Wednesday 29 August 2012

This was not part of the plan

Today I had an endurance swim and a 2 hour spin on the bike scheduled.  As I needed to change wheels, cassette and seat onto my tri bike for Sunday and it'd need testing to make sure it was all in good order, I decided to do that and then use that bike for my ride.  I took off the handle bar mounted bottle cage to clean the sticky off it from Bolton to make sure I could get bottles in and out more easily than that day when I got really peed off with it towards the end.  I'm not sure if the bottle today was slightly fatter than usual, but it was a bugger to get back into the cage.  Hm.

I headed out to Kingston and onto the well-known Thames Turbo bike course.  I can ride it in my sleep and the pot-holes would be a good test for my new Adamo seat.  Power down to the road nicely on this bike, I enjoyed a good 90 minutes well in zone one and putting out an average speed of 26.8 km/h (stopped to fiddle with gear adjustments a few times, so avg speed is different to avg moving speed).  OK, it rained about 20 minute in and it rained hard for about 10 minutes, but that was fine.  I did lose the bottle over one of the pot-holes and had to stop to get it.

Then as I was heading back towards Kingston from the Thames Turbo bike route, through Hampton Wick, I had a drink while the traffic was quite slow and tried to wedge the bottle back into the cage.  I was being a bit of a bugger and I gave it a good shove.  At that moment, the back wheel skidded out from underneath me, the front wheel glanced the kerb and the bike went over, on top of me while I slid along the pavement on my left side.  As I was going over I thought, "This is exactly the sort of thing I was worried about before the next two races.  Ohgod, please let me not break anything!  Ow.".

Wet, gritty, dirty and bloody.
Passers-by on the pavement stopped to help and a car too.  As I was checking myself out and and talking to people, I turned to prop up my bike and Police had appeared out of nowhere.  They thought the car that had stopped had hit me.  Oops!  I did hurriedly tell them it was totally my own fault.  Everything seemed OK, just a little bit of blood on my knee and lots of wet gravel everywhere else though my little finger felt numb and tingly.  Bike looked fine too, so I declined the kind offer from the passer-by to go to her house around the corner to get cleaned up and cycled on home.

As I picked up speed on the larger roads, and put more effort in to the pedals, I noticed a deep soreness and stiffness in my left hip.  Blood trickling down my left leg and a bit on my left elbow was the only really visible sign of damage, the pain was mostly in my hip and shoulder which were both covered by clothes.

When I got home, my knee had some really quite cool globs of congealed blood on it but my hip and shoulder were very very sore.  After filling a few tissues with snot (cold, wet and a bit in shock), I dared to have a look at my shoulder.

Not too bad, just an abrasion through the fabric of my cycling top.  OK, it was seeping a bit of blood and clear fluid and swelling up a bit, but really not too bad.  My hip, however, was a bit of a shock.  Although it was very sore in the joint and muscle while pedalling, I hadn't expected there to be much surface damage so the expanse of that one was surprising and it was swelling up quite impressively too.

Fuzzy!  Hard to take a shot from this angle.
Side view of the swelling :o(
My elbow... not too bad, especially considering it had no fabric covering it when it hit the ground.

 My calf; quite scraped up...

Mmm, gritty!
 And even a dink in my ankle through my sock.  Nice!

Notice the crinkly, white feet from being in soaking wet socks for an hour.
So yes, not really part of the plan.  The plan was to avoid injury between the races.  That said, I'm glad this was today and not in 2 weeks time.  The grazes are mostly tolerable and would be covered by tri-suit to protect them under a wet-suit apart from the big one on my calf.  That's a bit of a worry under a wet-suit so I may just wear calf guards to keep it away from the rubber.  The deep-bruising in my hip may well end up compromising power on the bike and maybe even the run too.  It being 4 days before a pretty flat 70.3 is a much better thing than 4 days before a bloody hilly full distance Ironman.

Monday 27 August 2012

Ironman Bolton. Too well managed?

Thanks to MrTOTKat, I have a template to create a rather good view of what happened at Bolton.  Two things stand out... my transitions really are abysmal and I managed my bike effort very very (perhaps too?) well. 

Overall Female F40-44
Swim 53.6% 49.3% 38.5%
T1 82.5% 82.1% 61.5%
Bike 88.2% 72.9% 61.5%
T2 89.0% 85.0% 84.6%
Run 64.9% 57.9% 42.3%
Finish 78.3% 68.6% 57.7%
(lower numbers are better)

In T1, I dropped quite a bit down the overall field.  And T2 wasn't a whole lot better, but the field was a lot more strung out by then so it was less noticeable.   I have no idea what the heck I was doing in T1 and T2, but I need to stop day-dreaming and think more like I do in sprint triathlons where my transitions are (comparatively to the rest of the field) very good.

Still, my slow-down in the bike leg was at a lesser rate than the top 20 athletes (look at the red trend line - comparisons are made with the top 20 athletes as it's assumed that they know what they're doing).
Not easy to see, but my rate of slow down is lower
And I started off very very much more slowly, 98.4% down the field (for bike times) at the first bike split, but pulling back up 10% of the field by the end of the bike and 13% of the women.  So though I took it easy on the bike, I went off steadily and picked up better than a chunk of the field.

(My age category is so small, the numbers aren't all that meaningful)

And my slow down in the run was appreciably less than the top 20 (again, the red trend line), the rest of the field, all women and my age category.  So much so that I made back a lot of places.  A well managed race?  Looks that way.  But maybe too conservative?

Really made up lots over the run.  Started gently 80% down the field at the first split, and then made up lots of places over the 26.2 miles to 65%.   And again, look at the red trend line.  I slow down less than the top 20 athletes over the 26.2 mile run course.

Started slow and, er, stayed there

Starting off slower than almost 80% of the field at the first run split, I pulled back up to 65% down the (run time) field by the end of it.  This time, the women did a bit better than the average in the field, probably having taken it a bit less hard on the bike earlier.  That said, I actually did better than more than half of my age category in the run.  Not bad for someone who's rubbish at running. :o)

I think I'd had enough in the last 2 miles
 If you compare the overall heart rate graph with the other graphs, you can see a slow downwards drift across the disciplines.  The large majority of the entire race is comfortably in Zone 1 (the coloured bands in the graph are a bit misleading below, blue and most of green is Zone 1) with a tiny foray into Zone 2 the first couple of times up Sheephouse Lane on the bike so I really could have put more into that.  You'd expect the HR in the run to be higher than in the bike, but that continues the downwards saunter.
(Usually in a triathlon, heart rate is higher on the run than in the bike, but this is long course.)

Overall, I think the bike leg was overly conservative, it sticks out in the results (if you ignore the transitions as they're just hilarious) as the weakest discipline in terms of time taken, and I could have gone faster/harder.  The run shows clearly that a well-managed bike leg (along with good nutrition and hydration) delivers good results in the run leg.  Overall, I could have gone harder in the run too.  The big positive I think I can take from this is that I can go quite a bit quicker if/when I learn a bit better where the limits may lie.  Not something I'll take into Wales; too risky for finishing The Challenge.

Maybe next year?

If I could take the same kind of improvements in Ironman as I've made across sprint triathlons over 7 races, I'd be very pleased indeed.  53% in the swim (from 58% to top 5%), 67% in the bike (from 71% to top 5%) and 51% in the run (from 78% to top 27%) and 65% overall (72% to top 7.5%) in my age category and from 84% to top 33% of the whole field.  Thing is, you just can't bang out the same number of long course races in a season as sprint or even Olympic distance races, so the learning curve is very much slower.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Garmin 610 loses detail sometimes...

I assure you, I was not running up trees...

But it means it was vastly over-estimating the pace I was doing.  Which is annoying.  *sigh*

Suprising bargain sportswear

I'd never have had H&M down as somewhere I'd go to get sportswear.  Out shopping for a light, loose top to go over a bikini (for holidays and Hawaii later in the year), I popped in to H&M in Wimbledon to see if they had anything nice.  The shop is awfully laid out with smart mixed with causal mixed with "youth" mixed with maternity and evening and, er, sports?  My eye was caught by a fluoro-orange singlet...

 These pictures do not do justice to the violent orangeness of the colour.  It really is glowing, fluorescent orange.  Think safety vests.  And I'm in the market for some light/reflective singlets to run in to keep the heat off me so I thought I'd see how they fitted and felt.  Well, they fitted nicely in a "s" and felt really soft.  So, at £7.99 a pop I thought I'd give them a go!  I got an orange one and a white one with gold spots on the sides (you can just about see the spots in this photo).

So far, I've done a strength session (split squats, pistol squats, roll outs, pressups, deadlifts, side bends etc. ) and a spin session in the white and gold spots one (which doesn't seem to exist on the H&M web site).  And a 01:00:00 surge intervals run in the orange one.  And so far, they're very comfy.  No rubbing or chafing, no seams sticking in to me, no stupid label irritation.  Nice!  Let's see how they wash and wear.  But so far they seem really rather good.  I'm thinking I'll wear the orange one at Galway 70.3 for the run.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Heavenly home-made pate

Home-made stuff is just so much nicer... even when we're insanely busy, we don't buy ready-made food and either cook meals from raw ingredients or eat out (roughly twice a week at the moment due to a lot of weekend travel to train and look at race routes).

Anyway, I was in Morrison yesterday, getting some lettuce for salad, and saw some nice looking kippered mackerel fillets for £2.  So I got some for my lunches and roasted them.

I decided to make pate as I fancied pate on toast, so... break up the roasted fillets, add cream cheese, a grind or two of black pepper.

And blend until the desired consistency is reached.

Smear on hot toast and serve with a nice bowl of salad.


90g mackerel fillet (including skin)
50g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)
Freshly ground black pepper

[237kcals, 19.6g protein, 2.5g carbs, 16.1g fat]

Monday 20 August 2012

Hyoooge week ahead!

Biiiig week of training this week from Coach Rich as I'm not at work:-

Yep.  That's 18 and a half hours and I have literally no excuses not to do it all.  Then I get a taper week into Galway, I think.

Ohgod, there's only 4 weeks until I finish the Ultimate Challenge!

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Maintaining between Ironmans

This is the difficult bit between races.  Having completed UK 70.3 and Ironman UK, there's a real mental slump before the next race is due.  The inital challenge of the distance has been met and nobody died.  Nobody fell off or cramped or was sick or too dehydrated or grazed, blistered or bruised.  There is no "let's go faster at the next one" because they're so close together and the risk of not finishing Ironman Wales is too high to lamp it at any point in that race.

It's proving a bit difficult to keep the momentum up in this maintenance period.  There's no real gains to be made during the recovery period after Ironman UK and then it's already time to taper a bit for Ireland 70.3.  So the key at the moment is to keep things ticking over and stop thinking about anything other than a well managed race.

I think I'd be buggered without a coach at this point.  I'd either do almost nothing or far too much/too hard.  This was always going to be the challenge with the Ultimate Ironman Challenge - getting around all four races safely and without making a mess of it and getting injured towards the end.  With Rich coaching me, I'm 100% confident in doing that from a physical readiness point of view.  The only thing I'm really worried about... is something happening in a race that's outside of my control, like someone crashing into me on the bike course and breaking me or my bike.  *fret*

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Pukka Peppermint and Licorice tea

Teapigs aren't the only ones now selling peppermint and licorice flavoured tea.  Pukka have jumped onto the bandwagon and created one of their own too.

 So I thought I'd give it a go.

The bags are the traditional square shape, rather than the pyramids that Teapigs use.  And that may be why this tea just doesn't taste as good.  The smell and flavour are weaker, less sweet and generally not quite as good as the Teapigs one.  However, when it comes to price, the Teapigs one clocks in at over twice the cost per cup of tea (if you buy a 15 bag pack for Teapigs vs. a 20 bag pack of Pukka).  So... if you like your herbal infusions gentle and subtle, go for Pukka and you'll get good value for money.  But if you want a big, punchy flavour (like I do), then you really want to be paying the extra for Teapigs.