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

Monday, 4 July 2011

So, the three week marathon begins......

Finally, it's here.........Le Tour has finally kicked off for another year, the 98th edition of this famous race.  It was with anticipation that I sat up and waited for the coverage to start.  I had already read through Ride Magazine's Tour guide, and more succinctly, Trev's Trannie's thread (excellent work Trev - the bar has been lifted once more!), and was looking forward to seeing who (if anyone) was going to be the movers on Day 1.

We weren't to be disappointed with crashes aplenty, and more importantly The Filthy Drug Cheat (TFDC) Contador losing time after getting caught up in a crash with 9km to go.  My boy Cadel was able to position himself strongly at the front and when the pace wound up, was able to launch off the front and attempt to chase down Gilbert.  Unfortunately, he was not able to get him but only finished 3 seconds down on GC.

Sunday night saw the TTT being run, a 23km explosion over a reasonably flat course.  We expected to see some very fast times and we weren't disappointed.  The TTT is one of my favourite stages of the Tour, so it was great to see it included.  Even better was to see Team BMC and Cadel do exceptionally well, finishing the stage in second place, with Cadel now sitting just 1 second behind Thor.  Cadel looks comfortable so far and more importantly, he looks like he is having fun!

My week started off a little slow with a sleep in after a solid Sunday of a 91km bike and a 2km swim.  I was tired, so it was a bit of pillow time.  Once up and going it was a very busy day and, unfortunately, I still felt tired all day, so it was off to bed reasonably early (for me anyway).

Up early Tuesday at 5.15 and stuck my nose out the door before getting dressed for my run.  After seeing the frost on the ground and having a little shiver, it was decided that running in the PM was a much better scenario so headed off to work early, so I could knock off early.  Murphy's law meant that I didn't get away from work early at all, so my run session was missed.  Oooops, sorry Ruley.

It was time to get the week back on track on Wednesday, so I dragged the bike out for the P&W loop. It was pleasantly mild 4 degrees, however that didn't me from bitching and moaning the whole way round about my frozen fingers!!  I was on the TT machine again after my long ride on it on Sunday.  I realised how much I had missed it and was enjoying riding it again.

We started with 9, however at about the 15km mark a couple of the boys decided to go up the road and left the bunch with 6 to work their way home.  As we wound it up for the run into the end of the loop, I stupidly jumped a bit early with probably 2km to go.  I managed to hold them off for a while, however with about 500m to go I had the crew come around, so it was no chocolates for me.......

Wednesday night was a swim session of 3000m, consisting of the 10 x 200's again.  Last time I had done this session, my intervals were between 3.50 & 4.04, with the time slowly sliding backwards.  This time, the times were much more consistent ranging from 3.45 to 3.54, with 7 of the intervals coming in at 3.53!!!

After getting home and eating everything in sight (Swimming makes me sooooo hungry!), it was off to bed as the Thursday morning run session was another negative split tempo run.  Last week was a successful session with the out loop averaging 5.25 pace, and the in loop averaging 4.50's.  I was hoping to improve on this slightly and I was confident of doing so.

Unfortunately, whenever confidence is at it's peak there is always something to come back and bite you on the arse.  Within minutes of starting the run, the dreaded leg pain that has been plaguing me for the last few years was back, and it was back with a vengeance.  I managed to make it to the 3km mark (avg 5.15) before the leg pain got to the point where I had to stop and turn for home.  It was the first time the leg has been so bad that it has caused me to break down.  I was able to walk/jog back home, having to stop to a walk every time the pain built up again.

I was so disappointed, as everything had been going so well.  Fortuitously, I actually had my next appointment booked at Olympic Park Sports Medical Centre on Thursday.  Last time I had been down there we couldn't actually bring any pain on for the Doc to have a look at, despite doing calf raises and hopping up and down on one foot for what felt like an eternity.  This visit was to see the podiatrist and to be fitted with orthodics.  The examination for this involved being perused whilst walking, jogging and running......all good except that I had broken down just a few hours earlier.  Anyway, managed to get through it and I was soon the owner of both orthodics and a new pair of shoes to go along with them.

Given I'd had the day off on Thursday to go to Melbourne, Friday was a catch up day so an early start.  I was looking forward to Friday night as we had plans for a few drinks to see off Matty and Soph who are heading OS for some 7 months, basing themselves in the North of India.  Truly and adventure of a lifetime and I wish them both all the best during their trip.

I faced Saturday a little apprehensively as I had scheduled an 18km run.  Normally this wouldn't worry me but after Thursday's Run Fail, I was worried that the leg was going to continue to be a problem.  Rocking up to the start with the Hardman, it was time to find out.  The first 3 kilometres (as directed by Ruley) were taken fairly conservatively at around 5.50 pace and then it was into the 14km at race pace of 5.25's. Times were a little up and down even thought constantly monitored via Hardman's 310XT (I've gotta get me one of those!) ranging from 5.36 down to 5.08, but overall i was averaging my goal race pace.  Turning for home with 3km to go, Hardman lifted the tempo a little and I was left hanging on to heels, blowing like a cheap hooker, and cursing him the whole way.  Our last 3k's were done at 5.04, 5.03 and 5.00, so it was good to finish strongly.

It was even better to just finish, under goal time and with no leg pain given the issues of just 48 hours earlier.  As instructed by the Podiatrist, whilst I was still in my old runners, I did have the heel lifts in them and I hadn't really noticed them at all.  later in the day the calves and achilles were a little sore, but no more than after any long run.  Was great to get the long run done, hitting goal pace as it has reinvigorated the confidence with only 2 weeks to go to Run Melbourne.

After breakfast and a shower it was around to pick the kids up as we had planned to head out and watch Cars 2.  Regan was beside himself with excitement and couldn't wait to get there.  Both kids loved it (and so did Dad, just quietly!).  After dropping them home again, it was into the bike gear as I had arranged to meet Hardman again at 3pm for a nice gentle tap around for an hour to flush the legs out.

I had also text Jimmy to let him know we were heading out and I was pleased to see him there waiting at Hardman's place.  Jimmy is on a long road to recovery after a heart episode a bit over 12 months ago.  I'm buggered if I can remember the official name of the problem, but it was effectively an inflammation of the lining of the heart.  Nasty stuff.  Fortunately, he was diagnosed in time, treated, and is now working his way back.  One of the requirements is to ensure that the heart rate doesn't get too high and he has a target of sub 130.

Given there was a bit of wind around on Saturday, it didn't take long to start to creep up, so we had to back off to keep it under control.  Was perfect for me, as after the run that morning, the gentle average of 24.0k/hr was just perfect to flush the legs.  31km in 1.17 and it was home for a snooze for a few hours in readiness for the start of Le Tour.  Ruley came round with pizza to celebrate the start of the race so it was a great way to finish a Saturday.

Sunday was up again early (after the late night watching Gilbert win the first stage) and furious checking of the radar as rain was predicted for the Sunday.  We had organised a short, sharp 2.5km uphill time trial up Mount Major so we were hoping the rain would stay away log enough to get that done and dusted.

Rocking up to the base of the hill it was reasonably mild due to plenty of cloud cover, however there was plenty of wind about and that was going to make a few sections up the hill very, very tough.  Only 5 hard nuts in total turned up for the test.  Besides myself, there was Ruley, Dan, Darren & Goose.  I was selected to go off first and with much trepidation I toed the line.  I am not built for going uphill and I fully expected all 4 riders behind to come blasting past me.

Taking off, I was in the big ring and around the corner I glanced down  at the speedo and saw that I was sitting on 19k/hr.  Hitting a slightly steeper section this speed soon washed off and it was up and down out of the saddle to try and keep the cadence up.  A false flat saw the speed creep up slightly again, however turning to the north was fully into the wind, paired with a steeper section, saw me grabbing for the granny gear and huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf.

At this time was when I heard a bike coming from behind quickly, and in a flash Ruley had passed me and disappeared up around the corner - he had started 2 full minutes behind me and got me with approx 800m to go!!!  Up around the corner and I could see the finish line and tucked the head down and gritted the teeth to finish in 10.13.  Fortunately, no other bike got passed me, but on handicap it was discovered that Dan had gotten me by about 45 seconds.  Ruley has smashed it up there in sub 7 minutes!!

All smiles back down the bottom of the hill and breathing again
L-R  Ruley, Goose, Ayto, Dan & Darren.
Sunday afternoon was off to the pool for a short, sharp session followed by some recovery time in the spas.  1500m completed in 3 x 500m in 9.44, 9.25 & 9.30.  The quickest times I had completed 500's in since I have started training again.  I don't necessarily think it is because of any miraculous technique improvements.  I think it is simply due to time in the water, so there is something to be said for just getting out and practicing......funnily enough, hey?

So training this week was:

Monday                    Rest day
Tuesday                    Work commitments
Wednesday               Bike 44km, 1.26, 30.4k avg
                                 Swim 3000m, Total swim time 1.04
Thursday                   Run / walk, approx 8km, 56mins (after breaking down)
Friday                       Work commitments
Saturday                   Run 18km, 1.37.40, 5.24k avg
                                Bike 31km, 1.17, 24.0k avg
Sunday                     Bike, Uphill TT 2.5km, 10.13
                                Swim 1500m, (3 x 500), Total swim time 28.39

Diet has been ok-ish for the week.  No real junk, but I have eaten out a few times for both lunch and dinner and you just never know what rubbish is going into it.  Oh, and you can't go to the movies without popcorn (for the kids, of course) but I may have helped out just a bit........

Monday morning's weigh in of 102.8kg, representing a loss of only 0.4kg for the week.  There seems to be a common theme of 1 week of decent loss (circa 1.5kg) followed by a week of nominal loss (circa 0.4kg).  This is still a total loss of 17.2kg in 16 weeks so all going well I guess.  More importantly, times across all 3 disciplines are improving and recovery is getting easier and easier.  Hopefully this week sees the cyle continue and we see a bigger loss and nudging towards double digits.........instead of triple.

So time to go.  Need to set the alarm and have a quick snooze before sitting up for Stage 3.  Can't wait.

Train Safe,