaking people including one guy who had a wafer thin aero bike, pointy helmet and was tucked down low as I pootled past effortlessly upright on the bike with one hand on the handlebar and a wedge of malt loaf in the other happily munching away. “Alright mate” I said, not much of a response!
Back for the second time on the Southern loop now and still feeling strong, a quick time check with a rider suggests I’ll be well under 6hrs for the ride so I keep the pressure on. Bottle is now empty. Where is the next aid station? Keep on going and can feel the temperature rising now and getting thirsty signals. Oh dear. I reach the station eventually and take a bottle but feel like I have slowed a bit. I drink plenty and feel better instantly and whizz through the final stages back to T2 only slowed down by the speed bumps on the private road back into the Holme Pierrepont estate. Back at T2 with a 5:38spilt (40mins faster than hoped for) which is a smidge o
That lasts about 3minutes.
The difference in perceived temperature from whizzing around on a bike with a self generated 20mph breeze to running around an exposed course in full sunshine is huge. (I found out after the race that thermometers had hit 30degrees at one of the aid stations). A glance at the watch and I am at about 7:45mm, don’t need to be that quick, so ease off, 8mm, still feeling it and I get to the aid station at the top end of the lake. Walk through and get a couple of cups of water over the head and drink as much as I can gulp down. Off again and it’s now getting unbearably hot, 8.5mm. I go past the finish chute for the first of 4 times and there’s a lady there with ice cubes. 3 under the hat and one in each hand. I wonder how the race photos will turn out with a lumpy hat on my head but soon feel better as the cooling on the head takes effect. Another loop around the lake and I’m now at about 6 miles and suffering with cramp everywhere before I head out on the first of 2 long out and back loops into Nottingham. I am resigned to not getting under a 4 hr marathon. Great support along the route and every aid station is well manned and stocked and it becomes a battle to balance cramp in either calf or hamstring, running time, walk breaks, stops at aid station every 1.5miles or so with the ever increasing average pace number. I have a particularly hard patch where I am walking more than running. Feel like I can’t eat anything and just try to march on. Not sweating now either. Extra effort at the next couple of aid stations to get fluids down. Coke has never tasted so good. I get a second wind and I’m suddenly running more freely although the calves are complaining a lot. An examination of the watch shows that I can still get under 11:30 if I can pick the pace up for the last 5miles. My A target was 12hrs but, in the spirit of making myself suffer more than is necessary I feel a wave of determination take over and decide to give it a go. I go through the aid stations quicker and have only one walk break due to a cramp attack and feel like I am making good progress as I hit the lake again for the final lap round. Calves are on fire. Start to push harder now for the last 2 miles and am easily going past people who are still in the early stages of their run. Pretty much everybody else is walking by now. Final aid station at the top end of the lake, water over head and quick swig and I’m away pushing harder now. The lake stinks at the top end where the water is undisturbed and the heat is rising, start to feel a bit nauseous. I’ve lost the ability to calculate the time left so push on. A guy comes running past at speed! Gah! Tried to keep up with him and lasted about a minute before having to drop off the pace. Realise I’ve gone deaf in my right ear – that can’t be a good sign. My heavy breathing is now echoing around my head. Push push push for the finish and I pass the fast running guy and then finally veer left to take the filter onto the red carpet, sprint to the line and I emit a weird guttural roar as I go through the finish banner. 11hrs 28mins 50seconds J
3 steps later I stop and hold onto the barrier for a few minutes and the world is spinning
Lie down in the medical tent for half an hour
Up the stairs (I kid you not!!!!) to the massage area
Food and drink
Back to hotel
Eat some more
Up early and 3.5hr drive home to proud family
The event was top class. Very well organised and the marshals and volunteers were incredible all through the day. After a severe bout of “Tuesday legs” and waves of tiredness that have h
The event was top class. Very well organised and the marshals and volunteers were incredible all through the day. After a severe bout of “Tuesday legs” and waves of tiredness that have hit me over the first 3 days after the race I am feeling pretty good now. Would I do another? It would be rude not to. There’s a 10:xx IM race in me somewhere I’m sure of it!.... but a fast marathon in the autumn is next on the list.
Is that the longest post ever? - Go long or go home!
Bit that was missing at T2..!
Back at T2 with a 5:38spilt (40mins faster than hoped for) which is a smidge off 20mph average and much faster than I’d ever managed in training. I jump off with relative grace and hand my bike to one of the helpers and go straight into the tent to get my run kit on. 5 minutes again in the transition area and I am out onto the run. The time is 1pm. A sub 4hr marathon will get me under 11 hrs which would be amazing. I’m excited and confident as I leave the tent.
That lasts about 3minutes.
double wow- that is some post SJ. Can't wait for the next installment
Fab report, SJ. You deserved to take that much forum space after all that effort. 10.xx next time
i really enjoyed reading that SJ. Big big big balls. Wish I had the nerve to say I'd done one but don't think I have the drive. Brilliant stuff
i'll look out for you on Sun mennania. Sorry you are DNS. Will you be at the start or just the end to witness the finishing "glory"
Massive monster cojones SJ, what an operation just to get to the start line let alone finish. A huge undertaking and the dedication absolutely dwarfs what it takes to pootle round a mara. It must be great to breeze past slow folk encumbered with thousands of £ worth of kit. What's next - Hawaii?
GFA entry for London D&D today, seems a decent new system but is it fair on people who might not have a scanner or be computer savvy? Running is supposed to be a very simple sport.*
* unlike IM!