Another hectic week

18 Oct

It feels like all of my posts start with an excuse about how busy my week has been, and this week is no exception. Hopefully, I will have more time for blogging in a month’s time when the season winds down. Although if Ironman were to have their way, I’d be entering another couple of events this year!

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Tuesday started with a great SUTRI strength and conditioning session with Olly from SolentAthlete. We did some technique work and deadlifts. I really appreciated the mobility drills as I feel like my joints are seizing up :-S

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

This was followed by another session on Thursday morning where we did plenty of box squats. Olly described the final section of the session as “a tasty posterior chain workout”, which was rounded off with foam rollers and stretching, which felt like torture, even though I know it’s good for me!

© SolentAthlete

© SolentAthlete

On Saturday, I took part in ‘Tim Wilks Day’ with Southampton Tri Club. It is a fantastic event that is held in memory of a triclub member who sadly passed away shortly after finishing a local triathlon. The committee did a brilliant job organising it and I was grateful to the volunteers for supporting us. The event consists of a 400m timed pool swim; a 10 mile time trial and a 4km run in the New Forest… however, transitions are not timed as the events take place in different locations.

I had a bit of a panic when I realised that I would be sharing a swim lane with my other half as I was expecting him to finish about 2:30 ahead of me and I hate the pressure when someone starts tapping your feet. We had a chat with Donna, the timer for our lane, and agreed to have half a lane each so that I wouldn’t get in Stu’s way. I predicted a 9:30 swim time, so was pleasantly surprised to finish in 8:42. I tried to swim at a steady pace, and I wasn’t too exhausted when I finished, so I think I could go faster.

I was really nervous about the bike section. I’ve done time trials with the Embrace Sports crew in Portugal, but I’ve always known exactly where we were going and it has definitely been for fun, rather than a timed event. However, I’ve done a reasonable amount of cycling recently, so I thought I’d be reasonably fit. I said to Stu that I reckoned 35 minutes would be about right for me – I finished in 35:05, so that’s pretty close… but I didn’t realise that in order to get that I’d have to wheeze for the entire ride. It was so uncomfortable. I probably should have stopped and used my inhaler, but I didn’t want to waste time. It also inhibited my cycling – spinning made me wheeze more, so I had to keep grinding away in the big ring.

The 4km run course was on an attractive forest trail. It was well-marked and as someone at the back, I had plenty of people to follow.I started out feeling quite comfortable and with a good cadence, but when my watched beeped at me at 1km and I saw I was running at 4:44/km, I knew it wouldn’t end well. I kept doing the best I could, but was gradually slowing down and others passed me. I was so relieved when I saw Sonia and Claire along with a group of others. I put on a terrific sprint finish… only to find that the group were some random ramblers and that there was still some way to the finish – doh! The ladies were simply there to direct me. A few minutes later, I finally saw the finish, but I had nothing left. It took me 21:27, which was very slow, but at least there’s plenty of room for improvement next time!

Today, I took part in a new sportive organised by Red Skye Cycle Tours. Stu and I chose to enter the Great Oak 70 mile event, which started just after 8am. I was really surprised that only about 10 people had entered the long distance, and only 7 of us were there at the start. We headed out as a group, but after a few miles, one of the women headed off on her own as we were cycling at a social pace.

It was quite chilly, but I’ve learnt from my last two bike rides, so I started out with a SOAS jersey and shorts teamed with arm warmers and knee warmers. I think it would have been good to have worn a buff, but I soon warmed up, so I know I made the right choice.

Although I was unfamiliar with the start location for the ride (Holmsley), there were sections of the ride that I was really familiar with. It was also clearly marked, so I didn’t have to worry too much about following the route on my Garmin. Sadly, someone had removed one of the signs, which had confused some other riders. It’s such a shame that there are so many cycle saboteurs in the New Forest area – they are clearly unaware of how much income this popular pastime brings to the local area.

I had thought that we would get to the rest stop after 35 miles, but when we had gone that far, I was warned that it would be another 6 or 7 miles before we got to the rest stop. Fortunately, we were doing well with spotting Hampshire’s ‘big game’ – we saw wild cows, horses, donkeys, pheasants and even a herd of pigs. I’ve only seen one wild boar whilst out cycling previously, so to see a herd of pigs running alongside the road was great.

By the time we got to the rest stop, I was flagging. Fortunately, the rest stop was really well stocked. I had a banana followed by a granola bar and plenty of jelly beans. I knew that at some stage, the sugar rush would wear off, but hoped that it would be enough to get me through at least 20 miles. I also picked up a pineapple flavoured energy gel to pick me up later and get me to the finish. Unfortunately, we found out that the female cyclist had not made it to the rest stop ahead of us, so we hoped that she hadn’t got too lost.

There were some tough headwinds during the ride that really sapped my energy, but I was determined to finish. I was also struggling as my chest was really aching after yesterday’s time trial.

The final section of the ride included some busy roads. The major road towards Bournemouth currently has some road works, so lots of cars are taking an alternative route near to Matchams. Some fo them were driving at crazy speeds, which was a bit nerve-racking. We also got stuck in a traffic jam.

Most of the ride had been overcast, but in the last hour or so, the sun came out which was lovely – there’s nothing better than cycling in sunshine!

Finally, the campsite came into view. The six of us cycled under the finish archway together. Woohoo! My first podium finish in a cycling event and top 10 overall 😉 (Sometimes it’s important to be selective about the stats you use!)

End of Red Skye Sportive

End of Red Skye Sportive

We were offered a variety of hot meals, which is always a great way to finish an event. Several of us sat down and ate together, before heading home. I felt exhausted, but pleased I took part! My friend, Jules has also blogged about this event – please do read his post.

Several of my friends have been taking part in running races today – mainly 10 miles, half marathons and marathons. It looks like they all did really well… but I don’t think any of them set any world records, unlike Jessica Bruce. This amazing lady has set a new record for running a marathon with a buggy, completing Abingdon Marathon in 3:17:52. I’d be happy with a time an hour slower than that! More about this story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-34551782

Finally, I saw this video earlier this week. The stereotypes in it made me laugh so much

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