Saturday 29 May 2010

Saturday May 29th - Aquathlon Series Race 2

Another one of these... they're pretty good actually, it's nice to throw in a short sprint in to the mix to keep things moving and remind my legs what they used to be fairly good at. I've not managed to do any interval training really until yesterday.

Ever since the time off I've been forced to take i've been feeling more and more unfit, running fitness is such a different thing to anything else, i feel heavy and sluggish so last night I had scheduled some intervals - partly to check if I should even  bother with todays Sprint!

So went to the track (which was locked up) so did laps round the outside of the running track, through the carpark which i've had to refer back to previous times doing this (many months ago!) which is measured at 840ish meters. I was going to do 800s so this was perfect. Did 5 reps off 5 mins (3:15 for each 800 and rest up to 5 mins)

Last time I did this I was doing 3:05 - 3:15 and  yesterday i was realy struggling to do 3:15s - I didnt reach puke speed I just didnt feel great. The only good thing about it was my recovery was better than ever, my HR dropping to the 80s by the end of the rest period even though when i was running I was well in my LT zone.

I send my mate "Mike the running/traflon guru" a whining text, asking what the hells happened to me, why have i got so shit and will i be able to get it baack in 6 weeks before i have to taper for the big event!?
As always he gave me some sound advice and put my head in a better place so slaped myself round the face a bit and accepted that the above times were perfectly acceptable to do a semi decent 5k time today.

Todays race then:

I talked my mate Mark into doing this too (it didnt take much as he's easily lead) we've been doing a lot of training together as he only lives round the corner and he suggested we cycled there, its only about 15 miles and since we're donig an ironman todays distances were nothing compared to the miles we've been putting in on the bike and in the lake lately.

We left and it was drizzling a bit, by the time we arrived it was drizzling a lot. We signed in, got numbered up and milled about til race off time. Being a funny fucker, i had sent Marks entry in with his age as 64 so he was down as M60s age group :D  He's a much quicker swimmer than me so was in the second wave, i would have preferred him to be the same wave so I could overtake him on the run :)

The swim was as always 400m - 16 lenghts of the pool, i was feeling strong and covering the water well I felt. After half way, i steady up my stroke and tried to cover the same distance in the same time with less effort and this seeemed to work fine. I got to what i thought was length 12 and i touched the wall to turn and my hand met a float (they stick a float in the water when you've got 2 lenghts to go)

I got all confused, and paused a bit, and then carred back on. I got back to the other end, and said i hadnt done enouhg? but got out and checked my watch which said 7 something... i was still confused but got out and  ran on out into the car park, and then realised I'd miscounted my lengths and had donea pretty decent time. Officially 7:56 - if i'd been concentrating i could have got this down a bit. But still under 8 mins which is fucking awesome for me beings such a shit swimmer.

Transition was a bit of a pickle, it was pissing down, i'd put my trainers in a carrie bag to keep them dry which was stupid, and my socks wer all wet and hard to put on, i finally wriggled into them and ran out of the car park putting on my race belt as i ran. Transition was about 1:15! really Anna you need to sort this out  - its fair enough in long distnace but sprints arent for fannying about!

The run was 5k as always, I started off with a high cadence covereing the ground fairly well, i passed a couple of people who had got out of the swim before me, follwed the course onwards and got into a rhythm. Iwasnt going flat out but i was pushing on, I got round the next corner and overtook some more folks, and got onto the straight to see that there was noone else in front of me.

I kept on til the turnaround point and checked my watch 10:30 for the first half, I pulled back the pace a little (not deliberately really) but slowed my cadence and increased my stride length. the people behind were now heading towards me going for the turnaround and about half way back the second wave of ridiculoulsly fast swimmers and runners were heading my way too. rounding the last kilometer or so, i spotted mak coming my way and we high 5'd I came back into the car park with a total time of 30:40 making my run time about 21:30 - not too shabby, but I dont know if i'll ever nail a negative split!

I was first lady again - best 3 times of the 5 series wins prizes, so i'm still in the lead. Next race is 19th June and I'm hopefully going to have put in some proper run training by then so am really going to try and push under 30 mins. :)

Friday 21 May 2010

Florida 70.3 Half Ironman

I'm not sure where to start on this without it becoming a massive epic, part of me wants to keep it short but I have so much to write about it almost needs a whole blog but I think i'm going to try and keep it brief.

Me and Suzie entered this last year and it was oringally it was going to be my main event - but then I signed up for Switzerland Full Iron Man for the end of July, so this became my B race - or a warm up (!!)

My running has been suffering due to various injuries and haven't really been able to put in the time on my feet I'd have liked and i'm also very lardy at the moment which isnt helping a) my speed and b) my head.

We arrived n Orlando (Disneyworld no less) on Friday afternoon, after a giggly fun filled (but long) flight over, the worry of the bikes getting damaged in the hold was my main issue up to now.

When we got to our log cabin (very little house on the prairie) we upacked and reassembled our bikes - phew all was ok with them! I went for a little run whilst suzie rode her bike alongside, and we had a little mooch about and found the shops etc. even at 8pm it was really hot and humid.

Saturday we had to register and rack our bikes. Suzie wanted to go for a run, so I rode and checked my gears and brakes were all working ok whilst she ran, then we went to register and eat a "large" breakfast! going by the endurance fuelling method i use of large breakfast, moderate lunch and small dinner. Well we werent even hungry until dinner time!

Whislt racking our bikes, i felt very much like i didnt belong here, i felt very unfit and overweight here around all these lean triathletes :( flip side is there were some ridiculously hot guys mincing about! There was some serious bike porn too, some proper bling, not that i minded as my bike is lush.

after setting everything up in transition for the following morning, we set off back to the cabin got our kit ready for the morning and waited for my one of best friend'a Ellen and Suzie's friend to arrive (and soak up some sun )

We needed to be at the start for 5am to get marked up so set my alarm for 4am and i did something i never do.... slept through it! 4.30 and Suzie luckily had woken up so flung open my door and i crawled out of bed and we got ourselves fed, dressed and down to the start.

The Swim: 1.2 miles open water
The swim was set off in 22 waves 3 minutes apart by age group categoryy, mine was due to be set off at 7am, Suzies at 7.06 so we got to watch the Pro's get off and show us how its meant to be done! I was in awe. A pro woman (Emma Kate Lidbury) who some people from my club know was racing and i saw her warming up before the swim. That's how a triathlete should look - not a big whale! :(
Suzie and I hugged goodluck, somehow getting black ink on our faces off each others arms from the numbers.... 6.58 came and I was lined up next to 150 or so other girls in pink hats (each wave had different colours on)

The water was 84 degrees so wetsuits werent allowed which i'd been shitting myself about. But when the Klaxon went off and i ran in trying not to get too close to the quicker girls, it was so warm and relaxing i didn't mind it at all and got straight down to business (business being flapping my way through the water aroud the buoys (or as the yanks pronounce them - boo-eees)

The swim itself wasn't too eventful, i really enjoyed it mostly, i found myself overtaking the waves ahead (well the slow people) and getting overtaken by the faster swimmers coming from waves behind, so i rarely had any clear water had to stop a couple of times to regroup and get out of peoples way but nothing major. There was the odd patch of water that tasted of diesel - which was nice. and on the return jounrey i was using the person on my right to stay straight and totally took for granted that they were going the right way, and went so far off course i nearly went past the canoes!

I finally exited the water to cheers (something that didnt stop all day  - its amazing what a big crowd 2500 competitors will draw in) and ran up towards transition, my exit time on the swim was 43 mins and i was 31st in my age group, which i was made up with, this is the furthest i've "raced" in the water ( I late found out an Aligator had been spotted out there!!)

Transition 1
There was a long run up to the bike transition area through bark chips which stuck to my feet. i dried off a little when i got to my bike cleaned up my feet and got into my shoes, slathered on a thick layer of factor 50 and set out on the bike.

The Bike: 56 Miles
I love my bike and i love riding her, and this course was great, i felt good from the start, it was a bit windy and slow getting out of the campsite but once out on the open road, there was miles and miles of smooth fast road, i overtook plenty of people which i loved keeping an eye on my HR trying not to go to lactate threshold, there were a few slight climbs and the last 10 miles was into a head wind, I reached 41 mile in bang on 2 hours so i thought i may get 2:45 which is well above my expectations. I had a few issues getting drinks on the course, knocling them out of peoples hands, having to slow almost to a stop but had a great ride, went totally to plan and i came in in 2:52 which i never in a million thought i'd do. There was an instant i thought i was gonna come off - a bus went past in the other direction and the draft sent me flying! I got to see Suzie out there a couple of times pasing each other in the opposite way and yelled and waved.

Transition 2
I ran back in with my bike and saw Ellen cheering at the side and gave a wave, fannied about swapping shoes, putting on a hat, and tying back my hair, i needed a piss too so ran into the portaloo where i promptly found myself tied into my shorts so took ages untying them!

The Run: 13.1 miles
Well fuck me, this was the worst 13 miles of my life. I got out to a good start of 8 min miles but remembered what i'd been told about trying to hold back and maintain a slow consistnet pace in preparation for the full monty. On the bike i'd not realised how hot it was, it was coming up to the hottest part of the day and the mercury had been in the 90s for the last few days.
The run was 3 loops, largely on grass with potholes, a pictresque swamp! alongside. Noone out there could understand why the run route didnt go along the nice trails of the campsite through the shade, but no, it was all open in beaming sunshine.
There were aid stations every mile, 2 sprinklers and lots of crowds.
I got to 3 miles and realised i was going to have to push out this last 10 miles.... i was in hell. every aid station took a bit longer to reach than the last, i couldnt get enough fluids in, i was constantly thirsty, i'd stop at each station to shove ice down my top, drink some coke and some water. i couldnt eat by this stage, my stomach had shut down. i tried to break the run down but all i could think was "i've got 3 loops to do!!!" and "how the fuck am i going to do double all this??"

just coming out of the first loop inot hte second i saw Suzie, i gave her a woop, i was surpriesd to see her so sooon off the bike. but really please for her, she must have done a stonking bike!

The last 8 miles were just hell, a guy (my new best friend at this point in the day) came alongside me and asked if we could run together for a while, and i agreed, we chatted a little, i was a lap ahead of him, he was struggling too and on for a Personal worst for the run too. We kept each other going, to each aid station where we'd pour water over ourselves, drink what we could then get back out there. I felt bad when i got to turn off to the finish and he had another lap to go, i wished him well and got his number (race number not phone number!) so i could look out for him at the finish.

I finally went through the finish to more cheering in a total time of 5hr 55 and 16th in my category. My target was sub 6 so just scraped in.

I went to cool down in the lake where i then found out noone was allowed back in cos an aligator had been spotted!!

I went back to the run course and waited to see Suzie, she passed me on her last lap and i told her i'd wait for her at the finish post, so went and found Ellen and Luke and went to the finish line to jjump about and yell.

The rest of the time there was spent eating drinking and a bit of training now home, even fatter and shitting myself about a small matter of Switzerland IM in 9 weeks!! Eek!

Saturday 1 May 2010

Half Iron Swindonman - 1st May 2010

Today was an "half ironman training day" organised by one of the guys from club targetted at those of us who are doing switzerland IM but was open to any of the club or friends of club who fancied taking part. We weren't allowed to call it an "event" for H & S reasons but it was being timed and marshalled etc so it was really. There were only about 40 of us, some doing just Swim and run, some only doing part of the bike, some only doing part of the run.

I had intended originally only doing the swim and bike as they're my weaker disciplines and I've got Florida 70.3 in two weeks and thought it might be a bit much. I then decided I'd do half the run so I could get a good feel for the bike - run transition.

Last week was a 20 hour training week so this week i've been pretty pooped and hadnt taken a rest day for 10 days, so had Monday & Friday as total rest days, and thursdays sessions were chopped to a 30 min run, a body balance class and swim. I rode Tuesday and Wednesday though because I got my new bike finally after B was written off in the accident earlier this year. The bike is A-Mazing!! I'm in love with it, the difference between full carbon and aluminium is insane. Thankfully Mike had given me his old Scott bike, so i have been able to carry on training, and I think training on the heavier bike has actually been a blessing in disguise.

I wasnt really that fussed about today, some of the others were getting stressed about it, but as far as I was concerned it was a training day or dress rehearsal for Florida, so was mucking about fitting tri bars and downloading music til midnight last night instead of getting a decent nights sleep.

My alarm went off at 4.30am and I made some porridge, loaded up the car, minced about til 5.30 and set off to the lake. Everyone else was already there by the time I arrived as there was going to be a briefing at 5:45. I racked my bike on the scaffolding we'd been lent and went and got my wetsuit on. Came back and got Mark to lube me up so i didnt chafe in the lake. Noone likes chafing!

The swim route was 1.9k - two laps round the buoys with a short beach run between the laps, we got in to get wet and used to the cold water then went back to the shore to start. We set off, and at first i thought perhaps i'd be able to keep up with the pack. But with a few punches to the head from passers by, i soon found myself pretty much alone. I just concentrated on getting round, and not going miles out into the lake like i have been in training and making sure I spotted regularly.

I came to the shore for the beach run which was just a few meters, round a bollard and back in, i glanced behind to see only about 4 other people in the water and everyone else miles into the second lap and said "Wow i'm shit!" to the marshalls. and jumped back in for the second lap.

About half way round the other shit swimmers were gaining on me and starting to overtake, i tried to stay with them, i really didnt want to be last out! Coming from the last buoy i picked up some speed and pushed on to get out before them! Phew!! I wasnt' last!! Very nearly but not quite!

I checked my watch in transition and saw I'd got round in about 38 mins, which despite being so near the back I am really happy with.

I took my time in T1 to make sure i was comfy, I um'd and ah'd about whether to wear a jacket over my tri suit it wasnt even 7.30 yet but it looked sunny i decided to wear a jersey and if needs be i could drop it off.

I got out on the bike, my beautiful new shiny bike and set off on the course, it was a 56 mile flat course of out and back and out and back with the two of the turnarounds a big steep hill.

I was flying, i did the first 10 miles in a smidge under 30 mins, and overtook a couple of people. I was loving this new turn of speed. I dropped my jacket at the first turnaround and whizzed back down the steep hill, it was all quite uneventful but very enjoyable, I got to the second turnaround and got confused and carried on thinking i'd not reached it yet, going a mile in the wrong direction before realising the turnaround was back behind me. "bugger!"

I got back on the course to find i'd been overtaken by a few people! double bugger! I caught up with a couple of them, stopped for a wee in a bush, came back to transition. Swapped shoes, downed some jiz gel and straight out onto the run. Did the bike in 3hrs! Wow, i'd never thought i'd do that, and i did feel like i could push harder but I hadnt wanted to jeopardise the run too much (or burn out for florida)

The run was 13 miles, or 6 laps of the lake. I was going to see how i went, and maybe do three. I got on the run and felt great, no jelly legs and got straight into a nice rhythm, the first lap took about 16 mins, as did the 2nd. I was really enjoying it. It was getting pretty hot though. I decided i may as well just complete it and get a proper feel for how a half ironman feels. I over took some people who were on their last lap, some who were on the same lap as me, some who were only doing half etc....the last lap was painful... well more heavy legged than anything, i didnt get my nutrition quite right and could have done with more fluids but i was nearly home now so plugged on and managed a respectable 1:45 half marathon time.

My total time including transitions was 5:35 which i'm amazed at. I had previously given myself Plan A, B and C for florida sub 6 hours was Plan A and i thought highly unlikely! So i'm going to go for it in 2 weeks. Taper, nourish myself properly and kick some ass! Only trouble is its going to be a non wetsuit race so i'm pretty worried.

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This latest blog will be hopefully following my transwales experience. Enjoy with me :-)