Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: bike, cycle, great scottish swim, ironman, ironman regensburg, lochore, lochore meadows, lochore meadows triathlon, Pentlands, regensburg, Rory, run, swim, Threipmuir, wetsuit | Tags: |

Apparently amongst the young folks and spacebookers TMI stands for too much information and that is exactly what you are in for.  I can guarantee that this post will include far too much information and a fine dose of self-pity.

Last week has left me feeling like the bloke that had a blind date with a model and discovered it was Jordan…….without make-up……..and in a bad mood.  As we approach the longest day, the Gods of Fife and the Lothians have thrown every seasonal abberation that I could imagine at me whether I was swimming in the Pentlands, driving to the pool or cycling.  I have alternately been left sunburnt and so frozen to the core that I almost shivered myself off my bike.  Self-pity is not attractive and doesn’t solve anything but sharing it makes me feel an awful lot better.

After an indecently long sabbatical from the pool I eventually knocked off 9000m at a decent pace towards the end of the week.  My Wednesday evening open water swim had left my dislocating shoulder a bit tender but some heavier duty pool sessions and some light weights seemed to have sorted the shoulder out.  Good times.

One of the things about “going long” (the Ironman) is that you sometimes lose a bit of perspective and on Saturday morning I was up at 6am to do a 2hour cycle.  The loss of perspective was that I had done a 3k swim the evening before and I had a sprint triathlon the day after.  Such is the demand of the Ironman training programme that any triathlon other than your focus Ironman just becomes a short training session and has to be fitted in.  Anyway, pretty much as soon as I committed the Temptress to the ride in a single layer of short sleeved and short legged lycra the triathlon gods decided that I should suffer a foul weather training ride and for the next hour the rain pounded down.  It was so heavy, and driving head on, that my lips were actually battered numb and my knees still look bruised today.  To keep myself focussed on the race I took a run out to the Lochore bike route and stopped to take a snap of the Temptress on the balmy shores of the loch I would be chucking myself into the day after.

For the rest of Saturday I just thawed out, then chilled out, prepared Shakey’s bike which I had babysat on Friday night and eventually got my kit together later into the evening.  I headed to bed just before 10pm thinking through my approach to the race – go hard enough to stress test the equipment and the transitions between swim, bike and run but not so hard to injure myself.  One of the things about training to go long is that you will never do a sprint PB but you should find the distance very agreeable as your body is adapted to a long slow effort rather than a frantic sprint.  I did, however, want to push the swim pretty hard to find out what sort of pace I could hope to hold in open water once I was actually investing some hours in training.  Just after 10pm I dropped Shakey a couple of “supportive” texts and dozed off quite happy with my plan to sleep, wake, eat porridge, help Pam with the wee man, load bikes on to car and be at Lochore by 730am.

Which was fine until I woke just after midnight with the raging trots (I did warn you…….TMI!) and then threw up and then continued this pattern right through to about 630.  So with no sleep, dehydrated, no food in my stomach and the overwhelming urge to chunder right back in my porridge bowl I decided to do the smart thing……..and I headed off to “race”.  It turned out that Sunday was Father’s Day and Rory had got up early to wrap me a mug but while swallowing back every urge to up-chuck I probably didn’t appear that appreciative.

I got to Lochore, met Shakey and explained my predicament.  The thing about Shakey is that she is like a local Dr Ferrari for me (google him if you don’t know who he is!  But don’t make the mistake I did and include his first name Michelle – it turns out he has a more popular female namesake who, how should I put it, from the photos on google seems to enjoy her career in gentlemen’s cinema) and she provided me (Shakey not Michelle) with some super strength immodium which eased my mind on one of my many problems.

At Race Briefing we picked up another man, Digger, in a rubber hat and suit readying himself for the off.  Mrs Digger had also been due to race but sensibly she had got an ear infection and stayed in bed.  We were all nervous which may have been the enormity of competing in the Scottish Sprint Triathlon Championships but I think that may have been as a result of the high levels of hydration and the delayed race start.  Apparently it is poor form to “heat” your wetsuit on dry land and the balance in preparation between an essential surge of warmth and repulsing your supporters teeter is a very delicate one.   We had a full support squad of ma and da Shakey, Shakey’s squeeze, Pam and Rory (who was obviously desperate to support his daddy on Father’s Day) plus a few other loonies from work who thought that watching neoprene and lycra clad gimps dashing about the countryside was a far better pursuit for a Sunday morning than lying in bed with a hangover.

I went in the third swim wave (which was pretty lucky because if I was going to hurl at least two thirds of people weren’t going to have to swim through it) and I was pleased with how it went.  I stayed wide on the first straight but, despite holding back the urge to ralph, I ended up mixing it up a bit on the back straight and the way in which should hold me in good stead for the aquatic stramash in Regensburg.  However, after the swim my morning started to go rapidly downhill.  As I dondered casually up the beach to T1 I can safely say now that I didn’t have a clue where I was and I spent almost 3 minutes trying to find my bike which was cunningly hiding about 6 inches in front of me.  I actually have no recollection of coming out the water until a friend (thanks Rae) cheered me on the way out of T1 which woke me up pretty sharply.

I had planned to drop out after the swim if I wasn’t feeling great but obviously that required a degree of mental dexterity that was now amiss.  With hindsight I think my stomach was still pretty distressed, I was very dehydrated having only managed about 400ml of water in the morning and I suspect I was a bit hypoglycaemic.  In my confusion I didn’t layer up and just went out in my wet lycra which proved a stroke of luck as the day actually got warmer and my dehydration would have got worse.  The bike was a real disappointment for me and retiring after the swim would have saved my fragile confidence.  Despite the heavy duty volume of bike training and deliberately seeking out hills as I have done recently, my legs felt like lead on the few inclines that there were but my stomach was too tender to get into a really good position and make up ground on the flat.  About halfway round I succumbed and had to dismount the Temptress for a tactical chunder.  After that my stomach felt a lot better and I could really get my head down and push hard through the fastest part of the course – in the last couple of kilometres I actually overtook some people although to be fair one was in a bus stop pumping up his tyres.

On the way into T2 there was a casualty who I luckily managed to dodge but as I dismounted the bike my head went a bit fuzzy again and I have very little recollection of T2.  About 3 or 4 minutes into the run I remembered why the back of my singlet was so heavy because there was a gel there and some sugar was exactly what I needed – however it wasn’t an isotonic gel and I was dehydrated which meant that I might as well have pumped wallpaper paste in my mouth and I was sick again.  Unbelievably for someone who is going to have to do a marathon in 7 weeks I actually had to walk a bit of the 5k as the heat took it’s toll and my sloppy transitions meant that my trainers ate my heels alive.

For someone who is a bit of a stats junkey I haven’t really looked at how I did with the exception of noting that my pulse was 170bpm when I was in T1 (far, far too high).  I was left really flat by the event and having suffered gastrointestinal distress and dehydration had to drop a 6hr bike planned for Mon and 2hr run for Tues.

We had lunch with ma and da Shakey afterwards and I can say with hindsight the afternoon is all a bit of a blur.  As ever (previously discussed at The Great Pentland Dook) Ma Shakey provided a fine spread that was enjoyed by everyone but me (although I did squeeze in a very fine sarnie).  I then went to bed and slept for 5 hours, got up for an hour and then slept for another 9 hours.  Certainly not optimal training for Ironman.

I am sure that once Bert gets back to the darkroom there will be some photos from the event to post and when I find out the results I will update how Digger, Shakey and I actually did.  On this one, without knowing the splits, I am prepared to concede to Shakey but I can still claim a victory as her self-appointed coach.

That’s it – self pity out of the way.  I am now going to take some of the advice that I am so fond of dispensing and man-up and get over it.  I will be back in the Pentlands tomorrow to swim, this week I will do a long run and at the weekend I will do my long brick.  Now that I can drink water and stomach pizza it is very firmly back to business as usual.


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