Sunday, 19 August 2007

Somewhere over Helen's rainbow...

This week I peeked into the pot of gold that sits on the other side of my rainbow. I've had some brilliant break through sessions (particularly in my swimming) and a solid week of training, all is good. However, along with my pot of gold was also a pot of reality... I'm technically inept when it comes to cycling! All will be revealed.

First week of hard training done for The Vitruvian & I'm back in the groove. Really enjoying getting my teeth into the harder, shorter sessions and it's improving my swimming & cycling which is fantastic. My legs have worked hard this week and I've also done some quality running miles - although I still feel a bit one paced in races shorter than half-marathon distance.

19km of swimming this week and no junk km's in there, my best session being a 500m w/u then 10 x 400m's off 7mins with a 500m c/d. I averaged about 6.35 for each one and I'm really, really pleased with that, definitely a marked improvement since the last time I did this session. I feel so much more efficient in the water but would benefit from a few coached sessions to get my stroke rate down and tweak my technique to give me that little bit more that I need. I know there's a faster swimmer in me somewhere, unfortunately I reckon it's sitting in the pot of reality along with my bike handling skills ;)

Tuesday and Thursday saw the best of my running sessions. The weather god's certainly haven't been good to us this Summer and on Tuesday evening it was raining hard so Tom, Tony B & myself did a treadmill session set by my coach Martin. 15-20mins w/u then 2 x 12min intervals with 6 min jog recovery in between. Sounded a bit too easy when I said it out loud, in fact I think I may even have suggested doing three (now there's a surprise). First interval done and boy was I pleased I'd been over ruled! It was more of a tempo session than a speed session and I had a bit of a light bulb moment. It's probably due to noticing the very different changes of pace needed for the various races I've done in the past few months. In the middle of my first 12min interval I felt like I either wanted to speed up to get it over and done with (not possible when the interval is on time and not distance) or I wanted to slow it down to a more comfortable pace (must come from my long run mentality). So the good thing is I found my threshold and had the perfect tempo session. Uncomfortable enough to know you're working but not comfortable enough to be slacking off...perfect. On Thursday I did 16miles my first long run since Austria and wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it or not, especially as I had to do it straight after work at 6pm. The route I do is an out and back which is great for negative splitting (running the second half faster than the first). I felt good on the way out and passed Tom & our mate Darren who had done the exact same run but were nearly finished. I got to my turn around just over 8miles in 1hr05mins and gradually picked up the pace on my way back feeling awesome and finishing really strong in 1hr01mins. Just over 16miles in 2hrs 06mins with a very strong negative split, great work and another spoon of gold out of my pot at the end of this weeks rainbow :)

Now to the pot of reality. Bike handling...I'm sure it's partly to do with being a girl but I'm crap, absolutely awful when it comes to sharp bends, wet surfaces and pulling wheelies!!! Today I raced in the Stockton Olympic Distance Triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run). Today it rained and rained and rained. Today I swam well (24+mins), cycled like a girl (1.13) and ran okay (43mins). Total time 2hrs 24mins (not a pb) and 2nd girl (although there were only seven of us!) Today I realised that when I can't do something well I switch off. The Pool Triangle (our weekly 20km TT) has only been dry once or twice every time I've done it so it wasn't necessarily the rain that turned me into a big girls blouse today so it must have been the course. Put me on a bike course that flows and I'll put my head down and bury myself into the race but put me on a twisty, turny wet course and I'm crap and not only does it highlight my lack of technical skills but it also makes my head switch off. I couldn't get my heart rate up for love nor money on the bike today. It took me a while to realise that it wasn't tired legs or lethargy from a hard week but purely to do with the fact that I couldn't just hammer it, I had to think about my line... were my pedals in the right place going round tight bends... was I going to slip on the dodgy bit of slippery wood that we had to go over three times...and was the rain ever going to stop! The answer should have been concentrate, work hard, stay focused and get on with it, so lesson learned. Must do some handling stuff on the bike! Off the bike and onto the run. See I'm happy again, running controlled and enjoying it, heart rate back up and working hard. I still feel like I can't turn the pace up. I could have stayed at the pace I ran at today for half-marathon distance in a tri but couldn't pick it up to make a noticeable difference for it being a 10km run...

... but it's all there somewhere over my rainbow, all I have to do is keep dipping into my pot of reality and my pot of gold will keep growing :)

H. x

P.s A huge well done to the guys who did Ironman Uk this weekend, tough conditions for a very tough course. Recover strong and enjoy your Ironman glory. x

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