Archive for January, 2018

Spin to win.

I got that turbo trainer for us. It’s proving to be completely impractical to try and get Wendy’s bike on it. Which is a bugger.

The idea is you take your back wheel off and mount the bike on the turbo, running your chain on to a gear cassette (cogs) mounted directly on the turbo.

Like this

IMG-20180119-WA0000

Which is all good and well. Until you come to try to mount Wendy’s bike. Apparently the modern fancy-pants gear cassettes (as on mine) fit each cog individually onto spines on the spindle, and need a special thin chain to fit the cogs, because they in turn  have to be so thin so they can get 11 cogs on the back wheel.

Wendy had a go on the turbo with my bike and a lowered seat. She lasted about 2, maybe 3, minutes. That was a shitload of cash well spent.

I gave it a try out. After a few minutes your legs are burning. I set myself a target of 20 minutes for my first go as I was in a rush to get to work. It was hellish. And that was in a low gear.

Today I upped it to an hour. I was sat in just a pair of shorts and my clip-on shoes, window open, freezing day, sweat pouring off my whole body. Hence the towel and that strip from seat post to handlebars. Seems sweat is corrosive on the bike.

It is non-stop burn. It’s like you are going up hill constantly. There is no let up, no flat bits, no coasting. An hour of solid pushing.

I was moaning about riding in to work nearly killing me when I first got the bike, someone on twitter said “Spin to win!”. (Spin classes being the name of group sessions of people doing turbo. Seen them at the gym.)

He may well be on to something. If I can build up my time on the turbo, and put it through the gears, I am going to batter my bike time at the Outlaw. Usually I just grind out loads of tedious long rides and gradually improve. With this I’m pushing it the whole time.

I’ve joined the gym again, like a proper January Gym Bunny. Primarily for the swim sessions, but I’ve got a new pair of trainers so I can do small bricks. Possibly do an hour swim, half hour ride, half hour run. Getting your legs used to switching from one discipline to the next is half the battle.

I’m going to give it another 2 weeks to build up some slight fitness, then join Warrington Tri Club. They hold an hour’s tutored swim lesson every Saturday afternoon, which is my day off. If I can get swim training and turbo the crap out of my legs I reckon I’m well on for a personal best this year. Which is quite the ambition in seven months, from scratch.

(Day after. Saturday.)

Feeling good about my training. Last week I did 10 miles for my “long” run, but it was such hard work after about 7 miles that I was just going to do 10 again this week and not up the distance.  As I said above, I battered my legs yesterday with the turbo, so I was a bit apprehensive about my big run today.

It was groovy. I felt good enough on the way out to up it to 5.5 miles, for an 11 mile run. And on the way back, about mile 8-9 I was so deep in thought about my training plans I actually forgot I was running! That is brilliant progress. I’ve only been back to running for 18 days and I’ve already had a moment of set-your-legs-to-running-and-forget-about-it! This means I’m still 3 weeks ahead of schedule for the Manchester marathon.

Now I’m wondering about the bike. The idea was to ride in to work every day and build my fitness as part of my commute. I’ve only got so much time. Combining training and commuting means I get 60- 75 minutes of training for a 30 minutes extra on my working day. But now I’m thinking an hour on the trainer is worth many days of commute. I suppose I can do both.

Now it’s just the swimming I need to worry about.

 

This is boring stuff to read, I’m sure, but this is a whole life turn-around for me. I’ve not done an Outlaw since 2013, I’ve not done a marathon in about 2 or 3 years. I’ve been letting everything slide. I didn’t even do the Warrington half marathon last year. It’s not just the fitness or the races. It’s having a purpose and a sense of achievement. I am focused and happy again. I hadn’t realised it, but bit by bit I’d just given up. All I was doing was working and sleeping. My day’s off were just catching up on or, more usually, putting off, chores. Then back to work. That was it. Now work is the necessary interruption to my training.

Another plus, by the way, is I’m not dead. The chest pains have stopped, so that’s a relief. From what I read, it’s all about crap lining your arteries suddenly getting shaken free, blocking blood flow and killing parts of the heart. Or all of it. You with it. I have been *really* pushing, from a sedentary starting point, and the pains have stopped. So, either the artery crap has all passed through now, and my heart is good to go, or (far more likely) it was torn chest muscles and I panicked over nothing. Either way, it’s a relief to be able to train without worrying I’m about to drop dead.  And no need to bother the doctor. Huzzah!

no-we-wont

Buck.

Or die Tri-ing!

I’ve been eating humble pie for breakfast, dinner and tea since I started training.

I used to scorn low gear wobblers, put it in top gear and pedal you lazy bastards!

When I started training for my first Outlaw, on my first day, I did a 51 mile ride and a 13 mile run. A lifetime of bans and motorbike write-offs meant I had cycled everywhere for years.I thought that level of fitness was normal. So people who were making hard work of it needed to pull their finger out and do a bit.

Oh the humility.

I’ve found a decent route into work, it’s 9.1 mile each way. And it’s been battering me. I’ve only ridden in 2 days but I am ridiculously far away from ‘hop on and ride 51 miles’.

I took the car in to a body repair shop to have the wing fitted, pushbike in boot to ride home, and the mechanic was a tri guy. He took one look at my bike and told me to look at bike set-up tutorials on YouTube. I did. Seems I had it all set up wrong. I’ll try this, see if it’s any better.

I’m so unfit I’m not even doing a long run on the bike. I’m going to give it a month of riding to work to build up some semblance of fitness then start.

 

The “die tri-ing” thing was a bit of a moment. I was having persistent chest pains, smack over my heart. It wasn’t bad, that level of pain anywhere else wouldn’t have warranted a mention, but being there you have to worry. I was steering clear of ibuprofen as it has recently been linked to heart attacks. I Googled it to see if I should worry. “Survival rate outside of hospitals, 6%”. OK, that’s not ideal.

Warren Lang (school friend) said one of his RAF chaps had died of a heart attack whilst training for an Iron tri. One of the security guards at work, who looked fine, has just dropped dead of one.

I carried on training but was going to go to the doctor if it hadn’t cleared by Friday. Then on Thursday morning I was awoken by shooting pains in my left arm and pins and needles.

I really thought I was going to die, right then. I was not a happy bunny. It scared me. I was all “I don’t want to not be!”

I took a moment, “Can’t avoid it. At least I have been.”

I decided to concentrate on the dying bit and not worry about the rest.

I didn’t die, by the way. In case you were worried.

I hit Google again in the morning. “26 causes of chest pain that are not a heart attack.”

I had a read through, tons of stuff. The bit I took from it was “you can tear chest muscles from just a coughing fit… If, after taking anti-inflammatory drugs, the pain persists…”

I took some ibuprofen. Pain gone. I think the left arm thing was just some muscle spasms or something from my weaker arm (of two very weak arms) after the swim. But what are the odds?

Embarrassing, but as I said to Wendy, mild embarrassment is preferable to chronic death.

Today my ‘long’ run is 10 miles. As long as I manage that, then it should be really easy to gradually ramp up the mileage to my marathon in April. I say “easy”, I mean it is within the “no more than 10% weekly increase”, rule. So hopefully I won’t pick up an injury.

 

Wendy is getting onboard with the whole pushbike thing. We are going to pick up her race machine later.

Elops

It’s actually a well sorted bike for purpose. It’s got a steel frame to keep the cost down, (but oddly weighs in a 2kg lighter than the aluminium version) has 6 gears, integrated lights and dynamo, full mudguards (most road bikes don’t even have mounting points for them, you have to get stupid ones that hang off the seat post) full size 700mm (28”) wheels, fatter tyres, and a chain guard so you don’t get oil over your girly trousers. And a side stand and rack. Not sure about the utility of either for Wendy, but for it’s target market, city commuters, it’s ideal I suppose. I was looking at the gearing, weight, wheels/tyres, comfort and practicality. Wendy likes it because it’s black and “it looks pretty”.

I’ve invested in a turbo trainer. It’s a resistance device so you can train indoors. Like a treadmill for the bike. I’ll use it for training sessions, but for most of the time I can leave Wendy’s beast on it so she can build her fitness whilst waiting for spring, when she plans to start venturing out.

I’ve tried to sell her on the ‘women only’ swim sessions at the baths, with a view to her first triathlon, but she’s oddly resistant.

Right, crack on.

Later,

Buck.

Tri, Tri, Tri again.

What was I thinking? After the painfest of the first Outlaw tri I said I was never doing another.

After the near death experience of baking my arse off at my second Outlaw tri I said I wasn’t doing another and meant it.

Sunburn_thumb

 

The swimming (2.4 miles) bores me, the riding is painful and boring (112 miles) and the marathon (26.2 miles) at the end, on dead legs, is just an ordeal.

Not doing it. No way.

Then I got a motorbike and that was that. Never swinging my leg over a pushbike again!

 

*sigh*

Here’s my new pushbike:

IMG_20180105_114317

My life had just become work and sleep. I hadn’t done a run since the 2nd of August, no pushbiking for years, no swim for longer.  The running was the last to go because I actually enjoyed that. But the bit I enjoy is when you are pretty fit and you start pushing it, and making gains. In this job, on my shifts, I couldn’t train regularly so I was always struggling to get going, never improving.

I didn’t know I was low of mood, it was just how it was.

On a whim I decided to get back into triathlon for a New Year’s Resolution.. On the 2nd of January, 5 months since my last run, I went out and did a 5 mile test run. The run was easy, getting my arse out of the door was the huge challenge.

As soon as I got back I was buzzing. Really up for it. I went out the next day for a 4 mile run, then yesterday for another, knocking 30 seconds a mile off the time of the day before. I just can’t help myself. That is so bad. I was trying to take it slow as 90% of injuries are “too much, too soon”

I was thinking “getting back into tri”, no specific deadlines.  Tonight I enquired about “improver” swimming lessons, the last two times I was so crap I was too embarrassed to go a tri club for tuition. So I stayed crap. And thrashed about for 2.4 miles, then got out of the lake in the last dozen.

Looking at a 1½ miles long lake is a terrible sight when you’re a crap swimmer.

Outlaw lake

I’ve bought a decent bike, I’m looking into swimming, (training and pool times), and I’ve done three runs.

Half an hour ago I Googled the Outlaw 2018. It’s not sold out yet. Oh god! TEMPTATION!

29th of July. That’s 29 weeks.

It’s do-able, but massive.

I want to commit right now.

I’ll be gutted if it sells out and I think I can do it.

I’ll have a trial week. See what training I can do around work.

I could totally do this. If I can train.

Oh wow. This is more like it! The terror of a vast and seemingly impossible task with a fixed deadline. Now, I feel alive!

Later,

Buck.

Quick PS, as usual I was suffering with delusions of adequacy. I thought it would be easy to jump back on a pushbike (after about 4 years off) and nip 10 miles to work and then back again. I went today for a test run. Holy crap!  It nearly killed me. Even small hills I was changing right down the gears. It was goddawful. This is going to be even more of an epic undertaking than I thought.

On the bright side, I worked back from the date of the Manchester Marathon (April 9th, I think) and to reasonably increase my distance each week and be ready I had to be able to run 6 miles today. I ran 7. But that was mixed training (a ’brick’). I did my killer ride, got off at work, drove the bike back in the car, then went out for a run. Brick’s are way harder because your legs are buggered from the bike before you start the run. That’s why you practice bricks. So I’m pleased with that. I only started training 4 days ago, and I’ve done a brick. For my long run! Also pleased because I showed restraint. I would have liked to do 10 miles, but my legs were feeling tired a 3.30 so I got to 3.5 and turned around. Keeping my disciplines apart I expect to be able to do a 10 mile run next week, putting me 4 weeks ahead of schedule.

By the way, I was rescuing my motorbike from work, (it got stranded there when the disc lock seized in place) so I had to drive the car to work, ride my motorbike home, pedal back to work, put the bike in the car, and drive home. ballache, but the taxi home at ungodly o’clock when it got stuck was £27!  Bugger that for a game of soldiers. It’s not that the bike ride was so terrible I had to drive home. Although it was. That was the plan.