Giant carrots, lost Pirates, Medieval Knights, new wheels, find big girl pants – IM Hamburg April training [Recap]

The first thing of note is no April showers, in fact one of the driest April’s on record.

Arrival of spring across Wiltshire saw lambs in the fields, some sunshine, some evil winds, and also many frosty mornings so a right old mixed weather bag. After getting over jet lag which was a particularly tricky coming back from Hawaii via San Fransisco with USA and UK on different weekends for daylight saving clock changes and 17 hours of flying it took a while to get back into the right time zone.

Although the arrival of spring did see me venture outdoors more for events & training. Just a day after our return Claire decided it’d be a great idea to have a catch up, fine, then she suggested a bike ride. My head was so fuzzy I nearly fell asleep in the cafe, generally frozen due to temperature change from tropics to winter and stopping to change a flat tyre and help a girl with a steaming car. I did point out a 2 meter tall carrot statue which we had to go back to view to confirm I wasn’t hallucinating ! It was there and made out of painted horseshoes apart from that I don’t remember much of the ride at all.

My next ride out with Lucy wasn’t much better and I was fighting with my gears, when I took the bike out of the car I saw the reason my cables were hanging by a thread. I took the road bike for along over due service and all cables replaced and a new bottom bracket which was a bit on the wonky side of life.

From the start  to the finish April was a month of eating out and judging by the scales eating in excess – many belated birthday meals, afternoon teas, catching up with friends & family, cousins wedding and a funeral plus an excellent meal at Rick Steins restaurant in Marlborough that had been booked months before.

To get me back into the swing I had a few ‘training events’ planned. Devizes Half was a disaster. After four years of hayfever which I have just about managed with over the counter tablets naively I never guessed that hayfever would trigger my asthma – duh! Well the perfect storm was brewing and asthma & hayfever came together and floored me. First hayfever symptoms flooded my head, then my lungs withdrew their breathing service for me. I tried at 4 water stations for a lift home, but settled for some beer and a long time out on course battling with my lack of breath, snotty nose, streaming eyes, coughing and sore throat. It was actually a lovely day.

I did have a better come back event the following Friday after seeking advice and getting new hayfever prescription tablets & steroid nasal spray. Even though I had only has a couple of days of new drugs the improvement was there and I completed the Good Friday 10 mile run in similar but slightly cooler conditions – country lanes, dusty fields, tree pollen with sun & wind. All for a chocolate easter egg !

Easter Monday and the temperature had dropped again as I was on my bike for Cotswold sportive, just the short route but still undulating enough to be a good workout. Managed 15.5mph over 35 hilly miles so pleased that my bike legs were hanging around while my lungs sorted themselves out. A second chocolate egg to Mikes delight !

In none traithlon sporting matters I went on my first clay shooting simulated game day and it was fabulous. Although my shoulder did get a little tender after 300 shots through a 12 bore  I took my jacket & fleece off so no padding to cushion the shots on the last drive. Burnt my finger prints off on smoking hot barrels but loved the day. Mike and I acted as each others loaders – I could get used to that. Although t he following Monday I posted my fasted 500m swim time this year so no major damage apart from a huge bruise.

The highlight of any pirate worth his parrots weight in gold was a trip up to the annual May bank holiday PSOF DIY Tri. A change of location and HQ at Lunatics house we had  views of the Peak district, a tour of Congleton town centre & police station as a few of us may have got a bit lost on the bike route ! But we saw the funny side and added to the entertainment, once we got off the dual carriage way to the motorway.

Last years PSOF DIY was stopped due to lightening and hail storms, this years freaky weather was 20 to 40 mph winds. Tough going on the bike and a headwind for last ten miles back to transition for the run. We started in the pool which we had as  a private booking to ourselves. Bike was 10 miles out and back ( I had two routes options ) with 5 mile loops. The feed station did an impressive job of filling up water bottles, cooking bacon & sausage rolls to order, gallons of tea & coffee and whatever sweets the little ones hadn’t eaten !

The run was a figure of 8 on mixed terrain from road, bridal path, grass track, trail and a good few hills to climb. With the run feed station and finish on top of the moors it was beautiful but quite exposed to that wind again.

Its called DIY as we all muck in together, in general you race one day and support the second day. You can do as much or as little swim bike & run as you like, as a triathlon, duathlon or just a run around. This year I completed 1500m swim, 42miles bike ride and 10km run. A couple of lady pirate popped their long distance cherries battling through the wind despite both getting lost, although not together.

Training – it took a few weeks to get back on track but I have managed to average 10 hours+ a week training. This includes swimming, cycling & running as well as strength training. As an older athlete now I have been diligent in my stretching post ride & runs.

Heart Rate – I have managed to nail the Zone2 HR runs now ! Slowing down to keep going. One two and half hour run took me back in time to see Medieval Knights jousting. Riding out along the A4 ( its not flat at all) to meet the WHC riders at Froxfield feed station.  Also introduced high intensity sprints to balance things out when my HR can peak in the 190’s So much for 220 minus your age – I’d be dead walking the dog in that case.

I have purchased some new wheels for my carbon beauty the Felt. Now no use having light weight wheels until I need to lose the extra lard I have gained ! Although one test ride and all was lovely, then I cam across some fresh laid grit road surface. So turned around as did want to wipe out of chip the carbon with stones flying. Feel good factor like new shoes.

Asthma may have won a few little battles along the way especially in Devizes half marathon but with modern medicine, an asthma nurse advising and a doctor prescribing and reassuring me there are plenty more options in the medicine box we just need to find the right balance for me. So sometimes it feels like fitness is two steps forward and one step back. But my swim 500m TT are getting faster and run sprints distances longer or quicker, its now and occasional step back with asthma.

My greatest fear at present is cold open water swimming. Time for the big girl pants plus see if I can wear two wetsuits and face my fear as I doubt a heatwave will appear before I enter the waters at Outlaw Half in less than 3 weeks time.

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