What's it all about?

I decided to write a blog following my training and triathlon season. For me, I have always participated in sports for as along as I can remember, whether it was being one of the only girls playing football with the boys, playing hockey at numerous clubs or running around cross country circuits in the pouring rain. This year I plan to work hard on my swimming, cycling and running in an effort to qualify for the World Championships in Triathlon and represent my age group. I hope that you enjoy my blog or rather my ramblings and feel free to comment.

Kerry X

Monday, 26 March 2012

Crash week part 2: DOMS, sleep deprivation and a parrot

Well this week was a full on crash and burn week. I feel that my glutes won't forgive me for a couple of weeks yet.
I promised an update after Monday and Tuesday's trainign days.
Wednesday included a session that was not only physically tough but mentally tough aswell.
Being an amazingly glorious day with the weather, Will and I decided it was time to put the glad rags on and take out the super new shiny toys, ehxibits A and B as detailed in the photos below.
As I mentioned in my last blog this session was to be a tempo and building over 9.5 miles (with a little lump of a hill in the middle). I was chuffed to bits with my times of 41 minutes (1st lap easy), 35:10 and finally 32:00 dead. This was promptly followed by a 2 mile very very hard run. I thought I was running quite slowly but my watch indicated otherwise with 2 miles covered in around 15:30. Awesome! Wednesday afternoon also included laughing at our parrot Madiba who was having a whale of a time outside in the apple tree.

Thursday's recovery ride around Rutland Water with Will led to some really bad sleep on Thursday night, my legs were absolutely smashed and I was pleased to recuperate on Friday with some friends and some well earned Vino.

Saturday was a bit of a smash fest with Mary and her partner in crime Gail Warner. I had been warned about Gail's tendencies to fly up hills, but I never thought this was possible until i saw it with my own two eyes. She literally sailed up those hills on Saturday. Starting off in thick fog at 10am, it was a bit grim, especially when I could no longer see Mary or Gail, but they hung back for me and were very encouraging. The hot chocolate rest certainly helped, as well as the sun breaking out and slipping onto the back of a group of cyclists to help us out for a mile or so.
The 32 mile ride was followed by a brisk 2 mile run out and back, with Gail running at the front or rather bouncing like Tigger in her new Newtons. I can see why these two are certainly going into business together. Inspire2tri is going to be a lot of hardwork but also tonnes of fun!

Following this eventful Saturday I was pleased to take the afternoon off training and instead helped prepare for around 20 of our friends to come over for a start of Summer BBQ. Well, the weather had been nice, the clocks were going forward and I hadn't seen many of our friends since the days of 'training every single waking hour' came into play!

I enjoyed my Sunday ride clocking up another 25 miles or so on my own, it was great to see the wealth of cyclists out yesterday, however disappointingly they were all heading in the opposite direction to me! Our Sunday afternoons always have a recovery 2km swim. This is a great way to round off the week and to help those muscles after a tiring week or training. The pool is always empty too so it means we can do what we like!

So this week involved 15 1/2 hours of training total:-
10.5 hours on the bike = 264.5km
1.5 hours running = 19.2km
3.5 hours swimming = 5.7km

Not as much swimming as I want but the bike figures speak volumes. This was my highest block of training time banked to date and I feel good for it.

Next week I hope to include an interview with Mary herself, so keep posted for next week's blog.

Happy Training!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Crash Week Part 1

Another busy week of work and training, the time is flying by and now I have completed around 22 weeks of training since Will began coaching me!
I have to admit that I am feeling a lot fitter and leaner than I ever have (although I could still lose a bit more on the rear end!) and am really enjoying training. Running has been a regular occurrence now for around 3-4 weeks and I am smashing out 15-20 km of running a week which is great considering I wasn't even running in January.
This week for me is Crash Week, or train hard and die week, or push to your limits week....... lots of different names for essentially the same thing. Will and I both took a few days off together to train together and to essentially have a big block of training. This involves lots of sessions, lots of eating and lots of wearing my Compression Sport calf guards to recover!
Yesterday's sessions included a 40km easy bike ride, 6 km running intervals (hard then easy then hard again) and a final spin session in the gym. Sounds a lot on paper, but this was only an additional session to what I already do on Mondays when I am working. The skies were blue and the birds were singing for our morning's ride, however the headwind really did cut through me. Thanks to Will and Jono for sitting at the front and helping me along.
The running session involved a hot and sweaty gym with a treadmill. I have had to learn to love the treadmill these last few weeks and last night really tested our relationship. I was extremely keen to finish the session off outside, but stuck to my guns and help and encouragement from Will meant I finished the tough session, only to then walk through to the spinning room to be met with another instrument of tough love. The spin bike.

45 minutes of sweat pouring in your eyes, working around the handlebars and jumping off your seat, but it really helps! I have been spinning since I joined the gym pretty much, every Monday for the past 6 months or so. It is a great session, but really really hard work.
This torturous session will soon be ending for me with the nights being lighter and the mornings as well, so I have decided to end my gym membership at the end of the month and will start my bike sessions outside around Rutland Water instead.
Today's sessions are 6.5km run which I am really looking forward to and Mary's swim tonight. This will be followed up by a big meal with our regular swim session goers. :) (food time!)
Tomorrow will be a real test as Will has a session planned on the bike that will involve a hill and a 10 mile loop x 3. Oh dear me, this is going to be tough. Followed by a swim with Stamford Tri club. Thursday is another 40km bike ride, with a 2 mile hard run and simple weights session. Friday I am back to work, and a swim session only. The weekend will be back in the tough lane with rides, runs and swims galore.
I will report back later this week on how all of the sessions go. Quite simply this week will be a hard one, but I know that I really will enjoy it. I would advise that if you are going to put your body through this kind of test, then give it time to recover. And eat plenty of food! I am struggling to get back the calories recently, which is why it is important to eat, eat, eat and eat some more!

Next week I will be hopefully putting up an interview with Mary Hardwick. She is one of the reasons I have improved so much in the pool of late. If anyone has any pressing questions to ask Mary (soon to be fully qualified Level 3 Triathlon Coach and Inspire2tri founder) then please get in touch!

Happy training everyone:)

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Weekends with your bike

 A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of returning to my old haunts of North Wales where I studied Psychology for three years, in between the drinking, hockey practise and various trips to the beach/mountains and the pier for scones. It was here I met Will as well as some amazing friends who I consider friends for life. Alice and Ben kindly put up Will, Heath (another foreigner :) We love you Zimbo!) and myself for a couple of nights. Their lovely house was just the perfect setting in the valleys and on the Saturday and Sunday we donned the Lycra and set out for some nice sociable rides. On the Saturday we ventured over to Anglesey and to Newborough beach where we often spent a summer's evening with a couple of beers. Here we gave Will some stick for his helmet (see the above picture for before and picture below for after alterations!).
 It's always great to have Heath with you when you're out and about, as he always has his camera with him, getting some sneaky shots in as we cycled along is just one of his many tricks!
Sunday saw us join one of Ben's friends Rohan to tackle the heights of Pen-Y-Pass. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this place, it is basically the main starting point for walking up Snowdon via many various paths. It begins down at Llanberis, where Electric Mountain and the train for Snowdon starts, and you begin to cycle around 2 miles to the top. I think it took us around 30-45 minutes, with Will leading the pack and soon disappearing from my view. It was an amazing climb, even if I was nearly sick at the end! Thanks Rohan for this photo!

 I also happened to bring home some little injuries from cycling both Saturday and Sunday. These are the nice bruises from falling off my bike not only once, but twice. Those bloody clipped shoes! :)
So thanks for a brilliant weekend guys, you really know how to show guests a good time. Cycling, Rugby, Chicken, Beers and Herman (friendship yeast!)- all in one weekend!
Finally once you get serious as a triathlete, you might want to attend the TCR show (Triathlon, Cycling and Running show) which is held every year close to the start of the season so that you can go and drool over the latest bike bling or find out what your swim stroke is really like. Or if you are super geeky, take a look at your power output on the Watt bikes, and get a high from all of the gels and drinks. Although at this year's show I was a bit disappointed with the stalls, as they were mostly the brands showcasing their 2012 products, I did get to see one of my heroes and the current triathlon World Number 1 Womens' champion Helen Jenkins.(picture below- I must also apologise for the weird guy in the background, maybe he was really excited about a new wetsuit or similar!) She really is a lovely girl and I got to ask her what she did on her days off- I am pleased to say that she is quite normal like most of us and likes to take her dog for a run on the beach and then eats lots of food afterwards! For me this was a great chance to see the latest products and also got a chance to see the triathlete stars.
As for training this week and last week, I have had a bit of a bad time of it lately. I am running really well, managed to conquer the 5km and that is some achievement given the injuries I had. I have now been knocked over sideways with a lovely throat infection and cold. I could feel the glands getting swollen last weekend and I have to say I am bit of a wimp when I am ill. So I have been avoiding the pool and trying to pull back on the training this week. When your body is trying to fight off a bug or illness, it does no favours to go and get yourself training to exhaustion.
So for me it's resting up this afternoon with a book and some lemsip.
I hope that everyone else's training goes a bit better than mine-Happy training everyone! 

(Oh and good luck to all of those racing this weekend- train smart race hard!)