The krazy life of triathlon

Illness

Le Terrier – Racing Ill

Well I think it’s safe to say the moral of the story is to not do it! I had been ill in the few days prior, night sweats, dizziness, headaches, cramps, dodgy stomach and generally feeling pretty rubbish, but having spent most of Saturday in bed, and gone for an easy hour on the bike, I felt ok and decided I should be ok to race. Sunday morning I felt ok, so headed off to Mikes for the race, having only managed half my breakfast, a sign something was up.

I don’t remember most of the ride really, I know that I was seriously struggling to keep up with Mike on the smallest of climbs and anything that got my heart rate up was causing me problems, so he went off ahead, and I carried on for what was to be a very long day! Le Terrier is only 125k, but with 3000m of climbing, its not an easy ride! I stayed in a comfortable pace for me, which involved going very slowly and being overtaken by most people, and just struggled round. The main problems I had were, I felt flat and tired, and couldnt sustain any power at all, and my stomach just didn’t want any food. I tried gels, energy drink, jelly babies, bars and all the food at the stops, but I just wasn’t hungry, and eventually stopped eating as I felt full and bloated, despite the small amount I had had.

It wasn’t a bad ride, I struggled through but I just wasn’t quick. It was basically good fat burning exercise, with some horrible climbs thrown in that sapped what little energy I had left. At around 95k I decided I needed to eat, so forced some Jelly Babies, drink and a gel down me. 5k later we hit a big climb, and I promptly threw it back up! My stomach was having any of it, so I was left to do the rest without food. Not bad training, but bad given my situation.

However, I finished it, and if I can manage 6 and a half hours on a bike feeling that bad, with very little food, at least I have some fitness. Fresh, I should be fine. It took me a while to notice, but once I had got home, showered, tried to eat a bit more, and got into bed to watch some tv and recover, it occured to me that I hadn’t actually peed that day! 6 and a half hours on the bike, and I hadn’t been to the toilet 2 hours after! Not good, turns out my kidneys weren’t too happy with the stress and went on strike for a bit! By the evening I had got my appetite back a bit and had a pizza. Mistake. I spent the night throwing it up! So I took Monday off work and slept, and have spent the last few days, trying to stay hydrated and get something into my body.

I have no idea what it was, maybe food poisoning, or a stomach virus but I seem to be over the worst of it now and I am eating proper meals again and they’re staying down! I went for a run this evening, and although I didn’t feel 100%, I am definitely getting better and it was nice to be back training.

Obviously this puts my Ironman build into a bit of a problem, given that I will miss at least 2 weeks of my main build. Not exactly ideal, though given the good base of fitness I’ve built up, I should be ok. I will spend the rest of this week easing back into training, and then start my build next week.

I don’t know if the race pushed back my recovery, probably not given my stomach didn’t really get any worse (or better) and I haven’t had any more fever since, but one thing’s for sure, I won’t be racing when I feel like that again!

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A Long Time Coming…

Wow, yes it has been a very long time since my last blog post! It has been a busy time, a trip to Russia, sorting out another trip, catching up with friends, work getting busy and an increased training schedule mean that life has been busy! But it is better than being bored!

I suppose now is a good time to be blogging as annoyingly I am ill, so have lost all excuses for not blogging! It appears that a weekend in Manchester catching up with mates, going out, drinking, little sleep and not eating properly now has adverse effects on me! So my body has decided to punish me with an illness. Thankfully at the moment, it is nothing too bad. I managed to bash out a swim this morning and weights, though am switching tonight from a run to an early night. Hopefully this can nip it in the bud and keep it at a sore throat and headache and let me get back to training as soon as possible. I would much rather miss one training session than a few and a race, or not be in decent shape at the first race of the season!

Speaking of races, this weekend means Ribby Hall Triathlon! It has been a long time since I have competed, and am looking forward to testing my form and getting the Zipps out of hibernation! A little bold, but I am going for the win in M20-24 (even though there is no official category), as it is run by the same people as Fleetwood triathlon and should have a similar field. Timewise, close to an hour would be good, as I don’t think I quite have the speed to go under the hour at this point. Could be a good race though, and if there is little wind it will be fast.

Training is going well. Running is slowly starting to increase, and I am feeling fairly comfortable, though need to start getting another run in to get my fluidity back. Hoping to get some Newtons at Easter, so hoping this will help a lot! Cycling and swimming are all going well. Lots of riding in the Lakes has paid dividends, and I am feeling a lot stronger, though need more practise at long rides to get my nutrition and pacing sorted, it was all over the place last 100k+ ride I did, with dire consequences! Swimming is going well too, and is slowly starting to click with some reasonable mileage. My times are certainly down anyway.

One major difference I have noticed is my strength. It appears that all the weight training is beginning to pay off, and I am feeling a lot stronger. Not only am I lifting more in the gym, I am a lot stronger on the bike. I did Hardknott Pass at the weekend, the steepest road in England, and was oh so close to getting up until my back wheel spun out! Not bad for a standard chainset! I will be switching to a compact in a few weeks in preparation or the Fred Whitton, and it will be nice to have to option for either one. Thankfully, the longer runs have kept my weight down, and have reduced my body’s annoying tendency to bulk up at the sight of a dumbell!

The next blog will be a lot sooner (promise!) and will be a (hopefully good!) review of Ribby Hall. Might get my training plans up at some point too!

Train safe,

Tim


Becoming An Athlete Once More

Wow it’s been a long time since my last post, apologies for that! Life, travelling, injury and illness all managed to get in the way. As such, this could prove to be a rather long post, as well as having lots of non-training parts so I will try and structure it so you can pick and chose as you please.

From Russia With Flu

As mentioned in the previous post, I had thought my foot had healed, however a run soon after the other post soon proved me wrong. I managed a good half an hour, but anything over that was pushing it. However, I had a nice few days off to make sure it was healed when I headed off to Russia to see my girlfriend. However, a couple of nights before I was due to go, I wasn’t feeling too good, and then waking up in the middle of the night, all the colds/night sweats/chest infections I have had over the last couple of months hit me and I had the full works. My head felt like it was about to explode, all my muscles felt like I had done 4 IMs back to back flat out, and my throat felt like it had been replaced by a few sets of razor blades. I attempted to sleep until the morning, when I called into work sick and slept for another few hours. At this point, I had to drive down to my Dads to go to the airport in the morning. Let me tell you 250 miles with flu, dosed up on drugs is not good fun! However, as I hardly ever take any painkillers etc, the paracetemol had a good effect on me and I felt much better, flying the next day might be possible! After the drugs had worn off, I looked like death according to my step-mum, so an early night was in order for the 4 o’clock start to get my 6 o’clock flight! Waking up, I didn’t feel too bad, getting out of bed I felt terrible! More paracetmol, a drive to the airport, then some neurofen and onto the plane I got. By the time I reached zurich for my change I was feeling ok, and then it was just a couple of hours to Russia. Getting off the plane in St Petersburg, I hoped to God that the drugs had reduced my fever as I was met by a very stern looking woman with a thermal camera. Having decided that I wasn’t going to spread the plague across Russia I was unchallenged and breathed a huge sigh of relief as I stood at Passport Control desperately trying not to cough!

St Petersburg is a very interesting country, and we got a taxi from the airport and took the ‘scenic’ route back. Within 2 minutes of being in the taxi, we nearly got hit at a junction and as far as I can work out, Russians obey traffic lights to the degree that they refuse to go through if its even on orange, and then after that it’s a free-for-all! Health and safety hadn’t reached them yet, which made for a refreshing break throughout the trip. Having arrived at Meri’s appartment, I met her hostess and stood there smiling and nodding as she gabbered at me in Russian. I knew I should have brought that phrase book in the airport! A night out was non-negotiable and I was treated to the Russian cure for illnesses: vodka. And they don’t do single shots either. However, other than one episode the next morning where I was just curled up in bed with no energy having not eaten properly for 3 days, I seemed fine. An ice cream with lots of toppings and sugar soon sorted this, and then I was left to enjoy the trip.

This is the square James Bond drove the tank through!

It is a very beautiful city, with lots of churches, palaces and buildings that they have plied a lot of money in to make look good, which really pays off. As well as the amazing builings and squares, there was the obligitory Russian quirks: pet bears:

and a stuffed animal museum:

It was a fantastic trip, despite being too short, and next time I’m out we’re off to Moscow for a few days as well as more time in St P to see how much of the language I can learn.

Preston 10 Mile Road Race

On my return, with 6 days until the race, I decided that it would be a good idea to actually see how my legs were. 20 minutes later I discovered that although I felt recovered, my lungs and my legs were still suffering the effects of my illness. So it was more rest, until the day before when I went out to make sure I wouldn’t be stale for the race. I did a few minute pick-ups and felt ok.

The race itself wasn’t too bad. The idea of having a massive triple-chocolate cookie half an hour before the start was certainly a bad idea, as this just sat in my stomach complaining the entire race, but other than that I felt pretty good. I set off hard, clocking the first couple of miles at 7 minute/mile pace, expecting to settle into a nice rythym and the HR to drop down from the 185 bpm it was sat at. 4 miles later, this wasn’t happening but I decided to go for it anyway. With only 4 runs in the 3 weeks leading up to the race, my form was never going to be good, but I should have been fairly recovered, and know I can hold 180 for an hour or so, so pushed it. After a few miles the pace dropped to 7:30 min/mile but it stayed around there for the rest of the race. At about mile 7 I caught up with a woman who I had been yoyoying with for half the race and ran with her, holding good pace. Although it had dropped by a couple of seconds, sub 1:15 looked good as long as I had a good last mile. So at the mile 9 marker I just opened the legs and went for it. For the first time in the race I felt good and like a runner with a fluid technique, it’s just a pity my HR had to be at 190 for it to happen! I clocked off the last mile in 6 minutes and came home in 1:14:27 according to the official results, which put me in the top half of the field.

All in all, given the circumstances I was happy with this. My foot was fine with only a slight discomfort for the last third of the race, which didn’t get any worse as I went on. I certainly need some new shoes soon though, my blisters were bad at the end! With actual training, and finding a good rythym I reckon I could hold this pace for an entire marathon, though with the HR where it was, not for an IM marathon. For switzerland as long as I don’t fracture my collar bone 9 weeks before(!) I reckon 3:30 should be achievable.

Getting ‘Badged’

In between coming back from Russia and the Preston 10 mile road race, I had a nice visit to Manchester. Half of the reason of visiting was to watch Michael McIntyre at the MEN Arena, and I have not laughed that hard in a long time (well since I saw Lee Evans there last year!). Absolutely brilliant show, and certainly recommend the DVD if you haven’t seen in.

The other reason was to go and get my Ironman tattoo. This is something I had planned from about month 2 of training for IMUK, and I booked it during Fresher’s Week in September and the nearest appointment was November! (She’s a good tattoo artist!) So an hour of pain later, here is the finished product:

My Mum hates it, so it must be good! I absolutely love it, and it will serve a reminder to me that no matter what you are told, anything is possible as long as you believe it is. It also reminds me that if I really want something, I don’t have a pain barrier! And let’s face it, it’s good for showing off in the pool/in shorts (which I wear all year round)/at races. It will fade as it heals, and the scabs have no nearly all come off and it looks awesome! The only downside to the tattoo is that it has put me out of the pool for a few weeks while it heals…

The Training Plan

So as I put the final touches to my new, revised training plan, it’s intersting to see how it has changed from what I had in mind a couple of months ago! It is quite a simple plan, all below AT for now. In essence I have a yoga session every week, 2 weights sessions a week (time-dependant) to help avoid injury. The rest of my training is then based around what I want to achieve for that block. With swimming not being a big part of an Ironman, and with my running seemingly OK with little training, I am going to spend a lot of pre-season on my bike. Given that it is the biggest chunk of the race, and that the fresher I come off the bike, the better I will run, I believe it is one of the biggest limiters for all but the best cyclists in an Ironman. So for the few weeks I will do lots of time on the bike, around 6 sessions a week, with the usual long bike at the weekend. I will most probably move my long run (which at this stage is only an hour and a half) from the weekend to Wednesday, which will allow me to have 2 long rides a week, at the weekend. For the beginning it is all about getting back into the rountine of regular training. I will have a couple of runs a week, possibly only my long run and running off both long bikes and a couple of swims a week, when I can get back in the pool.

I have a swim course on the 5th December, which among others, has video analysis of my stroke. This should prove interesting, and I am reluctant to spend lots of time in the pool until this as it is far easier to iron out bad habits after time off than in the middle of a season. Once I have had this, I will spend a couple of weeks working on my running and working on drills in the pool up until Christmas week. Christmas week provides unknown pool opening times (along with the usual questions of when does the post come, when are the bins collected, what day is it, what time is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and when do the sales start!) and also Welsh mountains. So I will do a heavy week, with lots of time in the cycling making the most of being at home for the week. I am then down south visiting my Dad and girlfriend while she is home for Christmas so will shift training back to swimming and running until I start work again in the New Year. I will then have a few weeks of lots of cycling, but tapering down towards the end of January for my training camp in January in Lanzarote and regular visits to/from my girlfriend until she goes back in February.

I want to absolutely run myself into the ground in Lanzarote and hope to make big gains in fitness over this week with all my time solely for training. We also have use of a 50m pool I think every morning, so depending on the training schedule provided, I am going to aim for an Epic Camp style training week, with swim, bike and run every day.

After the training camp, I will have a week and a half of recovery and then Ironman specific training starts and I get to experience the joys of juggling a job/life/training that almost every age grouper has to do. I miss being a student! I will follow a similar format to last year, though will shedule the week slightly differently. It will be a week of a long bike with run afterwards, a long run, 3-4 swims and filled in with yoga, weights and short runs and bikes. I will be out visiting Russia again in April so will have a big build and then use that week as a R&R week before beginning a final build.

I aim to make the most of living by the sea when it warms up with regular sea swims to get used to the wetsuit and will spend a lot of work on technique. Cycling will be all about volume, and running frequency for good form. So far the only other race next year I have planned it Weymouth Middle Distance, though I’m sure there will be a few more dotted about! Anyhoo, it is looking to be a good season hopefully, building upon everything I learnt last year and I am certainly looking forward to it, which is encouraging after the massive lack of motivation I have had at points over the last few weeks.

I did warn you it was going to be a long post! Next time won’t be as long and there won’t be as long a wait, promise!

Train safe,

Tim


Injured, Ill and Fed Up

Well as I sit here comtemplating on all the training I am missing, I thought why not blog about it! It’s been a while afterall…

As you can tell from the title, I am not exactly having the best pre season so far. First of all, at the start of last week I stood on something in my room, which I think was an upturned plug (I didnt pay much attention at the time) and hurt my foot. Nothing major happened, just a small strain I think. However, with my usual sensible mindset I decided it would be a good idea to go for an hour and a quarter run the day after with one of my training partners who I am training up for the Preston 10 mile road race. Felt fine for 20 mins and then the muscles protecting my foot got tired and I was in a lot of pain! Consequently I still can’t walk properly and have done a 10 min run since to try it out. It is taking a long time to heal this, mainly as you can’t really get much rest as no matter what you do, you have to walk. But it is slowly getting there.

The other problem I have is I have gotten ill, for the 2nd time in a month and I think it is the same bug, certainly the same symptons. The reason for this I suspect was that I had possibly a bit too indulgent weekend with not enough sleep and a far too large binge on sweets at a party. I am rather hoping it is not a chest infection, but with the symptons and the recurrance it could be possible. Having asthma I think I may have to nip to the GP in the next week or so for my Swine Flu vaccine, so can ask him them. So I am off training for the moment in an attempt to recover quickly, and sticking to my diet to give myself the best chances. Slight problem in that I have the Tour of the Peaks, over 100 miles now of cyclling in the Peak District, on Saturday, which means I need to recover quickly!

There are a few positives from this however (though I am scraping the barrel a bit!):

  1. If I am going to get ill and injured, at least its at the same time at not seperately so I don’t miss even more training
  2. It explains why I have been feeling so flat recently, especially in my long ride at the weekend when my legs have just been refusing to fire
  3. It is the off-season, so not the end of the world missing a week of training or so

So when I am finally recovered, I will need to rewrite my training program. I am going to keep my runs short, and try and get some interval work in there. I have been doing a lot of runs at easy pace lately, mainly whilst I switch my technique, but as that is getting there, I need to inject some pace, because at the moment I have none! Whilst in the run block, I will keep my formula of 6 runs, 2 bikes, 2 swims and 2 weights a week. Oweing to me getting a tattoo (yes I am following the norm and having an M-dot tattoo done) I will be out of the pool for another week or so after the 10 mile race, so will continue my running for another week, or have a transitional week depending on how I feel. One thing I have noticed when I actually was training and running 6 times a week, was how my knees felt. Usualy I always have a few niggles in my knees, especially when doing lots of running, and in all honesty I haven’t been doing my knee exercises as much as I should. But I have had absolutely no problems from then! I think the reasons for this are partly actually doing some exercises, even if not enough, recovering properly from last major training (my IM), and my diet. With the Paleo diet I am getting enough protein in my diet, and I suspect that all my stabilisers and muscles can actually recover and repair themselves properly, saving my ligaments! So that is certainly good news. Another massive improvement from the diet is muscle strength, muscle strength in my jaw that is! Boy do you have to chew a lot!

I have alse finally got round to starting yoga, and it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. It is very easy stuff (well theoretically) so nothing too complex and I can get most of the poses, though I do need to work on my flexibility. Given that the room was full of middle-aged woman who look like they do it every other day, giving this 21 year old man with shaved legs dodgy looks as they wondered what on earth he was doing here, I was pleased that I could do all the poses and was more flexible than a few of them. I also found some muscles that were incredibly tight, most notably my lats, and it seems to have helped my neck a lot, so a trip to the doctors may not be required. Finally, I have found a new massage place, conveniently based in the gym which offer an hours sports massage for under 20 quid! I may need to ask for a loyalty card…

Anyhoo, that is all for now, hopefully next time I will be writing about settling back into training and how my running seems to be coming together… unless things take a turn for the worse, so fingers crossed!

Tim