Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Build Phase and the British Heart Foundation

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and words of encouragement after last weeks blog. It was a representation of how I was feeling but things always comes across a lot worse in print. I'm feeling ok in myself, and there's no way I'm not doing this. Back to focusing on one session at a time and lets see where it takes me. My life feels like a long ride at the moment, lots of ups and down and I don't really know where I'm going, I'm gritting my teeth and digging in on the inclines and hanging on for dear life on the declines.

Tuesday was an important day for me, February 14th. It was the 2nd anniversary of the passing of my Grandmother, the passing of someone close to you is always tough, I've always felt extra close to my Mamma. I was born on her 50th birthday and have always felt a special bond. I come from a close family and I'm lucky to have all there support in (almost) everything I do. I used the money that was left to me in her will to buy my bike and all the other associated gear when I started out last year. It felt good to spend the money on something that would enhance my life, I know she would approve. During my Outlaw training it is my intention is to raise £2000 for charity, the first £1000 will go to The Karen Green Foundation, and the second £1000 will be donated to the British Heart Foundation. My Mamma had two triple heart bypass surgeries in her life-time. The first one was in the seventies when the survival rates were much lower than today, so I feel lucky to have had her in my life at all. She was a great supporter of the BHF, they gave her the support she needed. I intend to carry on this support in honour of her. Mamma was very religious and had a strong faith in god, now I'm a staunch atheist but I always feel she's there somewhere and I look to her memory to keep me going at time when I need some inspiration, I know she would be proud.

This week was the first week of the Build Phase in my Don Fink program. It has gone ok actually, I think the few days off last weekend did me some good. Tuesday was the usual swim before work and run after. I had Wednesday off work so I enjoyed my transition session at my own leisure and went to the extra swim session I needed with Absolute Triathlon Club in the evening. Thursday I was back to the pool after work and then hit the Turbo when I got home. I skipped running on Friday as I had something far more important on. In the Build Phase the weekend long run and long ride now become brick sessions... Saturdays long run was followed by 30 minutes on the Turbo, and todays long ride was followed by a quick run, both felt good. I pushed hard on the bike today, my legs ache but I'm determined to get better.

This weeks music was good, a double Idlewild session on Tuesdays run, The Remote Part and Warnings/Promises, one of my favourite bands. Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol, and Brothers by the Black Keys were the other albums I listened to this week. One of my favourite songs ever is Century After Century by Idlewild, but incredibly there isn't one version on YouTube!

Another week where I had to go solo on the long ride and not join up with my friends from the club for the Eakring ride. I just want to quickly mention Helen, she organises us on Sunday and is massive energy giver to most, if not all of us. She is such a warm and generous person, everyone loves her with good reason. She is the reason I, and probably a few others are doing Outlaw this year, she is an inspiration so Helen... thanks, and keep up your training, you're doing great xx

The reason I had to skip the ride was I needed an early start. It was my cousin Adam and his lovely wife Louise's babies 1st birthday and I really wanted to get over for the party. Everyone loves party food at kids parties right? Great for the training diet :-) Happy first birthday Edwin xx

Happy Birthday too to Gabby, hope you had a great secret holiday, hopefully see you and Lummo soon. Lets schedule in some time.

And a special Happy Birthday to Howy too, welcome to Club 30 squire, I also hope you enjoyed your secret weekend break with Hels.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this. Those of you who know me know I'm not much of a talker, so it's a bit weird putting all this stuff out there. If I was better at talking I probably wouldn't be where I am now... I probably wouldn't have even found triathlon, but here I am, on the way to Outlaw.

Matto_out xx

Monday, 13 February 2012

10 Weeks Down... 20 To Go! A Moment of Doubt?

Training wise I'm probably at my lowest point to be honest. I've been taking it session by session and not been worrying about the event at all. The weather hasn't helped, but getting to a third of the way there has really struck home. I can't even comprehend 13 hours of exertion. I'm not sure I can swim for 1 1/2 hours + to cover the 2.4 miles, I don't know if I can cycle for 7 hours to complete the 112 miles, at the moment my average speed isn't high enough for shorter distance on my training plan at the moment let alone anything else. And when all that is said and done, I'm not sure my little legs will fancy running a marathon, never mind a sub 4 hour one at that.

On Tuesday I swam as usual, but in the evening I substituted my usual run with a Turbo session. Wednesday I had off work so I was really looking forward to my transition session... it didn't go well, after a steady 45 minute cycle the 30 minute run was awful. Thursday was swim and spin, spinning seemed even harder work than usual. I'd made plans Saturday evening so I decided just to do my long run Friday evening and skip a run session, the run was fine but it was freezing, evening more disappointingly I missed the first social event of the Absolute Triathlon Clubs calander. Hopefully everyone had a great time at the Dogs in Nottingham and plenty of money was raised for the Karen Green Foundation. And that's that, I skipped the Sunday ride, too tired etc.

So I need to pick myself up, thanks everyone for your kind words and support, no-one said it was going to be easy, and it wouldn't be such an achievement if it was I guess. I've written out my next 10 week Don Fink plan and it terrifies me, I've no idea how I'm going to find time for everything, but I will. And I will do this.

This weeks long run was accompanied by the Deftones which I think tells its own story... see the YouTube player.

In other news I've booked my ticket to the Triathlon Show 2012 which should be a good day out with some fellow clubmates. If anyone is going let me know.

Just as I'm writing my great friend Julo has text to ask where this weeks blog is. I'm so out of sorts it's slipped and is a day late :-) She'd telling me to stop moaning and get on with it... so that's what I'm going to do. Another self indulgent post but I think it's important to document how I'm feeling on this journey. Thanks for taking the time to read.


PS Campbell and Peace Dentistry have pledged to give £1 to the Karen Green Foundation for every 'like' on there Facebook page. Please follow the link and hit 'like', you can donate £1 of someone elses money to a great cause.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

It's all about the Bike and the other Gear, a blog about equipment.

I'll give you a quick update about this weeks training... Tuesday started as usual with an early morning swim, I decided to skip my post work run in order to go to watch the football. I have a season ticket at Forest so headed to the City Ground after collecting a large parcel which I'll come to later. Needless to say I shouldn't have bothered, it was cold and Forest were rubbish. It's one of my least favourite fixtures too as my brother in law is a Burnley fan, he didn't rub it in too much though. At least it wasn't as bad as the time I was with him in the home end at Turf Moor as we were getting hammered 5-0! Wednesday is my transition training day, 45 minutes on the turbo (a contraption that turns the bike into an exercise bike for my non-tri friends) followed by 4 cold laps around the village.

Thursday, ah Thursday, it's post work swimming and spinning day. I had a quick errand to run before work which was to be my downfall. I always pack my bag the night before so to save time and keep organised (another Don Fink tip), I was half way to work before I realised I'd left my bag. I'm not sure doing it in my underwear like at primary school would have gone down well with my clubmates. I did a turbo session when I got home, but a second session missed in a week, oh the guilt. Friday is a club track session, it was cold and felt rubbish so I won't dwell on that.

Saturday is long run day, I had to nip to Mansfield post work, so planned to run from Berry Hill. It was a mixture of glorious and horrendous. The snow was coming down and it felt great to be running whilst people looked at me like I was insane, the pleasure was matched by the pain of the last few miles running up hill into the wind looking and feeling like an abominable snowman (Catherine). The drive home was long and slow as the snow continued to fall. I woke to a good covering of snow, inevitably meaning there would be no long ride from Eakring, sadly missed again. It meant a tortuous 2hrs 45mins on the turbo, my longest turbo yet, I procrastinated for as long as possible before taking to the saddle and grinding it out.

As for music this week, on Saturdays long run I hit shuffle and pressed play, there was no way I was fumbling around selecting music in the freezing cold. Highlights included Dry the River, Idlewild, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Crystal Castles and Interpol. Todays long turbo was ably assisted by a great film, Gran Torino, here's hoping I don't have to spend too many long rides in the kitchen, good films or not.

So... back to my parcel and something most the triathletes I've met like to talk about... the gear. On Tuesday I went to my local parcel force depot to pick up my new bike. It started with a combination of two things, a friend on one of our Sunday long rides suggesting the need for a winter bike, and wanting a bike that may make the Outlaw ever so slightly easier. So my starter bike, a very reliable entry level Giant has become my winter bike, and I'm the proud owner of a carbon fibre Ribble Sportive Bianco. I ordered it a few weeks ago when I went to visit my sister in the Northwest. I took my Dad and my credit card to Ribble and placed the order in the shop. So I know I'm a little premature for a summer bike, but I couldn't resist. It's in need of a proper set up, for which I'll be visiting Mick at Langdale Lightweights in Mapperley, Nottingham. But to give you some spec, gun metal grey Shimano 105 groupset, Deda seatpost, handlebars, stem and aero bars. And a lovely pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, which almost cost as much as the Giant :-/ The bike is white and silver which is great... it looks good, but mostly because it goes with all colours. Every triathlete nows how important it is to colour coordinate :-)

I've come to terms that as long as I'm doing triathlon I'll never have any money. I like the joke about the triathletes car doubling in value when he puts his bike in the back. I'm going to go through some of my good and interesting purchases for you... I know you triathletes will be interested so thoughts and comments are appreciated :-)

I recently got a Garmin 310XT, GPS sports watch and heart rate monitor. It is amazing, I love downloading the data, seeing the maps and analysing the data. Another purchase I blame on the person who told me I'd need 2 bikes, but a great recommendation. I wonder if they know who they are and if they will step forward :-) ?

Calf guards... 2XU ones to be precise. I thought they were quite expensive but I wouldn't be without them now. I've always suffered with calf/achilles problems (ask Lummo) so after my first Duathlon when I felt some cramp in transition they were my next purchase. Along with a number belt... I made the school boy error of trying to pin my number to my very tight tri-suit. The tri-suit was a bit of an early un-nessecary purchase I guess, but as I got into triathlon at the end of last season there were plenty of bargains to be had online.

I was mostly gutted not to get out on the bike today because I received a Castelli windproof gore jacket all the way from Italy on Thursday, crazy I know, especially bearing in mind I ruin my last cheapo one after falling off (See Man Down post). As for bike accessories, geez, it's never ending... helmet, inner tubes, pumps, lights, saddle bags, hydration accessories, endless lycra/clothing etc etc etc. Not to mention the aforementioned turbo.

Now the running isn't so bad, but I did just invest in two new pairs of Asic Gel Cumulous 13's, who ever thought you needed two pairs! I also have two pairs of swimming goggles, but to be honest, swimming you're mostly naked.

The next endless expense is the sports drink and energy bars... I'm currently using SIS psp22 energy drink, SIS Rego protein recovery drink, High 5 Zero electrolyte drink, Powerbar energy bars and protein bars, as well as ride gel sweets, I've also just bought some GU chocolate outrage gel shots which taste amazing chocolate fans.

So all that is really left to buy is a wetsuit... and I really want to get myself some wonderful Absolute Triathlon club kit too. I'm sure I'll find other things to keep spending money on, I'm already eyeing up a TT bike ;-)

Matto_out tri fans xx