Saturday, May 31, 2008
KING HENRY V:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English**.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England*, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'
** For Wes this should obviously read American
* Again for Wes please read America.....
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I flew to SFO a week ago, left there for Atlanta on Wednesday and now in Washington transiting back to London. Is it any wonder that I'm not quite sure where I am. Certainly my training has plopped right off the radar.
So where am I training wise...
3 weeks today I'll be doing my 70.3. I've not had any "good" training sessions for about 3 weeks now, so much for peaking. In addition I've got a foot problem, I first thought this could be a stress fracture, but have been told it could be less serious being spot of "Metatarsalia", will be getting that checked out with the physio when I get home. Not until Tuesday though as it's a bank holiday tomorrow (which is as well!)
OK, so less of the dome and gloom. Am still doing the 70.3, I am NOT setting any time goals (although ok I'd like to do the swim in 38-35mins). The reasons for this are several;
1. The bike course is a complete and utter nightmare. Everyone I've talked to have said how brutal it is with over 1,000m climbing... gulp! So I've no idea what time to expect so won't bother setting one. Will just do it as relaxed as I can!
2. The run course is also NASTY! In that it has a 1 in 10 to ascend/ descend, not one, twice but three times!! So, given the bike prior to this I'm in no position to judge how I'm going to do on this run either
3. Foot problem may just stop me in my tracks anyhow.
4. 3 weeks of no focus is not going to help performance. I knew this period of time would be difficult so I'm no complaining, just recognising it won't be conducive to "performing"!
Now I've rolled that one off here's some stats from Lisbon;
As you may (or maynot) be aware my previous one and only Olympic distance race was at London last year. Here were my stats for that;
So with that I figured the following for Lisbon;
and this is how I did;
So I aced my run, pretty much aced my swim (that was the mat time, my watch was 27:52).... and actually in the cold light of day the bike isn't so bad given the steepness of the hill involved I was only 10secs per K slower then London... and the course was a lot more technical.... so I've put that one to bed now :o)
Monday, May 19, 2008
Before I begin (don't many stories start like that?) let me paint a picture of where I am currently penning this from ..... approximately 30,000 feet up no less (but maybe a bit more), and in the comfort of a Virgin Premium Economy seat to boot. In fact it's a great seat, lots of room, a large seat back tv in front of me, many (many) films to choose from (currently about to watch Sweeney Todd) and regularly flowing refreshments :oO
I'm on the way to San Francisco in case you were wondering. So that's my excuse really for the delayed race report... got back in to work Tuesday and had a HECtic week so this is my first real chance of sitting back and relaxing since I got home!!
OK on to business;
ETU AGE GROUP CHAMPIONSHIP 2008: RACE REPORT
Alright we know that no race report wouldn be complete without a bit of pre-race picture setting. Now unlike me, I won't go on (too much). Highlights of the two days previous to the race itself consisted of;
(a) Meeting up with fellow LISBONKERs, Angel at Gatwick Airport then later on the Thursday evening with Jules (and Sheila his support crew). Alas for poor Julian he had to transit through Heathrow terminal 5, inevitably his bike didn't make the journey between terminal 5 to terminal 1 so Jules found himself in Lisbon bikeless for the first 24 hours!! Scarey!
(b) Friday am Team Lisbonkers headed to the swim where we had a bit of a photo shoot
(c) Friday Team Lisbonkers (minus bike-less Jules) took part in an approx 300 strong pelleton supposedly on a police escorted route reccie. Police escorted yes, but not the full route. No if we had done the full route we'd have known about THAT HILL and the extra 5ks!!
(d) Team GB official briefing really got the nerves going. Talking about when we had to put bikes in transition, no towels allowed, out of transition 0830 on day of race only allowed back in 30mins before the race, only use the transition basket (no bags allowed) and then the was the whole get into the age group “holding pen” 15mins before race start time, prior to the run down the causeway into the dock... THEN I really began to panic ;o)
Can't remember too much of Saturday I think due to sugar overdose from the amazing custard cakes and shots of expresso!! Did manage to watch in absolute AWE the elite races! That WAS really brilliant.... and boy they were all F-A-S-T!
We had to rack bikes Saturday evening, can't say there was much (ok any) checking going on – but still we got the bikes all racked up easily enough. 600+ bikes the majority of which were extremely sleek and expensive looking (poor Biancha looked a bit out of her depth amongst those steads I can tell you!). I left a little concerned that the high winds blowing would lead to a calamity of the “there's about 100 bikes to a row and if the wind gets one the whole lot are coming down” kind. Still Sunday came and the bikes were still standing! Phew!
Having deposited rest of kit by the bike in transition I headed off to the swim pen. We were allowed a quick dip to get warmed up (and remember it was salt water!), before being carrolled into our holding area. Where we were thankfully there told that it wasn't going to be a run start (sense had prevailed as the causway was very slippery), but a floating start in the water. Phew! Lucky for me they had also decided (prior to the race day) to split by heat into two waves, 20-29 ladies then 30-39.. so the fast girls were off before me which suited me fine and also meant there were only some 50 odd girls in my heat. A blessing (some of the men had near on 100). Needless to say when the little electronic klaxon sounded it was like swimming with a bunch of piranhas in a feeding frenzy! I same head up for at least 50m, during which time I had boob, head, tummy, head, boob, leg kicked, hit, slapped etc etc ... So the race was underway then!! Finally got on someone's toes in some clear water and found some rhythm. The course itself was an “M” shape so quite a few turns to navigate. All in all, besides the first 100 or so metres it was a fairly easy swim. Turned the last buoy and hit the slipway out, hitting the lap time at 27:52... WHOOP! My season goal was to swim under 28mins for 1500 – to do so in May was a real result. Mat time before T1 was 28:05. GREAT START! T1 was a bit wobbly and not terribly fast, hitting the exit in about 2'30. Not great, but still on the bike which is always a great feeling.
The start of the bike was a little “technical” with quite a few turns on slippery cobblestones. Not great in the rain. Still soon enough I was on the open road. Open being the word, as only 3 heats had gone out before me there weren't that many people on the course – so lap 1 of the bike was quite a lonely affair. And a long one. It was on the way out during lap 1 that I should have remembered my lesson learnt from La Santa – that being weather effects bike performance. Why didn't I remember this as I grumbled away to myself as I climbed (not quite the flat course as advertised), the last mile to the turn point, into a head wind with rain!! Grrrr.... starting feeling very despondent as my time was nearing 30mins... I couldn't figure it out, until I made it back down in about 15mins, yes not only the hill but a headwind – still made the journey back a little easier.
This piccie (thanks to Sheila) is me coming down to go into the stadium loop about to start lap 2. Going out for lap 2 was even more challenging on the cobblestones which were pretty wet by them! But at least I knew what was to come.... and by now I knew my aim of coming in 2hrs 46 (same time as London last year) was blown – but then I didn't know how long the course was at that time.
I grumbled towards T2, at least I managed to get my feet out of my shoes and doing a flying dismount!!! .... and then there was just the run to do....
By now I wasn't paying much particular attention to my watch so did T2 as fast as I could, grabbing a gel and epipen on the way. T2 was ok, but not great at 1:30.
The atmosphere heading out of T2 was really building – by now all the age groups were on the course and mixing up plenty. Lots and lots of supporters were out, lining the exit of T2, the half way turn point and the finish tunnel. By now I was hurting plenty but obviously stopping was far from my mind, so off I trotted – being overtaken by most I may add – I think I ran past a couple of 70 year olds but that was about it!! ;o)
We hadn't recc'd the run course – and although it was an accurate 10k it did go on relentlessly. You just couldn't see where the turn out lap turn point was, yet there was a constant stream of people running past in your direction and coming back at you. It took forever to hit that water station I can tell you! Saw both Angel and Jules on my first lap, with Jules finally catching me with about 2k to 2.5k to go – a great race from him given he started 20mins behind me (but then he is substantially faster on the bike and run!). His words to be were “just see it home now”, I think my reply was something like “this is hurting”, it must have been bad because I don't think I even swore! Really felt like taking a walk break on the way back on the final lap but that's really not my way, so plodded on (being the operative word) and finally made it to the finish line!!!
I would usually say at this point what a great feeling, but honestly I felt really really crap so I headed straight to the medical tent thinking I was having a bit of asthma. Hummm anyhow, transpires I was actually having a bit of a hypo with a low blood sugar. Despite the gels I had taken (1 pre swim, 2 on bike and 1 on the run) I didn't have enough sugar in me. Still some form of liquid, a wipe down and some rest under a space blanket saw me right. Special thanks to Sheila at this point who helped me through that particular nightmare getting sprays and clothes from my kit bag whilst the medical team did there bit. Poor Angel though, finished in a flurry to have no fellow Lisbonker team mates awaiting her arms in the air final salute!!
I was still grumbling whilst under the space blanket, having had a “bad” (so I thought bike) I reset my goal to get in under 3 hours, having finished in 3hrs and 12 seconds I was feeling a bit "WTF" bascially. It was at this stage I decided to look at my splits. Saw the swim time again which was great and then had the biggest surprise of my run time. I honestly thought I was running like a slug on a slow day, but low and behold I actually had set a 10k PB!!!! Totally (totally) chuffed with that. Previous standalone 10k was 6 years ago and something like 56:40, I cracked the Lisbon tri 10k in 55:52. OK so not a stella performance given the best in my age group was something like 41mins, but for me, a PB, amazing. I suddenly became quite chuffed and not so despondent! Later when I found out the length of the bike course I sort of put that one to bed too.
This photo was after the medal ceremony, having a part Scottish heritage I thought my Mum would like me with the old Scottish flag - just wish my Granny, Grandpa and Grandad (for the GB flag) could be alive to know about the weekend.
... and finally this IS team Lisbonkers (ok minus Simon) Angel, yours truly and Jules. We were proud!!
For my second Olympic distance race I'm both pleased and proud of how I did. Can honestly say I don't think I could have done any better. Couple of lessons learnt on this one;
The weather (again). If my bike is not what I expect time wise and it's hilly, wet or windy (or all three) then I just need to forget about any planned time!
Nutrition. Honestly I'm a bit worried for the 70.3 given how I finished this one, I just need to ensure I counter this with the effort I put in (going to be very cautious on the bike). I certainly can't afford to overdo it early and blow up on the run. Hummmmm
Just not to get miffed!!! As my Mum and Dad would say – you can only do your best.
I guess on reflection the whole event has inspired me once more. Not just seeing the Elite's but the age group athlete's too. Some of them were phenomenal, you just can't be anything but amazed by the 60-64s, 65-69s and most certainly the 70-74s!!! Amazing! I so want to do one of these again!! Being part of team GB, amongst 150+ team mates, a bike mechanic and a couple of sports mass not to mention the team manager who was a great chap... all of this was completely amazing!
Despite the earlier hypo I didn't heed the medical advisor and decided to celebrate our success with a couple of glasses of champo..... Angel, a guy called Rhyss and I set a team record that
night..... 3 bottles of champagne until 4:30am!! A good celebration indeed!
PS: Don't worry it's now the next day and I've finally sorted internet access out at my hotel room to post this post!!
PPS: Just checked on the Florida 70.3 results... WES you were rockin!! Really well done matey!!
PPPS: Just realised I didn't put my race splits up - DOH! I'll post these later along with my pre-race targets!!!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
PB'd the swim and the run - WOO HOOOOO!
Bike was a nightmare for me an everyone else
I was feeling pretty crap about the overall time when I finished (3:00:12) but when I found out my swim and run splits I was pretty blinkin pleased!!
I didn't quite come last in my age group (17/20) which is great, at least I wasn't just there to make the numbers up and I did compete in parts of the race ;o)
Overall an amazing experience on so many levels.
And to top it all I'm not even really that sore! Amazing! Lots learnt for the 70.3!
Thursday, May 08, 2008
OK - so this will be a brief one. I'm writing this with a mixture of nerves, excitement and knackeredness (is that a word).
So why so tired - is it because I've been training like a loon..... well no ...... Basically a late night and an exciting early morning awakening!!! Why awake so early - well because I've yet to pack!
Yesterday I was working up in London, didn't get away till late and have either left my phone behind or it's made it's way out of my work bag. Either way I'm currently mobile-less. OMG! This is a nightmare for someone who used to it being attached to my ear or at the end of my fingertips for 16hours of a day!! LOL!! Still I guess it means I get a technology break whilst I'm away!
Didn't get home till gone 10pm due to visiting some friends before I went, that's when I discovered the lack of phone. Hadn't eaten either. Hummmmm with one thing or another I didn't get to bed till 1.30am and then woke up at 6am..... due to heightened state of excitement and sub-conscious worry over lack of packing!
Still hopefully I'll take a snooze on the plane this evening! Did manage to get by bike packed up last night - getting those pedals off is/was a nightmare!! So Biancha is in her bag with muchos polystyrene in strategic places!
The cats are going a bit scatty - last night they obviously picked up something was going down as I struggled (and swore) at the bike! I keep on telling Muffin to chill out as it's only a couple of days, as for Soros - well having "killed" all the toys he could lay his paws on last night (I think he was attention seeking) he's currently not in, obviously sulking somewhere outside!!
Right - better get some food on board and do some packing... now what do I need again... wetsuit, goggles, tri-top and shorts,.... humm maybe I should write a list.... oh yes let's not forget passport and tickets!
In the meantime if you want to check out some details link to the ETU website at the top of the page... or here's a link to the ITU website with more blab... an extract of which is below.... now you can see I am getting really REALLY excited about watching the Elites too...
Lisbon European Champs Preview (May 5, 2008 ) También texto en español.For the first time since 1999, the 24th edition of the ETU Triathlon European Championships head to Portugal to welcome Europe’s finest triathletes. With world class calibre fields comparable to most world cups, this Saturday’s event is one of the most coveted titles of the year. It will be the final ITU Continental Championship of 2008 and the men’s and women’s winner will earn their countries automatic spots at the Beijing Olympic Games. With such high stakes on the line, the best will be at the top of their games.
The home crowds will no doubt be vocal in its support of world champion Vanessa Fernandes, one of Portugal’s biggest sports stars who’s quickly becoming one of the greatest triathletes of all time..... ...
On the men’s side, Spain’s Javier Gomez broke through for his first European title last year in Copenhagen. Gomez won last year’s BG Triathlon World Cup stop in Lisbon and is keen to repeat as European champion on his way to Beijing. But a stellar men’s field that includes several former champions stand in his way. Gomez doesn’t have to look past his own team for a worthy challenger with Ivan Rana, the only other Spanish man to win European championships in 2002 and 2003....
Monday, May 05, 2008
Here's a link to the GB Elite team in case you were wondering who was racing from Blighty.
As for myself... Hummm.. yes.. what a laugh!! "TriGirl" no I didn't do an event to qualify for this little racey (luckily there was none or I'd have never been going!! LOL)... Qualification was through entry and experience "CV" which in my case was not a lot.. I've done 1 (yes just the one!) Olympic event thus far... so the aim of the weekend is obviously to finish!! LOL.... I'm am considerably slower then the last person in my age-group from last year, but, well, the experience is what it IS all about, and someone has to come last. Just wearing the flag will be amazing- you know what I mean!?! ;o)
As for other minor talk....
Today I cleared out the "cupboard under the stairs" aka the tardis.... I now have 6 pairs of old trainers for the charity bin... I kid you not.. 6 pairs... including my faithfull "Asics Laudreth's" from last season who saw me through my first half Mary... oh the memories ;o)
I also made a trip to the tip today... enough said about that!! ;o)
Get the impression that today was a bit of a spring clean?! ... Well if it's a bank holiday what better to do??? Ok maybe I could've done a bit of training but there were chores to be done... Including mopping the floor - which has freaked the cats out a bit.... so much so they seem to have already dirtied it with their muddy paws... Hummmm!!!
Ok - a short sharp blog - a bit like my run in the morning.. 30mins 10 easy 5*1'/1' intervals then 10min warmdown - can't wait ;o)
Oh but wait - did I tell you how much it cost me to fill my car with diesel last week....
Time to consider as many alternate travel options as possible. Running a car in this country is getting TOO expensive by far
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Had arranged to go over to Leanne and Dan's where we were going to set about tackling some of the long distance route from the sportive, roads (ok lanes) close to them which we pretty much hadn't travelled before.
IT WAS GREAT!
Route was something like this;
It's quite hilly around there given it's the edge of the Chiltern hills and the Ridgeway
Still hills are good as my 70.3 is very hilly. Not quite what the coach had planned for me today (I won't tell him if you don't). But I figured the hills are kind of like intervals?! Believe me the second bike hill was an absolute killer!
I've managed to grab some images from the web of the kind of countryside we were in....
Lots of rape seed fields in full bloom;
In fact lots of fields!!
And we went past some amazing bluebells woods also in full bloom - just wonderful!
Did I mention the fields and rolling countryside;
Also saw the odd bird;This is a Red Kite - lots of those around the Chilterns!!
Just for good measure after we parked the bikes I ran out for a quick brick. 5mins PDQ (1k in 4:44!!!) then back slow/ warmdown
OBN: 64k 2hrs4min
ORN: 2.02k 11mins
Friday, May 02, 2008
So think I'm going to blog some pictures today;
Firstly a picture of me enjoying a nice cup of tea after last weekends sportive... please note I'm wearing "Atlanta Cycling" outfit, obviously purchased in Atlanta on my recent trip.... Obviously a case of all the gear and no idea...LOL
You can't really tell how dirty I was afterwards - my legs look a bit brown but this is dirt from all the splash back from my front wheel or Leanne's rear wheel...(did I mention the rain on the ride!)... Humm... I think Leanne got off a bit worse though as I really "got" her when I cycled through a stream coming down a country lane (she was riding right behind and got a shower from my back wheel!!):
Now, as my hairdresser will atest I'm not terribly good at pre-booking and planning my trips to the hairdressers. Typically I'll wait until my hair suddenly becomes wild/ out of control (or the roots are showing too much..lol)... Anyhow, I've been growing my hair a bit these last couple of years which means my trips to the hairdressers gets longer between visits. But this week I just had to go - my roots were not hinting through but were inches long - so thought I'd better had before people start getting my age wrong ...lol.... So last night I made a visit;
Don't worry - I didn't leave the hair dressers with the foils in!!! But I am considering this hairstyle... although I don't think it'll help the aerodynamics on the bike?? Hummmmm
Now what other excitement has happened recently... OH YES... THIS has arrived;
What a blinking laugh!! So the ETU Champs is next weekend... I am so going to come last in my age group but I don't care.. Us Lisbonkers (Jules, Angel and I) are there for the experience, it's going to be a blast! Not convinced that doing an Oly as your first tri of the season is a good thing, but too late to worry about that now!!!
OK as for training this week... Swim Monday (mainly drills as I was pooped and there was a lot of testosterone in the fast and medium lanes and I wasn't in the mood for a fight!!...lol...). Tuesday I took off as I was too pooped for words and I was supposed to do an hour 40 run... so I did that Wednesday instead in the pouring rain.. which was great actually and pretty much all off road (which was interesting given I wasn't wearing my offroaders.. ops). Great run until I got back to work to find the showers were cold - not that I knew that until the moment I plopped my head in!! BRRRRRrrrrrrrr!
Yesterday I should have swam or body balance but the hair appointment took over the evening and when I got in I just had to eat and then sleep!!!
As for the lasy 4 weeks - This was "pre-comp 2" and was a little patchy in places. Was supposed to have the race which got snowed off, had some good training in Hotlanta, but had too many bagel days (no training) once more.
In summary; 4 weeks 31 March - 27 April
Swim: 19.2k in 9hrs 52mins (avg pace 30:50/k)
Bike: 199.53k in 10hrs 53mins (avg pace 2:58/k)
Run: 58.97k in 6hrs51mins (avg pace 6:58/k)
Other: 30mins (oh dear!)
Paces are slower but think that's because I've gone longer on the long/ easy rides and runs. I've also uped considerably the run and swim which is great but at the expense of a bit of time on the bike.
May is going to be a tough month training wise. I've got the Lisbonkers event next weekend, flying out Thursday evening and back the following Monday evening. Then as soon as I'm back I'm almost off again - the very next weekend I've got a work trip out to San Francisco! We're flying out Saturday and expected to host customers Sat/ Sun before we have events Monday/ Tuesday. I'm really not sure how much training I'm going to get in - the work colleague I'm going with isn't terribly supportive of the whole triathlon thing and seems to have an expectation that customer hosting equates to time by the bar getting drunk. Now don't get me wrong I don't mind the customer hosting thing, I understand that - but please give me a choice over whether I get decide to get intoxicated or not... and why does she insist on this being a necessity? Really... If I choose not to drink then don't give me a hard time. GRRRRrrrrrr.... Anyhow, I think I'm more likely to be able to squash in some 30mins intervals sessions there then anything else and I may not be able to do that..... Would be ace for the hotel to have a pool in it, even if it's small I can do drills... hummmm.
Anyhow I'm out in the US for a week, although the last Thurs-Sunday I should be able to train a bit as the main body flies back on the Wednesday.
That'll take me to 26th May before I know it!! So I think this coming month the aim will be;
Keep up the swimming - as much as can given travel
Bike - Splattering of long ride when I can otherwise short rides/ intervals and bricks
Run - Splattering of long run when I can otherwise short run/ intervals and bricks
It'll be a challenging month!
I'll leave you with this;
One of the many cheesecakes from the cheesecake factory! Guaranteed a slice of this puppy will be more then the 600 calories!!!