Things are looking up on the training front.
As I keep saying, I started from a position of no runs for 5 months, no rides or swims for 4 years, on January the second. Despite missing whole weeks of training due to work battering me with hours, I got it up to 20 miles run. On the bike, I’ve been doing turbo sessions and top gear rides, to and from work, but hadn’t actually tried out a long ride. To be honest, the horror of that first ride to work in January was still hanging over me and I was a bit reluctant, scared even, to set off. Also we’ve had massively untypical freezing weather, which didn’t entice.
Anyway, it was mild on Friday and I needed to know where I was up to on the ride. I set off for Wales. Turns out the mild was in sheltered bits, it was blowing a gale. I managed 20 miles into the teeth of it then turned around. The wind was so bad, and so focused in one direction, that I rode up the long, steep drag out of Frodsham still in the saddle, on my aero bars. On the way out I was actually having to pedal to keep my speed up going down the damn thing.
So my first “long” ride was only 40 miles, but I’m taking lots of positives from it. It’s cured me of my trepidation for a start. I now know I can just grind out a bunch of hours without it killing me. Also, I trialled my thick wool socks and waterproof/ windproof overshoe things. My feet didn’t go horribly numb and aching with the cold. That was a nice surprise. I’m going to do the same as I did with run, short (going to work) during the week, up the mileage of the big rides every weekend. 40 miles is a good starting point. Without the wind I think I’m good for 60 next time. Then up it 10 miles a week or something. And fit in a long turbo. That really works you.
I was quietly pleased with that ride. Not too bad. Then I got home and tried to walk up and down the stairs. My quads (is it? Front of leg, over knee) were set solid. Talking to Wendy later I realised, (already knew, but it brought it home) that I only have 2 weeks until the Manchester marathon. Bugger, set legs or not, no skipping my long run. I got ready and warmed up my battered legs, tossing about ideas. In the end I decided I needed to know I had it in me, so went for the full marathon. It was hellish. By about 10 miles my legs were like rocks, but I just ground it out. Half of the battle is mental toughness. That was an all-you-can-eat buffet of mental toughness, I can tell you. Anyway I did it. It wasn’t pretty or fast, but it’s within 3 months of starting basically from scratch, and after buggering my legs on the ride, so I’ll take it. I’ve been looking back. I think that’s the first marathon I’ve run since 2013. As far as I can see I did the Bolton hill marathon in March, the marathon at the end of the Outlaw in July and a 50 miler in September. Then I just let it all slide. I didn’t even do the Warrington half marathon last year. Ended the last 5 months of the year without a single run. So I’m well pleased to be back to marathon length, if not marathon fitness. I’ve got two holiday days this week, so I’ll rest before the first then try again on fresh legs. The second day I can go for a long ride.
The other bit of news, I had a slight bit of bother at work. One of the senior managers was, very politely, asking about me trying to get off early. I had visions of it all going pear shaped. This industry they kind of expect you to live the job. To be honest, although the planning manager was putting me in for short runs I wasn’t getting them anyway. Due to the start time all the jobs that go out about then are long ones. He put me on a short one, the transport managers changed me to a long one.
I just couldn’t train and I was getting pissed off with it. After that hint of trouble to come I went and saw about a change of start time. I was expecting them to put me on a 03.00 start time, going bed at 18.00, still pissed off but at least I could train.
“What are you looking at, 08.00 starts?”
(Well, hell yes!)
“Well, ideally but everyone will want those.”
Two days later my start time was 09.00, today 07.45, tomorrow 08.45! And short runs. I was so convinced everything was going to go tits up I was already thinking about looking for another job, with 4 on/ 4 off shifts.
This could work out perfect. If I can keep these start times and just do my basic 9 hour shift, I could even go to my tri club training during the week. I can’t believe it has, apparently, worked out so well, so quickly and so easily. I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even if it all goes bad I’m making the most of this time.
Time for bed, this early start nonsense is tiring.
PS just remembered. I did the marathon in the morning, then went for my club swim session in the afternoon and had put on a pound this morning! HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?