Thursday, 28 February 2013

The final countdown

I'm currently writing this post with shingles. Or at least, while I have shingles, it's not like I have trained a virus to type or anything... I'm doing pretty well with shingles. I thought it was a reaction to chlorine and so I kept running and swimming (yes I question the logic in repeating swimming when I thought it was the cause of my ailment!) but now half of Salford has chicken pox... 

It's ten weeks till my half ironman. I should be quite highly strung. Instead I am calm. There is nothing my worry can do now. I have a great coach and I pay them! This means I report back on what I could do this week and they work out what I might be able to do next week. Last week I couldn't cycle due to an infection caused by antibiotics. This week, infection lingers and I have shingles. Man they are going to earn their money!

The next ten weeks has the same amount of time in it whether I am better or worse. I have a training plan of nine sessions per week, I have a to do list of 45 items and fast growing. But I have inner peace. At one stage I was fraught with nervous energy. I wanted the world to stop. I wanted everyone to help me. I wanted to ignore everything else going on and live in squalor eating chef ready meals and having a cleaner from now till May 11th. But actually I can't stand the chaos that seems to come with squalor!

Ironman Mallorca is a testing ground for me. With its women only start and a generous cut off time, I will simply try and get to the finish and meet as many of my race goals as I can. I have not trained for this event, I have simply learned from this event. I have not pushed myself to personal bests or beasted anything, I have simply kept pushing myself to a new limit every day and done my best every day. When you are starting from a point of no swimming or cycling background that is all that can be expected. 

I had hoped very much that the next ten weeks can be about hard training and not just learning and inshallah if my health returns it may be. If not, then ten weeks of learning is what I have and I will make the most of it. I'll also try and cook the odd dinner, do some laundry and acknowledge my family! No one but me gets what this means to make it to the start line and I should not expect anyone but me to get me there or help me there. The goals I have set for this race hint at a personal triumph: yes I can learn to swim bike run but yes I can also learn to be a partner, a step mum, and not a career woman all in the same training period! Yes I can switch off from my fast and frantic London lifestyle to celebrate Christmas (ok I trained on New Year's Eve... ) And I can still make the start line. When I make the start line, I'll be full of excitement knowing I can take another start line, and maybe for this one, I can train as I learn!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

My triathlon goals

I'm a big believer in goal setting, and goals that are a bit more descriptive than just a time goal or simply "just finish". This is also important, I think, because stuff happens. What if you get amoebic dysentry and can't race the way you want. My goals celebrate the journey of getting to a race and how I intend to race and finish it. 

  • To take the start line knowing I have done all the training I could have done - the best I could have done - with the focus I could have given it. 
  • To take the start line knowing that it is the culmination of the hard work I have done: that I should be proud of, that I have been in control of, that I am confident because of. 
  • To race using all I have learned about strategy, nutrition and triathlon so I feel that I have "raced smart". 
  • To finish the race, and make every cut off, to finish injury free if possible (blow out punctures excepted!), and to finish with a big smile on my face
  • To cross the finish line putting all my insecurities and doubt behind me, to know that I can overcome adversity and challenges, that I can cope with change and uncertainty and I am stronger from my efforts and bravery. 
  • To be a half iron chica. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Caution to the wind

I'm throwing caution to the wind! Jon swears that by putting his pinky in the air, smelling the garlic and looking at the Met office app, that it won't snow tomorrow despite forecasts otherwise. As all of my cycle shorts are currently drying and I am a bit pooped after 1.2 hours of slow plodding and 30 minutes of sweat screaming pedalling on the turbo, I am quite inclined to believe him.

So I plan to cycle tomorrow - 3 hours or so - and spend today being wildly decadent! I'm going to write to my mum, my dad, my friends in London and maybe Finland and Canada too. I may bake flapjacks and make hot chocolate. If I still have anything left in my I will plan the week ahead and do efficient household stuff.

I can't tell you how excited I am.

Woosh, there goes my caution into the wind. Let's hope it's not followed by snow!

Friday, 8 February 2013

A grumpy little post

Disclaimer: This blog is written by a real person. One who likes curries and champagne, holidays and occasionally  pink dresses. One who likes the sense of achievement of finishing things but also likes the indulgence of a catnap, a spontaneous lifestyle and the odd bit of hedonism, romance or just something other than 24-7 pure grit. If you want a blog that makes half ironman training romantic, then look elsewhere. If you want a blog with inspirational photos over inspirational words then there are plenty of those. My most commonly used inspiration is a video of dozens of Ironmen fainting, collapsing, vomiting and crying. Because that's what it's like - and that's not just on race day. 

Today is an icky bitty annoying day. I've been working from home as we're on contingency mode. And it's my first day working for a new commissioner so it's been a bit messy co-ordinating those two things. Plus it's a strength and conditioning day which I need to do from home now - again a bit of juggling. Us multisports gotta stick to a system rigidly or it all goes out of whack. Speaking of which, I blew last night's turbo session for some romance. Uh huh. I know Chrissie W said triathletes don't have a romantic life but it's not quite spring training season yet..! So I needed to fit two training sessions in today, juggling essentially a new job, which I'm doing from home but I also need desperately to get to a doctor because 1) I still have an upset stomach which has been happening for three weeks now 2) I have folliculitis that would drop an elephant. Oh yeah, you get all the details on this blog people.  Despite these ailments, I'm still trying to get a leg over the bike, squeeze in 30 minutes here, nip to the docs, get 30 minutes there, draft policy documents, take a phone call, do the dishes, plan the weekend's training, have a meeting, deal with inept parcel delivery companies and then squeeze in weights all before lunch. I ended up falling asleep. 

I woke up, did some of those things, and then had a little internal cry. I am tired. Absolutely dog tired. Not an "I can't run further tired", not an "I am dehydrated tired", not "my muscles ache from the gym" tired but really freaking constantly tired tired. There are so many types of tired in multisport training. I realised I long to have my life back. I long for spontaneity, running for fun, or training for fun. I miss the variety of my life: my passion for charities, volunteering, social justice. My thirst for exploring, travelling, languages, cooking, eating out, drinking wine, hanging with friends, talking to friends. I miss having money to spend on things other than chamois creme and bike bits. I miss having the time, energy, freedom for life. I miss not being able to concentrate so damn much which is a result of two sports being completely new to me.

Don’t get me wrong, especially all those inspirational runner types who bark “you gotta want it!” Of course I want it, I wouldn’t be doing all this if I didn’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s hard and it doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to a day of whinge. No, I think I deserve one. I’m terrible at telling myself when enough is enough. I ran 14 miles days after a high grade fever and spent the next night in A and E. I once got caught by Jon retching more than three times after insisting I was fine on a run. I’ve run with shoes off to complete a long run when blisters kicked in. But sometimes you need to say “You can’t do everything right now.”

So that’s my ranty blog over. I’m going to avoid even cleaning up the gym, ignore the weather forecasting snow that will throw my whole weekend training schedule out and take out the recycling, buy some coconut milk and maybe a meat pie. Because these are things normal people do. I’m going to try that for a few hours before lowering myself into the basement gym and deciding whether I can do another 30 minutes at heart rate zone two followed by, plyometrics, core work, weights work. And let’s not forget getting into the zone for a decent length run tomorrow. Oh wait, I’ve got ahead of myself. Back to the coconut milk and normal life just briefly...