9 weeks to go: Turbo, long run, and a proper sea swim

I’ve adapted my plan and with the help of the Turbo and Zwift, I’m still keeping the Ironman goal in mind.

I’m trying to focus on what I am doing – and not what I’m not doing/or haven’t done. The positives are plenty this week.  I’m really glad to be back swimming properly, albeit slowly.  I’ve also managed some running sling-free but had to keep the sling on for a long off-road run, and I’m covering some ground on the Turbo, ticking off eight sweaty spin hours this week.

The week has gone very quickly and today’s post is a shorter one. I last blogged midway through this week, having already completed Monday and Tuesday’s turbo sessions using Zwift and I’d got back in the pool and sort of swum for 750M.

On Wednesday morning I got straight on the bike and did Marianne’s session, switching between the heavier gear and 65RPM and easier gear and 85RPM. This was followed by the prescribed brick run, which was 10K easy, moderate, harder in 10 minute blocks (roughly). I finished the last block with a sub 7.30 mile, which felt like progress with my sling (I was in and out of the sling). Thursday was a day off, but Ciara and I went for a late session at the pool, and I did fit in an easy swim and managed 600M full crawl stroke and another 600 or so of drills.

Getting Turbo Tough

By Friday I was ready to go again and did my planned long bike ride (I’d swapped from long run to long bike due to the weather), followed by an hour brick run. The ride was on the turbo and was broken up as one  hour continous, then 10 minutes on a Zwift route which I abandoned as I found it very dull, followed finally by an uninterrupted 2’10 sweet spot training session with long bouts in the tuck position on my TT bike.

Innsbruck, a tiny corner of my living room… who cares it’s a workout!

On Saturday, I was back on the bike again! See below… Trying to convince myself it was fun. After the ride I went for a sea swim, and it was blissful to be able to swim continuously for 1500M. I didn’t have a wetsuit because the logistics of getting it on and off, well, I didn’t want to go there, so I was in my Zone 3 two-piece. After 35 minutes I was feeling cold, but, it was a double celebration as I had wanted to see what I could do without (well almost without) a wetsuit. After Saturday’s training I had a lovely lunch at the Hospital Club with my very old friend, Sarah (i.e. we’ve been friends a long time, she’s not a pensioner). My shoulder ached a lot as I made my way though the crowds of Covent Garden, and I was happy to have an early night on Saturday.

Sunday was long run day! And it was a slow start. The good thing is I had my sister and niece coming to visit, so I had a deadline. But I did manage a good hour of procrastination.

Procrastination… Guilty, but reading Eat that Frog (check it out)

The Long Run

The run was hard work. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone long, or off-road, and it’s true with running, if you do’t use it, you lose it! My shoulder was achy so sling-free wasn’t really an option. I’d decided to go off-road, and hadn’t really thought about the one-armed affect when negotiating flint paths, and hills. In the woods, I was looking down at branches and potential trip hazards and as I hadn’t seen where I was going, I got properly lost. The map looked like one you’d see on Bear Grill’s The Island, when the contestants take completely the wrong route in search of the sea!

 

We’re going on a bear hunt!

I also did a cow-avoidance diversion (regular for me on long runs). They were assembled in the middle of a path in the field to Ditchling. Some mountain bikers ahead had gone right through them, so I braced myself. I stopped running as I got close and I even said hello! But one of them was ‘staring me out’ and I decided to say goodbye and then take the longer, steeper route in the field. I need to deal with my cow phobia. The run continued on the South Downs Way, the lovely bit between Ditchling Beacon and Devil’s Dyke. However, on reaching the A23 path, and the hills to take me the Dyke, I decided to take the flatter path to home as my shoulder was fed up wit the hills. So the last five miles of my run were alongside a motorway – I genuinely wouldn’t have been surprised if someone reported mad woman seen alongside motorway with sling on the news. However, I reminded myself that the mentally challenging sessions (turob, motorway runs) are all good mind-training for the day long IM coming up in eight weeks time!

Losing my marbles (and Tri accessories)

I’m writing this at the start of Week eight. Virtually every day I have to spend 20 minutes searching for some missing piece of equipment (goggles, floats, cossie, heart rate monitor, watch etc.). Today, the missing piece is the long bit that attaches the Chill Swim bag to me! And so another week starts….

 

10 Weeks To Go: Triathlon Training After Surgery

Sunday 29th July to Tuesday August 7th: the 10 and some of nine week countdown: Triathlon Training After Surgery starts on the Turbo

I left off the last blog post on Saturday – it feels like a long nine days, but lots of progress has been made.  I was still wearing the horrible post-op dressing, and only sleeping on one side, propped up by pillows. Now I’m dressing-free (well I’m wearing a plaster because the scar is ugly!) and able to sleep on whatever side I like.

 

A week is a long time in recovery

I kicked off triathlon training after surgery with a turbo bike on Sunday and a turbo, brick session on the treadmill (with sling) on Monday.  On Tuesday I endured a painful (and slow) 11-mile seafront run with my sling. It’s amazing how much work the other arm was doing! On Wednesday I combined picking up my son from work with another sling-run. It was hot, I was not.  But it was a few more miles ticked off. On Wednesday night Chris brought the Tacx Turbo trainer over  – a new way to train.

On Thursday morning I spent at least an hour reviving my old Apple Mac with its big screen, downloading Zwift and turning the wheels on the bike to get set up for Turbo training at home.  A full day in London with lots of walking and hot tube travel put paid to training and I had a day off.

On Friday I felt deflated and down! I trained on the turbo for 1 hour 37 minutes, leaning on my sweaty pillow, but faffed about trying to get connections for a lot longer. With the help of Facebook Friends (thank you to The Tri Store’s all-round guru, Simon Underwood) I realised I had over-used my Bluetooth connections – and I needed to calibrate my bike with Zwift and Tacx. Zwift will not connect to my Garmin Heart Rate monitor, my Garmin Edge and the Tacx. Someone else suggested I bin Barcelona and start again next year – and on Friday that’s what I felt like doing.

Tech Trouble (not good for an inpatient woman)

I’m not patient! Saturday morning was also frustrating in terms of connections and set up, but I stuck with it and  did two hours on the turbo broken up as a 45-minute FTP test, two other stop/start blocks and in the evening a 30-minute spin.

With Pride on in Brighton I wanted to watch the parade so decided to combine a walk/sling run with watching the parade (amazing). I weaved my way through the crowds, stopping and starting, and got very hot. And on a whim decided to try the sea. The lifeguard looked after my phone and I got into the sea in my running gear, not sure what to expect. It was blissful, I felt the healing qualities immediately and decided to have a go at one-armed swimming, then breast-stroke, then a few full strokes. I ran home and did my final spin and felt happy to have got three hours training ticked off for the day. It was disjointed, it wasn’t partially high quality, but it felt like progress.

On Sunday, best-laid plans went out the window again in the morning and Chris and I lazed in the garden drinking coffee. We finally got out in the afternoon and managed a 10K at around 9.15 pace, which felt better than my slog of earlier in the week. I ran some of this sling-free, but when the aching started I put it back on. After this, we had another sea swim, a little further this time, and a few more full strokes. And after this we saw Chic playing at the final Pride event in my local park! Brilliant!

To Race or not to Race?

The decision as to whether I race or not won’t be made until August 23rd. At the moment almost normal services have resumed, but this is an Ironman and my bike training is lacking. I’m trying to ignore looking at what others are doing or have done on Strava and the like. I don’t need reminding that volume is low, but at the same time, I’m still enjoying doing what I can do, and the small conquests along the way.  The timing of my accident was bad. August and September were/are set to be the peak training for Barcelona. This is when I expected to be doing 20-hour weeks, but with the turbo for bike training, that’s a little harder (but not impossible) to achieve.

Zwift – We Have Contact (& a custom top)

I’m now halfway through the nine-week countdown. The week has started better. Chris set up Zwift with Ant so now bluetooth picks up my heart rate monitor. I’ve also calibrated my bike to Zwift. And I’ve managed two good sessions over the last two days and another swim, this time in the pool with my pull-bouy and float. I messed about for 28 minutes and covered around 750M.

I’ve unlocked the Zwift vest… I’m a bumble bee

My brilliant cousin, Patricia, from Sligo Kinesiology, in Ireland sent me some Kinesiology exercises to do, and I’ve got some resistance work (squats, lunges, core work) prescribed by Marianne – and in the day I’m mainly sling-free. I’m on the turbo without my sweaty pillow and think I’ll be back on the road again soon, in the tuck position on my time trial bike.

So for now I’m blocking out and not listening to the naysayers and being inspired by those who are just doing it.

Well done Joanne

The brilliant Joanne Smith, completed her first Ironman this weekend, with a number of health issues in the background, far more complicated than a broken bone.  Well done Joanne, inspirational – and I hope to share her story soon.

The journey continues…

Bad bandaging!

 

 

 

12 week countdown – The week that ended with another broken collarbone

The week: A long trip back from Ireland; working and interviewing; my son’s graduation from Newcastle university; hills on the TT; easy running; some great swim sets; and then falling off my bike at the Sussex CU 100-mile Time Trial and ending up with a broken collarbone. The twists and turns of my Ironman Journey!

A week is a long time in triathlon training! I finished last week’s blog on Monday as the boat pulled into Fishguard. We’d got up at 630am and were by home by 630pm, and I was determined to start the week with training and have no more days off so we headed out for a three and a half mile run, which I described on Strava as ‘sore legs, grumpy, tired’ – but I was glad I had done it.

On Tuesday I was up at 630am for a bike ride with Rachael and Catherine, I was still post-half IM weary and a bit behind the girls, and somehow managed to not attach my Garmin Edge properly so it flew off onto the grass verge! Another first on the TT, I managed to climb the hill to Devil’s Dyke – a demon dealt with but more bike demons to come!

On Wednesday I met Tori for a run. A fellow endurance woman, she had got up at 430am to go for a pre-run sea swim, I’d been tempted, but I knew I was too tired. We had a fantastic seafront easy 11.3 mile run and injected some pace from just beyond the pier, keeping around about 7.40 pace for just short of two miles. In the afternoon I went to the pool and was pleased to tick off my 3150M swim set, 5 x 400 varying paces, with 150 using paddles, and 200 warm up and cool down. After this I was tired!

Early starts and Spa

On Thursday I had 530am start and very slow 10K jog, then a trip to Newcastle for my son’s graduation (2.1 in History and Politics from Newcastle University – proud mother moment!). Again, I was tried but managed to keep going til 1230am. I had decided to let myself lie in at the hotel but did think I might run, but as it was I took the planned day off, other than swimming two lengths under water and racing Ciara my 17 year old daughter in the  10M ‘spa’ pool (she won)…. it’s a thing we like to do at a relaxing spa!

On Saturday, back in Brighton, it was the perfect day for a pre-race long swim. I met with Tori and two new friends and after much faffing with parking on my part we got in. One with a hangover, one sans wetsuit, me faffed… and off we went, once in the water we were flowing brilliantly, and we were all a similar pace – synchronised swimmers. It was a beautiful swim that covered the entire IM distance, including going quite far out and joining a group of stand up paddle boarders, around the West Pier. Thanks to Nicki for the fantastic pictures!

TIME TRIAL COURSE – G100/61: the next demon

I signed up for the  Southern Counties CU 100-mile Time Trial and had a sense trepidation and gut feeling that maybe it wasn’t right for me – or was that fear? I knew this was going to be way out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to try out the TT bike on a long ride, and to do the distance in race conditions without chats and stops for coffee. I did lots of research* but couldn’t get the course to download onto Garmin Edge (note if you’re doing it and find this I have a the course on Strava). Having spoken to the organiser I thought I could just make the cut off of six hours and decided that if I had to be pulled out /timing stop at 80 miles I could just add on the extra 20 myself. But having the time pressure was the thing that made me feel nervous about the whole event which had just 40 fast riders on the start sheet. I’d checked out results and knew I’d be last.

Another worry was that I’d be knackered, but I was really pleased when I woke up at 430am to feel fine. Chris and Tori decided to join me and do some laps, as well as manning the ‘fuel’ stop.

I had that feeling of being part of a different tribe at the start: lots of pointy helmets, and disc wheels, aero shoes and long socks! As I said I was out of my comfort zone and although I was vocalising how nervous I felt, I also had a knowing that as always I was actually fine, and I believed I would complete it and reminded myself how good that would feel. I followed the example of a woman ahead of me and chose not bother with the push off start. I didn’t think it would make much difference to me.

As expected the aero-dynamically dressed riders behind me soon overtook, but I was happy with the ride, and relaxed and the course which I’d been told was ‘horrific’ wasn’t at all bad, undulating and an A road, but with great weather and relatively empty roads, all was good. After two hours I had settled in to the pace of 17.5mph. I reckoned I was now last on the lap but didn’t mind and as I started the second lap I was confident I’d keep the pace for the whole distance which would get me comfortably under six hours. I felt good in the tuck position and started to relax thinking how good this was for Barcelona, and for practising nutrition etc… I managed to eat a cliff bar and drink. I was needing the loo and try as I might I have yet to master going on the bike! But I decided to wait until I had done three hours at 17.5mph before stopping.

Chris had leant me his aero helmet and it kept sliding to the front. It was large and I have a big head – but not hat big! I hadn’t put the visor down because I wanted to see where I was going on the first lap, but when I fly hit my eyeball I knew when the loo stop happened the visor would go down. I did decide adjusting the back dial to stop it sliding to the front was important and managed to get it fitting properly on the move. Thanks goodness I did!


Being new on the TT bike I was making sure I concentrated and didn’t get lost in working out sums about pace. I took care over potholes, and focussed ahead, but for what must have been seconds, I lost my concentration. As I headed down the A283 towards the  left turn I realised I’d over-reached. I saw the two yellow jackets of the  time-keepers who were pointing left and in a split second decided to try to take the corner, in the next split I knew I wasn’t going to make it and was now out of control, and fearful of what I might hit if I went too wide, in what was left of the second I made a decision to head for the grass (and the two timekeepers). I hadn’t see the gravel on the road, or the kerb, and of course it was all too late! Over the handlebars I went landing on my left side. The pain didn’t kick in at first but I instantly knew this wasn’t ‘a get back on my bike’ situation. I lay head down lamenting the fact that I was out of Barcelona, that I’ve spent so much money on it: race entry, travel, flights, reccey trip, new bike, coaching, new gym new clothes! On top of that there’s all the training and progress made. As I lay there one of the time-keepers asked if my collarbone was okay and I said, yes fine.  A few seconds later I moved and the pain kicked in. Ah, no it wasn’t okay! I knew it was broken having broken the right side back in December. I asked the guys to call an ambulance. I had some confusion at first wondering when I had broken my other collarbone – I couldn’t remember. But soon after I felt (relatively) normal. The paramedics could see straight way it was broken.

So, that’s it. I’m off for the operation tomorrow for another plate, completing the full Metal jacket! My ironman journey isn’t going to be as smooth as I hoped, but as someone on social media and my very wise 17 year old daughter simply said, everything happens for a reason.

Next steps

The positives are, that Chris is going to lend me his turbo, and I think I might get bike strong using that. I will get to run again, last time I ran after three days. My swimming had improved but that is obviously the biggest worry with just 11 weeks to go to Barcelona it’s going to be hard to get that back.

Patience is not one of my virtues, so it may be that I have to learn to have some, hold back and not push so hard? I’m inspired by Tim Don who came back to victory six months after breaking his neck, and Chrissie Wellington who was back on her turbo a day after breaking her collar bone but as a friend reminded me, we have very different lives and priorities. Setbacks will bring interesting lessons. I look forward to seeing what unravels.

 

*Check out this report: https://ridewriterepeat.com/2015/07/26/100-mile-time-trial-doing-things-i-thought-i-couldnt/

Endurance Women Stories: Fiona

This week I’ve been in contact with lots of brilliant women who’ve responded to my call out for Endurance Women stories. And their stories will be coming over the next few weeks.

Here’s my Endurance Woman Story

For me being an endurance women is in my DNA (literally), but it’s not just about sport, it’s about how I live my life. And that’s about getting the balance right: balancing doing what I love with the mundane stuff; working hard, and knowing when to rest; successful highs, boring plateaus – and thudding lows; PBs and PWs.

Yesterday morning I woke up to yet another headline about Britain being out of balance. Once again we’re called the ‘fat man’ of Europe. The Times report that ‘obesity rates have doubled in two decades, meaning that Britain is the sixth heaviest developed country, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), up from tenth two years ago.’

The health pendulum is swinging to less healthy and how we live our lives is making us fatter. Binge drinking from teenage years, sugary snacks in hospitals, children being kept in at playtime because it’s raining, huge portion sizes everywhere, and exercising only to solve a problem (i.e. get slim), not to enjoy for the sake of it.

As a child I loved sport, especially swimming. I was always outside, climbing trees, running about, fighting with my brothers, playing football (yes I was a Tomboy). I kept active and did sport because it was part of my DNA. As puberty hit, and puppy fat settled, I started to focus negative feelings about myself and insecurities on my body and, particularly on my weight. A sensitive kid, one comment about me being a ‘hefty’ girl when trying on my secondary school uniform sowed a seed. As hormones kicked in, and sensitivity became more like depression, I became obsessed with my weight and from the age of 15 to around 25 I battled with disordered eating, too much smoking and quite a lot of drinking.

Ironically, I stopped exercising in the difficult times (I think I did a Swimathon and a bit of aerobics in that time) and I turned my back on the thing I loved, not using exercise to control my weight, as many do. But as I recovered, being active was my refuge. Initially, it did start as solution to a problem (i.e. an easier way to control my big appetite), but if weight control had been my only motivation I wouldn’t have got very far. The more I moved, the more I started to remember and feel the joy of just doing it, of the freedom of exercise, and soon I remembered the real joy of racing (first experienced at Watford Swimming Club). Moving, motivating myself to get up and get out, setting new goals (other than weight) meant any feelings of depression were managed and neutralised. Activity is the best anti-depressant.

By the time my children arrived, I was exercising because I loved it. I cannot deny that I was also motivated to lose the baby fat, but exercise (back then aerobics) became part of our family routine, an hour at the creche whilst I did my aerobics, followed by the park and toddler groups. I did loads of walking and loved loved getting my babies out in the fresh air (and now they’re 17 and 21, I still do). With young children, I found running the most flexible way to train (no need to drive to a gym and get changed). In 1998, I decided I wanted to use my valuable time to inspire others, and earn money, and began the process of education needed to be a personal trainer. For the next 10 years I combined teaching fitness with journalism – all part of my ‘portfolio’ career.

As a mum and a gig economist, training (no longer exercise) became a key part to helping keep me focused and to continue to send out pitches and ideas, and work on new businesses. I’m very fortunate as I do have amazing stamina, which you need to juggle, kids, work, looking for work, doing lots of different projects at the same time, all with the ups and downs of day to day living and no job security.

Running and now triathlon have always been my way to stay positive, motivated, work hard, play hard – and I hope I’m inspiring others when I teach or write. I was born with endurance, but it’s very trainable and training can help anyone feel energised, keep going and, ironically, achieve a balance in life.

As well as physically being all out about endurance, I’m quite an extreme person, which in the past attracted me to the energy of start ups and long working hours – and like a magnet draws me to the challenge of an Ironman. I definitely don’t think that this is something everyone should do. In some ways I have to work harder to achieve balance as I’m prone to go one way or the other. And we live in a culture of extremes, with growing obesity at one end, obsessive exercisers and endurance junkies at the other.

But the balance, the equilibrium, is much easier to maintain when you’ve been out in the fresh air, swam in the sea, or being exploring on your bike with good, supportive friends who share your positive ‘can do’ attitude. Just getting outside helps me to stay in the moment and not over think – a burden of the sensitive soul. And training helps to add structure and discipline to a very untraditional working life – and I sleep very well.

I still have to keep a check on my inner barometer and not let training become something I don’t enjoy, either pushing too hard, or giving myself excuses to not do it. But my life has that balance now, and I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by loving, like-minded, and supportive close friends and family. I’m now surrounded by cheerleaders, not critics and importantly I’ve learnt to support myself. As an endurance woman, the process of getting up every day and getting out in the fresh air, ticking off one more session on the way to the next race or goal, having a routine and discipline make for a happy, healthy life.

#endurancewomenstories #realwomen #justdoit

Read More: Why I started Endurance Women

Please comment below and join in the discussion and share your Endurance Women Story with me. Contact me and we’ll set up a call.

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A great long run is a series of small steps.

Doing the long session as part of your weekly training is what endurance is all about. I do love the long session. For me that’s generally a long run, but very soon will be a long bike ride, and a long swim too.

When it comes to running, the first step is the thing that makes it a great long run. Getting out of bed, putting on your trainers, and getting out the door.

Setting out on a long run can be a way to discover new places and can be a voyage of exploration on new paths, twists and turns. Yesterday we were checking out the route from Brighton to Eastbourne. The plan had been to run to Eastbourne and get the train home, but Storm Brian had meant the trains weren’t running so well. So instead, the plan was to run 10 miles out and 10 miles back.

I tripped on a very slight rise in the path on the prom just three miles into the 20-mile run. I whacked my shoulder and hip, but got up and was able to carry on. I felt good on the way out as the wind blew us along, along the undercliff path from the Marina in Brighton and then up to the top towards Peacehaven and a little beyond. It was, to coin a pahrase, a breeze. But the ease at which we were striding along the unknown path was an ominous warning of what was to come. And as expected the route back was tough, running 10 miles into a headwind, I have to confess I did get a bit grumpy as the jelly baby sugar rush dropped low, and I shouted out, ‘I’m not enjoying this anymore’.

Sea runThe path on the way back changed, too. The tide had come in and so the undercliff path was flooded and the waves crashed over the wall. At first I was scared. Thoughts of that one freak wave flooded my imagination as I splashed through the watery path. There really would be no way to escape it, if it had come in. But soon I was invigorated again by the huge waves. Getting closer to the wall so I could get splashed like a child on a water coaster.

The bull in the field, or the cow with her heifers, the odd-looking lone man, border line hypothermia in snow and rain, punctures, crazy currents and waves. The endurance athlete’s weekly event of ‘going long’  is like a mini life story with all sorts of emotions, obstacles, and terrains to cross, and very often a range of feelings from exhiliaration to  F**k this! Too much of the latter can lead to the whole thing being a negative experience, the long run being a drag, and in the long term damage gets done to our muscles and joints. It’s how we look at each long run we do that matters.

Yesterday, I pulled myself back together. And towards the end I was in the rhythm of the run, concentrating without thinking, in the flow, feeling tired, but knowing I could keep going. I also knew stopping was going to mean geting going was going to be hard work. Momentum mattered.

Going long is just a series of steps. At a very inspring talk set up by Virgin last week, the founder of the successful Conker Gin, Rupert Holloway said that business is just a series of decisions. There’s no big secret formula you need to discover to succeed. Take that next step or stop. Turn this way or that. Run up the hill or take the flat route today. Go out in the stormy weather, or stay in bed.  Buy or sell, be kind or unkind, happy or unhappy.

We live in an era where many of us will be in it for the long run. As medicine has advanced to keep us alive, it’s important to make a decision to live well now, not just live long. Diana Gould, is a 105 and was featured on this morning’s BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. She lives well and it’s clear that her secret to a long and healthy life comes from those minute by minute decisions, and how she looks at her age. “I’ve got a lot of years, but I’m not an old woman,” she says. She says she’s kept moving, she’s kept social, she’s kept her brain active, and she enjoys life and things she loves. She loves chocolate and makes the daily decision to keep it in the fridge, that way she has to walk to go and get it – and that little step, that small bit of daily exercise contributes to making her live well in this long life of hers.

Listen to Diana Gould: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099v2py#play

 

 

Ironman Planning and Ironman Doing

Last week I entered the Barcelona Ironman and started this blog. I was all-guns blazing, ready to take on the challenge of training for the event of a lifetime. By the middle of the week, I was grinding to a halt, as a change of season cold got the better of me, by Saturday I felt awful. As reported I did the cross country and ran a very slow race, but I did it, and by Sunday the cold was leaving me and I managed an easy eight-mile run around Ealing, close to my sister’s house.

One of the things I love about running is that you will always learn something new about your surroundings by simply putting on a pair of trainers. On Sunday I ran to Elthorne Park and along the canal near my sister’s house in Ealing, West London. I love the fact that London has pockets of greenery and water everywhere. I ran past Hanwell asylum – a great location, but I can’t imagine it was much fun being locked away behind it’s solid Victorian walls.

A new week kicked off with the Monday evening session at Brighton Arena 80, 7 x 900M with , my kind of session. Having not done a weekend long run (for the first time in five weeks) and not really pushed too hard at the weekend, and finally free of that ill feeling, I felt good. The session was planned so each 300M got progressively faster. As someone who starts every race and speed session like a hare out of a trap, it was good to practice pacing. I did the first couple of reps a little quick (3.45), then for the next three reps I tried to hang on with my group (around 3.50), after five, I held back and joined a runner in the group just behind.

I’ve also put together a 12-week plan for the first quarter of IM training. Doing this reminds me how quickly the time is going to go! It takes me up to the end of the first week of January.

I love writing plans (and have spent most of the last 20 years planning a schedule for me, or for someone else). I’ve still got some plans to do, such as training holidays! But for now the plans are written, the goals have been set and it’s a case of just doing it. All the excitement, the thoughts of travelling to Spain, and getting the ironman tattoo help to give the thing momementum.

Then comes the doing. The doing can be a bit boring at times – and can often I’m left questioning the why? It takes discipline to get out of bed an hour earlier on a winter’s day to run in the rain, to leave a warm cosy house at 730pm for swimming drills, to head up to the Downs on a Sunday morning to run in the wind and cold for three hours, or to try to work out a good course for a long bike ride. This is when I have to stop my over-active mind, don’t question it, and don’t ask myself why and I have to simply just do it!

 

The start of the Ironman Journey

If you find me tonight, this really is the start. I’m staring a blog all about my year’s journey to ironman. I’m going to be hitting 50 December and like lots of others with milestone birthdays, I’ve decided to mark it with a big event, the Barcelona Ironman, taking place on October 8th 2018.

I’ve created an online community, Endurance Women, for women who like to push boundaries, who like to look over the horizon, who have a no limits mentality.

So why an Ironman? Well lots of reasons, I (think) can, I want to die without regrets, I want to feel fit, strong and healthy, I want to live long and live well. I want to inspire my kids and I hope some other women, too.

I’m very aware I’m not the only blogger, vlogger, social media person. I don’t know where it will go but I do know that the time to do something is now. As I approach 50, I don’t want to be disappointed, too busy, too tired, resigned.

I intend to keep a regular blog, ideally daily. This week is week one and it’s been about getting started. Of course, like many best-laid plans, it’s started with a cold and a lot less training than I’d planned. But I did go pool swimming for the first time since June and signed up to Brighton Triathlon club, as well as finally sorting out my membership with Brighton Arena 80. Tomorrow, I’m going to take on my first Saturday Cross Country for quite a few years – fuelled by Lemsip!