To sum up

So boot camp is over and I am back home.

To sum up my activities at Boot Camp:

The Wife and I were away for a total of 15 days. Two days were travelling each way, and I rested the day after and the day before travelling as it was long haul flights. I also rested another 2 days whilst there so I trained for 9 out of the 15 days.

During those 9 days I trained a total of 25.5 hours broken down as 2 hours swimming (all open water), 19 hours cycling and 4.5 hours running.

I completed a total of 863K  (536 miles) broken down as 4.1K swimming, 437K cycling and 42K running.

I burnt a total of 17,600 calories whilst exercising.

So all in all a good boot camp. The main positive I bought back was the building of my confidence that after so much illness I am fit enough to compete in the half ironman on 24th June 2012, three weeks time!

Two days at work and then four days off courtesy of the long bank holiday weekend – so more time to train. At this rate I might even finish the half ironman – see I told you my confidence was high!

Thanks for reading.

A perfect day

Today was the last big session of ‘Albuquerque Boot Camp’. I was hoping to go out with a confidence building run, bike, run set.

I set off for a 20 minute run. There is a route ‘around the block’ from the house we are staying at which is quite hilly. It’s down hill to start for 1 min, then it’s flat for 2 – 3 mins, then it’s uphill all the way back to the house (for 3 – 4 mins). So one lap is 7 – 8 mins. This is the route I tried to run off the bike last time and failed and it turned into a run – walk – run – walk event (especially up the hill).

So to go out this morning and knock out 3 laps, non stop, in 7 – 7.30 per lap was good. I went straight in and jumped on the bike and knocked out a 2 hour 40 min ride. Covering just over 60K. Similar route to before which is down hill for 30 mins, then flat around the Bosque trail an then a 40 mins up hill ride home (what goes down must come up!)

Got back to the house fully hydrated and having also eaten 2 Cliff energy bars, a banana and 4 Cliff shot blocks, I put on the trainers and went for my second run.

I hit the first lap in 7.20 and whilst I was out of breath and knackered I had run th complete loop, off the bike, after a 60K ride, on a hilly route, in the midday sun. I rested for 90 seconds and then hit lap number two. Again non stop in a similar time. Excellent.

Was/am extremely happy about this. Running off the bike is my biggest fear and whilst I didn’t ride 90K and I didn’t run a half marathon, it is progress as I did run off the bike non stop.

I rewarded myself with two slices of pizza and a 6″ meatball and cheese baguette and a mug of coffee.

I have now been asked if I want another massage – so I am off for a rub down courtesy of my wife’s aunt. She isn’t qualified but having had massages at my gym, at hotels and in Egypt a lot, she gives the best massage – each one gets better and better.

A gentle 30 min open water swim tomorrow and then homeward bound the day after.

Thanks for reading.

If at first … Tri Tri again!

Two days ago, on Wednesday, I had a big session planned. 3 – 3.5 hour bike ride and a 20 minute run off the bike. I was keen to do this as I need to experience running off the bike having ridden for such a long time. I have run off of 40K rides and 20K rides (doing Sprint and Olympic distance races) but I need to experience, and get used too (assuming you do ever get used to it) running off a 90K ride.

So I left the house at 8am having had a big breakfast of porridge, toasted egg and ham sandwich and some water mixed with orange juice. With me was a banana, a Cliff energy bar and a marathon energy bar plus two water bottles of filled with powerade and water.

The theory was I had ridden 2 hours 45 mins at the hottest part of the day with this amount of drink and food and all was fine. I was now riding a lot earlier, so it wasn’t as hot, so it would be enough.

I set off and all was good. Really good in fact. Nice pace. Nice and steady heart rate at 80 – 85% of max.

First hour flew by and I was on a nice route I had ridden before so no surprises (e.g. no massive hills). I got to 1 hour 30 mins (half way point) and was just under 40K covered. So I had the bright idea of riding another 5K to get to 45K before turning, so in total I would have ridden 90K (the half ironman distance) and then do the run.   

So I did another 5K and turned at 45K. What I didn’t take into account was:

a) I had consumed more than half my drinks and had no money to buy any extra drink

b) It was a lot hillier going back then it was riding out

c) The wind was against me on the way back not with me as it was on the way out

d) Riding back I got lost

e) It was getting very hot even at this earlier hour

The end result was disaster. I tried rationing my drinks, but I run out after about 3hrs 30 mins of the ride and then had to ride another 37 mins on empty. Uphill, in the soaring heat (it was now noon!)

I cannot begin to describe what I went through riding uphill, in the heat on empty with no drinks, food or money to buy food or drink.

I got home after 4 hours and 8 mins of riding, having completed a total of 87K. And I was severely dehydrated. I looked a state as everyone at the house either got me water, or helped me get undressed so I could shower or generally looked really worried and kept asking if I felt all right. And I didn’t. I felt sick, I felt drunk, I felt dizzy, I felt horrible.

The run was out of the question, I had decided that whilst riding back.

I went for a shower and before turning on the shower taps I laid on the bathroom floor until the sickness feeling passed and the room stopped spinning. I showered, which included a few minutes of sitting in the shower tray as I wasn’t sure the legs could hold my weight.

After the shower I had a power nap for an hour, then I had a 10 inch meatball baguette, two slices of pizza (American sized slices), a yoghurt, a banana, tons of coffee and water. And at about 5pm I started to feel human again.

I rested all afternoon and the evening (including an early night) and took a rest day the next day to make sure I was fully OK. And when I say rest day I mean rest day – I didn’t get off my arse all day.

Today I revisited the plan and thought, today I will do the 3 – 3.5 hour ride and 20 minute run off the bike.

I had a big breakfast, took two bigger water bottles and a third in my back pocket (was uncomfortable on the bumps but I drank that bottle first), I also had two energy bars and a packet of Cliff Shots.

I rode the same route and even though the way the is more downhill and therefore faster as the wind was against me on the way out I turned at 1 hour 30 mins. I had double the fluids and I rationed myself on food and drink. At no time was I thristy or hungry. The pace and heart rate was consistent for the entire ride and riding home on the uphill section was fine. I rode for a total of 3 hours 20 mins and covered 75K in that time. And when I got home I felt good.

I threw on my trainers, took my helmet off etc and hit the pavement for the 20 minute run. I started down hill for 2 or 3 mins and all fine, until I hit the flat which was hard and then when I hit a hill it was impossible, as in I had to stop and walk and that was the rest of the session. Walk, run, walk.

I did this for the 20 mins and then was home. I run on the flats and the downhill parts, it was only the uphill bits I walked for. Running off such a long bike ride was a serious eye opening for what is coming up in four and a bit weeks. But taking the positives I now know how important the right fluids and food is at these distances and I won’t get caught out like that every again.

And that is a promise!

This afternoon I had the pleasure of an 80 minute massage and now, as I am finishing this blog, I have been handed an ice cold Margarita.

Thanks for reading. 

 

Back to the Lake

A real good day today. Another open water swim. And a really good one. Swum for just over an hour but the Garmin didn’t tell me how far I had swum.Well it did, it said I had swum more than 4K in an hour! Puts me up with the Brownlee’s so I am assuming it was faulty. I reckon more like 2 – 2.5K – which is what the training programme said I should do. But a really solid swim. Got into a good rythmn very early, sighting was spot on and banged out four loops in similar times, so consistent pace as well. 

Then a 20 minute run straight off the swim. Was hard, real hard. Was very hot (90 – 95 degrees) and the only road to the lake and therefore to run on was up hill for 10 mins, turn and 10 mins run back.

The uphill was too hard to finish. I stopped a couple of times just to get my heart rate down. Once I had turned I run the down hill bit without stopping, what an achievement! I can run downhill without stopping.

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That was the second run I had done where I have had to stop, so this evening’s run was important to complete NON STOP. I didn’t go out until 7.30pm (to avoid the heat) and it was still in the 80’s then. But I knocked out the 7.7K in 48 mins without stopping. Job done and chomped on a well deserved chicken sandwich when I returned.

The alarm is set for tomorrow for another big session. 3 – 3.5 hour bike ride and a 20 minute run off the bike. With the weather as hot as it is here at the moment, the only way to do the set without frying is to start at 8am. So the alarm is set for 7am.

Tomorrow afternoon may be a slow one, got a big session of recovery / sleep / no movement scheduled.

Thanks for reading.  

A nice long ride and the run from hell

Yesterday I had the pleasure of going for a bike ride with a neighbour of the relatives we are staying with. Steve and I agreed it would be an easy two and a half hour ride. We set off from the house and took the back roads and cycle lanes to the Bosque Trail. I promised some picks of this trail and below is an example of the Bosque Trail ..

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It just goes on and on like this forever and ever. You come to a turn (eventually) you make the turn and you get this

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More of the same – it just goes on and on.

Steve and I had an excellent ride. There was a bit of a head wind in some places so we did some drafting to keep the speed going. We ended up riding for two and three quarter hours covering almost 70K. It was just pure endulgence. We are going to do it again before the hols end.

I rested in the afternoon and at 4pm I went for an 8K run around ‘The Academy’. Started off OK. Good pace, legs were fine – all was good. It was a bit hot, actually it was very hot, actually it was so hot I didn’t enjoy much of the run after the first 10 minutes. The rest was a bit of a blur. The music on the Ipod wasn’t enough to help me get through it.

It was just hell. I stopped at 5K (30 mins) and thought – it is 85 degrees, I have just run 5K in 30 mins (a very good pace for me for a training run) – WHAT THE HELL YOU DOING WEBB! Slow the hell down.

So I did a run, walk, run the rest of the way back – ended up doing 7.5K in 50 mins.

I know I looked rough when I got back to the house and everyone was asking if I was OK.

I felt it this morning too when I started my bike ride for today. Legs were heavy and achy. Very heavy legged. In the end I did just a 90 mins easy ride spinning the legs. Took the rest of the afternoon off.

Big lake swim ( at Cochiti Lake – see previous blog) and a long run lined up for tomorrow, so I shouldn’t have too many of these ice cold Cools Lights I have in the fridge – but then I am on holiday!

Thanks for reading. 

   

Bricking it!

Had a rest day today after a very tough brick session yesterday.

13K run which took 80 mins followed by a 90 mins bike session including 15 mins of efforts.

The run was a challenge. Started off easy, nice pace, nice and comfortable all the way to the 40 minute mark. The plan was to run there and run back in the same time, so an even pace, as pacing myself is the big challenge.

I turned at 39 mins just before a big down hill, the run back was hard. Very warm, very demanding and very hard. Was a true head down and get on with it. The road I ran on is the Bosque trail, no traffic, just runners, cyclists, roller bladers on a perfect surface alongside the Rio Grande. I will take a picture and post it soon as you have to see it to believe it. It is a long straight perfect road that goes on and on. Then a little down and up, to get under an underpass, to get passed a road.

I was glad when the run ended. I was planing to do another 10 mins to get up to 90 mins in total but the car park was in sight so I just run in and got the bike out of the truck.

Then a nice easy cycle again on the Bosque trail for 60 mins. All nice. I was surprised my legs were OK after the run but then I was going easy. After the east 60 mins I hit the 15 minutes of effort and the pain started. 15 mins at 95% HR was pure hell. The water supplies were low, the sweat was pouring off me and the legs were aching. No actually the legs were screaming. When that was done I backed off and went back to the easy pace and finished up the last 15 mins.

I spent the rest of the afternoon laying on the settee chillaxing – I am on holiday after all!

Thanks for reading.

Darren

Cochiti Lake

Today I did my first open water swim for ages. Month’s and months.

And it could not have been in a more beautiful place as Cochiti Lake.

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The water was warm and fairly clear. The lake was free to swim in and there were only a handful of people there including us.

I did a 45 min swim – nice and easy – completed circa 1.9K. The distance I need to swim for the half ironman. Mainly practised my breathing and my sighting, which was hard as the bouys were small and infrequent. There was also a strong current towards the end as the wind got up and created a bit of a chop on the water.

But a very enjoyable workout, those ones which are almost not like a work out.

This afternoon I followed up with a 1hr 10 minute bike ride. Went with a guy called Steve, the neighbour of my wife’s aunt and he showed me some nice routes. Quite hilly as we headed up to the foothlls of Sandia Peak, but they were failry easy to go up and the route had several flats after each climb. Arranged to go with him again on another ride or two while I am here.

Tomorrow is a long run of 90 mins and another bike ride. Can’t wait.

Thanks for reading

Darren   

Ihop Madness

The ‘wife and I’ arrived in Albuquerque late yesterday evening having travelled for almost 15 hours straight. Nine and a half hour flight from Heathrow to Atlanta, two hour stop over before connecting to a three and a half hour flight to Albuquerque. Was only fit for bed when we arrived.

Good nights sleep and then breakfast at Ihop. Two sausages, two bacon, two eggs, two hams, hash browns and two pancakes. Throw in a pot of coffee and the diet isn’t going too well!

Went to the bike hire shop and got a good deal on a road bike for two weeks, so all lined up for some serious riding while we are here. A 90 minute ride lined up for tomorrow at 7.30am.

Did a bit of shopping this afternoon and later today I will do a short run (no more than 20 mins) just to shake the legs up a bit ready to start training tomorrow.

Ohh and 85 degrees today and that’s the forecast for the rest of the week.

More to follow throughout the week.

Thanks for reading.

   

  

Two good weeks on the bounce

Another good week under my belt.

Two good runs, one with some efforts included, a good swim and today was a good 2 hour turbo session again with efforts. If it wasn’t for work drinks on Thursday evening, which included a few too many beers, there would have been an extra swim in there too.

A swim is lined up for tomorrow evening though after I have spent the morning supporting my wife and daughter doing a ladies Try-a-Tri at East Grinstead.

Then Monday morning up and off to Heathrow airport for a flight to Atlanta and then to Alburquque. I plan to do a lot of training while I am out there. Really hope to get back on track. Also need to try and lose some of this damm weight I have put on.

Today I treated myself to a new bike. I have spent a long time deliberating on what to get and whether to just upgrade my current bike by getting a new frame Vs buying an entire new bike. In the end I went for the entire frame as you can never have enough bikes!

I went for the Boardman 9.4 AIR. It’s very good value for the price. A very good groupset, good components and they sell them without the wheels as an option so I went for that as I have good wheels and I don’t fancy tubulars.

I am hoping it will be ready for when I get back from my hols and I can get some good rides under my belt before the big race.

Thanks for ready.   

A good week – at last!

Finally got some good training sessions under my belt. Seems like an age ago when I last felt like I had trained.

Just loving these bank holiday weekends as well. That extra day makes so much difference. Means you can train that little bit longer or harder knowing you can have a little bit more rest during the day and NO STRESS factors from work.

Last Monday I did a 60 mins turbo session, Tuesday was a swim, work commitments meant no training on Wednesday or Thursday. Friday I also rested as well. Didn’t get home from work until later than I wanted and it had been a crappy week so I decided to rest again and set myself up for a big weekend rather than train Friday night when tired.

Saturday was a 2 hour turbo (raining again so opted for a turbo session rather than a ride in the pouring rain). I didn’t do much in terms of a session, just found a good gear and rode and rode. I did try to get on the drops as much as I could and checked my riding position in the mirror on the wall. One good thing about the easier sessions, while I regain fitness, is I can concentrate on technique and form. So on the drops as much as I could, checking of riding position and regular fluid and food intake.

Sunday was a 40 minute run and I finally got to run outside. I checked my heart rate to keep it easy but it felt like a really nice run. Very enjoyable indeed. Time flew by as it was the first run out on the road for ages. Was overcast all the time I run and I was expecting rain as soon as I got to the furthest point of the loop and back, but luckily it stayed dry. I then did a one hour turbo session straight off the run. Again tried to stay on the drops and make sure technique and form was good.

Today I did a 35 minute run at the gym on the treadmill. Mainly as again it was overcast, running for a second day on the bounce I wanted a softer terrain so wanted a treadmill run and also as I am still regaining fitness  I wanted the option, if feeling tired whilst running, I could just stop and not be miles away from home.

Tomorrow I am looking to get back in the pool, another run on Wednesday and a swim again Thursday with, what I am sure will be a much-needed rest day on Friday.

The weekend will be a bit easier especially Sunday as I fly to Albuquerque on Monday for a 2 and a half week holiday. Bit of a boot camp situation as ‘the wife and I’ are staying with her aunt and uncle who are into fitness too and we will be running, cycling and swimming while there. I will see how the break goes and then decide if I am fit enough for the first half ironman on the 24th June. I am feeling confident at the moment. Fitness already feels like it is coming back and Mark (the coach, www.ironmate.co.uk) is confident I will be ready, assuming I am injury and importantly healthy over the next 7 or 8 weeks.

Hopefully all illness issues are behind me now and I can concentrate on a good 8 week block of training and race preparation.

Updates on training should now be more frequent – now I am actually training again!

Thanks for reading.