Well, what a grind of a week that became. You’ll have some numbers, and you’ll bloody well like them too.
Monday: 25 mins physio, 50 mins swimming
Tuesday: 30 mins s&c, 20 mins running with 15 mins each way cycling to Goodgym and back
Wednesday: 20 mins physio
Thursday: 30 mins running, 20 mins physio, 20 mins s&c
Friday: 1 hr turbo
Saturday: 4 hrs 10 mins cycling with 10 mins brick run
Sunday: 4 hrs 20 mins cycling
It’s been a very up and down week in Half-Rustavia – yes, like Sufferfest and Zwift, I’ve now coined my own imaginary country, and it seems to be somewhere in Eastern Europe. There’s been a lot of time for introspection – sometimes in place of actual training (whoops) – and a large part of that is down to this bloody mash of thoughts and epithets.
I’ve been going through all my posts on this blog, adding actual proper sharing links at the bottom, and repeating phrases in my head like ‘brand awareness’ and ‘smashing KPIs’ (in between other phrases like ‘stop being a wanky tosspot’ and ‘you’re not that important yet’). While I’ve been doing that, I’ve been fixing a few small grammar and spelling errors, for which I completely blame WordPress’ American-centric spellchecker as much as the arcane vagaries of the English language, and added a link to my Strava profile under the social media section so you can follow how many training sessions I’ve been flubbing. Oh, and there’s some more pictures in the kit list. With a rubber duck.
Going through and doing this for all twenty seven posts prior to this one, I’ve had to do a lot of rereading. From the slightly brutalist and shock-horror nature of that first post and all the way through, I’ve watch my writing improve (I think/hope), but it’s been more interesting going through and watching how my mood’s fluctuated throughout. I don’t keep a mood-diary or other stuff that is often recommended to people with depression – if I can’t keep up with one weekly post on this how am I meant to manage a daily diary? It’s been an interesting process to go back and catch up on half a year’s worth of thoughts.
I have noticed though that since the start of 2016 and proper training, my mood has been a lot more erratic – and not usually in a good way. For a few weeks, very much over the last week and into today, I have been feeling like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew; and weirdly, I’m not talking about the Ironman. This week’s training has been fairly mercurial/rubbish and non-committal depending on how you want to look at it, but that’ been in large part due to work being exceptionally awful over a week that was meant to be super quiet. It’s actually a lack of proper training (by which I mean my training peaks plan from last week is mainly in the red) that’s made me feel like I’m not trying hard enough, but whatever: the training is not the problem right now.
Rather, I have too much going on outside the training. Between running two blogs (one with weekly entries that seem to be spiraling out of control in terms of wordcount), trying to learn a foreign language, writing numerous bits and pieces for various charities, clean two bikes and a tri-kit covered room on a regular basis, find a new housemate, catch up on the BBC’s fantastic In The Mind season, occasionally remind myself what a social life feels like, and have a full time job I am starting to tear my hair out. This has building up over some time, but now I have the means to resolve it: due to my achilles problems and no longer being able to do the GSK Human Performance Lab thing, I have an extra two day’s leave that I thought I’d already spent. I think these will be used up in the very near future so I can get back on top of life and focus on what’s important, which is definitely not my ice cream addiction and definitely training for an Ironman.
Despite starting the week on a bit of a downer from this, I’ve made some positive steps to overcoming it, which is good. Having decided a while ago that the rest of my life wins over work commitments in a job I’m not really satisfied in, I ended up having a good natter at Goodgym with the Lambeth group’s trainer, Rebecca (she’s wise and very, endearingly sweary) about how my training is structured around life stress, I’ve started making inroad into looking for an alternate career path. There’s a couple of options on the table at the moment – I’m not sure if I want to try to move back towards charity work and social enterprise stuff or not – but at least it feels like it’s going somewhere. That’s something I very much want to get on top of, so at least I don’t have it looming over me going into August.
Oh yeah, Goodgym. Look see at that training log, which I’ve avoided analysing so far. There’s running! One foot in front of the other, no wheels, no fins, running! It’s very slow and short, but it’s something. I am on the mend. Unfortunately it’s looking like it won’t be in time for me to salvage my first A race of the season – Brighton Marathon – which is a major bummer, but when training for something like an Ironman you have to remember the big picture. A race it might have been, but ultimately it was still intended to be as much training as a focus of the season, so if I have to can it I will. Let’s just, er, hope that those Brighton Marathon Hero emails that have been pinging in and out of my inbox don’t go anywhere. That would be totes awks.
I’ve been working pretty hard on the self-promotional front, and it’s beginning to pay dividends as well: the big news this week is that I’ve been shortlisted as a brand ambassador for Ashmei, purveyors of some seriously plush running/cycling/tri kit. The next step in this is heading off to meet the team at Ashmei HQ with the other hopefuls, and a couple of ‘fake polaroids’ in tow. I’m terrible at remembering to take decent photos of myself doing sporty stuff so may be badgering people about this in the near future, consider yourself warned. Also, there’s another mystery guest blog post for a fairly big site in the works that may turn into a more regular thing (because I don’t feel like I’ve complained about having too much to do nearly enough this calendar year). Also, Tom from one of my favourite bands retweeted my last blog, which was awesome. Also, lära sig Svenska netted me a free T shirt from Oatly via Twitter. Winning. I’m a pro at this social media biz.
Oh, Twitter. Twitter tires me out. It’s dead handy, though, and has been very beneficial to my future training this week – between a nice chap called Dom and multisport-technology-Jesus DC Rainmaker himself, I have managed to turn my humble Suunto Ambit3 into a slightly basic and crude cycling computer, saving me from shelling out another few hundred on more gadgetry (from now). This was confirmed on Sunday’s TT bike ride, which was actually a resounding success this week! The Windsor loop was conquered (after a minor technical panic solved with excessive amounts of electrical tape), and I sped past many of cycling’s hobby-jogger equivalents on my noble steed. Oh God, I’ve become one of them.
Sodding bottle racks.
On top of my technological success, I actually managed to get some speed in as well. The fastest mile I posted was averaged at 32pointsomething mph, with the fastest speed recorded by my fantastic bodge-job of a cycle computer a shade over 37mph. When you’re hurtling through the air headfirst with your nose about a metre from the floor, strapped by two plastic shoe clips to a super light frame that’s designed to be more speedy than it is sturdy, wearing a perforated plastic bowl on your head, this is about as terrifying as it is fantastic fun for anyone who’s lost all rational grip on life.
Quick maths time: in his recent hour record, Britain’s other cycling darling, Sir Bradley, held an average speed of almost 34mph. Now, that was over an hour, but I don’t know how much faster he’d be over one mile so let’s quietly sweep that aside. Given that I’ve been cycling for just over a year, so in twelve months I’ve gone from 0 to 32mph, let’s discount the law of both diminishing returns and gravity because they both make me sad, and he has flashier kit which I’m sure equals it out – in about a fortnight I should be reaching peak Wiggins, and will be all y’all’s new cycling hero. Maybe I should remove the beard and just keep the burns. Shut up, I do sports now, maths isn’t my strong point.
So yes, there have been stresses, but it’s not all bad. I can console myself with big dreams, future promises, and shoddy equations. Actually, I feel much jollier for having written this. Definitely going to have to keep up the writing lark. And I’m dead serious about the photography lark.
Yay, a shorter post like I was aiming for! Now check out these amazing sharing links.
Also, part of the reason I’m doing this is to raise funds and awareness for The Maytree Respite Centre, a small charity in North London that provides support for people going through a suicidal crisis – so if you’d like to support my fundraising efforts, please click here. Thanks so much!