It’s been a hectic few weeks as I’ve pretty much spent every waking hour when not at work finishing off my second book. It seems to have taken over my and my families lives for the past month or two. I’m pleased to report that the initial draft is done and ready to be edited. Phew. It’s longer than the first book, maybe a little darker in places, hopefully still lighthearted though – after all it’s about me and I don’t really take myself that seriously. I’ll be intrigued to read Em’s chapter as I’ve not seen it, it could be very interesting to read what she has to say about being an ‘Ironwidow’, so I was nice to her last weekend and let her have a lie in, might have been a case of ‘too little too late’. Guess I’ll find out like the rest of you in January.
So my training has suffered a bit really, I’ve been ticking over more than striving forward but that doesn’t mean I’ve been a lazy sod, unless of course you count the bike. I’ve not been on the bike for weeks, it’s too time consuming. I have however made significant gains in the other two tri disciplines.
First of all my swimming seems to have just come out of nowhere, everything just seems to have fallen into place. Granted I’m still no fish but I’m less of a toad and more of a newt these days. We did a time trial in the pool the other week seeing how far we could swim in eight minutes. I’d didn’t destroy myself completely but did try to go at race pace. I managed 16.5 lengths of the pool or just over 400m. Now take that in context of my previous performances, I have never swam under ten minutes for 400m yet I’d just swam it in under 8 minutes. I can’t tell you how pleased I am about that.
My running is also getting better, which I think is a direct consequence of losing some lard. Obviously the lighter you are the less you have to move from A to B. It’s the ‘free speed concept’. I’ve been doing a few time trial speed runs, basically just running home as fast as I can from work, a distance of just over 2 miles. I’ve managed to run back to back miles of 6.43 and 6.07, that second one is the fastest mile I’ve run as an adult. Again I was really pleased with that, and subsequently I’m now running at sub 8 minutes for most runs unless I consciously slow down and run’easy’.
On campus I have a lunchtime run that takes in two laps giving me approximately 2.6 miles. Back on July 31st when I ran again for the first time since the Outlaw and gave it my all I finished in 22.17. I set a short-term goal that day of getting round in under 20 minutes by the time I turn 40 in November. It seemed a reasonable goal to aim for. Well on the 31st August I achieved that goal by running 19.39. Granted I was knackered but I’d done it. So the goal post have been shifted and a sub 19 is now the goal, by the end of the year I want a sub 18 minutes.
With a new-found enthusiasm for ‘short stuff’ I decided to run at the Newbury 5km Park Run on Greenham Common. I was in that part of the world as a guest at a triathlon. I left Lancaster at 3.30am in the morning to get there, it felt weird getting up at that time for a 5k, after all I’m usually racing 140.6 miles if I’m up at that time. However there was the small matter of a 240 mile drive to get to the start line.
I arrived bleary eyed but ready. It was a great event and I was happy to finish in 23.18 in my first running race for thirty months, the previous one had been the London Marathon. As I warmed up I tried to remember what to do, after all I usually have a swim and a bike as a warm up before I have to think about running. This was actually the first 5km race I’d done in 7 years, and the last one I’d actually won my age group in Florida. I had a great day, caught up with friends old and new and just loved the heart in your mouth feeling of running as hard as you can until you want to puke. It was such a change from Ironman.
So I’m hoping to put all of this new-found speed to the test this coming Sunday when I race in the Fleetwood Sprint Triathlon. I’m hoping to be a little quicker than I was last year when I recorded a time of 1:13:24. I would love to go under 70 minutes for the first time but we’ll just have to see how things go.
Mind you it will seem weird as my only other triathlons this year have both lasted longer than 14 hours….hmmmmm