It seems it has been quite a while since I last wrote something. Funny how life gets in the way sometimes. A lot seems to have changed. Following the post Ironman blues I cracked on and got eventually and started reaping the rewards of Ironman training as my speed and power increased and I smashed my PB at the Bedford Autumn Sprint. Not before I managed to sprain my ankle though after getting cocky on a trail run, slipping on a patch of mud and sprain both the ankle and probably the metatarsal ligaments. Of course having entered a triathlon I rehab'd it for 10 days and (foolishly?) cracked on, then flew to Italy rested it for a week and did another tri a week later. The sprain has kept me from running for a while so I got stuck into cycling instead, getting a lot stronger on the bike, and dusting the turbo off.
Along the way I decided to do something stupid. If you've read this far then you probably already know about http://www.twentyfourhourturbotorment.co.uk/ an idea that sort of morphed out of a desire to do something big for charity. Not content with just riding the turbo for 24 hours, I foolishly added the challenge of doing all The Sufferfest training videos back to back as part of it. That is probably the most stupid thing I have ever done. There is no backing out now, I still don't know how to train for it, and I still haven't got the hang of going a bit easier to do just 2 of them back to back. I'm left wondering if I'll still be alive in March next year. Please check out the pages, spread the word, and 'like' the facebook page too (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Twentyfour-Hour-Turbo-Torment/274568199231603). Oh and if please donate too!
So that kind of brings me to this week, and what should have been an easy week of training. Somehow I was convinced to give parkrun a try, and so I signed up and the focus of the week became maintaining training and getting to parkrun in peak physical shape. So Monday kicked off with a quick 10K run, I smashed my PB on a training run last week, so went out pretty hard, especially considering it was dark, and came home in 45:23 for 10.14 k, 7 days earlier that would have been a PB so I was pretty chuffed I'd managed to do it twice in 7 days, shows it wasn't just a fluke.
Tuesday brought Masters and the one aspect of training that isn't going well for me. My ankle just can't handle swimming and 7 weeks of arms only has taken it's toll on my legs and form, I'm now free of the pull buoy but I'm stuck in lane 1. Having been leading lane 2 the week of the sprain. Quite a fall from grace. The swim started great and I thought I was finally swimming well, then we were split up to do the main set with 75s, and things went downhill. I felt like I'd been hit by a train by the time I got home.
Wednesday was turbo day, opted for "Hell Hath No Fury" from the sufferfest collection. Another one that hurt. The first 20 minutes wasn't too bad, but suffered through the second 20 minute effort. 75 minutes of footage of from the pro women's circuit ought be be enough to motivate any guy on the turbo, I just ground the pedals praying for it to stop.
So at this point it must sound like my week is going rapidly downhill and the title has lured you in on a false promise. well things start picking up again. Thursday's masters session wasn't too bad. I was swimming well in the warm up and started the main set swimming well. Of course I set about destroying myself by going too hard on the 2x75m IM, making the rest of the set tough. Apparently my catch has improved though, so swimming in lane 1 has helped me iron out some of the problems at least.
Had the day off on Friday to get the tumble drier fixed, so did a short run before lunch, the Garmin froze so I was running blind. It was easy, and 6 K in under half an hour. Then, bearing in mind the parkrun I had on Sunday morning I opted for an easier hour on the turbo, and did one of the trainer road workouts. A 3 repeats of 3x 2minutes below FTP, 2 minutes above. A nice set and it did me good, my legs weren't too bad afterwards, possibly as I held a nice high cadence of 100, but I still got a good workout. Looking through my training log for 2011 on Friday night I realised I had got up to 398 hours, 48 minutes. So It was looking like I'd break the 400 hour milestone on Saturday!
Which brings me to Saturday, the best day of the week. So having been talked into trying parkrun by a number of people I opted to attend the one at Eastleigh, and they were holding a newbie friendly one, complete with pacers. I've never 'run' a 5K before, done more, but nothing as short. So wasn't sure if my strategy of holding the pace I thought I could manage would work. So, in the spirit of trying new things I opted for someone else's strategy, go out hard and hang on as long as possible. I thought I'd try this by trying to hold on to the sub 20 pacer. Of course it started all wrong when I got caught behind slow runners, so I nailed it to catch the pacer. Well it does fit the strategy of going out hard. Caught the pacer and hung in there, 1st km in 3:50, 2nd km in 4:00, On the second lap, I decided I got out run the pacer. Looking at my 1K splits as they happened I knew how much time I had in the bank for a sub 20, with a 3:53 3rd km I now had 17 seconds in the bank, well the Garmin bank, as it was coming up slightly short of each marker. Onto the third lap and I was now feeling it, just kept telling myself there was only a mile to go. 4th km in 3:58 and I had 19 seconds. So it seemed the 19:49 I'd been asked not to beat could be in danger. Alas it was not to be, going out hard was really starting to take it's toll, people were overtaking me, and according to the Garmin I slipped to a 3:59 5th km, but the 19:49 was still safe, as there was an extra 100m to run in the real world. Taking me an extra 23 seconds and completely lacking a sprint finish. 20:03 was my official time, getting pipped into 25th spot on the line. So a fantastic performance, far better than I'd thought possible, and what a start to the day.
Have to say it was a lovely friendly event, with lots of nice people and even a few taking (and sharing online) photos. I'll be back next week I think with the aim of starting at the front and going out slightly less hard and trying to hold pace. The other bonus was the option to enter a competition for a London marathon place, I somehow doubt I'll get it, but why not try something else stupid in 2012?
Saturday didn't stop there though, after the run I headed home for a few minutes to change, grab a snack and head out to meet Bob in Fareham to go for a ride. It was a lovely day for it and we had a nice social pace ride out to New Arlesford, a stop for coffee and cake before a nice ride back again. A perfect 68km ride really, and I didn't feel bad for it.
Today was a nice early start, the wonders of Sunday working. Of course that puts a limiter on training. Of course I'd planned a way around this, I took my run kit to work with my pack all ready to sling on too. I figured I might no have the time to make it out to Boldrewood and run trails there, so I'd bought some toughprint paper (great stuff, expensive but worth it), planned and printed a route on OS getamap and tied it to a strap on my pack and hit the trails around Denny wood instead. Now the route I'd planned worked out at 22K, I new I'd cut a couple of corners so expected 23K. Of course I hadn't banked on knee deep mud making parts of the route impassable, carrying on (lost) until I found a river I couldn't cross, doubling back, finding less deep mud and getting back on course. Then running an unfamiliar route took lots of map reading, slowing me further. By the time I got to 22K I was flagging. And I knew I still had 3+ km left to run back to the car and light was fading. Skipping lunch for a long trail run was seeming a bad idea 8 hours after a 3 crumpet breakfast! Still I made it through 25.6 km in the end. So happy about that, the pace less so, but I ought to be able to run it faster next time now I know the turns.
So that concludes a great week. A (well earned) rest day tomorrow and hopefully another great week to come!