Monday, 9 March 2009

Positive gains :) :) :)

Not having any access to the t’interweb for the last week has been somewhat liberating yet odd at the same time. I’ve missed not being able to blog properly last week. As usual the weekend before we left for Lanza was a flurry of activity making life pretty chaotic trying to entertain (our mate Tony was over from Ireland for a few days) getting our stuff washed (even though we were training right up until the very last minute) packing it and then taking the bikes apart. Then again all of you who know us won’t be surprised that as usual we went right to the wire shoving stuff into bags while AKJ waited patiently.

I felt a little anxious about this week of training in Lanza (if you don’t know why read THIS blog.) Firstly I had to remember to train for myself and not just to copy what Tom was doing and secondly I didn’t want to burn myself out both physically and mentally.

Full points for all of the above. Not only have I had a fantastic week of training, I’m coming home with a smile (a ridiculous sunglasses tan), many bike miles in my legs and I’m ready to have a short rest before looking forward to the next ten weeks that are left of serious training.

In January I biked 450 miles in ten days. This week I’ve done 487 in seven days and I’m not in any way shape or form broken . I’m more familiar with the island of Lanzarote, her hills, her bumpy terrain and her incredibly fickle and strong winds, in fact more familiar than any other course I’ve ever raced on. Knowledge is power as they say and that’s worked two fold on this trip. As you know I broke myself mentally and physically in half in January but that taught me an awful lot about my limits, my expectations and myself. It was one of the best things I could have done (although I wouldn’t have agreed at the time.) And so here I am on the flight home with sore legs, a great week of training under my belt and having ridden the course over 3and a half times over the last week a knowledge of those 112 miles that will no doubt help me pace the race mentally and physically perfectly on May 23rd.

Myself, Tom, AKJ, Ady, Ironman Sam and Pauly P made a great unit for the week. The best part of the week was definitely seeing AKJ complete his first 100 miler, a huge milestone on his road to IM Austria in July and I’m excited at the prospect of being there to see him cross that finish line. It’s great training with mates, especially ones who have legs the size of oak trees, thanks Ady for dragging me up some of those hills when my little legs were tired. Oh and for being on porridge duty every morning at 6.30am, top brekkie. I was a bit daunted by being the only girl on our trip as I wondered how much testosterone and ego would enter into the rides with little ole’ me being left behind but it really wasn’t like that at all and all of the rivalry was in good jest and good fun.

The sessions were generally split into two so that we could all ride socially together in the morning and then Tom and I, Ady and Sam could go out in the afternoon to do a little more intense sessions. It worked well as everyone got a good workout without anyone being held back. See Tom’s blog for the way the week panned out. The only day that differed for me was Wednesday when we rode the Northern loop in the morning together and the myself, Ady and Sam did a 2hr 20 min ride up to the top of Haria (which is the highest point on the course) and then Ady and I ran 40 mins off it.

Sam & I decided we would ride the whole course together on Friday. I’m pleased we did because firstly we managed to do it in 7hrs 5mins and that wasn’t with a great deal of effort for both of us, it was a fairly steady ride. And secondly it was the windiest day of the whole trip. Scarily and dangerously windy in fact, so I was glad that I was with someone for the whole way. Lanzarote is known for it’s strong harsh winds and every day is generally a windy one but on Friday it took windy to a whole other level. Thankfully the drivers on the island are very familiar with cyclists and are incredibly patient. Riding sideways in the middle of one of the busiest roads made for heart jumping moments. Taking refuge in the garage on the road which leads to El Golfo (about 62miles in) Sam & I did discuss how safe it was to carry on, not helped by an old man who warned us that it would be treacherous! We knew we didn’t have much of the busy road left to ride so we pushed on and were glad we did. If anything having such harsh conditions can only help if on the day they’re similar. As we cycled into the street of our bungalow, I got straight out to do an hrs run at about Ironman pace and felt good.

I was a little daunted by the prospect of doing the whole thing again the next day with AKJ and Pauly P. I really didn’t know how I was going to cope with it both mentally and physically but once back in the saddle my legs felt fine and we had a great day together. Impressed by a solid ride by both AKJ and Pauly.

So the week is done and I’m ready for a rest. This morning Tom, myself and Sam got up early and went out to ride the Northern loop again together. I can’t tell you how all three of our lives have changed since that first surfing trip to Lanza when I didn’t even know what Ironman was, couldn’t swim and had never owned a bike. Come May 23rd when we’re standing with our toes in the sea I’m going to feel excited, nervous and overwhelmed by the journey we’ve all had. A fitting way to finish the Ironman journey (my entry into IM CH will be decided after Lanza) but in my head Lanza is the end of a wonderful road of discovery.

Time to sign off before this turns into my memoirs but it’s great to be returning from a training camp full of positivity, hard training and the best friends a girl could have.

Knowledge is power.

P.s I’ve still been taking my one pic a day, but seeing as it’s now 2.30am and we’ve just walked through the door, I’ll have to post the new pix tomorrow.

H. x


Jevon said...

Well done H... great to have 'fronted up' to Lanza so soon after meltdown week! Fantastic week's training and I'm not so sure the IM journey will be ending for you at Lanza or IMCH... I think there could be just one more trip this year :)

ADC said...

H, that seems like a great week - I am so happy for you. Have been reading your blog for probably a year now but never commented - I am rooting for you!

Khara Mills said...

Positive gains indeed! Well done H, what a great week for you :-)
Khara x

H said...

Thanks for your kind words guys, it's all a step in the right direction towards maintaining my mental sanity! Ironman sure has shown up the chinks in my mental armour but has helped me learn more about myself than I thought possible. Things to keep and things to change are all on my agenda :)

ADC, good luck with your tri season this year, I'll be taking your positive thoughts with me when I'm out on the road :)