Monday, 26 September 2011

Ok, so it's into another "Race Week".

Right, so it's race week again.  It feels like only 5 minutes ago and I was here, but it was actually 4 weeks ago when I was only 7 days out from the Shepp Half Marathon.  This time, it's the Sri Chinmoy Yarra Boulevard Half Marathon that's only 144 hours away.

I generally like race week.  It's all about just kicking back cause you know you have done the work, keeping an eye on the diet and just enjoying a few steady sessions to freshen up a bit before race day.

Coming into this week though, to be honest, I felt like crap.  I had felt flat and tired for a week or 10 days or so and Ruley had been amending my program accordingly to try and freshen me up.  As a result, my stupid head started going into overdrive and I was worried that I hadn't done enough work, or the right key sessions, and that race day was gonna go all pear shaped.

Anyhoo.  The week started as normal with Monday as a rest day.  Even with the lighter weekend (as I had the kids), the rest day was scheduled as I had mentioned previously, I was still feeling flat.

Tuesday, I awoke to hear wind and rain belting down on the roof and that quickly decided the morning's session for me - a sleep in.  What was to be another of my favourite sessions (the 2km intervals), turned into an evening session with Ruley.  Now this was interesting.  You see, he is into his Kona taper, so he says "Come down and we will do a nice steady run/swim combo".

So after a nice little warm up jog (at 5.00min pace) that felt like a walk to him, we measured out 500m on the garmin, so we could do 500m repeats at race pace.  For Ruley, this was like 3.30 odd pace.  For me, it was supposed to be around the same pace we had done the warm up! Watching him disappear up the road, I pushed a little harder and ended up doing 4.24k pace for the first interval.  A nice gentle jog back to the start for another few intervals completed at 4.20, 4.13 & 4.13 p/km pace respectively.

It was at this point that Ruley said one more and then we would head in for our swim.  One of the disadvantages of being deaf as a post, funnily enough, is that you can't hear shit.  So, I heard Ruley say "last interval - let's smash it" and he took off like a scolded cat.  I was off after him and managed to cover the 500m in just a few seconds less than him, in what turns out to be 3.41/k pace.

When he turned around to see me so close to his heels (and he, meanwhile, barely raising a sweat) he was quite surprised and remarked that I was moving pretty quickly for that one.  In between dry heaves, I managed to get out "well, you said to smash it".  It appears, however, that this was not the case.  After all he IS on a taper and he had said "last interval - no need to smash it".  Fark!!!

Into the pool for a short sharp session with a 400m warm up, followed by 8 x 50's and then one of my favourites, the 400m TT.  I friggin hate this session, but it's nice to see the times coming down - albeit slowly.   This week saw another small improvement of 6 seconds, down to 7.19.  A little 200m cool down and it was all over for another day.

Wednesday was a nice little roll around with Team P&W.  Not sure what the crew had been into, but for some reason, this particular day it was on.  Right from the get go, it was off at a cracking pace even with a bit of wind to contend with.  Most of the crew were pulling some nice strong, solid turns.  A few had no choice but to sit on, but they all did a great job to hang in there.  Heading around towards the finish line, the pace was continuing to ramp up and with close to 5km to go, the Rabbit launched.

Sootie was on his wheel quick as a flash and I settled into third wheel.  Looking down at my computer I could see the speed hovering between 44 and 45km/hr............and it just didn't deviate from there.  I stuck my nose out into the wind a couple of times to try and pull a turn, but there was no way I was gonna be able to get over the top of the Rabbit, so it was tuck back in and enjoy the tow home. A total of 44km covered in 1.19 at an average of 33.1 (inc. the rollup to the start and home again).

Thursday morning was the normal "Little Runners group" tempo run which has now extended out to approximately 11.4km.  This has grown from what was originally a few years ago a 7.6km loop to Mooroopna and back, with various extentions over that time and building to the current run as mentioned out along the boulevard and back.

For me it was 57.58 for the 11.4km at an average of 5.06, interestingly the same pace as the Shepp Half mara nearly a month ago.  The difference was I felt like absolute crap!  3 days out from my next half mara and it just felt like hard work.  Splits were a bit all over the place, ranging from 4.51 (the last km) to 5.19 (km 5).  And of course, I pondered over this all day..........and the more I did, the more it did my head in.

Fortunately, a bit of a chat with Ruley set me straight a bit.  Apparently, one is not expected to run at race pace for every single run.  In fact, not only is it not expected, it is encouraged!  I know that I really know nothing about all this stuff, but it appears that the recovery stuff needs to be ultra conservative.  Even more than I think.  Probably explains a fair bit as to why I have been feeling so flat - every session for me is treated as flat out, so now it's coming back to bite me on the arse.

A suggestion from Ruley to take Friday off was met with a fair bit of gusto.  After all, it is taper week.

Saturday was to be a gentle-ish 45km on the bike, followed by a nice gentle 1000m in the pool.  Heading down to the starting point, a few of the other guys were all on a 90km TT session. It was my intention to just sit on with a few of those guys to get my mileage in and then head home.  The wind was a bit nasty and I found myself in a bunch of 5 as the rest of the crew were on their TT efforts.  Unfortunately, I found myself on the front for 60 of the 65km beside Ruley, who tapering or not, was still smashing everyone, so the ride turned out to be a touch longer, and harder, than I initially expected.  Fortunately, French toast and coffee at Friars soon rectified this.

Home for a quick change and then off to the pool for a nice gentle recovery swim of 1000m.  For this session it was broken into 5 x 200's which were completed in 3.46, 3.59, 3.51, 3.45 & 3.43.  It was only several short months ago, that I would have struggled to get anywhere close to 4.00 for each interval.  Technique still tends to be fairly ordinary, but strength continues to improve.  Surely I can just muscle my way through 3.8km??  Some quality spa time as recovery and then a solid carbo loading of Lebanese pizza for the upcoming race the next day. Not my idea, but Ruley suggested it, so it's gotta be good right?

So, Saturday afternoon was spent getting my gear together for the race the next day.  Given I was to be up prior to 4am and in the car by 4.30, it was important to have everything ready as I wasn't gonna be rooting around searching for stuff at that time of the morning.  Whilst I tried to get to bed early, it was about 9.30 when the light went off.

The alarm woke me at 3.50am and a quick shower to wake up and then some breakfast.  Into the car and on the way by about 4.30.  Last time I had travelled to Melbourne on race day I had left at 5am and only made the start line with about 10mins to spare.  It was my intention to get there with plenty of time to get organised.  Sadly, this was not to be the case.

Heading out of town, I plugged the address (Kevin Bartlett Reserve, Yarra Boulevard) into the Garmin and it started pointing me south, so generally in the right direction.  I stopped at Wallan for a quick coffee and then back into the car.  Estimated time of arrival according to Mr Garmin was 6.50am, so heaps of time.  hitting the outskirts of Melbourne, it was telling me to head left on the ring road.  Ok, I am thinking.  Edgars Rd, High street etc will get me there eventually.  It's all good - I know this way.

True to it's word, Mr Garmin delivers me to the Northern end of Yarra Boulevard and I find my way winding my way around it on what turns out to be a fantastic day once the sun had risen.  The million and one bike riders must have agreed, cause they were all out heading both directions on the boulevard.

So after following this bloody road for what felt like an eternity, it just..............finished.

I had no idea where I needed to go and by this time it is 7.15.  It was time to go "old school" and the melways came out.  Turns out that Yarra Boulevard is about a million miles long and split into a few different sections.  The northern end I found out later is known to locals as Kew Boulevard.

Shit, Shit, Shit........onto Hoddle Street, then Swan and finally I am at the right end of Yarra Blvd, but by now, all entrances onto it are closed.  Nowhere to park.  Shit, shit, shit!!

Eventually found a spot and it it now 7.48am.  Still not organised - haven't even pinned my number on yet.  Found an awesome volunteer who pointed me in the right direction and told me it was a 6 or 7 min walk to the start line. So, I am literally running towards the start trying to pin my number on.  Was also trying to scoff my dose of caffeine (via no doze) and put some anti chaffing cream under the arms.

Line up for a leak at 7.56am, walk out at 7.58.  Manage to get my back checked into storage and look at my watch............Shit, it's 8am and I hear the announcer say go!!!!  Jesus, all this way and I've missed the start.  I look around and see a few others standing around with blue race numbers.  It appears that the organisers are running a few minutes late and its the 10k's that have just started.

I jogged down to the start line, managed to get approximately 30 seconds of leg stretches done and then the starter got us underway.  I couldn't have cut it any finer!!!

The first part of the course was a little extender of 550m out and back to make up the 1.1km, followed by 4 x 5km loops along the boulevard.  The initial little spurt out to the turnaround point was fast and furious as people picked their way through the field.  I was no different, completing the first km in 4.50.  Over the next 25mins or so, I knew I was going to quick but.........I felt good.

As it turned out, a rookie mistake as I knew it would come back to bite me in the arse later on.  My goal pace for the race was 5.02/km which would see a target time of 1.46.30.  This would be a PB of 2.15.

I went through the 10km point in 49.30.  Unbelievably, a PB for me.  Admittedly, I've not run many stand alone 10k's and my previous was a few months ago for a Shepp Tri Club 10k of 52.20ish.  My previous PB was 50.50, run as part of the Shepp Half mara a month ago.

I still felt really good at this point and it was about here that I got my ambitions mixed up with my abilities and I started to think that perhaps a sub 1.45 may have been on the cards!!  Sadly, things went pear shaped not long after at the end of the 14th km, when for the 3rd time, I had just got to the top of the little climb that just seems to drag a bit.  You can't call it a's barely a rise.  But it just seems to suck it out of the legs.

To see it all in it's glory, you need to see the split times, as follows:

KM        Time       BPM
1             4.50       149
2             4.56       161
3             4.58       162
4             5.02       163       It was here I knew I had to slow down........but couldn't
5             5.01       166
6             4.55       167      
7             4.56       168
8             4.56       170
9             4.55       172      Still going far too fast, but just felt really, really good.
10           5.00       171      49.30. A 10km PB.  Phark you Chelios
11           5.01       169
12           5.05       169
13           5.08       170
14           5.07       171      Hmmmm, what was that?
15           5.13       172      Ouch........
16           5.14       172
17           5.20       173     
18           5.20       174      I want my Mummy
19           5.20       176
20           5.33       178      Now channeling Cliffy Young
21           5.32       178
0.1          0.31       182      Please just let me go home......

+ 0.4       1.59       182  (according to my Garmin the course was 3.87m long)

Total time for 21.1k was 1.48.00 @ 5.07 average.  Also an average of 169 bpm.

So, as you can see, at the 10km mark I was 58 seconds in front of goal pace.  Doesn't sound like much, but it was enough to make me pay later.  Effectively, it means I lost 150 seconds over the last 11.1km, most of which was in the last 7km.  A good pacing lesson if there ever was one.

The good news???  Well, it was still a half marathon PB for me.  Albeit, only just beating my Shepp half mara time by 45 seconds.

The best part of the day was the awesome pancakes put on by the Sri Chinmoy guys.  Suitably replenished, it was then into the car and off to the Kew Recreation Centre for a bit of a soak in the spa and a shower before the 2 hour trip home.

Arriving back home to Shepp at 1.30pm, I was just in time to get down to the park for the end of our club's season launch and catch up with a few of the guys.  A chance to share a few tall stories and have a few laughs.  It was about this time that a few of the guys thought I might have still been a bit amped up!  I must admit, the trip home was my own little "house party" in the car with the ipod smashing out some awesome tunes, and on reflection, I realised that during my rush to get to the start line I have inadvertently dropped a bit more of the caffeine dosage than normal - in fact, 33% more than normal.  Ooops.  So, I may have been talking a bit fast..........

Back into the spas for a bit more recovery time with a few of the guys and the traditional Sunday afternoon coffee.  Probably the last thing I needed, but was good to catch up with the crew.  As for the overdose of caffeine, it clearly works as I felt invincible for the for half of the run.  Just need to get it to last for the second half LOL

Eventually came down off my high and got to sleep.  Woke up Monday morning somewhat sore and I guess this is to be expected given I went a little harder than expected.  Weigh in this morning was 97.5kg, a loss of another 0.5kg, and a total of 22.5kg in 28 weeks.  And this was with a post race celebratory KFC binge on board!!

So, whilst it was still a PB for me over both the 10 and 21.1k distances, it was still good lesson learnt in pacing.  Hopefully, I can put what I have learnt to good use in 2 weeks time when I front up for the half at Melbourne mara weekend.

This time though, I'll be travelling down the day before to make sure I make the start line with a bit of time to spare :)

Train safe

Monday, 19 September 2011

Is there such a thing as "Free Speed"?

So, after weighing in at 98.3kg on Monday morning it was time to consolidate on this and make sure that another 2 or 3 kilo's dropped off before my next half marathon in 2 weeks time on Sunday 25th, the Sri Chinmoy on Yarra Boulevarde.

They say that weight loss is free speed.  By "they" I mean Ruley.  He tells me that every kilogram lost is equal to (conservatively) 3 seconds per kilometre.  Technically, this means that since I have started on this little program I have gained a minimum of 66 seconds.  Funnily enough, my average time per kilometre has decreased by about a minute.  For a weirdo, that Ruley is pretty smart..........

So even though I didn't end up doing the Kinglake ride (see my previous entry for details in need), I was still knackered and the normal Monday rest day was scheduled as normal.  I did, however, end up doing a 20 minute swim cord session in the evening.  It's amazing how much sweat this short, sharp session can drag out of you!

Tuesday morning it was back down to the track early for the normal 2km interval session.  The aim for this session was to try and improve on times, down to 9.20 per interval from 9.40/9.50, and if the legs are feeling fresh to do 8 intervals, up from 7 the previous week. A quick 2km warm up and then it was into the first interval. Bearing in mind this first interval was being done prior to 5.30am, the brain was still a bit fuzzy, and I wasn't able to do my maths as well as I should have.  Subsequently, glancing down at the Garmin and seeing 4.17/km pace, I thought I was behind target of 4.10/km.  You see, at 5.30am 4.20 and 4.20 equals a 2km interval of 9.20 apparently!!!

Suffice to say this first interval knackered me and I struggled to maintain pace throughout the remainder of the session.  Ruley turned up at 6am, and when I told him what had happened he said to pull the pin after the 6th interval and warm down.  "Gladly" was my response!  Total session of 17km in 1.41.

For the record, my interval times were 9.05, 9.16, 9.22, 9.16, 9.27, 9.17.  Pretty happy with that considering the cock up at the start and only 2 intervals over goal time by 2 and 7 seconds respectively.  Some 16 weeks ago, these intervals had a goal time of 11.00 and were blowing out to circa 11.30!!

Tuesday lunchtime was a short, sharp swim of 1400m consisting of 400m warm up, 8 x 50's @ 50secs, a 400m TT (@ 7.25) and a 200m cool down.  Tired for this one, but pleasing to see a slightly better time for the TT than last week.  Tuesday evening was a 30min legs and core session.  How much fun are these sessions?? I always know I am going to wake up the next morning and will be feeling the muscle soreness in the abs and legs.

To top off Tuesday, it was off to Myotherapy for my regular fortnightly session.  The awesome guys at Shepparton Myotherapy look after me like no other and make sure that I am able to get out and get all of my sessions done.  Normally I see Monique, who would not be out of place in a torturers chamber given her sadistic pleasure in seeing me squirm as she buries her thumbs into my ITB's or hip flexors.  Alas, she was away on leave for a couple of weeks and had offered to book me in to see Kirsty instead.

At least I thought I might get a slightly easier session given that Mon was away.  Unfortunately, Mon had neglected to tell me that Kirsty is the owner of THE toughest thumbs in Australia.  I reckon Mon must have worded her up and told her to make me pay.............and Kirsty didn't disappoint!

As I sit here a week later, I still have cup marks up and down each side of my spine, all over each quad, and covering both calves.  I have had a fair bit of cupping in the past, including that unpleasant technique of dragging the friggin things up and down the thigh to try and loosen up the ITB.  I can say that I have never been marked like this before, not have they ever lasted this long.  In addition, Kirsty made good use of "the toughest thumbs in Australia" and enjoyed digging them approximately 2 foot into my hip flexors, closely followed by my ITB's down near the knee, and to top it all off, the abductors.  A week later and I still have spots sore to the touch.

I never thought I would say it, but..........please come back Monique!!!

After that little torture session, Wednesday started off with a nice little roll around with Team P&W of 45km. A bit over 1.20 for an average of 31.5k/hr.  Was great to get out with the crew and talk a bit of crap and hang shite over each other. Wednesday PM was another 20 minute Swim cord session. 

Thursday's tempo run was due to be a steady effort out for the first half (5km) at approx 5.10 pace, then a balls out TT home to get a bit of a gauge of where I am at presently.  Having spoken with Ruley though and telling him I was still feeling a bit flat, he said to play it by ear and see how I was feeling once I got started.  So heading off to the turnaround point, average pace was the 5.10 as targeted.  Unfortunately, once hitting the turnaround point, the legs had nothing.  No drive, no power.  So it was a plod home again at the same pace.  A total of 11.4km in 58.42, average 5.09/km.

Thursday PM was a scheduled 3000m straight swim, the first time I had attempted this.  All other long swim sessions had been broken up into smaller sets.  Managed to get into a nice rhythm, at least as much as a rhythm as a spaz like me in the pool can, and punch out a 60.49.  Would have been nice to see a 59.xx, but that will have to wait for another few weeks I guess.

Friday morning was scheduled to be a brick session with a 20min run off the bike.  Unfortunately, my old mate Foss found out on Monday they he had been made redundant.  As a result, he wouldn't be in a hurry to head home after our ride and get ready for work, so it was decided breakfast was in order.  I organised with Ruley to do a bike/run combo that night instead on the wind trainer & treadmill.  Was great to be able to sit and catch up with Foss (and co) and I know that being the great bloke he is, that he will be back in emply very, very soon.

It would be nice to say that it was a nice gentle roll around the Team P&W loop, but it wasn't to be.  A very mild morning of 8 degrees and a pleasing tailwind for the majority of the ride made the pace very hot and the last little section saw a few falling off the pace.  Heading into the final sprint, I found myself rolling to the front and sadly, being left high and dry with no one left to roll around me.  Head down and pushing hard to try and cover the last 1500m or so, only to have 2 pull around me with about 100m to go after enjoying the ride on my wheel.  Had to settle for third and some French toast for Breakkie.

Lunchtime was another short (recovery swim) of 1000m broken into 5 x 200's and covering the distance in low 19mins.  A few minutes in the spa's to give the legs a bit of recovery and then it was back to work.

After picking the kids up on Friday and getting dinner and bath's out of the way, it was time for a story and then kids off to bed.  Turning the footy on, I stepped onto the Wind trainer for a 20min rollover of the legs to warm up, followed by a 20min treadmill session.  I was under strict instructions to keep it nice and gentle, so settled into a very leisurely 6min/km pace.  Even with the fan on, it was unpleasantly warm!  I now know what Peter has been going through with his heat sessions in the lead up to Kona!

I must make special mention of my old mate Princess this week too.  Not for any particular reason, but simply for that fact that he has been a bit precious about not getting a mention prior to this.  Does this satisfy you now Princess?

Given it was my weekend with the kids, sessions had been scheduled on the wind trainer and treadmill, but again after speaking with Ruley and the legs still feeling flat and tired, the high intensity sessions that had originally been scheduled were changed to nice steady brick sessions consisting of a 40min wind trainer and 20min treadmill.  This same session was done both Saturday and Sunday.

The aim of these changes were to try and freshen the legs up a bit so that I can get back into it again this week with Yarra Blvd scheduled for next Sunday, and then the Melb Half Mara 2 weeks later.  Interestingly, the treadmill gives me a heap of pain in the lower legs, specifically in the right leg where I get the pain from the compartment syndrome.  I don't get the same (level) of pain when running on the road or the track.  What's the go with that????  Clearly, it must have something to do with changing my technique with on the treadmill in comparison to running outside.  Anyone else experienced this?

Sunday night was another Cords/Legs/Core session of 40mins.  It's amazing the difference that the cords have made in a short time.  I really noticed this during the 3000m swim on Thursday.  I didn't get anywhere near as much fatigue in my shoulders as what I have in the past and hopefully this will continue to improve as the cord use becomes more consistent.

So, the sessions for the week were:

Monday             PM Swim Cords, 20mins
Tuesday             AM Run 17km (2km ints), 1.41.47 @ 5.59avg, 158bpm avg
                          Lunch, Swim 1400m (inc 400m TT @ 7.25), 27mins total
                          PM Core/Leg session, 25mins
Wednesday       AM Bike 44km, 1.23, 31.5k avg, 141 bpm avg
                         PM Swim cords, 20mins
Thursday           AM Run 11.4km, 58.42, 5.09avg, 158bpm
                         PM Swim 3000m (straight), 60.49
Friday               AM Bike 44km, 1.19, 33.2k avg, 139 bpm avg
                         Lunch Swim, 1000m (recovery 5 x 200's), 19mins
                         PM Brick, W/T 20mins, T/M 20mins
Saturday           AM Brick W/T 40mins, T/M 20mins
Sunday             AM Brick, W?T 40mins, T/M 20mins
                        PM Cords/Legs/Core, total 40mins

A total of 14 sessions for the week!!!  Albeit, some were only short sessions of 20mins or so, but the aim was to freshen up a little after being a bit flat. Hopefully it has worked and we will find out come Tuesday morning when it's back down to the track for another big 2km interval session.

The diet has generally been pretty good, but I still need to work a bit harder on portion sizes.  And bread remains my achilles heel.  I need to get all the bread out of the house I think, otherwise I end up just churning through the whole lot far too fast.

Monday morning's weigh in saw 98.0kg on the readout.  Only a nominal drop of 0.3kg, but again have noticed a big change in body shape.  Have had to update the wardrobe with a few bits and pieces of late.  A total drop of 22kg in 27 weeks so far.  Hopefully, this trend continues.  After all............they say it's free speed!

Train Safe,

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

So, here's to my best decision.......EVER!

More on that  decision a little later, but believe me.........It truly was.

After dropping the kids off on Father's day, it was time for the regular clean up after those two whirlwinds had been around at my place.  Finally got to have a sit down and settled in to watch the new series of Underbelly.  Anyone else watching it?  I'm enjoying it at this stage and look forward to the rest of the series.

Monday was my regular rest day, so it was an enjoyable sleep in to a luxurious 7.30am.  It's nice to wake up with the sun shining in the window as opposed to well before sunrise!

Tuesday was back down to the track for, what has become, the regular interval session consisting of 2km intervals.  this tends to be a reasonably long session as well as the reps have continued to increase, along with the goal times coming down.

This week, Ruley had scheduled 7 x 2km intervals @ 9.50 per rep.  This goal time is down from 10.25 just a week or two ago, so its starting to get much tougher to see consistent performance improvements.  The session also includes a circa 2km warm up and cool down.

Ended up completing just shy of 19km in a total time of 1.46 (inc. recovery periods between reps) at an average HR of 155bpm.  It's interesting to watch the changes in this as I am getting fitter as well.

After completing my warmup, it was into the intervals and clearly I was feeling ok........or my pacing is just so shithouse.........cause I was done in 8.56!  Nearly a minute faster than the goal time.  I was worried this would bite me in the arse later but not much I could do about it now.  Subsequent intervals were completed in 9.24, 9.36, 9.44, 9.34, 9.28 & 9.19.  This averages out to 4.43/km with an average HR of 162bpm.  Obviously pretty happy with this session as it was on average 12 seconds faster per kilometre than goal and pleasingly, the last few sessions were a couple of the fastest, so there was no fade at all.  Nice.

Tuesday lunchtime was a short sharp swim session of 1200 metres consisting of 400m w/u, 40 x 50m efforts followed by an all out 400m TT and a cool down of 200m.  Ruley was keen to find out where I was with the swim as it has been less than consistent of late, hence the TT.  I was able to complete this in 7.29, which is nearly 30sec faster than my previous best time, and a fresh target for Ruley to use for subsequent sessions.

Wednesday morning was a sleep in due to a very late night the night before attending a meeting, so as a result the bike session was completed on the wind trainer, with just a steady 60mins to give the legs a bit of recovery after the hard run the day before.

This was followed by 20mins of stretch cord exercises.  In the words of Brian "The Bristle" Taylor.........Wow Wee!!!  Man, can those things get you going.  You certainly know you have been doing something the next day with those friggin things.  I'm sure that they are making me stronger, but you must look like an absolute tosser standing in the loungeroom doing this stuff..........well, more of a tosser anyway!

Thursday was another run session, and for the first time, another interval session.  This time (and for the first time also) Ruley had scheduled a session of 1km intervals and with another tough goal time of 4.35/km.  Certainly a tough goal time for me anyway - I'm not built to go that fast, but I am enjoying pushing myself.  So the session was a total of 10km over 57mins inc. recovery periods.  After a bit of a warm up it was into the intervals which were completed in 4.17, 4.17, 4.13, 4.16 & 4.18 at an average of 168bpm.

Jesus, did these little puppies hurt..........significantly more than the 2km repeats I have been doing to date.  Imagine taking a nail, then hammering it into your own snoz until you can hammer no more.  Even then it is only just getting to be a slight discomfort in comparison to 1km intervals. 

Interestingly, these times were significantly quicker than the scheduled goal time averaging about 19 or 20 seconds per kilometre quicker.  Sadly, Ruley asks for feedback on all these sessions and I know the sadistic prick is rubbing his hands together itching to set a new goal time for the next session of 1km repeats..........I can't wait!!!

Thursday finished off with 20mins of leg & core strength and on tired legs this was an interesting little exercise.  How much fun are one leg squats???

Friday was scheduled to be another tough session with a longer bike session than normal with an extra 2 x 10min TT efforts on the bike.  I put this out to the rest of the bunch advising that it was my intention to go out earlier than normal and after a bit of a warm up, hook into the TT efforts.  Rolling up to the starting point at 5.20am I was somewhat surprised to see 6 of the crew there ready and waiting to go.

After rolling out the road for 10 or 15mins or so, I explained to the boys what the plan was - head South for a 10min individual TT effort, a 2min recovery, then turnaround and head back towards the starting point for another 10min individual TT effort.  Sadly, they are all a bunch of numbnuts and wheel suckers and apart from The Rabbit going up the road and Sootie having a bit of a crack, the rest all sat on for their "effort". 

For my own efforts, I was please to cover 6.00km in the first 10min effort (well, 10.04 to be exact) at an average of 35.5k/hr.  After a 2min recovery, it was into it for the return effort and I covered the same distance in 9.54 for an average of 35.8k/hr (which was into a slight headwind).

Unfortunately, rolling back towards the normal starting point for the bunch I realised how much it had taken out of my legs and I knew I was gonna be in for it over the next 40km or so.  The kids in the bunch didn't disappoint and fired it up for the Friday Flog.  Ended up completing a total of 60km in 1.51 at a 32.4k average.

Rolling into Friars for the normal Friday morning post ride breakfast, it was time for tall tales, coffee and a feed.  Once my breakfast arrived, and despite being hungry, I just couldn't eat..............I was simply too tired to eat LOL.  I managed to force it in and have a coffee.  And of course, tell plenty of tall tales.

Friday PM was a solid swim session of 2500m in a pyramid session - 100/200/300/400/500/400/300/200/100.  Not pleasant (for me anyway) as I simply hate swimming, but another one chalked up and hopefully it will all help out come race day.

Friday night was another late night with a work function at Benalla with the annual business awards.  Not getting home till midnight, and into bed by 12.30 didn't help for the session scheduled for Saturday.

You may recall that Saturday was due to be the long run from Violet town to Strathbogie, totalling 33ish km with a fair chunk of it uphill.  However, we just weren't able to get it sorted logistically as Ruley was on call for work and being a point to point run, I wasn't overly keen to turn around and run back to my car!!

Therefore, in it's place a session consisting of a triathlon was scheduled consisting of 1.5/45/14.  Unfortunately, I awoke Saturday to a fairly windy day.  Climbing out of the pool in 30ish minutes, it was then a quick change and out on the bike and what was gonna be tough.  Heading East for the first 30mins or so, it was then turning South and straight into the headwind.  Whilst I know I am not the most slippery of creatures on a bike (yes, my CdA number is impressive lol) it was exceptionally tough heading into the wind and it was not unusual to see the bike computer sitting around 23/24km/hr...............and it was sapping the legs considerably.

Climbing off the bike after 1.33 for the 45km (avg 29.0k) I was knackered!  How the hell was I gonna get through the next 14km??  Pulling my runners on, I had decided my run was going to be an out and back - I can't cut it short if I run 7km from home!

Hitting the road, the first 2km were done at circa 5.30's, but shortly thereafter the wheels feel off and soon 5.40's became 5.50's and from the turnaround point at 7km, they averaged around the 6.00 pace for the trek home.

I have never felt so bad in my entire life.  The weeks training had been a reasonable big one, at least for me, and the few late nights for meetings and work hadn't helped, but even so I was rooted.  I had followed all of Ruley's nutrition guidelines for the day, which was all part of experimenting around getting that right as well given my previous attempts on my own had been very ordinary, and most of the day I just felt fairly yuck!  I felt like all of the nutrition I had consumed was all just sitting there on top of my gut and sloshing around.

Finishing up the run in 1.21 (for the 14km) I managed to get myself inside and honestly didn't know where to put myself.  I ended up getting my shoes off and sitting on the kitchen floor, within arms reach of the fridge where I was able to drag out a bottle of coke (full strength) and get some of that into me.  I wasn't able to eat for the rest of the afternoon, but did finish off the 1.25l of coke!  Considering I normally don't drink the stuff (well, full strength at least) I did pretty well lol.

Overall, the entire session was finished in 3hr25min.  Not the longest session I have ever done, nor was it done at the highest intensity I have ever done, but on the back of the big run week for me, it just totally sapped me.  I got my stuff together and headed down to the pool to spend some time alternating between the hot and cold spas.

I was heading out for fellow IMNZ entrant Hayley's 30th birthday so it would have been nice to get a bit of a nanna nap in, but it wasn't to be as the rest of the afternoon was spent picking up the our Tri Club bike trailer and loading it up for the next day's Kinglake ride.

So this brings me to my greatest decision ever!!!  Heading out for dinner and sitting there not able to eat my meal properly as I still felt shithouse, I realised that there was no way that I would be able to get through the Kinglake ride on Sunday.  This was particularly true given the weather forcast of a top of 12 degrees, winds to 25k and 90% chance of rain.

So, after a quick chat with Ruley just to check to see if I was being soft, I pulled the pin!!

In hindsight, this is definately THE BEST DECISION EVER.

The guys who did go has since filled me in on their day and their descriptions of "worst riding conditions ever" and "I've never been so cold in my entire life" and the like, have completely vindicated my decision to be a soft prick and stay in bed on Sunday morning.  In fact, it was almost Sunday afternoon by the time I actually got going for the day!!! 

Only getting as far as the kitchen for breakfast and then plonking on the couch and waiting for the footy to start to watch the Blues smash the Bombers.  Overall, it was a great Sunday!!!

So, what does that mean was done for the week?

Monday         Rest day
Tuesday         Run 18.8k inc. 7 x 2km intervals, Total 1.46
                      Swim 1200m, 22.58, inc 400m TT @ 7.29
Wednesday    Bike (Wind Trainer) Approx 30km, 60mins
                      Stretch Cords, 20mins
Thursday        Run 10km inc. 5 x 1km intervals, Total 57min
                      Legs and core strength, 20mins
Friday            Bike 60km (inc 2 x 10min TT intervals) total 1.51 @ 32.4k avg
                      Swim 2500m (pyramid session), 53mins
Saturday        Triathlon
                      Swim 1500m, 30mins
                      Bike 45km, 1.33, 29.0k avg, 140bpm avg
                      Run 14km, 1.21, 5.54 avg, 152bpm avg
Sunday           Rest day

In terms of diet and weight, that has all being going well since pulling my head in again and jumping on the scales on Monday morning saw 98.3kg flashing back at me.  This was a loss of 1.8kg for the week and a total of 21.7kg since entering IMNZ 26 weeks ago.  Yep!  26 weeks already.  That means there is less than 6months to go till race day!  Holy Crap!! 

Time to pull the finger out and make sure every session counts from now on...........except for Kinglake.  Best decision EVER!

Train safe

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Ok, so it's been a while.

Since my last blog, of course............Get your mind out of the gutter.

Upon finally finding some time to sit down and have a bit of a look at my blog, it appears it has been nearly a month since the last time I was able to put some thoughts together and provide an update.  I guess it goes without saying that the last month has been somewhat busy between spending time with the kids, work and study.  And I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was also somewhat lacking in motivation there for a while.

No reason for the latter.  Just one of those things.  I had a race coming up (a bit more on that later) and I had plenty to train for as I was keen to knock a decent amount of time off my last Half Mara performance, and even though I HAVE been busy, it was also just a little easy to use that as an excuse to either miss a training session completely, or cut it a little short.

Fortunately, the motivation is back again and I have been able to put together a decent Half Mara at Shepp, as well as a couple of strong key training sessions.  Well, strong for me at least.

So, since the last time we spoke the training sessions have been reasonably light on, with only 21 sessions completed over the past month totally 418km of bike, 123km of run and sadly, just 3.1km of swimming.  As I said, motivation was a little lacking.............

Of course, as a direct result of this lack of motivation and lack of consistent training, the weight loss has somewhat stalled as well and I have been hovering between 100kg to 102kg.  Having said that, early last week (and no coincidence after some more consistent training) I managed to breakthrough the ton and saw the scales sitting at 99.2kg on Thursday morning (1/9) - a nice way to welcome in spring!

Despite still being a fat bastard, and the lack of discipline over the last month or so, I am really happy with the way my running has been progressing.  All of which culminated in the Shepp half marathon on 28/8. I wasn't quite sure how it would go as my mileage was a bit lower than what it should have been, despite all of Ruley's best intentions and him setting a program that would deliver me to the line with the best chance to knock 4 mins off my Run Melbourne time and break 1.50.  Sadly, the ummm, execution wasn't the best and I stood awaiting the starters gun not knowing what I was going to be able to achieve.

Before we knew it, we were off and I pushed the start on my Garmin.  My pace band was on my wrist for a 1.50, so I had all the tools.  It was just a matter of doing the work.

Fortunately, the Shepp track is a nice flat one and also one that I have run what feels like a million times so I know all of its little nuances and milestones.  Knowing exactly where you are at all times helps so much with pacing and this can be seen in my splits for the day.  Funnily enough, even though I got away to a good start and feeling pretty good, after 4km I hit a 2km patch that was just hard, hard work.  My times were really affected, but it was just really hard going.  Fortunately, this was only short lived and I was back on track from kilometre 7.

At least, until kilometres 17, 18 & 19 which is the part of the course where you actually run past the finish line and out to the turnaround point for the final time, before turning for home.  This time though, my times were affected dropping between 7 & 12 seconds a kilometre on my average pace for the race.  Doesn't sound like much, but it felt like half an hour each kilometre!!

Run splits were as follows:

1 - 4.58
2 - 5.02
3 - 5.08
4 - 5.03
5 - 5.09
6 - 5.04
7 - 5.06
8 - 5.13
9 - 5.04
10 - 5.01
11 - 5.04
12 - 5.05
13 - 5.01
14 - 5.01
15 - 5.02
16 - 5.01
17 - 5.16
18 - 5.18
19 - 5.13
20 - 5.09
21 - 5.10
0.3 - 1.26  (according to the garmin the course was 21.3km)

Total time 1.48.45 at an average of 5.06/km.  This represents an improvement of 5.06 since Run Melbourne just 6 weeks ago and 17.06 since Williamstown half mara 12 weeks ago.  I now have 3 weeks to go to the Yarra Boulevarde Sri Chinmoy half marathon and I am keen to see how much more I can knock off there.  goal time is 1.46.30, so it means another 135 seconds - just 6.5 seconds per kilometre.  Doesn't sound like much!!  We will see how it goes!

I pulled up surprisingly well after the race with minimal muscle soreness, at least in comparison the the last 2 half's I had run.  It is amazing how much of a difference it makes when you don't have to get in the car and drive 2 hours home.  An hour after the race had finished, and having been home for a shower and a feed, I was soaking the legs in the cold spa at the gym.  Made the difference between being able to walk up the stairs at work or not on Monday LOL.

This last week was a scheduled recovery week, so after a sleep in Monday, it was off to the pool on Tuesday morning (first time in, well, too long) for a lovely little recovery swim of 1600m, made up of 200's.  Christ, I hate 200's!!.

Tuesday night was a scheduled 20mins on the Wind trainer to warm up and flush the legs, followed by a 30min run.  I surprised the hell out of myself by knocking out 6km in 30.35.  I felt really good and not like I had run a half marathon just 2 days before

Wednesday was a nice little roll around with the Team P&W crew in the cold.  I was colder than normal given I had elected to just wear the knee warmers in lieu of the full leg warmers.  This is something I do every year from the first day of spring.  I refuse to wear full leg warmers once winter is finished.  Only problem was I was a day too friggin early...............and didn't the crew let me know about it.  A few of the Friday floggers decided to go off prematurely and head up the road, even though it was only Wednesday, so I was left to roll around with the rest of the bunch. A bit of fun to be had at the end as the pace ramped up and I decided to chance my luck and try to go off the front.  Took the rest of the wheel suckers a while to round me up, but we eventually all rolled across the line close enough to be able to throw a blanket of all of us.

After a chat with Ruley, Thursday mornings run was to be a proper recovery run as a bike TT was scheduled for Friday.  So a very steady 8.0km trot was completed in 45mins.  According to Fee it was very much a tempo run as she is battling a few demons with her run at the moment.  Just a little lack of consistency for her at present, but she is back on the case and will be punching out some good times again soon.

Friday's bike TT was a scheduled 30km of the half ironman course with a 20km warm up (and 10km cool down), so it was an early start at 5am.  A chat with Quik Chik Stace the previous evening revealed she was keen to come out and sit on my wheel for the duration.  Mounting the bike at 4.50am, I was thinking I was just pharking insane...........quite possibly, because I am.  But I was pleased to see that Stace was a the starting point, and she had managed to recruit fellow Quik Chik Meags.

Setting off, we rolled around nicely on 30's for the warm up and back onto Channel road for the start of the TT.  The route we took was slightly longer so the warm up was actually 28km - all good though.  Turning into Channel Road it was down onto the aero bars and into it.  Stace and Meags had settled in on my wheel and whilst it was still dark, I settled into a reasonably conservative pace with the view that I wanted to stay strong right through until the end.

This went to plan and as it got light enough to finally see my bike computer I could see we were sitting between 36/37km.  Turning North back towards town (into Archer Road for those that know the course) I still felt good and strong and pushed hard through to the finish with the last 5km or so done at 38/39k.  A total of 28km of the course done (less the section down Kialla Lakes drive and around Gannaway) in 48.50 at an average of 34.0k/hr.  Very, very happy with this result as I still felt a bit of residual fatigue in the legs from the run on Sunday.  More importantly there was no fade in the ride either.  Coffee and breakfast at Friars was a great way to finish the session.

I was super impressed with Meag's ride also.  She has stuck it out and made sure she was still on the wheel at the end.  Nice work Meags.

The weekend was a couple of those super shitty sessions on the wind trainer and the treadmill as I had the kids for the weekend.  Glad to get those shitty sessions out of the way.  I know they are making me stronger, but I am sure that Ruley is some kind of sadist that gets off on putting me through this suffering.

Apart from that, a super weekend with the kids for Fathers day with a heap of time spent at the skate park, various parks and a mega session at the pool on Sunday afternoon.  I'm sure the kids slept well last night because I did!

Looking forward to this coming week and the program Ruley has set for me.  3 massive run sessions scheduled including a 2km interval session (totalling 19km) Tuesday, a 1km interval session (totalling 11km) Thursday and gulp, a run Saturday from Violet Town to Strathbogie, totalling 33.2km.  For anyone who has completed the Fruit loop ride, you would also know that this route takes you up a number of hills, including Harry's Creek road, a steady climb of about 14km!!!!

On the back of this, I am heading down to Kinglake on Sunday for the 120km Kinglake ride.  I am tipping I will be looking forward to my rest day next Monday.

So thats a bit of an update since the last Blog.  Hopefully things settle down a bit and I can get this done a bit more regularly from here on in.

Oh, and for the record Monday's official weigh in was 100.1kg - sadly a minor blowout due to the attention of the kids from father's day and the resultant fry up for breakfast and the father's day mud cake......ooops!

Train safe

Friday, 5 August 2011

So study and training does not mix!

Ok, so it appears I may have told a little Porky Pie last week.  You see, after the last abbreviated update I promised I would "do better" next week.

Ummmmm.............No.  It appears not.

It appears that when one is a Dad, decides to start training for an Ironman, takes on a new job, new job involves an accelerated study program, plus having a life to live means that sometimes there is simply not enough hours in the day.......and sometimes some things need to take a backseat.  Unfortunately, this blog is one of those things that needs to be fit in around many, many other things.  My apologies.

So last week (25th/31st July) did not start least from a training point of view.  My current study has a block of 6 assessment tasks all due on 3rd August and, as a result, there have been a number of very........very late nights to try and get the work done in time.  Monday & Tuesday were spent with the head in the books putting together all the bits and pieces needed for these bloody assessment tasks.

I managed to get out on the bike on Wednesday morning and I picked an absolutely bloody ripper for it..........given it was -2.8 degrees.  Yes, that's right.  Minus!!!

Holy Crap.  Was it cold???  I had so many layers on there was practically nothing left in my cupboard, including 3 pairs of gloves and my fingers still froze.  My toes weren't much better despite the 2 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of bootie covers.  Took until about midday before I could feel my frigging nose again!!

Wednesday night was a session at the pool of 2000m, including 8 x 100m intervals.  Out of the pool in 40 minutes, but took me about 2 hours to get out of the joint after chatting with every bloke and his dog.

Thursday morning was back with the regular running group and a huge crew of 16 turned up despite another cold one.  A positively balmy -2.3 degrees this time!  Managed to get just under 10k done in 50mins and was able to negatively split the loop by nearly 2 minutes.  Felt good, despite a very sore adducter that was giving me some grief.

Friday morning was back out on the bike again and it looked like summer had finally arrived.  it was exactly 0 degrees!  A quickfire loop with the regular crew and then back to Friars for the traditional Friday morning breakfast and tall tales.  It was then back to the pool after work for what was to be a 2000m time trial.  Unfortunately, Friday night is not the best time to try and do time trail and I found myself drifting off half way through and just plodding.  Finished the TT in 40.21 and was probably 2 or 3 minutes off what it should have been.  Meh.

Saturday was a scheduled 10km run TT. Ruley is keen to try and get some updated times across all disciplines given it has been some time since we put down some base times, hence all the TT's!

Given my new Garmin 310XT still hadn't turned up, I thought I would do the smart thing and take my mountain bike with me and a) warm up on it by b) measuring the loop I was planning to run.  Super smart hey?  So, after riding the loop twice and coming up with 1.97km each time, I measured out an extra 150m to ensure I made up the distance for a total of 10km.

Bit of a warm up and then it was launched into it.  I was keen to try and break 50mins but knew that it was going to be a bit of a stretch.  Was expecting to see a 50.xx in all honesty. I was feeling ok and coming up to the 1km point I had marked when on the bike, glanced down at my watch which read a first kilometre of 3.59.  WTF????  I knew I had dosed up on caffeine before heading off, but this was insane - I can't run that fast!

Finished the first lap in 8.16.  Clearly, something was very, very wrong.  Apparently it was my MTB speedo.  Fark it! So now I wasn't sure how far the actual loop was and I was all over the place with my pacing.  The 10k TT was ruined.  Ended up doing 6 laps which I am guessing was around 11km in 56.xx.  Got home and had a bit of breakfast then it was off to a working bee at the Tri Club. 

This was followed a short, sharp 1000m at the pool and some quality time in the recovery spa's and sauna.  A bit knackered so a quality nanna nap on the couch completed the afternoon.

Sunday was a club duathlon, so out there early to assist with set up then official starter, time keeper & photographer.  Once finished and packed up it was time to get home to change to get ready to head out on the bike.  Unfortunately, the wind had picked up by this stage, but at least the weather was nice and warm at about 15 degrees.

The plan was to do anywhere between 85 & 105km dependant on how the legs felt, so settled down onto the tri bars and started to get into a bit of a rhythm.  Feeling pretty good i had decided I was going to see how quickly I could pull out a 90km time trial and I went through 30km in 55mins.  I kept pushing and went through 50km in 1.31.  Still feeling pretty good I got to 65km in 1.59 and it was around about here that I thought I had hit the wall.  It was no coincidence that I had turned North and into a block headwind and felt like I was going backwards.

Eventually turning West at the 80km mark I tried to keep the head down and push through the last 10km.  Ended up passing through 90km in 2.47.xx and rolled the last 2km home feeling like I had died........except that my gooch was on fire!  Ended up averaging just over 32k/hr for the ride and was pretty happy with how it all went.  Must admit though I was knackered and it was very early to bed Sunday night.

So training for the week was:

Monday                                     Rest day
Tuesday                                     Study day
Wednesday                               Bike 44km, 1.21, Avg 32.1k
                                                 Swim 2000m (inc 8 x 100's), 40.23
Thursday                                   Run 9.5km, 50.40
Friday                                       Bike 44km, 1.25, Avg 31.0k
                                                Swim 2200 (inc 2000m TT @ 40.21), total approx 45mins
Saturday                                   Run approx 11km, 56.55
                                                Swim 1000m, 19.51
Sunday                                     Bike 92km, 2.52, 32.0k avg

Despite having some very ordinary dietary choices thanks to the crappy study schedule, I was pleasantly surprised to see 100.2kg flashing back at me when stepping on the scales on Monday morning, representing a total of 19.8kg over 20 weeks.  Still on track at this stage, and half way to my goal weight, so all good.  I think it might get significantly tougher from here on in though!

So, with the majority of the assessments now out of the way hopefully there will be no more late nights going through that crap.  what is particularly scary though is that I am now only a bees dick away from being qualified to teach in the TAFE sector.  Scary!!

Train safe

Friday, 29 July 2011

Felicitations Cadel!!!!!!

Ahhhh yes.  Finally, after being so close for so long, Cadel was finally able to mount the top step of the podium at the conclusion of Le Grande Boucle.  Plenty has been said and written about Cadel and this years edition of the TDF, so rather than continue to repeat it all again, let me just say CONGRATULATIONS CADEL - you are a bloody legend!!!

It is also due to Cadel (as well as some work and study commitments) that this weeks update is so late.  The weeks started VERY slowly after 4 very big nights late last week, sitting up until the wee hours to watch all the boys fight it out.  It was awesome to see them all going head to head through the alps and even better, seeing Cadel match, and beat them.  Of course, the highlight of the tour for me was the individual TT on the penultimate day.  That was the stage that Cadel was confirmed as this years winner.  Prior to him starting his TT, he looked cool and calm and happy.  You just knew he had this one in the bag.  He was full of confidence and it just oozed out of him.  Was an awesome sight.

Of course, we also need to thank Cadel's 8 team mates.  They have done a superb job getting Cadel through to Paris and it is fantastic to him surrounded by such a great team.

Unfortunately, not all is good in the world and I was as shocked as everyone else to read about the tragedy in Norway when Anders Behring Breivik deliberately and shockingly went on his killing spree affecting the lives of untold numbers of people, both directly and indirectly.  I'll not comment anymore on the animal who is responsible for this, however I will say, for what it is worth, that the people of Norway are in the thoughts of many millions of people worldwide, including myself.

Closer to home, further tragedy was unfolding when late last Friday afternoon (22 July), professional athlete John Cornish was struck and killed whilst out on a training ride on Beach Road.  John was extremely well known in triathlon circles and was heavily involved with the crew from Tri Alliance.  I only had the opportunity to meet John once or twice and he seemed like a vivacious, happy fella.  My thoughts go out to his family and friends at this tragic time.

Given my very busy week, and subsequent delays this update is only going to be a brief one.  Not really too much of a concern given that the week was to be a recovery week on the back of the Run Melbourne Half marathon.

The week started with some recovery time in the spa's at the gym on Monday evening.  This was much needed given that I'd had a myotherapy session earlier in the day and Mistress Monique did her best to rough up any of the very few spots that weren't sore!

Tuesday was another sleep in.  I wasn't really tired from the run on Sunday, but the TDF was killing me LOL. I was actually sorer Tuesday than I was the day before and after getting home from work, I mounted the wind trainer for a nice, gentle 40min rollover of the legs to try and flush some of the junk out.

Wednesday, evening of course as it has been too hard to get up early after TDF watching, was a very slow 5km on the treadmill - the first run since the half mara.  It was completed at a very sedate pace of 6min/km, for a total of 35mins with a bit of a cool down.

Thursday (evening again lol) was a repeat of the day before pretty much, with a run / walk session totalling 6km over 40 mins.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were, cough, rest days due to a combination of TDF and having the kids for the weekend.  This did leave plenty of time to devote to watching Cadel create history..........and of course, have plenty of time to contribute to the numerous discussions floating around Transitions!

Unfortunately, after the celebrations of Sunday night, it was a late start on Monday and after rushing out the door I realised that i had neglected to jump on the scales for the Monday morning weigh in.  This is probably a good thing to be honest, as the compulsory viewing also meant compulsory snacks and there was plenty of munching late at night to ensure I stayed awake for all the important bits.  Next weeks weigh in will be telling........

So, in brief, the (recovery) weeks training was:

Tuesday              Bike (Wind Trainer) Approx 20km, 40 mins
Wednesday        Run (treadmill) 5km, total 35mins inc warmdown
Thursday            Run / walk 6km, total 40mins

A bit sad really...........

So that's it for this week.  Short but sweet.  I promise to do better next week!

Just finally in signing off, I just wanted to share the following photo and again say Congratulations Cadel!!!

You Bloody Beauty Cadel!

Train safe

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

So, the first true test is upon us.

This week was due to be a big one.  You see, it was to be the culmination of 6 weeks of work, as set by Ruley, and as done by me, with the (hopeful) completion of the Run Melbourne Half Marathon.

The week started well, as always, as it was again my rest day.  This was important given we were now midway through the 2011 edition of the Tour De France, and fatigue levels are running high.  In all seriousness though, despite the Tour induced lack of sleep, I was still feeling flat and fatigued, which I had previously mentioned when I failed to finish my run on Saturday, having pulled the pin at the 5km mark of the scheduled 10k run.

I wasn't going to mess around with it, so I managed to get a Doctors appointment for Wednesday morning.  In the meantime, Tuesday afternoon was a quick track session of 8km, made up of 20 x 30sec on, 30 sec off intervals.  this was followed by a short sharp 1000m swim, and some recovery time in alternating between the hot and cold spas.

Wednesday morning was another sleep in (damn you TDF), and off to the Doctors for my visit.  After a lengthy consultation and check over, it was off next door to pathology to give blood.  Doc want to check some stuff out and this is the starting point.  He also requested an ECG be done, as I have a diagnosed arrhythmia which is "normal" for me at least, but just a double check to make sure.  Another appointment made for next Wednesday to check results.  In the meantime, I was given the ok to race Run Melbourne on the upcoming Sunday.

Wednesday arvo was a sharp 60min Wind Trainer session to fire the legs up, then off to the pool for a 1500m swim.  Again, into the spas for some recovery time.  I have found that this recovery time is well worth while and helps heaps.

Thursday was to be a taper run, with 5km to be completed at no quicker than race pace.  I was interested to see if this was doable given my last run fail on the treadmill (on Saturday).  Fortunately, I got on and was able to complete exactly as required covering the 5km in 26.48.

Again, due to the TDF and the fact that I am soft, I had a sleep in on Friday morning, which meant that my bike session was to be completed in the evening, so this was again done on the Wind Trainer, getting 1.20 done before heading out for dinner.  Team P&W were meeting for our annual Mid Year dinner, so I was able to celebrate my session with a chicken Par and some quality trash talking with the crew.

Saturday morning was a reasonably early start as the plan was to take advantage of the trip to Melbourne for the run, to go to the footy with Hardman & Hymie.  Was going to be a blockbuster with the Blues and the Pies meeting for a huge clash.  The MCG was sold out and we were amongst the other 89,000+ footy fans.  Getting to our seats we realised just how good they were - on the fence and only about 10 metres to the right of the Collingwood bench.  Awesome.

Plonked directly in front of us was a camera crew whose job it was (amongst other things) was to get reactions from the crowd at various points.  Having seen this, we decided amongst ourselves that we would do our best to get our mugs on TV.  Mission accomplished!!!  As the final siren blew and the filthy 'Pies players and supporters (including Hardman & Hymie) started to celebrate, Hardman lent over to offer a consoling hug, which earned him a bit of a don't argue and a "Fark off"..........all caught on camera!  Wallsy thought it was pretty funny and commented on our "rivalry".

After checking into the hotel we then headed back into town to Carb up with the rest of the crew at La Camera on Southbank, our regular spot when we head to Melbourne.  We had a total of 16 running on Sunday, and 11 of us had met up for dinner.  Back to the hotel to get our gear ready for the morning, a spot of tour watching and then lights out for the early start.

I hope that number doesn't refer to my finishing position!!!

Up early on race day (5.30) for a spot of breakfast and getting ready, then out of the room for the warm up jog of about 3.5km to the start line.  I had a light jumper on but didn't really need it.  It was just about a perfect day for running.  Got to the starting area at about 6.30, and then into the line up for the port a loo's (this part of racing will never change lol). We had arranged to meet the other guys but with so many people around it was just too hard to find them.  Before we knew it we were getting counted down to the start and the first group was off.  We were starting with the 1.55 group and were starting approximately 8 mins after the first wave.

Eventually it was our turn, and we crossed the start line and I hit the button on the Garmin 310XT that Guysy had lent me for the race.  I am planning on getting on of these, but Guysy had offered to let me use his to try it out.  Thanks heaps mate - they are an amazing piece of kit and I have now ordered mine!

The start of the race was pretty slow, simply given the number of people around with heaps of side stepping to get around people.  It felt slow, but I was surprised to see 5.35 for the first kilometre.  After that it was into a bit of a rhythm and the crowd started to thin out a little which made it a little easier.  Following Ruley's instructions, I was dosed up on No Doze and was feeling pretty good so far and made it through the 5km mark in 26.09, which was 56 seconds up on goal pace (of 1.54).

I was still running with Hardman at this stage, albeit he was about 20m in front of me.  I knew that his pace was quicker than my goal pace, so it was about here I made a conscious decision to back off a little otherwise it would come back to bite me on the arse later.  The second half of the first lap was pretty uneventful.  I saw a few of the other Shepp guys and gave a yell of encouragement.  Don't think Rocky would have heard me as he was moving too fast on his way to a 1.37.  Not bad for an old bloke!!

Crossed the 10km point in 52.46 and the half way point in 55.37.  This was about a minute and a half up on goal time and I was still feeling good.  As well as having the no doze on board I was consuming gels and still felt strong(ish) lol. The second 5km was done in 26.32

Unfortunately, that wasn't to last long.  Turning back up the slight hill through the gardens, the legs started to feel it.  Not many hills around Shepp!  My splits weren't blowing out but i was working significantly harder to maintain them.  Around the 15km mark I started to feel pretty uncomfortable in the gut as well.  A review with Ruley afterwards identified far too many gels for the race and I wasn't able to digest them.  I love that you learn something with every race that you do.  The third 5km was done in 26.54, crossing the 15km point in 1.19.55 and still 80 seconds in front of goal.

The plan was to go "all out" for the final 6km and see how I go. Sadly, "all out" was a fight for survival and it was a struggle to try and just maintain good quality splits without blowing out too far.  I could see at the 18km turnaround that I was less than a minute in front of Hymie and I knew I had to push hard to try and hold him off.  Pushing as hard as possible, I crossed the 20km mark in 1.47.51 against a target of was gonna be close.

Fortunately, the last 1.1km was done just quick enough and I was able to cross the line in 1.53.51, just 9 seconds in front of goal.  Disappointingly, and the finishers photos will confirm, I was caught by Hymie literally within metres of the line............and received the smack on the arse accordingly. Damn!!!!!

Not to worry.  I was still under goal time and this was the first race I have done where I have had a firm plan and was able to stick to it and go under goal.  Awesome. I found the Garmin an awesome piece of kit and I don't reckon I would have been able to get under goal without it.  The instant feedback is just awesome.

With a big group from Shepp, it was great to see everyone come across the line pretty much on or in front of goal times and it was time to pose for the obligatory photos.

Abbey, Jo C, Hayley, Hymie, Jo T, Hardman, Annie, Tim, Lisa, Dave, Rocky, Liz & Ayto

Everyone was pretty pleased with their time, although it must be said not as much as they all were posing with me in my compression socks!  I think that was definitely the highlight of their day.  Back to hotels for showers and then time to meet again for a celebratory lunch and plenty of tall stories.

A review of the Garmin tells me that my quickest 1km split was a 4.47 (downhill at kilometre 5) and my slowest was a 5.40 (uphill at kilometre 19).  Pretty happy overall as my biggest blowout was only 15seconds above goal pace and only 9 kilometres were over goal pace, including the first kilometre due to the crowds all over the place.

Onto recovery now, with compression, recovery spas and myotherapy on the cards.  Overall, and despite the Doctors visit, a pretty good week, with a great finish in Melbourne.  The weeks training (and racing) was:

Monday              Rest day
Tuesday              Run 8km (inc. 20 x 30:30). Total 51.54
                          Swim 1000m, 21.09
Wednesday        Bike (W/T) approx. 30km, 60 mins
                          Swim 1500m (inc 3 x 500), Total 29.52
Thursday            Run 5km, 26.58
Friday                Bike (W/T) Approx 40km, 1.20
Saturday            Footy
Sunday              Run Melbourne 21.1km, 1.53.51

After the slight weight gain last week it was time to pull the head in a bit and, despite a few meals eaten out over the week, Monday's weigh in saw the scales spitting back 101.9kg, representing a loss of 1.9kg for the week.  This is a loss of 18.1kg over 18 weeks.

This weigh in was despite getting home Sunday night and deciding that a celebratory pizza for dinner.........a whole large pizza...........there was none left.

Nor did the Magnum ice cream survive the evening...........

Apparently there is no time to rest on ones laurels though.  A sit down with Ruley and review of the race and he has now scheduled the next 6 week plan to deliver me to the Shepparton Half marathon, with the goal of sub 1.50 on 28 August.  Will be interesting to see how the next build phase goes.  Looking forward to it.

In the short term, I need to get the legs working again so I can get started on this plan!

Train safe

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

So, the wind is my friend, right?

So at one of my regular reviews with Ruley, it was decided that we would now officially schedule Monday's in as a rest day.  Why?  Well, it's simple really.  If you have a look back through the last 4 months or so of blog updates, there's actually not many sessions happening on a Monday.  We may as well make it official so that I don't feel too guilty from now on.

This is probably timely anyway as my program has had me doing a key run session on the track on Tuesday's and this week was no different.  So after Monday's sleep in (and how good was that after Sunday night's stage of Le Tour), it was time to have a look at the Weatherzone website to check out all the important facts for Tuesday mornings tough 21km session, with the main set consisting of 8 x 2km intervals.

The website didn't hold any good news, with a predicted temperature at 6am of 2 degrees, slight chance of a shower and wind gusts to 30km/hr.  So I drafted a quick email to Ruley suggesting that Tuesday afternoon might be a better option for this session.  In a nanosecond I received the reply stating "Suck it up Pussy and just get it done".  Ooooookay, looks like it was gonna be a 5.30am start at the track.

Whilst I knew that an early night was in order, it's Tour time and just watch until the next ad break.......and then the next.......and, well you get the picture.

So in the end, it was a late night which didn't help with the early start at 4.45am.  Up and dressed and a quick bite to eat, along with a healthy dose of caffeine tablets, it was ready to go.  My long run last Saturday was done for the first time with caffeine (ie no doze), however the 400mg had no noticeable effect.  This time Ruley had told me to double the dose, so 800mg ingested and it was down to the track.  Driving down I was pleased to see spits of rain on the windscreen, which I was actually quite surprised to see.  I was surprised that they were actually making it to the ground given what felt like gale force winds blowing crap all over the place.

I had dressed accordingly for the weather, with long run tights under tri knicks.  On top, I had a long sleeve t-shirt, a short sleeve t-shirt and my 2XU run jacket, hat and 2 (yes, 2) pairs of run gloves.  I normally heat up quite easily running, however at no stage did I feel like peeling of layers.  Man, it was cold.

Getting all my gear set up, ipod on, I started my 3km warm up at 5.28am.  The main set consisted of 8 x 2km intervals which were all to be done at my goal Half Mara race pace of 5.25k's (so 10.50 per interval). The warm up told me one thing........the wind was bloody terrible!  The back straight had the wind at my back, but subsequently, the home straight was straight into a block head wind and made it very tough going.

Into the intervals proper was going to be interesting, particularly given it was still dark and couldn't see my watch to check for time splits each lap.  Would be a good test to make sure that I am able to pace ok without relying on it.  The first interval was tough with the wind playing havoc, but able to post a 10.28.

By the second interval, the caffeine had clearly kicked in and despite the wind and the cold, saw a 10.18 staring back at me.  This was too fast and I knew I needed to back off a little to make sure I would get right through to the end without fading too much.  The next 2 intervals were very similar with a 10.35 and 10.38 respectively.

Part of this session was also practicing my race nutrition so as well as the no doze at the start, it was also a chance to get my gel consumption down pat.  Afterwards, once I got home I realised that my gels also had caffeine, so doing the sums I realised later that I had consumed 1000mg of caffeine for the session.  Didn't stop me from yawning later in the day though!

The next 2 intervals were pretty much on target with a 10.43 and a 10.51 respectively.  The wind and the cold were very tough, but fortunately a few others had turned up at the track for a session as well, so at least there were others going through the same misery.  One of whom turned up was Ruley to complete a session, however if truth be known, I think he was just down there checking on me to make sure I hadn't "pussied out" LOL.

The last 2 intervals were started with my final gel for the morning and was completed in 10.49 and 11.00.  The last interval was the only one not to hit goal time, but considering the wind I am pretty happy with the whole session.  Others running that morning said that their intervals were all over the place because of the conditions.  A 2km warm down was done and then it was home for a hot shower and raid the pantry!

Overall run time for the 21km was 1.56.38 for the 21km.  Overall I was very happy with the session given I had hit most of the intervals at goal time or better in really tough conditions and, more importantly, with no leg pain.  This one was a real confidence booster.

Wednesday was cold and wet again, so I wussed out on the Team P&W ride and instead opted for the wind trainer, completing 35km in 1.08.  Despite being close to 0 degrees, it was still friggin hot in my lounge room and saw the sweat flowing freely.

By Thursday morning the week was starting to drag.  The late nights watching the Tour were starting to take their toll, so it was a chance to have an (albeit) brief sleep in, and instead it was organised to run at lunchtime with Fee.  This was just a nice recovery run, so we decided to do the normal Mooroopna loop followed by a lap of the lake for a total of 9.5km, completed in 53minutes.  It made a very nice change to be able to run in the sunlight and relative warmth after Tuesday mornings session.

Thursday night was a swim session and the first one that Ruley had scheduled with shorter intervals.  A total of 2000m, with 8 x 100m intervals to be done between 1.40 to 1.50.  This was not going to be pretty as it has already been shown that I can hold the longer intervals much easier than the short, sharp ones. 600m warm up completed it was into the intervals and they were done as 1.45, 1.45, 1.49, 1.48, 1.49, 1.48, 1.49 and 1.48.  Whilst all were done under the goal time of 1.50, the last 3 hurt like hell.  I am just not made to go fast. Into the spas for some recovery afterwards and I was done for the day.

Another late night watching Cadel et al meant that dragging myself out of bed was tough on Friday morning, however it was onto the bike and down to the start for the Team P&W ride.  With very cold weather predicted (0 degrees) I wasn't really looking forward to it, but once on the bike and seeing the cloud cover I realised it was actually a balmy 4 degrees instead.  Only 6 P&W's turned up however a single light behind us, and eventually catching us, revealed Mick "The rabbit" Lewis was also out and about.  After a quick g'day, he was out and around our bunch and off up the road like  "a rabbit".  God, he makes me sick the way he just rides off the front!

Half way down Mitchell road we had gained on and eventually caught 2 bikes, revealing Marion and Foss out for a nice little loop as well, and now we were 8.  Not long after, hitting the bridge at the base of Mt Nicolaci, we heard a noise and realised that Stace had punctured after pinch flatting.  Standing on the side of the road in the cold was not pleasant, but had to be done and it was tough getting going again once we had cooled down.  Off to Friars for the obligatory coffee and raisin toast and tall stories and it was a great end to the week.

Friday night it was around to the kids place to pick them up for the weekend.  We were going to have to be inventive to find things to keep them amused for the weekend given it was predicted to be cold and potentially wet for most of the weekend.  Saturday was spent in the kitchen cooking with them with the end result being a nice big tuna Casserole (for me) and banana bread and chocolate cake (for them).

After the afternoon in the kitchen (and before sampling the chocolate cake) I decided to jump on the treadmill and get the 10km run done and dusted.  This was again scheduled to be a reasonably easy one with 10 x 1km run - 100m walk, again all at goal pace of 5.25k's (or 11.2k/hr).  A DVD was put on for the kids and the treadmill fired up and very quickly I realised that this was not going well.  Goal pace had never felt so hard.

The first 2 intervals were done with me working pretty hard.  At the end of the 3rd I was gasping for breath and the 4th interval was only 80% done when I had to slow the machine to 6.00 min k's.  What was going on?  Ironically, the leg felt ok, but it was the lungs.  I just couldn't get enough air.  WTF??  I finished a 5th interval (again at 6min k pace), but then decided to pull the pin.  I had Ruley's words going through my head "If the session is going to shit, then you are better off to stop".  This is the first time I have had to take that advice but after a chat with him on Sunday, I think it was definitely the right decision.  Doesn't do much for the confidence though only a week out from Run Melbourne.

Sunday morning we were up reasonably early, and the kids fed and dressed for us to head out to the DECA driver education centre for the Shepp Tri Club "Prologue".  This was the second stage of the championship (following on from the hill climb TT last weekend) and there was plenty up for grabs - the newly designed Jerseys (KOM, Green & White - and for the ladies, the Pink).  Sadly, none of the ladies have turned up yet so it looks like Dan will win that one by default :)

The DECA precinct is a private facility who have sponsored the club and allow us to run events out there, and we have so far hosted runs, duathlons and now bike TT's.  Sunday's event consisted of 4 laps, a total of 11.2kms with the back straight having 2 small, but leg sapping, little hills.  Similar to last weeks hill climb TT, I was the first of 7 to head off and I soon settled into a rhythm, however soon realised that there was plenty of wind to contend with making the back straight a very tough section of the course.

I was able to finish the 11.2km in 18.59 for an average speed of 35.4km.  Unfortunately this was only good enough for mid field, placing 4th out of 7.  No doubt by the time I manipulate the rules I will be a very worthy jersey winner lol.  After 2 consecutive TT's, I have now decided that I need a bunny up the road to chase down.  I have gone first in both and have struggled with pacing correctly.  Having someone to chase would make me push a bit harder I reckon.

The kids had a ball cheering everyone on and then proved their worth afterwards picking up witches hats and helping pack up.  Nice works kids.

A few of the guys decided not to hang around for too long as the wind was freezing, however the important ones hung around and posed beautifully for the glamour shots at the end.

Chris Pye, Ayto, Dan (Pink Jersey Winner!)

So, whilst today was only a short sharp hit out of less than 20 minutes I was just about knackered and whilst the kids amused themselves on Sunday afternoon, yours truly was able to indulge in a bit of a nanna nap on the couch.  Much needed, given Stage 9 of the tour looks like being a corker.

So, training for the week was:

Monday                                 Rest day
Tuesday                                 Run (Track) 21km inc 8 x 2km intervals, Total time 1.56.38
Wednesday                           Bike (W/T), 35km, 1.08
Thursday                               Run 9.5km, 53.42min
                                             Swim 2000m, inc 8 x 100, 38.41
Friday                                   Bike 44km, 1.26, 30.6k avg
Saturday                               Run / Walk 5.0km, 32mins
Sunday                                 Bike TT, 11.2km, 18.59, 35.4k avg

Whilst the work has been getting done, a quick review of my training and food diary for the week reveals that there may have been a few too many breakfast's and lunches out this week (fortunately, dinner has been pretty good!).  Top this off with the cooking frenzy with the kids, and the subsequent treats over the weekend, including chocolate and chips, and the weigh in is a little ordinary.

So weigh in this morning was 103.8kg.  This is a gain (gasp) of 1.0kg for the week.  This is still a total loss of  16.8kg in 17 weeks, but not a trend we want to see continue.

More importantly, Saturday's run fail is playing with my head and now less than a week out from Run Melbourne, I am starting to doubt myself.........I know I have done the work (and have nailed a lot of the key sessions), but.......nonetheless, the little niggle is at the back of my head.

Just need to get through the week, enjoy watching the Blues smash the "Pies on Saturday and then go for a little jog on Sunday.  Easy hey?

Train safe