Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Triathlon countdown - An emotional roller coaster ride

When I embarked on my triathlon journey I was aware of the physical challenge that lay ahead of me, having never done anything remotely like this before. But over the last week or so the emotional side of my challenge has reared its head.

After a bit of a panic a couple of weeks ago, I started the week feeling positive. The brick sessions were now becoming easier and I was feeling good about my swimming. But by Thursday my mood had taken a nosedive and I felt thoroughly exhausted.

A couple of friends asked me how I was keeping on top of things with all my training. In all honesty, at the end of last week it felt quite the opposite. I felt as though everything was getting on top of me! The strain of juggling training with working and looking after my two young children was starting to show. On Thursday I had an epic mum fail when I had to take the children out for tea because there was absolutely nothing in the fridge... and I mean nothing! I just hadn't had time to go to the supermarket. How bad is that!

Until now, training on my own hasn't been a problem, in fact it has been a benefit as I can fit training sessions in when it suits me. But this last week or so, as the triathlon looms, I have realised that it would be quite nice to have a training buddy who is going through the same challenges as me at the same time. Sadly, I didn't manage to persuade any of my friends to do the triathlon with me (can't think why) and so I'm having to go it alone.

Anyway, I decided there was only one thing for it - to have a couple of days off training in order to get my energy levels back up. I knew that on Saturday I needed to be firing on all cylinders.

The alarm went off at 6.00 am on Saturday morning. My bags were already packed and off I went to Cliff Lakes Open Water Swimming. By 7.30 am I had squeezed myself into my wetsuit and was in the lake ready to go. My goal - to swim the 500 metre course for the first time (round the three orange buoys in the photo) - a pretty daunting prospect for someone who not that long ago couldn't even swim a length of front crawl.

It looked such a long way and I was very nervous about swimming that far without being able to stop, hold the poolside or put my feet down ... but I DID IT!!! Believe it or not I actually enjoyed it and I even saw some fish (just small ones though)! Instantly, my mood was restored and I have been on a high ever since. So, with less than three weeks to go this roller coaster is riding high. Let's hope it stays that way!

I am raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support. If you would like to sponsor me my fundraising page is here. Thank you.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Triathlon countdown - All going swimmingly

After a bit of a wobble last week, I'm pleased to say that my confidence has returned and I'm not panicking quite as much as I was about my triathlon debut in four weeks' time (... well maybe just a little).

Building bricks

The main reason for my confidence taking a knock was my first "brick" (i.e. bike plus run) session which was much harder than I had expected and caused panic to set in. I wrote about that here.

Not surprisingly, brick sessions have been my biggest priority this week and I've managed to build two more in to my training so far. It was a massive relief to find that the second was slightly easier than the first and the third was better still. I even felt relatively good during the run part of my third brick (there wasn't too much puffing and panting going on!) and could probably have run further. As it was, I cycled and ran the distance I will be doing in my triathlon and that has boosted my confidence enormously. I even made it to the top of two big hills on the bike without stopping, although I did have to use most of my gears! So I just need to add in the swim now!

All going swimmingly

Once again, I was pushed to my limit in last week's swimming session which felt like the hardest session in the history of mankind! The multiple, back-to-back individual medleys which just a few weeks ago were the toughest part of my training have now become the easy bit!

The hard part this week included such delights as swimming front crawl with clenched fists; swimming front crawl with my hands behind my back (is this starting to sound like some weird form of torture?); and my new personal favourite  - swimming back stroke with both arms in the air. Now, unless you've actually tried this, you'd be forgiven for assuming it would be quite easy. Well, you would be very wrong! As soon as you put your arms up the rest of you sinks, it's impossible to stay afloat and you end up swimming on your back with your face below the surface of the water so that you can't breathe properly and you feel as though half the pool is pouring up your nose. For some reason the word "waterboarding" comes to mind! Thankfully, I've been promised an easier session this week. Phew!

Anyway, despite all that, I'm actually really enjoying my swimming lessons which has a lot to do with the fantastic coaching by the guys at S4 South Staffordshire and all the positive feedback and encouragement I get from them. Thanks guys!

"Running up that hill"

This week's run was a long one (for me) - 9.25 km in about an hour. It felt good and is probably my fastest long run so far. Could this have had something to do with the fact that I was spurred on by Jason Donovan's eighties show - Irene Cara, Haircut 100, Duran Duran, Kate Bush and Billy Ocean to name a few! Hooray for eighties classics! Now I am showing my age!

So, with four weeks to go to the big event and three before "taper" week when I'm apparently supposed to take it easy, things are looking more positive. My next task is to crack the open water swim and to practise getting my wetsuit off in a hurry. I have some "suit lube" on order to help with that so it's all good!

I'm raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support. If you would like to sponsor me, my fundraising page is here. Thank you.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Mum's triathlon training

For my latest blog post I'm handing over to my superstar son (aged 8) whose own triathlon inspired me to have a go myself. He asked if he could write something on my blog to tell everyone how well he thinks I'm doing. It made my day to have such support and encouragement from my little man. I think I might just cry!!

Over to you ...

I love my Mum. I think she is doing EXTREMELY well at her triathlon training.

Her schedule;

Monday rest

Tuesday brick session

Wednesday swim ( indoor )

Thursday run

Friday rest

Sat swim (outdoor)

Sun cycle / run

I hope this shows just how hard my mum works. I  myself  know how hard it is for her for I have done a triathlon.

Well done and thank you! I love you too!!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Triathlon latest -"Bricking it" ... in more ways than one

I was fully expecting my legs to go all wobbly but I hadn't counted on the hot flush in my cheeks or how much my heart would be racing. No, I wasn't drooling over the latest David Beckham H&M advert - I was in the middle of my first triathlon "brick" session!

A brick session is a bike ride followed immediately by a run and, as I have recently learned, is an essential part of training for any wannabe triathlete such as myself. It sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? I can ride a bike and I can run, so putting the two together couldn't be that difficult ... or could it?

After cycling for about an hour, my legs were feeling OK, if a bit tired. I wasn't out of breath and so I was feeling fairly confident about the short run I had planned. In fact, my main concern was what it would feel like running in my padded cycling leggings!

As I parked my bike up, removed my helmet and set off on the run, sure enough, the jelly-legs syndrome I had read about kicked in. It suddenly felt like there was no connection between my brain and my legs and that my legs were just chilling out and doing their own thing rather than what I actually wanted them to do. It felt very strange but eventually the feeling passed. 

What I was not prepared for was how physically challenging the run would be. It was really hard, much harder than I had expected. 

Even though it was only a 2 km run, my legs were heavy, my heart was pounding and I was wheezing like someone with a 40-a-day habit. It felt like I had regressed to the early days of my running when I could just about manage a short run around the block. What was going on? How could I be struggling so much when I comfortably run 5 or 6 km at a time and sometimes (slightly less comfortably) manage 10 km?

Panic has now set in! I've been training for my triathlon for months and, until now, I felt that my fitness levels were vastly improved. So it was a big shock that I found the run part of the brick session so tough. And with only 5 weeks to my triathlon, I'm wondering if I have left it too late. At most, I'll be able to fit in 4, possibly 5 more brick sessions ... but is this enough? Right now I could do with some reassurance that it will all be OK on the day. Only time will tell though and I won't know for sure until the big day arrives. Until then, it looks like I will be "bricking it" ... in more ways than one!

I'm raising money for Pregnancy Sickness Support. If you would like to sponsor me, my fundraising page is here. Thank you.