Professional Ironman Triathlete

Friday, 27 April 2007

goodbye NZ!

Just finished long run for the week (genlte 33km) - beautiful morning for it. Off to osteopath just to check out the back again, then pack (yes, a little last minute) and off to the airport. Should be back in the UK tomorrow morning. Went out to the Mission in Napier last night for mum's b'day - very nice - highly recommended if you're ever over here!

See you in the UK! :)

Monday, 23 April 2007

Napier photos

The beach at Napier, looking towards Napier Hill. My flat run is along the beach path :)

Art deco amphitheatre on the waterfront

Typical houses on marine parade

Apologies I've not got much patience or skill for decent photography!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Late photos from Oz

At last some photos... delayed from Port Mac:

This one is from the swim start... serenity in the background, carnage in the foreground :)
The two below are just from hanging out in Port enjoying the sunshine. What a great place!!! Still undecided as to when I'm going back to do the race again (and hopefully finish!) - depends on how the PhD plans pan out for next year...

Less than a week to go...

... til I get on a plane back to the UK.

Aiming to finish off nearly 3 weeks of decent training here, before the long flight back, then an easier week to make sure I'm over any jet lag and ready for 2 weeks training camp in Italy :) I've some mixed feelings about getting back to the UK: great to see everyone back home, good to get to somewhere warm again (its got a little chilly here in NZ as Autumn sets in...), but I'm loathe to get back to the suburban sprawl, mass population and traffic! Guess that's why I opted for the training camp straight away: fits in with the summer schedule, but also cushions the return! Upside is I'll be at my bro's place in Carshalton, so its close to the edge of town - no 45 min ride out of London before you hit the countryside and he's a complete training nut too, so it should be a good environment to be based in.

Last two weeks training all good, I'm liking the structure of it. Have been surprised at the quality of the run sessions so far.

No photos of Abi, Dermot and Daniel unfortunately (I forgot!), but I'll get some of Napier before I leave!

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Training in NZ

The first week of the new schedule went off with no probs... had to shift some stuff around to avoid a day when it sheeted it down on the thursday, so I postponed the hilly ride (I know, I've become a fair weather cyclist!!!), but the week was completed fine. Hit 93km running, which is good volume for me - I had been hitting higher average bike vols than this week (got 378km this week, had been averaging 400-500 in the period Nov-Jan) but at the expense of running mileage. Nice to have it laid out for a change... means that the sessions have a bit more purpose! The km markings on the Napier beachfront path have been a revalation too... no more guessing at run pace!

Have already started to mess with the schedule in week 2 ... moving stuff around so I can have a light weekend as I'm off to see Abi and Dermot and their new baby! :) Its a 5 hr coach trip north... I have cycled it in the past, with a day to get to Taupo, then another to Tauranga... nice ride, but its a pain with a bag for the weekend!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

New Regime

I've decided to commit to a new training regime. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post it, as I typically train as and when I think it feels right, within a broad progressive strucutre, but that means that I often miss sessions, change sessions half way through, move rest days etc. So I thought it would be a good experiment to try to be a bit more rigid on my training structure for a while... especially if I'm going to get a coach maybe later in the year... no point in doing that if I can't commit to executing a training plan. I'm still going to be flexible, but the overall structure is set out below. This is fundamentally a week that Brandon passed onto me, which he did for the period May-Sep last year I think, just as a basic week. The ranges etc allow for easier weeks every3-4, and for progression over time. The big shock for me isn't the volume, as I've consistently done this kind of mileage before, but its having a complete rest day (!) and a recovery day in there too. This means that there's a couple of monster days in there. Nice!

So, typically:

Yoga; massage

Morning Run Easy (6-10km; 30-50min);
Swim 4km (squad if poss);
Ride aerobic 2-3 hrs (60-90km)

Run aerobic 17-21km; (with 2x8km steady)
Ride easy 1-2hrs (35-55km);
Swim 4km bilateral (200,400,600,800,800,600,400,200)

Hill ride (4-5 hours) (100-135km);
Swim 4km; (squad if poss)
Easy run (6-10km, 30-50mins)

Swim 3km;
Easy Run 40 min (8-9km);

5km swim long course;
Ride (5-8) hrs
10km run off bike

Run 30-34km 2:20-2:40

SWIM 20km
BIKE 345-520km
RUN 81-94km

So that's all good. It wednesday, so its all hunkydory so far ;) We'll see how its going by sunday!
Given that I've got 13 weeks til Austria, I'll try to maintain this for 8 weeks or so before it'll have to start to change for peak and then taper. We'll see how it holds up on the training camp in Italy too... not sure if a (non-Epic) training camp will have more or less vol than this!!!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Back in NZ

Before I forget - here's a photo from IMOz... thanks Chuls!

I'm back in New Zealand after a couple of long days travelling. Staying with my mum for a couple of weeks in Napier. Its noticably colder here!!! Got a bit of a shock coming from high 20's/30 degrees to juat 16 degrees on thursday evening when we got to Napier.

I'll try to borrow a digital camera for some photos of the town... its art deco capital of NZ (and maybe even the southern hemisphere) and gets the great hawkes bay temperate climate, so hoping for not too much rain over the next few weeks though it is automn here now.

Back feeling much better for lack of volume cycling; will be going to see a chiro or osteopath early next week once easter weekend is over and things start opening up again.

Monday, 2 April 2007

My first DNF!

After a DNS (did not start) at Challenge Wanaka - excusable as it was at the end of Epic Camp, I now have my first IM DNF (did not finish).

Am I disappointed?? Surprisingly not... I think I've already learnt not to attach too much to one race - having a long term goal helps, but also as every year I've done IM I have had a race that didn't happen - in the first year I did IM Austria and was down for IMUK, but a crash wiped me out a few weeks prior to that. The second year I was at IMNZ, but the weather turned it into a half duathlon. This year....? Did something to my back on wed of race week, not sure exactly what (but there's suspicion over a dodgy massage where the woman gave me some Bowen - I wasn't too happy with that), but thurs am my lower back was a bit out and twining. I put it down to phantom injuries pre-race and just kept it out of any stress. Seemed fine by race day, but in the swim someone grabbed my left leg in the melee at the start and yanked it - think that's where everything went a bit pair-shaped. The swim went fine apart from that - it was CARNAGE for the first twenty minutes... a LOT of people on a narrow course thrashing around - it was intense! It settled down a bit by the time the second lap came around, by the end of which we were starting to overtake the back of the pack on their first lap. Got out and clear in 55:37, which I was quite pleased with - a clear improvement on any IM swim before now! I'd been taking it wuite easy on the second lap too, so I was very happy with that... in hindsight anyhow - i had to get a rough estimate of the time from the guys in transition as my watch had given up in the water. I'd had the battery replaced and (apparently) rewaterproofed 2 days earlier - it had survived a test in the sink for 10 minutes, but after 30 minutes of the swim (the last time I checked it and it was working) it died outright. This was fine for the ride: the odometer on the bike would suffice... for the run I figured it would be an interesting experiment to run with no HR info or time, but I knew the course and could guestimate pace well enough to make it through.

So, a leisurely but efficient transition, and onto the bike. Twenty minutes in and my back was tightening up. By halfway through the first lap I was a little concerned: I'd expect a tight lower back by the closing stages of the bike, but not this early! I stretched it as often as I could. Pacing wise, the bike was good. Probably a bit hard out on the first (of three) laps, but slowed for the second - not least because the south-westerly was getting up quite strongly, and so the outward leg was a push into the wind. THe return leg was beautiful though. Third lap felt good, but the headwind was really strong by now and the hills were taking a toll. All together the bike leg was awesome - passed really quickly. The only downside was the drafting - the Ozzies are AWFUL for it!! There was a massive pack about 10 minutes ahead of me and another about 10 behind... clearly all drafting. I sat in a rather empty zone between the two... kept me out of trouble at least. I was aiming for a solid well pace bike, which is what I got... I had to let a few people go, even a few on the second and third laps. But I wanted to pace it - knowing it was a more challenging ride than I had done before I was aiming for 5:15 instead of the usual target of 5 or 5:05. Including two tranisitons, my bike time was 5:19, and off the odometer I had 5:16, so that was good too. I'd had some doubts over whether I coul;d actually get my race day performance up there, having only managed 5:55 as my fastest in training, so that kept me happy.

T2: rolled in, had a bit of trouble dismounting as this involved bending in directions that my back no longer wanted to go. Transition was fine, jogged out. Back really not happy with me. I figured it would loosen up, so carried on. After 2 kms I was still running some kind of robot, dead straight back, leaning slightly back as leaning forward into the run was too painful. Near the end of the first short loop I stopped to try to stretch it out, and that's when I realised I couldn't bend over at all. Bending over to the right was also near impossible. So I carried on, it started getting tighter and tighter until I hit the road back past transition and had to start walking. In a matter of minutes I had gone from waiting for it to loosen off so I could get up to pace to making sure i got to the medical tent to make sure it was nothing too serious. I got into a chiropractor fairly quickly, got some ice on so that he could check me out and crack my back into a better state. Luckily it was nothing serious: just a strained ligament at the bottom of my spine. Phew. So for me it was off to find a hot shower and get to the pub and a run-side seat!

Valuable lessons learnt.

1) No matter how much yoga, core, aero-practice etc you do, you can still bugger you back,
2) Steer clear of dodgy Bowen-masseurs in race week.
3) Dropping out rather than walking round a marathon or trying to continue hobbling round was a very good move. What it gained me was: (a) peace of mind about my back, and stopping before i made it worse (b) an extra few weeks of decent training rather than recovery time from a half-arsed marathon attempt (c) the realisation that this os only one race of amny and that it is definitely better to pick your battles!

I don't have the mentality that finishing is the be-all and end-all of IM racing. My goals are about how well I finish, and making the most of training so that I can finish well. I know I can finish an IM, so its not about that any more.

That aside, I was quite pleased with how the race had been going... I'd been aiming for a race that would have worked out something like this: 55 swim, 5:15 bike and 3:10 run. So the swim and ride were both well paced, and I'd fueled up and drunk enough to set me up well for the run. Of the targets, the run leg was the biggest challenge... guess I'll have to find out the feasibility of that in Austria!

Had a great cheer squad on the bike leg... mum was out here and Jan, Bob, Alison and friends were VERY vocal!!

Might review the racing plan between now and July given that I've a few extra weeks where I'll not be in recovery. Back feeling better today... hopefully a few more days to rest it and I should be good for getting back on it properly. :p