Firstly, and to put the rest of this post in perspective, I’m proud to announce that I’ve become a dad in the past 3 weeks! I really can’t describe how happy I am and the amazing impact its having on my life, even the sleepless nights. Proud to punch of both my wife and my baby daughter, Esme.
Removing my dad hat, and putting on my exercise hat, well, things probably aren’t quite as good! (That could be an under-statement!). With the imminent arrival I more or less hung up my trainers, cycling hat and swimwear, too paranoid to head anywhere without a phone in case that phone call came (along with being far away from the house). Esme then decided to enter the world 9 days late. Then the visitors, biscuits, cake and lack of sleep ensued.
Stevenage ‘End Of Summer’ Ride – 101km
Last Sunday (27th October) I found my cycling stuff and hoped the old adage of ‘You never forget how to ride a bike’ would hold true. Looking back now, I can see I hadn’t been out on my bike since end of August. I enthusiastically set off to Stevenage, not being clever enough to realise the stupidity in adding an extra 10 miles to the ride. The ride to Stevenage wasn’t awful, but I could feel that this was going to be a long day.
We set off and I was immediately struggling to hold the pace of those guys who had been out in the bad weather, putting in the training miles. A few punctures (not to me!) allowed me to carry on cycling while the group sorted them. Getting to Saffron Walden, the furthest point from home, my legs were dead. Then ensued the longest, slowest and least enjoyable ride I’ve been on for a long time.
The guys I was cycling with were great, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty about them having to ride at snails pace for me. At the final check-point I told them to carry on, and they reluctantly did. Getting to Weston I had the choice to finish the ride by cycling another 10 miles to Stevenage (and then 10 miles back home) or just turning off the course and heading home. Needless to say I headed home!
I’ll be using this race number as a bit of winter motivation. But more on this later.
Stevenage Half Marathon (3rd November)
After last weeks disaster, I wasn’t really looking forward to this. I’d managed 2 runs during the week and then missed FSOTM 5k due to a sleepless baby on Friday night! Add to that waking up with what appeared to be the start of a cold – which is now in full flow
Meeting with Sogs and Chris, I was feeling less than confident. I’d looked at last years time, when I’d also been undertrained, so figured that would do as a target. 1hr 49m then – full in the knowledge I’d be happy to drop that pace off to finish in sub 2hr if required – half expecting it to happen.
The 1st mile went without incident, and then the 2nd mile was a gentle rise, and it hurt! At 2.5 miles I had to stop and use the facilities at Costellos Cafe and at that point I knew I was in for a long day. A decision was made to just try and enjoy it as best I could, whilst also fighting thoughts of dropping out at the half way point (the course is a 2 lap route). Every slight incline after that became a battle, and whilst on the flat I felt I was running pretty fast only to see slow split times on my Garmin. Did the obligatory sprint round the running track – although even that was substantially slower than last year!
Completing in 2 hours and 6 minutes, some 24 minutes down on my half marathon PB (also set at Stevenage) shows plenty of work needs doing. I’m adding this race alongside the memory bank of Stevenage cycling of the previous week.
So Where Now?
Exercise obviously isn’t, and hasn’t been, a priority in my life for the past year, and that’s not likely to change (for very good reason!). I’m earmarking lunchtimes for good running sessions – where I need to get some real quality in, rather than just plodding out miles. So each week will see an intervals and a hill sessions. I’m also semi hoping to continue my cycles over to Wimpole Park Run 5k each Saturday, but this will be dependent on Esme and sleep. A long run on a Sunday probably also needs to become a staple part of the week.
Ultimately this means my triathlon is going to really suffer. Its looking likely that it’ll be 1 swim session and 1 occasional cycle (Saturdays) of 30 miles will happen. Perhaps I’ll find a window for some turbo sessions on the bike later in the year.
Anyway, this new fitness regime starts today. And in keeping with all good training plans, it begins with a rest day. And time with my daughter.