Sunday, 29 June 2014

1 month to go!

I'm sitting in my study listening to the ATHelite committee chatting on in the kitchen. It seems a certain Derek forgot about the meeting and his office was closed!!!

HUGE congratulations to David Arthur who has just finished Ironman Nice in a brilliant time of 12:47:26, beating last year's time of 12:54:36 over a very difficult (read hilly!) course.

Another couple of local triathlon club members who have trained alongside us in Strathclyde loch over the last few weeks have also done incredibly well. Paolo Leite finishing (his first I believe) IM in 12:24:24 and Gerry Seenan in a blistering time of 11:21:18 - his marathon time at the end of the IM was 3:27:28 - amazing!!!

Bobby Ferguson also conquered the fearsome Celtman extreme triathlon yesterday - not one to do anything by half, this was Bobby's 1st IM distance event. 3.8km swim in Loch Shieldaig, followed by 202km bike (because 180km isn't far enough!) and then run 42km over the top of 2 munros. Respect!

As I am writing, 2 of our international ATHelite team (the founder members no less) Colin and Genevieve Freeman are racing IM Coeur D'Alene... GOOD LUCK guys!

It's great to see my fellow triathletes doing well - all the hours of training have paid off and I am sure they will be celebrating tonight... any more than 2 beers and I'll be equally amazed!!!

For the Outlaws within ATHelite, we're now on the final countdown. Only 1 month to go! Eeeeek!

I've managed another really solid month of training and only have 2 more weeks of 'peak' training followed by 2 weeks of taper to the event.

Month totals:
63 actvities
covered 970km
trained for 71 hours and 27 minutes
burned 43,371 kCalories

I've found out to my cost on a couple of occasions that the 4th discipline of triathlon (nutrition) needs a little more work. When I've been rested and well fuelled I've put in some strong times on the bike and run, when I've missed out on the nutrition, not surprisingly, I've struggled. It's been really useful to make these mistakes in training - now I can avoid making the mistakes on the day of the race!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Chi running - part 3

Our good pal Nick Constantine from came up for a special ATHelite session today in Hamilton.

It was great to revisit the theory behind the Chi running technique and of course have Nick's excellent commentary and feedback on how we were doing.

This is the third time I've attended one of Nick's courses and there is always something new to learn. Like golf, swimming or even a bike fit, the difference a few cm in the position of your body can make a dramatic difference - going from arrrrrggggghhhh to eureka in a few moments!

It was great seeing the rest of the ATHelite team progress throughout the day and we've got some great new ideas for group sessions to keep the chi flowing! I see many p.b.s on the horizon!

Bethany Sportive

Saturday morning and the alarm clock went off at 5:45 a.m. Not really what I had in mind but we were off to do a long day on the bike, south of Edinburgh, starting in Lasswade near Bonnyrigg.

The Bethany Sportive, according to John, was 'a bit lumpy'. Lorna had a few other descriptions for it but this is a family blog so I'll just say she reckoned it was a little on the tough side!

We got there early, registered and met up with the rest of the ATHelite team. We knew the weather was going to worsen as the day wore on so ensured we were one of the first teams out. It was brilliant working as a chain gang and we were keeping up a great pace as we flew through the valley. Then 'pop', 'hisssssss', and 'puncture, pull over' were heard from the front of our peloton...

It was a sound we'd here again, several times during the day, and they all happened to John! Four punctures and one exploding inner tube later and it was game over. Thankfully on sportive events there are support cars roaming the route and John and his infamous Continental Supersonic GP tyre were loaded up and ferried back to the finish line.

To be honest, at that point in the race I could quite happily have got a lift home. I've decided that hills don't like me and after 2000m of climbing I was pretty ready to throw in the towel. I'd fuelled pretty well during the day and had worked well with the rest of the gang to keep the pace going but every time I hit a hill the rest of the team disappeared into the distance. After several one-man time trial efforts I'd then catch them up, put in a stint at the front of the group then drop off again as the hill turned skywards!

At one food stop I left early as I knew they'd be the fox to my hare and sure enough after 10-15 mins they caught and passed me, on yet another hill. I have to say a big thank you to all the volunteers, especially for their home baking. The chocolate brownies on the course were amazing!!!

I was keeping a close eye on my Powermeter and I was looking at well over 250+W whenever the tarmac began to rise. I'm hoping to put down a constant 200W for the Outlaw which seems a bit easier than the constant interval session on the sawtooth shaped landscape of the border hills. 

The weather we were expecting arrived and the rain began to fall more heavily and the wind picked up, so much so that I was pushing 250W pedalling downhill into a headwind on the final 20 miles of the route in an attempt to get to the finish line ASAP. I downed half a bottle of water and within a few minutes started to full human again - I suspect I was dehydrated, even though I wasn't at all thirsty, and by that stage had drunk probably 2.4 litres of water during the ride.

I also discovered that spinning in the little ring at 90 rpm (~140W) versus the big ring at 90 rpm (~220W) didn't really put any additional strain on the CV system, but meant I was going noticeably quicker.

Eventually, after 6 hours and 31 minutes of cycling, I crossed the finish line, notching up another century ride.

Lorna and I were supposed to do a 10km run after the bike and as she wheeled in as I put the bike in the car I could tell (thankfully) that we wouldn't be doing one! It was absolutely bouncing down at this stage so we opted to get dried off and have coffee and cake with the rest of the ATHelite team!

So, whilst this was a really tough event, there were several positives to take out of the day. Another great social event for the ATHelite team, another good training ride and ideas on how to improve my performance in the longer events. Those hills may have won the battle but they've yet to defeat me!

Time (trial) and error

Took the new Wilier twin blade out for its first outdoor session on Friday.

I'd warmed up by taking out the S-Works Tarmac for a short blast, checking to see that the guys at V44 had fixed the clicking noise that I'd noticed when putting full power through the cranks. Thankfully it seems to have (almost) disappeared so I can now make a little stealthier progress on the bike ;-)

The twin blade feels great, very much like a road bike at the back, stiff but not harsh. You can really feel putting down the power is transferring into forward movement and when the Zipps were spinning there was a satisfying 'clack-clack-clack' from the bearings in the hubs as they span round. 

I managed to get a couple of decent runs around the block and the Strava results looked good - a second place and a 7th place for a couple of segments. I still don't feel 100% comfortable in the time trial position but I think this is more down to time on the bike rather than any (drastic) set up changes required at this stage. By this time last year I'd logged countless hours on the Boardman in the TT position so could hold the aero position for long sustained periods. I know the Outlaw course is reasonably flat so this is something that I'll need to work on in the coming weeks to bring down the bike time and do justice to the super bike I've got my hands on!

Leaving the pool behind

Normally on a Friday afternoon I'd leave work and spend an hour and 20 minutes (or so) endlessly swimming up and down the pool at Virgin Active in Hamilton. This is great training on 2 counts... I need the swim fitness to get me through the first part of the triathlon and secondly, training the mind to deal with the monotony of endurance events is useful. It's often a great stress reliever forcing the brain to turn off from daily events and focus on simple (important) things like breathing!

Over the last 2 Fridays we've been lucky enough to have good weather and the Commonwealth Games' triathlon venue on our doorstep, so a number of the ATHelite team have been going to the loch in Strathclyde Park to open water swim. Now, if you've been reading this blog for some time you'll know that I have a love-hate relationship with open water swimming. I hate doing it and love it when it's all finished!

All this changed on Friday 30th May. I tentatively donned the wetsuit after finishing a running session in the gym with the kids and joined Lorna in the loch (she'd already done 1 lap of the course). I think the fact that I was late getting there gave me less time to worry about what I was about to do, so I jumped in and just swam. 

The water was cold but clear and I was soon focusing on trying to swim straight (not that easy when there are no pool markings!) by sighting on the large orange buoys we'd swim round. Instead of mindlessly ploughing up and down the same lane now the mind had to course-correct, avoid other swimmers, remember to breathe, check swimming technique and dodge the occasional swan. The time flew by and after 32 mins I'd covered 4 loops (approx 1800m) and it was time to get out for Fish and Chips (and ice cream) from Equi's. Yum!

Last Friday we got there on time and decided no stopping on the beach! We did 8 loops - approximately 3600m (or nearly full IM swim distance) and the time flew by. I loved it. No more Fridays in the pool for me for some thine I think!

Marvellous May!

Well we're into June now and the days are ticking down to the event - 7 weeks today!

May was another steady month of training, incorporating the Drumlanrig sportive, Caledonian Etape, and Strathclyde Park Triathlon relay... did I mention our club were the Scottish champions?!!

I managed another 63 hours, clocking up over 816km and burning over 38,000 kCalories, not bad considering I squeezed in an additional 2 rest days.

I've done more training this year than I did last but my head keeps on telling me I've not done enough. Handy when you can look back over your training plan and the results tell the correct story!

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