Welcome to this week's blog. At the time of writing, it is officially roasting. In the words of Alan Partridge: "It's hotter than the sun"
We took a rare midweek day off work on Tuesday as I wanted to treat Coralie to a romantic day out together... so we went to watch the golf at Wentworth!
I used to play lots when I as a kid, right up until about five years ago, but I still love it and follow it closely. However, as you can see, Coralie found the big beanbag cushions more entertaining than watching Rory McIlroy, arguably the greatest golfer of his generation. Sigh!
On the ride back, Coralie suggested a scenic detour through Chertsey. Now we've been together since March 2016, and as brilliant and amazing as she is, Coralie is literally horrifically awful at navigating (do not let her loose on Google Maps), so I'm always slightly fearful when she has these ideas...
Needless to say the lane was covered in gravel and holes, and I got a puncture! It did give us the chance to practice repairing them road-side, which I'd not done before, so I was really chuffed to get everything sorted within around five minutes, which makes me feel a lot more confident going into the ironman should the worst happen.
Some more good news came when Coralie managed to secure us places in this year's Ride London event - the 100 mile ride out to Surrey in July.
It does mean that, having run the London Marathon, I get to complete the so-called 'London Classics' challenge, which is made up of the marathon, Ride London and the two-mile Swim Serpentine in Hyde Park.
As the first two of those are always massively over-subscribed, clearly it's a bit of a gimmick set up to get more people to enter the swim, but alas they've sucked me in and I'll also be doing that in September!
This was actually an awesome swim week. Yes I did just say that! Only two swims, both at Shepperton, but a bit of a breakthrough today.
On Wednesday I'd managed 2350m without drowning, but as before it just felt such hard work, and so slow. Afterwards I chatted to a guy at St Mary's who was absolutely staggered to find out I was swimming without using my legs. In my defence, up until last year I'd always swam breaststroke, so since learning front crawl my main aim has been to stop my legs doing froggy legs!
So today I said to Coralie I was determined to master front crawl kicking legs, or at least try to, and - this is going to sound obvious - it made SO MUCH difference. I was way more aerodynamic as it got my bum nearer the surface, and it was a lot less knackering. I even managed to overtake a couple of people!
I was feeling so euphoric that I decided to swim 3850m - the full ironman distance. I don't have a swimming watch, but my time for the total swim was roughly 95 minutes. So in summary, I'm still terrible, but I'm still trying...
The week started in ominous fashion as I looked at my bike on Monday morning and saw three spokes hanging out, and the rear wheel was severely buckled. Now it was either a bike-tampering night elf, or I had just hit a big pothole and bent the wheel. Probably the latter I think because the roads around Twickenham and towards Surrey are ridiculously terrible and littered with holes.
Now I've mentioned a few times that my bike is not the greatest, so it probably shouldn't have surprised me that a wheel that cost me £32.99 from Halfords bent so pathetically! The cheapest wheel available at the shop where I had it repaired was £80 (not ideal when the bike was only £500 in 2013!) so I'm now expecting to be at least twice as fast or I'll be demanding a full refund...
We postponed today's 100 miler until tomorrow due to the weather forecast, so it was a relatively modest week of cycling, but definitely productive having mastered the road-side puncture!
After last week's niggles, it's been a relief to be back up and running this week. I accompanied Coralie on her session on Tuesday before the golf, and then I did my own easy runs on Thursday and Friday. Most of the issues I've experienced over the past 18 months are caused by my wobbly, marshmallow right ankle, but I'm hopeful the changes to my insoles at Profeet last Saturday have done the trick.
Yesterday I headed back out on tour with Glen and the legendary Jo Sinton-Hewitt to Valentines parkrun. Jo kindly drove us there and back, meaning I had the pleasure of three hours in the back of the car with Dottie! Yes, I'm still spending time with other people's dogs.
I made a last minute decision to run hard after a pain-free warm-up. You can see how unplanned it was given my dodgy outfit consisting of my horrible trainers, long black socks and grey cut-off joggers!
Whoever said turquoise, black, grey and apricot don't go together? To clarify, no I did not get changed in the dark.
I ended up running 17:36 for the 5k, which I was really pleased with. I faded a lot in the last mile, but my legs just felt really tired, which is probably not a surprise given the volume of training lately. The pace definitely felt a lot easier than in previous weeks though, which is a real confidence boost as it shows my body is adapting to running faster again, and it was completely pain-free, so overall another step in the right direction!
It was parkrun #46 and my first letter V for my parkrun alphabet. I've mapped out my way to 50 - I'll be in Leicester next Saturday, then Hazlewood in west London, then Keswick before the Lakesman, followed by the big 5-0.
To honour the occasion, I'm going to wear the panda costume I was due to wear in last week's marathon. I still need to decide where to run though, so venue suggestions are most welcome.
This coming week will be my biggest training week ever by a distance, probably around 25 hours, so I'm really hoping when I speak to you next week I'll be entering my two-week taper in one piece :-)
Thanks for reading. Tom.