Week 28 – The last of the big training
And that’s it. All my major training has now come to and end. 7 months of my life dedicated to this, and it is nearly over! Due to galas and work, my swimming hasn’t been all that good this week, but as my cycling and running come to a close, and I FINALLY have a house, I can now concentrate on that this week. I’m sure I can do the distance, especially with the wetsuit on, I just need to build up the distances I do to make it more comfortable, and as it requires less taper time, that shouldn’t be a problem.
My running was OK this week, a couple of midweek runs, followed by a half marathon on friday, in which I felt great! As soon as I settled back into my rthym, it was good. I ran it in around 1 hour 50, so am looking at 4/4 and a half hours on the day, not bad considering!
My cycling, well… I did a nice 60k at the start of the week, and finally started to get some sort of feel back for the bike on the ride. I then only had a short ride on saturday to loosen my legs up and then it was Sunday, and time to see if I could fo 180k. And boy was it hard! But I managed it!
Starting fairly tired, with my legs still recovering from my half marathon, and setting off in the pouring rain, it wasn’t the best start. But the first 80k were good, less the flat I got about 35k in. It would be this ride that I got my first very flat on this bike, and in nearly 4000k! I did have a bit of a panic when I saw the flat, seeing it had ripped through the entire kevlar strip on the tire, but thankfully Specialized had the forsight to put a tyre patch in the mini pump on my bike! Thank God. So anyhoo, I was climbing well and then my lack of fitness started to show. Thinking I had another 100k left and struggling to lug myself up some of the hills I had flung myself down at 70kph was tough to say the least! I did a 120k loop into the Welsh mountains, then went home to stock back up on food and bottles. Unfortunately I had run out of GO and SiS gels, which are the 2 things I find easiest to stomach. After 10k or so, things started to get tough, but my legs still felt OK, and I could still climb, albeit slowly. I then had problems with my front derailleur (again after the race last week!), and somehow it had managed to tighten the cable when it jumped whilst shifting so was now rubbing. Tool kit out, and a quick adjustment and it seemed fine, though it looks like I have cracked one of the plates that holds the two sides of the cage together, so that may need replacing. Hopefully, when I strip down the bike and replace all the cables etc, it should be OK.
At around the 140k mark, I started to have serious problems, I wasn’t eating properly, so my energy dropped and my mood plumeted. To add to my misery, the wind picked up to ridiculous levels, and I was going directly into it and removed any remaining strength and energy I had left. I was swearing and shouting at it, trying to move, but I just wouldnt go anywhere, and my stomach soon stopped accepting food, fed up of all the sugar it had been forced to consume over the last 5/6 hours. It was only pure stubborness that got me too my turnaround point at 150k, something that I am going to need a lot of on the big day!
Naturally the wind got bored when I turned around, so it was a 30k slog home, but it was going home, and so was easier.
I arrived home exhausted, but happy. The physcial, but most significantly, the mental benefits of doing that far outweigh the pain that I endured. And to top it all off, I even managed to run afterwards. Well, I say run, it was more of a shuffle, but I could move and felt much better towards the end, even though it was only a couple of k. But I am still waiting for my groin and stomach to forgive me!
At around the 140k mark, the thoughts of doing another 40k on the bike, and then running a marathon sent shivers down my spine, and I was having major doubts. Now I KNOW I can do it. It is going to hurt like hell, but whatever tiny slither of doubt I had about completely it is now gone.
I now have 2 weeks of tapering, reducing the duration of everything and upping the intensity to make sure I am as fresh as possible. At the weekend I will go to the course and do a lap of the bike course to familiarise myself with the course, and then the next time I ride the course will be on race day!!
Bring it on!