I’m back

Yeah so it’s been a while since I last posted here – no real reason for it other than life got in the way (how some people work and train and socialise like they do and still find time to write about it I have no idea!)

I completed my half marathon last year and it was pretty awesome – I hated all of the training and found myself wondering a lot of the time why I was doing this in the first place. I’m not a natural runner, I’m very slow and don’t ever seem to make any gains anywhere be that in my pace times getting faster or even just the runs feeling easier – running is a hard slog for me – always – and although I’d love to get to a point where I can go out and ‘enjoy’ a relaxed jog to clear my head and get some endorphins pumping, at the moment at least, it’s not going to happen. For me a 5Km is still a hard distance and it goes by very slowly. Don’t get me wrong I’m striving to get better and I won’t give up on my running but it gets me down more often than not.

My runs for my half training were very tough and although I got them done I didn’t ever look forward to my weekends when I would have to attempt, once again, to put one foot in front of the other for x amount of km and so I really wasn’t looking forward to race day at all.

However I absolutely loved every minute of it! I’m definitely a race day runner – I appreciate that the runs that come before are ultimately more important than the actual race but I just can’t bring my brain around to that way of thinking. I set off running and felt really good, my pace was faster than I’d anticipated but my breathing and my legs just seemed to want to go!

The atmosphere around the whole course was amazing – I was running for my Cancer hospital – The Beatson in Glasgow and they had three stations along the course which meant I got an extra big cheer when I ran past in their t-shirt

Unlike my training runs there wasn’t a point in the race when I wanted to stop / thought I needed to stop I was soaking in the whole event and having a great time as this picture clearly shows cropped-cropped-orig-scok62711.jpeg

This year (yes I’ve done the cliched thing and signed up again!!) will be to try and better my time / beat a certain target but my first half marathon was just to enjoy the event and have a good time and I certainly did that!

Other than that I’ve decided to postpone my Ironman dreams until 2017 – I’m only really just getting into road cycling and at the moment I’m not really enjoying the rides and I really really want to. I appreciate that, like my run sessions, there will be tough times but when every single training session seems like a fight it’s not the experience I want. I’m doing this because I want to and at the moment it’s getting me down.

So I’m giving myself an extra year of training to gain a bit of confidence on my bike, hopefully get a PB on my runs and spend time tweaking my swim technique.

And hopefully I’ll do it, mostly, with a smile on my face…

Let the games begin!

 

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Good and Bad Training Week Part 2

Wednesday morning started as usual with my morning swim before work – it wasn’t as great as my Monday swim but considered my work schedule and my back to back PT sessions I knew it wasn’t going to meteoric. I still managed my half mile in a reasonable, for me, time and once again although I didn’t like the early alarm clock when it went of I felt more prepared for the work day having been for my swim.

Wednesday evening offered something a little different – once a month through the summer our tri club offers a 10 or 20 mile time trial for anyone wanting to give it a go, S wanted to go and they had put a plea on the forum for timekeepers so I volunteered to give a little something back and keep time – S would be going after all so I might as well tag along. In short I had a great time but it was bloody freezing and drizzling slightly the whole time – don’t get me wrong it was much tougher on S and the other guys actually doing the time trial but I felt pretty cold standing with the clipboard ready to mark down times.

Apart from that though I really enjoyed myself and will definitely be signing myself up to time keep next time.

Thursday evening was run training with the tri club – I’m very new to this and this was what was called peak week – basically a really tough session before a step back / recovery week next week. I got told off for going off too fast again, in a light-hearted way, and for trying to keep up with some of the other runners who are clearly a lot faster than I am! That’s mainly my inexperience showing as I still don’t know what a lot of my paces feel like yet and so don’t know how to gauge each set, I’m not too worried about that, that’ll come with time and training, plus I managed to maintain consistent splits for all of my sets (1km out and back laps) and although I was absolutely shattered from a heavy work and training week and not at all looking forward to my first experience of peak week I left the session feeling tired but in a physical good way and strong and I felt more confident in myself. Don’t get me wrong, last night I was coming in last every time but it finally clicked with me that I really don’t care – my experiences are my own and my paces are my own and the only person I’m going to compare myself to is the me last week and as long as I’m equaling or bettering her then I’m cool with that. Plus the people there are so nice and never make me feel like I’m the rubbish one just tagging along – I already, having only been to 2 sessions, feel like part of the group and people even remembered my name and asked why I hadn’t been last week! Club running can be pretty awesome!

And that, finally, leads me up to today – this morning was my usual open water swimming – which once again started with a very unwelcome alarm clock and it had been considerably colder this week so I was dreading to hear what the water temperature would be. It turned out to be 14 degrees which is a lot cooler than the 19 degrees we had last week and definitely a shock getting in and I’ll admit that it took me a little while to properly get my head under the water but once I did and got going I wasn’t too bad.

This was also my first week trying out my new wetsuit – initially the open water swimming was only meant to be held for 4 weeks so, due to my current swimming wetsuit being approximately 3 sizes too big for me now, I rented a wetsuit for a month just to join in. Once they announced that the swims would be taking place all through the summer I decided to buy a new wetsuit for myself. I’ll need one for my Ironman next year anyway and I figured it’d be better to actually get a chance to train in it before the main event. During my previous open water swims I’ve had trouble breathing, now this is probably partly due to the fact that my ‘stomach’ now lies between my lungs taking up precious capacity for inflation but I also began to think it might be due to me not being fit enough which was annoying me. I know I’m not the fittest person in the world but I’ve been working very hard to improve myself and to feel like it wasn’t getting any better was quite frankly annoying – no one else in the session seemed to be having as much trouble breathing as me!

Well my new wetsuit is brilliant! I don’t know if it’s just a bit thinner or more malleable in the chest area but this session felt so much better for my breathing. There were still times where I felt like I couldn’t catch as big a breath as I wanted but that might be due to my own special internal layout and least this week I didn’t feel like I was fighting against a tight sensation this week and considering the water was a lot colder than last week, which can bring on that sensation anyway I think we’re on to a winner with this new suit!

This week we practiced turns and swimming in groups to get used to the general chaos that is open water mass swimming. I’ll admit that I actually find this quite fun! When I did my first open water event I got elbowed in the head causing me to swallow a whole heap of water and cough and splutter and then I got swum over which was surprising to say the least! However, once I’d come to know that that’s what open water swimming is about I quite enjoy the rough and tumble of swimming in a big group – makes me feel like I’m part of something crazy and exciting and bigger than myself – plus if you can get onto someone’s feet you can usually let them drag you along a little bit in their slipstream! And for this ‘slower than cooling lava’ swimmer I need all the help I can get!

Next week is looking decidedly calmer on the work front, fingers crossed it stays that way, and after this week’s tiring but self affirming batch of training I’m eager to see what next week brings! Also with it being recovery week across all the tri club training sessions I might even be brave and go to a structured pool swim!

This weekend I’ve got my Mum and Dad staying and next weekend S and I are going away for a wee, well deserved if I do say so myself, break. I’m looking forward to both!

Life is pretty good at the moment – now if I could just master how to make the days about 4 hours longer so I could get a bit more sleep it’d be pretty perfect!

Not terrible but not perfect either

Day one of half marathon training / try not to panic at every opportunity before my triathlon at the weekend didn’t really go to plan.

Monday mornings usually start at the far too early time of 6am when I go for a swim in my gym pool – after the weekend I always find it very hard to get out of bed when my alarm goes off at 5am but once I’m in the pool I always feel better and my day / week seems better for getting back into the groove. Recently I’ve been swimming either half a mile or a full mile before work in readiness for my triathlon but also like I said, once I’m in the pool and I’ll be honest, once my hair is completely wet I tend to get into the swing of things, my lengths are over in no time, I feel that familiar gentle ache in my arms which tells me I’ve pushed myself, I’m wide awake for work and I’ve bagged a workout before most people have pressed snooze!

Anyway – to cut a long story short I arrived at the gym to find out that the pool was closed – apparently the glass door of the sauna smashed and glass went everywhere including into the pool itself so it needs to be thoroughly cleaned and signed off by Health and Safety before it can open again. At first I was a bit annoyed about the pool being closed but then again I’d rather miss a swim than end up with a cut foot etc (although the way I’m feeling about my triathlon at the moment it’d be a great ‘excuse’ to back out! :-P)

I also usually have some form of gym kit in my bag at any one time – gym kit for me tends to find its way everywhere, that seems to happen when you a) do as much training as I do and b) have a bit of a problem when it comes to buying said gym kit – my credit card winces whenever I log onto Wiggle! However, this time I only had my swim stuff with me so I ended up just showering and going into work earlier than usual for a Monday.

Not to be deterred I finished work for the day totally intending to do my planned run for the evening – until I get my time based plan from my tri coach I’ve decided to start the Hal Higdon course which called for 3 miles last night. Well, I got home to gale force winds and horizontal rain – there was absolutely no way I was going out for a run in that! Instead I hopped on the turbo trainer and did some cycling while watching House (my latest obsession) on Netflix.

All in all not a perfect start to my half training due to the fact that I didn’t actually run but I’m glad I got some kind of workout done – I’m the queen of making excuses as to why I don’t actually have to do something.

Tonight I have a PT session after work and I’m going to stay after that and get my missed run in – I don’t want to overdo it days before the triathlon but I’m conscious that I need to keep my legs turning over before Sunday too – depending on how tough my PT session is I’m aiming to do either a 2 mile or a 3 mile run. Like I said I want to keep my legs turning over for Sunday but I don’t want to fatigue myself in the pursuit of a race that is weeks and months away.