Sunday, 29 April 2018

Swimathon, Sportive, Slumps

The last two weeks have been a bit of a mixed bag. The euphoria of Brighton carried me through a few days. Training was meant to recommence on the Tuesday but I felt I needed an extra rest day, so I took it, sacrificing a track/interval session, and felt no remorse. Instead I got pummelled by the lovely Georgina under the guise of a sports massage. My poor thighs!
Wings for my trainers! A celebratory gift from the lovely Cathy.
I actually enjoyed doing a few big swims and I even got out on the roads for a 40 mile bike ride on a sunny Friday afternoon, meeting a friend at Dinton Pastures for some of it.  It felt like a bit of a breakthrough session. Being the slightly more confident of the two of us somehow made me step up a bit so together with being familiar with the route and not having to navigate many junctions, it was a delight. The ice cream at half way probably also helped!
Halfway ice cream at Dinton Pastures
Week beginning 16th April 
Swim : 7,650m
Bike : 73.43 miles
Run : 2.08 miles

It seemed as though I had more time in my days. I was able to read, to go to the cinema and meet friends for breakfast as well as do my training. I was feeling more energetic and investing time in looking after myself. Iron supplements and magnesium spray now feature in my daily routine. There was another visit to the osteopath which was all very positive too. Saturday saw Dean and I take part in Swimathon for the fourth year in a row. It was my second attempt at the 5km distance and I was aiming to improve on my 2017 time of 2:08:11. Under two hours was the aim and I was delighted to complete the distance this year in 1:54:17! Another PB! Training looked to be paying off and I can only thank Ellie Gosling for that.
So where are the negative parts? Well I suppose there are only two dark spots in the last two weeks, one of which has only come to pass this afternoon. The first was on Friday. Ellie had uploaded my next four weeks of training plan into Training Peaks on Thursday night and asked me to take a look. There were some big numbers in there... 75, 90, 100 mile bike rides, and all cycling to be completed on the roads from now on. One swim a week will now be in the lake and I saw many days swallowed up with training. I wasn't wholly unprepared for this, I know what I need to be building up to, but I wasn't prepared for how much this played on my mind all through Thursday night, leaving me tired and overwhelmed on Friday. I tried and tried to turn it around. In the end a sob, a big bowl of pasta, a glass of wine and a resolution to only think a few days ahead seemed to work.
Wise words from Des'ree
The second dark spot has crept up on me this afternoon. Following on from Swimathon yesterday Dean and I were both signed up to an Evans Cycles RIDE IT event today. We'd booked the medium distance or 60 miles to fit in with my training plan and dutifully landed bikes into the car and set off for Pangbourne just after 8am. It was cold and the skies threatened rain that came to pass quite early on. We got to around 10 miles with numb toes, rain covered glasses and an intense desire to go home. We'd layered up but it wasn't enough against the headwinds and side winds (no tailwinds of course). A niggle in my arms picked up on the swim the day before was making itself known too. At the feed stop at 19 miles we decided to drop down to the short route of 34 miles. Not what I'd set out to achieve but I reasoned with myself that it was still time in the saddle, I'd been stronger on the hills, better with gears and fuelling and so not all was wasted. In those last 15 miles I got panicked in slow moving traffic, almost came off my bike on a hill, was less than sensible at junctions just to avoid having to stop and unclip to the point where Dean has threatened to swap my cleats back to toe cage pedals. And so I got back to the car feeling it had been the right thing to do. I'd made my peace with not completing 60 miles.
The route map. 
Then we reviewed our training diaries from 2017. This time last year Dean and I had done parkrun *and* Swimathon on the Saturday followed by a 65 mile sportive in the New Forest on the Sunday. Suddenly I felt as though I was so far behind where I was a year ago, wondering whether I should be giving up on Lakesman. But my overall training volumes are bigger. My times have improved left right and centre. And I remember how different it felt on the bike in the sun just last week, to in the rain and wind today. The weather makes such a huge difference, not only to effort involved but mental state. So I will be resting for the remainder of the day and carrying on tomorrow. New day, new achievements. I've been very honest about how I'm feeling in this post, but there's no point hiding it. This is what Ironman training is like, ups and downs, doubts and euphoria, and it has to be just one step at a time.
A medal. Not wholly earned?
Week beginning 23rd April
Swim : 8,000m
Bike : 59.63 miles
Run : 5.2 miles

I've raised a total of £592.48 so far - thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. There's still a way to go but I appreciate all the support for me and Anthony Nolan.I'm lucky to be able to do what I do, not everyone can.

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