Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Less than 2 weeks ....

My race team(s)

First things first, a little explanation of the team(s) I race for. My first claim club is Chester Tri Club, I have been with them for years, originally living in Northwich it was the closest club, and what a club, very strong sociable side, very good range of athletes, into about as wide a range of active sports as you can imagine as well as triathlon and about as active a club in terms of events and sessions as you could get, anyone in the NorthWest area close to Chester would be well worth having a look at the website

This is who I am affiliated to and will race for them for as long as they'll have me ;-)

During my Ironman events however I wear the yellow skull and crossbones of my pirate team 'The Pirate Ship of Fools' or PSOF. This is a virtual team consisting of a group of athletes/people who by being members of the Runners World UK forum have become a racing team, there is no 'da management' etc as its just a team of likeminded people who want to race, to read about it, go here, an enlightening read that will either make you laugh or potentially join lol !! you have been warned.

Now, to the aforementioned Pirates !

I visitied MK this week to catch up with Meldy about training and gossip after her run at the JWUltra. To my surprise I was presented with a card from all of the pirates and inside a rather tidy sum of cash donated by the PSOF massive, to say I was surprised would be an understatement, moved and humbled might be more like it. I have said my thanks on the forum but wanted to mention their kindness again, I know a lot of them will be watching online on the 10th.

The money has gone towards my purchase of new tri shoes, a picture of which are above. And below, the culprits, well most of them.


This week has been work, exam prep and training tick over, because of feeling ill I have curtailed the training to the extent it feels like the final week in terms of volume and intensity, I am not going to gain anything anyway but I prefer the confidence booster that comes with taper freshness.
I also think a little bit of something without going into high HR's is going to be good to keep the heart and lungs working. I was due to be doing a sprint race in Roade on Sunday gone but resisted even though my 90 min session Sat night felt strong, it was just the thought of pushing outside of the comfort zone for an hour and pushing my already down immune system over the edge. So, I went out for a 3 1/2 hr ride and 3 mile brick run instead. Total hours this week were just over 9, should have been more but sensible head meant two full days off again.

How do I feel ...

Having a cold isn't the end of the world but I have worried about it since it broke, apparently they last for 7-10 days, this is now 12 days and I still have tickly throat and running nose, not serious but thinking about going to docs for antibiotics if it looks like going chesty. From what I know a cold is a virus which won't get touched by AB's but if it goes south, the chest infection could last weeks. Positive thoughts tho, it will shift soon enough, just keep drinking plenty of water and Vit C.
Am also on Echinacea Tincture, have dropped the Beechams, the guy in Boots this morning told me that Beechams etc only masks the effects of a cold to make you feel better, they don't actually shift it, your body has to do that, so I have come off it so I know where its at so to speak and I can fight it head on, we'll see, not overly worried but if I still have it for the race it just means a slightly longer day ;-( I remember Nigel at Chester Tri doing Nice with a cold that broke that week, gutted for him during the week as it was hard to see someone put that much into training to know you wouldn't shift it by the weekend of the race, he finished but it was a hard day at the office.

Race Wheels

Kelly has just rung me to firstly complain that the baby weaning book I ordered for her last week still hasn't come but so far I have received, wheel stickers, spare chargers for the DVD players for the plane, new goggles, replacement headphones from Shure (more on that later) and my new race kit has been posted today to be here tomorrow.
So by tomorrow I will have been able to have a go at blinging up my new wheels. Tai has also sent me a load of samples for the pirates to check out as he is definately interested in getting some bulk orders going for bike stickers etc.

Logo on kit

I decided last week that I would get my kit logo'ed up with sponsor and put my name on the back, an indulgence I know but hey, payback for Phil at D&M Cycles. Marcus did a mock up on the logo for me and how it would look, I then found a place on the web and hey presto. I just had a call from Richard Stannard who runs to say he was posting my pirate top back today and should be with me tomorrow with sponsor and name logos done, can't wait and will post that up as well.

Tracking me in the race

A few people have asked how to track me in the race, I will know nearer the time and will post a few websites up but I have a feeling that the race is streamed live and there is an athlete tracker on

My coach

A word on Lawrence, I have been coached by Lawrence Oldershaw for many years now, we have worked together to try to target Kona and to be honest we were both surprised this year. However, just a note of thanks to him, we have worked very well over the last 4-5 weeks prepping for this, more contact than we normally have to make sure everything is right and we are well prepared for each days training, I think he is as excited as I am and it shows in the encouragement and conversations we have every other night, his website is here, to be honest needs a bit of an update but if anyone is interested in being coached it can point you in the direction you need to start.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My race number is ......


I am not a number lol, well actually I am, '1245'. I have been allocated my number for Hawaii, bit of a relief really, if you knew the process for registering for the race you would understand, by qualifying and paying for your entry you aren't actually 'in' until you complete an online entry on a date specified by them using a specific code etc etc and if its not done right you could forfeit your place. So a relief.

My week of training

I had another week off to train, bit of a confidence week again really, get some bike mileage in and not have to worry about work etc. The same thing happened as last time though, I did my training, still checked my emails 10 times a day, worked most days to clear little things I didn't want to see when I got back and I didn't get the rest I really needed. Not to worry.

I actually managed 15.5 hours training from Monday to Sunday with 2 days off. I had a rest day on the Friday as I was due to do a 50 mile TT in Yorkshire on the Saturday. I actually didn't know up until the Friday night at 9.30pm that I had a place as I was on the reserve list.
So I used the Friday as a take it easy day, we went to the cinema for the first night out in 5 months together without Teya, before the cinema, had a couple of pints and Mexican meal, very nice. During the film I got a text from the organisors of the TT saying I had a place at 14.08 the next day. Regretting the 2 pints I texted back to say thanks, see you there.
I woke up the next morning with a horrendous sore throat, running nose and headache, not a good sign, spoke to Lawrence and we decided to leave the TT and have a day off. Good decision I think, I still got a 4 hour ride in Sunday but at a leisurely pace and managed to take in 2 triathlons in Cheshire as a spectator.

How do I feel

To be honest, right this minute, like shit, but thats the cold talking, I still struggle later at night and early in the morning, all 3 of us have it and until we break the cycle its going to linger, so plenty of Vit C, plenty of water and eating sensibly, oh and keeping off the alcohol obviously.

I think so far I have had a few thought provoking moments with the training I am doing in the lead up to the race, I follow a lot of the pro's on Twitter and a couple of the AG'ers that are going as well. For anyone that knows me, really knows me, I don't do more than say 10-12 hours a week training, I may get set more by Lawrence but work or family get in the way and I survive on the good sets.

Everyone is doing loads in the build up, don't misunderstand, I don't look at Macca and think, god I must do what he is doing, but its an eye opener, and I am sure on the day when I see him go back past me on the Queen K highway at his speed I will understand why, so I have had to reel in the mental images of massive sessions over good sets and recovery.

Back to me, to be doing more than my normal 10-12 hours in between the 2 IM's I have this year is a bit alien to me, I know its an important race but I have to take a step back and say, why should I do anything different to what I normally do. Taking time off to relax before the most important race of your life is good but not to kill yourself getting in hours of training, the 2 weeks off have been beneficial.

Thoughts on the pro's

I can almost see how it would be to be a top pro with a full time job of training and recovery, but man, it must be tough most days when you know you have to go out and smack yourself to stay competitive, I can now also see the benefit of the teams that are springing up all over the pro ranks now, Team BB, ActivInstinct, etc, because to do this day in and day out on your own must be mind blowing.

Would love to see Gravesy and Chrissie paint Kona with the Union Flag (actually any Brit to be honest) but its a hard race to comprehend winning, I know Chrissie is expected to win but that must be as hard as Philip going over there as a young contender wanting to do his best with the expectation of the exceptional cyclist he is. We shall see. I have followed some of his training online and looks like he is really putting the work in, best of luck to all of our pro's.

What now ...

Well, I am back at work for the next 7 days and we are flying out on 3rd October, my mum and Roger are flying on from Spain on the Friday to join us in London and we then leave together Saturday. Its a long flight to be taking a 6 month old but we think a great experience and one which I am so glad we are doing together now. My aim is to acclimatise for a week, we have AC but I will be sleeping in the living room to make sure I get the benefit of none and Kelly and Teya have the AC to themselves, top tip apparently lol. The lads, now there are 3, will be out on Wednesday, and then Paul and Jan will be coming out on Thursday.

I hope to update my blog regularly when we are out there on a daily basis, as honestly as I can, try to give some feel for it. We will have a lot of friends who can update on the progress but now you have my mumber it will be easy.

Interesting blogs

Another couple of guys that might interest you in blog land are linked below, the first 2 are both competing at Hawaii and actually have a much more scientific basis around training, Steves blog is very interesting as he is a very good triathlete who trains some bonkers hours but has some incredible results from it, Russell I have started following recently has a very structured approach to training and results feedback and when he isn't training he is analysing a lot of info.

And last blog, a friend and Kona finisher, Rich Melik did a blog along with partner Jenny in 2006 that has helped me visualise a lot of what to expect and it worth a read. Cheers Rich

PSOF Website

JD has been working tirelessly on this for a few weeks now and has links to my blog and also a followers thread in the RW forum so a link to that is here as well for those that want to follow virtually on the day. Its here.

Right, thats it for now, back to work, well actually to sleep and then back to it tomorrow, thanks for the good wishes so far, if you want more immediate updates follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Less than 4 weeks to go .....

Just looked at the countdown ticker which says 23 days to go, its getting very real, very quickly.

Training Update.

So, last weeks training catchup, I was working again so during the week managed around 9 hours with focus around the last 2 hour run on Friday. I decided as I was going to be missing the rest of the weekend due to travel and work I would hit it reasonably hard, 1 hour out, 1 hour back, negative split and see how it looked. Well I don't think it was that impressive, covered the 8.3 miles out and negative split on the way back by 30 secs but HR out was 156, HR back was 165. No real drama but just shows I have plenty to work on in the next year, Kona is too close to be worried about HR's now.

This week I am working Monday and Tuesday and then off for the next 7 days, 22-25 hours planned this week to Sunday for last push including a 50 mile TT in Yorkshire, I am still on the reserve list so might get in yet, if I don't I will have to do my own up and down the A49 lol !!

Fame, but still no fortune ...

I have had a piece published in the Chester Chronicle from the 3rd September, one of the guys from Chester Triathlon (Dave Taylor) is always helping to get us publicity in the local press. Still haven't got the paper copy to keep but the online link is here and apart from my crap statement about things being really 'good' its not a bad piece, I really must get my agent to quote better lines lol.

Race wheel bling.

I have been toying with what wheels to use for the race, a good friend of mine has offered to lend me his 808's but that would only be for the rear and I would use my 404 for the front. In the end I have decided to go with a 404 set up front and rear and get my own wheels blinged up with the pirate colours, they are 2004 Zipps and the stickers are looking a bit worn so emailed Tai at TaiGraphx to see what he could do, and this is the result.
They are now ordered and awaiting delivery., :-)

And finally ...

I have added my company iPSL to my short list of sponsors, this weekend iPSL put on a complete family day in Northampton with 'Its a Knockout' (to keep the adults entertained lol), kids entertainment, dodgems, food and drinks and as part of the day held a raffle. Phil at D&M Cycles put up 2 mountain bikes and alongside the many other prizes organised by iPSL, the company have offered me a portion of the raffle profit, I have no idea what this will eventually equate to but I appreciate any help in softening the blow to my credit cards for the Kona trip, so many thanks to the organising committee at iPSL and the many people who made the day a success. Myself, Kelly and Teya all travelled down on the day and by the look of the number of people involved and the many staff at the day it was a huge success.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Kona Countdown - 5 weeks

Well this week was the 'pro' week, take the week off work and train as much as I could without trying to get injured. The idea is really to get a few more bike miles in, having the baby has really put paid to good long 4-5 hour rides that I can recover from and this has been the payoff, so a few more miles now in the run up won't do me any harm and I won't be breaking any records but its good solid endurance with some speed thrown in.

So this week has been

Monday - 4 hour bike, 70 miles inc Cat and Fiddle climb
3000m swim set
Tuesday - 2 hour rollers set working on cadence and form
3000m base build swim
Wednesday - 4 hour rolling bike, 75 miles around IMUK course, 20min brick run
3000m swim speed set
Thursday - 2 hour flat run, steady 8's offroad, keeping form
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - 1900m swim in 30.30 - 52 mile bike in 2.20
Sunday - Work !! boo

So only about 18 hours but most of them on the bike and I also got to spend a bit more time at home with Kelly and Teya which at this time is important as she is really growing up fast.
What was a little frustrating for me was the time I wasted, finding I had more time at home meant I didn't plan effectively enough to go out and get the sessions done so I could relax and stay at home a bit more, we would get up, mess around, answer a few mails, have breakfast, then think, right must do this or that, then train. I am taking another week off in 2 weeks time and I will be more focused on that week for time and making sure I put aside specific periods of the day to train and rest.

This picture was taken by Carl Barthorpe, full credit for a superb piccie, taken just as the sun was rising over Rutland Water.
This was the triathlon highlight of the week, The Vitruvian, I was only doing the swim and bike in a relay team for Team PSOF but it was a chance to see a few old faces and some new ones as well. Myself and Debbo came 2nd team which was good in itself but it also gave me a chance to test out a 50-odd mile TT before I do one in Thirsk in a few weeks.

On a more family orientated high this week, I managed to get time to take my daughter Teya swimming for the first time, I know BAD daddy, I swim all week long and it takes me 4 months to take my own daughter !!! ;-( She absolutely loved it and it was superb to be there.

So for the rest of the this week the plan is to get back to work, train like a muggle and hit the end of the week hard, a 3 hour and a 4 hour ride on consecutive days should sort me out lol ! I have 17 hours planned, in fact the same as last week but I took 2 days off last week, no such pleasures this week, just the one day in Northampton, then back to it.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

10 weeks training to Hawaii

From IMUK to Kona its 10 weeks, the plan is to do it this way,

1 week total rest - stock up lager levels and generally eat well
3 weeks of build back to a level where I can function at the right HR's again.
3 weeks of moderate volume with a bit of speed and intensity.
3 weeks normal taper.

Week 1 - well that is going to go well all day long, never got a problem drinking and eating, job well done

Week 2 - 6 hours
Week 3 - 9.5 hours
Week 4 - 8 hours

This was a bit like starting again after Xmas and New Year, sluggish and with mixed emotion, I know I have to get fit again as I have one final goal this year but I would normally have gone into post season meltdown. I enjoyed the riding but with the foot injury the rest off running is making it worse each time I go back to it as I want to run faster but have to resist.

In amongst all of this was work which entailed a major project on week 3 and working away each week for 2 days. Normally I would run while I am away but thats hard to do when you are trying to build one day and recover the next.

Week 4 had no Saturday training as we were at Wembley all day watching Warrington Wolves win the Carnegie Cup, however getting up on the Sunday after for a 3 hour ride just goes to prove how evil beer is lol !!

So we are now up to date and the next 6 weeks will be updated on a more regular basis with better info on training. I have decided to take 2 weeks off work over a 3 week period to train and recover full time, its more about getting the confidence in the longer rides than trying to gain much in this short space of time. We'll see how it goes.