Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Heart & Guts?

Its been a weird few weeks. In the last 4 weeks I have trained everyday bar six. This period has included my 40th Birthday, Mrs Brightside's Birthday and George's Birthday. Problem is though I have doubts about the quality of the training. I fit it in where I can and it can range from 750 metres in the pool to 2000, from 9 miles on my MTB to 48 on my roadie and from 3 miles running to 13! Most of it is solo, none of it is in competetive Tri conditions and none of the training seems to have all the stuff others refer to such as fartlek (seriously is that a word), hill sprints, and other stuff that goes over my head! Its glaringly obvious from the figures I am nowhere near where I need to be and for all my " I'm gonna do this next week and I'm gonna do that " the fact remains I havent. Excuses are plentiful but ultimately none of them wash with me.
The highs have included a half marathon PB and the lows a 5 mile lunchtime stinker. A 48 mile round trip to work and a 12 mile MTB lunchtime struggle. A steady 2000 in the pool and a energyless 500! If that Snow fella from the telly had me hooked up to his 'swingometer' it would have burnt out by now! The highs and lows can be week to week, day to day, mile to mile or even metre to metre and they're just the training highs and lows. Add to them the off training variances and its a constant superspeed rollercoaster.
Just last week was the Belvoir Half Ironman that I should have been doing as part of my prep had my training gone to plan. Seeing all the fellow soon to be Outlaw Ironfolk completing it and in some damn good times too made me realise how far behind I am. Hearing that @doddi76 may have picked up an Outlaw threatening injury during this event (despite nailing it in 5 hrs!) was gutting. It raises so many questions about prep, pushing, catching up but then highlights the importance of getting to the start fit! Two great bits of advice given to me are 1) Get to the start fit otherwise you cant do it at all (@Ironholgs) and 2) dont try and catch up on missed sessions (@ajh1269). They are both bang on and perhaps the only real positives to be drawn from disrupted/inadequate training are that there is less chance of pre race injury niggles, there's a good chance of getting to the start line fit and I dont know that I can't do it! By that I mean I wont have attempted a half IM to learn that I cant do a full. So if I try and create positives they are that I can get to the start fit and without niggles, I have no previous bad tri experiences to worry about, I've no 100 mile bike arse pain to think about and just under 17 hours of endurance to look forward too. I can fear the unknown but if the unknown is to not know I cant, then there is nothing to fear! You still with me?
@Ironholgs has just made IM Lanzarote his bitch. His blog of the event is testament to heart and guts and taking on, to some extent, the unknown. From that, from the confidence others have in me, from the support, encouragement and advice loads are throwing at me I need to draw the heart and guts I will need on July 1st.
To bring you up to speed (not quite an apt word) on training this is how the first part of my last ride went - first RTA!  ‎24 miles on the bike to work 1:41 on the clock but spent 10 mins discussing the merits of road safety with a Croatian Lorry driver after he hit me and knocked me off the road. Articulated lorry with second trailer attached misjudged when overtaking me and cut in. The second trailer hit my right shoulder at about 30mph. Luckily my 1982 BMX Bandit type skills kicked in and I bunny hopped onto the grass verge and stopped before hitting the ditch, fence and bushes. Lorry driver stopped and said 'sorry boss'! I said " you sir are a cunt! Me and my bike weigh about 80kg and you and your lorry weigh about 3 or 4 tonnes! If you cannot drive properly get the fuck off the road BUT if you insist on driving, when faced next time with a choice of losing your wing mirror or killing a cyclist, choose to lose your wing mirror!" He then told me in good English that he didnt speak English. As I told him to fuck off on his way I think he understood as he scurried back to his cab Manuel style as if ducking a potential clip around the ear! Close call only 5 miles in. Note to self must grow eyes in back of head and become a mind reader in advance of peoples thoughts!
My last swim was 2000 metres (80 lengths) in the pool. First 40 slow and laboured but then someone else faster than me joined the lane. I let him go ahead of me and in sections of 10 lengths my target was for him to not catch me. 3 sets of 10 later and he hadn't! This had focused my swimming and gave me confidence to swim faster. I felt I had more in the tank and I need to have as the time for 2000 was 1:05. Thats just too close to call for the Outlaw cut off!
My last run was a stinker (the catalyst for my last and very negative post). I'm only going to do 1 or 2 runs a week from now on as I know the continued strengthening from swimming and cycling will see my marathon legs ok on the day (and if I have to I will crawl the mara!).
I will be feeding off the support so keep it coming. I hope @doddi76 gets to the start of Outlaw fit and raring to go as I hope all the other soon to be Outlaws do.
So, where am I now? Positive or negative? On a high or a low? All of the above all of the time. For me Outlaw won't be a race against the clock it will be a test of heart and guts! Do I have enough? Of course I do. It would be rude not to!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

For Fucks Sake!

Worst run this lunchtime since Liverpool Marathon October last year!
Now my concerns are back to run, swim and cycle.
I've done a bit of all three last couple of weeks with some highs and some lows.
Confident in none.
I need to get this right in my head.
I am hoping this is a temporary trough (like I have time for troughs!) and I'm back on track asap.
I am off to a dark place to find my balls!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Sensible Thing To Do?

So, on to Outlaw Ironman Triathlon July 1st. Looking back at my training to date there is a 9 week gap for swimming and cycling due to my back injury and due to concentrating on running pre VLM. With hindsight I should have been nailing the bike and swimming as well as soon as I was fit too. I'm sure I won't come to curse VLM because it was such a great experience but in a perfect world it wouldnt have been pre Outlaw. Also in a perfect world I would not have to work and could train all day. I dont live in a perfect world.
I live in a world where training comes third behind work (bastard reluctant necessity) and family (which I would not wish to compromise). I try to train early, whether weekday or weekend, so as not to compromise my family life. Unfortunately, unless I am super disciplined (I am not) and can go to bed at 10pm every night ( I cant) the result of early morning training is tiredness from lack of sleep. Its not actually the result of the training or it being early its down to my discipline of course!
Does that mean I am not taking it seriously or is it more that I am not quite sure as to what is required or is it that I am sub consciously building an excuse to fail? I'm somewhat overwhelmed by it all at the moment. As time rushes by I completely understand why people say dont chase missed sessions of training. That is completely impossible and all I can do is plan well with the time I have left. The time I have left being 7 weeks this Sunday. Allow 1 for taper thats 6 weeks training. Don't get me wrong its not that I have done nothing - I had a week off after VLM granted but got 6 sessions in last week (including a PB half marathon), will have done 7 this week (primarily swim and bike). Also the running I did and VLM have resulted in me having no running concerns to the point where I will limit my running to one or two sessions a week and a maximum session of 2 hours. The run doesnt concern me - if I get to the run in one piece and still breathing I will do the run.
My concerns are with the bike and swim. Traditional training schedules now dont apply (as they didnt for VLM). My plan is to get to the point in 6 weeks time where I can swim 3800 metres in 1hr 45mins. I've not yet swum the distance nor have I swum in open water so I am going to just swim it - see how long it takes - then swim it quicker - then quicker - and then quicker still. Chuck in 3 or 4 open water sessions at shorter distances I dont see why I cant trash my arms and be out of the lake within 2 hours and on the bike!
The bike - fuck me the bike messes with my head. I love being out on the bike but I still have a mental block to getting out on the bike. Why I dont know. To me its my biggest concern so I am going to get up to 80 miles by next weekend and do 5 sessions around that distance and work on my speed and hills as often as possible in between. Its not about speed really. 112 miles at as low as 12.5mph average is 9 hours which would leave me 6 for the marathon. Doable? (is that a word?). I am now looking at this as a fast swim, an endurance ride and a sheer nuts on the table dig deep soul dredging run! I've 17 hours to do it and if I need all of them I dont mind one bit. I wont trash my chances on the bike for the sake of a respectable time. I simply cant.
There is a huge issue in that Outlaw may turn out to be my first ever tri. Due to other commitments I may well not get to do even a sprint tri first. I know others have done this before and taken a 'separate events' view to Ironman. I can see that and if that turns out to be the case I think I can deal with it. I'm not Chrissie Wellington (although I have the legs) so it wont be about flying out of the water jumping on the bike and away I go and then skipping off the bike and straight into my running. If I have to take 10 mins in transition to prepare I have no issue with this.
I have had great advice and support. Tough advice from many stating the obvious that I am not well enough prepared to attempt this and the sensible thing to do is to defer to next year. Thats sound advice but who is to say next year will be any better/easier/less disrupted? Life gets in the way unless you're a pro or a lottery winner or doley (although how you afford the kit, events, registration etc would be called into question if you're the latter!).Would I want to go through the ups and downs of training for 6 months (off and on) again? Would I have the heart?
I dont want to face those questions so the sensible thing to do seems to be to just do it as best and as sensibly as I can using all the time and tools that I have. I wont be racing to go sub 13 hours, I dont care if I get chicked, or lapped nor do I care if everyone has packed up and effed off when I cross the line. When I do it I wont care about any of that as I'll be able to say I did it. If through doing this a shed load of cash gets raised then it seems to me the only sensible option.
By way of encouragement please feel free to tell me I cant - as often as you like - in jest or in all seriousness - it will help. Thankyou!