Friday, 30 May 2008

reality bites


Swim1.02 T1 5.21 Bike 6.00 T2 6.36 Run 3.56 Finish 11.10.57

Somewhere in my dream world I thought I could train for an ironman and not do too much pain. Have read the bible (friel) and it seems to suggest that this might be the case but Saturdays race suggests otherwise. Whilst my prep had not been perfect I was confident of a good bike split at IM Lanzarote. My result was not what I wanted. No breakthrough performance here. A solid race with no dramas and a run that was as good as I could have hoped for but no top 100 bike split which was my aim.

Looking for reasons it is hard to identify just one thing. Maybe I did not train hard enough, maybe I did not train long enough. Reading this made me think about my diet. Maybe it is finally time to confront my inner tweenie and stop eating all the sugar I still crave so badly in order that I become a better fat burner.

Not one to look back and remembering I am in it to be positive, I learnt I love the race, I learnt my wife is a top supporter and I learnt that for me it is enough to just be in it and that there is a lot to share with your fellow athletes as you push through the latter stages of the race.

Monday, 19 May 2008

The necessary obsession.

Todays title lifted from gordo lifted from someone else. Thought about it as I was writing a detailed race plan to cover the build up and every aspect of raceday that I could think about.

So what is this necessary obsesssion? well it refers to what is needed to succeed at long distance tri. An ability to let it overcome all sorts of other considerations to the point where it can be overwhelming. Looking back at the last 6 months to the man in the street my behaviour is beyond the obsessive. But to an aspirational age grouper it is probably about par for the course and we would share this obsession. To my partner it is just about tolerable given the clear sense of wellbeing that I get from my training.
I think human beings are hard wired for this sort of thing. It is what makes our brains such an amazing tool and enables us to overcome all sorts of complex problems and keep trying until we find a way through which for you proto human being must have given us a considerable survial edge.

Coming to IM racing I find it mimics my career in many ways. Long periods of training to perform a complex task (operations), learning all the little bits that when put together make for a smooth and successful performance. When repeated over time some of these bits become almost ingrained patterns of behaviour (at work) and I try and bring this to my racing. Performing on the day to the best of my available abilities is all I can hope for. But I would not settle for anything less either, so anything else that I can control come raceday I will.

So when it comes to my raceplan how many Co2 cannisters should I carry come raceday? The obsessive can find reasons for at least 5 cannisters. The truly focused might go without. I take 3!
5 days to go. Thanks Jev for the support. The mara is gonna be a mystery but the swim and bike are a cert for a good time.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Dealing with adversity

So after 6 months of hard training, was at the best I have ever been then my running goes of the rails with a calf injury. Not sure why as it was a low volume running week but may have been the accumulation of fatigue with too much top end work. Not run for 10 days and starting to wonder what will happen come race day.

So how do I deal with it?

Look at the positives. The swimming and the running are the best they have ever been. Swimming marginally so but the biking feels great, which makes for a good first 7 hours or so of the race.

Accept what is done is done. There is nothing I can do now that will change what has happened and I should recognise that I have learnt something about my training and try to avoid the same scenario next time. With acceptance then comes the ability to try and look for solutions and ways of rationalising what has happened. It is important to examine what lead to the failure so that I do not repeat the same mistakes (injuries are failures of training in the same way that accidents are never the result of divine fate but the result of a number of smaller incidents that were potentially avoidable).

So what for Lanzarote? Firstly got to remember I do this for fun and if I am risking serious injury come run time then it may be a long walk or DNF. Secondly focus on nailing the swim and the bike and seeing how good I can feel as I head out for the run. Third believe that come race day it will be OK, I have done lots of run training, I will have had a long run taper, it will work. Strong mental visualisation of success and easy running are important to me in my preparation. I do the same for work and it seems to benefit me by finding the extra edge in race performance.

Finally remember that it will be a great place for a holiday with the rest of my family, and that there is always next year.

Monday, 5 May 2008

five pound swimming pool hustle

This last week after near 300 miles of bike in the week before I focused on swimming and put in 4 sessions for a total of 14,000m. This has had repercussions, like I got cramp in my calf when only 10km into my long run on friday but also benefits.

The clear benefits are in this series of 3x (5x100m of 20,15,10 and 5 sec) Ok I was in a wetsuit but the times 1.22,1.20,1.25,1.24,1.25,1.24,1.25,1.28,1.24,1.26 etc are all under 1.30. This is the first time I have managed sub 1.30s more than 5 x in a row so I was well chuffed and happy that a sub 1 hr should be in the bag (allowing for waves and general idiocy on my behalf). The flip side of this was that the pool was busy with 2 lanes out of action so a lot of fastish swimmers crammed into half the space of normal.. and I loved it. In doing so I must of crossed a few other swimmers and generally been a bit irritating to some of the others in the lane... so maybe not such a good thing, but when you are on fire it seems to conquer all other considerations.

Now to the hustle. My youngest was challenged by the pool attendant to do the swim test (again... for the 6th time in 2 years). I said she could swim to the end of the pool and back no problem. The pool attendant looks her up and down and says no chance. I said you wonna bet he said £5.

2mins 50 secs and 100metres later we were £5 to the good, so there are benefits from taking them to all those swimming lessons. And a well happy daughter to boot.

I just hope that now London has a new Mayor we are notgoing to see drastic cuts in the funding of facilities like the local pool.

Otherwise things are looking good. Made a rash boast that april would see me over a 1000 bike miles, but reality kicked in and got to 800 something. If you want to read about someone who really puts the miles down read this.

19 days to go to Lanza, currently doing some skin training in the sun. Looks like no running for a week though as calf is worse than I first thought, ran for 10 mins and it shut me down and I had to walk home.