Archive for April, 2015

SEVEN WEEKS TO GO – EEEEK!

27
Apr

In exactly seven weeks’ time I will be mid cycle, or mid run or even waiting to start the swim (I can’t work out the time difference but you get my drift)! So ….. now that I’m officially into single-figure countdown mode, what are my thoughts on the impending challenge?

Training …

Wow! I’ve never been so out of my depth. I can honestly say I have no idea what I’m doing. By that I mean that if I was putting together a training plan for a sprint tri, I could probably put it all together pretty well following basic personal training and programme planning rules and guidelines. Ironman distance, however, leaves me flummoxed and I have never been so so SO happy to have complete and utter confidence in my trainer. I am like putty in his hands, to be honest. He tells me what to do. I do. And apart from a bruised forehead from frequently falling asleep at the table and waking up only when my head has collided violently with it, I am LOVING the challenge. It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s tough but it’s never boring. I might be training 12-15 hours per week (oops – think I hit 17 the last 2 weeks lol) but it’s always different and, a bonus for us 50-plussers, it’s so much easier on the joints as a result of the variety of sports and different muscle groups being used for each. Increases in volume and intensity have also been very carefully structured so I have always been able to manage and best of all I always know that every workout has a purpose. I’ve found it incredibly comforting knowing when I go to the pool, or go running or cycling that whatever I’m doing is the right thing to do = the bliss of having a great trainer, thank you Ian (http://iancorless.org/)! I’ve got a pile of triathlon books, all with training schedules in them – and I just don’t know what I’d do had I had to resort to them as they are ALL DIFFERENT! Wow, it really is a minefield! I’m feeling very lucky and relieved.

Learning and improving …

I’m learning all the time. I’ve kept records of every workout and logged all my times. I think this has been a really good tactic. It’s fantastically motivating to look at this past week’s timed swim or 400s or 100s … and compare them to similar swims of two months ago and yes, all times have improved. The process has been fascinating, too – and I’m still playing around with high-catch techniques and flow-swimming techniques and working out which one is best for ‘me’ for the long swim. The stats have been very interesting.

In terms of running, well, I haven’t been too worried about the running side of things since I enjoy ultras. However, I’ve been thrilled to dispel any myths that correct training for running long does not translate into shorter distances. After 4 years, I’ve come closest to my 5k PB and currently chasing it – and at the recent Brighton Half Marathon I was aiming for a fast 2:15 (that’s fast for me) … but running on cadence alone I managed to break the 2 hours! Run training is still ‘different’, though – with a great mix of threshold running, easy running and runs with a specific target of ‘slower than race pace’ to teach the body to deal with ‘every’ kind of pace and, in the case of Zone 1 running and biking, to teach the body hugely important lessons in nutrition!

Cycling is definitely my biggest worry but I am quickly seeing the effect of a winter of turbo and indoor bike hours! Yes, that HAS been dull at times but I’ve escaped with the help of a great gym which has decent TV screens to keep me going for those 2-hour + bike sessions. Getting outdoors on my bike has been scary. I’m not very confident at all, but that’s picked up loads in just the last couple of weeks. A proper bike fit, followed by a good weekend with 7 hours in the saddle, some TT sessions and plenty of cadence work has all led to improvement. Still learning! Two days ago I decided to throw in half an hour of bike before my long run. I cycled up and down the same short hill for the half an hour. It might seem like nothing but during that focussed session I learned how a slight adjustment to my posture on those hills made all the difference. The little things all count. It’s also been intriguing how bike sessions are designed to target specific fuel sources. The understanding of this has helped me a lot in terms of race day nutrition-planning.

Mindset …

I’m in a mild to middling state of panic. The ‘Will-I-Make-The-CutOffs’ Monster is lurking continuously and is slightly terrifying but is kept somewhat subdued by the knowledge that if it all goes pear-shaped it will be because I simply wasn’t able to do it. It will NOT be because I missed a bunch of training sessions, had too many days off or did too much of my own thing when I didn’t fancy what my training plan said (oh so so so tempting at times!). I know it sounds rather narrow-minded but I just have not waivered from my training plan once. Nerdy? Oh well. If nerdy works for me, then I’ll go with that haha

Preparations …

Yes, they’ve started. Too early? Well, there’s just so much to think about training-wise that I’ve started ticking off little things here and there so I’m not overwhelmed at the last minute. I’ve been flustered about what ‘exactly’ to wear and I had a few girlie-specific questions so I sent a big hug and a list of said questions to Ironlady and Friend Extraordinaire Sarah Danning and within one message reply my clothing issues were sorted. I could’ve been worrying about that for the next seven weeks so early prep is suiting me just fine! Thank you, my friend. You made a bundle of nonsensical worries go away and transformed them into the easiest format! Love you. So … I now know what I’m wearing. Phew! And I also know what I’m going to eat/drink and when. My liquid fuel is sorted, my solid fuel is … nearly! I’m still a tossing around a couple of options. I know the laps of all the courses and roughly the distances with landmarks that might help me (can only confirm these when I’m there). I’ve got strategies for the swim, the bike and the run and have designed bike ‘bands’ and wristbands (for the run) with key focus points to act as reminders. I have more. I know. Panicking!!! Too much? Pah! Who cares! It’s fun, too, it’s keeping me focussed on my challenge and I think the more I prepare now, the better I’ll be able to cope with inevitable surprises!!

Support …

My beautiful eldest daughter will be there to see me off and pick up the remains at the end. Still got fingers crossed that friend Sara will also make it along. Pre-race and race day all sorted, then. BUT …. and that’s a very big BUT … I think that all of the above would mean absolutely NOTHING without the constant and unwaivering support, guidance and help from the most amazing family, incredible friends, fantastic Facebook group BOSH Tri (https://www.facebook.com/groups/380633181991688) and my more recently adopted ‘large’ and spectacular sporting family that is BTRS (http://brightontriathlonraceseries.co.uk) . You know who you are and I could never have got to this point without you. You are AMAZING and I am truly TRULY grateful. I am the luckiest person on Earth. I don’t say it enough but I am very very aware that this would never have happened without your support. Thank you.

OK. That about sums it all up. Conclusion? Panic has set in!

Jeez! Just imagine what the NEXT blog is going to be like!!!!!

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