Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

Well a new Year is nearly upon us and what a year I've had. A year ago I was in Basra having an early night with a can of blackcurrant fanta.... a year later and I'm having a peaceful evening in with a good mate and some nice tucker.... 2006 has been a long year personally, and one which has seen me change as a person probably quite significantly due to the experiences that came with the start of the year in particular. I'm looking forward to 2007 and all the experiences life will bring along - particularly the London Michelob Triathlon in August!!! :o)

Training this week has gone pretty ok - easier as I was off work, but hard still as I still had the "Christmas must catch up with mates and drink beer" bug!! Although thankfully only one day of that this in the last week!!! Got a really good core session followed by excellent swim session in on Friday. During the swim I did a good set of drills and a few tempo lengths to get through an hour and 2.1k, all felt really good. As a reward I then had an afternoon out on the town... oh dear, although the pints of London Pride did go down well and the company was fab!! Woke up early saturday with a sore head!!

As punishment therefore I had agreed to help a friend out digging over their garden - what felt like hours of hard labour in the rain to repent of my sins of the day before! Still wanted to punish myself some more so did a 5k hill session on the treadmill in the gym... only one word for that... UGLY!

Today I was supposed to be doing a mtb orienteering thing with my mate Claire. Alas I have had a senile moment and thought it was today but when I checked the time on Saturday afternoon on the web I discovered the date of the event was the 30th - yep that would have been Saturday morning then.. doh! so missed it. Not to be outdone though the local gym had a 1.5hour spin session - so we both did that instead which was actually quite enjoyable (in a warped sort of way), just for good measure I left the bike and got on the treadmill for a quick 1k run. Legs held up well and not too much wobbling - amazing!

Well better get out and start celebrating (with elderflower cordial and fizzy water - honest), the arrival of the New Year!

Wishing all of you out there and your families one fabulous celebration tonight and a happy and peaceful 2007.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Spring is on the way - honest

Yes - before Christmas we obviously had the winter solstice and so we're getting around 8hours of sunshine a day... well ok if you could see the Sun we would be - although I did hear someone say they saw it for an hour today... ;0) I have to say I missed it. The thing about winters here is there is nothing to them - neither too cold or too hot, just grey and very little sunshine. Well at least I don't live further north where they have next to no chance of any sun at all do you won't catch me anywhere in Scandinavia in the next few months eh ;o) ... but still as I said Spring is on the way - the birds are even in song in the morning already and yes there are the first sign of tulips, daffodils and the like coming out - but hey isn't this just all a little too early? Time will tell if they all get beaten back my some sort of winter that's not come yet. We have had a few days of minus temps all day (that was when the fog was here last week ), but that's about it.... not that I guess that I'm complaining as have to figure out far too many layers to wear when I run in the cold ;O)

OK - on to this week. Did a really nice run on Christmas Day. Later then usual I set off about 10am, without the santa outfit (which I did contemplate wearing)... met quite a few dog walkers all wrapped up. Hit the bridle ways of Finchampstead and had a really lovely 7.5k outing. That of course allowed me to indulge in the rest of the day! Excellent day too, over to Mum and Dads, brother, his wife, my two nephews (8yrs and 2mths), Nan, Aunt and Uncle - phew a busy day!

Took Tuesday off and took Dad's dog to the beach with some family friends. At least the dog got an excellent run around, think she's been flat out ever since!!!

Wednesday I took in a steady swim, some drills and a 400m (disappointingly still just over 9mins for that) in total about 1500m. Club training doesn't restart until next Wednesday so I would like to get a couple more swims in before that.

Today I took to my bike, could have risked the outside as it was brighter then it has been (still no clear skies), but the road was damp and slippery all day although a mild 8degrees. So didn't do it but caught 2 episodes of Alias (series 1 again) to get me through an hour or so on the bike. Did an easy 10mins warm up then 5*1k intervals with 1k easy, after that another 10k small gear cadence >90. So felt like that was a good workout.

The 'plan' for the rest of the week is 1-2 more swims, at least one run and I've entered a 2hour mtb orienteering event for Sunday. Now I've done some of these before and they're quite a laugh, although currently the weather forecast is not too funny looking!!! Still it will be entertaining if nothing else.... especially if the storms arrive as predicted.

Right that's it for now - and would you look at the time - well past my bedtime, I need my beauty sleep after all.

Oh yeah and Muffin the cat has also enjoyed his Christmas although he's really not getting into the exercise thing like his Ma - seems to be doing lots of stretching, cat snoring and eating. Well sounds like he's got really into the Christmas spirit!


Monday, December 25, 2006

Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas!!! Tis the season to be jolly la la la.. or something like that eh? OK time to confess it's been nearly two weeks since my last blog and I think I can safely say there is a correlation between how much training I put in and how regularly I do my blog... you will gather therefore as I've been a little lax on the blog front I have also been lax on the training front. Lack of will power has seen me go to too many festive gatherings and consume the wrong type of hydration (ok more like right type of dehydration depending on your view!). Still Christmas comes but once a year... and I wasn't here last year (in the sense I wasn't in the UK) so I guess I've been making up for it.

I'll keep my training diary brief then (well I have little choice in that matter!)... The week of my last blog (starting 11th I think) I did err grand total of err 1 hour of training... yep shocking.. and that was on the Sunday. By the time I'd got to Wednesday 13th I'd been commuting for over 16hours, the next day I went to Ireland for a flying (social) visit so by the time I got to Friday I was well and truly pooped. Saturday I cleared off the Christmas shopping list so that left Sunday to go for a run... and suffer I did.. a week of living the high life and lots of travel took it out of my legs. So steady 9.5k in an hour (although did slightly beast myself for last 2k which I raced home in a little over 10mins).... On to the last week then (told you this wouldn't take long...)... Managed a good day on Monday, both strength session in the morning and swim session in the evening. The swim was as much of a nightmare as the previous days run had been. Felt more like a dead weight then a light flipping dolphin in the water! Still did my lengths... and then the week started to go down hill again, nothing Tuesday and another social occasion on Wednesday up in London again. Couldn't help myself (I evidently have the self control similar to the breaking strain of a kitkat)... so started on the champagne at 1pm (yes 1 in the afternoon) and it went from there... so that kinda wrote off Thursday really. Still managed to slightly recover my position by an hour on the turbo Friday and Saturday with an hour core stability work Saturday too. Blobbed out yesterday. So totals for last week a rather generous 5 hours, although I feel like I really barely did anything.

Still Christmas day is here and I give my body a present today - a nice steady hour run through the fields - will be doing that as soon as this blog is done. Hey and I've got some skins(tm) to try on. I've heard rave reviews for a long time about these in terms of aiding training/ performance. Never really that sure but have worn them for both bike sessions last week and had no muscle soreness at all after. So either they really are ace or I wasn't working hard enough!! ;o) You can take a look at the skins website here .

I actually have some time off work this week so have no excuse for missing my week training goal.... hold me to that one then!

OK so time to get out on to the roads and fields. Leaves me to say to anyone reading this I wish you and your family and friends a really happy and peaceful Christmas wherever you are. Especially those who have loved ones serving overseas either with the armed forces or serving a cause close to their hearts. Take care.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas silly season

Ho Ho Ho! Ok perhaps not quite yet - Christmas decorations go up this weekend for me, earlier then that and it's just too early and besides I've had multiple kitchens invading my house and not much space to put them up in before now :o)

Last week ended up being a really excellant training week... until Sat when I played a game of hockey. Wrecked my body - I really am getting too old to be running around an astro turf with a stick and let's face it half the team are 20 (yes twenty) years younger. Upshot was had to have a hours snooze after and didn't get either my Sat morning run or Sat afternoon swim in. Did make the swim however Sun morning but then failed to get on the bike.... Still weekly stats aren't bad given the hockey;

Swim: 3k (2hrs Mon, Sun)
Bike: 22k (1hr Tue)
Run: 9k (50' Wed)
Strength (2hrs Mon, Fri)
Hockey (!) (1hr40 Sat)
Total time: 7hrs30mins, if I hadn't played hockey I think I'd have bust the 8hrs30 target I had set :o)

So my decision is pretty much made - am enjoying the challenge of Tri Training and am enjoying the feeling of fitness and wellbeing it's giving me... so have written a mail to hockey captains and said I'm unlikely to be playing after the Christmas break and so far I don't feel like that's a mistake.

Just a quick thing to note - watched some of the European short course swimming at the weekend - OMG! Talk about F-A-S-T.... puts my PB record breaking 50m in 55s at the weekend into context... but then I never had a dream of being an elite athelete!! ;o)

So after my successful training week last week this one is ...err.. well lets just say an enforced rest week thus far. Travelled north to Manchester on Monday so missed my early morning gym session but was still planning on my evening swim session. However public transport had other ideas and I finally arrived back in Reading some three hours late at 10pm - so no swimming for me then!

Yesterday was a day up in the city and I could have probably got something in very first thing but given I didn't get my head down until past midnight I was too darn tired. So another rest day yesterday and likely to be the same today. The good thing however is I'm feeling refreshed and raring to go. So I'll accept that this week can be a "recovery" week - or at least half of it is!

Well best get on!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Where has the week gone a;ready!

Sigh - must confess to supping a small glass of wine tonight. So far so good for the training week although work has definately tried to get in the way ;o)

Managed both sessions on Monday. Some strength stuff again first thing then swimming in the evening. Have to confess that I was late for the swim session but I do think my technique may actually be (marginally) improving ... hurrah! ... Well at least I'm not feeling like I'm drowning so much anyhow... I'm now tending to breath in air rather then water which is always a good thing!!! Still though much to improve both technique and stamina, well at least i've got another 8 months before the big one.

Tuesday was my well earned rest day - then moved to Wednesday. I knew I wouldn't be able to get my lunchtime run in so made it on to the trusty steed in the morning. 10' warm-up, then 20' at HR 130-142.. followed by some easy spinning before going to the big rings 1 min in every 3... before collapsing and back into my saddle for a 8min spin down. Didn't manage too many kms... total 24 I think... but happy with the time in the saddle... and watching some old episodes of Frasier helped pass the time on the bike!!!

So on to today... woke up to what sounded like someone throwing water at my bedroom window... so that'd be a big horrid storm then. Didn't look at the weather forecast and figured I'd just have to go out for a run at lunchtime and hope for the best... and wasn't I lucky. Made it out between torrents of rain. The sun even blessed me and the squirrels as I had a good munch around the lake and woods. A really good run in the mud, streams and sand for 55mins. No idea how far just enjoyed running out, taking in a few hills and a few puddles. Didn't really test myself anaerobically (apart from when I ran into the wind up the hills which was impossible), the only sore things after was bizarrely by calf muscles but I think this was due to the new off roaders as much as anything else. So looks like I can get a good hour in without too much bother, so now need to work that a bit more, will be glad to get up to 1.5hrs in the next month before concentrating on more speed work.

Right I think that's about up to date then. So more exciting things then - oven is fully working and yes, the new kitchen is coming along brillo! Although the floor's not going down until the 22nd and I've only just chosen the tiles for the walls. So you never know it may get done in time for xmas .. but then again... still it looks great so far and that's the main thing! :o)

OK enough waffle, time to turn in I think!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

End of a better week

Ok so sunday here again and I feel better this week for the training done then I did last, and that felt better then the week before.... so maybe I'm getting into a bit of a routine (at last) - still a little way to go before I find my real training rhythem, although I fear for myself with December upon us and the start of the social "silly season".

The weekend hasn't gone exactly to plan. Meant to do a run yesterday morning but a mix a late gas man (for the cooker fitting) meant I was hanging around at home an extra hour and a half not sure whether to go out for a run or not. Still he did finally show and my cooker now has gas and I may even be able to cook a proper meal again before long! Did manage to have a good swim session as planned in the afternoon. Mixture of some drills followed by 5*100m (on 15') followed by more drills then 400m straight before a cool down. Beginning to feel really comfortable in the water although still don't have the timing of my breathing right. Think I need to look at my "SwimSmooth" DVD for some more advice - maybe I'll get some time tomorrow evening before my Monday night swim!

My 5k Santa fun run (picture to follow) nearly didn't happen due to torrential rain and gale force winds.. however the sun came out before the start so we donned our outfits (beards and all!)... however change of plans as my pals decided to actually walk it. Hum ... however no fear so I ran while they walked, running 20m ahead then 20m behind and catching them again. So we did it in 51mins.. they walked 5k, reckon I probably ran 8 or 9k!!! But it was really good run and I did need a long slow run after weds easy/tempo session. Alas this evening only got home late so I've missed the chance to mount my trusty steed and get some spinning in. A bit disappointing then I only got an hour on the bike the whole week. Really need to double this in the near term and do lots lots more in the medium term!!

Still - happy with my progress. I'd like to now spend a few weeks achieving the same sort of training before upping again. So I'll take a look at my training "plan" to get to the London Tri and work back!

It's all getting rather addictive! Total hours last week only a rather misely 6 - however that's an hour up on the last 4 weeks and with no hockey either so I'm feeling like I'm beginning to get there. Ideally I'd like to be doing more like 8 hours - so if I only took one day off a week I reckon I could get to this. Well that's my aim then for the week to come!

.. but now it's time to sleep! Which is another thing I seem to need more of - which is fine in my book, the more zzz's the better!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Thank Crunchie it's Friday

Have a confession to begin with - treating myself to a glass of wine... Not the ideal drink for the serious triathlete... however I have never claimed to be serious and I'm not sure I'd even class myself as a triathlete just yet.

Anyhow just to say I'm so far keeping honest to my cause with both a strength session first thing this morning and some time on my trusty steed (the turbo) this evening. Changed by strength session as it's the second of the week. Still light weights but about 20-25 reps of each... circuit as follows; squats, lat pull downs, lunges, press-ups, tricep pull downs, calve raises, abs... did that three times over with a 1min30s break in between each circuit. Cycling this evening was a little tiresome but still kept it in the small cogs with cadence between 82-88rpm. Did 20k in 52 mins then slow 2.5k warmdown, an hour in total.

So pleased with today, both training and work actually - hence rewarded myself with a glass (ok or two) of wine.

Tomorrow's schedule has changed slightly in so far as no longer doing my OU lecture as my gasman is turning up to move my gas point in my kitchen (have I mentioned before that I'm having a new kitchen fitted..... I'm living in house chaos!). So still intend nice gentle run tomorrow morning then a swim session in the late afternoon before going out in the evening.

Good news of the day - Santa outfit has arrived for Sunday's 5k fun run - now that should be a sight to see!!

All for now, here's hoping the boys traveling down under do well in the cricket overnight!