Sunday, 26 April 2009

The other side of The blue line...

A very quick blog from me as we've just got back from London and as usual it's time (or rather past our bedtime) and one must get oneself to kip kip for my last week of solid training before I enter the world of the taper.

So this weekend saw the end of another good week of training. Not as mentally challenging as the last couple but I still had some good old sessions including a 20 mile run so I was ready to go to London and enjoy a full weekend of rest. For the first time in eight years I wasn't running and although I thought I might feel like I was missing out I can say hand on heart I loved the spectating and didn't miss running it at all. I do think part of that is due to being tired and in need of these few days of rest and secondly my mental strength is focused on Lanza. Tom and I have had a fantastic time catching up with amazing friends and then today hollering at our mates and the public as they put themselves through the mill that is the marathon!

When we got to London late on Friday (bloody traffic) we went for dinner at THE best vegetarian restaurant in London called Vanilla Black ( I highly recommend it.) We met our very, very good friends Martin & Liz Yelling -Liz is with child so she brought her bump with her :) And we just had a great evening catching up over top food in the best company, huge kisses to you both and of course to bump :)

On Saturday morning we went for breakfast at our friends Pete & Emma in Notting Hill and then walked into town so we could catch the matinee performance of our friend Emma Atkins in the show 'Stop Messing About' at Leicester Square Theatre. (I highly recommend this too, especially if you're a fan of Kenneth Williams!!) Coffee, a few lumps of cake and ANOTHER good old chin wag with Em and that saw us to dinner time. Emma went off to do her evening performance and Tom & I strolled to our hotel The Tower on Tower Bridge to have dinner with the Leukaemia Research Team and their celebrity members who were all running today.

Today was of course THE big day for all around us and I loved the fact that I didn't need to worry if I'd eaten enough/too much or the right things or how many times I was going to need the loo with pre-race nerves. We left that to the team and the other 37,000 runners...lovely!! Tom and I were official photographers so we had access to loads of places throughout the day and got to cheer everyone on. It was a hot one (great for spectators, not so great for the runners) and we darted here and there to try and catch everyone. A cracking day though for a lot of our friends. So a huge well done to Dave, giving his love to the crowds like he was having a stroll in the park! Debra who pb'd -great stuff, so pleased for you. Paul who hung in for a cracking sub 3. Sean who blew his old time out of the water. Tony who was a smurf and still ran 3.15 And of course to the rest of the Leukaemia team who were amazing and are no doubt drunk now or fast asleep (or both!)

So this weeks pic (which is included in my Week Twelve pix) is me on t'other side of the line, the line that is 26.2, painted on the road so the elites know they won't be running a drop over or a drop under if they stick to it. I'll be jumping to the other side of it in about a month and I can't wait. Just got to get this last hard week done and then it's time for the mental & physical preperation & restoration process to begin...I can't wait, bring Lanza on, I'm nearly ready :)

Night all.

Week Twelve in pix is here..hope you like...

H. x

Sunday, 19 April 2009

To post or not to post...

As H has already talked about in her post, things are pretty full on at the moment... with less than four weeks to the greatest physical challenge of my life I'm pushing harder than ever before and constantly teetering on the edge. Chatting to my mum earlier this evening she was worried that I was over doing things... unfortunately that's Ironman! If you're going to achieve amazing things you have to push yourself to your absolute limit... behind every Chris Hoy, Kelly Holmes or Matthew Pinsent lie years and years of living on (and sometimes falling off) the edge.

In the 20 week build-up to Lanza (not including race week) of which 16 are now in the bank I've so far averaged nearly 21 hours of training per week, an increase of nearly five weekly hours against 2007 and 2008. Although that may not sound that much (ok, perhaps it does) when you realise that includes easy weeks following training camps etc it represents a significant investment of both time and energy (physical and perhaps more importantly mental).

Although I freely admit that with a couple of weeks of the hard stuff left it feels like surviving the training could be a close call... I have survived very well so far and am happily injury and illness free, which although normal for me mustn't be taken for granted. One of the key strategies for surviving this increase in training volume has been a corresponding increase in sleep volume... it's perhaps been one of the greatest challenges of my Iron journey but as it stands I'm nearly 30 minutes a night ahead of this time last year, which at a quick educated guess means I must have spent around 55 more hours asleep in the build up to Lanza compared to Germany... and this leads me onto the title of today's post...

I keep finding myself seriously pushed for time as 9 o'clock approaches every Sunday night and I'm yet to publish, having not missed a single Sunday blog since day 1 however I'd rather post something than nothing...

So please accept my apologies for not writing something a little more interesting but, I'm off to bed...

Next week I might try doing it on Saturday ;)

Train smart,


p.s. Good luck to everyone doing the London Marathon next weekend, we'll be shouting as hard as we can :)


And here I was thinking last Sunday's 160 mile ride was just nuts... then I entered the mega week - jeefus it's been HUGE!!! I had two rest days and we still just about covered 500 miles... but I survived and I'm strong :)

The peak of our hard training is nearly at an end, no more ridiculous weeks or sessions like this week until our one last mega session which as tradition now holds will be with Tom, Ben G and myself doing loops (not the A168 this time though - thank god!!!) that will total just under a 100 miles (the loop will be hilly...v hilly) & running 20 miles at IM pace off it. That's not until May 3rd though, time to recover form the mental-ness of this week first.

So, how did we follow up last Sunday's 160miles?? Well on Monday we hit the pool and managed a 1600m easy swim. I felt good in the pool but my arms were procrastinating, 14hrs hunched over a TT bike does that to you. Then on Tuesday Tom, Ben G & I drove to the infamous A168 (we did the same session there last year & it practically killed me!)
7 laps (from roundabout to roundabout) which is approx 15 miles saw me clock 106 miles when I got off, followed up with a 10 mile run off. I was pleased with how I rode but my legs were still fatigued from Sunday so I was really surprised to run so strongly off it and well under my target IM pace which is going to be just under 9min miles, completing the ten miles in 1.21 (8.06min miles.) We got home at about 6pm got showered and had to dash straight to the gym to take our run club. Tom and I take the slower group so an easy and gentle 5 mile run made the day even bigger.

Wednesday we hit the pool again and knocked out 5km of technique which was good as we've not been getting as much swimming in as we would like. Thursday was another ride and off I tootled for an easy 65 miles with a 2.5 mile easy run off. Then thank the lord, Fri and Sat were rest days.

Today was another challenge. 100mile ride from home, over the biggest hills on our route (& they're not small!) to Cray and back, then another 10 mile run off. Tom went on his own and I rode with my mate Ady. I really enjoyed it. The sun was meant to show a little earlier than it did so we were bloody frozen for most of it (see above pic...that's for you Ady) but we kept a good pace, even managing to stop for a Magnum ice-cream in Grassington :) :) :) Tom was just getting back from his run (speedy bugger) when I was leaving for mine and so to my surprise at mile 4 on my way out there he was water and energy at hand and giving me encouragement, thanks husband :) I ran really well today too. It's weird because I feel like I've not really done any running at all but I guess the bike volume has increased so much it's making everything else pale into insignificance. The good thing is that I'm feeling good getting off the bike, all I have to do now is repeat it on the day (easier said then done!!)

This weekend we're off to watch lots of our mates run the London Marathon and I'm really excited to be on the other side of the line for the first time in 8yrs to cheer them on to victory in their quests to conquer the challenge that is 26.2!!! Good luck everyone as you enter race week, you're all going to be brilliant!

Time to sign off, the sun's still shining and I've got training gear to hang on the line :)

Week Eleven of pix is here my friends... enjoy...

H. x

Sunday, 12 April 2009

What an epic week...

It's way, way, way past our bedtime and I'm only just starting the blog now so forgive me but it's going to be brief. Today Tom and I rode the furthest either of us have ever been - a whole 160 Yorkshire hilly miles!!! We left the house at 6.15am this beautiful Easter Sunday morning and were back in Meanwood at 8pm tonight (having had a few hefty and much needed nutrition stops on the way.) Wow!!! 160 miles, that's not bad and we both felt uber strong for the last hour home, pushing it to the very last metre. It was a great way to what has been an awesome week.

The usual training took place on Monday (5km easy swim am/90min turbo pm) and Tuesday (3km hard swim, 40min tempo treadmill & run club.) Then we left Meanwood and entered the world of Milton Keynes for Wednesday & Thursday where we were wonderfully looked after by the O'Neill family. Our good friend Jevon was awaiting us in Stewkley early on Wed am and we set off with a few other members of team MK (great bunch) and we enjoyed a 50 mile ride in the sun. Home to Old Thatch for a late lunch and to see the rest of the family and then off for a 13mile off road run. Dinner couldn't have tasted better :) And as always we were made so welcome (see above pic taken in Old Thatch's doorway which says it all.) I tried to keep my eyes open for the end of the footie (I promise!) but I couldn't seem to manage it and so with a swim and a ride scheduled for the next day off we went to bed. Thursday am came round fast and with more breakfast than Humpty Dumpty could manage off we went to hit the pool for a brief and perfectly timed set of 10 x 200's then out on the bikes for a 60 mile ride before Tom and I came home. Perfect two days with such a loving and wonderful family, thanks to you all. x

So that leaves Friday & Saturday before todays 160 epic ride. Friday was fairly easy with a 16 mile run and that took care of that days training. Saturday was pretty hardcore. A 55 mile ride which consists of 17 miles (easy) to our choice of hill in Ilkley (Langbar) then 10 reps of said hill and 17 miles (with jelly legs) home with a 2.5mile run off it. I was amazed how good my legs felt on todays ride to be honest, I had envisaged pain, pain and more pain. Maybe it was the fact that the sun was out, the sky was blue and we were out on an adventure. We hadn't planned to ride that far but we were enjoying it so much thought why not. Now I'm sitting here typing with closing eyes and the fourth finger of my left hand completely numb. Out on my time trial bike (I'll be racing on it in Lanza) always gives me cyclists palsy if I'm on it for a long time (especially if I don't use the tri bars very much.) So I've probably got about three or four days with a useless fourth finger (who needs it anyway!)

What a great week of training under my belt & with 3 weeks of the hard stuff left I'll be ready for that taper but will be in the best shape of my life hopefully :)

So friends, it's time to say goodnight, hope you all had a fab Easter. Here's Week Ten in pix...are you still looking at them? Are you enjoying them?

H. x

Calrsberg don't do training weekends...

... but if they did, it would have been this weekend and invloved my wife and I! On Saturday we rode over to Ilkey where I did 12 hard one mile repeats up Langbar Road and H did 10, by the time we got home and ran a couple of miles straight off the bike we'd covered around 60 miles. Then today we woke with the sparrows and knocked out a rather hilly 158.5 miles (click on today's pic for a detailed route taken from my Garmin, which set a pb itself by lasting so long) whilst enjoying the sun and ample helpings of quality time :)

I would write more but a) I'm knackered and b) it's 10.41pm and most certainly time for bed... this week I'll let H do the talking.

Speak soon,


p.s. I've now discovered twitpic via twitterfon on my iphone :)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Holy moly...where did that come from???

I've had a week of ups and downs (no change there then I hear you say.) The end of it was to be today's 50 TT (Circuit of the Dales) a hilly (about 2,600 metres of climbing) but beautiful race in the Yorkshire Dales. Having hardly raced at all this year (it is still early I guess) I think I was a little anxious about today. I wanted to train this week but I also wanted a good race today and so I made the decision to rest on Thursday instead of running long, swam 5km on Friday but leg rested and had an easy hrs run on Saturday. I had no excuse, except resting makes me grizzly and rather annoying to live with (Tom will vouch for that I'm sure!) The past two years we've ridden this the weather has been variable, wind and rain or wind and snow. So, watching the weather all week and seeing a little dot of sunshine on the horizon was a joy as you can imagine.

Our good mate Ben G came to stay last night (he was racing too) and we all kicked back in front of the box. Tom was like a child before Christmas and could barely contain his excitement, he just loves racing, absolutely loves it. I was gutted when I rode up a hill about 30 miles in and heard Tom shouting encouragement - he should have been a good 40 mins behind me so I knew he must have had a mechanical :(
My plan was, there was no plan. I just wanted to race hard and see what I had. I knew when I raced The Ballbuster a couple of weeks ago that I was so much stronger on the bike but the course was way too technical for me to see how much I'd improved. Today I had hoped to see that improvement and boy did I do that!
I felt great as Steve pushed me off at 8.48am and off my little legs went over the hills and dales. I was a little worried I'd gone off too hard as I watched my heart rate soar to the merry heights of the high 160's but I managed to reign myself in and maintained a steady hear rate average of 157. Isn't it weird how when the day is going well the pain feels completely different, actually it's not really pain. Last year I rode 2.59.20 and today I rode... 2.40.02, wuhoo!!!! :) :) :) Tom was waiting by the checkered board and I think he nearly died when he saw me, he was expecting me to be about another 15mins. I'm so, so, so pleased I rode so consistently and I felt strong & now I know that all of those miles, all of those tears I've shed when training's been hard, they were all worth it because today I was rewarded for my hard work with the proof that I have improved and that's a wonderful feeling.
Ben G had a great race too, coming back from weeks of time out after his horrendous ear infection to ride an awesome 2.26. You looked adversity in the face and spat in its eye after all of the pain you've suffered with that ear. Today you know Lanzarote is still there waiting for you :)
My husband who is far more selfless than anyone I know in the whole world was the best supporter even though he was devastated to not even be able to start (stem clamp issues see his blog.) He was so excited last night he could barely sleep and there he was giving his all on the side lines cheering everyone on, he is amazing.

Talking of pb's, I wasn't the only one to smash one in half today. Our mate Ian (Ozzer) a prolific Ironman and speedy speedster (but one who never quite managed to get the race gods on his side in the 'A' races) took a whole hour and some to join the sub ten hr gentleman's club at Ironman Australia today. Wow, and double wow, mate we're so happy for you, we knew you could do it and did it you have. It's all yours Ozzer, no one can take it away, can't wait to hear the full race report, happy celebrations :) :) :) You spurred me on as I went out to race this morning Ozzer!

So it's time for bed, 4 weeks of hard training left, and then it's time to see what we've got out there on those Volcanic roads of Lanzarote.

Week Nine's pix are here (very varied this week!) enjoy...

H. x


I thought I'd kick this week's entry off with a quick race report from today's 50 mile super hilly cycling time trial and my favourite annual cycling event of all time, the Circuit of the Dales...


What did you think? What do you mean where was it?

Having scored my first ever DNF (did not finish) around this time last year at the Stokesley Duathlon I've yet again managed a lifetime first... a DNS (did not start)! I've been excited about this race ever since crossing the finish line in the snow last April. It's a fantastically challenging course, was my first ever time trial back in 2006 and serves as a great measure of the conversion rate between winter miles and summer smiles. Having had a solid week's training I'd rested and recovered well on Friday and Saturday and was fired up to test myself against previous years. Ben and H were off about 45 minutes before me which meant I could wander down to the start and cheer them off before heading back to the car for my final race prep. They both looked in great shape and watching them fly off into the distance on a perfect Yorkshire Dales morning tripled my motivation. As I cruised down to the start with about ten minutes to spare I was feeling awesome, and super confident of a great ride... just as I was testing out my aero position though I felt my tri-bars move slightly, thinking it was just a loose bolt I nipped back to the car and reminding myself not to panic pulled out an allen key. Quarter of a gentle turn later and 'snap'... the bottom left hand corner of the handlebar clamp had broken away leaving me with only three of the four bolts actually doing anything. For a moment I thought I could get away with it but closer inspection (see today's picture) showed that the bottom right hand side had also failed and after a few minutes of indecision (crazy really as there was only ever one correct answer) I decided the handlebars coming off on one of the 50mph twisty downhill sections was unlikely to be a particularly pleasant experience and that was it... my first ever DNS and 12 months of dreams down the swanny for another year. Still, the sun was out and 30 minutes later I was happily(ish) stood by the side of the road, flapjack and cappuccino in hand :)

As for Ben and H? Both of them have had somewhat up and down starts to 2009 and I can honestly say I'm really glad that it was me on the sidelines today and not either one of them. Only a couple of months ago H was picking up the pieces from our crazy January training camp and Ben's head was busy exploding with ear infection after ear infection... to see them both race so well this morning was amazing and with Lanza now less than seven weeks away they seem to be coming good at just the right time. I'll let Hels tell you all about her race but it's not that often you pb by nearly 20 minutes so don't let her play it down ;)


Spinning round to the other side of the world for a moment... well done to Ian and Russell for both breaking ten hours at Ironman Australia. I know Russ was after something under 9.30 but a solid performance none the less and with Lanzarote next on his hit list we might even manage to share a little bit of the marathon suffering in PDC ;)

and as for Ian... all I can say is how gutted I am not to have been there to share in the celebrations! After an awesome first Ironman in the UK back in 2005 Ian's had his fair share of race day suffering over the 140.6 and with such strong swim, bike and run credentials has long been capable of going under the ten hour mark. A strong swim, phenomenal bike and solid run saw him cross the line in 9.55 and at 12th in his age group (40-44) will I'm sure be in for some nervous moments at tomorrow's roll-down (8 slots available)... Hawaii or not I'm so pleased for you mate and inspired by your amazing demonstration of the power of belief... I for one never stopped ;)


Right, I'm off to bed and if the pool is quiet in the morning I'll be venting some of my DNS frustration on 64 timed lengths ;)

See you in seven,