So yet another long break between posts! Mainly due to the combined incompetence of myself, BT and O2, I know finally have internet in my new house, nearly 2 months after moving in!
It has been a time of ups and downs since the last post. I have had a spate of bad luck. First of all, I got a foot injury about 4 weeks caused by running in my FiveFingers with absolutely dead legs and doing a tempo run. For some reason my leg just didn’t seem to want to work, and 25 minutes in, my foot started slapping against the ground. Being and our and back run, only way home was to run, so 25 minutes later, I hobbled home with a foot strain. This now appears to be a 6 monthly occurrence as I had one the exact same time, this time last year! Though that one was from standing on a plug… With 6 weeks to prepare for an ultra-marathon, it wasn’t exactly the best preparation!
The other bit of bad luck was a bike crash. As part of my training regime (more later) I was out with University Of Manchester Cycling Club and there was a touch of wheels in the group, someone went down in front of me, and I went over the top. Thankfully, I escaped with only a bit of road rash, but unfortunately my beloved Specialized didn’t fare so well, with a crack straight through my downtube:
I am looking at getting this repaired, and hopefully I can, but in the meantime, it means I am training on my old commuting bike, which is proving to be a great winter trainer, as it is bombproof, as also weighs a ton!
Tour of the Peak
So last weekend I set off in the dark, and freezing cold to take part in the Tour of the Peak, which I did last year. However, with my ultra less than a week away, I opted to go for the short version, as I know how I felt at the end of the long one last year! I had a great ride, and really showed my improvement on the bike from 3 big rides a week. I rode constantly within myself, didn’t walk (and that was TOUGH lugging the brute of the commuter bike up Winnats Pass!) and had an enjoyable day. I finished in 4:45, which put me 36th out of 350! Not bad for a rusty bike! It was also nice to do a sponsored ride, as I enjoyed stuffing my face with Soreen at the food stop, and finished the ride with more gels than I started the race with!
Despite my foot injury, training of late has been great, and I am really enjoying being back in Manchester. Despite being the off-season, I am putting in consistent big weeks, and feeling fine for it. My weight is also much better than it has ever been at this time in the season, which is encouraging. In cycling and swimming, I am surrounding myself with better people so I have to up my game. I have joined the Uni Cycling Club, which gives me 2 hard rides a week on Wednesday and Saturday, which generally involves smashing each other for a few hours, and I am seeing the benefits of another year in my legs. Average speed and endurance are all up, and the amount I eat on rides is all down! I also ride with the Tri Club on Sundays, which is more controlled and a chain gang effort, giving me the option of having another hard ride, or switching to a recovery ride.
If you include commuting, I haven’t had a day off the bike since sometime in September! Thankfully I feel fine, and am just enjoying being back in training.
In swimming, I am enjoying being back in squad swims, which really forced me to sort out my technique and up my game from a year of plodding up and down the local leisure centre. Whilst there is still a lot of work to do on my stroke, yesterday I got 500m into the set before I was told to move up a lane. This now puts me in the same lane as the winner of the Outlaw and in the lane next to people who were basically born into a pool and professional triathletes! I have basically as many swims a week as I want, and will put in an endurance set once I switch back to triathlon training after my ultra, which should see me go close, if not under the hour for Roth.
Despite the fact, I have the Pembrokeshire Coastal Challenge in 3 days now, my run training hasn’t been as much as I would have liked. I did however manage nearly 2 hours, half off-road yesterday, so I am confident my foot will hold together. With being used to 2 hard, consecutive days on the bike now, I know my legs recover fairly well, so maybe there is hope after all! I will put another post up just before, outlying training, aims and kit.