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New year. New post. New targets.

mhowoodby mhowoodJan 7th 2011
New year. New post. New targets.
In the last few weeks training took a knock with Christmas and the swine-flu fairy visiting us. Both my children and my wife were ill, and the boys hit over 41C at times! Scarey.
Somehow I was uninfected but with all the rain this week, I'm having to commute into london by train and underground (moo!), so there's still a chance!
I did manage a terrifying 16 mile run around Thetford, when visiting the Inlaws, on Christmas Eve. I say terrifying because there seems to be nothing but A roads around Theford, and anything more than 5k means vying for road space with articulated lorries! I ran a section of the A11 at one point, lucky to be alive.

Happily, my wife and I got the chance to get a 'Friends & Family' discount at David Lloyds Hampton just before Christmas. I normally hate gyms but this place is like a Country Club; golf course the lot! Not that I'll be using that, unless I get drunk in the bar and start reinacting Bill Murray's scenes from Caddyshack.
I must say DL is really helping to keep my training bubbling over. I've been there 3 times this week for the doors opening at 6:30am. In the pool by 6:35 (I even get my own lane!). Shower 7:15. Home for breakfast with kids by 7:40am. So everyone's happy.
With the rain I've done no running this week, as I'm more focused on not getting ill than training miles. Again DL came in handy, with a 40min tempo treadmill session this morning.
Although my first A race this year is the Brighton Marathon on April 10th, I'm looking to build on my weaknesses sooner rather than later. Next week I'll be getting a gym set at DL targeted at building both bike and swim muscle groups. Both of these took a knock in 2010 when I focused on distance running at the start of the year - first marathon. I look at photos of me aero on the bike in 08/09 and my shoulders have since disappeared. I have endurance but no power. I'll let you know how it goes. 

I've also been dragged kicking and screaming into the digital realm, by friends at Thames Turbo, and now have a twitter account (Look for @mhowood). Anyone, like me, who thought it was only for celebs tweeting about their divorces or pregnancies, can take heart as it's proving a great motivator. Seeing what sessions others have just done is great incentive to pull on the Lycra and go fight crime. I mean, train. :)
@deeefender (on twitter) has also got me into listening to MarathonTalk and IMtalk podcasts - get them through iTunes. Both are excellent free shows, put together by guys that genuinely love the sport. There are some great interviews on there, from Barefoot Ted to Chrissie Wellington!
Check out deeefender's blog, as he's on the road to his first iron distance, Challenge Copenhagen in August.

Speaking of digital...
I downloaded all the parts of the NBC Kona Ironman 2009 & 2010 coverage from youTube and stitched them together. So now have both shows on my laptop and iPhone. Good for the turbo trainer and commuting.
The layman could be forgiven that only Pros, cancer survivors and octogenarians compete though, as the programme is very 'life story' skewed. Someone, somewhere at the Network will believe that this 'opens up the sport' and will attract more viewers (I used to work in TV). There is some beautiful footage and fantastic ultra slow-mo shots in there, that I wish I'd filmed myself.
Still, it is truly inspiring and there are tear jerking moments watching people struggling to make the cut off.

What else.... Er... Let me think...

Some may already know that IM Wales was pegged as my A race and first foray into iron distance but I'm having a hard time handing over that much cash. Plus the Welsh weather in September, on the coast, could be anything from scorching sun to horizontal rain. The weather has become just one more thing to prey on my mind, on top of newly announced hillier route and unpredictable sea swim, and I think that these concerns are already adding to a shedload of stress by it being my first Ironman.
Don't get me wrong - I'd love to do an Mdot and be an Ironman! IM Wales, I still think will be an awesome event, especially if you're swim and bike strong, and wanting to qualify for Kona. Good luck to everyone.
I think I may have annoyed Ironman Wales when I spotted they'd 'temporarily' hiked their entry fees up to £365 + 5% handling fee(?!) earlier this week from £330. When I posted on a tri forum and tweeted that I felt it is perhaps a tad greedy. They then tweeted, "IM Wales have NOT increased prices yet. We decided our late entry was March 1st not Jan, as many people need time after Christmas!" Er, yes you did. Nevermind. Wish I'd taken a photo of the screen now.

The new leader is The Outlaw.
Relatively cheap at £205 and has some brilliant reviews. It is also 7 weeks earlier, July 24th, so should be at least warm but hopefully not scorchio!
Depending how that goes I may still try and get into Wales (if they'll have me)... unless I'm put off triathlon for life by The Outlaw!
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