The last couple of weeks
So since Llandudno, training has been pretty light to be honest. The totals for the week including Llandudno were:
Time: 17 hours
After Llandudno I had an easy day to loosen up, with my foot niggle coming back a bit, and being absolutely exhausted! It’s been a while since I’ve pushed myself that hard and I’m not used to it! However, on Tuesday I managed a 2 hour run, and felt pretty good for it considering. Wednesday was supposed to be a long bike, but a torrential thunderstorm had other ideas, and an hour in, not being able to see where I was going as the rain was so hard and cycling through half foot deep puddles towards lightening, I decided to head home. Was still a good solid couple of hours, and then the taper began. Essentially this has meant just ticking over, and a bit more swimming. On Saturday I headed down to the Tri20 Swim Lake as I was visiting my Dad and did an IM distance swim, half with wetsuit, half without. Reassuringly I felt really good, even without the wetsuit, though I was noticeably slower. As I had done a reasonably hard 3k swim the day before, I’m pleased I managed to do the distance fine.
Totals for last week were:
Time: 12.5 hours
Can you tell I’m in a taper!!
As part of my taper for an IM, I always strip my bike down, and give it a thorough clean, regrease everything and replace cables, tape and chain. Looking back, the catalogue of errors I made were quite amusing, though at the time I was having a bad day! My rear brake cable housing end has completely seized in the brake barrel adjuster, and I snapped one of the bottle cage bolt holes in the frame, so the bolt is now lose but stuck in the frame! I took it down to the local (commuter/casual) bike shop, who declared they couldn’t really do anything. So some pliers, insulation tape and a hammer later, and I have managed to fix it enough to race. I’ll probably never either out, but they work!
Taking my aerobars off, I noticed a big crack in the handlebars. Not good. Looks like I hit a pothole at speed and the clamp and cracked them. I think the structural integrity of the handlebars seem ok, and I am going to have to risk it. Unfortunately I don’t have the money to replace them, and they have probably been like that for a while!
Then to top it all off, when putting everything back together, I couldn’t get the front derailleur cable into my shifter! I must have spent an hour on the rear cable, finally succeeding with barely enough cable left, but the front refused. Then when doing up my chain, I hadn’t put it through the pulley cage properly, so had to take the derailleur apart to get it on! One lesson from this was preparation. I would much rather have all the stress over a week before my race, than the day before! Now I have a bike that should race well, and am ready; the advantages of getting stuff done early.
The Final Taper
So coming into the final week and things are hotting up! I am finally starting to feel less tired and exhausted, which is a first! The aim for this week is just to keep the frequency up to keep all the muscle memory there, and to stay fresh. So I have lots of short sessions planned, with a complete rest day (my first in 2 months!) on Thursday before I fly out on Friday. I have brought all my spares and supplies apart from food, and so Thursday will consist of packing, eating, napping and packing again to triple check I haven’t forgotten anything! Finally there is a massage thrown in in the evening before an early night. This week I have been shifting my body clock forward half an hour a day so it’s not too much of a shock with the early start!
Finally, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not going to lose all my fitness these last couple of weeks, as the usual worries start to creep in. Thoughts like I haven’t done a long ride for a while only make me worry, but a look at the training log and I can see that I have put more hours in than I ever have, I am as light as I was before I left school, and I am in the best shape on my life. Goals will be saved for another blog post though!
Just a quick look at Llandudno with the results out before I go though (sorry it’s a long one!) As expected I had a slow swim, though I was only a couple of minutes off the people who placed in the top 10, which I was pleasantly surprised with. My bike, however, was slower than I expected, a good few minutes behind the top pack. Looking back, this isn’t too surprising given my non-aeroness, and caution on the descents. I lost a lot of time on the descents and a bit on the flats, (though better than crashing!), but I can be pleased with the fact I wasn’t overtaken on any of the climbs, proving I still have my climbing ability from all my rides around the Lakes and the Trough.
What was most surprising was my run! Given that I had had a foot injury for the 2 weeks preceding, and have done basically no speed work this season, I put in the 10th quickest run of the day! The run was what dragged my overall position up to 19th, which I am really pleased with. Another 5 minutes off and I would have comfortably placed in the top 10! Not bad for a long distance athlete coming off the end of a big block of training.
Hopefully a sign of things to come!