Manning Up

Posted on March 31, 2014. Filed under: cycle, ironman, Ironman Austria, strava |

IMG_20140311_110234Last week, I *may* have been feeling a bit sorry for myself when I wrote this.  I was floating in a mental Bermuda Triangle somewhere between chronic CBA Syndrome and some very real, lingering bug.

But I’m not very good at sitting still when I have The Plan.  Ironman Austria is getting no further away.  It is getting no shorter than 140.6 miles. And I am getting no younger.  So a word was needed to be had with oneself, in a threatening manner.

Back in September, I knew that this was likely, and I had a stern chat with my brain; that has proven useful this week.  I also wrote The Plan which I knew would be my magnetic north when the sea got turbulent.  Together with a heavy prescription of Rule #5, I manned up last week and got straight back onto the horse.

The first sign that I was in full HTFU recovery was when I went to the gym on Wednesday.  I take a bit of a beasting, I am working on pull ups.  The previous week I managed 4 sets of 4 pull ups, the last two with support.  This week I was doing sets of 6 pull ups without support with push ups in between sets.  The gym chap asked if I was sure I didn’t want support.  “I have to do 140.6 miles in 14 weeks time without support, it’s time to man up”, I responded.  He gave me a confused yet sympathetic look that said “you’re special, but not in a good way”.

IMG_20140326_154337On Wednesday, I went  cycling in shorts, fingerless mitts and a family size vat of factor 50.  It was a pleasant 3 hour ride but there was one notable high and one notable low.

The high was the quality of the ride – cadence and heart rate were exactly where I needed them and on two of my benchmark climbs I recorded my fastest ascents in the last two years.  On one of my “favourite” climbs, in one of my favourite places, the wonderfully named, Auchmuirbridge to Arnot segment, I recorded my best time by 20 seconds.  This is cool.  The Powerbar that came down my nose as I gasped for breath was not.

The low was that as the sun started to fall it became apparent that it was a few weeks early for fingerless mitts and my hands started cramping with the cold.  Having watched Milan – San Remo the week before, I knew the pro peloton have two strategies to cope with this – a bottle of hot tea or a tactically aimed golden shower.  Fearing the Constabulary would not be understanding as I warmed my clawlike hands with pee, I opted for the former.

So, I pulled in to the side of Loch Leven ordered two coffees, drank one and poured the other in a bidon.  Whenever I cramped I would pour some coffee on my hands.  My formerly pristine white bar tape now looks like the site of a dirty protest.

2014-03-31 20.34.24On Saturday, I PB’d at parkrun.  I’m not really sure how.  The run-up was not perfect preparation.  On Thursday I ran 13 very fun but energy sapping miles in the woods.  On Friday evening I did a 60+30 brick.  So, as a consequence I woke up on Saturday morning with little desire to run 5k and achey legs.

This would prove to be an interesting park run because it was the first time that I was fit enough for an absolutely balls to the wall effort.  I tend to self-seed myself a bit too modestly and the first 800m included quite a bit of obstacle dodging. I struck a lot more matches than I intended getting through the traffic and before I hit the first kilometre marker I had pins and needles in my legs and I was convinced I was going to pass out.  A glance at my watch confirmed that I was already running at about 95% of maximum heart rate.  It was a flat out effort which was humbling as OAPs and kids skipped passed me but, in my defence I was about 9stone heavier than all of them put together.  My splits were pleasantly (actually not pleasant.  Actually very uncomfortable indeed) consistent at  4:46, 5:03, 5:03, 5:01, 4:51 to bring me in well under 25minutes.  This might not strike you as a particular speedy time but handicap adjusted for lard and ancient I would whup Mo’s quorn filled ass by miles.

I will always remember the moment that I crossed the line.  Not because I celebrated my PB by dancing Gangnam Style.  No, not that at all.  But because I projectile vomited my porridge on my trainers.  THAT is how to celebrate.

So, that’s it.  Everything is back on track with the exception of the previously reliable weight loss trajectory.  I have analysed all the stuff to try and get under the skin of this particular problem.  After much number crunching and control testing, I have concluded the problem is cake.  And beer.  Unfortunately they will have to go.


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4 Responses to “Manning Up”

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Brilliant post! Remind me never to get too close to your bar tape (or your trainers) in the future. Training is obviously going well, congrats 😀


Cheers Pea. I confirm that my bar tape issue is only coffee.

My trainers, however, are truly foul.


I believe you, thousands wouldn’t 😉


Thank you for the reminder to HTFU (a favorite of mine) and be grateful. Nice post!


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