gallery Long swims, rides & runs must be race time soon

Since my summer holiday on LeBoat I have been racking up the miles swimming, cycling & running with some gruelling physical prep work in preparation for ironman Hamburg which will probably be my last long course event for a while – this body is getting older & my work life balance will be different from the last ten years.

I love summer training, stretches in the garden with bees buzzing, swimming in open water, the bike rolls along the roads smoothly with a breeze in your helmet to whizzing around the race circuit I feel the need for speed ! and running in the midday sun I love the heat on my back.

Swim – 2.4 miles
My local lake temperature has been upto 24c so I took advantage of a couple of none wetsuit swims. However as my ironman race will be a compulsory wetsuit swim as in deep docks I had to don the wetsuit for a boil-in-the-bag experience. Stopping at buoys to flood the wetsuit with fresh water it was a relief to strip it off after my session.

My long swim race simulation would be at Outlaw triathlon where I was swimmer in Golden Girls relay team.
This didn't disappoint and was 2.4 miles of utter chaos with the full washing machine effect. For some reason a few swimmers were stood up and I swam into one bloke punching him in the bollocks ! Later on someone tried to steal my wetsuit mid race unzipping it and as I hadn't practised pulling up the zip mid race lost a bit of time. I came out with the usual unknown collection of bruises and cuts on my feet & hands, probably from those not cutting fingernails.

Anyway I survived the swim exiting in 1:21 and then converted to an aquathon by running 250 meters to relay handover pen – my cyclist was having a lay down so our transition time is a bit sedate ! I didn't need to run 🏃🏻

Julie & Mellissa carried us forward through the 140.6 mile event and we walked regally down the finish line and did a Curtsey on the line. The Golden Girls team were just three of the hoards of Pirates that descend upon Outlaw each year. We do our bit racing, or on the Pirate bike feed station then all congregate in the pirate party pen at the finish where we will see that last runner home upto the 11th hour. A few beverages may be consumed to help keep our voices lubricated – however I certainly left my voice out there on Sunday night.
The most courageous swim of the day was from Nico who donned his unicorn and armbands for a final fling at Outlaw. The swim exhausted him but myself & Little Clown got him to his cyclist. After a brief check over in the medical tent he was later able to run down the red carpet with his pirate relay team to the applause of his pirate family & spectators.
This was the wettest weekend at Outlaw with three nights of heavy rain and flooded tents were the norm.

Cycle 105 miles – Cotswold EPIC Sportive
Another wet one ! I'll be running out of training partners soon after this, Dragon ride and stormy runs. This was an early start on a Saturday morning and who knew the Cotswolds was so hilly ?! It really was an Epic ride.

For the 8 hours we were in the saddle the first four hours were lost in the mist & rain and so we couldn't appreciate the stunning surroundings. Then we had a break from the rain only to be replaced by wind ! The hills kept rolling with a couple of cheeky tougher climbs thrown in between the golden stone villages.

Lisa & I shared fig roll, shortbread, flapjack, sausage rolls, crisps, bananas and many laughs between the swearing and hill climbs !
It took three washes to get the grit & grim out of my cycle shorts & wearing my white Asthma UK top wasn't the best wardrobe choice that day.

I've also been down to Castle Coombe a few times to do some fast, max HR, intervals & hot laps.
Over the course of summer I have brought my lap record down by 90 seconds from my previous best. Currently at 4:49 which must have been in the one and only calm night of the year !
Castle Coombe is always windy, you just don't know from which direction until you get on track. For £3 you can blast around the motor race tracks smooth surface, traffic free and use as a constant to record times & improvements and hopefully get some STRAVA trophies 🏆

Run – Parkrun tourist
No my longest run wasn't a Parkrun ! But being in Nottingham for Outlaw I needed a 15 mile IM paced run. Finding a Parkrun 6 miles away was perfect. A friend plotted and loaded it into a Garmin and all we had to do was follow the purple line. Starting out at 7:30 in case we got lost the sun was out and temperatures warming up nicely. We had a nice run along the Canal, country roads through villages and bang on 6 miles arrived at the start of Rushcliffe Parkrun. Joining the tourist briefing we lined up with 400 others for two laps around the park which was a little muddy. Then it was time to run back to the campsite arriving bang on 15 miles, job done and at ironman pace.
However I did seem to sprain a tendon across the top of my foot probably from the Parkrun uneven surface ? But with ice, Volterol and a couple of massages it's healing OK.

I've found a nice half marathon loop from my door which I've run a few times, often in the heat of the midday sun to get used to the heat in case it's a hot one on race day. Also being the final of of a relay team at Cotswold 113 ticked off another half marathon run in race conditions but at ironman pace.

One incident nearly derailed my ironman dreams – whilst out of fell down a damaged stop tap cover. Crashing down along the A4 main road, luckily I fell away from the road. Grazed hands, bleeding knee, dead leg, shredded shorts & torn top I washed my wounds and limped back to town to seek medical help. I was advised to call Wessex water to report the cover as I couldn't replace it and ask for my shorts to be replaced. They repaired the cover within three hours and sent a cheque so I can replace my kit.
A nervous week as my wounds slowly seeped, bleed then healed, the bruises came out and I picked the gravel out of my hands. Phew one lucky escape from major injury & disaster.

I'm pleased to say that this hasn't really featured too much or made many appearances in training recently – woo hoo !
I've been taking my rainbow of inhalers morning & night, taking the prescription hay fever tablets, been eating well ( although too much of a good thing) and getting plenty of sunshine which scientists say vitamin D helps asthma.
Only on the worst hill in the Cotswolds sportive did I need my Ventolin but that was probably a combination of being 6 hours into the ride and the damp & wet weather.

Am I ready for Hamburg with just over two weeks to go ? As ready as I can be, now to keep on top of the niggles and injuries, look after myself ( yeah right Miss Calamity!😂) I have to trust in the training I have done and try and lose the final few pounds of lard gained on holiday too many croissants & wine.

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