Tuesday, October 16, 2012

8 weeks and a 70.3 to go

when i think back to when this adventure started i would never have  imagined doing a half ironman as a training event.  but that is what i am up to this weekend and it is amazing how the body can adapt and what it is truly capable of once you put the work in.  touch wood training has been going quite well.  on sunday i was back to my normal but expanded circuit.  it is now a 77.5k lap so i completed two over a 5.5 hour period.  the wind was pretty gusty and while i was tired afterwards the ride was fun.  i have been doing some sessions on the indoor trainer (as per the training programme) but i really hate it.  i mean i really fucking hate it.  and it has made me come to the conclusion that if it really sucks all the enjoyment out of this adventure then what is the point ?  i know that it will improve my cycling and that is why i will try and stick with it 'some' (i dont mind the spinerval dvds)  but otherwise i am out on the road with the sunshine, wind, rain, birds, kangaroos and snakes.  i know my last two build weeks i cycled 11 hours each week and every ride during the week i got totally soaked in the rain and rode through one storm that included hail.  that was a personal growth time and made me reminded me that i am capable of more than i think.   

i am not happy with the ironman coach.  as i mentioned before my programme stated that i should be cycling  with a cadence around 95-100.  mine is 68-78.  i asked about this and was just told that i needed to work at it otherwise my run would suffer.  i wasnt told how i should do this.  i did some research and the consensus is that cadence is not the best bench mark.  power is.  and if chrissie wellington has the same cadence as me (or i her) then i am not worried.  but i do need more power.  maybe i misunderstood or i did not understand the extent of the relationship but i thought for my monthly payment to  coach ironman i would maybe, just maybe be asked or contacted to see how i was doing.  i can contact him and ask questions.  i may not get much of an answer or the answer i want but i do get a basic response.  last time  we spoke about my training i did the talking and that was pretty much it.  i even do test weeks but i have never been asked the results etc.  so i am really pissed off about it and while i have faith in the training programme (luckily) it would have been nice to have some support and a little feedback.  i believe it is because i am just a back of the pack age grouper with no prospect for making him look good.  my money does not buy the same thing as someone who is that little bit faster.

a few weeks ago i read tyler hamiltons book the secret race.  i have also read david millars book.  what really pisses me off about these guys is that they claim they are now just that little above it all because they have told the truth.  they are kidding themselves.  they only told the truth because they got caught.  if tyler hamilton had not been busted he would have denied denied denied just like lance. however i do believe tyler. so lance was not only the best rider he was also the best drug cheat.  it has altered my view of him.  he should not be allowed to compete in triathlon.  he will do and has done anything to win and i dont think we could trust him not to cross that line again.  it will be interesting to see what becomes of lance.  and it is a shame as he is an amazing athlete but to be a true champion he should have stood up and said no to the drugs.

i have noticed lately that not only the motorist but now runners seem to want to piss me (the cyclist) off.  they keep running along the shoulder towards the oncoming traffic.  this means that they are running where i ride.  and they dont want to move.  they want me to ride out into the traffic and get hit instead of them.  they can fuck off.  i have had enough.  and they do this where the cars coming up behind me are driving along a white line so cannot move across the lane.

the ironman journey is an experience that i am grateful that i am able to take. it has been a lonely one.  it is all consuming and i think if you are considering it you need to be prepared, organised and committed.  i dont think it is worth doing half-arsed.  you cannot miss a few sessions and think you will wing it on the day.  you will pay.

so mandurah on sunday.  i have elected to drive the 1.5 hours in the morning so that means getting up around 3.30am.  good practice for ironman day.  it also means driving down the day before as well for bike check-in.  the swim is a point to point course in the canals so it should be calm but the current might be a factor.  who cares when the shark risk there is minimal.  our beaches are being closed on a daily basis with shark sightings.  the bike course is two laps of a flat and possibly boring course.  wind may play a very big part.  the weather forecast is looking okay.  warm day though.  the run course is two laps and what appears to be a scenic route.  i have been instructed to go at 80%.  what is 80% ?  the bike will be the only leg where i have to make sure i dont go too hard.  i found myself getting a little freaked out by the prospect of doing a half without a taper.  remember it is me.  the chunky chick who started all this on a mountain bike.  but i reminded myself that i do this because i enjoy it and who gives a fuck whether i swim a little crooked or my cadence is wrong or i am fucking slow on the run.  or even if i stop and the smell the roses, smile and thank every volunteer on the course.  i just want to have some fun.

chow baby !

Thursday, October 4, 2012

the bike course

coast road out and back
this last weekend i drove down to bunbury as i had been invited to a primary school reunion and i thought it would be a good opportunity to ride the ironman course and enjoy some different scenery as well.  the reunion was interesting to say the least and i will tell all in another blog.  it had been a big two weeks and after this ride and the 3k brick run to follow i would hit my biggest volume EVER.  for the week i rode 325k - 11.5 hours,  ran 41.5k -  4.25 hours and swam 6.5k - 2.5 hours (missed one swim - me bad again).  just over 18 hours.  i must admit that by the time i drove back to perth after the ride/run i was knackered.  very hungry (still) but also knackered. 

i managed to get away from the reunion by 10pm which was a bit late considering i had cycled 50k with a 11.5k brick run in the morning.  i never sleep well at the folks so when i got up at 5am i did not feel like riding a bike for five hours.  i arrived in busselton just after six and while it was a bit fresh it wasnt as cold as i thought it might be and it was perfect weather - no rain and a light wind.  busselton may be flat but the weather can be a killer.  

while i have ridden most of this course when doing the busselton 70.3 the ironman course is a little different.  the first part you head north out to layman road.  this road is long and some sections are totally exposed.  to the sun, the heat and especially the wind.  and as it turned out on sunday to an amazing amount of bugs.  bugs that got in your hair and mouth.  this road then runs adjacent to the beach before you are meant to turn off down coast road for an out and back - this is not part of the 70.3 course.  however on the first lap i missed this as the road sign said it was forrest beach road.  by a process of elimination (there are no other roads heading left) i determined that this road was in fact coast road.  it also ran along the coast so this perhaps was another clue.  

i continued on along layman road but i wasnt enjoying myself.  it was a bit breezy with a bit of a headwind and i was tired.  i thought this was going to be a long day.  but i have also noticed that while i may start out feeling like shit i usually come good the further i go and tend to warm up to it by the 50k mark.  layman road then turns right onto tuart drive.  this is part of the 70.3 course and is a little protected from the wind and quite shady so a nice respite from the sun.  the road is long and takes you all the way out to bussell highway.  on race day the road is closed so you can ride away from the shoulder.  which is great as the shoulder is very rough and usually covered in twigs and tree debris.  so you ride on the right of the white line but as close as you can get to it.  and you need to be careful as it has white bumps that are meant to stop drivers from falling asleep crossing over it and hitting a tree.  when you ride over it on a bike it is like a jack hammer on your private bits.  this is not fun.  

i headed back and at the tuart drive and layman road roundabout i was meant to go straight for approx 3k before turning around and coming straight back but i forgot.  i headed straight back into busselton along layman road.  when i arrived back at the start point i had been riding for approx 100 mins and maybe 45k.  i stopped and removed some clothes.  i am so sick of riding like i am michelin man.  i also had a cliff bar and got a little more organised.  like reading the map correctly.  i then rode out to complete the ironman course  correctly.  on race day i will have to do this three times.  

i was right as well.  i started to feel really good and had my legs back and i was enjoying the day.  i had one toilet stop and another stop further along to remove the last of my winter gear - the leg warmers.  now i can get my tan line back.  after the full lap i headed back out as i still had another hour or so to go.  during this time i saw very few cyclists.

i finished the ride feeling really good.  i consumed 4 bottles - 3 of brew and one shotz mix.  i had a gel on every 45 and ate a cliff bar and a banana.  i need to tidy this up a bit and be more consistent.  any warmer and i need to drink more.  the short 3k run felt extremely good and i was nicely surprised.  the only negative perhaps was that i rode the day a little harder than i should have.

BUT the biggest positive is that i came away from this ride really thinking that i actually can do this.  the main challenge with this course will always be the heat and the wind.  if i pace myself well and have my nutrition dialed in then this should be my strongest leg.  my training has a strong bike focus - not only so i do well on the bike but to also help get me through the run.  this has been a good confidence booster.  you can check out the course and my ride below - bought to you by garmin.