Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tri Race Report

Firstly, thanks again to everyone who has sponsored me this year, its hugely appreciated.  Training throughout the summer was pretty good generally but the knee injury still persists that scuppered marathon plans in April (though I'm having an MRI scan next month and barring being completely consigned to the scrap heap will definitely have another crack).  Rather than keep pushing the injury as much as I could (like I stupidly did before) I had a period of about 3 weeks before  the triathlon where I didn't run, but instead replaced the running with more cycling and swimming, which actually really influenced the race as my running turned out to suffer more than i thought it would.. BUT... I made it to the start line this time!! Woohoo!

Anyway.. it was a cold, wet and windy day on Sunday and I was a bag of nerves when Bro turned up.  I thought I was pretty well prepared but was struggling to get my bike tyres up to a good pressure and still didnt have a race belt (compulsory apparently).. trivial but annoying... didn't want to be faffing around before the race..  A13 was chocka on the way there and the road signs for the race parking seemed to peter out after a while leaving us in the middle of the royal docks industrial estate without much of a clue, got to the excel centre with 90 minutes before the race which was fine in the end.  Was also good to pick Robs brains about triathlon and pick up some last minute tips.
Got registered, got the race belt, got the bike racked and  there were lots of helpful triathletes to talk to about tyres, and I even got my own pump working in the end so everything was sorted.  There were  a lot of bikes (apparently london is the worlds biggest triathlon).

Then got into the slightly knackered wet suit I'd bought second hand off the web for 30 quid.  All my swim training had been in the pool so I'd only tried it once a couple of weeks before on holiday in France - and I didn't sink so that was good enough for me.   Pretty soon it was time to get to the swim assembly area, very exciting.

Then there was a pre race pep talk, where we found out our wave of 400 would be split into two.  Probably not a bad idea...  Then it was a short walk outside, jump in the water, followed by a lot of shouting and we were underway.

To cut a long story short it went pretty well even with all the inevitable bumps and kicks.  The wind was making the water very choppy so I was drinking quite a lot of the dock while trying to breath.  Going downwind seemed much easier and I was able to spot the course buoys a lot easier so i spent less time zig zagging down the course and drinking water.  Pretty soon it was time to get hauled out and wrestle with the wetsuit.

After shedding the wetsuit with the grace of a startled baby giraffe it was time to run through to the transition area, miss the turning for my bike, then slip and fall over on my backside, again with the grace of something not very graceful.

Out on the bike was pretty treacherous with all the rain and the standing water on the roads, and the headwinds were really testing.  Lots of folks seemed to have punctures which seemed pretty odd, I really hoped I didn't get one as I left my spare inner tube and pump at transition.  Rob braved the elements and tried to take some more pics - Im surprised he didnt go inside for a coffee - it was freezing, tipping it down  and horrible (but I was loving every minute of it!!)

I actually felt pretty good and quite fancied doing some more laps - I think the speedy 100km training rides with Marcus (thanks Marcus!) set me up nicely (although it didn't seem like it at the time when I was vomiting at the top of a particularly long hill in Hertfordshire a couple of months ago).

Bike was coming to an end now so I was starting to think about  the transition and slipping out of my bike shoes.  There were a few other competitors with me as we came back to Excel and there was an early order to dismount (apparently to avoid  riding round a corner which people had been crashing on all day), unfortunately this caused one of the other guys to slam on his brakes and crash into a barrier, luckily he seemed ok, and he got straight back up after a bit of a fight with his bike.  After the dismount we ran a few yards then had to get back on and immediately go up a ramp, obviously i couldnt get back in my shoes so I had to pedal on top of them, all a bit nip and tuck but got there.  There was much swearing from the other competitors about having to dismount early then get back on but there's little more that the stewards could do.

Got the bike back and managed to not slip over even though my feet were frozen.  Got my socks and trainers on and grabbed a bag of lucozade jelly beans for the run.  Rob was already on the course, so we had a bit of a laugh each time i ran past (there were 4 laps) and he would take a picture of my deteriorating running style as i started to get a terrible cramp in my lower back (remarkably my knee was fine) which pretty much crippled me for the last 3 laps. This resulted in a bit of a slow run, which also included a SteepleChase style water jump where the water had built up to be ankle deep thus soaking everyones nice dry trainers almost immediately!
In the last couple of years I have done many 10km runs and I was shocked just how much I tied up in this one, but I was pleased with the swim and the bike so 2 out of 3 ain't bad.  Luckily Rob and the hardy crowd were giving loads of encouragement and that got us through, and I was really wincing with pain as I got over the finish line in 2:41:44.
 Many thanks to Rob for taking the pics and helping out on the day.  Definitely a day to remember and a long journey from turning up at my first "Learn To Front Crawl" swim class in Shoreditch 11 months ago (i coudnt swim a single length).  I'd definitely like to try another race next year, it was so much fun, but for now attention turns back to marathons and finishing off the marathon/tri challenge for the MS Society.

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

I'm fundraising for the Multiple Sclerosis Society ( ) by doing the London Marathon and London Triathlon this year.  I hope you're able to sponsor me for this really valuable and worthwhile cause.  In the last few months I've been writing a blog here: - the training most definitely hasn't gone to plan but its been quite an experience!! Thanks everyone.

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Its going swimmingly

Still doing more swimming than running at the moment, but managed a couple of jogs at lunchtime in Ware last week and had a quick blast round Vicky park today (in between bouts of programming) which seemed to be reasonably pain free - so I am much more confident that I will actually make it to the start line in Greenwich and put in a reasonable shift!  Tried to keep up with my brother in the pool at Tri Club on Thursday and it almost killed me.  Him and the others in our lane did in the region of 3.8km (including drills etc) and I managed about 3.65km - which I'm more than happy with, considering I could only do about 50 metres of front crawl 6 months ago.  My swim technique is still atrocious but its getting gradually better as the weeks go by..

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Sunday, April 01, 2012

3 weeks to go

Never realised how beneficial sports massages can be, it's incredible (wish I had known about 3 months ago).  The massage itself was pretty painful and was left bruised and actually grazed from the friction - but its bloody well done the trick after days of hardly being able to walk properly...  Managed the first reasonable run this morning with no major hassles, the first for about 2 weeks.  6 swim sessions ( I think I'm starting to get the hang of it) and some cycling have kept the fitness going , so  hoping for an uneventful next couple of weeks where I can get some nice steady runs in..

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Training blues

To sum up the last few weeks, its been injury -> swim -> run -> snowboard -> run -> injury -> run -> injury -> cycle -> swim (in that order).  I think I'm just about in one piece still- and Charlotte the physio seems to have worked wonders again.  Highlights have been a run round Morzine in France , a trial run round the park - where I realised I could still do the Spitfire 20 race and my knees weren't going to implode, actually doing the Spitfire 20 race (2:21:08), and doing some great swim session lately (90 mins tonight - it was an absolute lung buster).

As regards the Spitfire20 if anyone fancies a laugh at how washed out I look as the race progresses, there are some pics here: (my race number was 303).

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

As you were

13.4 miles yesterday and 9 miles today - just about salvaged the training plan.  Also saw the Diving World Cup yesterday at the new Aquatics Centre (cycled there in under 10 minutes from home!) and the brilliant Pete Waterfield bagged the bronze in the 10 metre platform, a fantastic performance.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not enough mileage..

Monday - enforced rest day, worked too late and didn't get down the gym.
Tuesday - 2km swim including drills with ELT (this feels a lot easier now my swimming is getting better)
Wednesday - Gym at lunch.  15 min bike and only a 4.5 km treadmill - all I could fit in!!
Thursday - 10.25k at lunch

It's looking like a seriously light week.  Need to do another 25 miles before Monday to stay on track.!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Brighton Half Marathon

Another roller coaster week.. was aiming for a 16 mile run on Sunday and all was going nicely up until about mile 10 ( about here ) when I realised my heels were being shredded by a combination of the uneven snow and ice on the ground and some rubbish socks that i should never have worn...  Hobbled home in a dreadful mood knowing that I probably wouldn't be able to run for a few days...  Did go swimming on Tuesday at Waltham College, long sets of 16 lengths and pull buoy drills between the ankles was a killer, and it made up for the day off on Tuesday..  Unfortunately I think I picked up a cold after the swimming which was another annoyance.   On Wednesday decided to go to the gym and do some running as the blisters were healing quite well - managed 20 mins on the bike then about 5 miles into the treadmill session when I was cranking up the speed to 14kmph my left hamstring felt like it twanged and I started getting shooting pains...  Didn't feel really bad but something had strained or torn.  Left gym in dreadful mood yet again and decided I'd just have to rest until Sunday and see whether it would be ok for the half marathon.

Went home to see Mum and Dad on Friday and did a lot of looking at old photos and sleeping seeing as the cold was keeping me up half the night..  Dad gave me a lift down to Brighton on Sunday and I had a massage before the race - which was absolutely incredible.  Without any prompting she found the hamstring strain and made it feel a lot better.  Didn't manage to meet up with Matty pre-race as and we missed each other while running unfortunately, its always difficult when theres 7500 people in one place...  For the first 30 minutes of the race I felt like I was running on air because of the massage and managed to get round in a respectable 1.29.25 - however it has transpired that the race distance was incorrectly marked at 13.42 miles so the time was revised to 1:27:16, which was nice.  Matty was chuffed with his time (1:39:19) also and we grabbed a post race coffee on the beach with Rebecca and their younglings George and Phoebe.  Absolutely glorious day albeit a bit cold early in the morning!

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bit of a topsy turvy week.  A cautionary rest day on Monday after the long Sunday run (but did a lot of walking to and from work).  Swimming on Tuesday with ELT at Waltham Forest College - really enjoying this now.  Wednesday lunchtime in the gym was 15 minutes on the bike then a fairly brisk 10km on the treadmill in 42 minutes.  Today has been an easy 10km round Vicky Park . Need to fit in at least another 25 miles this week to keep up with the schedule!

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Snow running

Found the marathon open day yesterday to be very interesting and picked up lots of training tips and excellent advice.  Adidas were there with a BOGOF offer on trainers so decided to get fitted with a couple of pairs using their foot analysis whizzy technology.  Went for a 14.5 mile run in the snow before breakfast to wear in one of the pairs, they came through with flying colours, almost like running on a mattress (though the 5cm of snow probably helped with the cushioning also !).

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

90 minutes swimming with ELT yesterday night in Chingford.  Trying to keep up with my brother and  ironman swimmers is a bad idea, I almost drowned..  Cycled back from Chingford - which was another bad idea, 10 miles in sub-zero temperatures, was pretty badly dehydrated I think when I got home, 4 pints of water didnt seem like it even started to quench my thirst.  Day off today, hamstrings quite tight - the new niggle on the scene this week!!

Going to a "Meet the Experts Day" at the Institute of Education  tomorrow about marathon running, will hopefully find out all the things I'm currently doing wrong.  Here's the timetable:

10.00Guests start to arrive - adidas footwear and Virgin London Marathon Official Souvenir clothing sales commence; FREE custom fitting of shoes with adidas foot scan machines & great offers - available throughout the whole day
11.15Nick Bitel - the Virgin London Marathon's Chief Executive welcomes you and outlines the charity background to the event.
11.20David Bedford - the Joint Race Director has news of great runners and famous faces set to join you on the start line.
11.35Lisa Thompson, Mark Griffith & Andrew Smith - our Course, Start and Finish Directors present an expert perspective on what you can expect on the course (from start to finish) on Race Day
12.15Sam Murphy - one of the UK's leading health and fitness writers, runner, coach and sports scientist, brings you "Ten Commandments" to steer you clear of injury
12.45Jules Beck & Olivia Napier - from adidas, official suppliers to the VLM, with plenty of ideas on what to wear when training and racing
13.00Refreshments break - adidas footwear and Virgin London Marathon Official Souvenir clothing on sale; FREE custom fitting of shoes with adidas foot scan machines & great offers - available throughout the whole day
14.00Andy Dixon - Editor of Runner's World magazine - explains how the Pacer Groups can help you achieve your target time
14.15Alex Heasley - from Virgin Money Giving brings inspiring ideas on how to maximize your fundraising potential
14.30Jim Pimblett - from invites you to be a part of the Virgin London Marathon website
14.45John Brewer - Professor of Sport at the University of Bedford with vital advice on nutrition and hydration for training and Race Day
15.10David Bedford - totally unique tips from the man once dubbed the "most colourful character in world athletics" - you'll see why! Not to be missed
15.30Liz & Martin Yelling - elite marathon runner and elite marathon coach - bring you invaluable training advice for the months ahead
16.00General Forum - your chance to put questions to the expert panel
16.30Finish - adidas footwear and Virgin London Marathon Official Souvenir clothing on sale; FREE custom fitting of shoes with adidas foot scan machines & great offers - available until 17.00

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

10 mins on the bike then 7 miles on the treadmill yesterday at lunchtime.  Brilliant meal round at Charlotte and Dylan's in the evening (no booze was driving... in fact I haven't had a drink since saturday, good for shedding a bit more weight hopefully.. ), feeling on form today, Achilles still slightly niggly - might just go swimming today and run tomorrow..

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