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Monday, 29 December 2008

Swimset

Cracking swimset this morning. 10 x 400m.
To be honest, I thought I'd be a little tired, but on the contrary, it was really nice to get in the pool and even though it was hard work, the time flew by and I posted some pleasing times.
About a minute up on where I was for 400m 6 months ago, so I must be doing something right!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Ribble Valley 10k results

http://www.ukresults.net/latest/ribble.html

Well, I got round, but not the time I was hoping for. But no surprise as no run form at all, due to a lack of run conditioning. Aerobically very strong and could have run at that pace over a half marathon. However, when I wanted to go faster, legs just could not respond. Hopefully some hard work over the next 3 months will put that right, and I will start being able to transfer that level of fitness into speed.
But always enjoyable to be out racing, and a lovely course, lovely sunshine, just bloody cold!!!
The road running scene is obviously very strong in Lancashire, as I was well down the field with a time of 40' 27". 2 minutes would have shifted me up nearly 100 places, but placing for me is almost always irrelevant.
Bring on 2009!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Ribble Valley 10k

Merry Christmas everyone!
It's been a good week, slightly easier on the training as I haven't had to commute, nor have I had much access to a swimming pool. Full of turkey and mince pies and full of festive cheer, although still a lack of sleep!!
But I'm off to run in Clitheroe tomorrow, and at the moment as I write, I'm not up for it at all. In fact I really don't want to run hard at all. But I'm sure that will change. I'm looking at sub 37 minutes for this one. If I can run at somewhere around 6:10 min/mile pace then I'll be happy. That will be a pb by a long way. I've had 4 weeks of consistent run training, albeit slowly getting myself back into some condition, and a long way of my best, but the swimming will help with the aerobic stuff, just hope my legs can hold out for an intense effort.
As for race tactics, I'll start off steady and try to negative split it. if I can go through 5k in under 19, then I'm in with a good chance of making 37. But as long as I just put in 100% then I'll be happy to get round and a good time will be a bonus.
Running is not my strongest discipline, but I know my weaknesses and I am now addressing them with the help of my coach and it will be nice to put a marker down for future progress. Results and pics to follow!!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Ho ho ho

Well, here ends another good week in the training department.
4 swim sessions, 3 runs, 2 bikes, commuting on bike to and from work. Legs holding up well, knee now stronger and completely pain free. I've lost weight, leaner and stronger. And bloody tired! Need a bit more sleep really, but not much of a chance with a 7 month old noisy boy in the house!

Got an easy week coming up, which culminates in a 10k in Clitheroe, I'll just attack it and run hard and see what happens. Don't know what to expect, and not sure how fresh my legs will be, but it will be nice to run back up North. I'll swim 3 times, bike 2 or 3 and run twice before next Sunday, all easy stuff, apart from the swims, they are tough!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

bike box


Good friend of mine sent me this pic. This has got to be the best packed bike box ever!!! Tunnocks Tea cakes, lovely!!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Steve Moneghetti

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Moneghetti

Interesting info on one of the world's best ever marathon runners. He's also now one of the world's best marathon running coaches!
Did one of his famed interval sets today. It hurt!!!!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Training Update

So far so good.
Ticking along nicely and building a good base. Feeling pretty good, although a little more sleep would be nice!
Had a really positive week last week. 4 hard swim sessions mon-thur. 3 run sessions including a hill session and a longish off-road run, about 70 minutes. One hour easy on the bike on Saturday, followed by a ride back home from Southampton yesterday, about 70k. Was good ride, and nice to get out on the bike with no set workout to do, just ride. Back in the pool today for a solid set, 10 x 300m, making good progress and swim fitness is definitely improving. More pooltime for the next 3 days, run tomorrow and Thurs. Commuting to work everyday, off-road run Saturday and then long bike Sunday. It's good to be getting back to work and feeling in much btter shape.

Had my knee scan today, will get the results next week or whenever I get to see my consultant. Hopefullly all will be ok, as I now enter my 4th pain free week!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

RIP Facebook

Today I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I just got so sick of people adding me as a friend and not bother even sending me a message and yet still bombard me with all the crap requestes and spam email rubbish. Even worse were the ignorant people who could not be bothered in sending a reply to genuine messages. And these are/were so called friends! Well life is too short for holding on to crap, so adios.
As for training, update to come, but all good so far. Leaner, meaner, fitter, stronger. And a bit tired as well! That's having two boys and a wife to look after!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

New paddles


Another excellent training aid purchased from swimshop.co.uk, that I have not really used before. Speedo biofuse paddles, to help me learn to hold onto the water better and make me a stronger swimmer.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Triathlon photos and things

I have uploaded some tri photos of races on flickr.com :
http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebirtwistle/
I also post other photos of triathon races, not just me, so if anybody wants to post anything then feel free.
In fact if there is anybody else reading this then please feel free to send me links to websites and other tri stuff, and I'll add them on the site.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

New Trail Shoes


Latest bit of gear for off-road running. Never got on with Nike shoes before, but these are great. My first ever pair of Nikes.

On my doorstep

Well, I went for a 70 minute easy run this afternoon. Harry suggested I find some soft ground, but I was struggling to find any off-road trails. But then I set off and just headed in the direction of Wareham Forest, and before i knew it, after 20 minutes I was on the heathland, quiet and peaceful, sun just going down and fresh air. Great trail runing country. Did 9 miles at an easy 8 min/mile pace, and felt really good.
Got a new pair of Nike Zoom trail running shoes, and what a difference. I've never had dedicated off road shoes before and I am very impressed with them, feet feel very secure over alsorts of terrain and through mud and water. Feet stayed warm and comfortable inspite of the wet and cold and plenty of cushioning and support but feet felt very solid as the shoes gripped everything they touched. Will certainly look at wearing them for next season's UK 70.3 as the run leg is mostly off road.
Feels good to have found my running legs again. Knee is now pain free. Went out and did an hour on the bike this morning, felt a slight ache in the knee but not at all surprised as there was frost on the ground still, puddles icy and a chill wind. But span away at a good cadence, not pushing hard, and in fact, by the time I got home I felt like I had just got warmed up, and could ride a lot more. But I'm sticking to my plan, and not getting ahead of myself, as I don't want to overdo things at this stage of my winter base training.

First week of training

Well, as it's nearly Sunday, and the next working week approaches, time to reflect on my first coached week of training. Very much about base and getting myself back into things. Still rough, and Harry is trying to get an idea of where I'm at and what I'm capable of doing on a weekly basis. Focus at the moment is swimming, without a doubt, and after 4 hard sessions this week I feel the improvements already and I certainly know where my inefficiencies lie. Poor catch. But I now have the drills to work on improving it and stop slipping the water. My swim fitness is improving with the more time spent swimming and my feel for the water is far better than ever before, so it's all positive. With hard work and the proper application of the drills I should be able to really bring my swim times down significantly.
So, 4 hours swimming, 3 hours running and 6 hours on the bike, has got me back into the swing of things. Nothing too hard on the cycling front yet, and the running is easing me back into things. The same kind of week next week including 4 solid swim sessions which I'm really looking forward to, even if my arms and lungs aren't!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Clearwater Photos






It's been interesting comparing photos of UK 70.3 and Worlds 70.3, and what a difference. For UK I was really lean and race fit, a lot less body fat and certainly more power in the legs. Clearwater I was clearly out of shape and had put on several pounds. I suffered in the heat on the run and found the lack of conditioning, particularly on the run took its toll.

Clearwater 70.3 is on the left and Wimbleball 70.3 on the right. More photos from Clearwater below.



I'm determined to get back there next year and will put things right.

Monday, 1 December 2008

New Coach

As of today I am now officially under the coaching arm of Harry Wiltshire through DrivenToTri .
Very excited about this. Harry has got me stuck into my swimming and we can start building my swim fitness and technique up to get near to where I should be swimming. It's so nice to have some structure to my swimming. Never had it before and I would get in the pool at a bit of a loss as what to do and just end up swimming up and down doing various 100, 200, 400 sets, without any clear goals. But now my swimming goals have been identified and I have some focus and a way of reaching them. Already after only a couple of swim tests and today's swim session I am feeling better in the pool. After 12 weeks of structured swimming I am confident I will be swimming much more efficiently and my fitness will help transfer itself to the other 2 discplines which is good whilst I build myself back up from my knee injury.
I've been eating healthy since I came back from Florida, leaving out the chocolate and having smaller portions at mealtimes. I feel lighter already and once I can get back into some form of running then hopefully I'll be able to drop some more weight. Ideal weight is 13 stone. I'm 13st 12 at the moment, but that's dropping nicely. By Christmas should be around 13st 7, and well on the way to a leaner body shape!

Knee update

Well, after a visit to the specialist on my physio's recommendation, my knee is looking good. There is no structural damage, the patella is now tracking correctly and the vassus medialis qaud is building back up nicely, still a little weak, but a few weeks strengthening should be ok. Now pain free which is a bonus. That's the god news. The bad news is that I have been asked to go for a scan, as there may be a little piece of dislodged cartilage. Not causing any problems really, but it may be something that can be removed. Will consist of a small procedure under GA, and they would clean out the knee. 4 weeks of rehab, and all back to normal, good to go. That's the worst case scenario so I'm feeling positive about things. However, if I'm going to have that done I'd rather it be sooner rather than later. Don't want to build up a good base through winter and then get into March and have to have 4 weeks off whilst I recover. WIll have scan in 2-3 weeks so will know more then. Unfortunately no health insurance to cover it, so will probably be on NHS which would mean a long wait. But we'll see. I'm staying upbeat about the whole thing and I'm just happy that I can now build myself back up pain free!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Positive

Well, at long last, a pain-free two days. Monday was a commute to and from work on the bike, nice and easy pace. Slight knee ache in the morning, but mainly due to cold and then a good swim at lunch. Swim test for new coach. He will be building me a swim plan for the coming weeks. Very excited about this and looking forward to making progress with my swimming, both technique and fitness.
Today, Tuesday, commute agan, bit steadier effort, knee very good. Ran at lunch, fartlek 4 miles. Knee a little ache to begin with, then cleared up and was able to really stride out long on some intervals at a good pace. After 30 minutes of running and a good stretch, I felt really good. My heartrate was up, my breathing was controlled and my legs were working well. Very positive and something to build on now for the winter weeks.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Clearwater Race Report 2008

steve birtwistle

Well, after having some time to reflect and ponder what I have achieved so far, I have decided to just put down a few words about the race and just let it go, not linger on it and put it behind me as experience.
First off, I loved the course. The swim was lovely, calm and warm and out onto a nice soft white sand beach. Well organised clean transition. Fast and flat bike but with enough in it to break it up a bit. Run was pretty flat, apart from the long bridge which was telling come last time, and it went into a residential area that was well shaded from any wind, but not from the sun!! Baking!

So race day was going well up until the point before the swim start I needed to run to the loo, and my bloody knee started to ache! Crap! Oh well, long day in prospect. Swim went ok, nothing too hectic, managed to stay on course a bit better and came out in about 34 minutes. Nothing special, but I felt ok and got through T1 very quick and onto bike. I tried to push hard the first 5 miles, but nothing in my legs and I was about a gear down and 5 rpm low on cadence, so I settled into a rythmn and the miles ticked by steady. Picked up water at the 3 aid stations and cruised the last 10 miles, trying to stretch off as much as possible, but knew that my run legs would not be anywhere to be found. 2 hr 22 mins later and I rolled into T2, and sat on the chair after collecting my chnage bag and pondered. Do I try and run or not? Well I had gone so far and so stretched off, went to the loo and took my time in there. Off I went. and no pace!!! Just nothing there, couldn't get my legs going and my knee was pretty sore by this time. So I settled into a gentle jog and thought, what the hell, at least get a finishers medal!
The run was hot and long, but I stuck it out, did not stop or walk, had no cramp and legs held out, even though nothing in em. Finished with a broad smile and just thought to myself, what an achievement, I've finished a World Championship race!!!!! Medal and hat to prove it! Wqas lovely to have all the family there, my wife Tracey, two boys and my parents, all sporting Team Birtwistle t-shirts!!! The best race I have taken part in, and yet probably my worst performance!! Loved it! And the rest of the holiday was fab! Sea World is just awesome! I highly recommend it to anyone!
So I am now resting and off to see the sports physician on Wednesday to get a proper diagnosis on my knee. And would you believe it, no sooner had I booked the appointment my knee is feeling so much better! Rode to and from work today and swam at lunch, completely pain free. A little ache this morning but it was so bloody cold!
I am determined to qualify again for Clearwater and make sure I get there fully fit and at the top of my game. I have a performance in me and I know that armed with renewed confidence, hard training and my new coach(more on this later!) I will be pushing myself to the limit!! Bring on 2009!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Florida - Week to go before Ironman 70.3 Worlds

Well, here goes my pre-race report, to be followed by race report and no surprise my post-race report!
The flight was a good one, and we touched down in a balmy Florida feeling full of energy and laden with huger bike bag strapped to my back, while I went a sorted out our hire car. It was an enormous 8 seater thing, and plenty of room for luggage. After a long car ride, and many twists and turns and getting lost several times, we rolled up to our hotel in Indian Rocks Beach. Really great suite, set over 2 floors, separating sleeping and living accommodation. So had a reasonable night's sleep but woke early Sunday and went out to find traditional American breakfast food. Copius amounts of coffee and mega calories, Frebnch Toast and maple syrup, oatmeal, fruit and pancakes! Wonderful!
I got my bike together later in the day and all had come through the flight safely and I wnet out for a 30 mile spin. My knee was fine. Really positive ride, and was able to put the pedal down a bit more. So far so good. Next day, another 1 hour ride and still good. I followed this on the Tuesday with a 4 mile run. Crap!!!! Knee just didn't want to play and was sore within minutes, even after warm up and stretch. Back to square one, and once I'd registered on the Wednesday I booked myself in for a sports massage on the Thursday which really did help. On the Wednesday I thought sod it, and I took off to ride the bike course. I got lost en route, but ended up doing 60 miles at a reasonable tempo inspite of a sore knee. I just felt I needed some miles in my legs, as I was just not going to run. At this stage, finishing the race was still in some doubt. So the next 2 days just consisted of rest and beach time, and eating nice food! Come race day I was just going to be relaxed, and just get in there and see what happened as the day unfolded.....

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Getting there a little bit quicker

Ok, good news to report.
Well, yesterday I managed 50 minutes of bike on the rollers at around 65-70% effort. And no pain, all held up really well.
Woke this morning with no aching, legs felt fine, movement not at all restricted, although still quad into hip flexor tight and sore a little, but I stretched off and massaged my quad and put heat wrap on it. Set off for a swim and had a reasonable session. Pushed myself and decided it was time to really get harder when swimming. I've been focussed on easy swimming drills and now my technique has improved it's time to put in some more effort. I need to build swim strength, and as I'm a really late starter to swimming I've got a lot of catching up to do with the faster triathletes.
This evening I did an hour on the rollers. 80% effort. Very good. I've lost a bit of my bike engine and a little in the legs, my cadence was lower than normal, my pedalling a little sluggish. But not surprising given I haven't ridden in anger for 7 weeks!
Legs ok after and I iced quad and knee after, just as a precaution and will continue to do that for te next week or so. Feeling much more positive today. Particularly after my visit to AECC to see Ed Morton of Zoom tri club. He sorted out my pelvis and lower back, stretched me out, worked on my back and fixed me up good. Loads more flexible tonight and haven't felt this 'up' for a long time. So I'll continue in this positive frame of mind and probably rest tomorrow, fly Saturday. Sunday, I'll put my bike back together and take off for an hour or two in the Florida sun for an easy ride and fit in a run later in the day, followed by a relaxing swim. Then I'll sit down and formulate a plan of attack for 8th November!!!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Faster swimming

Found this great article on swim technique.

http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/swimcenter/barrel.html

knee injury

Well, what a difference 24 hours makes. I should be a physio!!
I have had a tight quad right at the top of my thigh, and has been tight and aching for a few weeks now, but noone has given it much attention, ie. physios and sports massurs etc. And to be honest it's not really given me much room for concern as I have been so focussed on the knee. However, yesterday after my sports massage and doing stretches on my hip flexors a thought hit me like a bolt of lightning. This tightness in quad might just be why I am getting knee pain when on the bike. And if it's cold weather it ain't going to help. Soo, last night when walking for the train I kept kneeding my quad and it was damn sore, but as I was walking it seemed to release my knee more. I got to the station and jogeed to my house, about half a mile. Pain free.
Got in. Iced the knee. No pain. Massaged my quad like crazy and stretched out fully. Lots of arnica cream, then heat wrap followed by Voltarol cream on quad. Felt much better, but very sore still. Is sore again this morning. But as an experiment, I warmed up throughly, got a heat wrap around the top of my thigh and got on my bike, only for 1 mile. No pain in the knee. I stretched off, and walked 1 mile from being dropped off in town , into work. No pain in knee.

My conclusion and thoughts at the moment. Knee has healed now. I have obviously had an injury in a tendon coming down from the medial quad. It has settled at last, inflammation gone. Now, the problem is biomechanical. Tight hip flexors and maybe a little stiff in the lower back and tight top of quad(not sure what the muscle is called). Once I can get this right, knee pain will disappear. I am full of confidence now that I can get right and I truly believe that the warm weather in Florida and the relaxed atmosphere, and of course not being at at a desk all day will help get me right. I might not be fit enough to race hard at Clearwater but I am confident of getting round the course pain free. This is the best day I have had in about 8 weeks!

So my advice to anyone who has had a similar injury. Completely rest the knee, and get pain free. Then address biomechanics. I truly believe that the knee is not the source of the injury, it's the result of a build up of other issues, which lead to what is traditionally know as 'overuse' injury. If you are biomechanically perfect then I don't believe in the word 'ovruse'. But nobody is. The human body is designed to be used. I think that because of our modern lifestyles our bodies now lack the ability to re-adapt to activity and it takes time for the body to adjust. This is only my second full season in triathlon, and prior to that I was out of any sporting activity for over 5 years, I smoked and drank heavily and was 16 and a half stone. Of course on my way to getting fit and healthy my body has taken a while to adapt, and I am not surprised that I have picked up these 'overuse' injuries over this period. Once I am fully recovered from this one I truly believe that if I keep strong and flexible I will be able to continue my trianing for years pain free.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

11 days til Clearwater

Had a great Sports Massage this morning, and what a lovely way to start the day.
Has revealed a lot of tightness in my glutes and right hip flexor, and adductors, which I think is causing my knee to tighten when pedalling, therefore not helping. Thing is, I have been stretching them out, but obviously not the right way!
Massage done at Body in Motion. Well worth a look at, and have a special offer at the moment, sports massage is £35 for the hour as opposed to the usual £42. Just focussed on quads, hamstrings and glutes, and feel much better. Did a good stretch on my hip flexors. But unfortunately I am now sat at my desk in office which is not doing me any good whatsoever!
NO training today, as waiting for knee to settle. Still a bit achy this morning, and medial quad was tender and tight during massage. May swim tonight if I feel up to it.
I am starting to get myself mentally prepared for the race and approach it as if I have no injury. But add in to that I have to accpet the fact that I may have to drop out of the race. Any sign of pain at all during the race and I will stop. I promise!!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Cold in the UK

Well, it's a bit chilly today.
I had a rest weekend, of absolutely nothing. And pain free. All good. Had to ride to work this morning, unavoidable really, and bit of a dull ache in the knee. However, not all bad, as pain free now. Was early morning, and it was cold and damp and tight Assos longs on which restrict my knee movement. Will push bike to train later and get that home, not riding. I can now not ride for the rest of the week, which was my original plan for recovery. I'll swim at lunch today and tomorrow lunch and evening, just to get an aerobic workout of some sort. My fitness levels don't feel too bad. But I will have lost bike speed, and as for running, well, I'm not even thinking about it! Sports massage tomorrow which will help. On the advice of James Gilfillan, I'm going to completely leave my knee alone, no friction rubbing, no ice, no heat, no gel, just ot give it chance to settle. I did a lot less with it over the weekend, just stretching and it feels much better.
I read my training diary and it's more like a doctor's surgery notes!

This morning on the bike was a bit negative but I've put it behind me and am trying really hard to focus on staying positive. Pain free is the key! I am repeating that mantra to myself on an hourly basis!
12 days til race day! The countdown begins!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Triathlon photos

Some photos of me and other athletes at various races.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevebirtwistle/

Clearwater 2008


Ok, I'm going to race. I might not finish it, I might not even get on my bike, but I'm going to start and i'm going to give it my best shot. My legs will suffer, and it will be hard, as i haven't trained for 7 weeks now. But I will be there and I'll be fit. Time to get positive. Knee is much better. I've now had two whole days of nothing and no pain. I will continue to do nothing til next Monday, when I will swim. I will try to ride my bike for a very short time on Tuesday, as I have to ride to get to a sports massage! But that will be it next week. I'll get 3 or 4 swim sessions in. Not even thinking about running until I'm out in Florida and had a couple of days resting in the sunshine.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Physio

Well, was back on the physio bench again last night, and the consensus is, we do nothing from now until 1st November. Apart from swimming that is. I will have to wait until this knee injury has fully healed until I even start thinking of getting back on a bike or putting on a pair of running shoes.
It's some form of patellofemoral syndrome, or patellar tendonitis. It's not healing, and may be made worse due to a biomechanical issue, which I will address through chiropractor and disciplined yoga and stretching.
I did a good half hour yoga session last night, followed by lots of stretching. Felt much better. I swam this morning, nothing hard, but felt ok. Knee ok so far today, just a slight twinge when walking upstairs, more uncomfortable than outright pain. I am stretching as much as I can while sat at my desk, and will walk to station after work to get train. More ice and friction massage tonight, yoga and stretching. This routine I will follow religiously until I feel like I can put some load through the knee and start with some strengthening exercises.
I will recover, just gonna take time and I'm trying to stay as rational as possible and be patient. But as every athlete knows, that ain't so easy!!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Arrrggghhhhhh!!!!!!

Rubbish.
Set off on my bike this morning and I knew it was going to be no good. My knee felt sore walking downstairs early morning. I got 500 yards and then turned around, went home and got a lift into work. No point doing anything if there is any sign of pain now. Feels better this lunchtime, but I'm doing nothing on the bike for the rest of the week. I will swim tonight and get a good workout. I'll swim Thursday, but I'm leaving the bike until the weekend. Bloody annoying. I am doing everything right, and not rushing back into training, but it's 1 step forward 2 back.
Not happy. In fact, I'm almost considering not doing anything at all until I get to Florida. Race is going to be more of a sightseeing exercise!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Too Slow

Well, I managed a run. 2.5 miles, at easy pace with 400 yards of hard effort. Well, my heartrate can at least reach near it's max without me getting ridiculously out of breath, so that's not too bad, but hr is a bit elevated, which comes as no surprise at that was my first run in 6 weeks.
And my knee held out, but a little ache afterwards. Had an afternoon out with the family and it was aching later in the day and on Sunday.
Today I managed to ride into work more or less pain free, slight dull ache after 30 minutes of riding in foul weather! Done a 3000m swim at lunch, various 200, 300 and 400m efforts. Swimming not too bad. My easy efforts now are 7 min/400m pace, which I'm happy with. Come race day I'll be quicker, so not too bad. I will not be running now til I get to Florida, 7 days before race day. I'm going to do everything I can on the bike, as it's easier to ride pain free. I may be able to run again next weekend, which will be 2 weeks before the race, but I've so little to gain now, I may as well leave it and try to stay pain free as much as possible, looking beyond November. Was hoping to do New Forest duathlon this Sunday, but I'll see how I feel on Wednesday and see if I can get a late entry. I might do it, just as an easy paced effort, to get round the course. 5k run, 20k bike, 5k run.
I got physio on Wednesday and if it improves at the same rate as last Wednesday then things are on the up and up!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Breakthrough

At last, I am getting back to some sort of training, albeit slowly. After a very positive physio session last night, I rode 3 miles to swimming, did a 2500m session and rode back. A dull ache in the knee still, but no acute pain, and it seemed to improve as I rode. So much more positive.
Feels good today, keep flexing and stretching while at my desk. Rest of the office think I'm a freak anyway, so no worries there!
Going to leave running til weekend, and try then. Will ride rollers tonight very lightly for half hour and rest tomorrow. With only 3 weeks til race day, I feel confident that at least I will get round the course!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Triathlon Coaching

Looking into some formal and structured training for next season and have made contact with Harry Wiltshire at Driven to Tri.
Here's their website. DriventoTri

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Crap!

Bloody crap and double crap!

Knee is mending, I can feel the improvement, but any time I just pedal, it's a no no.
If no better in a week, then I am off to see a sports physician and it will cost me 70 bloody quid!
Ouch!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Progress update

Very little, apart from a couple of positive swim sessions, which is just about keeping me sane!
I am unbearable to live with at the moment, Mr. Angry!!!

I still can't ride, other than 5 mins on the turbo at lowest cadence in smallest gear! And cannot even jog 100 yards. Not good.
Slowly I feel my knee is better. Visited AECC in Boscombe and have been taped up with Kinesio taping. Very interesting, more to help with overall biomechanics and stabilising my right leg/knee.
Don't know if it's working yet as there is still pain in the knee. Once that has gone then the tape should help stabilise things, preventing reoccurrence of the injury. We'll see, jury still out on that one!
I have been back to my trusted physio, Roger Hoare, who is physio down at Weymouth Football Club, knows his stuff, and he is spot on with what the problem is. Scar tissue on the Patella tendon causing inflammation which is why the pain is not going away. He works on the knee injury and it always feels better after that.
Been to docs today to get a sick note for work, as I have been off for 2 weeks with a nasty stomach virus which has wiped me out, obviously not helping my body heal, hence why knee is taking so long to repair itself. Also asked him about cortisone injections, to which he can do, but there is little benefit to be gained as Clearwater is only 28 days away and ther is no way I can benefit from training at this late stage. I'll just swim and then take it easy round the course, and take in the atmosphere and experience. It's all about getting right for next season now. I'll be back at the docs next week for a homeopathic consultation and I'll give it a try. It's worked on his wife's injured shoulder, managing to start repairing itself after only 3 days of homepathic pills.
So it's frustrating at the moment, and I'm just learning to cope with an injury which has come at a bad time, especially as it's cost a small fortune o take the family out to Florida. But I'm sure it will be great just having 2 weeks in the sun!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Ironman 70.3 World Championships 2008, Clearwater, Florida, USA

Update of training:

Well, there isn't any!!!!
I have had a viral infection this week, just to add to the knee!
It was a stomach virus and has really wiped me out. I've been off work all week, and it has not been pleasant.
The upside is that I have been forced to rest, and the knee is mending really well. I'm hoping to be back on my bike next Tuesday. That's my next target date, which then gives me 5 weeks til race day. That will then be 2 weeks of light ease myself back into training and then just trying to get some miles in my bike legs, and at least 2 long runs, so that come race day I'll at least get round the course.
This year is all about experience, it will have to be. My goals prior to getting injured were 30 minutes for the swim, which is still possible, 2 hours 10 on the bike, which I could still do but it would not leave me with anything for the run. And my goal run time was 1hr 30. 4 hours 10 in total. But I'll be some way off that pace. If I can get anywhere near 4hr 30 then I'll be pleased.
It's now more of a 2 week holiday in the sun! So not so bad really! And looking forward to justbeing part of such a big event and among so many fantastic pro athletes and top age groupers from all over the world! Awesome!!
I'm focussing already on gettin gstronger and staying injury free over the winter to get a good base in for next season, while I try and find some new races/goals.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Ultrasound

At last, I have seen with my own eyes the inside of my right knee, and I can report it is all good. All that I have is slight inflammation where the tendon on my Vastus Medialis meets my knee.
Hallelujah! Rest and gentle recovery will suffice from now, and I can start getting slowly back into some training, armed with the knowledge that with careful supervision, strength and flexibility I will be ok.
I might just be able to go to Clearwater with a chance of getting a decent result. Easy does it!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

New tri site found

Looks good - http://www.beatyourpb.com/

Sports Massage

Went for sports massage at Body in Motion last night, with Vikki Styles, who is physio with Worthing RUFC.
And for a small lass, she delivers quite a punch! Quads and hamstrings and glutes aching last night, but boy oh boy, do I feel better today. And good news is that I am almost pain free in the knee for the first time in 3 weeks. Certainly feel well enough to do some light strength work on my quads at the gym tonight and will have a swim after, still pushing off on one leg til I feel more confident of my knee.
But I can now flex my knee with no pain, so all has settled down. Just strength and felxibility for the rest of the week and at the weekend will try sitting on my bike on the rollers for 10 mins, and maybe a light jog/walk for 10 minutes as well.
So far so good. Much more positive today.
:-)

Monday, 22 September 2008

Still injured

No good. Have stopped swimming as well. Still pain in my right knee when I walk, so I have decided to stop completely and rest as much as I can until there is no pain. It's frustrating as I marshalled at the New Forest middle distance tri yesterday and as I watched the bikes go passed and then saw the results, I would have been mixing it with the top 10. Never mind, there's always next year and marshalling was good fun.
Just don't know when I will get back on my bike or run, and with Clearwater only 7 weeks away, it's not looking good. Oh well, it's just another race, and we'll have a nice holiday over there I'm sure!
:)

Monday, 15 September 2008

AECC works wonders!

Thanks to Ed Morton at the AECC in Boscombe, I now can focus recovery on my knee injury.
As I thought, the knee is not the root cause. Down to tight quads, adductors and pelvis. Will be continuing with stetching, flexibility and strengthening. Have booked a sports massage for this Friday at Body in Motion, also in Boscombe, to sort me out as I feel a bit like an ironing board at the moment.
No running and cycling for 2 weeks is killing me, I still have 5 days to go before I can get back on the bike. This is self-enforced as well, so makes it harder. And while I'm not training I'm fighting the urge to continue eating the colossal amounts of food I normally do!
I'm off for another swim session, so on a positive note, this time has been useful to focus on improving my swimstroke, and at least I'm keeping a bit of aerobic fitness.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Injury

Bugger!

Gone and overdone it when recovering from a knee injury. Nothing serious but will take a while to heal and for me to get back to full training.
No cycling or running for a week while I address the pain and then 2 weeks of gentle recovery, mostly swimming, light rollers, treadmill walk/jog and strength conditioning in the gym. Hopefully can get back to full training by beginning of October which will give me just under 6 weeks to go before Clearwater on 8th November, which hopefully will be enough to get me through with a decent performance, although I'm almost resigned to the fact that I might be going there not at my best.
Oh well, trying to stay positive, and at least use this time to look at some long term goals, work at swim technique and start including strength and flexibility into my training.
Just means I will be pulling out of Littledown triathlon on Sunday and might not compete at the New Forest middle distance tri the week after. I'm disappointed about the New Forest one as at the start of the season I was targeting this as an 'A' race, and was very confident of a sub 5 hour finish, and certainly finishing in the top 20.
Next year!

Southwater Relays 2008

Southwater Relays 2008

Good turnout for this event in poor weather, a very dull and dreary September day. This was brightened by a surprisingly good result on our part.

Zoom tri club had entered 4 teams and myself, Lawrence Down and Andy Downton(team captain) had some serious competition form Rob, Ed and Freddie!

In the end we came through in 4th overall and picked up the 2nd men's senior prize! Andy and Lawrence have been training long this season and were in no sprint form, and I had a very sore knee( now a lot worse!) and had done virtually nothing in the way of serious run training for 6 weeks or so, and nowhere near being race fit. I hadn't ridden my bike for a week prior to the day before, and on the Saturday before the race I spun on the race bike for 30 minnutes and had to stop with pain in the knee. Ideally, should not have raced, but couldn't let the team down.

We all posted similar times, Lawrence and I did 56' and a bit for 400m swim, 18.5km bike, and 3.8km run. Andy was a bit quicker on the last leg with 55' and small change. Well done boys.

I was slightly disappointed I couldn't push any harder, but injury and lack of race fitness just held me back, particularly on the bike where I rode very conservatively, but still managed to get us up to 4th place from 16th. Lawrence did a great job to get us up near the front guys at the start which set me up for a good bike, and then Andy came through solid on all 3, finishing with a strong run to keep us in 4th.

Freddie Devos posted the quickest time from Zoom tri club in 54 mins, his team finishing 14th overall in the end. And the Zoom ladies senior team managed to bag 3rd place, excellent stuff.

Was a great fun event and will look forward to doing this one again next year, hopefully the weather will improve.
Link to website: Southwater Relays

Friday, 29 August 2008

Rest of year Race diary

7th September - Southwater tri relays with Zoom Tri Club
14th September - Littledown Fast Twitch tri - www.conceptsport.co.uk
21st September - New Forest Middle Distance tri - www.racenewforest.co.uk

October - Sandy Ball-buster duathlon - www.racenewforest.co.uk
8th November - Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Clearwater, Florida

All races wih the exception of Clearwater will be extended trainig sessions, and not sure whether I will yet finish New Forest middle, depends on the next 3 weeks' training, if I can build up enough strength/muscular endurance.
And then after November a well earned rest. Will start bike base miles in December in prep for next season.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Swanage Classic Triathlon 2008



Well, I had a big rest after my efforts at Wimbleball(Half Ironman UK), and since then I have not been doing much in the way of run training, due to a viral infection, which floored me at Purbeck tri(although managed to bag a 3rd place), and a bit of a knee niggle, due in main to tight hamstrings.
I ummed and arred about doing Swanage but in the end James Gilfillan talked me round and I thought it was not a bad idea to get back to a race just for fun and see how I am doing.
I felt like I needed a bit of a kickstart to get me going for Clearwater in Novemebr, only 10 weeks away!!!
So I did it. And felt good throughout. Had a great first half of the swim, out in around 12 minutes, and then went and got lost on the way back!! Typical, I always do it, just swam too far out and cost me some time just trying to get back on course!

Oh well, had a good T1, and jumped on bike and felt surprisingly strong. Normally at these Olympic distance ones I struggle regulating my breathing from swim to bike, but I was ok. Biking definitely my strongest discipline and even though a bit of a hilly route I still got myself round in the top 10 bike times, and despite my chain coming off again!! My fault. I must just pick a big or small ring at the start of a climb and stick to it. I was caught in 2 minds and it cost me.
Had a good T2 and off on the run, where I planned on attacking the hills. This I did, but my lack of recent run training began to show after half way and my calves were tightening.
Prior to Wimbleball I had been doing a lot of hill running as intervals and I got round that run course without any problems. Swanage was different, and although I was 4 minutes up on last season's run time, I was still off the pace of what I know I can do. But I was not at all disappointed.

High 5 from James G at the end, he won yet again, great performance. And man he can eat some food. Did a bbq in the afternoon and got no idea where he puts it!! We sometimes go out on training rides and you ain't gonna get any draft off him whatsoever!

So Swanage got me back into triathlon again, not that I ever doubted my love of the sport, but it was just the tonic I needed. A good performance, very strong which now puts me in the right frame of mind to continue my journey towards the Ironman 70.3 World Championships!
My Overall time: 2:21:37
Winning time: 2:01:26
I was up on last year's time by 12 minutes. This year the weather made it tougher.
Winning time last year by James G was 1:56 something. So putting it into context a very good performance and had it been an A priority race then could have been better.
Next year James, next year!!!
:)

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Half Ironman UK 2008

Welcome back!

It's been 6 months since I last posted on here, for a number of reasons.
1. lack of time
2. I'm updating loads of training web applications
3. I'm using paper and a pen to record my training, much less hassle.

But, thought it would be nice to report on Half Ironman UK 2008, as I went back to race it again this year.

Training this year has been very consistent, with only one knee niggle throughout March which was more annoying than distastrous and I managed to keep up some light work while my physio sorted it out.
I've had some excellent results. 2nd at Mad March triathlon http://www.resultstriathlon.co.uk/race-results/race-results.asp?id=22
http://www.conceptsport.co.uk/results.php

8th overall, and 1st in my age group at Hungerford tri, which was reduced to a swim and run due to snow!!! 17th overall and 1st in my age group(35-39) at Winchester tri. 15th overall and 2nd age group at Dorchester tri. These were all Concept sport events and on the link above.
I also did a 10 mile TT and finished 13th out of 70 riders, posting a respectable 24' 11" in very windy conditions, amongst some very strong riders.
I posted 39' 50" at Winchester 10k back in Feb and came 65th out of 600 odd runners, which for me is very good.
So preparation for Ironman UK 70.3 had gone really well, and I was full of confidence. I have also been doing some good run and bike sessions with James Gilfillan, who has been a great inspiration and has had some excellent results this season, winning all but one race he has taken part in!

So here goes. Race day.

Swim:
It was very cold! Air temperature was down to 7 degrees at 6am, and it felt warmer in the water! However, it did not last and we were held in the water for at least 10 minutes, and before long I was feeling the cold. It was a mass swim start, with 900 athletes in the water and waiting for the off all at once! Behold the washing machine!
We were off and immediately I was into a good stroke, but I was not getting through the water quickly, I was feeling the cold and just could not get any effort into the stroke.
I cam out of the water in around 35 minutes which was 2 minutes down on where I should have been. However, I made some time up through T1, only 3 minutes to run up a 400m hill, change out of wetsuit, get bike and set off.
bike:
Well, the start of my bike was so slow, bottleneck at start did not help and I had to stop to get feet in shoes to get going, so my T1 speed had been negated. Once I got going I really started to feel the cold and could not get my legs moving, and especially as it was straight into a climb, I was finding it hard to regulate my heartrate. It was a good 20 miles until I managed to get myself really going and once there I was riding strongly. Unfortunately the rain came at about halfway and it really made conditions a bit tricky. Glasses had to come off and riding at 40 mph into driving rain is not at all easy on the eyes, and actually seeing anything was a bit tricky!
But I made god progress and was looking at posting a split of near 2hr 52, which would have got me into the top 20 bike times. However, just as I came down to T2, I had a mishap and came off the bike! It was a nasty fall and shook me up a great deal. Feet and hands bloody, right knee and leg taken a bash. Cost me at least 5 minutes on the bike, and obviously affected my run time. But I got into transition and told myself to keep going. 2hr 59 on the bike, down in 47th.
Run:
Started strong and finished stronger! I had a very good run, paced it very well and made sure to run within myself. Everytime I felt good and felt like pushing I just reigned it in a little as I didn't want to blow up before the end. And it worked. 3 caffeine gels and water saw me home in 1 hour 41 mins, very repsectable. My half marathon PB before that was 1hr 36, so to do a 1:41 on that course(very hilly, twisty and turny) and off a tough bike, falling etc, I was very pleased. My running has really improved this year, as I have been working hard at that.
All in all I finished in 65th place out of 900. I finished 10th in my age group. My time was 5 hours 21 minutes and 14 seconds. An hour better than last year!
And what's more I qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater, Florida on 8th November!!!
Very excited about that!
Got 2 weeks rest now and then will pick it up again in July, a few more races in preparation for November. I'll keep you posted on progress!
Pics of 2008 racing etc to follow.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

December 07 training

The focus for this month was on the swimming and running, improving technique and aerobic fitness. This has been working and to great effect. Managed to do a pool 1500m in under 28 minutes. Very happy with that. Can now tumble turn, and use it on 90% of my lengths in the pool. Needs improving but has come together really well.
My technique is far better, coming through with nice high elbows and legs together more, very high in water and balance is improving. I'm managing to control myself in the water better and have an overall better feel for the water. By the end of next season I'm hoping to be under 25 minutes for 1500m. Then I can look at being competitive.
Running is improving greatly, and that has been boosted by my performance in the Downton half marathon. To do 1' 36 on a hilly course is a great time for me and I'm looking to build on this and do a couple more and see what I can do on a flat course. To go under 1' 30 would be fantastic, and really give me something to build on. My goal is to run 1 hr 35 for Half Ironman UK run leg. Similar course to Downton, I feel I have it in me.
At the moment, lots of easy paced runs, extending the distance, building up my base miles.
And that's the same on the bike. December has been some long easy rides mixed with a couple of harder paced efforts. Once the weather warms up then I expect my speed to really improve. Working in some turbo sessions for building up leg strength and been on the rollers for improving pedalling technique and efficiency.
I now have new Easton Attack aero bars on my Plasma, which look the business and are light and built for speed, get me in a far more aero position. Looking forward to next season just to see how fast I can go o the bike.
So all in all December has been a positive month. My fitness levels have increased hugely, my body shape has changed as I have got leaner, and back has broadened due to swimming. No shoulder pain when swimming as I now have the correct technique, and running injury free.
Just going to plan my race schedule for next year, keeping it flexible, but to focus on HIMUK as a qualifier for the Worlds in Florida in November. I will be there!!!