Andy: The upheaval of moving country (Qatar, on a project, timing not great, but couldn’t turn it down) can be notably seen in this weeks poor training stats. I’m trying to keep the nuts and bolts I forged over the winter months together through mini sessions when I can. The 45 degree heat outside adds to the challenge. I’m hopeful for a better week now I’ve found a 50m pool, a spot to run and acquainted myself with the gym’s only bike. Must keep motivation up!
Editor [Do we see a pattern of excuses, sorry "reasons" emerging?]
Dan: There seems to be a bit of a pattern starting to form, and not in a good way (see picture). A year on from last years big race and I have managed to catch a similar virus to the one I did 2 weeks prior to Nice. This time though its taken me a good 2 weeks of unproductive coughing and hospital visits to begin any kind of worthwhile training. The virus managed to directly attack my asthma and as a result has meant that I’ve missed 2 races, countless planned training sessions and gone relatively insane due to the lack of physical activity.
It took me a good week to accept I needed to do absolutely nothing to get better, which, if you are like me, you would know how physically hard that is to follow through with, particularly when your body feels fine. I only really accepted it after trying a few relatively slow 20k cycles which were swiftly met by coughing fits and shortness of breath. Not fun.
Anyway, after a number of tantrums and productive chats with various willing sources (they had no choice), it seems as though I’ve finally begun to come out the other side this weekend. I was able to do some light cardio sessions coupled with some weight circuit sessions which were on the whole fairly positive. Judging from the the aches this morning, it definitely succeeding in giving my body the shock it needed to get back into a decent 2 weeks of training before race week. Going into work on a Sunday (Monday) morning just isn’t the same when you’re not aching from head to toe! Its just not right…
So, in short, I am not going to be where I’d planned to be fitness wise at the end of last year but I’ve now accepted that. In fact, there is an argument to say that I never will be as fit as I’d like to be for a race as there will always be doubts and questions you will ask yourself about what you could have done or should of tried. What’s most important, particularly for this race, is getting to the start line fit and ready to enjoy it as that’s what its really all about at the end of the day.
I don’t think I’d be far off assuming that the excitement level is starting to creep up between all the squad and everyone is eager to put their bodies to the test. This of course will be met by the usual pre race anxiety a day or two out (some more than others) and then before you know it we’ll be across the line, and in the bar discussing next years location.
3 weeks to go… and I intend to enjoy every second of it!
[Editor: Or a darn fine excuse for a holiday!]
David: So with 3 weeks to go, I prepare to jet of for a weeks warm climate training in St Lucia at the bodyholiday- La sport with a daily PT program which includes 2 x 2.4k sea swims followed by an hour of Tai-Chi to help relax and stretch and then on to the healthy food and a couple of drinks. I hope this will prove to give me the final focused push I need before the event.
So three weeks, that is 21 days, or 504 hours, or a little over 30 thousand minutes) and the team will be in mid flow (probably all racing and most on the ride about now – 10am)
The Oldies are given a head start with Peter (2061) and Tony (2062) setting off at 8:35 am, the babies Dan (1958) and Andy (2788) will be hot on their heals at 9:05 and David will be looking for their tails in the crowd. So lets recap: two more weeks of training and a week of tapering – the pre race scaling down to rest the muscles….
Wiki states: Tapering: In the context of sports, tapering refers to the practice of reducing exercise in the days just before an important competition. Tapering is customary in many endurance sports, such as the marathon, athletics and swimming. For many athletes, a significant period of tapering is essential for optimal performance. The tapering period frequently lasts as much as a week or more.
The race has FOUR parts, Swim, Bike, Run and the transitions, the guys have been training for these for the last 4 months, but there is more to it than just training…
Race choices are endless… Starting in order of importance:
Image: Well… pink is just not cutting it on the team colours debate. Looks like the football method of settling a crisis is being deployed. “Thy that organises it gets greatest influence…. plus the law of numbers and a smidge of playground “age and size” wins approach. So Spurs, Man City and Chelsea v Arsenal…. so Blue it is! In the race however it is all about scaring the competition, looking serious and professional, no laughing or “bromancing” in the line up…. any sign of weakness will be set upon by your neighbour in the swim, elbows and feet thrashing in a pretence it is all about speed when in fact the use of them as weapons to see off others around you is a well understood psychological technique. Covering the eyes is imperative, no inadvertent glances of fear or uncertainty, so very cool and probably expensive casual shades for the lead up, very cool reflective silvered goggles for the swim, very cool, reflective, silvered and probably expensive glasses for the cycle, colour coordinated with the Lid, and then well cant be seen twice in the same outfit so a different pair of equally cool, reflective silvered shades of the run!
Bike: Well what’s your budget and do you like toys gadgets and engineering, oh and the most important … colour see above
Wetsuit: Yes, No, Short, Long, weight, Release style…
Shoes: Well just ask a woman! remember four pairs,
1. Pre race fashion – to scare the competition,
2. Bike SPD cleats or toe clips
3. Running – with obligatory go faster stripes (socks or no socks)
4. Post race pair to swan into bar for evening celebration looking as though you are just fresh from a jog round the block but half a size bigger to hide the swollen ankles!
Nutrition: well that is akin to nuclear fission in complexity
One bottle or two on the ride? Water or electro lights (back to Wiki: An electrolyte is a substance that ionizes when dissolved in suitable ionizing solvents such as water. This includes most soluble salts, acids, and bases. Some gases, such as hydrogen chloride, under conditions of high temperature or low pressure can also function as electrolytes. Electrolyte solutions can also result from the dissolution of some biological (e.g., DNA, polypeptides) and synthetic polymers (e.g., polystyrene sulfonate), termed polyelectrolytes, which contain charged functional groups.
gels and or bars,
and goodness me what flavours
Lid – See “Image” above, but on a more serious note apart from being mandatory accidents do happen.
Watch – see wiki definition for Tech Nerd
Goggles – incl demist spray – see above “Image”
Glasses – See above “Image”
Gloves – See above “Image”
Puncture Repair Kit
Anti Chafe cream: Lanacane, Body Glide or my personal favourite “Udderly Smooth”
So into the home straight…..two weeks full on and then taper as we approach the big day, and the team is in tatters……Dan is visiting a hospital for a nebuliser twice a day due to a chest infection…..Peter is coughing like he smokes, Andy has disappeared to the desert on work and David well he has been trying to sort t shirts for the past four weeks ! Not a great place to be just 25 days before the big day….. Truth is the balance between work, life, training and anything else is hard. The past twelve weeks are taking there toll, and the nerves haven’t even kicked in yet.
However the good news is we are slowly getting closer to our target re Headcase. But as always we need more. The team are doing their best to get to the start line, let alone the finish line but we need you all to dig deep and support this great cause, cos it hasn’t gone away…..just heard last week of another family struck down by this terrible disease.
So let’s strike a deal…..we will continue to push ourselves to complete our challenge and each of you out there will think of a way of getting a few extra pounds from everyone you know…how does that sound ?
What ever happens we really appreciate your help and contributions to date but I just know you can do better, come on let’s sort this out and find a cure….I have met the guys who are clever enough to do it and they are for ever grateful for your help………thanks
(Go on… bung a few quid in the pot – press that donate button)