Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week 17 / 20

This week was an easy week in terms of load but a difficult one mentally, although it was nice to be congratulated by so many people at work over my result from Lisbon. What made it difficult psychologically was that my aerobic runs (at a heart rate of 150 bpm) were much slower than the week before and I started to "comerme el coco" as they say in Spanish, thinking that all those sugary gels I used for carboloading last week might have somehow "detrained" my fat burning capacity. The more rational and probable explanation is that I am simply tired and that my body is busy making adaptations to the stresses I put it through last weekend. This sort of worry is fairly typical when you are in the equivalent of the tapering period for any event - for example, when you've sent the invitations out for the wedding, hired the photographer, hairdresser, etc., and really there is nothing left you can do except worry. That's where Jonathan comes in, to put my mind at rest...

Another thing that made the workouts tougher than they really needed to be was the fact that, on Saturday, I had to do my 3 hour (only 3 hours - wahey!) ride in the pouring rain on my mountain bike and that, as my wife is away in Africa, the 1 and a half hour run on Sunday had to be on the treadmill while I watched a really crappy film ("Battle: Los Angeles" if you must know) and the kids watched another not so crappy one. Apart from the obvious tedium of running on the treadmill, I find the stifling heat that builds up almost unbearable, with not even the breeze coming from the fan making much of a difference. After a while, the belt gets so slippery from the stream of sweat that its just as well that I don't heel strike otherwise I'd probably fall off the thing.

By the way, I managed to sort out my Garmin which has been giving me dodgy heart rate readings over the last few weeks and especially in the Lisbon Half Ironman. It turned out to be the obvious: the battery needed changing. That's three euros well spent that I could have thought about spending before!

These days I spend more time than most on the hard shoulder of the motorway, usually pedaling but sometimes fixing punctures. It was only when my car broke down with the kids inside that I realized the difference four wheels makes over two: absolutely no-one stops. Unfortunately, the kids had run my iPhone out of batteries playing so many games so I just needed someone to let me use their phone. What is even more disturbing is that I ran to the nearest homely house (a big out of town garden store) and explained to a middle aged couple I found in the car park my predicament, emphasizing the fact that my kids were on their own by the side of the motorway. Now, I'd understand (but not necessarily believe) a "I haven't got a phone" or even simply a "No, sorry" but this guy actually sort of waved me aside, walking away without looking at me, as if I were a fly trying to settle on his food or a mosquito trying to suck his blood. Now I understand how it must feel to have to beg for money. You can imagine what I said to him - I was so angry and upset it all came out in English and he probably didn't understand a word of it but he will have got the message. I hope he drove past my car on his way home and saw the kids playing by the side of the road with debris from past car crashes and got an earful from his wife for being such a... Still, to be fair, he was probably scared I was going to rob his phone or rape his wife or both, such is the level of fear and mistrust these days; and it doesn't help that I sound like a foreigner (well, I am one). Instead, that would just make him an ignorant twat and means it's all the more likely that he will get his phone stolen one day. Had I been on the bike someone would definitely have stopped - in fact, I even thought about accosting a cyclist, knowing that they would be much more likely to help, but then I also know how much more effort it is to stop and start on a bike compared to a couple of movements of the feet and a slight rotation of the steering wheel required to bring a car to a halt. I finally managed to convince the people in the shop to let me use the phone and, by the time I had run back to the car, the pick up truck was only a couple of minutes behind. (As it happens, I saw a friend in the shop but I was already on the phone - he looked a bit concerned to see me sweating away in a bright yellow fluorescent jacket.) At least now I have a good reason to give to kids so that they don't play so many games on my phone. In the end, the kids were happy that they got off doing their homework.

That peak at the end is the Ironman itself - as you can see, roughly the same load as the total peak weekly training
Anyway, this week starts off with a lactate test - more on this later - and builds up into the last of the heavy training before the event. Not the best timing, what with my wife away, but where there's a will there's always a way...

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