Outlaw ‘Iron Distance’ Triathlon 2012

At 6am I entered the water to begin the day that had really started 7 months ago – the 5th of December was when training started in earnest (I seem to recall with a rest day, as all good training plans should).

When I entered this event towards the end of 2011, I was firmly starring the swim cut-off, 2 hours, in the face, I hadn’t cycled anything over 60 miles and my only attempt at cycling 80 miles had ended in disaster. Easy peasy then.

The day before I had ventured down to registration and had my first sighting of the lake. I would say I saw the turn around point 1.2 miles away but I didn’t. There was the slight issue of the curvature of the Earth being in the way. It just went on and on and on. After registering, I racked ‘Barney’ Ribble and prayed that my back and neck problems that had hindered my last month of training wouldn’t repeat themselves after all the rest.

The Swim – 2.4 Miles

I sneakily conjured up a plan to join on the back of the Pen 2 swimmers (Pen 1 was sub 60 mins, 2 was 60-80 mins, 3 was 80-100 mins & 4 was 100 mins+). I really should have been with 3, and perhaps even 4. My logic was though that Pen 2 had a slightly straighter swim and they’d soon be off into the distance leaving me a clear swim.

Any nerves couldn’t have time to come as I was too busy talking to Des about a rip in his wetsuit and what effect it would have on his swim. We parted to find some space, wishing each other the best of luck. Fortunately he was to get through the swim with no problems.

The swim was busy but not competitive. There were a few flailing arms, but no punches or unsavoury kicks, just everyone in the same boat attempting to find some space. What did happen though was the swim went on forever and ever. We approached a yellow buoy and I thought this must be the turning round point, but alas no. We just kept going and going. When we did finally reach the turn-around point I did wonder if I should just drop out after the swim, thats how tiring it was.

The return journey seemed quite a bit easier as I think the swimmers had finally spread out a little. I had been warned from swimmers the day before that the distance signs on the waters edge were still in place for rowers and bear no resemblence to the distance we had left to swim. That little nugget of information from Razor really was a life safer. Anyway, an uneventful swim back resulted in me exiting the water in 1hr 32mins. Best predicted time prior to the event was 1hr 30, with a more realistic aim of 1hr 40m being my goal, I was delighted with that time.

Transition 1 – Swim to Bike

I had no plans to rush this. I was going to take my time and get everything right. I was also prepared to slow down further today with the gained time from the swim. I dried and then put on my cycling gear. Upon exiting the tent I spotted the portaloo so quickly dashed into the toilet. Upon exiting I ran straight into the guy doing the commentary. A massive cheer from the Pirate supporters and any worries about trying to find my bike quickly vanished with just a handful of bikes left in transition!

The Bike – 112 Miles

Setting off round the lake, I went past plenty of pirate support and then saw Rox and John (@OgdenRunner) with a home made banner of ‘Ride, Plastic, Ride’.

Two tight corners at the end of the lake and my back wheel skidded out on each one. I cycled back to the start to find a track pump to do up my tyre, praying it had just somehow deflated whilst sitting in transition. Adding about 10 minutes to my time at the start of the cycle wasn’t the start I was looking for or needed.

The first 30 miles flew by and everything was fantastic. The Garmin had been hard reset due to a software fault weeks before and I’d forgotten to set the stats back up properly so couldn’t accurately determine my pace. I knew though I was going pretty well by the occasional glance of the ‘current pace’ time. But it was a lonely ride, I wasn’t doing any overtaking and plenty of people were streaming past me.

On the first loop we turned. Into headwind. And it knocked me for 6. This headwind was to effectively stay now for the majority of the next 60-70 miles. And I really struggled in it. I think this was partly due to a lack of bike training in the past month due my shoulder and neck injuries. Soon I was having to calculate what speed to do to make the bike cut-off time of 10 hours.

At around Mile 60 there were another couple of tight corners and again I felt my back wheel slide out. Finally I had to admit defeat and stop and change the inner tube. Getting back going again the next 5 miles felt quite a bit easier, presumably due to the better roll of the rear wheel, but that soon went as more headwinds came, along with rain and a small hailstorm. The Pirate feed-station and the amazing support scattered around the course really helped lift spirits and it was around Mile 85 when I was at my darkest moments.

Around this point I got chatting to a girl who said she had considered dropping out at Mile 40. She was planning on walking the marathon if she made it back. Like her I was also debating how the run would go after the battering my legs had taken on the bike. Every now and then I’d glance down at my Garmin and the miles just hadn’t clocked over. The last 10 miles took forever.

As I approached T2 a massive cheer from the Pirates support went up again. I think I told the person I passed my bike to that they could put it on eBay as I never wanted to see it again. The bike had taken 7hr 52m and had broken me. Completely.

T2 – Bike to Run

Again, a full change of clothes was happening here. What was funny was 2 young lads who were helping marshall in the tent were asking me loads of questions. They were asking how many gels I’d had, etc… They then asked how it felt to win the race? They seriously thought I had finished and had won! I felt sorry breaking the news to them, telling them I was nearer the back than the front. Still they wished me luck for the next bit and probably went off a bit disappointed.

Through T2 in 7:24.

The Run – 26.2 Miles

After getting rid of the bike and having the weight of any mechanical issues being lifted from my mind I felt much happier. I received quite a few shouts of fantastic pace, and cracking running. Looking down at my Garmin I was on for an 8 minute first mile. I thought I’d better slow things down a little. My plan was to run for the first half and then hold out for everything I could. I was going to aim for 10 minute miling, but ultimately take anything that came along.

Things were going well, and then at around Mile 10 the wheels came off big time. I felt very feint, was blacking out and couldn’t walk straight. I presume this is the wall that people talk of, or ‘bonking’. I’d just passed a feed-station and didn’t have the enthusiasm to walk the 0.5 mile back to it. Instead I walked around to the next one. Fortunately Rox was on the side for the final 0.5 mile and managed to talk me to it.

When arriving I ate and drank everything they had on offer – 5 Jaffa Cakes, Salted crisps, High5 drink, some Coca Cola and some water. I instantly felt much better, but made a concious decision at that point to finish and ignore any time targets. The remaining 14 or so miles turned very much into a run/walk strategy with the emphasis being on walking. I also made sure I ate at every one of the magnificent feed stations on the course.

Passing so many pirates made the run section go so much faster than a normal race. Even the lead lady (a pirate) gave a shout out to me. How someone can be laying everything on the line to win a race and still shout out encouragement is beyond me, but goes to show what a fantastic sport and community triathlon is. Fantastic congratulations to @emmasnews and thank you so much for your little cheer.

As I passed the finishers chute for the last time, the commentator came over again and asked how many laps I had left to go. All I could hear was support from the grandstand and I came close to welling up. That last out and back loop was quite a lonely run, but the support between the competitors was growing as everyone was in the same boat. I passed @Sidowski for the 2nd time in exactly the same place as the lap before so we were at least keeping a consistent pace on the run! @paintedrunner went by, but I didn’t realise it was her until it was too late.

On the way back I stopped to thank all the people at the feedstations for their fantastic support and efforts throughout the day. At Mile 25, Rox ran the last mile with me to the finishers chute. I crossed the line to the words of ‘Gregor… You are an…. Outlaw’.

Run time of 5hr 42m.

Overall Time of 15hrs 24 mins, which I’m delighted with. I thought I had a slim chance at going sub 14 hours if things went very well on the day, but alas a slight lack of cycling fitness, coupled with punctures and conditions more than just put pay to that. I think I could make a marked improvement to my run time though, as I feel that I suffered mentally during this section rather than physically, as per my 1st 2 marathons.

Plenty of lessons learnt. I plan to return to Iron distance but not in the immediate future. I have some other plans that I’ll reveal after a long recovery period. I think I’ve learnt though that the key to Ironman really is the bike. I can get to about 60-70 miles before losing the will to live on the bike. To be able to ‘race’ it, you need to know you can do 100 miles before that feeling sets in.

The other thing I’ve learnt is the power of support and what a fantastic community triathlon is. For a better written report of the wonderful support triathletes provide to each other, along with their supporters, see Sidowskis report of the day. Without the pirate support I suspect I wouldn’t have made it to the finish – so thank you to each and every single one of you. And thank you to all the non-pirate supporters out there too, along with every other competitor who towed the start line at 6am. Your support throughout the day was amazing. I can’t wait to return the favour.

Photos are thanks to John (@OgdenRunner).

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Outlaw Training – Number Crunching

I did this little process just before Edinburgh Marathon last year as an exercise to try and instil a little bit of confidence as doubts started to settle in as to whether I could reach my goal.

Basically I look at the training plan and look at the total sessions that should have happened. I then look at the actual training and compare these totals, week-by-week and ultimately the grand total overall. For the marathon, I compared weekly mileage totals. For Outlaw I’ve focused in on training hours in each of the disciplines.

I’ve also got some little bits of information that I gathered over the past 30 weeks which are relevant to next weeks race, and I’ll be highlighting them here for either (a) the benefit of others, or (b) for others to let me know that they’re not as important and contribute some other ideas / pointers.

Swim

My swimming was near-on awful last year. I have to keep reminding myself where I’ve come from. In January 2011 I couldn’t swim a length of front crawl. I’m still not sure I can swim front-crawl now, but have proved I can swim at least 2 miles doing something resembling front-crawl.

My time at the Great East Swim 2 Mile (1hr 26m) was a little slower than expected compared to pool based times. There are a couple of potential reasons as to why. Firstly, the conditions weren’t ideal – there was a slight chop in the water and the wind was certainly prevalent. Also at one point I was drafting in quite nicely and then realised these people had gone pretty wide on one of the buoys. I need to hone my sighting skills and not got drawn into my own little world.

I think I’ve taken around 7 minutes off my pool based mile time this year, and if I could replicate that performance in Open Water, then my estimated time for 2.4 mile swim for Outlaw would be around in the region of 90 minutes, which would be fantastic. My Great Swim time indicates it to be closer to 1 hour 45 mins, which would still be good, but not fantastic.

This weekend will see me return to a lake I swam in last year to do a true comparison of split times. Hopefully this will indicate a time nearer to 90 minutes!

As for the training, well slightly difficult to judge. Fink swim sets were notoriously difficult to fit into the planned timescales. I’m down approximately 10 hours (or 13%) from the planned training.

I’ve been told that the lake at Outlaw is huge. Its a single up-down lap of it, so 1900m up, to then come straight back down. I’ve been warned that standing there and seeing the vastness will immediately cast doubt in the mind.

Bike

The main focus of my training attention. I’ve been told that mastering the bike is the easiest way to break the Ironman. I’m pleased to see that I’m some 45 hours up on the training schedule for the bike (or a whopping 43%).

A number of concerns still exist though:

  • Back/Neck pain. Nothing more I can do now. I’m not cycling again until the event to give it the best chance of recovery. I’m also planning on taking Ibuprofen in the hope it’ll do something to alleviate some pain.
  • Speed. My average speed has been around 15mph for my long rides, which is just good enough to avoid the cut-off. Outlaw has a reputation for being fast, so hopefully that will increase slightly on the day.
  • Punctures / Mechanical. I’ve practiced changing a puncture countless times, but I’m still pretty crap at it. A mechanical issue on the bike terrifies me.

I’ve also been advised that because of the taper, my legs will feel amazing on the bike. I need to be really careful not to overdo it for the first 30 miles and settle into a nice gentle rhythm.

Run

Surprisingly my running training matched the scheduled planned time exactly. I thought I had neglected running over the other 2 disciplines.

Apparently there is no such thing as a bad run in Ironman, just a bad bike and swim rendering the run to fail due to over use of energy and poor nutrition. I’ve also been informed that at this point of the day its as much (if not more so) a mental challenge rather than physical.

Final Week Training

So that is it effectively. The main focus is on rest and keeping things ticking over. An OW swim to compare lap times tomorrow. Another couple of swims next week to keep things ticking over, and a few very gentle runs. No bike miles, with the exception of a quick spin to make sure everything is working.

Weeks 26 and 27 In Review

Before going through the boring stats (which are mainly for my use and reference), a little update on the bike situation.

We’ve discovered that the top tube is too long for me. According to some online calculators I should be riding a total top tube of 61-63cm (top tube + stem). The top tube on my bike is 56.3cm, leaving room for a 5-7cm stem! The shorter the stem, the more ‘twitchy’ the steering apparently. Things have been moving in the right direction over the past month – with me moving from an 11cm stem down to 9cm, but ultimately not far enough yet. As I type I’m waiting for a 60mm stem to turn up to see whether I can actually steer it or not.

Ultimately a new bike is required but its far too close to Outlaw and this is desperate times. Hopefully the 60mm stem works out, and then bike shopping can commence after Outlaw. I’m also regretting not paying for next day delivery. As luck would have it every time I’ve ordered from this particular website the goods have turned up virtually the next day – of course with the exception of this order which I really need!

Week 26 Reviewed

I had planned to get in 3 swim sessions (done), 5 cycles (managed 3) and 3 runs (managed 2). I had to throw in an additional rest day. I think at this stage in training my body is now on its last legs and desperate for the taper. A mini victory of 3 laps of the open water swim course. There is some debate of whether the loop is 800m, 850m or 900m. I started erring on the side of caution, so this means 1.5 miles swum, or if 900m is to be believed its much closer to the 2 mile marker. I’m also starting to feel a little faster in the water, and the wetsuit isn’t nearly as hard work as it was 3 weeks ago. I think the 3 laps took just shy of an hour.

The only other significant event from the week was the KiloToGo sportive which was aimed at beginners. I’d only really signed up to give some motivation to Rox to get her out on her bike. However with rain and wind coming in all directions Rox very wisely side-stepped the event. I though was an idiot and went along. It was a 42 mile ride, and after 30 miles I was soaked through and freezing. And they saved all the hills for the final 10 miles.

Totals:
Swim (3 sessions, 5.6km, ~2hr 20m)
Bike (3 sessions, 82 miles, 6hr 36m)
Run (2 sessions, 16.75 miles, 2hr 46m)
Total Time: 11 hours 02 mins

Week 27 Reviewed

This week isn’t completely finished. It should be finishing the ‘training’ part of the plan with a 80 mile bike ride, but due to the non-arrival of my stem I’m delaying that ride due to not wanting to increase any back pain. I’m also at this stage thinking of just missing the ride altogether and just attaching a little extra onto each of the rides left, erring on the side of caution with energy use.

This week didn’t really have a plan as I was on holiday from work so the weeks structure completely changed. What I did plan to do was take a slight rest from the bike whilst the problems were being ironed out.

Totals (with 1 brick session to come – gym based spinning bike followed by 15 min run which will happen tomorrow):
Swim (3 sessions, 3.36 miles, ~2 hours)
Bike (1 session, 20 miles, 1hr 22)
Run (2 session, 24.21 miles, 3hr 57m)
Total Time: 7hr 19m (+ 1hr 30m tomorrow)

Week 28 In Planning

This week concludes with a 2 mile swim ‘race’. I’m using this to gauge the pace I’ll be swimming at Outlaw in 3 weeks time. The long bike will be pushed back to Tuesday as I’m off work and saves transporting the bike to the event. Sunday and Monday will probably be used as rest days.

Day AM Lunch PM
Mon
Tue Pool Swim Cycle Home
Wed OW Swim (2 laps) Run – 13 Miles
Thu Cycle to Work Cycle Home
Fri OW Swim – 2 laps Cycle Home + Brick
Sat Great East 2 Mile Swim Short Run
Sun

Where Have I Been (Or Week 25 In Review / Week 26 being Planned)

So my last blog post was about the planned training for Week 21. Having just checked the training plan, I now find myself concluding week 25.

I didn’t realised it had been so long since I last blogged. Unfortunately the end of my 1st year being a student brought about quite a few deadlines, coinciding with a busy period at work, it turned out in order to keep training, blogging had to take a back seat. But I’m glad I kept the training up. Quite a bit has happened, so I’ll summarise briefly here:

  • Back problems on the bike. I’ve been suffering really bad pain in my back after about 40 miles on the bike. I eliminated the tri-bars that had been fitted. Turns out the bike is marginally to big for me – its a 58cm frame, and I’m bang on the money for a 56cm. However, I’ve been for a professional bike fit to try and solve the problem – and the fitter seemed confident his changes should help out. Since having the bike fit though, I’ve consistently been 5 minutes quicker on my commute into work.
  • Half Ironman Race – I took part in an unofficial half iron distance race in Macclesfield last weekend. It really was excellent. With just 5 of us doing it on the Saturday, and then a further 6 taking part on the Sunday. A pool based swim of just over 40 minutes (thanks to quite a bit of drafting), a 3hr 20 something bike split being far faster than expected, and then a 2hr 10 half marathon on the end and feeling fairly fresh was just what the doctor ordered.

    Full Times:
    Swim : 40m 42s
    T1: 8m 14s
    Bike: 3hrs 22m 52s
    T2: 3m 01s
    Run: 2hrs 7m 53s
    Total: 6hrs 22m 43s

  • As a warm down from the half ironman, I did the Great Manchester Run (again!) and got round in 58m 51s, pacing Rox to a sub-1hr 10k for the 1st time. Well done Rox!
  • I’ve also run the Greenway Half Marathon in 1hr 43m 49s
  • I’ve also made a return to Open Water swimming! Woo hoo!

Previous Training

Week 21

Total Sessions : 9
Swim (2 sessions) 1.62 Miles, 1hr 20m
Bike (4 sessions) 68.37 Miles, 4hr 39m
Run (3 sessions) 20.48 Miles, 3hr 13m

Week 22

Total Sessions: 5
Swim (1 session) 0.5 Mile, 20 mins
Bike (2 sessions) 95.32 Miles, 6hrs 32m
Run (2 sessions) 14.49 Miles, 2hrs 7m

Week 23

Total Sessions: 4
Swim (1 session) 1 Mile, 50 mins
Bike (2 session) 62.5 Miles, 4hr 1m
Run (1 session) 4 Miles, 39 mins

Week 24

Total Sessions: 8
Swim (3 sessions), 2.52 Miles, 1hr 44m
Bike (2 sessions), 136.39 Miles, 9hrs 28m
Run (3 sessions), 30.49 Miles, 4hrs 52m

So, a big hiccup in Weeks 22 and 23, when I was particularly snowed under. Hopefully nothing else to effect me.

Ongoing and Planned Training

Week 25 (Done)

Day AM Lunch PM
Mon
Tue Cycle Commute (20 miles) (done)
Wed OW Swim (1 Mile) (done) Long Run – 16 Miles (Done – 18 miles)
Thu
Fri Cycle Commute (20 miles) (done) Pool Swim (0.5 Mile) – done
Sat OW Swim (1 done)
Sun Long Bike – 100 miles (done)

In Summary:
Total sessions: 7
Swim: 3 sessions, 2.68 Miles, 2 hours
Bike: 3 sessions, 139.72 Miles, 9 hours 50 mins
Run: 1 session, 18 miles, 3hrs 12 mins

Week 26 in Planning

Day AM Lunch PM
Mon
Tue Cycle Commute (20 Miles) Lunch Run
Wed OW Swim (1 Mile) 18 Mile Run
Thu Cycle Commute (20 miles) Lunch Swim (0.5 mile)
Fri Cycle Commute (20 miles)   Cycle Commute (20 miles) + Short Brick
Sat OW Swim (1.5 – 2 miles?)    
Sun KiloToGo 42 Mile Sportive    

Week 20 Done, Week 21 in Planning

Week 20 Reviewed (plus 2/3 of the training plan done!)

So Week 20 ended. And so did the ‘Build’ phase of the training programme. Next commences the ‘Peak’ phase and the final preparations for Outlaw. The nerves are really starting to kick in now… but more of that later.

Week 20 was a fair week. A very gentle brick session on Monday due to the excesses of the 10k race the day before, followed by what I thought was a 3k swim on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately I relied on my watch to count for me and the lap button inadvertedly  recorded itself being pressed twice instead of once on a couple of occasions – turned out the 3k was in actual facts only 2.7k – but still my longest swim yet.

A long run, with little nutrition, of 16 miles was very character building on Wednesday night – primarily due to it lashing it down for the 2.5 hours I was out running for.

My first sports massage for a couple of years proved very painful, but ultimately very good. I did have intentions of going swimming Thursday night, but alas the sports massage put pay to that. After that, Friday morning saw a return to the bike and coupled with the sports massage no major back problems to report.

Sunday unfortunately saw a return of the back pain whilst on the long ride. The planned 60 miler was cut short to 50 miles, but a moment of revelation hit me and I’ve now made a link between my back pain and the aero bars. Suspect the short-term fix will be to remove the aero bars and prove that my back pain clears up completely. After a couple of weeks I’ll look into how to fit them again (properly!) and take it from there!

Weekly Stats Summary: S – 1.68 miles (1hr 04m), B – 91.32 miles (6hr 24m), R – 20.68M (4hrs 27m) Total: 113.7 (11hr 55m)

Week 21 in Planning

This week sees my first Sprint Tri of the season. It’ll be interesting to see if I’ve actually made any progress! Unfortunately its not a course I’ve done before, and I think the bike split is slightly longer than the splits I’ve done previously – but still should be able to compare avg speeds etc. Ideally I’d like to take a rest day before hand, but I also really need to get long miles in on the bike for Outlaw and that is the priority.

Other than that, a priority for the week will be to get a 3k swim under my belt, and also to remove my aero bars and clean my bike!

Day AM Lunch PM
Mon Brick
Tue 3k Swim 45m Lunch Run
Wed Cycle to Work Long Run (13 Miles)
Thu Cycle to Work Swim
Fri Cycle to Work Gentle Swim
Sat Long Bike – 4 Hrs
Sun Sprint Tri

Week 19 Reviewed / Week 20 Planned

Week 19 Reviewed

The worst week thus far, and by far. After the 130 mile sportive on last Saturday my neck was sore and causing some grief. I put this down to muscle development and strain from the additional miles. After taking an extra rest day I cracked on and managed to keep most sessions for the week (missing one swim session). Unfortunately on the 2nd cycle to work it became clear something wasn’t quite right and thus I had to take more time out. I decided to rest this past weekend to see if it would clear, but very little progress up to now.

The good news is that my running and swimming are relatively unaffected. The bad news is that it is my cycling that requires the greatest training. To end on a good point I think I’ve got to the bottom of the issue, and it being a poor cycling helmet fit. My bike fit has been analysed by a tooth-comb (well, tape measure) and seems to be good. To aid cycling in the short term, the handlebars have been raised a little.

The week in summary – 1xSwim (1 mile, 50 minutes), Bike (39 miles, 2hrs 40m), Run (25 miles, 4 hours).

Hertford 10k Race Report

The end of week 19 also saw my first race of the season – a 10k in Hertford. Having done virtually no speedwork and all running having been enduranced based, I had no idea how to approach this race. I looked at my PB splits from last year and decided I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near them.

So I set off aiming for a sub-50 minute 10k, and after the first 3 miles debated whether I’d even manage that. Fortunately my legs seemed to warm up at that point and I felt pretty good, just in time for the big hill at the end that I only got told about just before the starters horn.

A time of 48 mins and 48 seconds saw me come 92nd overall. Better news was some of the girls that I go running with who posted times fractionally outside the hour – so on a more PB friendly course would certainly go sub-60. And congratulations to Jo who won the ladies race overall.

IMAG0666

Week 20 Planned

With my neck / back still not being right, there is a physio appointment set-up for later this week. I’m anxious to get back on the bike though, but ultimately if its too painful I may have to seek to drop the cycling and get other training in. The rough plan for this week is:

  AM Lunch PM
Mon     Spinning (attempt!)
Tue Swim – 2.5k   Run – Running Club?
Wed Cycle to Work   Long Run – 15 Miles
Thur Cycle to Work   Swim Club
Fri Technical Swim Short Run  
Sat Long Cycle – 4 Hours    
Sun Rest Rest Rest

Outlaw Training Week 18 Reviewed / 19 Planned

Week 18 Done

A big week this one.

Sunday saw a big brick session. This weekend according to the training plan was meant to be an Olympic distance race, but I couldn’t find one at this time of year to enter. It all clashed with a cycling event this weekend, so it got moved a week forward. I did originally start with plans to head to the swimming pool and do an actual triathlon, but that seemed like too much hassle. Instead I went for a 48 mile cycle, going fairly hard, and then running 7.75 miles off the bike at more or less my planned Outlaw pace.

Monday saw some tired legs, so decided to take an extra rest day.

Tuesday I woke late, and thus the swimming session had to be done at lunch time. I always struggle to get the distance in at lunch time, and with it being the Easter holidays the pool was rammed. I did think about leaving after 400m, but somehow managed to swim 2k. The evening saw a return to the running club for some 400m reps, totalling 5.5 miles.

Wednesday I cycled to work (20 miles), and then got dropped off half way home after work for a 10 mile run home. I hadn’t really eaten properly at work, and forgot my drink so this run was tough. I think there were still remains of the weekends brick session in my legs too.

Thursday I missed my cycle to work due to getting up late. However this swimming session at night was much better. 2k swam, but surprisingly the actually swim time was under 40 minutes. The session was 400m, 1 min rest, 2x200m with 45 secs rest, 4x100m with 30 secs rest with a final 8x50m with 15 secs rest, with the associated warm-up and down. I held my pace throughout, so I was quite delighted and swimming actually felt strong.

Friday was a rest day.

Saturday – Double Dutch Sportive – 210km

Today saw me hit quite a few firsts. My longest ride up to today had been 83 miles, so I finally got a century (100 miles) under my belt, quickly followed by 200k. The total ride for today was 130 miles, which also took me past the 1000 cycling miles for the year. Excluding stops for eating etc… my overall time seemed to be just under 9 hours, with an average pace just over 15mph. Happy days, especially considering the route was as close to the Outlaw course as possible. Quite a few lessons learnt though:

* 90 miles isn’t too bad, 130 is.
* I need some chamois cream or something.
* My Wiggle bib-shorts are excellent, and much better than my Aldi £12 leggings for long rides.
* The lads that I do these rides with are too good for me. Very polite and happy to wait, but ultimately far too fast!
* Running a marathon after 112 miles is going to be harder that I first thought. A run/walk strategy is almost certainly going to happen.

Totals for Week 18 – Swim 2.42 miles (~ 2 hours), Bike 198 miles (12 hrs 45m), Run 23.25 miles (4hrs)

Week 19 Planning

Day

AM

Lunch

PM

Sunday      
Monday Possible Bike Ride    
Tuesday Swim (2.5k)   Running Club (1 hour?)
Wednesday Cycle to Work (20 miles)   Long Run – 13 Miles
Thursday Cycle to Work
(20 miles)
  Swim – Drills
Friday   Run  
Saturday Cycle – 4 Hours    
Sunday Race – Hertford 10k