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Enough!

I booked a day off work for today to run the South Cheshire 20 (a local 20 mile race near Crewe.)

I swapped the weeks on my training plan so my long run would be a 20 miler instead of 16.

I started to look into it late yesterday afternoon. I am not big on planning and preparation. Just before bed I looked up where it was on Google maps, wrote out the landmarks I’d need (Jct 16 M6, A500, first exit Shavington, left opposite some pub, right at crossroads, left.)

I set off this morning a bit late. I still reckoned I had about 20 or so minutes to park my bike, change, pick up my race number and amble to the start line.

I got to the pub turning but they’d renamed it from the one on Google maps, so I rode past, just to make sure it wasn’t around the corner.  It wasn’t. As I was running late I thought I’d just follow the road around and cut across to pick up my lost route.

I ended up riding around Crewe. At 09.25 (race started at 09.30) I was lost in Chorlton.

Then I had to ride home. I wasn’t really layered up for a nearly 2 hour ride. I was expecting 40 minutes there, run and shower, 40 minutes back, all toasty.

By the time I got home I was freezing, miffed, and really angry with myself.

This isn’t the first time. The whole of the journey to the Outlaw triathlon was a stressed out nightmare, trying to put my wetsuit on 3 minutes before the start of the race, missing the start, etc.

Well, no more. I’ve had enough. I know I’m a last minute, wing it, sort, so in future I’m going to sort everything first and give myself plenty of spare time. If I’d have had another 10 or 15 minutes this morning I could have turned around and gone back to the pub, or pulled over, checked maps and rerouted.

If I have to stand around for 30 minutes before races, at least I’ll be relaxed getting there, and I’ll be there in time to actually do the race.

 

I regrouped and went for a run on my own. I’ve got a bunch of run routes locally. Some really nice ones down the canal (flat as a pancake, obviously) and a 10 mile road route which is also basically flat.

I decided to punish/ redeem myself with a hilly 20 mile run towards Frodsham. There are the rolling hills along Walton drag, and some proper steep hills further on.

I set off to try and do a good pace. Not even. It was blowing a gale and those hills! I managed the 20 miles but it was pitifully slow and painful. (8.28 m/m average.) Something else that’s going to change, I’m incorporating hill runs into my training.

 

That’s the fail out of the way. Oh, apart from one other thing.

I was sat, minding my own business in the front room. Bike locked up on the pavement outside the front room window.

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As you can see someone had parked across the way from us. Wendy didn’t have the room to swing into a parking slot, so instead of just parking the car diagonally across both our parking bays, she reversed in. STRAIGHT INTO MY BIKE!

My bike rocked back, I thought she’s smashed all my fairings for sure. They are difficult to source and way dear to have resprayed. I ran out, but thanks to the angle, she’s just hit the footpeg. No damage to the bike. She’s put a dint in her car, but that’s just karma for attacking my bike. The divorce lawyers are sorting that out.

That’s definitely all the fail.

 

The good news is my foot is holding up, even with the increased mileage and speed required for my new training plan. And I don’t have to buy new shoes or do anything tricky or expensive, just slacken the laces as far as they’ll go and job’s a good ‘un. (And apply lots of ibuprofen gel and wear a compression bandage full time, but that’s no big deal.)

The new training plan I’m following, (from the Advanced Marathoning book) is tough and demanding but I think I’m already seeing results.

My mid-long run this week was 15 miles at marathon target pace (6.48 m/m) +10- 20%. Roughly 7.30- 8.10. I wanted to be hold it to 7.30, obviously. I did the first 8 miles in 1 hour and 1 second, almost exactly 7.30. I faded a bit after that but still kept it going. Averaged at 7.36 for the 15, a new PB, and only 7 seconds off my half marathon PB on the way. I’ve jumped into the plan halfway through as I want some results before the Chester marathon next month, but then I can start the plan from scratch and work up to the Manchester marathon in April.

Oh, and I found the pictures from the Outlaw online.

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Cracking the flags, as you can see. The thing that surprised me was my face looks skinny. I still think of myself as a bit chunky.

While I was digging through my pictures I found these, which make me laugh.

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Dog

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Right, that’s enough.

Later,

Buck.

Decision Made

I’ve quit triathlon. For the third, and possibly last, time.

I’m going to sell my fancy pushbike.

I was deliberating and torturing myself over it. I really wanted to get the benchmark sub 10 hours, but I can’t get past my loathing of the swim. And my biking isn’t much better. I could do the biking in the shed on Sufferfest, … stop it!  Decision made. I’ve done 3 and 2/3rds triathlons just going for a finish, if I can’t go for benchmark there is no point in forcing myself to do stuff I hate.

I’m over it. Moved on. … Mostly.

 

So now it’s the running. Which I enjoy. It is a constant, direct challenge. And it’s relatively short. A 3 hour run is a long training run (20+ miles) whereas on the bike it’s only a short ride (about 45 miles) and in the pool it means I’ve drowned.

 

I’ve been suffering from pulled tendons on the top of my left foot (extensor tendonitis, Doctor Google informs me) since January, but it hasn’t got any worse so I’ve ignored it and carried on.

I had a week’s rest before my tri then ran the marathon on race day (Sunday).

The next week I had the Monday off to rest, and the Wednesday (as I did a 14 hour shift, with an hour’s commute). I still put in a 54 miles running week.

I threw everything at it. Previously when I was trying for speed work I’d built up to 5 miles, holding as near as I could get to my target pace of 6.48 m/m. I’ve been reading a book that says most of the tiredness and resistance to speed is your mind trying to pace your energy, not your body tiring. So, 4 days after my tri/bi marathon, I went flat out for 5 miles.

I got a PB (Personal Best) for 5K and 5 miles. Not too shabby.

I did some 8 mile runs then a double pack run day to work, 17+ miles round trip, and an 18 mile long run.

 

It was a good week. But, as usual, it was too much, too soon. My foot got a lot worse. I had to give in and rest it for 6 days. In that time I read up on extensor tendonitis. The big contributory factor everyone agreed on was too tight footwear, causing the tendons to rub as your foot flexes. I’ve been in the habit of lacing my boots tight since the army. The leather shapes around your foot and becomes like a foot glove. In theory. Also, I have to buy motion control trainers as I overpronate (my foot rolls inwards when I run) which I assumed would mean they had to be tight to do the controlling of motion thing.

It’s worth a shot. So for the last 6 days my motorbike boots and work boots have been as slack as I could make them (and I’ve been using ibuprofen gel and a compression bandage, obviously). Today my foot was the best it’s been in months so I decided to do a test run.

I slackened off my trainers and set out to do a 10 mile PB. I was aiming at 7m/m for the 10 miles. I set off at a cracking pace, I was running at 6.47 and it wasn’t killing me. I’d like to say “comfortable”, but there’s only so far you can stretch the definition. Then I turned the corner into the wind. Like running into the back of a bus. I tried to keep on pressing on with my time but it was no use. I settled for completing the 10 miles.

The great news is that my foot was fine afterwards! It’s had time to set and get a bit sore since, but nothing bad. I’m hoping I’ve cracked it. I will be so happy if it’s mainly the footwear and I can work around it.

I’ll try another run tomorrow to confirm it.  With any luck it’s manageable damage and I can keep on training. With a heap of luck it’s just the footwear and I can train and it will get better. We’ll see. The good news is it can’t be that bad if 6 day’s rest more or less cures it.

The exciting thing for me now is the Warrington half marathon in 5 weeks. It’s a bit short notice but as I’ve got a base of 5 miles at the right pace, it’s possible, if I actually have more in the bag right now, that I could get up to a 1.30 half. That would be awesome.

That’s probably not going to happen in time. But it’s certainly a benchmark goal.

 

In other news, Wendy asked me to go for a ride in the car with her as there was a funny sound. She only did about 2 miles. When we got back the nearside rear brake disc was too hot to touch. And has a scratches scored in it. Oops. I Googled it and it seems it’s a common fault. Rust builds up in the barrel around the brake piston and it eventually seizes. They said it’s probably going to need a new brake caliper. Less than ideal, but at least she caught it before it did any serious damage.

 

The other thing is; another handle has snapped on the windows of our house. The one in the bathroom has been broken for at least a year, longer in the spare room. I’ve been putting it off and swapping bits around as I’ve not idea where to start with model of double glazed windows and fittings and such. Tonight I had to do another one and I’d had enough. I hit eBay to start the process of working out what I needed.

They are a universal fit. Any of them will work. D’oh!

I’ve ordered 4 handles, with the bar that fits in them, the screws to attach them, their own keys, and postage and package for £11. All in.

Years.

*bangs head off keyboard*

 

I forgot to say; it’s a huge weight off my mind now I’ve quit. I was hating the training but badly wanted the result, then I felt I’d made a commitment and I had to follow it though. Now I’m focusing on running, and I’ve moved on, it all feels good again. If my foot doesn’t get any worse I am going to batter this!

Later,

Buck.

Decision Time.

I’ve got to commit to triathlon or quit.

I wanted to go faster this time, but that 2 month bug knocked spots off me. Then I was lazy. I didn’t do enough training. What I did wasn’t structured or consistent.

I had the Outlaw today, after which I was taking a year off from tri anyway, but now I’m not sure I want to carry on.

It was a bit of a disaster from start to finish, to be honest. I went down yesterday to register and rack my bike and stash my kit for today. That was OK, apart from the driving in torrential rain. Seriously reduced visibility from the rain and spray, wheels skipping on the huge puddles of standing water, want-to-live-forever morons doing 50 and 60 in the outside lane (of 4 in some places). There’s a lane for doing 50. It’s called the bus lane. In a bus.

Today I had to get up at 02.50 and drive to Nottingham. It was just as bad, but luckily very little traffic.

I was halfway across the A50 when I realised I’d forgotten the drinks for the bike leg. I had to pull in and buy some water. I got to the event later than planned, by the time I’d queued to get on to a distant car park I only had 15 minutes to get to the changing area and struggle into my wetsuit. They are designed to be clingy and are really hard to put on.

I was just outside the changing area when I realised I’d let my timing chip in the car. I had to sprint back and get it and sprint back to the changing area. The race started at 06.00. At 05.57 I was starting to put my wetsuit on. I got it on and sprinted out to the lake. They let me start but I was a minute behind everyone else before I got into the water.

I really thought I was going to batter the swim a bit this time. I thought I’d been making good progress with technique. Aided by the buoyancy of the wetsuit I thought I was going to fly. Nope. I was just weak and slow. My worst ever time. And I was hating it.

I got out of the late inside the cut-off only to be told “Take your time, there’s no rush, the bike leg has been cancelled.”

The battering rain had left parts of the course under a few inches of water. And a good chunk of it is on open roads. So loads of bikes, on skinny tyres, going flat out in monsoon rain, being close passed by cars. It was a recipe for fatalities.

Fair play to them. But it turned my tri into a splash about and a bit of a jog.

Then, inexplicably, they started all of us on the run individually! I was waiting 2 hours 43 minutes before I got going.

I was treating it like a stand alone marathon as there was no bike leg, but my legs didn’t believe me. My right tendon was pulling then the calf cramped. I kept running but it was really hard work. I did it in 3.57:33. Poor for a solo marathon, good for a tri marathon, but it was neither.

I think the swim, and then the waiting around, must have battered my legs.

I came out to the lake in position 906 (out of 900, possibly) by the end of the run I was position 489.

Anyway, the thing is that was too, too hard. And bad.

If I’m going to go back to tri I need to commit to disciplined, consistent training.  I don’t know if I can. I find it so hard to force myself to swim. And I don’t like road biking much better.

I’m really tired, and it’s been a long, painful and stressful day. I’m not committing either way right now, but quitting is definitely on the table.

Bah.

Buck.