Dodging Bullets

Posted on February 10, 2014. Filed under: ironman, Ironman Austria, Ironmanflu, man flu, motivation, recovery, Rory |

I definitely feel like in the past two weeks I have dodged bullets.  That which makes you strong in Ironman also makes you weak; but even when you are weak you can be smart.

I am pretty sure that in nurseries up and down the country there are rooms that are kept very, very warm.  In these rooms are petri dishes full of strains of bugs to which – no matter how much you are immunised, how often you travel to precarious foreign environments and how exposed you are to children – adults CANNOT build immunity.

And so it was last Monday that Rory, the iron boy, arrived home from nursery looking like his head was going to explode from the volume of snot that was held under pressure inside it.  I then spent two days on the sofa, watching Monsters Inc on repeat, in close proximity to what felt like ground zero of a major ebola outbreak.  And who am I to protest when a two year old feeling thoroughly miserable with a wet face from snot and tears wants to come in real close for a hug, and a kiss?  Followed by a sneeze.   That would hit my face like a wet and warm tornado.

Which gets me back to my first point.  Training a lot of hours a week in foul weather takes it’s toll on our immune systems.  I find when I am training, depending on how close I am to a recovery week that I become really susceptible to bugs.  Now, although terribly popular in corporate circles, I think that the concept of “marginal gains” is a gloriously meaningless term for “leaving nothing to chance”.  And that is exactly what I did.

20140205_114329So first up – if I have to be up close and personal how could I kill the bugs? Firstly, I went nowhere without a cold and flu nasal spray.  I have no idea whether it works but if it were cocaine I would have perforated my septum many times over with the habit I developed.  Secondly, as the poor wee cherub hasn’t learnt to blow his nose yet I was generally armpit deep in snot and soggy tissues so, using an old technique I used to avoid Delhi belly while working in Delhi I used antibacterial hand gel every 5 minutes and tried not to touch my own face.

But not satisfied with creating a barrier I  also went bananas on vitamin dosing.  I don’t know in my speedball cocktail what worked and what didn’t but I am giving up on none of it – 2000mg of soluble vitamin C, Nordic Oil with vitamin D and a multivitamin every day.

I genuinely have no idea if any of that made a difference but I have clearly dodged a boyflu bullet.

20140207_155748The benefits of “The Click” continued and I have now had two full weeks of 100% training completed.  Not only that but I am actually  looking forward to every single session – even swimming.  Something fresh has made each session more interesting…..

– in the pool, my swimming lesson has given me a new focus on technique which has removed the drudgery;

– I have a new lease of life running. I got trail shoes and every run, with the exception of my long run, is now off road. Great for leg strength, magnificently muddy, kinder to my calves and I even carry my phone with me to capture sights that inspire me like this;

– and on the bike the leg strength work I have been doing in the gym is starting to convert into power.  Finally!

It is great to be training and enjoying it, seeing the benefits and still have time until Ironman Austria to tweak the plan as events unfold.

However, even following The Click, Ironmanland isn’t always a place abundant with milk and honey.  Occasionally The Click’s ugly sister The Doubt rears it’s head.  While out on a long run my mind started to wander – normally I can control my thoughts pretty effectively – but I was getting a real ugly tug in my mind from The Doubt.  Back on December 2nd I started the Ironman Austria campaign and promptly had to take 3 weeks sabbatical due to the manflu.  The thought crept into my mind – I AM BEHIND PLAN AND I WILL NEVER CATCH UP.

Amongst the dark secrets from my past, few people remember that I was a very accomplished spreadsheet monkey.  I rarely own up to it but I still get a rush when I see that green excel icon.  Hell, I am probably one of the few people still alive that could work Lotus 123 for MS DOS.  Anyway, old fetish aside, I pulled all my training data from T-30 for Ironman Regensburg to rationalise where I am and quieten the doubting voices.

GREAT NEWS!  The mind plays cruel tricks.  In my head I trained like a spartan for my first Ironman but in the cold light of day that was scarily untrue.  I had also conveniently forgotten that Rory was born at T-17 and my Ironman world shut down for business for 4 weeks.  There may be more tales of the spreadsheets to come but the punchline is that training hours are spot on where I was three years ago, and I have loads of room to improve going forwards.

That’s it.  The plan remains the same.  Head down, arse up and focus on getting to race day in the best shape I can.


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One Response to “Dodging Bullets”

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Another good blog! I like you have avoided the plague of bugs that come into the house, mainly from nursery and less from senior school – i also like you am not sure why.

In my case I’ve avoided the plague, but not the god of injury! I’ll keep fingers crossed you don’t have to meet him.

I did tinker width Lotus123 for DOS, but my expertise was the multitude of odd functions of WordPerfect also running under DOS.

I love trail running – it’s easier on the joints and yet a tougher workout. For me the long run is perfect for a slog in the mud.


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