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Tales of an endurance athlete
Duathlete at heart, but will do aything running/cycling/swimming/multisport related. Within reason of course:-)

Come on spring... I've been waiting for you!

tiggaby tiggaMar 7th 2011
The spring edition of the Ballbuster has just been and passed and it's kind of kickstarted my duathlon brain into action for the first time in 2011!

This year seems to have started fast and furious and I can't believe it's March already... 3 months 7 days until we leave for the USA and just four days later we'll be racing RAAM as a four man relay! Six months ago, this was a pipe dream... now it's pretty much all sorted. With the genrous sponsors on board pretty much everything is paid for, for everyone... including crew! That is a scary thought! I have absolutely no idea what expect. The only thing I do know, is it's not going to be easy and I will pretty much leave everything I have on those American roads. We have a half decent team... actually I lie, we have a very good team. Everyone knows James Gilfillan, and then there's Ian and Nick who both can ride close to 5hr Ironman bike splits. We are not going there to race other teams but just to see how fast we can average during the race. We know from previous teams going out and competing who had a team similar to ours that averaging around 20.5mph is pretty awesome going. If, come the end of the race we're in a race... we'll fight for position, until then it's all about riding steady and conserving the body for those last two days of body battering hell!

I had planned to race a couple of duathlons, but decided to cut out the racing this spring. I have always been the type of athlete that prepares as well as I can for the races I want to do. I don't think I can dedicate my time to racing shorter distances and be where I normally am. Call me a big headed athlete that can't take losing... but, if I can't give my best in training as well as racing then I don't see the point to entering races?
Instead I decided to run London marathon with a mate and pace hime around for a 2:45. For that not to hurt me and for me to do a proper job of helping him I have to be in reasonable shape. On the running side I've made great progress too. I've managed a few weeks at 100km/week. I can now tick along at 4min/km and have the heart rate hovering around the 128-130 mark for the entire duration with hardly any cardiac drift. I'm managing an intervals session and a decent tempo run every 2-3 weeks. Probably the most consistent running I've done in a very long time. Come London marathon race day, if I were racing I'd expect to aiming for 2:32ish. Maybe a bit quicker?
On the cycling front - Well, at the moment it's 'tick over'. I'm holding back quite a lot because it's still too early to out doing higher tempo longer rides. Sometimes it takes a lot to keep me from beasting out a longer ride at 22-23mph, but I'm chomping at the bit so to speak, so when I give myself the license to ride harder I shall abuse it! So for now it's a rather sedate 19-20mph longer rides on my road bike, some of that through some character building windy, wet and bloody cold English winter days! Averaging around 10 hours a week. Can't wait for London marathon to finish. Crossing that finish line is the license to ride harder and faster and longer.

Inbetween now and then. Rack up the run miles, try to lose some of the muscle mass I purposely put on in the gym. I peaked at 77.5kg, thats a whole 6kg heavier than IM last year! All muscle I tell myself... hmmmm, down to 74.5kg now, so it's heading in the right direction.

According to pretty much anyone that sees the size of helpings on the dinner plate, I'm an OINK:-)

The first weekend of April sees me helping out RGActive when they host an Ironman training weekend in Shropshire. Really looking forward to that too. It's always nice to feed off some keen athletes, you kind of get caught up in their enthusiasm and I'm hoping it'll have a positive spin off on me.

When the month of May comes, my every spare moment around work,sleep and eat will be spent riding a bike. I'll have a couple of bank holidays to ride some extra miles, and pretty much every weekend in May will be a physical and mental challenge of some sort. Five weekends in a row of mental mileage. The one I'm not sure I'll enjoy is the Richmond Park day out. I plan to spend literally the whole day replicating the format to which we'll be riding. Our plan is to ride 8hours in teams of two and ride those 8 hours at 20mins rotation between myself and Ian (my riding partner for the race). So my plan is to park my car at Roehampton gate car park, get me a deck chair, cooler box, lotsa food, some form of entertainment and to ride one lap and take a 20min rest and the target is to ride 20mins a lap. I will carry on like this from 4am until 10pm. An 18 hours block inwhich I'll ride 9 hours around the park at 20mph on average. I may need some help near the end so I'm hoping my mates will join me for the final couple of hours. My team mates live down in the New Forest, but I thought richmond park always has people riding so I'm not going to want for a rider to chase or chat too. The new forest might be better venue, but it won't offer a continuous 'flow' of cyclists all day long. The very next day exactly 8 hours after finishing that, I'll be out for a four hour steady ride! So yep... 6am next morning, it'll be back in the saddle. Riding tired is lot of what RAAM is about, so I plan to do at least 3 extreme challenges in training as preparation. I haven't quite thought up how I'll do the other two. At the moment, one challenge in my mind is to ride to my sisters in Bridgnorth (Shropshire) from the New Forest, which will test my navigation skills too. 140mile one way... and then ride back the next morning! Oh, I'll be a bundle of fun at my sisters that night. I'll eat their cupboards bare, be grumpy, smelly complain that my saddle is too hard and then be gone before they even get up in the morning!

Just a quick mention of my riding teams charity auction evening do. Book your tickets now:-)
May 7th at Ceno's in Southampton. The money raised goes to the charity, the full team and crew will be there as well as our sponsors and the charity Wessex Heartbeat. It promises to be a cracking evening and I think it'll be the big motivator I need to get me through the month May training 25-30 hours a week around my job/life and eating!

Click on this link below if you'd like to make any donation, no matter how big or small it's going to a great cause!

I'll endeavour to post more frequently and less volume as I build to RAAM... I think my powers of concentration will limit my ability to write too much when I'm training tired anyways!

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