Senin, 28 Februari 2011

Week 7 / 20

This was the first mini-peak of several before the Ironman itself - 23 hours of training. The physical toll of the training has not been the limiting factor, more the logistic challenge of how to squeeze in those hours in and around everything else. I ended up taking a day's holiday on Wednesday just to be able to accommodate the 5 hours of cycling and running I had programmed that day. Having said that, I started to get the first tinges of overtraining syndrome - on Friday I started to feel a bit demotivated and so, sensibly, opted to do my hour run with some work colleagues along a a new route. By Saturday, though, my demotivation had turned into a fully fledged foul mood. One thing I have learnt is that, if I am going to make my family suffer by being on my bike half of the time, the last thing I can afford is to be in a bad mood when I am not on my bike and am with them.

The long ride on Saturday was one coincidence after another. I overtook someone riding the same bike as me and said "hey, nice bike". He asked me if he knew me and I replied I was just commenting on the fact we had the same bike whereupon he said "I do know you!" - he turned out to be my boss' boss. Just as well my bad mood hasn't set in yet and I hadn't said anything to offend him! He was riding in a group of people with his boss (that's to say, my boss' boss' boss). One of them was riding a recumbent - the first time I've seen one of those in Spain. At some point I had to change up rhythm so I bade my farewell and shot off only to run into mechanical problems (something to do with a valve and the deep rims I have on my bike but its too annoying to describe here). At some point the bosses cycled past and I waved them on with a smile saying everything was OK but, the fact was, I'd I run out of CO2 canisters and spare inner tubes and that morning my CrapBerry had decided to stop working so I was well and truly f@*¿ed. I had no choice but to flag down a group of cyclists - something I am loathe to do because I think one should be self-sufficient. One of them said, "it's you!" and it turned out to be Juan, a friend of mine who is also training for the Half Ironman in Lisbon. He kindly gave me his spare inner tube and lent me his pump (I later bought a decent pocket pump that afternoon to avoid dependence on CO2) and I was soon on my way. He told me to go off and do my training so, feeling a bit bad for having robbed him of his inner tube and his company of cyclists, I went off again leaving him to cycle on his own. About an hour later, on the way back, I saw someone by the side of the road holding various bits of a bicycle. Believing in karma or simple fellow cyclist camaraderie, I asked if they were OK and they said, "oh, its you!". It was Juan again, and he had managed to get (at least) three separate punctures in his tyre. We struggled with it for a bit until he finally gave up and called the bike rescue service (a.k.a., his wife) while I went off, feeling even worse for having left Juan in a predicament. It should have been me to have had to call to be rescued. The good thing to come of all this is that it happened in training and it is something that could have seriously screwed up my Ironman - now it won't.

That afternoon I still had to do an hour run and, after a nice relaxed lunch with the family, it started to get dark and I started to get nervous: if I left the run too late then I would be too tired the following morning to do the five hour cycle ride I had planned. Suddenly I realised that the solution was simple: I asked my wife to stop the car and I got out and ran the 14 kilometers from where we were back home. As soon as I saw the car pull away I realized that I was taking a bit of a risk: I had no money, no CrapBerry, no water and only a vague idea of how to get home avoiding major roads. Luckily I had a useful landmark programmed into my Garmin watch so I was able to find my way without any problem. We arrived at almost the same time - they had to do a spot of shopping - and I finished my training in time for a quick dinner and bed.

On Sunday, I did my long ride with a group of friends which was a very good decision. The time went flying by and the training felt easy. We started off in a small group of myself, Carlos (who is also doing Ironman Brazil) and Alberto before joining the others. Carlos was trying out his Giant Trinity Advanced which is about the highest spec triathlon bike available off-the-shelf and Alberto was riding a Specialized Shiv (the same bike that Macca rode to victory in the Ironman in Hawaii last year) - both bikes kitted out with Shimano's top-of-the-range electronic gear shifters -  so it was an effort to ride along with them without letting my tongue hang out. And no, Alberto's second name was not Contador. Afterwards, Carlos prepared a fantastic barbecue lunch (in February!) for us and our coach, Jonathan, and the three families. We finally (after weeks of trying to find a slot in our jam packed schedules) managed to sit down and review the training program for the Ironman, ask lots of questions and make some adjustments. I'm happy to have got to the point of being able to handle such a volume of work without any physical strain and only the beginnnings of mental strain. There are a few more peaks like this week to come, all of them higher in terms of objective load, but the idea is that they will be subjectively perceived to be at the same level as this week, because we will have had time to adapt to them. Another question is whether the number of hours will be much higher - there is at least one week of 25 hours or more - but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it...

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