Monday, 6 August 2007

The Hare & the Tortoise... or is that Helen is a tortoise?!...

I hit earth with a bump this week and boy did it hurt. I'm just starting to train that little bit harder, or rather my sessions have been a little more intense this week and it's come as a huge shock (and an incredibly painful one) to discover that my legs don't know what speed is anymore!

As our training session on Monday, Tom & I had a race. 4 x 10min hard intervals on the turbo followed by a flat out 6km run. Tom gave me a 2.5min head start on the run & then attempted to hunt me down...and this was how our week started! It was tough, really tough but a great session & I think we're going to replicate it every month, although the handicapped start is going to change as I got home first by quite a way.

Training long for Ironman has removed most of the little speed I had & my legs have only too easily forgotten how to hurt themselves anymore. My lungs & heart, oh & head also quite quick to follow. Monday's session was the first reminder of THREE this week that I am in fact a tortoise. However, I don't despair, the tortoise does come good, albeit slowly. On Tuesday Tom, myself & our friend Tony went out to do 8 x 2min run intervals with 2min jog recovery which very nearly made me throw myself in the canal, I mean how long can 2mins be? Too long is the answer to that! Thankfully on Wednesday we took it easy & rode into the Dales in the early evening sunshine covering about 55-60miles, stopping for a hearty flapjack in the middle (how easily I slip back to tortoiseville). Tortoiseville wasn't to last for too long however as on Thursday we both did our Annual Club 10mile Time Trial Championship which is held in Boroughbridge. Painful from the first pedal stroke I worked so hard knowing it was only short. 10miles seems like a walk in the park when you've been training for a distance of 112miles...NOT!!! It's brilliant to get back in touch with the painful side of sport, you truly know you're working hard when you feel like someone is ripping your lungs out of your chest and using sledgehammers on your quads! I hadn't done a 10mile TT before so this one is a line in the sand for me but a line in the sand that this tortoise is happy with for now. I did 27mins 4 secs bringing me home 3rd girl out of 8 and 50secs behind first. I put so much effort into that TT both mentally & physically and I'm happy with my time because I got the best out of myself that night and if I can do that every time I race I'll never be disappointed...but boy does it hurt. Having done three decent swim sessions this week we threw in a short sharp one on Friday morning seeing as intensity seemed to be the buzz word for both of us and we did 500w/u - 15 x 50m hard - 500 c/d and then I ran a leisurley 9 miles.

We spent the weekend in London as lots of our friends were competeing in the London triathlon and they all did brilliantly, it's been a fantastic weekend watching them (some in their first ever multisport event), you can't beat it! Our training plan therefore was pretty ad hoc. Tom had discovered a 5km run which is held in Bushy Park every week, free of charge so we thought we would go and check it out. And it was there that I truly realised that I'd morphed into something considerably slower than I used to be. I enjoy 5km runs, perfect short sharp distance. Not this week though. Saturday was a beautiful day in Bushy Park. Loads of people milling around waiting around to go and hurt themselves round the course, even Sonia O'Sullivan turned up for a leisurely jaunt. My legs had the biggest wake up call when the gun went and by the time I got to the end I felt like an Oompa Lumpa struggling to get any decent stride length out of them - they seemed to have shrunk disproportionately to my body! My heart had already given me it's max output so other than it stopping it couldn't give me an ounce more and my lungs were once more going though hell. 20mins 30secs after the gun went I crossed the line knowing that for the next couple of weeks I need to work on my speed! I'm enjoying seeing the differences the variations of training are having, I'm learning things about myself & my capabilities all of the time. I've particularly learned that doing an Ironman doesn't make you invincible but it can disillusion you. Just because I trained solidly for over 20 weeks and am fitter than I've ever been made me feel like I was going to fly round that 10mile TT and run like the wind on that 5km. My heart, lungs & legs told me different.

This tortoise is on the move and learning fast!!!

H. x

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