Wednesday, 30 July 2008

I Don’t Like Treadmills

I don't know how some of you guys out there can train continuously on a treadmill during the winter when snow prevents you from running outside. As it was raining yesterday evening I opted to do my 4 x 1k at 5k pace on the treadmill instead of the track - any boy did I regret it. Cranking the belt up to 16 kph (about 6 minute pace) at 1% gradient didn't feel too bad at first but by the time the 3rd rep was finished so was I - legs were like jelly and there wasn't a dry spot on me. Next week I'm heading to the track come what may. Some final thoughts on last Sunday's Tri following some of your comments:- While there were no Age category prizes (except for first vets - does M35 qualify? & first over 50) I was first M40 out of 15 with only two older ahead of me (an M45 and M50). Probably because the real M40 competition was at the Kinsale Sprint tri the day before. My overall position at each stage was Swim - 15th T1 - 19th (passed by 4 - definitely room for improvement) Cycle - 29th (passed by 10 - not too bad but this is the area where most improvement could be made, transition excepting) T2 - 31st (passed by 2) Run - 23rd (passed 8) Swim - Ewen you're right 23 minutes for 1500m is flying. I was nearly a minute slower though @ 23:52. The fastest time was a few seconds over 18 minutes. Based on previous experience I would have expected somewhere in the range of 26 minutes - I completed the 800m swim leg of a charity Tri in 2005 in about 13 minutes. However this swim was in a freshwater lake wearing swimming trunks whereas both Tris this year were in the sea wearing a wet suit, giving much more buoyancy. I read in one of those Tri books that a wet suit can improve your 1500m time by 90 seconds. In addition in 2005 I wouldn't have had the cardiovascular endurance I now have since I took up running. Also the accuracy of Sunday's course may be questionable. The Dark Side - Thomas, I don't think I will abandon running for Triathlons as there are fewer opportunities to race with little or no fixtures between September and May. However I have been hooked and will certainly keep competing (I see Ironman is on your to do list). While I have not been cross-training as preparation for my next marathon I have noticed that the squat jump exercises in "Brain Training" are easier this time around, which I have put down to cycling. Iron Man - Marc I'll have to dip my toe in the Half Iron Man first (maybe next year) and then I'll see. Going from last Sunday to Iron Man is like going from a 10k to a Marathon, no worse from a marathon to a 100 miler - serious training required. Marathon Training Last week was recovery week 4 of my 16 week Amsterdam marathon programme where the load lightened in preparation for a programmed 5k race (replaced with a triathlon - specificity is everything!). I skipped a few of the recovery runs as I was under time constraints - one was a scheduled 2 miler & I couldn't see the benefit. Tue 22nd p.m. 6.15 Miles in 50:15 (08:10 pace @ 133 HR) with 10 x 400m reps in 83 to 86 Secs Wed 23rd a.m. 5.24 Miles in 44:09 (08:25 pace @ 125 HR) p.m. unscheduled Brick with neighbour Jim - 21 Mile cycle (went looking for hills) in 01:19 approx followed by 2.05 mile run (08:32 pace @ 125 HR) Thur 24th p.m. 6.93 Miles in 54:28 (07:52 @ 144 HR) with 3 x 1 Mile 06:20/06:09/06:20 (1st and 3rd mile against an onshore wind) Sun 27th 6.2 Miles approx in 41:52 (06:44 pace) as part of Little Bo Peep Tri Marathon Week 4/16 - 26.5 Miles (I'll have to start cranking up the mileage and focus on a few running goals now that my Tris are behind me) Tue 29th p.m. 5.6 Miles approx on the treadmill with 3 x 1k @ 6:00 pace. Legs: 6/10 Sleep: 7 hrs, 7/10 Wed 30th a.m. 7.77 recovery Miles in 01:05:25 (08:25 pace @ 132 HR) - while HR was a bit high for the pace run was very comfortable considering tuesdays effort. Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 7 hrs, 7/10

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Little Bo Peep......a tale of perseverance

I rose at 0600hrs this morning so that I could be on the road to Kenmare by 0630 to register for the Little Bo Peep Olympic Distance Tri. I left Abina and the kids in bed as they had a late night. However I was just heading out the door when Abina called downstairs to say that she, Ani and Saran were coming to support and so 15 minutes later (that's a record for getting the kids dressed, half fed and out the door) we were all bundled into the car and on our way. There were a few showers of rain en route with little or no wind (slight worry about cycling in the rain - slippery surfaces etc). We arrived at the Star Sailing Centre outside Kenmare shortly before 8 and registered before the 0815 deadline (about 160 in all registered for the day). Abina and the kids stayed in the car while I set up my gear in the transition area, as a light rain began to fall. The large inflatable yellow buoys setting out the triangular swim course were being put in place as the race briefing commenced - the usual warnings about hills n more hills, (I believe you have to leave the country to compete on a flattish course) some sharp downhill bends on the cycle be careful, cycle 37km - what? the website said 40km, ah well, less cycling - more to my advantage as it is my weakest discipline. .........and then we headed down the slipway into the water to warm up. One poor soul was in swimming trunks (although the water was not that cold - saves wrestling with a wetsuit in T1) . The rain had cleared and the sun began to make an appearance. After warming up we were all called back from the end of the pier to the slipway from where the race was to start - instead of a gun the starter said "good luck 7...6....5.....4 (some splashing starting)....3 (more arms moving)......2 (where are those guys going).........1" (i'm off) - the swim start always appears to be a mad scramble, like the rush through a store opening for the Christmas sales, everyone (or at least everyone around me) goes off at the same pace for the first 100 to 200 yards until the field spreads out. I found the first 300m fairly strenuous (lack of any real warm-up) until I found my rhythm - As I was swimming on the right hand side of the field I did not get too many kicks until we converged on the first buoy - first stroke past the buoy turn on my back, quick half backstroke and onto my front pointing towards the second buoy - worked like a dream got me in front of the guy in front without expending any extra energy. While I did not stray off course this time I did a fair amount of zig-zagging between head lifts to spot the buoy. I maintained my pace and noticed that throughout the second half of the swim I was still gaining ground and passing one ot two in front - maybe the natural tendency for most is to go out faster than average pace. Coming in towards the slipway there were two swimmers in front - one kicking quite hard (evident by the trashing water at the surface every time I came up for air). A couple of attempts to take them on one side and then the other failed initially until I noticed their pace slacken off a bit as they approached dry land and I pushed harder over the last 50 yards to get past them and up the slip into transition. The clock read 23:49 as I approached the timing mat (crikes that's good). However the good time I had made was lost in T1 as I struggled to get the wetsuit off my right leg until I noticed I was trying to pull the bulky timing chip off as well. "someone's struggling" the announcer said as I coaxed the wetsuit over my foot. On with the helmet, glasses and shoes, unrack the bike and I was away - Abina, Ani and Saran cheering me on as I crossed the timing mat again and was on my way. I got into a comfortable pace on the bike from the off - but comfortable doesn't necessarily mean fast as I was passed by 3 in a row and then another 2 before I had got a few km. One guy in particular in a red top I would see frequently for the remainder of the race. A few rises and falls over the first 10km and then the gradual rise over the only real hill of the day, which got steeper as we approached the summit (about 3 km of steady climbing) I managed to pass one of my overtakers on the climb and catch up with Mr Red top but failed to pass him out (story of my day) Down the other side which was quite fast over the first 2 to 3 km but gave way to twists and turns which forced me to slow down (cornering is not my strength). Coming into one particular corner I braked early and was passed by a guy who braked just before the bend and he in turn was passed by a guy who was powering around the corner at speed when suddenly the bike went out from under him and he when skidding across the road on his arse, legs and other body parts - he was very lucky a car had not been coming in the opposite direction. I think he was ok though as he managed to get up - luckily there was an ambulance crew 100 yards down the road who we alerted as we passed. The route took us into Lauragh and along the narrow coast road (spectacular views of Kenmare Bay). I was passed by one or two guys along this stretch between 20 and 30km but did not fall far behind - keeping a steady pace over relatively flat terrain. Finally we were back on the main road towards Kenmare and I stayed within reach of those in front. Mr Red top was about 200m ahead of me all the way into transition - off the bike and a quick change of shoes, lose the helmet and out for the final leg (no place to hide here - I can't freewheel on my legs). I had been behind a girl comng into T2 but she was quicker changing (who said that women take ages to change?) and was 100m ahead for me starting the run. I passed her and 2 others before the turn off the main road at about 1.6 km. Any notion that I was going to power past those in front of me was quickly dispelled as we hit the "hill" - and boy was it steep - two of the guys in front had stopped to walk the steepest part and while I was maintaining leg turnover my stride length was literally reduced to 6 inch baby steps. I was passed by one guy going up the hill, I couldn't believe it. I still did not catch the walkers as they started up their run again as the grade eased. Just before the 3km mark the lead runner came against me - just 4+km behind, not bad at all. As the run was an out and back course I began counting the runners coming against me so as to determine my place and keep my mind occupied as I suffered. Finally we were running downhill to the 5km turnaround timing mat where I figured I was in about 29th or 30th position. Seeing the distance to the runner behind me after the turnaround gave me some confidence that I would remain in the top 30. Up the hill again keeping the pace stready and effort even. First I passed the only guy that had passed me and then the two "walkers" and one or two more until I was about 30 yards behind Mr. Red top and appeared to be closing the gap. Down the steep hill about 2 km to go. Passed a relay runner and still 20 yards behind Mr. Red Top. I thought my natural pace would catch him as we came back onto the main road. "Only a mile to go" a steward said. "shit" I thought it was more like a km, I need this to be over. I was giving all that I could but it appeared like an invisible force field was keeping Mr Red Top 20 yards ahead of me. And that is how we finished - I saw him cross under the clock at 2:21:52 and I pushed to get in just under 2:22 (02:21:59 was my finishing time - much faster than I expected - but then again my expectations were based on a 40km cycle).
Afterwards it was time for Ani and Saran to try out their new wetsuits as they splashed around in the water as competitors stood waist deep cooling off their legs. We waited around for the official results:- I finished 23rd overall out of 116 finishers (24th but No.3 was disqualified for "dangerous riding") Swim - 23:52 - 15th (25:36 Pace/2.34MPH) T1 - 02:05 (needs more training) Bike - 01:13:12 - 41st (03:11 Pace/18.8MPH) T2 - 00:59 Run - 41:52 - 17th (06:44 Pace/8.9MPH) 5k/5k 21:11/20:41 I don't know how accurate thew distances are as some said that the swim was less than 1,500m and that the cycle was 37.5km. I drove the first 5k of the run afterwards with the Garmin (too complicated to use on the cycle/run) on to get a profile. The steepest gradient reached was 13% Although the distance looks a bit off @ marginally above 3 miles.

Sunday, 20 July 2008


On this date last year I published my very first post on this Blog and 130 posts later i'm still posting and still running. The last year has seen me race:-
  • 2 Marathons, improving my PB by a modest 08:34 (PB pace of 07:31)
  • A 15 miler, massive PB improvement of 15:57 (PB pace of 06:50)
  • 2 Half Marathons, improving my PB by only 02:29 (very modest - PB of 01:30 should fall over coming months) (PB Pace of 06:52)
  • 2 x 10 Milers, new PB of 65:04 (PB pace of 06:30)
  • 1 x 10K, getting sub-40 Minutes and a PB improvement of 04:38 (best race so far - PB pace of 06:09)
  • A 5 Miler, improving my PB by 01:30 (PB pace of 06:25 - should drop next race)
  • 4 x 4 Milers, new PB of 25:19 (PB pace of 06:20 - should drop next race)
  • 2 x 5K, new PB of 19:04 (hope to go sub-19 Minutes next month)
  • A 1 Miler, new PB of 05:40 (35 second improvement)

I spent Friday and Saturday on work related training in Kilkenny and so took my bike with me for a cycle on Friday evening with Adrian and Robert from work around the undulating countryside towards Ballyraggat and Freshford covering 28.5 miles in about an hour and a half (data provided by Robert as my Garmin wasn't in tune until mile 5). I followed the cycle with a 3 mile run with Adrian around the streets of Kilkenny. On Saturday evening I was wrecked and was in bed shortly after 10 so that I would be out the door shortly before 7 this morning (had to be back, showered and out the door with Safan for her swimming lesson at 0935). The run went quite well with the first few miles over 8:00 pace and finishing up at 07:30 pace. Fri 18th July Cycle of 28.5 miles in about 01:30:00 - Only recorded 23.48 Miles in 01:12:47 (19.4 MPH @ 127 HR) followed by Run 3.16 Miles in 24:39 (07:48 Pace @135 HR) Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 6.5 hrs Sun 20th July 17.09 Miles in 02:12:59 (07:47 @ 138 HR). The similar paced long run last week over the same route produced an average HR of 133 - may be due to lack of sleep on Friday night (5 hrs) Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 8 hrs

Postscript: Marathon Training Week 3/16 - 50.3 Miles

Thursday, 17 July 2008

I Don't Like Thursdays

Thursday's speed workout is my least favourite and I can't say I look forward to it. Therefore I figure it must be the most beneficial. Today's workout was no exception with 5 x 1 mile @ 10k pace on the cards. Last week I only managed 3 of the 4 scheduled fast miles so I was already preparing myself for doing 4 of the 5 (can't increase workload too much - equivalent to the 10% rule and all that) As I woke a little late this morning I postponed the run until after work (temporary avoidance measure). I finally got out this evening in fine sunshine and warmed up over 2 miles on the straight road (westerly breeze). I settled for anywhere between 06:10 and 06:24 (40 min 10k) pace as I figured my current 10k pace is less than my PB pace (06:09) especially if last weeks run is anything to go by. I surprised myself by finishing all 5 miles more or less within target as follows:- 06:15 (157HR) - 01:40R 06:18 (164HR) - 01:53R - against the wind 06:12 (164HR) - 02:06R 06:25 (167HR) - 02:11R - against the wind (the worst mile hanging in over the 2nd half) 06:13 (166HR) - tailed a guy running in the road thinking I would pass him but he kept ahead by the same distance and appeared to be jogging comfortably while I was bursting my gut. I passed the half mile mark for each mile in 03:06/07 except for mile 4 (03:09). Bar Mile 1 my HR got up to 171/174 by the end of each mile but recovered to 123/125 during the 2 minute active recovery. Durint my last training cycle I did this session on the track (4 laps in lane 3 - 1.014 miles) in February with the following stats:- time, start HR, avg HR, end HR & (Mile equivalent time) 06:26, 101, 138, 160 (06:20) 06:20, 118, 157, 163 (06:14) 06:23, 126, 158, 163 (06:17) 06:24, 118, 159, 165 (06:18) 06:24, 111, 160, 163 (06:18)

At the time I commented on how easier it felt doing the mile reps on the track, where I could keep a better eye on the time (200m splits) - the average HR's certainly show that I suffered more today.

So far I'm more or less on programme this week. Mon 14th July a.m. - 4.1 Miles recovery in 34:24 (08:24 pace @ 121HR) - tired after Sundays long run. Legs: 6/10. Sleep: 6.5Hrs (6/10) Tue 15th July lunchtime - pool swim 1,000m (500m easy and 500m steady) in 20:01 p.m. - 13 x 400m in 84 to 87 seconds with 3 minute recoveries. Programme said 14 but I'd had enough even before 13. Only for a guy joining me for the last 2 I would have stopped at 12. Having someone with you can certainly increase motivation - even if he was covering the distance in 80 seconds in lane 4. Overall 8.76 Miles Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 7 hrs (7/10) Wed 16th July a.m. 7.69 Miles recovery in 01:05:59 (08:34 pace @ 125 HR) - run in the park followed by a resistance workout (the single leg squat jumps didn't look anything like the picture in the book) Legs: 6/10 Sleep: 6.5hrs (6/10) Thur 17th July p.m. 9.48 Miles in 01:13:07 (07:42 pace @ 149 HR) with 5 x 1mile @ 06:12 to 06:25. Legs: 7/10 Sleep: 8hrs (9/10)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Back in the Saddle

My Thursday speed session confirmed to me that the speed I had in my legs two months before the Cork Marathon is not back yet. The programme called for 4 x 1 mile @ 10k pace, which is now 06:09. As I am building up again I would realistically say my 10k pace is somewhat slower as I could just about manage three of the four miles - 06:09 (160HR) 2:22R - took longer than 2 mins as I went in search of a drink - to no avail. 06:11 (167HR) 02:04R 06:13 (167HR) - legs too tired & wobbly to try a 4th. I'm not too worried though - I should have expected it when I decided to cut into week 9 of my previous training programme. I signed up for the Little Bo Peep Triathlon in Kenmare on Thursday evening when passing through en route to Waterville. I brought my bike with me and headed for a return cycle between Waterville and Castlecove on Friday morning heading up to the beautiful Coomakista Pass I followed the 25 mile cycle with a 4 mile run. Saturday was a day of rest as I headed in to the Cork City Sports with Ani and Saran to see some of Irelands Olympic hopefuls in action. Paul Hessian, Ireland's fastest man won the 100m (10.21) and 200m (20.67). This distance is dominated by men of West African descent, so Paul's target is to get to the semi-finals and hope for the best. Alistair Cragg took silver in the 1500m (3:39.12) and the 3,000m (7:55.86) behind a Kenyan each time, although it looked like he was just getting race experience at 5k pace which is his speciality. Great to see how elite athletes compete. Today was time for my weekly long run scheduled at 15 miles. I covered just over 16 miles which got more comfortable as the miles increased. I finished off the weekend with a 21 mile cycle this evening to get some bike miles in my legs ahead of the triathlon which is only 2 weeks away (note to self get some swimming in also - I don't know if I'm taking this Tri thing seriously - how could I, it's only a bit of fun). Thur 10th July Run 7.75 Miles in 01:01:46 (07:58 pace @ 144 HR with 3 x 1 mile @ 06:09 to 06:13 Fri 11th July Bike 25.16 Miles in 01:36:22 (15.7 MPH @ 123 HR) Run 4.17 Miles in 31:59 (07:40 pace @ 138 HR) Sun 13th July Run 16.34 Miles in 02:07:50 (07:49 pace @ 133 HR) Bike 21.26 Miles in 01:10:36 (18.1 MPH @ 127 HR) Marathon Training Week 2/16 - 41.5 Miles

Monday, 7 July 2008

Tri Thoughts

Thomas asked an interesting question on my last post in relation to my Tri 10k pace (07:02) versus my 10k PB pace (06:09) . I didn't really think about it too much as I was running at the maximum effort I could maintain at the time (it's all about achieving the overall result). In fact while I was running I thought I was doing over 8 minute pace it felt so slow (probably something to do with spending the previous hour and forty plus minutes on a bike) Garry provided some useful feedback on his HM PB versus his HM Tri PB (just under a 12% reduction in pace). My pace reduction was just over 14% - so not too dissimilar. I had a look at the results to see where I came in each discipline. I came 56th overall out of 127 finishers - 29th in the swim, 85th in the cycle and a 3 way tie for 18th in the run. So i'm best at running. However I must admit my swim training has been very basic (i.e. no intervals, drills, hill reps ;) etc.). Certainly I will get greatest improvement in the bike section as it take up over half of the event (notwithstranding unscheduled maintenance) On the run I was 13.5% down on the fastest time (9.5% down on the winner). This compares to being 19.5% down on the winner of my 10k PB race. Back to the marathon training schedule.................... While I was tired on Saturday evening I got up Sunday morning to get in my scheduled 14 Mile long run (I had already scrapped last Thursday's 3 x 1 mile @ 10k pace in favour of the Tri 9.5 k and was eager not to miss too many scheduled runs - anyway this would be a good test to see how well I was recovering) the only concession I gave myself was that I ran it at recovery pace. This is the first double digit run I completed since the Cork Marathon and it went surprisingly well, albeit at a slow(er) pace. Early in the run I was using one of the proprioceptive running cues recommended in the "brain training" programme, the Butt squeeze, quite a bit - that was until I got to the Kingseley Hotel and made use of an item made popular by Thomas Crapper. I managed another easy 5 miler on monday after work , the heart appeared willing but the legs protested a bit. They were still a bit lethargic for yesterdays track session (12 x 400m) where the effort felt harder as the session wore on and the times slipped a bit. 84 (146 HR) - 2:24R 87 (153 HR) - 2:38R 85 (153 HR) - 2:44R 86 (156 HR) - 2:55R 86 (157 HR) - 2:58R 86 (156 HR) - 2:56R 86 (157 HR) - 2:58R 87 (155 HR) - 2:57R 90 (154 HR) - 2:55R 87 (159 HR) - 2:58R 87 (158 HR) - 2:55R 87 (158 HR) At least I kept closer to the 3 minute active recoveries. A day off today, catching up on lost sleep, where I opted to cycle a few miles and cheer on those taking part in the EMC 5k road race. It all looked so effortless from the sidelines. Marathon Training week 1/16 - 40 Miles approx.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Lost - at sea - in transition - my saddle

Couldn't decide on a title for this post so I picked 3. My final preparations for the Lough Ine Triathlon Challenge could have been better. Cycling back from Pud's house (went to get bike tuned up) on Wednesday evening and the handlebar of the bike cracked and broke on the RHS necessitating a replacement, which was ready lunchtime on Friday. Last night the wind was up and the rain coming down in torrents with a similar forecast for Saturday (the trouble with Irish weather is that the forecast is always true for some part of the Country, but you never know which part). A quick call to triathlete neighbour Jim, who was staying overnight in Baltimore, revealed that the local weather was somewhat better. Fingers crossed. My neighbours Pat (bike & run) and Eamon (swim) were doing a relay. Last minute preparations included setting up the garmin on the handlebar of the bike for the morning - except that the garmin, which had been charging all day would not turn on no matter how many different ways I pressed the "on" button. That's it, I will have zero data to work with tomorrow (probably turned out a blessing in disguise - funnily enough it came on this evening when I returned home) And so shortly before 7:00 am today Abina, Ani, Saran and I headed off for Baltimore arriving shortly after 8. After registering I brought the bike and all my gear (helmet, wetsuit, bike shoes, DS racers, Gel Nimbus, drink, goggles, swim hat, timing chip, race number, etc. etc.) to the transition area - too much stuff. I sat there dazed for a while no knowing what to put where as those around me brought out their plastic bins with all their gear neatly stacked and ordered inside. People were warming up (run & bike) all around me. Finally the race briefing, which was supposed to take place at 9:00 started shortly after 9:30. The gist of it was:- Bike - for god sake guys be careful - plenty of hills, bends, potholes, wet surface - someone's going to come off their bike - and remember the "Hill" out of Lough Ine, you can always get off your bike and walk it. Run - more hills, 9.5 k (not the 10k I was expecting) Swim - keep the buoys to your left, let the strong swimmers go first unless you want to be trampled, watch out for the rocks. ............and then we were in the water, most thought it was cold but I felt refreshed as I warmed up (at least the mandatory yellow neoprene hat kept my head relatively warm). We all lined up behind an imaginary start line and the hooter went off and the splashing and kicking began. As I was relatively near the front and did not get too many kicks over the first few 100m I assumed that I was doing fairly well with a reasonably strong efficient stroke raising my head every so often to keep in line with the first buoy. The effort felt sustainable and comfortable and so onto to the 2nd buoy at about 600m. There was a 90 deg turn here which I executed by flipping over on my back just after the buoy, a quick back stroke and back on to my front and landed on top of the guy in front. About another 500m to the next buoy which I had difficulty spotting but tagged the swimmers in front. Around the 3rd buoy and a similar back flip and I was away..........or that's what I thought. I raised my head to spot the last buoy at the exit to transition and all I could see was an army of swimmers coming against me. I was completely disoriented for a while until I realised I had done a 180 deg turn around the last buoy. I stopped turned looked towards shore until I could spot the buoy at the exit and set off - except this time I had no swimmers to tag as they must have been 50m to my right. I finally exited the water after negotiating my way round the hull of a boat and climbed the steps to transition. I was met by Pat (waiting for Eamon). "Well done, 26" he said "Did you see Eamon" - Did I what!!!. Off with the wet suit (no problem) skins underneath. sat down, on with the cycling helmet, open my bag, out with my singlet with race number pinned to front, off with the helmet, on with singlet, back on helmet, dry feet, on with socks and cycling shoes - felt like an age as I fumbled with everything. Out with bike and ran up to cycle start and I was off on the 2nd leg.
I felt a little stiffer on the bike than I would normally expect but appeared to be keeping within range of the guy in front. That is until I began to get passed every couple of minutes - serious looking guys and gals hunched over their aerobars and everything looking effortless. A few miles in I realised I failed to put my glasses on in transition - probably worked out well as my fear of the downhill appeared to have lessened (out of sight out of mind). Eventually my endurance kicked in and I began to reel in a few victims as we headed from Skibbereen out the Crookhaven Road. Going reasonably well, both on the giving and receiving end of the overtaking maneuver. Left towards Tragumna up a few inclines and down a steep hill when suddenly there was a loud crack under my ass and I thought my saddle had split in two as when I tried to lower myself back down my rear was met by something pointy. As I couldn't sit down and my feet were clipped in I slowed down and half threw myself into the grass verge where I had a soft landing. The guy behind asked was I ok as I tried to clip out of the pedals "yeah just lost my saddle". A quick inspection revealed that my saddle (still attached to my bike by the saddle bag) had come completely off it's tracked mounting. I thought my race was over and was utterly disgusted at the thought of a DNF on my first Tri. Following a quick inspection I thought I knew how to fix it and proceeded to try and refit it manually to no avail - I was getting frustrated at this stage but knew I had to calm down if I was to deal with it rationally. If it had come off with force I wasn't going to get it back on by pushing it on. A further look revealed that I had to loosen and remove a small bolt holding the mechanism together which required an allan key , a set of which I just happened to have in my saddle bag, and so out with the keys, fumbled, dropped in the grass and eventually dismantle the assembly, fit the saddle on the mounting and bolt the bits back together, taking my time to make sure it was all tight. All the while cyclists were whizzing past. "f*@k, *u#k, 8&ck" was all I could think "I should be in front of them". Eventually I was back on the bike though and delighted that I was not out of the race. My legs were fresh from the rest and I tore road for a few miles, passing 2 or 3 guys repairing punctures, poor suckers. Back into Skibbereen reeling in those that were flagging a bit and out the Road to Lough Ine - 15km to go. And then we were approaching the "Hill". The guy in front had dismounted and was walking his bike (he must have been here last year) and boy was it tough - into the easiest gear and standing up all the way moving at a pace that was barely sufficient to maintain forward momentum, even zig-zagging across the narrow road just to get an easier grade. An official cameraman halfway up, just to capture you at your best. However the top came sooner than I expected and my recovery was quite good as I overtook a guy who had passed me earlier and continued on the final 6km descent into Baltimore. At about 4km to go I met the leading runner coming against me. The guy I had passed at the summit tracked me all the way into Baltimore and passed me before we arrived in transition. "We'll see how much of a runner he is" I thought as we entered T2. I saw the official clock for the first time showing 02:10. "ok 50 mins to get under 3 hours - should be maneagable" I thought. In to T2, off with the shoes & hemlet, on with the DS Racers, rack the bike and i'm off. Legs a bit wobbly and fatigued as I shuffled up the hill out of town. My pace felt very slow but I did notice that those in front were slower (including the guy who passed me into T2 - he was gone behind and forgotton in a instant). The gradual incline over the first 5k of the run was very tiring but despite my perceived poor pace I continued to reel in those in front of me, never getting passed. And finally the inclines gave way to a gradual decent back into town. I passed about 5 or 6 over the last 2 km picking up the pace on the descent towards the finish with 1 guy coming back at me very strong to take me about 150m before the finish Although I kept pace with him he crossed the line before me. 02:52:36 was my finishing time, which I was very happy with considering the eventful day I had. Abina, Ani and Saran were there to greet me at the finish line which was great. "Dad did you win" Saran asked. "No Saran". "Did you come 2nd" "No Saran". "Did you win the swim". "Yes" (I had to give him something positive - he wouldn't have stopped until he got a "yes"). My official splits are:- Swim 25:16 (27:06 minute mile, 2.21 MPH) - very pleased with time (fel trelatively effortless compared to other legs) T1 02:00 (not as bad as I thought) Bike 01:42:47 (03:41 minute mile, 16.3 MPH) T2 01:01 Run 41:33 (07:02 minutes per mile, 8.5 MPH) I thought I has lost at least 5 minutes on the bike fixing my saddle. After the race I met Laura Buckley from Eagla AC who said she passed me on the side of the road. As this was about half way through the cycle I came to the following conclusion about the time I lost fixing my saddle:- Laura started the cycle 01:47 ahead of me and finished 04:52 ahead of me. If she passed me at the side of the road it must mean that I caught up with her during the first half of the cycle (i.e. I made at least 01:47 on her over 22.5km - ergo I theoritically could have made up a further 01:47 on her over the 2nd half of the cycle finishing 01:47 ahead of her instead of 04:52 behind => minimum time lost = 01:47 + 04:52 = 06:39 which would give me a finishing time of 2:45:57. (i'll never know unless I Tri again) It was only when I had finished that I noticed that I had torn about a 2" circular hole in my skins showing two red lines on my bum where contact was made with the saddle mounting. A great sight for all those I passed on the run. "Skins are expensive" Jim said after the race "Thats a bummer" I came 5th in the M40-45 category, missing 4th position by 2 seconds, which pissed me off a bit - I shouldn't have let that guy pip me at the post - I give up too easliy. I took some solace from the fact that had I not had saddle problems that guy would not have been an issue - as Arni says "I'll be back".

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Running round in circles

I made it to the track on Tuesday evening for the first time since 17th April to do 10 x 400m @ 3k pace. First quality run on my 16 week Amsterdam training programme and boy did it feel rough. I'm partly to blame for that though as I neglected to read the workout details before leaving the house - all I knew was 10 x 400m @ 3k pace (I was aiming for 85 to 87 seconds in lane 3 - 05:27 to 05:39 pace) - should be ok as there is recovery in between. It is this "active recovery" that I neglected to check on the programme and so following a 1.5 mile warmup I started into the 1st 400m which was a bit under target @ 83s and proceeded to jog the next 200m in about 90 seconds before starting the 2nd 400m. After the 3rd rep I was so fatigued - "need more recovery" that I decided to walk the 200m to the start of the next 400 taking over 2 minutes and continued like this until the 10 reps were done - certainly made it easier. The heart appeared willing but the legs were protesting. It was only when I got home and checked the programme did I realise that the recoveries should have lasted 3 minutes. It is interesting to compare this session with the same run during my last training cycle on 13th February where the target was 87 to 90 seconds per 400 and here's how the two compare - time (HR) recovery time:-
2nd July 2008 13th February 2008 83 (141) - 1:29R 82 (159) - 2:42R
85 (151) - 1:23R 88 (156) - 2:36R
85(154) - 1:30R 89 (156) - 2:38R 86 (156) - 2:08R 89 (159) - 2:37R 86 (148) - 2:10R 88 (148) - 2:43R 85 (147) - 2:10R 87 (156) - 2:50R 84 (149) - 1:37R 89 (153) - 2:42R 86 (147) - 2:14R 87 (157) - 2:41R 85 (148) - 2:10R 88 (153) - 2:41R 84 (150) 86 (155) Overall an improvement so at least the pain was worth it. Mon 30th June am 8.59 Miles in 01:07:47 (07:54 pace @ 130 HR) pm Swim with Jim and Eamon on Inniscarra Lake - 20 mins (1000m approx) Tue 1st July 6.47 Miles in 54:12 (08:16 pace @ 134 HR) with 10 x 400m @ 83 - 86 seconds Wed 2nd July 5.23 recovery miles in 45:26 (08:41 pace @ 123 HR) followed by some panting exercises that Thomas is raving about - exhausting. Legs were tired and slightly stiff today following last nights reps so I gave the Stryker 4 Mile road race a miss in favour of tomorrows 3 x 1 mile @ 10k pace. Then I should really rest for Saturdays Tri.