Sunday, 25 November 2012

Kona inspired

Given that it's the 1st taper week, I thought that it would be a good idea drawing inspiration from the NBC coverage of this year's Kona Ironman World Championships. I think this is the best coverage thus far, with great highlights of the race day action and great capture of the emotions at the finish line. I get goosebumps each time I see a finisher crossing the arch.

Compared to the previous weeks, this week's training load has decreased but not significantly. The 2 hour rides during the week were reduced to 1.5 hours and I had a two mid week runs, each of about 30 minutes. Bill gave me some descending pace work for the swim sessions and even threw in some alternating freestyle and medley sets just to mix things up. 

Saturday's long ride was 4.5 hours down the Freeway bike path. I think it was one of the few rides which I had a tailwind on the way back, which was very much welcomed. I clocked 140kms, exceeding the plan by 5kms with 2 more minutes to spare :) Sunday was a run for 1 hour 40 minutes, with negative split for the 2nd half. I started a bit quick and thought I would struggle to run faster for the later half, but I surprised myself and did just that. 22.5km ran with an average pace of 4:27 per km.

Things are falling into place and with the reduced volume and more recovery time, I feel stronger (and less grumpy!) and this serves well for my confidence. Not long now until the big race day. Hang in there everyone!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Final build

One final big week before the taper. As much as I enjoy training, the long hours and the post workout fatigue is slowly taking a toll on my body. So I'm glad to have made it this far and looking forward to the taper.

The week started with a 25 minute recovery run on Monday following the big weekend. Tuesday I did 90 minutes ride in King's Park, and recovered in the afternoon with an easy swim session. Wednesday I rode again, for 2 hours to Shelley Reserve and Point Walter. In the afternoon I did a 45 minute run in the neighbourhood.

I swapped Thursday's morning session to another day as I had an early morning meeting. In the afternoon I swam with a main set of 4 x 800m varying with some fartlek efforts, pull buoy and paddles. Friday morning I ran for 80 minutes in King's Park. The temperature is beginning to rise as summer is closing in on us. I recovered with another easy swim session in the afternoon.

It was a hot one when I did my long 5 hour ride on Saturday. I think the temperature rose 10 degrees in the second half of my ride. The slight headwinds made it tougher too, and my return journey took an extra 15 minutes. I had to cut short my brick run to 30 minutes as I was going to be late for our lunch appointment. The rest of the group were having a training camp down south and raced Bunbury Classic the next day. I couldn't go as Li-Ann was flying off to Singapore that night. She'll be away for about 10 days, but being the wonderful wife she is, she cooked up and stored plenty of food so my nutrition will be well taken care of in these crucial weeks.

On Sunday I only had a 75 minute ride, which I went to Sorrento Beach. I joined Dennis Tan and NCTC for an open water swim but the water was so choppy and I gave up after swimming a few hundred metres. In the afternoon I ran for 2.5 hours, my longest run this build. My pace was much better compared to the last weekend, I clocked 33.2km, averaging 4:31 per km.

The volume will reduce in the coming weeks but still keeping moderately intense. It's important, more so than ever, to keep my nutrition, rest and recovery in check. And as Bill told me in his email, keep out of trouble!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Another big week

Four weeks to Ironman WA, it's so close I can almost smell it!

The week started with a 2 hour 15 minutes run on Tuesday along Mounts Bay road by the Swan River. I settled into my usual pace of 4:30 per km but again, it only lasted until halfway and I had to slow down about 10 seconds per km. I finished the run with clocking a distance of 29.5km, 500 meter short of my target. Still, happy with just logging in the miles and at least I did not die towards the end.

Wednesday I did 2 hours of riding in King's Park. The weather this week was much better than the last and I did not have to cross my fingers and toes hoping it will stay dry throughout my ride. In the afternoon I had a massage session with Nathan Doig. It's always painful but I felt much better after.

Thursday I was back in King's Park again but this time for a 75 minute run. I'm beginning to enjoy these undulating runs a lot more, attacking the climbs and just cruising on the descends. Clocked 16.6km with an average pace of 4:31 per km - my best effort this season.

Friday I did not have anything in the morning but I did some land exercises consisting of strength and resistance training. I try to do these at least once every 2 weeks as I think it is just as important, if not more, than just doing the long hours on the road. In the afternoon, I did another long swim set of 10 x 400m, averaging 1:35 per 100m.

For Saturday's long ride, I followed the BYL group down the Freeway. When I said followed I actually meant trying to keep up and that only lasted until we past the South Street exit. I got dropped and was riding solo up until Pinjarra Road. No matter, as we are not allowed to draft on race day anyway. I sent a text asking them to go ahead, they would have rode a bit longer to the servo. I started making my way back but it wasn't long until they caught up with me again. This time, I managed to stay on all the way home. 174.3km logged, just shy of the full 180km, in about 5.5 hours. Thanks for the ride guys! We had someone falling during the ride, luckily nothing broken and just some lost skin.

I started my Sunday 90 minute ride a bit late at 8.20am, as we had to drop an old mattress off at the recycling centre. Dennis Tan and the North Coasters were doing their open water swim practice at Sorrento Beach. I should have joined them rather than leaving my swim after my ride. With the howling wind and the choppy waters, I talked myself out of swimming solo. In the afternoon I ran for 2 hours 25 minutes. I started off with a 4:30 per km pace, managed to hold it for over 21kms. But the legs got tired, so I slowed down to 4:45 per km and in the end I finished with 31.8kms, 200m short than planned.

I guess I won't get too caught up in trying to hit targets in every session. My maximum weekly running mileage is about 20kms more than the last season. So it is almost impossible not to feel tired.

Celebratory dinner for this week's efforts with Li-Ann at the Hyde Park Hotel, North Perth. This is the mixed grill with rump steak, sausages, lamb chop and wagyu beef patties. The food was really good! But slightly let down by the less than friendly wait staff.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Embrace the suck

The week of training had a bit of a rocky start. I rested on Monday as I had a early morning meeting. I had a 2 hour run scheduled in on Tuesday morning, and with fresh legs, I was looking forward to a good one. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I was clocking 4:30 per km pace for the first hour, but my legs soon tightened up and I slowed down to a jog. In the end, I only clocked 25.5km, with an overall average of 4:42 per km.

Wednesday and Thursday had me riding in King's Park and Shelley loop respectively. It was very windy, and I stayed low on the aerobars, and kept it as tight as possible. I'm very happy with how this new bike performs on windy days like these. On Friday I had an hour's run in King's Park. It was like a redemption run for me, given the mediocre one on Tuesday. I pushed myself pretty hard and was glad with the result. Clocked 13.2km with a 4:33 per km average, quicker than the last time I ran in King's Park. In the evening, I had a swim session with a main set of 10 x 400m. Repetitive and long, but I much prefer these than doing pace work.

I swapped my rides on the weekend, as the weather was forecasted to be really wet and wild on Sunday. So I did my long ride on Saturday instead and followed the BYL group to the hills. We rode through Death Valley, Mundaring, Mundaring Weir and Zig Zag hill. It only started getting windy as we got back to Perth and it showered in the last 5 minutes of my ride back to home. Still, happy to clock another 180km ride and riding in a group makes it a whole lot more enjoyable and the kms go by a lot quicker, thanks boys and girls!

On Sunday, I rode laps on Sorrento to Burns Beach. The skies were black with ominous clouds and I kept my fingers crossed so that the weather will hold up for that 2.5 hours or so. Some parts of the road were crowded with parked cars, as it is abalone catching season again. There were occassional gusts of wind from the coast, which had me clutching tightly onto the handlebars. It was only until the last 10 minutes when it really poured and even hailed for a couple of minutes. I was soaking wet at the end of the ride and decided to skip my 45 minute run and headed home for a warm shower.

It rained and hailed a few more times that day. Pretty unusual for this time of the year. I was still keen to make up my run but wasn't sure whether I would have a chance to. In the end, I sneaked in a run at about 6pm, and it stayed dry for most of it.

This week wasn't ideal but sometimes it's not about how fast we go but more about how we persevere in less than ideal conditions. I think that goes a long a way in preparing for a big race. Another 5 weeks to go to Ironman WA, with 2-3 weeks of big sessions before the taper.