Sunday, 25 January 2009

My turn....

What a diffrence a weeks makes. This time last week, the jubilation of a solid Half Marathon race at the back end of a good weeks training, today I am sitting here struggling to comtempate an Iron Kid's race let alone an Ironman after being wiped out by a sickness/ diarrhea virus. I guess it was only a matter of time before it would be my turn. Since Christmas all the girls have had various illnesses, and I've ducked and dived, avoiding them all. Ellie had a tummy bug this week, and low and behold the early hours of Thursday morning saw me firmly fixed to the toilet.

I took Thursday and Friday off work, and started to feel better on Saturday. Thinking I was better I had food throughout Saturday and then Sarah and I went out with Tom and Helen for some food on Saturday night. We'd planned this night for a while and with baby sitters organised we were really looking forward to a night out. As it was, my stomach behaved and we did have a good night, cheers guys I really, really hope I haven't given you anything.

I have never had anything like the experience I had on Saturday night!!! I could go on and describe in detail my night but I will save you all the horrid details. I got very little sleep, went back to bed at 8am and before I knew it it was 3pm!!!! So far I have had 2 dry slices of toast and plenty of water. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

I am gutted. Last week was developing into a great training week, I had some ambitious plans for my training, all of which didn't happen.

I am hoping that I will be able to keep some food in me tomorrow, slowly get some energy back and then return to some training later in the week....

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Half Marathon Fun...

You have to check out this video clip, wingsuit base jumping!!! These guys are awesome or crazy, make your own minds up.

Today's photo is of Samuel Wanjiru World Record Half Marathon Record Holder 58:33, (4:30 min/mile) I didn't trouble his record today!!!

I raced the Brass Monkey Half Marathon this morning......OUCH. I had set a target of going sub 1:30 (had 1:28 in my mind). This target was based on last year's 1:29:57 achieved off of very little running. I raced to a time of 1:30:33, and boy did it hurt. As Lance Armstrong once said "racing hurts, and it hurts me just as much as anybody, I just go a little faster". It certainly hurt today, a pain in my side for the last couple of miles (just when you want to dig in and open up a little, rubbish) this really stiffens me up and slows me down. It is a problem I've had on and off when running hard for prolonged time periods. I think its related to being dehydrated, which would figure as I didn't really drink more than a couple of mouthfuls today. Then at mile 12 my Hamstrings started to explode. I had to sneak a real quick stretch, and finished the last couple of hundred meters off feaful of fully blown cramp! My Hamstrings are always the first leg muscle to cramp. I guess that is simply a conditioning factor. They are not weak, but being an important running muscle I guess not so well developed given my historically low running milage? Anybody with any thoughts or suggestions?

I ran 6.57 min/mile Pace average, with a Heart Rate average of 174bpm. However the first 7 miles were quicker than the average, and the last 6 were slower. I think that although I have done considerably more running during Oct, Nov, Dec and Jan than last year not many miles have been done at a fast enough pace to facilitate the necessary adaptations to then hold 6:40's for 13 miles. So although I didn't quite achieve my target I am still very pleased. I am pleased because 1:30 is a solid time for me. The race has got me more focussed on my running, and thus I feel I have a deeper running base to continue my Ironman running preparation this year.

Before I leave the topic of Half Marathon racing, well done Max (my brother) for running 1:28:40 in the 4 Villages race in Cheshire. To Tom for nailing a PB with a 1:19:28 (I think 28 seconds) Ben B for running 1:24:48 in slightly warmer conditions in Phoenix (USA) and to Helen for running a solid 1:35 at the Brass Monkey, given the training load you put your body and mind under just a week ago in Lanzarote. It's great to be surrounded by like minded characters, and I will be taking motivation from you all in the next few weeks.

The rest of my training week has been sound. I've ridden 160 miles, including a 3 1/4 hour session on Thursday, ran 2 hours, and knocked out a couple of weights sessions, 11 3/4 hours in total.

Evie is well on the mend, and starting to eat more food. Sarah is also nearly back to normal, and Ellie has loved her 3 mornings in her big school.

Sitting here drinking a celebratory glass of sparkling pink wine my legs are trashed, and my mind is tired, so its a short post from me tonight because I want a cuddle on the sofa from my coach!! I will leave you with a funny quote that Ellie said to me a couple of nights ago. I was in the bath with her, and suddenly she say's,

"Daddy don't slouch"

I did laugh. I will see you in 7, hopefully with another 150 + of bike miles in my legs!!!!! Be good.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Poor Little Evie...

I’m not sure if I have many weeks that aren’t busy, but this week has been busy for numerous reasons. Being busy can be both physical and mental, this week has been a particularly busy mental week. I went back to work on Monday, we always start the new term with a ‘training day’. So after a couple of meetings and a session on child protection updates, I had a department meeting, then it was lunch time. Although I could have found plenty to do in the afternoon I decided to get some ‘training’ in and headed home via a 3 ¼ hour ride. That morning I woke up to freezing temperatures and a cm of snow, I gingerly rode in on the crunchy stuff. I thought it would be as much as I could do to get home let alone ride that afternoon. The little snow soon cleared so riding was fine, however unprepared for a long ride I had no food. I grovelled for the last hour in the dark, quite hungry and very envious of Tom and Helen in Lanzarote clocking up plenty of miles in the sunshine. Congratulations Tom for winning the award for Male Single Performance of the Year at the Leeds and Bradford Triathlon Club Presentation Night, thoroughly deserved.

I managed to catch up with my mate Ben who lives in Seattle on Tuesday, great to chat with him. He’s my best man, a great friend and a fellow triathlete, and is now earning his $$$’s coaching. Sounds like he’s really making it happen in Seattle, after setting up his coaching company VO2Multisport, he’s close to his coaching capacity. Having watched Ben be successful at a diverse range of jobs (financial advisor, gym instructor, Halifax Call Centre, Men’s Fashion Shop Manager, Personal Trainer) he has finally settled (I think) to where his energy, excitement, skills and enthusiasm lies, that of Triathlon. It’s great to see him being successful. I will be heading to Tuscon in February to spend a week on Ben’s Training Camp, can’t wait to see you buddy. We talked about training and he recommended looking at the ‘Daniels Running Pace Formula’. This I did.

I set about putting theory into practice on Wednesday with a tough ‘T’ (Tempo) paced run. Dialling in 1:30:00 for my ½ marathon pace Daniels formula has me running my ‘T’ runs at 6.44min/mile. I was a little dubious as to whether I could hold that pace, even for the short 3 mile session I’d planned. After a mile warm up I picked it up and 20 minutes latter I had held 6.34min/mile pace for all 3 miles, it was tough with a HR average 170bpm, but it’s supposed to be. I was chuffed to bits, and had held on to a big smile as I cooled down. The idea with Daniels is you have an ‘E’ Easy paced run, which for me comes in at 8.24, an ‘M’ Marathon paced run (7.09) a ‘T’ Tempo Paced run (6.44) and then two interval pace’s. Ben has been using it himself and with his athletes, seems to be working for him so I will give it a go. If nothing else it really gets you to focus on the pace of your run and to focus on the outcome of the run session, being more honest when you run. It’s a match made in heaven with Mr Garmin!!

Ellie started big school, pre- school on Thursday with a taster morning. She missed out on going to school proper last September by 18 days, and is really ready for it. Luckily our local school have a January intake for those children in this situation. It’s really only a pre-school available each morning if wanted, but unlike her other nursery it’s on the site of the big school and she gets to wear her school uniform. She is very excited and every time we drive or walk past the school she tells us “that is my Big School”. Next week she starts for real, 3 mornings a week, school uniform and packed lunch, exciting times. When she tried on her uniform both Sarah and my Mum had tears in their eyes, she does look very sweet.

The rest of the week unravelled with Sarah slowly getting well, but struggling to shift her cough. Then at 5am Thursday Evie woke up crying, and on a closer inspection I realised she had Spaghetti Bolognese in her hair and all over her shoulder. A pretty quick clean up act followed with a bath and clean PJ’s. She wouldn’t go back to sleep so Sarah sat with her downstairs. She spent the rest of Thursday being sick, so obviously had caught some kind of nasty stomach bug. Even water wasn’t staying down. By Friday morning she was not any better, and was looking quite unwell, so Sarah took her to the doctors. The doctor gave her some rehydration powder which she would not drink. I came home from work early to look after Ellie and Sarah took Evie to York Hospital. Cutting the longest 24 hours in history down to a short paragraph, the doctors put her on a fluid drip through the night, before letting her come home Saturday afternoon. She is still not herself, but hasn’t been sick and is slowly starting to drink juice, water and milk and eat a little food. Ellie has been a fabulous big sister making cards (see photo above) and trying to get Evie to drink and eat, but it’s been a long few days. This is where the mental tiredness comes in. Not being able to do anything through Friday, and then worrying that she wasn’t eating or drinking much takes its toll. Throw ‘an Ellie’ in the mix who has enough energy to do a Deca Ironman, and a questioning approach to life where ‘Why’ starts every sentence, I’m feeling quite cream crackered.

Seeing your daughter looking so sad and helpless, with her usual zest for life and energy for exploration totally gone is heart breaking. Both Sarah and I had moments these last few days where we feel totally helpless. Knowing she has got to start drinking fluids but getting a total refusal every time we offered a drink is difficult. However on Sunday tea time, after a day of sleep and cuddles she ate a fair amount of Spaghetti Carbonara, and drunk a cup of water, this was joyful to witness. She is now sleeping peacefully and hopefully will wake up tomorrow a little bit better.

Today I needed to get some fresh air and clear my head so I ran an ‘E’ paced 10 miles (bit quicker, holding 8.24 was very difficult) it felt very comfortable. Next Sunday’s Brass Monkey ½ Marathon will provide some evidence as to how far my running has progressed. I ran 1:29:58 last year off of very, very little running. Next Sunday I expect to run faster, and be more comfortable in the final few miles. If I am not then I can only conclude that last year’s race was one of those perfect days, because I know I am in much better running shape.

The start of a New Year brings such high expectations. In some aspects of my life it’s been a good start, but in the aspects that really matter I think I may start the year again on the 1st February. Hopefully then colds, tummy bugs, coughs and flu symptoms are long forgotten, get well quickly Evie, Sarah and Dad and good health for the rest of the year. Have fun at Big School Ellie. Have a healthy week all, see you in 7.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Goals and Plans....

I have started 2009 running. We saw in the New Year with Elieen and Bernie (Sarah's Mam and Dad) in Newcastle. I participated in the unusual tradition (is it unusual?) of going outside at 11.59.55pm with a piece of coal and a bottle of whiskey, and as the clock strikes and the New Year starts bringing the Coal and Whiskey back into the house. It is supposed to bring good luck, I hope it does.

On New Years Day morning I drove to the coast at South Shields (finish of Great North Run) and ran along the beach and up onto the cliff tops. I ran a nice steady 10 miles in 1hr 20 mins. I thoroughly enjoyed the view and the freshness of the air.

On 2nd January I returned to South Shields and ran 6 miles along the cliffs. I opened up the tanks a little on mile 4 (7.05 min/mile) and mile 5 (6.56 min/mile), feeling good.

On Sunday 4th January I ran my technical 5 miler along the canal, where I aim to run efficiently and hold perfect form. During my 3 weeks holiday I have managed to run 4 hours each week. This is an exceptional block of running for me. It is this sort of consistency that I hope to hold on to for as long as possible in the build up to IM Lanzarote.

Over the break I read 'No Limits' Michael Phelps autobiography (a great read, thoroughly recommended) He talks about setting his goals, and confirms a belief I already have about aiming high.

I have written down some of my goals and plans for 2009, here are some of them.

Ironman Lanzarote, Finishing time 10:45:00. I finished IMUK in 11.08.00 (2007), and IM Switzerland in 11.03.00 (2008) so have set myself the goal of a new PB at Lanzarote. I know it's supposed to be a tougher course, but I am aiming high. I think my splits might look something like this, Swim 1:08, Bike 5:35, Run 3.55 (T1 and T2 7 mins)

Sub 55 min 25 mile T.T. It's been a few years since I did enough time trialling to get consistently fast. I have a P.B. over 25 miles of 53.45, which I set in 2000 on a perfect, perfect Sunday morning on the A1 near Blyth. The past few seasons I have just crept below the hour, riding a long 58 last season. After Lanzarote I hope to do a few more T.T's and some specific T.T training, hoping for the perfect race to ride fast again.

Ride a 12 hour T.T in July. Dad set the tone this year, he is gearing up for a repeat performance and Max is on board, so that just leaves me. A Garrard Family 12 hour, bring it on.

Get strong again. The last couple of years I have let my weight training drift a little. I have become more specific with my weights, lifting lighter and more repetitions for my triathlon. However I would like to get back to feeling strong. Post Lanzarote I will start to lift heavier and build some strength.

Spend Friday Night's with Sarah doing something special together. This is something we did with regularity a few years ago. There are times during the week when we pass like ships in the night, so every Friday we will pull in the main sail and set anchor for a night. Each week we will alternate being the skipper, cooking for each other, watching a movie, playing 'Skip Bo', a pamper night or whatever else we can come up with.

Do something as a Family each Sunday. This is something we try to do anyway, but of course things slip, time to get back to Sunday family time.

Teach Ellie to Swim. It's been quite a while since we went to the pool. She loves swimming and is confident in the water, doing some massive jumps and dives from the side. I will try to get her swimming so that she can then have lessons real soon.

Enjoy my Garden. We have a fabulous Garden and decking, and love 'BBQing' and sitting out in the evening. However the last couple of years we have been a little thwarted by the weather, and on the good days haven't really made the most of it, not this year.

I'm sure as the year progresses more goals will be set and plans will be made. Some goals will be achieved, some will not, but in setting each goal a journey can begin. I am sure that each of my goals will bring me and those around me happiness and excitment, which is ultimately what it's all about.

"Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it" (Goethe)

I hope you have aimed high with your goals for 2009, and that the journey you take to achieving them is full of happy moments. Catch you next week.