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What a great way to spend a Sunday morning!
Mon May 12, 2014 2:03 pm jts
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Aka how not to prepare for your first tri

Some months ago my husband chided me something rotten by saying that I was not a proper triathlete as I had not actually completed a triathlon on my own. I didn’t have much grounds on which to rebut this, as it is true; I had not completed all three parts of a triathlon. He also said it would be good to leave the Peak District a triathlete.
So humbled I searched for a suitable triathlon and came up with Ashbourne 11th May, suitably far ahead I did not have to think about it for some time.
Roll on a few months my prep for this went something along the following lines:
• No individual training session lasts for >1 hour as I fit in all my training while waiting for little Jts (problem – sprint tri will take me ~2hours, um)
• Work gets hectic = lots of extra hours = fewer training sessions
• Relocation with work, but not actually sure of a job until ~6 months before you want to leave = stress / strained relationships
• Not getting a first choice school place and then apply for alternatives after the closing date (found a great school, probably better than original choice, but stressful all round)
• Finding out, after agreeing to move and signing away all redundancy rights, that your house isn’t good enough for the relocation scheme. Puts at risk new home, actual moving etc. Again really stressful
• Deciding that your current home needs considerable redecoration (I have now, inexpertly, plastered 3 walls in addition to painting almost all the other rooms in our house)
• Said decoration pulls back out 2 weeks before event.

So training prep for the race was non-existent. In the 4 weeks prior to race I think I managed 8 swims, 4 runs and 4 turbos. Oh hadn’t actually been on a real bike on a real road in the preceding 12 months.

I could have just pulled out given my lack of focus and prep, but I though the worst that could happen is I DNF (but at least tri’d) and I have done quite a bit over the past year and each of the individual sections should pose no problems, so turned up.

Swim: Waiting to start realized that they had removed the stairs = would have to get out of pool unaided. Another fail in the prep. This is going to be fun / inelegant / embarrassing.
Rather busy lanes, at least 3 lung fulls of water, about the time I had predicted. Didn’t enjoy the swim.

Bike. Managed to remember to leave my glasses in transition to wear for the bike leg and put on my helmet before mounting bike. About 2 miles in remembered how I changed gears, about halfway round remember what gears were for and by the time I had almost finished remember how to use gears and legs to get some power. I remembered how much I like my bike, it’s lovely, mental note to get out on it more as 1 per year is a little bad. Time – much better than the 60 mins I was expecting.

Run. Quick change but forgot to leave my glasses in transition. Been 4 years since I last did a brick session. Running off the bike legs felt rather weird. Couldn’t feel legs and certainly had no power. So was expecting a rather long and painful 5km, but was not either. Time – fastest 5km I’ve run this year (Ok not much but good for me)

Summing up: Despite having dreadful preparation for this event, it actually went really well. My overall time was *much* better than I had thought – was expecting to come in at about 2 hours, chip time was 1:30.33 Smile But given that my legs are not all achy today, one day on, I suspect I could go faster; just need to learn how to work my body harder.

I missed having my family around to cheer me on – little Jts had the regional chess finals so chief photographer (OH) was occupied doing that – can’t complain though as he managed to win his way into the next round, UK-North.

The future: Actually quite enjoyed the whole participation thing; I wasn’t last and I didn’t stand out particularly in any way (well perhaps how I got out of the pool Smile ). Family want to see me in a tri, so perhaps I’ll enter an open water one later in the season, once we’ve moved house. I do want to ride my bike more and I’d love to have the courage to run more / longer. Ah and learn how to exit a pool unaided Smile

Retrospection: I’ve come a long way. 4 years ago I could barely run 1 mile, and it took me a few months to build up to 5km. Yesterday I managed a sprint tri on very little specific training. I much prefer being that much fitter.
I’ve never going to win anything – not prepared to put to time in to see whether that would be possible. And my body is not the “ideal” shape for anything sporty; but I don’t care as I actually enjoy it. Yes I would like to be slimmer (note the resolution to eat less exercise more), but I’ll be happy with a body that can just do this sort of thing.

Happy Tri-ing Peeps!

Time for a little pat on the back I think
Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:54 pm jts
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Been rather up and down with exercise stuff over the past month or so, but I deserve a little pat on the back.

Sat the exams two weeks ago now – seems a much longer time than that. They were hard, really really hard. Suspect I've failed (if I were examining would I have passed myself – truly don't know). Find out in two more weeks. But for now they've gone away and forgotten.

About 3 weeks ago I very nearly made a rather large rant on the training or general forum here. Not directed at anyone in particular, but in general. I'd spent a while reading several of the on-going treads in training, not least “how bad at swimming am I”. Real respect and hats off to many of the guys posting / replying in there, but listing the times (even the “slow”) people were coming out with were so out of my league I didn't feel comfortable there Sad. Look around for a tread on cycling I felt I could join as a real member of the group; none for my level.Rolling Eyes Running, never my strong point, not many places someone who thinks 10kph is really pushing it, can hang out is there. Mad Note I'm not putting myself down here, just not finding the sandbox for me to play in.

Almost started my own threads, Idea perhaps “Dreaming of a 30min park run...” or “how to light up 200W” or even “my CSS is 2.21, but it's going to get better!”. Calmed down and thought better of it.

I've not been particularly down on myself over the weeks, but not feeling great about it either. I've a nice little routine going with something planned each time little JtS has something on with swimming happening during lunch “hours” and my one evening out a week at the tri club swim on Wednesday. I'm not going very far each session – all of them are <1 hour because that is all I have time for at the moment, but I'm being reasonably consistent with ~4 swims a week 3 runs and 1 or 2 turbos.

Not got the courage yet to the get the bike out onto the road. Perhaps after Christmas my bravery will increase. Not sure what I am scared of really; perhaps that it's quite hard work and I've not done it in so long that I've forgotten how to ride a proper bike.

Swimming is my main focus at the moment. My coach is setting me sets to do each week which makes the meters pass much faster. She is also getting me to focus on my weaknesses; namely breathing and pushing hard.

Someone on here posted a question of how much data people record and what they use it for. I actually take a lot of data on the stuff I do, record it all, but rarely do any detailed analysis. I never train to a particular data point / level / heart rate zone etc, unless you count the rest periods between sets in swimming. Found myself looking back at the data I had recorded over the past ~2 1/2 years. This demonstrated to me how far I have come. First time I went for a “run” I managed about 1km of actual “running” and had to walk the last 3.5 km home; it took me 54 mins. Not done that route in a while, the last time I did (back in marathon training times) it look me 32 mins +secs.

These past 2 weeks have seen me reach pb's in all three things. Turbo – managed a best average watts ever for a 45min session of 225W for which I was pulling 280-290W for the last 10 mins or so. This is better than when cycling was my only thing Smile Running - always run the same route while little JtS swims. Back in March (of marathon training days) I'd do the route comfortably in 41-42 mins, in September I was doing ~40 mins. A few days ago I managed 38.15!!!!! I knew I was pushing hard (for me, it's all relative) but was not too uncomfortable. Swimming. Back in May I did a timed 1km swim – 31 mins. Two weeks ago I did a set of 10x100m (OK not totally equivalent) in 24 mins (elapsed time)!! Well proud of that. Two sessions later I managed for the first time EVER to do <9mins for a 400m at 8.49; really really chuffed with that (400m back in July took me 10.15).

Had parents evening last week -glowing report. Little JtS I think has finally settled in his (not so) new school. Only taken 2 years. Kind of glad we moved him when we did 'coz two not so good years now is better than later I think. He's a much happier lad and we're in a much better place than 18 months ago.

So just plodding along in my own little way is working small miracles for me. I'm content. Oh forgot to mention, October park run saw me home in under 30mins Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa – Whooooooooooo. Very Happy W00t (how many people on here can say they did a marathon before a sub 30 park run eh?) And to top it all off came home from swimming this evening to find Mr JtS had mopped the kitchen floor. Blow Kiss You see it's the small things in life that make all of the difference.

Just having some fun.
Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:16 am jts
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Just having some fun.

Have I really not written anything on my blog since May. Computers never lie as they say…
I’ve not been inactive, just nothing in particular to blog about.

Didn’t do much potl-ing in the immediate post marathon phase, perhaps one or two short plods per week and the occational turbo. Really wanted to focus on my swim, which is now definitely the weakest of my three (albeit generally weak) disciplines.

Found myself a swim coach and started going to the local tri club sessions. Mix of periodical individual lessons and set sessions every week. Over the summer I was getting to the pool for about 3 sessions per week. I’ve now upped that to 4 session per week, though 2 of them are shortish as I’ve got to do them in my lunch hour.

Making time to swim I find really difficult. Whereas with potl-ing and cycle / turbo which I can do whenever little jts has an activitiy (i.e. most days of the week), swimming has to be done at the times when the pool is open and I have time. But I’m trying to be consistent, and the coaching I’m getting is certainly helping. I’ve made loads of progress on the bilateral breathing thing. 3 months ago I was a left side only, every 2 strokes type woman. I can comfortably breath from the right and go every three; I’m happy with that. Trying to push myself out of my comfort zone in the pool. Never really one to push so this I find challenging, especially when the times I achieve when pushing *really* hard (for me) are only a second or so faster than when going normally – stroke goes to pot. But I have to trust the coach and do what she says. I know my times for longer distances are coming down so it’s all good stuff. It’s really quite motivating going to the pool knowing there is a structured session ahead of you rather than ploughing the lengths. Often find the sessions go really quickly as I’m occupied all the time and don’t get bored.

Now term has started again, the potl-ing and cycling (aka turbo, never seem to get onto the real bike, excuses excuses – frightened of the thing which is a bit bizarre all things considered) are getting a bit more attention. Aiming for 3 potl’s a week and 2 turbos. Not really improving on the potl-ing, just maintaining the (low) speed I was at before the marathon. The only “race” I’ve done this summer was the first Buxton park run a couple of weeks back. Ran a pb (30.32) on a day when I wasn’t exactly feeling well so was really pleased with that. Hey may be I’ll be able to cover 5km in less than 30 mins – a milestone I’ve only dreamt of so far.
Turbo. Not doing anything structured here too. However I am able to hold the power I was in the summer 2011, and my top end power is going up a little – got to 411 “W”’s the other day (and that was at a cadence of 121 so if I got the resistance right I might be able to manage more!) – again going over the 400 mark was another milestone to have reached.

Keep being asked what I’m going to do next. Sometimes I want to shout back saying, “Nothing, Why do I have to have something next, can’t I just enjoy doing what I’m doing for the sake of doing it?” Genuinely enjoying just doing what I’m doing. If I don’t feel like something I don’t do it without the pang of guilt that working towards something might bring on. But maybe I would be better to have something to work to, to reap the benefits of potling along, perhaps make me potl a bit harder. I bought a team entry for the Outlaw next year. Several member of the local Triclub appeared to be interested in making a team together, so I might form part of that team. I would be dishonest if I said that the thought of completing it on my own doesn’t appeal at some level. But, not sure I’m ready to give the commitment to that amount of training, the amount required to haul my body around such a thing.

I sit professional exams at the end of October. Not sure how confident I am about passing them. In honesty so far I’ve really not done the volume of study which I would consider necessary to pass. But I’m not particularly stressed about it. If I pass that would be great (been having dreams that I pass and everything becomes rosy), really really great to no longer have that sword over my neck. If I fail, then where I am at the moment not sure I’d care much. Would mean having to start at the beginning again re professional qualifications, so further 2 sets of examinations. That in itself doesn’t fill me with dread, but failing an exam is not a position I’ve found myself in that often in the past 30 years, so who knows.

Perhaps I will wait for results before I decide on the next madness to light my way.

Sue Just enjoying what I’m doing and happy with that. Feels good.
Carlito Late congratulations are as good to read as the early ones. Thank you.

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