8 weeks to go: sling slung and double Zwift session

Zwift has once again been the headline for this week’s training, with two 2’10 long sweet spot courses completed consecutively (well okay I did stop for tea and toast and changed the radio channel to Ted talks), but on a non-hilly course I was pleased to cover 80 miles.

A satisfying week of Ironman Training: all cycling on Zwift

I felt inspired by Lewis Pugh and Diana Nayrd’s talks as I whizzed through the weird Zwift world of Watopia. If you haven’t seen the talks, check them out below. As I watched I realised four hours on the Turbo is NOTHING, and was reminded how important the right mindset is when it comes to endurance sport. As I discovered later that day, Lewis was passing through Brighton, I must have picked up on his positive vibes! He’s also working hard to raise awareness of the importance of looking after our planet. If you want  more inspiration you can follow Lewis’s blog HERE.

 

With eight weeks to go, there’s less time for faffing about and thankfully my shoulder is improving by the week. As always I’m writing this retrospective blog post at the start of the seven-week countdown and it’s now a full four weeks since I came off my bike and broke my collar-bone, and four full weeks of no cycling on the road. But this was a week when I spent more time on the bike than on the run – for me that’s progress!

It was another good week for small conquests. It was the first time I’ve done more than four hours on an indoor trainer of any kind! I managed to run 20 miles of running at close to potential IM pace (3.50 pace for those interested) without my sling, running along the Cuckoo trail, a great time-trial for a marathon training run, a flat course along an old railway route between Eastbourne and Heathfield. As I absolutely love to run, this was good for my body – and soul!

I was also pleased to  swim 2K in the sea, and get back in my wetsuit (last week my shoulder wasn’t going there), swimming three times around the bouy. I think I picked the only calm day of the week for sea-swimming and it felt like I was in a swimming pool, as happy fellow swimmers also enjoyed the perfect conditions. I also swam a pool set of similar length this week, but didn’t get in the 3rd swim. However, as Marianne has advised me, swimming is the part where I do need to exercise caution when it comes to rehab for my collar-bone (and I assume the muscle/tissue surrounding it which must have been cut through to fix in the plate!). But again swimming is very nice and at the moment it’s relaxing (I know it shouldn’t be!).

 

The Ironman Bike – Time to Face My Fears

The more I train for Ironman Barcelona, the more I realise it’s got very little to do with my usual way of training for marathons and other running events. I have been on and off the bike since 2013, as a Tri-dabbler, but I’ve never really built that bike strength. And if I’m honest I’ve lost a little bike confidence – my sub-conscious revealed this to me when I dreamt of: a) cycling on a road, it suddenly gets dark and I realise my lights don’t work; and b) driving in my car into oncoming traffic – on the wrong side of the street!

Yesterday, at Chris’s house, I read advice from my friend @ironmate Mark Klenathous, published in Tri 220 in the May issue regarding cycling for an IM, the bit I took away was this ,’at least three 85 mile bike rides’.  As I start my seven-week count-down I’m hoping I can still make some gains and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

Week eight and half of nine of 40: Start, stop, snow, go…

Monday 19th February to Wednesday 28th February

Winter Triathlon Training

Week eight’s training was good. I had a busy work week with two London work days, but I was feeling enthusiastic to get going again after skiing. I went back to My Ride and the track at running club on Monday, I swam for the first time in 13 weeks on Tuesday, and I got back on the bike on the road (well the flat prom) for the first time since my accident in bitterly cold wind, but sunshine. Finally, after a busy few days in London including visiting the Tri Show in London I ran the Brighton Half Marathon on Sunday at the goal pace of sub 7.30 (on my Garmin). There are 168 hours in a week and I trained for six hours and 47 minutes and I felt satisfied with a good solid week of training and focus on my goals.

Thanks to Ant Bliss from sussexsportphotography.com for sharing this pic with me on Facebook.
A great race photographer and friend.

Snow Go

The first half of week nine however has not been so good. We’ve had the dreaded Beast From The East, the snow and the freezing cold. I don’t usually let weather stop me, and have always chosen to run in the snow, but this time I thought I’d be a bit more cautious, as I didn’t want to risk falling on black, or any other kind of ice. So I gave myself a day off on Monday. However, yesterday, Tuesday was one of those training days that just went wrong from the off, largely due to indecision and procrastination.

I put on my kit first thing intending on running outside, then I saw the snow and decided to do an interval session at the gym later in the day. Then I started work. I had to go to town in the afternoon and decided I’d run after that, but a variety of hold ups and becoming extremely cold (I’d gone out in my running gear and lightweight jacket) meant I simply ran out of time and motivation, and if I’m really honest I gave myself an excuse not to train.

False Start

This morning, I got up early to go to My Ride spin class at the gym, with a plan to follow this with a treadmill run. I arrived at 635am and could see that the gym was closed. A sign on the door said, it was opening at 8am.  As it turned out this was a blessing in disguise as when I got home I got a call from family about a close relative who’d been rushed to hospital, and all training and other plans were put on hold.

I know that running and training makes me feel good and not running and training makes me feel bad – and I also know that consistency is vital for success. I could have run when I got back from London this evening, but I chose not to. Family is more important than Strava logs and sometimes stopping, reflecting and resting is what’s needed.

If you can…Start again

If we’re lucky, every day is a chance to start again and presents us with a blank canvas. Every day my alarm call is Feeling Good  by Nina Simone,  ‘It’s a new dawnIt’s a new dayIt’s a new life. For me. And I’m feeling good.’  So, let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Last week:

 

This week so far:

Teach A Girl To Swim

Ordinary Women Being Extraordinary

Mum of three children (ages nine, 11, 13), Malini Mehra, 50 is determined to make 2018 a year that counts. She’s set herself a goal of swimming 500K, which includes swim training 10K per week (as well as running and cycling) and taking part in swim events in cities around the world (totalling 150K of racing). She’s also lined up a marathon, 100-mile bike ride and Ironman Barcelona. She’s combining her experience from a 30-year career in sustainable development, climate change and human rights with her love of a challenge to make life better for women and teach girls to swim.

‘Climate change is the major issue of our times and it’s devastatingly obvious that it’s here to stay. Its impacts are many and you only have to look at how floods are affecting us all globally – including here in the UK. However, our losses and suffering are nothing compared to what those in coastal areas of Bangladesh, Cambodia and other Asian regions experience.

‘Floods are the most common form of climate disaster and they’re becoming more frequent – with women and girls are most at risk. Women are twice as likely to die in a flood, and four times as likely as men to die in a disaster in the developing world. In addition to this, women are the last ones to respond to emergency warning when disaster strikes as they’re often taking care of young children or elderly relatives.

‘This is a very real gender disparity and explained by the different social roles and status of men and women in these societies. Females are more likely to die than males in floods, for the simple reason that women and girls are generally not taught to swim.

‘There are also important cultural reasons due to notions of modesty and the taboo of menstruation that prevent the same freedoms for girls as boys enjoy. It’s common to see boys jumping into the water and enjoying themselves, but not girls. This isn’t fair or right and needs to change. Everyone should be able to enjoy the wonder of water and swimming. And no-one should die because they haven’t been taught basic safety swimming.

Time to Take Action

‘In my day job I’m the chief executive of GLOBE International, the world’s leading cross-party network of parliamentarians committed to green issues. I could see that there are a number of small organisations doing what they can to help out, but they lacked the resources and political know-how to do more. I decided to use my position to try to make a difference. I’m a mother, a feminist, I’m passionate about action on climate change – and I can swim! So, I came up with Teach A Girl To Swim (TAGS) to raise awareness of the issue and connecting those working on climate change, gender equality and disaster risk reduction around the world.

‘The attention-grabbing part of the TAGs campaign are my 10k swims in different cities – Kolkata, Dhaka, Beijing, Manila, Tokyo etc – which bring media attention to the epidemic of drowning deaths around the world, climate change and its differential impact on women and girls. But the bulk of my work is about raising funds for local organisations doing work on drowning prevention, raising awareness and putting in place national policies and measures, – and money! – to ensure that swim safety (for girls and boys) is a basic part of the national curriculum and a fundamental part of a country’s response to climate change and disaster risk reduction.

‘So, that’s it in a nutshell. Some people think I’m a crackpot, but I hope this publicity will spark dialogue and drive action and make a difference.

Family life

‘In 2000, I founded an NGO working on corporate responsibility, sustainability and climate change in India and the UK. It meant a lot of travel for me back and forth. I’m Indian and my husband is British. It was especially tough when my kids were very young.  I was a militant breastfeeder, which meant I took the kids with me everywhere for the first year of their lives – all around the world, to my offices in India and international board meetings and conferences. My husband is in the same field and we had consecutive travel all the time, so someone was always at home with the kids. We had no nannies and it was exhausting. So, I’m really glad I don’t have to travel with them anymore!

‘Thankfully, we live in a very different world now to our mother and grandmothers. My grandmother had her first child at 13, my mum at 23 and me at 36. That’s a massive change and we have many more choices now. IT has also transformed the working world for women and given opportunities for many modern mums to work at home and grow the ‘kitchen table economy’. We don’t have to compromise family life in the same way as before. Parenting is very different now. I really like working from home and being a hands-on mum. So, now I’m working flexibly with a portfolio career and therefore able to structure my day so that I can prioritise family and also be committed to work and training. I’m lucky, I know this isn’t the case for everyone and the trade-off between family, work and training is very real.

Training

‘I train five days a week, which includes a three to five-mile run after the school drop off and one hour of swimming (2.5K) four days a week. I have focussed my training on swimming and do 10K per week in between four to four and half hours. I also train with Mark Kleanthous (@ironmatemark) for expert coaching. I’ve run more recently as I’m running a marathon on March 11th. I’ll be swimming throughout– it’s the bit of the Ironman that I’m least anxious about – and I’ll begin to focus more on getting cycle fit over the summer so I build my bike legs, and can get off the bike after 180k and still have the legs to run a marathon and have a good finish to Ironman Barcelona!

Teach A Girl To Swim: the Legacy

‘I’ve always loved swimming and as a child growing up in Delhi, I splashed around in pools before learning to swim at school in London when I was 8. I was lucky to learn in the UK when I did. This country is very unusual and our kids very lucky that the national curriculum includes basic swimming skills. This should be the case everywhere. I want this year’s commitment to my goals and challenges to be meaningful, not just a flash in the pan. I hope to raise awareness about teaching girls to swim, to raise money and in the longer term to create a foundation for TAGS, so that I can leave a positive and lasting legacy.

‘Inspiration for me has come from many sources. Back in 2009, I started working with a fabulous Indian ultra-runner, Dr Rajat Chauhan, who had started this amazing Himalayan ultra-run – on the highest peaks  in the world – called  La Ultra – the High. We worked together to use the run to promote awareness, in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit, of the impact of climate change on the Himalayas, where glaciers are receding rapidly. The High is an incredibly tough ultra trail race. You’ve got to contend with thin air, altitude sickness and crazy trucks flying past you like juggernauts. I’d love to do it one day though. Events like these are powerful catalysts for change. I’m also driven on to keep going by women like Diana Nyad, the unstoppable endurance swimmer, motivational speaker and author, who’s now almost 70 and an absolute force of nature.

‘And after this crazy year, I’ve got more planned – I love endurance sports and women do get better as they age! We can get better PBs as we age, while men flag and wilt.  So, that’s a real upside of aging – as long as one keeps one’s health. For next year, my son and I are planning to cycle the length of the UK – from Lands End to John O’Groats – when he’s 12, so we’ve got a lot of long training rides in store!

‘I hope 2018 is the start of something bigger and I can inspire people to make a real difference by engaging with and supporting the Teach A Girl to Swim campaign.’

More info

Support Malini: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teach-a-girl-to-swim 

Check out Malini’s impressive professional profile: https://globalchallenges.org/en/about/ambassadors/malini-mehra

For great coaching advice: http://www.ironmate.co.uk

#endurancewomenstories #realwomen #justdoit #ordinarywomenextraordinary

 

Training update – the start weeks one to three

Time flies. I’m two weeks in, half a month done. It’s very easy to see the goal as some far off thing – but the reality is, it’s very close. A year is a NOT a long time in Ironman training.

So far, so good. Since moving to Brighton in August, I made it my goal from September to focus in on my running which took a bit of a nose dive. With my travelling coach Andy Payne on call, I’ve been doing steady mileage, speed work and some park runs.

Below is a snapshot of the last eight weeks (althought this week’s not finished yet). The big green blobs show my long runs, the yellow speed work and the red is for racing/parkrun, and for eight weeks I’ve averaged 38 miles.

Three weeks ago I started swimming again, and have completed three Brighton Triathlon Club Drill sets and one of my training sessions. Tomorrow I start back on the bike, after a 12-week break!

I’m hoping to keep the running mileage average at 40 miles, but now I have to add in a couple of bike rides and swims, every week.

I’m really enjoying my new clubs, Arena 80 for running and Brighton Tri Club for all things triathlon. Both are friendly and supportive and remind me how much I enjoy socialising and being part of a group with shared goals.

On Thursday the Tri swim set was all about the catch and drills. Swimming technique is something that I think could take a lifetime of practise! Graham, the Bri Tri coach reminded me that we cannot focus on too many things at once. Breaking up the stroke and focussing on one thing at a time is the only way to learn. It was good to spear the sharks and pick up the imaginary suitcase, and point my index finger in front. Like many swimmers I tend to cross my hands over in the front so I’m trying to remember to reach out wide (10 and 2 o clock in my head probably gets my arms to shoulder height).

Back in the summer I did a little bit of work on technique by going to the brilliant Fiona Ford for swim Smooth session. I’ll share what we did on You Tube later in the week.