It's four weeks until race day and things are ramping up!
You know summer is officially here because the ice cream man has returned to Eel Pie Island. Forget everything else - when he parks his little van up perilously close to the river, you know it's time to get excited.
On top of that, Meghan and Harry tied the knot, the World Cup squad got announced, the sun was shining - what more could you ask for?
Meanwhile me and Coralie are continuing to live the wild London life. The beauty of both entering the same ironman distance triathlon is we get to experience the journey together, train together, and share the highs and lows.
The downside is we have literally become the most boring people in the world. On top of all the yawning, the variety of our conversations has shrunk to the point that we only communicate with the following six phrases:
- "I'm so tired"
- "What time can we go to bed?"
- "My hamstrings / groins / quads / calfs / any other part of the body are so tight"
- "Can you massage my hamstrings / groins / quads / calfs / any other part of the body later?"
- "What time is your alarm tomorrow?"
- "I'm so excited to go to sleep!"
We had a parkrun Comms team meeting on Wednesday, which meant I got to catch up with Mike. Like me and Coralie, Mike is also taking on the Lakesman in June, so it meant I got to talk about the exact same stuff with someone other than Coralie.
Mike has been nailing his training, which definitely motivated me. The highlight however was Mike revealing that the prevailing wind in Keswick should mean we have a tailwind for the long 40 mile coastal section.. Now, his job at parkrun is Head of Analysis, so I feel like he specialises in knowing this kind of thing, so I'm now officially banking all my hopes on this piece of information being accurate...
I'm officially all over the swim training, with two trips to the lake this week. I managed 2350m on Wednesday before work (above), and then 3100m today. Thankfully it was really busy this morning, because it was super awkward on Wednesday...
I am totally useless at making small talk - being left alone in a room with someone is literally my worst nightmare, and there's a reason I met Coralie on social media! There was a guy who wanted to chat as we were making our way into the water. To make matters worse, I couldn't even exit the situation by swimming off because I'm so slow, he'd have just caught me. So what followed was five minutes of horrific chat neck-deep in cold water until he decided to start his swim. Phew!
This week the Lakesman put up this photo - the beautiful Lake Derwentwater where our ironman swim will be taking place. Wow!
Ever since teaching myself front crawl last summer, I've always struggled with post-swim stomach aches (almost instantly after exiting the water), constant weeing, and sneezing. It's happened on all my swims so far this year. Having spoken to a few people, apparently it's caused by poor breathing technique?
It seems I don't fully exhale whilst I'm underwater, which means when I come up to breath, I have to quickly breathe out and then back in again, making the breaths to short and rushed. I'm also snorting/swallowing way too much water! Work to be done in the next few weeks to ensure there's still some water left in this gorgeous lake once I'm finished...
It wouldn't have been a Sunday swim without mid-cycle cups of tea at Paws for Coffee. No, we still don't have a dog. Yes, we did play with other people's pooches.
I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed with just how much stuff is involved with an ironman distance Triathlon. When we decided to enter the race, I definitely went into the journey thinking it was going to be about hitting the mileage and fitting in the training around work. That has always been the challenge with all the marathons I've run.
However, as time has gone on I've realised there is SO MUCH more to think about than running city marathons - from the kit, the rules, the training, the logistics, the techniques, the nutrition, to name just a few. It really is a huge exercise, but in some ways does make it more exciting and I can see why people get hooked on ironman - assuming you can afford it, as it's definitely a ridiculously expensive sport.
So after a ride on Tuesday around Richmond (above) I tried to tick some of these off by getting out for a long ride on Saturday with Coralie, who was planning a 100 miler. It meant I got to test out my breakfast and snacks, and wear my tri-suit, which I wore underneath my kit.
Now I know what you're thinking - it's super jazzy! In my defence, I got it for free by "testing it" for a magazine. The only way I can describe the feeling of wearing a tri-suit is that is feels like you're an 80s wrestler in a leotard.
We woke up at 5:00am on Saturday ready to depart at 6:00am, and I had a bagel with jam, two cups of tea and a bottle of Lucozade. We mapped out a route on Coralie's fancy cycling Garmin thingy, but after a super-smooth 10 miles, I then spent the next five miles stopping for wees and we then realised the Garmin had stopped working!
After 30 miles which involved cycling on a dual carriageway, and then cycle paths near Heathrow, we were somewhere almost back at our flat - not quite what we had in mind for a nice sunny 100 miler into the countryside. However we regrouped, plotted a 70 miler from Twickenham and hit the road.
We headed out through Cobham, Leatherhead and out to Reigate, where we stopped for a cup of tea at the 60 mile mark. Given we were out in the Surrey hills, it was a surprisingly moderate route in terms of climbs, and we safely navigated our way back home.
During the ride I had about 1500ml of juice/Lucozade and two Eat Natural bars, which worked pretty well. In the last hour I was a bit thirsty and my stomach was rumbling, so I'll definitely need to eat more if I'm to run a strong marathon afterwards, so I need to think about what else I can have mid-ride. But overall it gave me a lot of confidence given it was 30 miles further than I've ever ridden.
The week started with a really good run on Monday morning, with a couple of faster miles thrown in. However, later that day my ankle was sore, and got worse over the next two days, so that was to be my only run of the week.
It meant the end of my parkrun streak and my plans to do my 50th on Lakesman weekend, and no Richmond Park Marathon today. But I've managed to defer my entry to next year, and I got a good swim and ride in, so I'm not really too disappointed.
My achilles has been a bit funny for the past couple of weeks - not painful, just felt a bit strange, without getting better or worse, so I'd been running on it, but clearly Monday was one run too far. I popped back to Profeet in Fulham yesterday just to get my insoles checked out.
The service was once again incredible - they put me on the treadmill and you could see my ankle was collapsing still, so they've made a little tweak to the orthotics which should all being well sort me so I can get back out there this coming week!
Four weeks to go...
Thanks for reading. Tom.