This week all of the donation appreciation goes to: Beth Hoskins, fellow Goodgym run leader who donated a session’s worth of earnings because she is awesome (and actually did so last week, but I was already too busy writing to check my emails, d’oh); Lucy Till, her who’s triathlon pace is only outdone by her speed when quaffing wine; Cousin Sam, who is one of two people I largely blame for my taste in music; Joanna Barlow, again because the girl don’t quit; and Connie and Girv, former housemates when I first moved to London. Also accomplished this week: Alastair Campbell tweeted about the fundraising/awareness thing, which is a bit of a result. So far I have not been invited to discuss politics with him. That, I feel, would not go well.
Monday: Rest day spent wallowing in ‘my-house-is-being-sold’ grief
Tuesday: 1 hr 30 mins being a cycling lab rat
Wednesday: 1 hr 25 mins running
Thursday: 40 mins swimming
Friday: Rest day unplanned but was dying of no sleep
Saturday: 45 mins cycling, 1 hr 15 mins swimming, 2 hrs 15 mins running
Sunday: 5 hrs 10 mins cycling, 30 mins running
After last week’s boost in morale after sticking it out through some tough tests, this week seemed positively tame in comparison. I was expecting it to be super hard, and to be fair, it might have been. I can’t be sure, because I didn’t hit everything perfectly as planned.
Humidity. Humidity is a fucker, or that’s what I’m blaming the abject lack of sleep I’ve experienced since last Thursday. I was kind of hoping that Thursday, where I kind of just sat there for half the night staring at Agro’s shadowy outline silhouetted against the white wall of my room, was an outlier. A temporary condition that would resolve itself slightly. But no, everything for the last few days has been done under a blanket of sleep-deprived fatigue (hence why this blog is late, because I was running about 5 hours behind schedule yesterday and had neither the time nor energy to think wordy things).
For all of the wasted hours though, I’ve been a little bit surprised to find that my mood hasn’t immediately done a runner in the wake of last week’s peak confidence. There were some failed sessions – in particular, Thursday’s swim was a bit tepid because I still haven’t learnt to share lane space, and Friday’s turbo session just didn’t happen altogether – but for every rubbish session, another session has gone conversely well.
Thursday’s swim might have been plagued by insecurities, but on Saturday I finally made it back to Shepperton lake, after nearly a year in absentia. With the lack of lane ropes and other such nonsense, I happily pottered about for a couple of miles before earning some ridiculous tanlines running back to London through the cloying midday heat. Despite having done two open water swim events this year – the Big Fish swim and Deva triathlon – I hadn’t managed to do an actual open water training session this year. On the breakthrough front, I switched to a far more frequent sighting style, and managed to swim in some vaguely coherent straight lines for once.
The other major loss of the week, Friday’s cancelled turbo, was probably if anything a little more of a deal; that said, I’d done the third and final visit to St Mary’s University earlier in the week to conclude a cycle study that I’d been participating in, and I’m still to quietly impressed with the findings from that to be too worried about a single session. I have a body fat percentage somewhere around 13%, somewhere between a fit person and a peak athlete; a VO2 max of 67.5ml per kg per min, which probably means far more to some of the people reading this than it does to me, but apparently puts me on the same grade as some elite marathon runners; and a blood lactate threshold that kicks in when I’m putting out about 268 watts of power on a bike. Now, none of this means anything much to me, because I have little to no sporting knowledge, and I don’t know if these scores are common or useful. That said, numbers are always impressive and Google is telling me good things, so I’m taking it as a win.
On the subject of mental stability, a short interview I did with Dr Josie Perry (sports psychologist from Performance In Mind) was published in Cycling Weekly this week. Concerning exercise dependency and addiction, I immediately forwarded it to Coach Coxy, the up-until-recently trainer at Goodgym Lambeth. We have had a number of discussions about my having gone from absolutely no real sporting background – she had to persuade me to buy a pair of running trainers when I first joined Goodgym, because I didn’t think they were necessary until my shins literally started to collapse under me. I hope she found it ironically amusing. If she did, she was too busy ordering me to take more rest days via whatsapp to show it. Does writing a blog about sports count as a rest day? Considering I tend to chuck out a few thousand words in a short space of time, my fingers at least are getting a solid workout in.
I especially like the fact that they’ve referred to me as a cyclist, in the same way that I might refer to the ongoing feud between numbers 57 and 59 over who stole who’s food waste bin as the war to end all wars. I’m a man who cycles, but not a cyclist. At least, not for the time being. Not until I can refrain from braining myself on the tarmac for a decent length of time.
What with following ITV4’s coverage of the Tour de France on my second work screen permitted in my new sporty office (no joke, my manager actually started a conversation with me this week by saying “So, fancy doing the Marathon Des Sables next year?”), it’s a good time to want to be a cyclist. Cavendish storming through some sprint finishes, Sagan being Sagan, Cumming’s incredible solo effort, and of course – THAT descent. Froome is clearly a man with nothing left to fear in certain respects. Possibly because he’s already got a kid, so now his, er, sensitive parts are pretty much just extra weight to be got rid of.
I’ve consoled myself by buying another new toy for Agro, to replace last week’s fractured aero bottle. It appears that I’ve now mounted the prow of the Titanic between my aerobars to act as a hydration unit. So not only do I have the murderous scythe brake levers, and the twin spear-like prongs of the aerobars, but now I have a battering ram as well. If nothing else I intend to win an award for most dangerous cockpit setup at this damn race.
With my hydration storage situation sorted, things are beginning to fall into place again for Ironman Kalmar. I’ve been nailing the nutrition, and even had time to test some of the much maligned Powerbar stuff that is given out at Ironman races in case I need to use it in an emergency (I hope I do not have an emergency, it tastes like acid). Very excitingly, I’ve had a few draft designs through for the Half-Rust v2 race kit – which looks absolutely sublime. Also, I may have, as of five minutes ago, found a place to live! It has a garage and everything. Which my two housemates have already agreed that I can turn into a workshop/pain cave. EXCITEMENT.
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!