Thursday, 30 April 2015

Monkey Track Thursday

For regular readers of The Magic Forest - and those who are not probably should be - you will know that Monkey Track Thursday is a weekly activity of this blogs author.  Where he joins Petts Wood Runners at their weekly track training session but uses this as a pacing session where he runs laps in a metronomic style.

Not quite up to a full on track session but wishing to run with company I decided to join Jerry in his monkey footed running antics - only without monkey feet of my own and simply my super duper Nike Flyknits!
We hit the track do run circuits along with a young addition to our crew, the son of another PWR. This young lad seemed to effortlessly keep pace with us for 4 miles at which point I gave up (as I didn't want to push my back too far) and he took the out too, although I am sure he could have outlasted me had he felt so inclined! 
We watched the rest of the track crew under Mike and Hels instruction continue their speed work and chatted to those in between reps. As ever it was nice to get out and see poeple from the club and catch up on their going-ons and marathon stories. 

I had been baking prior to leaving and lucky for Jerry (and a few others) there were a few extra macarons brought to the track as well and distributed afterwards. 

Friday, 24 April 2015

Pre-work workout

Up for once with my alarm rather than several snooze button depressions later so it seemed as good a time as any to get out and go for a run. I haven’t been out running since last week so I really needed to get cracking and get some miles in my legs.

I didn’t have a route in mind but my kit was on and so was my music as I set off down the road, a few random turns and twists but staying local I kept up a nice comfortable pace, whilst singing along with the music and clocking up just over 3 miles.

That’ll do nicely for a pre work run, gone are the days where I would do 5-6 miles before my morning commute but they will be back, one day they will be back and then we’ll see how much cake I can eat!!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Post event running

Today was the first day I felt able to exercise following my first triathlon on Sunday, pretty reasonable, only a few days. But I have been incredibly run down and had a terrible headache since the event. So bad I would almost classify as a migraine with light spots appearing in front of my eyes. It is not uncommon to have a severe headache or migraine after a sporting event and this can be caused by hypernatremia.

So that aside - as quite frankly I could be being dramatic - I woke up today feeling rested and before my alarm so running seemed a good idea, an idea that I acted upon before I could talk myself out of it.

A nice local circuit of around 5km would do just fine and help stretch out my legs after the event. The first mile felt tough and my legs heavy but into the second mile I began to loosen up and find a more comfortable pace whilst also keeping my breathing even.

The shuffle on my phone made sure I was unsuspecting of the musical selections coming my way during the run, a nice upbeat one to finish though with Buck Rogers from Feeder.

He's got a brand new car
Looks like a Jaguar
Its got leather seats
Its got a CD player..player...player...player

I think were gonna make it
i think we're gonna save it yeah
So don't you try and fake it
Anymore, anymore

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Losing My (Triathlon) Virginity

For the past few weeks regular readers will have seen snippets of self doubt regarding my abilities, technique and equipment when it comes to a triathlon. Well this morning put all those fears into giant knot in the pit of my stomach which later transferred to uncontrollable shakes before getting in the pool. It sounds like this may be a terrifying blog, enough to scare anyone who is thinking of trying a triathlon for the first time. On the contrary it all fell into place and I got round. Not only did I get round but I think in pretty respectable fashion for someone with the wrong bike!

A 5am wake up call was not the best preparation especially as I had struggled to sleep but with my bags and bike packed and by the door, we loaded up the car and hit the road. Heading to Cranleigh Leisure Centre for the Cranleigh Tryathon 2015. A beginner/novice friendly sprint distance triathlon with a great number of cheering and whoopingingly friendly marshals. We would be meeting my aunty Teresa, Cairine and Kirsten (all had competed last year) and the other triathlon virgins like myself; Lexi and the father & son duo Paul and Dan.


As we entered the car park, straight away I spotted Lexi’s car and we went to park up next to her and her husband who had come along to support (and apparently to ride everyone’s bikes and give his assessment of them!). I picked up my timing chip and someone write on my arm and leg in black marker… I got magnummed* and I wasn’t even on tour or asleep!

With Lexi, Teresa and Paul we went to the transition area to set up our bikes and the kit we would need in transition, trainers, race belt, towel etc. Now much happier that things seemed to be moving along after such an early start we made our way to the pool viewing gallery for the race briefing. A very jovial man named Simon gave us the run down of the event and pointed out that despite the fact the large banner by the pool said Run we should definitely swim in the water and likewise when we reached the turn point of the run, we should not start to swim!!

Swim (300m)

One by one the swimmers entered the water, in a field of almost 250 at 20 seconds intervals and me at number 213 I had a long wait ahead of me. The advantage to this was that I got to see everyone else doing their swim and cheer them as they got out of the water which kept me nicely distracted from what lay ahead.

As I approached the start point of the swim, I was very nervous, my hands started to shake almost uncontrollably, I started to doubt my predicted time and the field was moving quicker now so I was on the side of the pool lowering myself in clearly looking like a startled rabbit as Simon (the swim starter) told me to stay calm and enjoy myself.

The logistics of the swim were very well managed, and no lap counting was required as we did two lengths per lane and moved over until all 6 lanes and 12 lengths and 300m were completed. My feet were tickled a couple of times during my swim and I waited for the faster swimmers to pass but I didn't feel pressure from this and after about half of the swim I think I finally stopped shaking and was able to breathe more efficiently. I exited the pool to shouts and cheers from my husband and another friend of the group, Carmel.

Bike (16km)

I left the pool area on the marked pathway towards the transition area and my bike. I spotted Paul – whose swim slot was earlier than mine – who was readying to depart on his run having whizzed round the bike section of the course already. I wished him well and stood on my towel  as I donned my socks, trainers and t-shirt, stuffed in some jelly babies, buckled my helmet, race belt and most importantly got some lip balm on. Gave a quick kiss to my husband over the fencing and lifted my bike from the racking to depart on the Bike section.

Out of the car park and onto some lovely country lanes I found my pace and pedalled hard. Kilometers and miles were marked on the road which made it easier to try and calculate my pace as I cycled along, being overtaken regularly by the fast swimmers on their fast road bikes!

On a short incline I saw one of the organisers Sean (I recognised from the event Facebook page) and hollered something of that nature to him. I reached half way and was surprised at how well I was doing compared to my usual bike pace but this could be due to the slightly undulating and mostly flat nature of the course. Then I found one possible advantage to starting so late in the field was that the road ahead was clear and I probably got more than my fair share of photos from the official race photographer! The second half of the route was familiar from our drive to the leisure centre some hours earlier so I knew what to expect… the toughest part being an incline just after 12km but I made it up and the sun was shining.

On the approach back to the transition area I saw my husband once again cheering me on and telling me how well I was doing. It’s really very nice to have your own personal cheerleader particularly as a first timer.

Run (5km)

In the transition area, I put my bike back on the racking, removed my helmet, gave Mike another quick kiss over the fence, stuffed in a handful of jelly babies, swigged some water to wash them down and somehow all this took over a minute before I was exiting the area and heading for the run route and final section of the event.
More enthusiastic marshals clapped and whooped as I made my way round the field and onto the trail for the out and back part of the run. Before long I spotted Lexi coming towards me, we waved and exchanged a few words. Next up was Teresa and we high-fived as we passed each other, before long I passed a smiling Cairine and the last of our group Kirsten.

Not being able to wear my Garmin I was unaware of my pace and had only a stopwatch to go by which by this time did nothing for my pace calculations. I just hoped I would make it to the turn point by 15 minutes of the run section and I would be reasonably on track…. I think I did, but by this point I couldn't make sense of the maths! Due to my late starting swim there were few runners left on the run section of the course, and most of them were already on the home straight as I kept on until finally I spotted the large (incorrectly placed) SWIM banner. On the return journey I felt much better and stopped trying to work out my pace but focused on running, I overtook one or two runners. Not soon enough a marshal shouted “nearly there, come on sprint finish”, I tried to rally everything I had left and push on for the finish line. People were clapping and I could hear my husband and friends voices shouting my name, then it was over!

Slightly confuddled, but happy, I was done and I had made it in under 1 hour 20 minutes. Not bad for a Triathlon Virgin!

*to be ‘magnummed’ is to be drawn on with a permanent marker pen whilst asleep, usually on a coach on a sports tour. This may be limited to DMU football / netball coaches. 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Last stretch of the legs

I’m not sure the training I have completed warrants a taper, but for want of a better word that is what has happened this week. That and being busy!

This morning, very early, was my last pre event run, a nice 15 minute run going at race pace. As I am still not sure what my current race pace is I decided just to run for my 15 minutes, not too hard or too easy but at a sustainable pace and see what my time / pace was when I finished.

Staying local I ran the best part of 2 miles and was happy to see my pace was around 8:40 per mile which bodes well for the triathlon at the weekend. The next challenge was to prep my race kit, 3 events is far more complicated than just turning up and running! 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Building the foundations

I deliberately tried to keep my triathlon training plan very simple…  the reasons behind this were threefold:
  1. I was still in recovery from my back injury and didn't want to overdo it
  2. It will be my first triathlon
  3. This is meant to be fun!
So on the plan this weekend I should be doing a brick session consisting of an hour long bike ride coupled with a 10 minute run. I woke up before my alarm, my kit had been laid out the night before so I it didn't take me long to get out of the house (always good as less time to procrastinate).

I had not really thought about the cycle route except in general terms but the sun was shining and I was in a good mood. I just figured I’d cycle out for half an hour then turnaround and head back. The weather was beautiful and I was glad I’d put my sunnies on, a good flat start followed by some inclines I kept going out via Bexley towards Joydens Wood and Dartford.

There were plenty of other cyclists and runners out this morning, spring is in the air and with spring out some the runners!

I contemplated cycling a much longer route but opted to turnaround at about 7.5 miles and head back towards home.  My pace is improving but I think it will be evident in the triathlon times that I am on a hybrid bike not a road bike – a large investment for potentially a one off thing so I stuck with what I have.

Approaching home, I was feeling okay about the run after the couple of tests I have done on this transition but this was different.  My previous practice runs had not been on the back of an extended period of cycling at a harder pace, this made a difference. With my bike, safely stowed in the house, helmet and one layer removed I set off on my 10 minute run. I felt I was running through treacle, my legs felt heavy and my pace slow. Two minutes in and it didn't seem to be easing up I still felt incredibly slow. I knew a loop round the block was about 1 mile and would take me around 10 minutes or a bit slower bearing in mind how sluggish I was feeling.  

Oh, I was wrong, as I got close to home, the app on my phone stated I had run 1 mile in 9 minutes. I was convinced this couldn't be correct but it was. My pace had been good despite feeling slow. The theory put forward by my husband is that ‘it probably just felt slow as you had been going much faster on your bike’. Which makes a lot of sense.

Lets hope this all bodes well for the event next Sunday… how did it come round so quickly!!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Drop and Run

A day of sightseeing was in the pipeline today for me and my younger brother, as I had been advised not to use any of my ‘tricks’ to try and make him run with me as they wouldn’t work I had planned to get out early whilst he had a lie in.

I saw my opportunity as my husband was getting ready to leave for work, I leapt up and into the nearest kit, grabbed my headphones and got a lift with him away from the house. He dropped me off a couple of miles away so I could run home.

Knowing my run would only consist of the return journey seem to make me rather fleet of foot and I was quite contentedly running along, singing my songs and not worrying about pace (mostly as my Garmin had run out of juice and I couldn’t see my phone in my running belt).

Oddly the second song was not at all motivational to running… ‘Do you want to build a snowman’ from Frozen began to blast into my ears. I must really look at setting up my playlists rather than relying on the shuffle function. More appropriate – to a big eighties music fan such as myself – was when Tiffany ‘I think we’re alone now’ started to play…

And so we're running just as fast as we can
Holdin' onto one another's hand
Tryin' to get away into the night

Whilst singing along to this I knocked out my fastest mile of the run!!

I reached home, a four mile run at a decent pace and motivated. Its nice to feel like this after a run again and glad to see my pace is getting back to where it was.