Aches and Pains

Posted on February 22, 2011. Filed under: awang splinter, chris hoy, cycle, ironman, ironman regensburg, phelps, run, shakey, swim |

Next week is a recovery week and not a moment too soon.  The 7 days just passed were the peak week of this 4 week training cycle and for the next 7 few days I can reduce volume and intensity and allow my body to recover.  I haven’t checked yet but I think in the first 3 weeks of February saw higher mileage completed than in December and January added together.  Since the last blog I have also suffered two ante-natal classes.  It is safe to say that I would rather run a full Ironman without any lube than have to watch the midwife’s video again.

Swimming was unfortunately eventful again this week.  Somehow (and I have worked this out) in the 111.5 hours that the pool was open I managed to spend two out of the three random hours that I chose to visit the pool pounding up and down seething at “Duncan’s mum”. Let me explain. I’m not really a snob about many things but it is hard-wired into my DNA to be a swim snob. So, answer me a question – if you go to a pool and the lane says “fast lane – anti-clockwise” – then, if you swim like a brick you would instictively dodge that lane – right?  Now, if the pool is quiet I have no problem sharing a lane with the aquatically-challenged because if there are only two in the lane I can work around that. However, if there are already two strong swimmers in a lane then it is not a comfortable or safe place for a weak swimmer and you need to have some self-awareness of your capability and choose another lane accordingly – god knows, it doesn’t happen very often at leisure clubs, but if I see two younger, stronger swimmers than me in the fast lane then I will let them have “my” lane and move in with the doggy paddlers.  So, why oh why oh why, twice this week did some old wifie (for the avoidance of doubt the same one both times) decide to come into MY lane.  I can understand her initial mistake because she probably thinks that she is really fast.  She swims with a dropped elbow (I told you I was a swim snob) and as a result has no power in her pull and spins her arms like a windmill about six times the pace I do. Based on effort expended she could beat Phelps to a bong but based on speed through the water she barely keeps herself afloat. After two minutes in the pool you would think she would work it out but after two hours over two sessions of sharing a lane with me she still hadn’t got it. I even think that when she was getting a thump on the back of the head every other length she probably thought that I was just getting tired and my stroke was sloppy – however, I know for sure that my stroke was inch perfect every time I passed her. And how do I know she is Duncan’s mum? Well, I go to a Bannatynes gym and she is a crabbit, moaning, wizzened old prune so she must be Duncan’s mum!

I still haven’t managed to get outside on the bike!  On Friday night I got all my cold gear ready and I pumped up the tyres, checked the lights and filled the bottles on the bike that I allow to go outside in the winter (that will obviously not be The Sultry Temptress) and then opened the curtains at 7am to see heavy snowfall.  Having broken my shoulder, swam a half ironman in circles and ended up having surgery after a bike crash last year I was reluctant to head out but undeterred I got shorts and a long sleeved (lycra) top on and headed on to The Temptress on the turbo in the garage for 2 and a half hours of easy pedalling. Unfortunately, I was under-dressed even for the temperature in the garage and found myself sweating like a dog as normal but chilled to the core – I imagine a badly barbequed sausage must feel a bit like I did if sausages had feelings. Even on Saturday evening I hadn’t warmed up so I think that was the main tell-tale sign that I am ready for a recovery week.

Mid-week I did a really hard turbo session and as usual I warmed up reading on the ipad. I am reading the autobiography of the great French cyclist Laurent Fignon and the section I had been on described the out of body experience when after 2041 miles of racing he lost the 50 second lead he took into the final time trial to lose the Tour de France by 8 seconds to Greg Lemond. Now I am no Laurent Fignon, but after doing 4 x 3 minute repeats at maximum heart rate I was joining him in a hallucinogenic experience.  My lungs were bursting, I could feel my legs filling with lactic acid and with the oxygen debt I was having a wonderful semi lucid  trip as I maxed every bit of performance I had in my body. After I had warmed down for 15 minutes I wandered back into the house scarlet and glistening with sweat and on a complete high to meet Pam in the kitchen saying “C’mon, you need to get the clean sheets on to the bed in the spare room”. And there started a workout beyond anything I have done on bike, foot or pool recently as Pregnant Pam in full nesting flow directed me on nursery preparations which included many weightlifting sessions with heavy boxes of books, orienteering trips to two different charity shops and a marathon trip to the council tip.  Apparently our work is not yet done.

Pam noticed the scabby ass but missed the innovative use of a toothpick.

There was some great track cycling on the telly on Sunday afternoon when Chris Hoy won gold and left everyone else lying on the track behind him in a major pile up. A lot of skin was lost and one rider managed to get skewered in the track. He is so hard he got back on his bike and finished the race to get the bronze medal – now that is a tough guy.  Brad Wiggins and the mens pursuit team delivered a masterful pursuit that was one of the fastest ever and was a real signal of Olympic intent with only two weeks of track time together.

Finally, run training was a bit of a mixed bag – a 5 miler and a 6 miler at lunchtime during the week with Shakey which were great runs (great, that is if you can put up with Shakey twittering on about getting old and turning tirtywoon – in English that is 31 apparently.  Actually, with hindsight I think she said if I was putting anything in the blog it should say 28.  Oh well, hey ho).  I am starting to think it is a bit sad that I have now done enough lunchtime runs that I now have a favourite shower in the office – the one on the right definitely has a better water flow!  Sunday’s run was a real horror though – with a two glass of wine hangover (yes it is possible) I set off at 830am but didn’t have a lot left in my legs after Saturday’s freezing turbo session. I needed to run for an hour and a half and when my legs eventually loosened up I was about 45 minutes along the canal towpath so I turned back and then faced an arctic wind all the way back to finish off a tough 9 mile run.  And another thing!  In Edinburgh runners don’t acknowledge each other so I ran for 90 minutes and instead of appearing friendly and cheerful (it was a front but it makes me feel better) I looked like a grinning loony that had just escaped from the mentalist ward.  I have now decided to change the canal-side ambience one runner at a time.

So, other things that I got up to this week was starting to run some (very scientific) testing on my nutrition strategy.  Basically, on my long rides I eat stuff until I find things that make me barf and those things are then scientifically scratched from the plan.  I did both my long run and my long ride this week starting on an empty stomach to see what happens and I am guessing that is why I finish this training cycle absolutely puggled.  But that is why I have to test things now and not lose my lunch and my mind on 7th August.

And the other thing that I did was some alpha male bike activity.  So firstly, I practised taking off the wheels and changing the tubes so that if I puncture during Ironman then I can get back on the road pretty quickly.  I was feeling pretty manly after the tube changing action so I decided to up the ante and turn my testosterone towards my noisy gears.  So I grabbbed my multi-tool, some lubricant and, after a long look and a sigh, I posted a question on an online forum – you need to know the limits of your Y chromosome!

Next week I am going to bring some weights and pilates into my programme. After I broke my shoulder last year my pilates teacher bendy Ben dropped me like a hot snot so I am on my own with the pilates and building myself a programme from memory to help with my balance so that I can stay on my bike this year!!  It’s a modest ambition but very important to me – almost as important at dodging any more graphic labour and delivery videos at ante-natal classes.  No-one should ever have to watch them.


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