Monday, June 18, 2018

Post 154 - Eyemouth sprint triathlon

Very little meaningful training was done in the week before the Eyemouth triathlon. I was tired from a big week of training after the Stirling triathlon, and starting to wonder if I had peaked too soon this season. I hoped not, but I am in need of a bit of a break, which will come after the Edinburgh half ironman, before I tackle the second half of the season.
Anyway, during the week I did my best to keep myself ticking over and maintain fitness, while trying to ensure I didn’t do too much which would compromise my recovery. A couple of days off, an easy swim, a little biking and running and core work and before I knew it, I was getting ready for a trip down the coast to Eyemouth. I was travelling with a clubmate, Kevin, who was ready for his first triathlon.
Saturday’s dreadful weather gave way to a nice day on Sunday. Eyemouth swimming pool was located right on the shore by a beach, with a flat calm sparkling sea. It almost looked inviting, and I wondered if the organisers had ever considered making this an open-water event. It looked like a “different” bike course – starting at sea level and basically climbing up to a height of 900 feet, around a turning point and back down the same road to transition.

We got registered and racked, and watched the first heats. Kev was in heat 3 and looked to have a strong swim. He managed not to embarrass himself when mounting his bike – easily done, especially for a first-timer and even more so especially here where the mount line was on an uphill incline – many an athlete had problems getting onto their bike and getting their shoes clipped in when they were working against gravity. After I’d photographed him starting his bike I went for a short jog to warm up and headed for poolside and my race start.

I had been allocated number 1, in lane 1. Surely I wouldn’t be the fastest swimmer? With only one other in my lane, it should be a clean swim. I still hadn’t the required confidence in my tumble turns, so it was the usual touch turns, but the side of the pool was good for doing these, with a lip at water level. There was even a ladder out of the pool at the end of lane 1, which meant getting out would be easy.
The other swimmer in my lane started 10 second behind me, caught me after 10 lengths, I let him through and then I spent the next 10 lengths trying to work out if I should re-pass him. I was faster at swimming than him, but he was faster at turning than me. Eventually I inadvertently tapped his feet, which to him was a signal that I wanted to pass. He let me through, then soon tapped my feet, and I let him back through and that was how we finished the swim, me just behind him. I found out later we were the top two out of the water. Not usual for me to be so high up in the swim! I hadn’t had a particularly outstanding swim, around 11:40 which seems to be pretty standard for me for a 750m swim.
Through transition and out to the mount line, I had a bit of a struggle myself to get clipped in. I managed not to disgrace myself by falling, then it was away off uphill. It took me a minute or two to remember to start my Garmin bike computer, and when I did, I saw I was pushing nearly 500 watts… then I heard a yell as Kev passed me flying back down the hill at the end of his bike. I had to calm the power down a bit and tried to settle, but it was quite tough – difficult to work out whether to stay down in the aero position or sit up a bit more going uphill.
Even though it wasn’t a bad day, I felt like I was getting blown around a lot by the wind, hitting my rear disc wheel and deep-section front. Usually I’d pass a few of the faster swimmers on the bike, but I didn’t pass anyone, and wondered was there anyone up ahead of me. It was difficult to take a drink with the wind and the bike moving around so much. I just kept powering away but felt that the legs were just a little tired and lacking a little bit of top-end zip compared to previous races.
I made it to the turn at half way. Usually at half distance I’d take an energy gel but I had decided to see how it would go without one this time (OK, as it turned out). And the whole way back down to transition was a bit strange. A lot of it was freewheeling at 30-40mph, rather than powering and working hard at 20-25mph as you would be on a flatter course. It’s one thing getting blown around by the wind at 10mph going uphill, it’s another thing entirely getting blown around at 40mph…
Thankfully I made it back to transition, saw there were no other bikes back, so I reckoned I was in first place. I took a little extra time to put socks on (no point in chancing more friction burns two weeks before the half ironman) and headed off on the run. It was a good run course – along the promenade, round the harbour, up a long drag into the wind round the back of the town which went on forever – hard going – back down a hill, over a bridge, into the town, onto the promenade with the finish right by the beach outside the swimming pool. My feet got a bit sore on the run – I hope it was the socks – the ones I used are old and tending towards being more like sandpaper than polyester. The run was a bit long, so had it been an honest 5K I might have run high-16, as it was I ran high-17.

One-legged runner...

I took first place – my first win in the Borders triathlon series (Stirling two weeks previously wasn’t in the Borders series), and Kev and I went for a cool-down jog. He’d done well in his race, with really strong and consistent splits for 20th overall. He was keen for a 5km cool down jog. I said two would do me just fine! Again it was good hanging around afterwards chatting and doing justice to the free buffet – if you can’t eat crisps and pies and sausage rolls after a triathlon, when can you eat them…?
Results are here:

Cooling down and debriefing

I’ve got a few things to think about. Do I buy new wheels? The disc and deep-rimmed front are top-class, fast wheels, but really come into their own when weather conditions are calm and good (not often and definitely not guaranteed at the Edinburgh half ironman) and when courses are fairly flat (again not often, and definitely not at the Edinburgh half ironman). Ideally I’d like to have two sets of wheels – my current set, and a more versatile set (non-disc rear and shallower-rimmed front to handle better in the wind, and to climb hills better due to lower weight), but they are just so expensive. I could reluctantly sell the current set to (part-)fund a new set. Do I do this before Edinburgh? I will probably have to work something out before the European sprint triathlon championships in August because there’s a good chance that at the eleventh hour the race organisers could ban disc wheels on safety grounds if there is wind forecast. If this happens, and I don’t have a decent alternative, I may as well not turn up!

Also I need to think about my running shoes – I’ve always ran in Brooks Adrenaline shoes, but a couple of years ago they made a massive change to the structure and feel of the shoe, so since then I have never had a “go to” shoe. I’ve tried all kinds of running shoes since, and have never completely agreed with any of them in the way I did with the Brooks Adrenalines. I’ve got a few pairs on order at the running shop so I’ll see how they feel during next week. Also I could do with a new aero helmet as my one is very tight and the ear flaps press really hard against my ears, which get really sore - bearable for 30-40 minutes, but extremely sore and headache-inducing on a long ride. Time to start doing the lottery and crossing fingers...
I plan on one more reasonably hard week of training (middling-to-tough intensities and middling durations rather than out-and-out long savage stuff), then a decent week-long taper before the Edinburgh half ironman – I really hope to qualify for the half-ironman world championships at the Edinburgh half ironman. To be really sure of it, I’d like to finish on the podium in my age group. Fingers crossed.
Training done this week was as follows:
Mon and Tue included in previous week's training block
Wed 13 June: Rest
Thu 14 June: Swim 2.4k
Fri 15 June: 35 min turbo (single leg drills, 2 x 5mins R/L/B), 20 minute fartlek run
Sat 16 June: 30 min turbo, 20 min run
Sun 17 June: Eyemouth sprint triathlon: 11:51 swim, 35:34 bike, 17:52 5.2km run
Totals: Swim 3.2km, Bike 33 miles, Run 10 miles

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Post 153 - The big, the good, the bad, the ugly

I had a whole day off after the Stirling triathlon. My legs and body usually feel reasonably fine after a sprint triathlon, I seem to be able to race hard and recover quite quickly after the sprints. The one standard distance triathlon I’ve done this year took a bit longer to recover from, and I’m sure the half Ironman will take longer again.

I planned a really tough, long, intense week of training. I’d then have an easier week to taper before the Eyemouth sprint triathlon, then one more moderately tough week, then a week to taper for the half ironman. A really “hard” week results from combining session length with session duration. Long, easy sessions wouldn’t necessarily make a hard week. Short intense sessions would be a bit tougher. Long, intense sessions together… well… got to do it and got to get through it.

So on Tuesday night it was off to Arthur’s Seat to do hill repeats on the bike. I wanted to alternate each repeat with normal pedalling, then high-gear low-cadence pedalling, then low-gear high-cadence pedalling. So, little mini sets of three. I thought I’d do 15 repeats, so 5 mini sets of normal pedalling, fast pedalling, and slow pedalling.

It was tough mentally at the start, with 14, then 13, then 12 still to go. And tough physically at the end to keep going and maintain pace. The “normal” pedalling felt natural, with my usual cadence of just over 90rpm. The fast pedalling was like a hamster in a wheel, spinning furiously while lactic flooded the legs. The slow pedalling was just churning away, loading up the muscles. I got to 14 and said to myself after 15 I’d do another 3, to make 18. Then I got to 18 and said I’d do two more for good measure. 20 is a nice round number. 20 was my limit though as my time for the twentieth hill dropped away a bit. Still, over 40 miles and well over 3000 feet climbed isn’t bad for a school night…

Screenshot of session profile (top) and heart rate (bottom red line)

Wednesday was a sprint swim session, doing 4-length intervals (100 yards) in around 1:15-1:20, with recovery up to 2 minutes. It was good to swim fast as most of the swimming I’ve done this year has been more endurance-focused. With the fast swimming I had no confidence in my tumble turning so it was the touch turns instead, with the odd tumble thrown in, inevitably cocked up.

Thursday was a club running speed session. 3 x 2.2km (around 7 minutes of hard off-road running). I didn’t know what the recovery was until after the first repeat. “2:30” said the coach. “2:30?!” I repeated, a couple of octaves higher… There were two in the lead group, me and another guy, working hard together and not wanting to give much away to the other. I had a strong third interval and thought, “I feel OK, let’s go for one more…” I did this one solo and it was much tougher, coming in 10 seconds slower. But given the intensity of the first three, I’ll take it. A great speed endurance session for the half ironman. Shame that the friction burns I got on my left foot at Stirling when running with no socks had re-opened and were bleeding again... these need to heal, quickly!

Friday was single leg turbo drills for almost an hour, followed by a continuous 3k endurance swim, trying to work on my tumble turning. The turns seem passable early in the session, then get worse. I’m currently only doing them at the deep end as the shallow end seems way too shallow… hopefully in time I will be able to do them in shallow water, but I’ll need to be able to do them well in deep water first… practice, practice, practice…

I went home and got my bike ready for back-to-back long rides of over 100km. These would put strength in the legs for the half ironman. Saturday saw 72 miles down in the Scottish Borders on a pretty nice day. I felt reasonably good on the bike, but not so good in the 5k run I subjected myself to immediately afterwards. I spent the rest of the day eating, stretching, doing core work, eating, eating, eating, and went to bed early.

Almost Alpine

Same again on Sunday, on a hillier route. It was mistier outside, and much more of a slog, with a little bit of a niggle on the inside of my left knee, which I hoped wouldn't get worse. I was lacking a bit of zip in the legs. But I just had to get through it. I was sweating a lot. Forcing it hard. Hoping it wouldn’t rain. You don’t realise how hard you’re working until you have to stop at a junction, and then you feel your legs absolutely cooking, and then you have to get back up to speed again, and again, and again… 67 miles was followed by another 5k run and I felt a bit stronger on this run. A good sign. So far so good, on this big training week.

I weighed myself straight afterwards and the scales showed 60.6kg. Seriously lightweight. Admittedly seriously empty as well, a bit dehydrated, and in need of food, liquid and recovery. Which I duly sorted out for the rest of the day…


I was very tired though, but had one more day to get through. One more really tough session before the half ironman. Planned for the Monday evening after work, a 14 mile hilly run on the half ironman course. Just one more day. I went to bed ridiculously early on Sunday night to try and recover. Some people complain in the winter that they never see daylight. I hadn’t seen darkness for a few days! Not that I’m complaining… I’ve got 2 layers of blackout blinds and heavy curtains in my room, so it stays dark when the day breaks at 4am. Good sleep is important…

I had very little energy on Monday but got home from work, got changed into my running gear, and headed out. 14 miles to get through. 90 more minutes. Then I could switch off a bit mentally for a day or two. Despite best intentions, there wasn’t much in my legs. I knew straight away. I was knackered. 14 miles was too big of an ask this evening. 14 miles of hard, fast running up and down those hills. No way. Be sensible. I packed it in after less than a minute. The right call. I went home, had dinner and went to bed early. Another day with no darkness seen…

I tried again the following evening. My legs felt better, but still not fresh. They’d be good enough to get through it though. I seemed to run better as the miles passed, and seemed strong on the hills. I could feel the friction burns on my left foot. I should have taped them up and used vaseline. About halfway through the run, a little urge in my guts… Bah… I don’t want to stop and find a toilet, I want to get through this, it’s my last really tough session before the half. I want to run it well, no breaks, no sitting on a toilet. 40 more minutes and I’ll be home, for all I care I can then sit on the toilet all night if I can just get through the next 40 minutes…

The urge passed. Then it came back 10 minutes later. OK, I might actually have to stop. I can stop at the bottom of the hill, there’s a public building down there, I can go there, they’ll have toilets. But I felt OK at the bottom of the hill and the stubborn-ness in me saw me keep going. 30 more minutes. There’s a swimming pool at the top of the hill, I can go there if I need to. I got up the hill. I should have stopped at the swimming pool. I didn’t. A few minutes later I had to stop at the side of the road and do a bit of hard clenching. Then all the emergency situation alarm bells started ringing and I just about managed to dive into the bushes, stumbling through nettles to try to find somewhere where (hopefully) no one would see. Not pretty.

I felt totally wiped out, guts in pieces, stomach in pieces, energy levels shot to pieces, legs cooked and stung by nettles, and already cooling down alarmingly. Whatever it is in me that keeps me going got me back running to try to finish the run at the same hard pace. But it wasn’t happening, I felt truly awful, and I had to admit defeat. It was a long, miserable, slow 3 mile shuffle home, and straight into the shower.

Not how I had envisaged it going, not what I wanted, and not what an already-depleted body needed. I wanted to be coming off this session with it having gone great, having smashed those hills, feeling confident. Not this.

After the bad mood had subsided a bit, looking at it rationally, it was the first real negative since I started back seriously at the triathlons/duathlons in February/March this year. I suppose I was due a bit of negativity as things had been going so well. At least I wasn’t injured. I’d get over it. But I felt terrible. I felt awful the next day. No energy, absolutely knackered, and unbelievably hungry. Appetite out of control. I listened to my body’s demands and ate and ate and ate and ate. I went very early to bed again – sleep is a good medicine – and allowed myself a long lie-in the following morning (flexible working means I can work from home from time to time and I worked from home the next day, which meant I could stay in bed until 8:45am). So that meant over 12 hours in bed, coupled with massive amounts of nourishment and hydration. I started to feel a bit better.

It’s unlikely there’ll be any training that’s remotely tough/long/intense now before the Eyemouth sprint triathlon this weekend, I will just recover as hard as I can and do a little bit of easy training to keep things ticking over, and will hopefully feel progressively better and more recovered as the week progresses.

Training done was as follows:

Mon 4 June: Rest
Tue 5 June: 40 mile bike (20 x ~2:35 hill reps, alternating normal/low/high cadence)
Wed 6 June: Swim 2.4km (2 x 10 x 100yds, 1:15-1:20, rec to 2mins – 1:22-1:27/100m)
Thu 7 June: Run 4 x 2.2km, 2:30 rec (7:07, 7:09, 7:06, 7:18)
Fri 8 June: 50 min turbo (single leg drills, 3 x 5mins R/L/B), Swim 3k
Sat 9 June: 72 mile bike (136bpm, 3380ft), 5k run (21mins)
Sun 10 June: 67 mile bike (128bpm, 4265ft), 5k run (20mins)
Mon 11 June: Rest
Tue 12 June: 90 min run (10 miles hilly, 3 miles easy)
Wed 13 June: Rest

Totals: Swim 5.4km, Bike 195 miles, Run 17 miles

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Post 152 - Stirling sprint triathlon

After a reasonably strong showing at the Selkirk standard distance triathlon two weeks ago, my legs felt sorer than they have done after the shorter sprint distance triathlons I’ve done. But after a day off on Monday, it was back to business as usual. I had decided to reduce back on the number of intervals I was doing for the bike and run this week, to allow for better recovery and to allow for higher-intensity (albeit fewer) intervals.

I limited myself to 6 bike hill repeats at Arthur’s Seat on Tuesday evening. It’s great to be out training in the long, bright, dry, warm(ish) evenings. I cycled over with Kev, a clubmate – even better to have a bit of company even if I was dropping him on the climbs. I held pace pretty well for the 6 ascents and was keen to do more but told myself no, 6 is enough. Trust that’s it’s enough, don’t destroy yourself.

Similarly on Wednesday evening I did 6 half-mile repeats, averaging 2:28. It was a big fight to maintain pace in the last two and I was glad to get the session done without my pace dropping off. My calves were sore after this as my running intensity and volume has dropped somewhat since getting back on the bike and upping the bike training.

Thursday was a swim session with a coach watching – some pointers were to kick less with legs closer together, to glide more with the hand at the start of each stroke, and to keep practicing the tumble turns. I can do them, just not efficiently and quickly.

Friday saw a nice 20-mile round trip bike commute along the canal to a course at a hotel, with some single-leg turbo drills in the evening and then a swim, working on the catch-up drill to improve my glide at the start of each stroke.

A big weekend was planned, with 2 x 100km bike rides and a long run. On Saturday I blasted due south, feeling great for 60km. Then I turned for home and realised there had been a tailwind, which would now be a headwind the whole road home. It was a long slog back, but at least the scenery was nice.

Sunday was a ride out in East Lothian, much of it along the Edinburgh half Ironman bike course. Another clubmate, Dermot, and I had been talking for literally over a year about doing a bike ride and we finally managed to do it. My legs were heavy from the previous day but we churned out another 102km, the highlight of which was being overtaken by a young pup who had smashed himself up a hill to make the pass, then we started riding hard on the flat at the top of the hill and left him for dead – working together and riding hard with Dermot was good fun.

I couldn’t let up mentally as Monday was a big run on the hilly half Ironman course at Holyrood Park and I was pleased with how the tough 14 miles went. After these two big bike rides and big run, I was knackered and spent the rest of the week tapering down for the Stirling triathlon. My parents and brother arrived for a long weekend and we went out for dinner on Saturday evening (with the race on Sunday morning). I sat food-less, watching them eat pizza and desserts. Then went home and ate rice, falafel and vegetables. It was torturous.

An early start on Sunday morning was made no better by torrential rain on the way to Stirling. It was awful. I didn’t want to race in it, and I didn’t want my parents to have to stand in it, watching. But by the time we reached Stirling, it had cleared and things were looking good. It was quite still, warm and humid, which would suit me. I knew the course – same as the Scottish Duathlon I’d done a couple of months previously. I really liked the run course – hilly, twisty and tough – suited to strong, light runners. It was a power bike course, mostly flat, which probably wouldn’t suit a light whippet like me, it would suit bigger, pure-power riders. And a pool swim – I’m still not confident enough with tumble turning…

Stirling landmark - the Wallace monument

There were 5 in my lane in the swim, each starting at 5-second intervals. I was away second. It didn’t take long for the foot-tapping to start – you can’t overtake in the lane so you tap the feet of the person in front and the idea is that they then wait at the wall for the overtaker to pass. It’s a bit frustrating. I felt a half-hearted tap and paused for a split second at the wall, right under the noses of the marshals – there was a guy behind, but he seemed hesitant to come through, so I didn’t waste any more time, I pushed off and he was still behind. He was battering away at my feet for the whole next length – I hoped the marshals wouldn’t take any action – I’ve always tried to be fair in letting others through, and to me there seemed to be a bit of hesitation. He got through at the next turn.

I got out of the water in 11-something (officially 12:06 but the timing mat was halfway to transition) and legged it through transition, gave the parents a nod, got onto the bike and got away. I tried talcum powder in my shoes for the first time but I didn’t notice too much of a difference.

I battered away at the bike, over 300 watts. I passed a few people. Then at about one-third distance, 3 of us came together. It was a fairly flat course so there were no hills or technical turns to make things interesting or to play to different strengths. There’s a rule which says you can’t draft off someone else’s back wheel (you save so much energy doing this) and you have to stay 10m back. There are (supposed to be) motorbike referees policing this. I know people who feel they’ve been unfairly penalised, and I know that others do blatantly cheat and get away with it (search YouTube for “Ironman drafting”).

We seemed to be riding fairly and we kept going. As we approached a slower rider a van overtook us and then got stuck behind the slower rider, so for a very short time we were just cruising behind the van, unable to do anything. Finally the van got clear and we kept going. At about two-thirds distance, 3 became 4 as we came up behind another rider. I wondered would anyone try to make a break before transition. A small gap opened and I covered it with some big power, and in the end the four of us came into transition all pretty close. Another nod to the parents and I was off the bike.

I realised we were the top 4 as there were no other bikes back yet. Bike on the rack, sunglasses off, helmet off, bike shoes off, shoes on, no socks, didn’t notice any difference with the talcum powder, grabbed my Garmin watch and legged it. First out of transition. I’m a reasonably strong runner. Fingers crossed.

I had a new pair of running shoes, as at Selkirk two weeks previously, my feet got so sore on the run, right where I had worn out the cushioning on the soles of the old shoes. I had no such problems this time – maybe due to the new runners with new cushioning, and maybe due to the talcum powder absorbing the moisture from my wet feet. I didn’t put socks on (takes too much time for such a short run) and this time ended up with two red-raw bleeding sores on my left foot. Bah. Another issue to sort - 21km with that kind of rubbing and blistering would be horrendous.

The run went really well, I ran strongly. From transition, along the grass to the running track, along the track, hairpin through the fence, up a steep, steep hill, right hander across the grass, along the road, through a little wavy downhill bit, along another road, over the speed bumps, a tight right-hander, up a drag, over the grass, another right hander, along a road, another tight right, then a tight left onto a walkway, then left onto the road, back down the hill, onto the track, along the back end of the grass, round the big loop where transition and the finish is, all repeated twice. At the end of the first lap I heard my dad say "it's all in the head!" Is it?! Hmmmm. My final mile was 5:11 and I won the race by over 2 minutes, all made up on the run. I’ll take it!

"It's all in the head..." or is it?

Results are here:

It was good to get the win and to race well. On a different day, the same performance might only have got me second, or sixth, or whatever. I can only train as well as I can train and race as well as I can race, and wherever I place, I place. But things do seem to be coming together quite well. It was good for my parents to have a good day out and to see a good race after putting up with so much misery at so many different Ironman races over the years. I quite enjoyed the prizegiving, outside in the warm weather, chatting to different people.

We went home via Stirling Castle and went out for dinner that evening. I didn’t hold back – a massive steak pie, vegetables, potatoes, chips and dessert. All I was missing was a Guinness but I was driving… I thought I might have the Guinness when I got home. But at 8:30pm, instead of tucking into a pint, my dad suggested going for a spin on the bikes out along the canal. What can you say to that... "How long for?" "Oh just 20 or 30 minutes..." 2 hours later we made it home! It was such a nice ride on a nice evening along a nice canal out to Ratho (a nice place), and nice to just ride a bike for the fun of it, cruising along, instead of going flat out.

Next up is the Eyemouth sprint triathlon in 2 weeks, followed by the Edinburgh half ironman 2 weeks after that. So maybe a day off after Stirling and then back to heavy training, followed by a short taper for Eyemouth and then the half Ironman won’t be too far away…

Training done was as follows:

Mon 21 May: Rest
Tue 22 May: Bike 30 miles (6 x Arthur’s Seat hill reps: 3:33, 3:25, 3:28, 3:27, 3:28, 3:27)
Wed 23 May: Run 6 x 0.5 miles (2:30, 2:28, 2:27, 2:28, 2:30, 2:30) 2:30 recovery)
Thu 24 May: Swim 1.7k
Fri 25 May: 2 x 45min bike, 35 min turbo (single-leg drills: 2 x 5 R/L/B), Swim 2k
Sat 26 May: 4:10 bike (74 miles, 139bpm, 3450ft), 20 min run
Sun 27 May: 3:45 bike (63 miles, 123bpm, 4130ft)
Mon 28 May: 90 min hilly run (14.25 miles)

Totals: Swim 3.7k, Bike 197 miles, Run 25 miles

Tue 29 May: 30 min turbo
Wed 30 May: Swim 2.2k
Thu 31 May: 1 hour turbo
Fri 1 June: 30 min fartlek run
Sat 2 June: 20 min turbo, 10 min run
Sun 3 June: Stirling sprint triathlon: ~11:30 750m swim, 0:46 T1, 33:15 bike 22k, 0:45 T2, 17:09 hilly 5k run (run course record) – 1:04:04 (1st overall)

Totals: Swim 3k, Bike 49 miles, Run 10 miles

I asked my dad to write a few words about Stirling - here it is, pretty much unedited. I quite like his quirky style...

Stirling Triathlon Sprint 2018

Heading north on the M9, the imposing and formidable structure of Stirling Castle oozed the power and influence of an era when its masters surveyed all before them; its dominance seeming to say, “no-one shall pass here”.

We first caught sight of this colossus of its day when we did “pass here” taking John to his Young Engineer placement in Aberdeen in August 2003, a teenage novice. How difficult, nay impossible, to see into the future, even in the short term. This was a time prior to the iphone, Barak Obama, populism, the “crash”, Brexit, mass migration, Amazon, a time when John had yet to emerge as a serious athlete.

Fast forward to the present and we never could have imagined being back in the shadow of Stirling Castle nearly fifteen years later supporting John as he competed in the Stirling Triathlon Sprint 2018. Now a serious runner, triathlete, duathlete and Ironman having represented various clubs, districts, regions and soon country at events the length and breadth of the land, this was yet another event on the journey.

We left a dull and overcast Edinburgh at 5.00am on Sunday morning, ample time for registration and set-up prior to the sprint.  Spirits were dampened on route when the forecast was compromised with heavy rain and misty conditions. Wet surfaces force a serious reconsideration of how to operate a time-trial cycle machine in such conditions. Thankfully, the weather proved kinder on arrival as the threat of wet surfaces evaporated. With little wind and a temperature of 14C, conditions were close to ideal. For competitors and visitors alike, the organization and venue, Stirling University, proved to be excellent.

A swim of 0.75k, a cycle of 22k and a run of 5k constituted the event, all done at sprint pace. Preparation, tactics, pacing and self-awareness are as crucial as level of fitness. John had done his homework. Knowing that in cramped swimming conditions with five to a lane in a 25m pool, he was well aware that his touch turns would cost him time. In open water none of these limiting factors would be an issue. With a swim time of 12:08.06 he would have been quietly confident that efficient transitions (T1 00:00:46.9;  T2 00:00:46.6) and his strength on the bike would keep him in contention.  

And so it proved. However at this point he would have been acutely aware that the bike stage poses the most challenging and potentially dangerous element where there is little or no control over a multitude of external factors. Not least of these are weather conditions, road conditions, an unfamiliar route and, although a technological wonder which we take for granted, a time trial thoroughbred bike that can let you down.

With a PB of 15:29 over a sole 5k, John would have been content as he began his run, but now sufficiently mature and schooled to concentrate on the here and now, taking nothing for granted. At the 2.5k mark, well clear of the field, he looked strong and relaxed. He completed the run in a course record of 17:09.4 and the overall event approximately two minutes ahead of the second place finisher.

When the whistle blew to begin the swim it was 7.35am on the clock. On crossing the finish line, it was 8.39am on the clock, a completion time of 01:04:04.8. A “sterling” performance. On taking centre spot on the podium, John’s mum jokingly quipped “that’s my boy”.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Post 151 - Selkirk Olympic triathlon

Following the Hawick sprint triathlon, I allowed myself two whole days off to rest and recover. It’s quite nice mentally to switch off from it all for a day or two. Then, with less than 2 weeks until the next race (the Selkirk Olympic distance triathlon), it was back into training.

I was on the turbo trainer again doing intervals on the Wednesday evening, but the issue now is that the weather is warming up, and my flat is warming up – it gets the sun all day so by evening it is roasting hot. So for this reason, my outputs on the turbo are probably down a bit on where they would be if it was a bit cooler. Anyway, with a fan going full blast in my face and every window wide open, I battered out 4 x 10 minutes of hard riding, at over 300 watts per interval. I was pleased to maintain power and strength right to the end of the session, but probably would have got more out of myself had it been a bit cooler. I’ll have to get out more now!

This turbo session was tough, and so the running club’s 10 hill repeats the following evening were even tougher. They were into a headwind as well, which didn’t help. My times dropped away from 92 seconds to 98 seconds, it was like running through quicksand. My legs were pretty cooked before I had even started the session, and well and truly goosed afterwards.

I forced myself out of bed at 6am the next morning to do an easier single-leg turbo trainer session followed by a swim interval session, all before work. Usually I’d train after work but I had visitors staying the weekend, so 6am it was.

At the weekend I did a 13.5 mile hilly run on the Edinburgh half Ironman course. I need to do more of these as I faded a bit in the final few miles, but in mitigation I knew my legs were tired. The Sunday long ride was even worse. I wanted to get out on the road but with time being limited I jumped on the turbo and did a 3-hour tempo ride. It was really hot, I got very dehydrated and from the first hour my legs were flooded with lactic. I couldn’t get over 220 watts for any length of time, which is pretty rubbish (for context, in the past I’ve held 260+ watts for 4 hours). Oh well, at least it was practice training on tired legs.

Monday was a long, continuous swim followed by a sauna, Tuesday was an easier, shorter bike interval session, and Wednesday was an easier fartlek run as by now I was in taper mode for the Selkirk Olympic triathlon. I had a day off on Thursday, and did some easy training on Friday and Saturday. Then got ready for the race.

I’d be using the time trial bike. How much faster would it be? Would using a disc wheel and deep-rimmed front wheel be wise on a very windy day, on a hilly course? Would I risk stripping it to its minimum weight, removing my frame storage box and not carrying any spares and tools? I’d take the risks…
Bike in transition

As soon as I saw the pool, I knew the swim wouldn’t suit me. Being unable to tumble turn, it helps me if there is a railing at either end of the pool which I can grab onto and use to push down on to help me with my turns. This pool just had a flat wall, with the poolside floor being about a foot above the water line. You can’t grab or push down on a flat wall. So my turns would be very slow. I was in the same lane as the fast swimmers, including the guy who has beaten me in both previous races in Galashiels and Hawick.

Motivational poolside quotes...
Didn't help me to tumble turn though!

I spent the whole swim cursing my inability to tumble turn, and resolving to learn as quickly as possible. The fast swimmers didn’t actually seem to be massively faster than me at swimming, but their turns were so quick – they were halfway down the pool in the blink of an eye while I was fumbling about at the wall. After I had done only 48 lengths the two leaders were done, out and away on their bikes. I still had 12 lengths to do. Nearly 5 minutes after the leaders had finished their swims, I was finally done.

Out onto the bike and away. It was grey and windy. The first half of the course was twisty, hilly and blustery. In parts I was just hanging on as the wind blew my disc and deep rimmed front wheel all over the place. I got away with it though, and on the big climb (called the Swire) I started to pull away from a couple of bikes that were around me. I squirted away half my water bottle, I wouldn't need it and the less weight I carried up the climb, the better...! I went up the hill well, even with a disc wheel. Me being nice and light (64kg at 6 foot 1) helps, and I held over 300 watts for what must have been a few miles of narrow mountain road.

Cresting the top, I said “please let me get down safely off this,” and seconds later I was doing 50-60kph, eyes streaming in the wind (even behind my sunglasses), hands working the brakes, trying to watch for grit and traffic and corners, and pick out clean lines to take. It was nerve-wracking, and I had no real idea how the bike would handle as I’ve never had it on a descent and never taken it to the limit under braking and cornering. There’s nothing funny about being full on the brakes, on the point of locking up wheels, with a corner coming up, knowing you are going in too fast…

I made it down, took a few deep breaths, and knew it was a fairly flat final 10 or so miles. So it was down into the aero position and pedal like mad. I caught a couple more out by the turn, saw the leader ahead, I guessed he was maybe 3-4 minutes ahead, thought it wasn’t impossible that I could catch him by the finish, I was fairly confident I could out-run him, so I went for it as fast as I could on the bike. It was a quick blast in to the finish at 30mph+, with one section of awful road surface making it feel like I was holding onto a pneumatic drill. I was hoping so much that I wouldn’t get a flat tyre at this stage as I was biking strongly.

Coming into transition, shaking the legs out

I made it back to transition. I had decided to wear socks for the 10K run, but my hands weren’t working too well and my co-ordination wasn’t great as I tried to balance on one leg to pull them on, nearly falling over, and also struggling to have the dexterity and grip strength with cold and battered hands to pull on my shoes too. It took longer than it should. Then it was away on the run. It was a flat run, I hoped to be able to run 35-36 minutes, and depending on how much I would be able to outrun the leader by, I might have a shout at winning…

I had a decent run out to the turning point with mile splits well under 6 minutes per mile. Approaching the turn, I saw the leader, looking fairly strong, maybe 3 minutes ahead. A lot to make up in the final 5K. After the turn it was evident that the homeward 5K would be into a strong wind. It was tough.

My feet started to hurt. Obviously feet will hurt in a triathlon, but this was bad, bad hurt, right on the outside of both feet, just beneath my little toe, right where I land with each stride. Looking at the soles of my running shoes after the race, they are totally worn out in this very small area, and there’s not any sign of even one-tenth of a millimetre of wear on any other part of the soles. It’s frustrating that my biomechanics mean I go through running shoes so quickly. I’d have hated to be doing a half-ironman 13.1 mile run or an ironman marathon in this kind of pain – I couldn’t have held the pace. But knowing I only had 15 minutes left to run, I gritted my teeth and got on with it.

Worn down to the white stuff on the left hand side...
I've only had these a couple of months!

Completely worn out on one side... (green cushioning gone)

Zero wear on the inside... green cushioning totally untouched

I never saw the leader on the run in, and finished second. Again. It turned out I’d had the fastest bike, by nearly a minute and a half. I’d been losing 30-60 seconds in the previous two races on the bike (and those bikes were half the distance), so this was a good confidence boost that my bike training is working, and that my time trial bike is fast! And also that I can ride a disc wheel on such a windy day on such a hilly technical course. I also had the fastest run, but not by as much as I expected. This is maybe because as the swimming and bike training has ramped up, I’ve been able to devote less time to running. And also maybe because I had biked harder for longer in the race, leaving my legs more tired for the run. Who knows? I ran 34:45 but the run course was a bit short so I’d probably have run 35-36 minutes as I thought, if it had been the full 10K.

The finish

What wasn’t good was that I had given away almost 5 minutes in the water. I am reasonably confident that if I could tumble turn, I would have had a good chance to win this race, and beat a world and European champion in the process. So that is what I need to work on! There’s no excuse. If I swim 200 lengths a week, that’s 200 tumble turns per week I can be practicing. But there’s no way my swimming is 5 minutes worse that the fast guys. When they were lapping me, I seemed able to stay on their feet when swimming lengths, they just turned so quickly. So it’s mostly on the turns, and possibly some on the fact that my two-piece tri suit doesn’t go through the water very well, so I will look at getting a decent tri-suit (could cost £150 - expensive sport) and hopefully that will give me a bit more time too. I look forward to the European sprint triathlon championships in August – an open water swim, with no tumble turns needed! Plus my wetsuit is top-notch, really fast…

By the time I had cooled down and been to prizegiving, I had turned white and crusty with salty sweat. Nice. I was a lot more tired after this longer race compared with the shorter sprint distances, so it was a huge effort to make it home, have a shower and unpack everything. It was early to bed.
Next up is the Stirling sprint triathlon in 2 weeks, on a course I know – the same bike and run routes as the Stirling duathlon I did earlier in the season. Unfortunately it’s a pool swim and I don’t think I will have my tumble turning to a high enough level by then to be confident to do them in the race, but we will see…

Training done was as follows:

Mon 7 May: Rest
Tue 8 May: Rest
Wed 9 May: 1:20 turbo (4x10mins/5min rec: 301W/152bpm, 301W/162bpm, 302W/165bpm, 303W/172bpm
Thu 10 May: Run 10 x hill reps (97, 92, 94, 93, 94, 96, 98, 97, 97, 98)
Fri 11 May: 35 min turbo (single leg drills: 2x5mins R/L/B), Swim 2.5k (2x20x50y: 37-39, 40-43 off 1min)
Sat 12 May: 85 min hilly run
Sun 13 May: 3:05 turbo (3hrs at 208W/128bpm)

Totals: Swim 2.5km, Bike 100 miles, Run 23 miles

Mon 14 May: Swim 3.25k
Tue 15 May: 40 min turbo (5x2mins hard/easy)
Wed 16 May: 30 minute fartlek run
Thu 17 May: Rest
Fri 18 May: 35 min turbo (single leg drills, 2 x 5mins R/L/B)
Sat 19 May: 1 hour turbo, 15 min run
Sun 20 May: Selkirk Olympic Triathlon (24:26 1500m pool swim, 0:46 T1, 1:06:48 hilly <40k bike, 0:43 T2, 34:45 <10k run: 2:07:30, 2nd overall)

Totals: Swim 4.75km, Bike 65 miles, Run 13 miles

Monday, May 7, 2018

Post 150 - Hawick sprint triathlon

Training continued, with 3 weeks between races meaning a full 2-week training block. With its ups and downs.

One bike session of 2 x 20 minutes of effort on the turbo with 5 minutes of recovery was slightly disappointing. I averaged 303 watts and then only 297 watts. If I remember right, back in London, I was doing both sets well over 300 watts. Had I been 3-4% better in the second set, I'd have been happy. With only 297 watts for the final 20 minutes, I was a little disappointed. But it's still early days on the triathlon comeback trail...

I had a decent club running session on Thursday night, a reasonably decent swim on Friday, working with the hand paddles. I volunteered at a club 5k on Saturday morning (spectating/marshalling is always a different and enjoyable perspective) and then ran a 40 minute hard tempo run of my own. On Sunday I planned to drive down to the Borders area and cycle the Selkirk triathlon and Hawick triathlon bike courses. Course familiarisation is worth a lot, it helps to know the roads and inform a decision on whether to use the road bike (light, nimble, good handling, good acceleration and deceleration, better on hilly, twisty courses, but poor high-speed aerodynamics) or the triathlon/time trial bike (with its polar opposite characteristics - good at high speed and fairly poor at climbing, descending, cornering, accelerating and braking).

Sunday was mixed weather-wise. It wasn't great when I was driving down and I thought I might end up just driving the courses and coming home and doing a turbo session. But I wanted to ride and the weather improved. I parked at Selkirk swimming pool and set off. The Selkirk Olympic triathlon route was reasonably open and flat, on reasonably wide roads. Along the Ettrick river valley, and then over a mountain (a Scottish "col" or Bealach) and down a hairy, gravelly descent, and along the Yarrow river valley. Not a bad course, apart from the descent. It was definitely a triathlon bike course, not a road bike course, apart from the mountain pass and the descent... I got soaked by a heavy rain shower on the road back into Selkirk. Bah.

Borders scenery and the narrow mountain road
which will feature in the Selkirk triathlon in a few weeks' time

Then I rode down to Hawick to ride the sprint triathlon route down there. The road surfaces were smooth, but it was quite a narrow, twisty, undulating course. Not a clear-cut decision, but with a few “dead-turns” (hairpins which meant slowing to a stop and accelerating up to speed again) I decided it was a road bike course. 70-odd miles later, I was done, and I drove to the nearest shop and ate a fortune’s worth of food. I was disappointed that the hand I broke in the bike crash last year was really sore after this ride – it was my first long outdoor ride since the crash, with road vibrations and a long time holding handlebars, braking and changing gear). In spite of all the rehabilitation work I’ve done, I guess I might end up having to accept that the hand may never be as good again.
The following week – the week before the triathlon – I had a rest day on Monday. I felt terrible on Monday, as if I was coming down with a cold. The soaking on the bike the previous day hadn’t helped. I survived though, and shook it off with the help of plenty of oranges, kiwi fruits, chillis, and a very early night. I trained moderately hard but not too intense nor too long on Tuesday/Wednesday, had another day off on Thursday, then some easy pedalling and jogging on Friday and Saturday. The weather on Sunday was brilliant. I was optimistic for the race. I had stripped the bike bare of all extra weight - no frame pouches, no saddle bag, no spares, no tools, only one small aero bottle, I even removed the tube valve caps. If I punctured, I'd be walking back. I'd take the chance. I knew I’d have a better swim. I had new shorts, they wouldn’t be coming down in the water like they did in the Galashiels triathlon. I had another good block of training banked. It was a nice day. Bring it on. I set off for Hawick in the Scottish Borders early on Sunday morning and got everything set up in transition.
It was a warm day... I like warm racing...

Spot my bike...

As it turned out, I had a rubbish swim, and I don’t really know why. I expected to be 40-60 seconds quicker than last time out. This time my shorts had a drawstring and they stayed up. I had a clean swim. But I didn’t feel strong in the water and ended up only 5 seconds quicker, in 11:35 for the 750m. Giving away nearly 2 and a half minutes to my rivals so early in the race is not good. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I need to learn to tumble turn. A good tri-suit would help my speed in the water. And simply, more swim training is needed. Also, possibly, in the Galashiels triathlon, there were 4 others in my lane, all swimming in close proximity, so maybe I got towed along. In Hawick, this time out, there was one other girl in my lane and she was way faster than me, so I didn’t get any sort of a tow at all.

I came out of the water, almost retched (maybe the pre-race cereal bar) and had it all to do. All my rivals’ bikes were already gone. My transition was far faster this time – no messing about with gloves or socks. Onto the bike and away. I had a fairly clean and strong bike, reeling people in. I say “fairly” clean: it took me a bit of fiddling about to get properly clipped in at the start. Then as I was catching a slower rider, a car overtook me but couldn’t get past the slower rider. So I got stuck for a minute or two behind the slower rider and car. And then a massive 4x4 towing a massive trailer came at me head-on, on a narrow road with not enough space. There was just enough room. One millimetre to the right and I’d have hit the vehicle. One millimetre to the left and my wheels would have gone into the verge and I’d probably have crashed. One loud curse of relief later and I was clear.

Struggling to get feet clipped in at the start of the bike course

On safety grounds, they had eliminated two of the dead turns on the course, shortening the course slightly – had I known this, I might have gone with the time trial bike. But there we go, I couldn’t change it now. I got into transition and less than 30 seconds later I was away and running. And again reeling people in. My running seems to be strong. But like the last race, the question was how many people could I reel in…? There was a flat section along a river, then a left turn and up a long steep hill, then a run along a road and path to the finish. Every time I passed someone, another runner would appear in the distance, another target... I remember thinking that there was nothing I could do only run as fast as I could. I couldn’t run any faster and so if I was fast enough to catch them, so be it. And if I wasn’t, so be it too.

Full flight

With maybe a mile left, I was catching another runner. A marshal said the leader was a minute and a half ahead. I doubted I’d make that up in a mile. But I’d run as hard as I could to the finish. I reeled another couple in and finished. A clubmate had turned out to spectate, and said I was second. Beaten by the same guy who beat me in Galashiels 3 weeks previously. He is turning into a bit of a rival/target/inspiration/nemesis. He was a lot faster than me in the swim, our transitions were about the same, he was only marginally faster than me on the bike (I wonder how much closer I’d have been if I’d been on my time trial bike instead of my road bike), and I was faster than him in the run. So I need to work on my swimming… I was a bit disappointed with how slow my swim was this time out.

Results are here:

I also heard during the week that I’ve been selected for Ireland for the European Sprint Triathlon Championships in August this year (conveniently for me held in Strathclyde Park outside Glasgow – I know it well). It will be an open water wetsuit swim, which will be to my advantage – I have a really good wetsuit and there will be no tumble turning. The guy who beat me in Galashiels and Hawick is the European and World sprint triathlon champion from 2017 (in the male 30-34 age group). He will be defending his title at Strathclyde. I’m not too far away from him, and hopefully with a good summer of training I won’t be too far away from him at the Europeans.

Next up will be another block of training before the Selkirk standard/Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run).

Training done:

Mon 23 Apr: Rest
Tue 24 Apr: 1:15 turbo (2x20mins, 5min rec: 303W/158bpm, 297W/168bpm)
Wed 25 Apr: 1:30 turbo
Thu 26 Apr: 10 mile run (6 x 3min hard/1min easy/30sec sprint/1min easy)
Fri 27 Apr: Swim 2.1km (paddle drills)
Sat 28 Apr: 50 min run (40 min tempo)
Sun 29 Apr: 70 mile bike (Selkirk/Hawick)

Totals: Swim 2.1km, Bike 130 miles, Run 18 miles

Mon 30 Apr: Rest
Tue 1 May: 50 min turbo (10x1min hard/1min easy)
Wed 2 May: 30 min fartlek run
Thu 3 May: Rest
Fri 4 May: 1 hour turbo
Sat 5 May: 30 min turbo, 10 min run
Sun 6 May: Selkirk sprint triathlon: 11:35, 31, 32:56, 27, 17:48 (1:03:19), 2nd overall

Totals: Swim 0.85km, Bike 60 miles, Run 10 miles

Friday, April 27, 2018

Post 149 - The background work

I’ve been doing a lot of background work over the winter and have implemented this as routine now. I had gradually introduced core strength work, stretching and weights while doing Ironman triathlons a few years ago. However, I have really upped this background work over the winter and will continue it, as it seems to be working.
Part of it is the rehabilitation work I have had to do for my shoulder, which I dislocated in a bike crash in July 2017, and my hand, which I broke in the same crash. There are ongoing visits to the hospital to see physiotherapists and specialists, and to have scans and X-rays etc. But the main rehabilitation work has been done at home. It has been tedious.
I have thick rehabilitation rubber bands scattered everywhere at home. One is tied to a door handle and I use it to do resistance exercises for my shoulder. I had a 500ml bottle of water, which became a 1 litre bottle, which became a 1500ml bottle, which became a 2 litre bottle, and I use this as a weight when doing shoulder raises and exercises lying down. I’ve a tennis ball which I repeatedly throw against the wall and catch, to strengthen the shoulder. I stretch and hold various shapes on the floor and on the edge of the bed, and I do various weights. I use another rubber band to twist my wrist and do resistance work in four different directions.
All in an effort to ensure that my shoulder and hand both recover as much as possible. They may not ever get back to how they were before the crash, but I’ll do all I can to give them the best chance. I have another specialist appointment and 2 MRI scans coming up, so it will be interesting to see how much progress both have made.
I have also been doing a lot of other core work, stretching and weights, partially inspired by the need to keep my (ageing) body supple and loose, partly to try to ensure I minimise the chances that I get injured, and to make sure I am strong and well-balanced, giving myself the best opportunity to be successful. I have fallen into a routine of sorts where four times a week I spend 40-60 minutes on this work. One evening mid-week, and one day at the weekend I will do most of the non-weights-based work, and one other mid-week evening and the other weekend day I will do the weights-based stuff.
In particular there is a lot of work to strengthen and stretch my glutes, abs and back. I do a lot of stretches now that I couldn’t do 6 months ago. I can do a lot more squatting (single and double legged) that I used to be able to do. I think the single leg squats have also helped my ankles get stronger and my balance to improve. There must be 15-20 different individual exercises per session that I do. And cumulatively, they are hopefully all making a difference.
There’s no immediate silver bullet, I’ve never felt an alleluia moment where I’ve been able to say “yes, I’m definitely significantly and notably better than I was” – it’s more of a gradual, slow improvement over time, unnoticeable from day to day and week to week, but over months and months the level gradually increases. It’s the same with the actual swim, bike and run training. Consistency leads to small gains which over time add up.
So, that all said, the day after the Galashiels triathlon, I was really disappointed to tweak my back. I was cycling to work, and after a mile along the canal I have to carry my bike up a set of steps onto the road. As I was carrying it, I felt a little tweak in my back. It got worse and worse all day at work, and it ended up really very sore. I was really annoyed, and the not knowing how long it would take to get better was frustrating. I did what I could for it in terms of heating it, icing it, taking a few anti-inflammatories, and stretching it out.
There were lessons to learn – my body was knackered the day after the triathlon, I should have been more careful. It’s not that I shouldn’t have cycled to work that day, but I should have been very careful when carrying the bike – I should have kept the weight of it closer to my centre of gravity and taken smaller steps. Fortunately it cleared up in a few days and didn’t impact my training too much.

Training went reasonably well this week, some good bike intervals - 12 sets of 3 minutes hard and 2 minutes recovery - the hard stuff was all over 300 watts, which was good. I did a set of 4 x 20 second sprints followed immediately by (probably just under) a mile, with 2:45 recovery on a warm Thursday evening club session, I even had shorts and t-shirt on and no leggings or jacket. My "mile" reps were 5:09, 4:58 (a bit of a surprise), 5:00 and 5:02. I went over to Glasgow on Friday night to watch a track 10,000m race. I hammered out an 80 minute hilly run and a 3-hour turbo/20 minute run brick session at the weekend and was knackered after a full and tough week of training. Bring on the Monday rest day...
Nice place to run

Capturing a sub-34 10k - wish I had a better camera

Capturing a sub-33 10k - wish I had a better camera

I’ll stick at it and continue to train hard for another week, and then take an easier week to recover from what will have been two tough weeks of training, let the body absorb it, rest a bit, recover a bit, and taper down for the Hawick sprint triathlon. I’m really up for this race, I can improve on my showing at the last race in Galashiels, the question is how much – I’m keen to find out…
Training done this week was as follows:
Mon 16 Apr: RestTue 17 Apr: 1:30 turbo
Wed 18 Apr: 1:20 turbo (12 x 3 mins hard/2 easy, 300-320W)
Thu 19 Apr: 4 x (20 second sprint, 1 mile hard, 2:45 recovery) - 5:09, 4:58, 5:00, 5:02
Fri 20 Apr: Swim 2km (single arm drills)
Sat 21 Apr: 80 minute hilly run
Sun 22 Apr: 3:05 turbo, 20 minute run

Totals: Swim 2km, Bike 120 miles, Run 23 miles