Monday, 22 March 2010

Where to start....!

When I have been away for such a long time it is so difficult to know where to start to get back on track! I think I may have to break this down into a number of posts otherwise anyone reading it will certainly get bored before the end! I think the first big thing was that the main reason for me being away for so long is that I have been out in La Santa, Lanzarote on a warm weather camp with the RAF. I have been to La Santa before with the swim team and it is an excellent facility - everything you could possibly need for training is there. I was a bit nervous before I went as I didn't know anyone else going and had the usual nervous that everyone was going to be much quicker than me. I was especially nervous about the bike as we were scheduled for 4hrs a day and it is hard to manage logistically if you are a lot slower than everyone else. Running and swimming are much simpler but the distances covered are a lot less so it is less important how quick people are. However, in four hours we could be covering a range of about 48-68miles depending on people's pace which is a big difference to get over and I was worried about being dropped and getting lost! However, most of the girls going were of a similar standard and we stuck together every day on the rides which was great. Riding out there makes you super super strong as the hills and the wind is never ending. I also managed to get a bit braver on my descending (I am SUCH a wimp) and clocked up a reasonably impressive 55km/hr on some of the descents.

Cycling was really the focus for the week and we rode 5 days out of 6. Swimming was less of a focus though there was still the opportunity to swim every day either in their wonderful open air 50m pool or down at the lagoon. I probably swam 3 or 4 times of varying distances between 2.5-4kms. I was worried about when I would manage to fit the run training in given that I have been sticking quite closely to my Paris schedule and when I get back I will only have 4 weeks until race day. I knew I wanted to get at least one longer run in to keep the endurance ticking over. Luckily there was a half marathon race scheduled for 7.45am Tuesday morning (good practice for an early start too as Paris starts around 8.30 I think) so I decided to race that and then add a few miles to the end. I really wanted to keep a steady pace and then add 4-5miles to the end but, of course, when it is an actual race scenario it is hard not to be competitive. The terrain out there was so tough - the roads are all very uneven to run on and coupled with heat and hills it was quite tough. I managed a respectable 1hr 56 but I knew I had pushed a bit too hard to then carry on much further. I forced myself to 2.5hrs and just over 16miles which wasn't too bad and will at least keep the mileage going. Those last three miles were down around 10min/miling though as my legs were pretty tired especially with all the riding we had been doing!

There was also a few other races organised during the week, a duathlon, aquathlon and a mini tri. We were all supposed to compete in the mini tri but a few people were suffering from the increase in training so formed teams instead. Having run 16miles the day before and wanting to get in a good bike ride in the afternoon, I also voted for the team option and swam a 400m TT in my relay. Around 6.30 which was ok but not too speedy. Still having had 3 months out of the pool it's not too bad. I used my wetsuit a couple of times during the week to try and get used to it as I will be planning to use it for the Double Ironman and need to get used to it in a pool. The first time I was in a rush to get it on and it wasn't that comfortable but in the mini-tri it felt pretty good.

All in all a really good stint of training especially for my cycling. I feel my run training has slipped a bit as I didn't make many more of the scheduled sessions (did a 4x1m interval set though which felt good) but hopefully the bike endurance will keep me on track. It has really enthused me for cycling outside again - the good weather makes all the difference though does result in very dodgy tan lines! So no excuses for the return home - I need to bite the bullet and get outside on the bike!

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