Sunday, 22 July 2012

Le Tour de Doncaster - a week of achievements

I started this week on a high having completed my first run last weekend since my injury.

On Monday I went to the Runners Need store in Canary Wharf to get a copy of A life without limits signed by its author, the current Ironman World Champion. Chrissie Wellington. Chrissie also gave a speech and it was very inspirational especially the part were she said amateur athletes (like me) inspire her as we have to manage training around a job and a life. It makes you realise how truly different triathlon is compared to other sports. In what other sport (marathon running excluded) could you line up with elite athletes and compete against them on the same day on the same course. It's amazing. The speech by Chrissie was amazing. She is so down to earth. I wish her well in her future and whatever that holds. She hasn't made any decisions about 2013 but did let slip some things which are on her bucket list, those being completing a marathon (after training for one properly), competing in the TDF against men and also doing an ultra. 

She wrote such a lovely message in my book and I will look after it for years to come.

My signed copy of A life without limits by Chrissie Wellington

On Tuesday I decided to see how uninjured I was and went for my usual rulk around Regents Park after work. My legs were feeling really strong so I decided to see what I could do. I don't know if it was the fact I had someone to chase but using my usual run 4 and walk 2 lamppost technique I managed to take over a minute off my 5k time to reduce it to 33:05 and reduced my 1k time to 06:19. I was so thrilled with this as it was only my second run since injury.

On Wednesday I was meant to go for an Open Water Swim at Ham Lake with RG Active but unfortunately the traffic in London intervened. It took me two and a half hours to travel 15 miles and the Olympics haven't even started yet. It wasn't a complete waste of time as I had to administer first aid to someone who had dived in to shallow water and managed to cut his head quite badly.

The other reason it wasn't a waste of time was that I purchased some new cycle clothing which had two bonuses. One it fits well and two I now feel like I'm a member of RG Active or as they affectionately call themselves "Team Green". I wish there was a Northern branch of RG Active as they really are a good bunch and make you feel welcome no matter what your ability. I can say this honestly and would recommend them to anyone struggling with any aspect of triathlon who lives in or around London. I wish I lived closer to their Richmond base and had access to my bike so I could benefit from training other than swimming. I've even committed to going to their training camp in Majorca next year and I can't wait.

My new cycling kit

Despite the setback on Wednesday I decided to venture into South West London again for the RG Active pool session at Hampton Pool. The traffic didn't intervene on this occasion and I made it with 45 minutes to spare which was a relief after Wednesday. I decided to try and see how swimming in a pool in a wetsuit felt as I have been struggling to gauge how fast I go in open water. My best set of 4 lengths (144m as the pool is 36m long) was 02:20 which equates to 1:37/100m which is quite quick for a normal bloke from Lancashire. However the swim was not all good news. I have realised my wetsuit is too big for me as I end up with pockets of water that slosh round my arms. This makes swimming difficult as I am lifting more weight as I take on more water. Normally a quick phone to the hire place and this wouldn't be a problem but I am not chancing this with a week to go until my first triathlon so I will change it afterwards. After six or seven sets of four lengths I decided to dispose of my wetsuit and just swim in my trisuit. Apart from feeling free again and only having to lift my arms (instead of my arms plus water) there was no benefit as my speed drastically slowed in just my trisuit. I was amazed as to how much difference the wetsuit made to my pace.

Another important lesson learnt.

My next training session was a bike ride on Saturday and I went on my new 20km loop around the North of Doncaster. I managed to take a full five minutes off my time from last week to reduce it to 00:47:33. This equates to an average pace of 25.7km/h which was the pace I had set myself on my Garmin and over the 40km of my olympic distance tri would mean a bike leg of 01:33. I can live with that. And without anyone to reduce wind resistance as well. Thrilled doesn't come close.

As it's my birthday we had a BBQ at ours and despite the alcohol madness that ensued I still managed to get up for another run with Sam at 9AM (after 7 hours sleep). Today I managed to run and I mean properly run 2.5km, when you consider how downtrodden I was 8 weeks ago about running this an achievement. I completed just over 5km with Sam and did lots of stretching. I also managed to do some running without my achilles support which was another first.

The pace was similar to me rulking so now I have a decision to make. Do I rulk in my triathlon next week or do I push myself and attempt to run it all? The pace is similar so it will ultimately be decided by comfort.

Other than all the above I have been watching the TDF and what a result it is that Bradley Wiggins won. I hope this is a taste of things to come with the Olympics coming up. Lots of GB medals would be greatly appreciated by me. Come on Team GB.

Still off the evil cigarettes and loving the fact I am getting fitter and faster.

This time next week I will have completed my first triathlon and I can't wait. I am not setting myself a time but I know what I would like to achieve. I am on this journey to complete and not compete. I need to remember this next week but I think I will probably forget in the heat of battle. LOL.

I have also cancelled my gym membership as I wasn't using it enough. I was spending more time training outside so hope I can keep this up until my triathlon in September. Then I will have to ascertain how I am going to complete winter training.

Remember you can sponsor me via my Justgiving page. It is for Cancer Research and will be appreciated by me personally.

Thanks for reading,


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