Happy Easter! Hope you've had a good one. Shall we talk about the weather, or just agree that it's been crap and move on?
One of the big challenges of endurance training, and particularly an Ironman, is finding a work-life balance. When your training plans are in hours rather than seconds or minutes, finding time to fit it all in can be difficult.
In previous jobs I've always been the office's token runner. Those who have also been in this role know this means being on the receiving end of questions and statements like:
- "Did you run here?" - no matter where the venue is, the weather or the dress code
- "I can't believe you ran/swam/cycled xx miles this morning" regardless of whether it's one or 20
- "I would run, but it's bad for my knees" - without any further discussion, clarification or information provided
- "What are you doing?" - as you calf raise by the printer or sit on a spiky ball at your desk
- "Oh you're ever so good!" - when you say no to a slice of cake at 9:10am on a Tuesday
However, working for parkrun means those days of explaining you didn't run 17 miles in your loafers and suit to the office Christmas party are over..
Within our team of 23 people, there are two world class Ironman athletes, Tom and Chrissie, (who also just happens to be the WR-holder) as well as two others who have completed Ironmans (Glen & Rowan), and one who is also taking on the Lakesman with me (Mike). It means that nobody bats an eyelid when you start foam-rolling across the office floor, and that 99.9% of conversations are about swimming, cycling or running.
Other than that, life in West London involves dodging these bikes, which are literally EVERYWHERE.
When deciding how many bikes to provide the borough with, the company behind them clearly worked out the population, and then multiplied it by 27, and they are usually left in some comedy locations. But anything to encourage people to get active has to be a good thing.
Anyway, let's get into this week's training:
Yeah. Still working on this one. Moving swiftly on...
A really good week of cycling as I changed a puncture for the first time, and also did my longest cycle ride ever. Probably my biggest concern for the Ironman is having mechanical issues on the bike. Whether that be a puncture, broken chain, losing my bike, you name it. But I definitely feel more confident now knowing I can change an inner tube.
Coralie and I beat the rain on Friday by cancelling our proposed lie-in and headed out early for four laps of Richmond Park.
And then this morning we headed out with St Margarets Cycling Club on the weekly Sunday ride and did 70 miles around Surrey, with three big climbs, so good practice for the hills around Keswick and the Lake District.
There were six of us on the ride - led by Ian, and all six of us were parkrunners, which is generally a good rule for someone being a good egg. Ian explained on the route there were two big hills before the coffee stop, and in Surrey a hill is definitely a hill (unlike what we call a hill in Suffolk). We charged our way up the first one, and then the second one we cruised up.
Naturally, I ridiculed Ian for calling it a hill. Ian then subsequently informed me "That wasn't the hill" and then led us up Mount Everest. Well played Ian.
Mid-ride cups of tea were provided by the Dabbling Duck inside a Yurt (above) - obviously.
Cycling around Surrey does make you realise that:
- Surrey is beautiful and not flat
- Every house comes with matching Land Rover and black labrador
- The villages have ridiculous names like Sheer, Green Dene and my personal favourite: East Clandon
After three good runs during the week, I was tempted to long run over the Bank Holiday weekend, but realistically whatever I do between now and the marathon in three weeks time, I'm still going to be hugely undercooked, so it does seem pointless trying. Instead I think the best thing for me at this stage is to be sensible and ensure I make it to London healthy and able to run, rather than forcing out mileage to try and play catch-up.
My new insoles feel great, so I definitely feel like I'm moving for fluidly, which is positive. And running to our office on Eel Pie Island in Twickenham on Thursday did mean I got to see this beaut view.
Seven weeks ago I set myself the target of getting my red 50 shirt before the annual parkrun Conference in July. I'd never really looked at my parkrun profile before and doing the maths revealed I needed to complete 18 parkruns in 21 weeks. It seemed like a nice challenge that didn't involve speed or running fast.
With over 50 parkruns in London alone to choose from, I've been trying to get to as many different events as possible. Given the horrific weather forecast, I plumped for Northala Fields parkrun - famous for being super-friendly and its Teletubby hills.
An incident-free and unremarkable run took me to my 39th parkrun and 22nd different event, meaning I still have three weeks in-hand to hit my target. Joyous! Overall a good week with lots of progress. However, there are still 3 weeks til London and 11 weeks until the Lakesman, so plenty of time for me to mess it all up :-)
We're off to Copenhagen on Friday, which should be ace. Enjoy your Bank Holiday, and I'll see you next week. Tom.