A bumper double edition

Posted on April 10, 2011. Filed under: bike, cycle, Edinburgh Half Marathon, geek spot, Half ironman, Half marathon, ironman, melrose 7s, shakey, swim, triathlon |

Oops.  Not sure what has happened to my weekly update.  Anyway, here is a bumper fortnight’s update – hopefully next week I’ll get back on to a weekly blogging cycle and then we’ll be all tickety-boo. 

First of all, lets get Geek Spot and March out of the way.  As a headline March has been a great month for training.  While using up some of my annual leave and taking the opportunity to give Pam some support (my support extends to “come on hurry up” which it turns out is not as motivational as I thought it was) I have done a couple of  three day weeks which has allowed me to really take the opportunity to train on the best day of any given week rather than just having a small window of opportunity.  Basically having some time to myself has been great for biking which is the key to Ironman.  I was a bit slack in the pool through March but in April so far I have taken a dose of the medicine and really committed myself to getting some hard yards done in the pool.  I have managed to keep the run mileage consistent which, with my sparrow legs, is the best I can hope for.

I have not done so well on my secondary Geek Spot objective.  Training the best part of 40 hours a week will surely result in a change in body composition.  Without a doubt the bike and run miles are leading to denser leg muscles and my rediscovered vigour in the pool is putting a lot of lean muscle on to my top half and as everyone knows muscle weighs more than fat.  There is always a second, and in my opinion less plausible, explanation – that my extra days of holidays and the resultant increase in my chip load, biscuit consumption and mid-afternoon coffee and cake have taken their toll.  Anyway, I probably need to have a re-think on my training nutrition because today’s chips are August’s nightmare in the seering heat of Bavaria.

So, since the last update biking has been good as mentioned above; but in more recent weeks I have developed the fear of travelling too far from Pam and the bump.  My last 3 hour ride was early last Saturday morning and about as miserable a day as I could possibly imagine.  I did two long loops that came around the south side of Loch Leven – on the first the rain and wind buffetted me head on like icey bullets and I couldn’t raise my head to look more than a metre in front of me – which is not an advisable approach on a pot-holed road.  On the second loop the sun came out but the wind still gusted as hard off the loch which was a special shade of blue that is reserved for water that is so cold it will stop your heart if you so much as dip a toe in it (that is possible – I saw it on the Discovery Channel).  The rest of my biking has been largely facing a breeze block wall in the garage.

Running has been pretty consistent with my long runs now up to 11 miles.  One noteable planned run with Shakey had the usual preparations – quick call in the evening – “usual time,  usual place?” – yup, crystal clear except we have two usual places.  So, while I cooled my heels in a car park in Dunfermline, Shakey was chatting up the concierge at the Balmoral in Edinburgh.  Apparently, they have very nice toiletries in the bathrooms – I’m still not sure if she let on that she wasn’t actually a guest!

One of the best things about the clocks changing and the temperature rising is that I can get out running in shorts and t-shirt again.  However, the changing seasons can result in considerable pain and blood loss.  Last Sunday I set off for a 10 mile run enjoying the freedom of shorts and t-shirt and the freshness of cool air on the skin.  During the run though the lack of protection from Under Armour caused me problems when I got too close to a hedge leaving a chunk gouged (Pam has been overheard describing it as a scratch) from my thigh.  I know what you are thinking……..he was probably 9.5 miles in to the run and suffering from deep fatigue and probably didn’t have full control of his limbs and faculties and in that delirious state he strayed too close to the hedge.  True, that is a fair assumption I agree, but the rather more prosaic truth is that I bounded out  the door excited by the sun and straight into a hedge!  On the same run I also ended up with a gaping wound (OK, some severe chafing) on my hip where a t-shirt label and unlubricated skin came into close contact.   This is a very dangerous pastime.

In the pool I only suffered one indignity in the last month or so.  Having said that it is a mighty grand undignified indignity.  As reported previously my tri-shorts had been scaring the elderly at Bannatynes pool as they had become a little threadbare.  I thought I had scored a bargain when I got two pairs of my favourite brand for £15 on the world wide web.  I wore them for the first time in my previously reported swim at Warrender Baths and I wasn’t convinced that they were the usual fit.  So I tried on the second pair and again I had the sensation that they were baggy in places I had never felt lycra baggy before which was causing me a bit of drag in the pool.  I also noticed that they were a bit uncomfortable to walk in (think quick dash from changing rooms to pool rather than promenading up and down the high streets of Fife).  On closer inspection the cycling padding also seemed to be causing me some contact issues and that is when it struck me that my TWO new pairs of shorts appear to be ladies (to be clear they are black and not pink so some confusion is understandable surely??!).  Pam took a picture of me in them so you judge whether I have become a transvestite triathlete.

The April Weight Loss Challenge Takes Care of Dougie's Muffin Top

This morning we headed off early to support some friends doing the Edinburgh Half Marathon.  The first lie about the Edinburgh Half Marathon is that only about the first 50 metres of it is actually in Edinburgh.  The second lie is that they actually supply water at the aid stations.  Apparently at the first aid station they ran out of water after about 5 minutes which wasn’t a problem for Shakey who bounded off from the gun like a gazelle and took a lucozade from us at mile 5.  It was a bigger issue for Davy “Famous” Amos.  Davy didn’t have the best preparation for the HM having taken part in the Melrose 7’s Vets tournament on Friday – to be clear this isn’t for people who look after animals but rather for old blokes who should know better.  Anyway, after a clean handover of liquids with Shakey (who, to be fair, was well hydrated because she had elbowed some thirsty pensioners out of the way at the water station) we failed to make contact with Davy who was looking all of his 67 years dragging his ass along the Portobello waterfront listening to Perry Como on his ipod.  He apparently hadn’t made it to the aid station before it went dry but he had managed to minesweep a water bottle from the floor putting to good use his many years of training in Diesels. 

Having invested in a dozen bottles of water at Aldi (it’s running gear week!) and fancying myself as the fourth emergency service as the mercury soared we jumped in the car and eventually intercepted Davy who was now looking fitter and younger (a bit like Benjamin Button) a couple of miles up the road.  He took the water on board, asked how far he had run and then gave us some choice feedback on the answer we gave him.  It is safe to say that he thought, wished and hoped that he had ran a little farther than 6 miles at that point.  Anyway, I carried on my paramedic duties until a dozen struggling runners were properly hydrated and I felt jolly good about my public service.  Having seen the state of some of the t-shirts at the end I will add lube to my first aid bag for my next outing to sooth some of the chafing.  Do people not google my blog when they are planning to do an endurance event??

In the end, Shakey finished in a commendable 1:43 which makes me think that she was told that there was a burger van near the finish and Davy finished his first half in an excellent 2:19 considering his advancing years and the searing heat – great results guys!  I have never run a standalone half-marathon (I have run two halves of a marathon in a marathon and a half marathon in a half ironman and more than a half marathon in a kilomathon – that’s some racing pedigree if you say it fast) but I don’t think I am fast enough to do myself any credit.  And speaking of slow – it turns out the junior is no speedster either.  So that means that Pam is STILL pregnant.  I never entered the half marathon because the baby should have put in an appearance by now.  I am typing this at 9pm on Sunday the 10th and “Baby Due” was in my diary in my Blackberry for 9am on the 9th so questions are being asked as to Pam and juniors dedication.  As of yet the tabasco omlette that I made this afternoon does not appear to have moved things on any.

Due to the impending new arrival we also missed Melrose 7s for the first time in, I think, 10 years which also means that The Taste of Spice in Selkirk has also had to go without a visit this year from it’s favourite customers.  The Farkies did the decent thing and went into mourning and didn’t attend the first 7’s in 10 years where it hasn’t threatened to snow all day – but, to be fair, they maybe stayed at home because of the sun.  We watched on telly out of a morbid curiosity to see if they would be forced to cancel the event in our absence or even hold a minutes silence (or a minute’s applause if they had insisted) but no, the gaping vacant space behind on the south banking behind the posts wasn’t even mentioned on the BBC.  I couldn’t be sure but it may have been that the players were wearing black armbands and I am certain that the bar owners definitely were! 

Building work has moved on apace in the last fortnight and the extension is starting to look like a building (albeit one the Jetsons would live in) as opposed to a large concrete plinth.  The glass should arrive this week which will seal it all up so that the inside work can crack on.  Whatever.  The 3D telly was procured on one of my days off so I am happy with progress.

That’s it – back next week!

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One Response to “A bumper double edition”

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I would like to see a graph that shows hours of training by week, by discipline, for the next couple if months! I am curious to see what happens.

The Tabasco omelette was awful! Anyone who knows me well knows that salt and vinegar crisps make me sweat so you can imagine the delightful picture of health I was after a Tabasco infuse ommelette!!

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