WHEREABOUTS………

Mid January.
How the hell is it mid January?
Where`d my training regime go.
Where did my new found work ethic disappear to?

Well, in truth it hasn’t gone anywhere.
I’ve joined a new ship and I haven`t had a minute to myself.
I’ve been running hot and all my efforts have been divided between getting to grips with a new job on a new ship with tons of new responsibilities, and finding enough time to see my son and be a good Dad.

So, what have I managed. Well, the bike has become a workhorse these past few weeks. I’m racking up the miles but not in the way I`d like.
Hopefully that`’ll change once my oppo Phil has a bike of his own to come out on.
Running has become lots of walking, and swimming. SWIMMING.
I need to start swimming.
Again….

Still, I’m writing on here again because I’m in a position to get training after my hiatus. I finally feel I have a grasp on my job. My life has a routine again and, I have missed my training.

Not only because of the pleasure training gives me these days. But also because I’ve missed having part of the day that belongs to me.
And, I’ve missed my music. I’ve missed having my headphones in, shutting out the world and running to my own personal soundtrack.

Well, I’m back now.
Time to get it done.

Finding the time

So work is back in full effect and training time has been reduced due to working late everyday and the winter drawing in.

Running has become infrequent again and I’ve not swam in ages due to the pool opening times on base clashing with what time I have available.

The only positive is that the bike has become my constant companion.

If it wasn’t for riding everyday (even if only for half hour here and there on bad days), then I think I’d be a little down heartened at my lack of exercise.

 

So, what have I been up to of late.

Well, I’ve learned to change tyres, set up gears and breaks and generally how to look after and maintain my bike.

The saddle is now my friend, My posterior has gotten used to riding and I am now comfortable with the more aggressive frame.

I’m tired now so I’ll sign off.

I’ve got plenty to write about and hope to find time this weekend.

Ciao

The Steed

So my bike finally arrived from Ribble.

After it being delivered to the wrong address, having to re-arrange delivery myself, dealing with the worst customer service in the history of ever and having the build and delivery date pushed back from 14 days all the way to an eventual to 46, Keira is finally with me.

Yes Kiera !

What ?

She’s skinny, she’s white and she’s beautiful. Just like Miss Knightley.

And I’ll stop there with the comparisons before I start talking about the ride etc…………

 

I would like to spend the whole of this post whinging about Ribble and detailing their every failing but that would make for poor reading, so I am instead going to talk about the bike itself and my first trips out.

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As previously mentioned I opted for a full carbon frame and fork set with carbon wrapped finishing gear from ITM.

And she is light, Very light.

If I say that adding the pedals, packed seat bag, water bottle and lights considerably added to the overall weight of the bike then you get an idea of just how light she is.

And because she’s carbon she feels ultra smooth on the road. I had fun racing her around the base last night for a good 40 minutes picking cornering lines and getting used to the handling and she was a dream.

Next up is the wheel set up. I opted for Fulcrum racing 7 wheels and Continental Ultra GartorSkin tires.

I chose the wheels because although they are just as fast as other options in their price bracket they are renowned for being durable as well as light. Add the ultra durable GartorSkins and I believe I have the perfect setup for winter riding.

I went with a full Shimano 105 10 speed compact groupset with 170mm Hollowtech cranks.

And I am very happy, the shifting is refined, braking is good even in the wet and whilst the 105 is a good step-up from the Sora or Tiagra groupsets, I feel it is a lot more durable than the Ultegra and will stand up to the rigors of day to day riding a lot better.

Then there is the saddle…..

A CSN Superleggera K10.

I only rode her 15 miles today, out  and back to Lee on Solent but it feels like it already knows me intimately.

Hopefully I’ll get used to it with time. My precious posterior took quite a battering going over a few bumps on my journey today.

That said, I wasn’t wearing cycle shorts so hopefully that will remedy the problem somewhat. Otherwise I’m going to be walking like John Wayne from now on !

I’ll bare with it for the time being and see how it goes.

Lastly, there is the pedals. They are System EX Em15′s and I feel they’re more suited to a mountain bike. I have no problem with them, They’re duel function so I can have cleats on one side for road shoes, and they hang with the normal pedal side up making life easier for when I have running shoes on but I just think I should have gone with some clip in SPD’s.

They’ll do for the time being but I’ll definitely be upgrading soon.

The last thing to say is that I didn’t opt to have mud guards fitted. Which may have been a bad idea.

I came back looking like a swamp thing last night, and whilst I’m really not at all bothered about getting covered in dirt, I had to spend a good half hour cleaning the mud off my precious new bike once I got home….D’oh

 

 

A busy few weeks

So my last few weeks have been extremely busy, and usually that’d be enough of an excuse to sack off the training and revert to my old ways.

Fortunately I haven’t done that. Since my last post I have cracked running 10 miles (Although my daily run is 5), I’ve had my first sea swim and tested my new wetsuit, and I have also tested out my cycling kit by having a few rides out in preparation for my bike finally arriving from Ribble.

The highlight of these past few weeks has to be my first sea swim.

I took the kids down to Bovisand and went out for my swim in the bay. No sooner was I in the water, my two eldest were in there with me. No wetsuits to keep them warm, just youthful exuberance. And the water was COLD !

It was great fun splashing around and brilliant to see the kids so happy to be in the water as well.

It really shows that enthusiasm and a sense of excitement can make even the hardest task fun, and that is something I want to carry through to the rest of this adventure.

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I have to say how impressed I am with the wetsuit as well. It makes you so buoyant and swimming in it was a dream. I can’t wait to get a few more swims under my belt.

 

Something that has changed this month has been my own attitude towards………myself.

I was lucky that my birthday coincided with my new hobby, meaning I could basically buy all the equipment I needed right from the outset.

That said, initially I still did all my training  in my old sports kit and barely wore any of my new stuff.

I think it’s because at first I felt like a fraud. I had “all the gear but no idea” as the saying goes, and I genuinely felt embarrassed to be running in compression clothing, or riding wearing a cycling specific getup.

I guess I was kind of worried that people would see this fat, unfit oaf struggling to do whatever activity I was doing at the time and laugh at the level of kit I was sporting.

Well, I’m still a fat knacker but my view of myself has shifted subtly.

I’m now happy to don whatever attire is best suited to my training.

This last 3 weeks I’ve been wearing tights whilst running.

I know that’s a horrific mental image, and a few people who might be reading may be thinking “Well, it’s not the first time he’s worn tights” but these are compression tights.

And now I don’t care what anyone thinks (or is it what I thought of myself?)

I’m no Mo Farah, but now I can now run 10 miles and I’m training every day, I’m finally starting to feel like I can take myself seriously.

And that’s a nice place to be.

 

The final part of this puzzle that I really need to sort is my diet, but now I’ve taken control of the rest of my life I feel like that shouldn’t be to such a challenge.

Time to sacrifice the Ginsters

Training aids.

Short of hiring a big man with a stick to motivate me to get out and train, there are two apps I have been using to help keep me focused and working to a plan.

The first of these is MyNetDiary.

The app basically records all the exercise you’ve done, everything  you’ve eaten, and helps you make a plan for weight loss using your targets. You can also record vitamins and supplements taken, water consumption, body measurements etc.

I like that at the end of the day I can see wether I need to go for an extra run to hit my target daily calorie loss, or wether I can have just one more spoon of peanut butter (my new vice) as a reward for putting in the effort that day.

The best part of the app for me is that it gives me an analysis of what I’ve eaten and breaks down the amount of saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol and fiber etc.  Add to that the vast food data you have access to (for example when eating Tesco’s own Greek style yoghurt it actually has the data specific for Tesco’s own yoghurt.) and what you get is a complete little app.

I’d recommend it for anyone trying to lose weight, or for anyone who wants to keep a comprehensive record of their training.

I’d even recommend it for people who are just curious as to how their diet stacks up against the recognized ideal.

 

The second app I have been finding a great help is MapMyRun.

Now, I used to hate running outdoors, and although this app isn’t solely responsible for my new attitude to outdoor running, it has certainly helped. I initially just used the web based version on my laptop, which let’s you plan out runs in advance and that’s great. I really like to know how far I’m going to run and how long it should take me.

Then I downloaded the GPS enabled app for my phone and that’s when it became fun.

I can just run, with no map, and get feedback on my speed, distance traveled and all other manner of good stuff.

I like to make it a challenge that I do every kilometer a little faster than the last.

Add to that one more important fact, and it has become a very worthwhile app for me.

That important fact is, the GPS map. No more getting lost for me.

And that is a good thing.

I went out for a little jog the other day and got so lost I was looking for moss on trees to try to find which way was north, I even tried to navigate by the sun, but this being the tail end of British summer, the sun was nowhere to be seen behind the thick cover of grey storm clouds…

The app links seamlessly with the web based version so your profiles match up, and it has Facebook integration so you can let everyone know you’ve done some exercise, and returned safely!

 

So these two apps are my new training buddies. No need for men with big sticks here…..

 

 

 

7 Week Training Camp…..

Well okay.

I’m not at a training camp as such.

What beginner triathlete goes to a training camp ?

I am though, away from home for 7 weeks on a couple of training courses.

And what with being in the Navy I have my pick of gyms, pools and activities I can do to continue to up my fitness and stamina.

Add to that the fact that my shiny new bike should be arriving sometime mid month, and I have my pick of training available.

So even though I am here to learn about the 30mm DS30M Mark 2 Automated Small Calibre Gun  (the mighty Bushmaster II) and the 4.5 inch Mark 8 Naval gun , it is the training time that this affords me that I am looking forward to the most.

So where am I now.

I’m 84.4kg. Which is a drop 0f around 3.5 kg.

I can happily run for 45 minutes covering about 8km

I can happily do 20 min bike, straight into 30 minutes of running and I can manage 30 minutes breaststroke in the pool without to much drama.

Where do I want to be in 7 weeks

I am quite fearful of doing any real high intensity running as my shins splints play up the harder I run.

So, with that in mind I am going to increase distance rather than speed.

By the end of the 7 weeks I want to be running 12 km in around 1 hour 10 minutes.

I want to have my brick sessions (bike followed by run) up to 40 minutes cycle and 40 minutes run.

And as for time in the pool, I’d really like it if I didn’t drown. At all.

In all seriousness though, I want to be swimming full hour sessions and have a target of 14 consecutive lengths front crawl in the 33 meter pool. That’s 462 meters and although it is less than a third of what I need, I feel it is a realistic goal.
I have also been subtly altering my diet as well, and now the excesses of my birthday are over (takeaway, cake and wine) I’m feeling good again about being on the straight and narrow.

I’m having porridge for my breakfast, a carb packed lunch and a full meal in the evenings,minus the desert.

And although I’m never really feeling full to bursting as I used to after almost every meal, I have to say, I’m not feeling hungry at any point either.

Now I just have to incorporate some core exercises into my boot camp routine, and maybe I can deflate this spare tire around my waist a little……..

Disaster strikes……

Despite my best efforts, and despite trying to avoid the inevitable, the inescapable has happened.

 

I have turned 32.

But in spite of this truly horrific occurrence I am feeling mostly positive.

I say mostly because although my training has been going better than expected (Especially in the run department), my shin splints are back with a vengeance.

And I know why.

I have been so sensible, making sure I stretch correctly before every run, making sure I pace myself and don’t push myself to far to fast.

That is, until my birthday.

Knowing that I would be celebrating with the family that evening (cake, wine and takeaway, oh how I have missed you), thus having no time to train, I decided to have a lunchtime workout.

This left me with a 35 minute window so I decided that I should do as much as I could in that time.

So with minimal warm-up and stretching I set the treadmill so I’d cover 7km in 30mins with a 2% incline.

And within minutes I was in pain. I knew I should stop but I wanted to cover my daily distance so I kept on.

I managed about 6.5km in the end, and was it worth it.

No.

My shins stopped hurting after about 9 minutes so I just kept on.

That is, they stopped hurting until after I had finished my run.

And then they let me know in no uncertain terms what a wally I had just been.

And not just my left shin, they are both painful me know in equal measure.

I now feel I have set myself back a bit due to my own stupidity.

 

Strangely, this setback may work to my benefit in the long run.

Right from the start I have carefully set my goals and targets, and taken note of what I was capable of and what I should be aiming for week on week (working to the 10% increase rule).

And the one time I went against my careful planning it has ended in the full return of an avoidable problem.

Lesson learned.

From now on I will be sticking to my plan.

It’s a shame as I was really starting to love the running part of my training, but I guess I’ll just have to focus on my swimming (read: thrashing wildly and ineffectively whilst in water) and my cycling for a few days.

 

Now, it’s off to bed for me. I have my first outdoor swim tomorrow.