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….

 

Advertisements

Week two of 40: New Goals

Monday 8th January to Sunday 14th

Week two of 40 weeks of Ironman Training with the focus still on recovery and building fitness for the first shorter term goal of getting fit enough to run the Brighton Marathon.

Week two was about getting started again, and getting some goals in place.  My collar-bone feels very stiff and I’m guessing it’s how should feel when the bone starts fusing back, but it’s making me feel a bit more cautious about  doing longer or faster running.

I didn’t quite manage the 10 hours plan! I did train for 5.5 hours. I think 10 is probably too lofty a goal at this stage.  The good things were the weight gain, dropped off and I’m not fast, but I’m not too unfit as I was able to get out and about and join My Ride classes and do some easy ‘sling-running’.

Sling Runner

Week two included getting my tooth fixed, and losing the top-dressing on my clavicle and I’m moving about and mostly normal! I went to the physio at Studio 57 too early (typical me –inpatient) but have booked another appointment for week three.

So what did I do? I ran four times, and got on the stationary bike three times. As always adjustments have been made. Midweek, I thought I might get a long run done at the weekend, but after seeing the physio and feeling more tired than I expected, I procrastinated my way out of it and just ran 10K easy on Sunday.

I was told that even though I feel fine, I have to wear the sling still to protect the healing I cannot see and avoid too much vibration. I was told by a friend who’s also a radiologist that when you break a bone and it’s in plaster you have to stop, but a collar-bone, with a plate that feels fine, still needs to be treated with care. I did listen.

It’s not brilliant going ‘sling-running’, but it’s not awful either. It’s annoying but I feel more confident on my feet now and I don’t think I’m compromising my running gait too much. To make myself feel I’m still moving forward I did however, set myself a goal. You can read about my Marathon Goal here.

Parkrun

Volunteering at park run was a real positive and something I would like to do more of, injured or not. Such a great event. All life unfolding in front of me as I stood at the boulders, watching the two per cent of the population who can be bothered to get up and get out on a Saturday morning – fastest and the slowest putting in the same amount effort, feeling the same pain – it was truly inspiring.

This is a quickly composed post (possibly riddled with typos)as work has suddenly got very busy – and as a self-employed content consultant I’m going with it and planning to run around 40 miles and do some My Ride Bike training sessions. I  will update next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story of an Age Group Triathlete

Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary

When Michaela Stringer, 44, from Eastbourne divorced in 2010, she decided it was time to try out Triathlon. Three years later she’d qualified as an age group triathlete.

‘Becoming an age group triathlete has been a life long journey. I’ve swum since I was four-years-old, and running competitively since I was nine. My dad was a runner and one of the pioneer triathletes in the 1980s.  Both my parents were team managers for the Brighton and Hove Athletics Club and as a child, we spent our weekends travelling to races around Sussex competing in cross-country and track and field events.  I was also an active member of the Brighton Dolphin Swimming Club.  When I was 14 years old I took my first step into the world of triathlon.  I took part in the Epsom and Ewell triathlon – it was early days for the sport and I remember going into a cubicle to get dry and completely changed after the swim, before carrying on to the rest of the race!

‘I continued with sport whilst at University, doing Martial Arts, but the usual combination of beer and boys kept me away from my athletic roots. By the 1990s, I’d got into aerobics and step classes and continued to keep fit but no more than a couple of times a week. I went on to marry and have my daughter, Kitty, now 14. Then in 2006 my marriage broke down.

Love Running

‘I felt a little directionless, and my self-confidence had taken a battering. I was in a dark place – depressed, isolated and overweight but I knew that running would help. When I tied up my running shoes and stepped outside for a run, I felt back in control of my body and myself. Running is my first love, so my first step to where I am today, was joining my local running club, Run Wednesdays, run by Eastbourne’s well-known personal trainer and running coach Danny Garbett. I credit Danny with re-igniting my love for running and re-introducing me to the running family.  I felt I belonged somewhere again.

‘Swimming soon followed and as I got fitter, the idea of competing again started to take hold. I started with an Aquathlon – a swim followed by a run – the two things I loved to do. By 2011, triathlon followed, but I had no idea what to do when it came to cycling. I hadn’t been on a bike since my sixth form college days.

The Journey To Age Group Qualification

‘A cyclist friend came with me to help me get the right bike and I started training. I had my sights set on entering my first triathlon.  Shortly after however, I injured my Achilles.  Rather than give up, I focused on improving my swim and bike and although my running was still slow, I entered and completed the Bexhill Triathlon. Although I wasn’t particularly quick, I absolutely loved the occasion and I was hooked.  Soon after I met David, who’s now my husband. He was really encouraging and found that the 2012 British Aquathlon Age Group Championships were being held in Birmingham. He was really knowledgeable about the sport, the training and what I needed to qualify. I entered the race and to my delight, I finished in third place and took home a bronze medal.  This sparked the dream of working towards qualifying for the European Sprint Triathlon Championships taking place in Alanya, Turkey in 2013.  I entered the qualifying race and won my age group. The dream had become a reality.

‘I was lucky to have support from some great local athletes at the Bodyworks Triathlon Club and now that I had earned my GB strip, I started to secure some great local sponsors and was lucky enough to be selected as an ambassador for the wetsuit company Huub. I raced for my life at the championships and came home with a bronze medal. Also later in 2013, by placing third at the British Sprint Championships in Nottingham, I was also lucky enough to earn a place at the ITU World Championships held in Hyde Park, London the following summer.  I finished in 12th place, racing the best of the best. What an amazing experience that was.

‘Through sheer grit and determination and a refusal to give up when times get hard, it had taken just three years to qualify as an age grouper and as a competitive athlete for Team GB. I’ve travelled to great places such as Turkey, Austria and Italy. I’m proud to have represented Great Britain on a National and International Level in Aquathlon and Sprint Triathlon. As I am always looking for the next challenge, in 2014 I switched distance to 70.3 and qualified to represent GBR in the 2015 ETU Middle Distance European Championships in Italy. I completed the qualifying rounds to do so again in Denmark 2017, but unfortunately injury meant I had to pull out a couple of weeks before the event.  This was a massive disappointment as I had worked so hard and was quite possibly in the best shape I had ever been in.  However, injury brings with it other opportunities.  I could still swim and ride and get to the gym. So by focussing on what I could do, I began to see vast improvements in my bike strength, which was my weakest discipline.  I also deferred entry to the Denmark 70.3, so although I won’t be representing my country, I will be settling some unfinished business there in June 2018. If I do well enough, then it could qualify me for the ETU 70.3 champs in 2019, if that is what I choose to do. Injury is your body’s way of telling you to stop, recover and re-assess. It’s so important to listen to that message and re-evaluate your goals. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

Love Triathlon

‘Triathlon has added so much to my life. With three sports to master, it’s a true leveler for athletes. I’m really passionate about promoting sport for all and have recently qualified as a Level 3 Nutritional Advisor and Personal Trainer.  I do understand how difficult it is to manage training with family life, as when I started I was a single mum with a seven-year old. For me it’s really important to have a routine and to attend regular sessions with like-minded people. I’m also the co-founder of local triathlon club Tri Tempo with local run shop entrepreneur Wes Mechen. I really value the support I get from training with friends at those sessions. I have met some truly amazing and inspiring people at all levels of the sport on my journey.

Age Grouper Training

‘At peak training I’ll do between 10 and 14 hours a week, but off-peak, during the winter, I’ll probably do between eight and 10 hours per week. My weekly schedule at peak is usually made up of three swims (two coached and one with a team-mate),  two to three cycles – a combination of long group rides and shorter interval based turbo sessions and three runs which are a long, a speed and a tempo or brick session (i.e. a bike followed by a run).  I also go to the gym twice a week. It’s a lot so I also make sure I include rest, usually one clear day a week, and then every three weeks I’ll ease off training.

‘To make sure I’m on track with the gym, I also try to see a personal trainer periodically to help me measure my progress and plan strength and conditioning work. This has made a big difference to my performance on the bike and I hope will help to keep further injury at bay.

‘I keep motivated by continually re-setting goals.  It’s so important to know what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. And although I have a long-term goal, I also take small steps. And of course, it’s great to keep trying new things. Next year I’m making my debut in the world of OTILLO swim/run on the Gower peninsula. It’s tough, but exciting and a whole new event for me. I always love a challenge.’