I’m trying to find a balance here between annoying my small following with multiple posts and knowing that my Mum is absolutely loving the regular updates. You’ve got to keep your Mother happy right?
Last week was the peak week in the training plan; just looking at the schedule was massively intimidating, so I decided not to do that and just concentrate on 1 workout at a time. Track on Tuesday morning was the first big session to tick off – I spent the following 2 hours on the train to Suffolk to visit my Nan and Grandad devouring Pret porridge and keeping movement to an absolute minimum.
Wednesday was a hard swim in the morning (Paul’s classic 20×100 – he’s not the most creative of coaches) before a lovely social cycle to (nearly) Brighton with a good mate Rosy. We ended up at a cracking village pub where a rather large lunch awaited – I feel like lots of food could be a constant theme in this weeks update.
Thursday was the one I’d been dreading – 6 x the Plateau of Pain in Richmond Park. Paul was coming with me for this one, and I’d been trying every trick in the book in the build up. ‘Mate, I’m absolutely exhausted’. ‘Legs feel like they’ve got nothing’. I so wanted him to just say that we could take it easy and go for a few social laps of the park. Of course, as usual, he knew exactly what to say and coaxed me towards the start line and suddenly we were off on rep 1.
After hitting the first 10 minutes at 330w, I knew it was going to be an absolute war of attrition. This is where the advantage of having a decent training partner comes into it’s own. We worked together, really pushing the hills even though at times I had serious doubts that I’d make it to the end. I was also slowly working out Paul’s plan; being rather fond of a Strava segment or two, he was surely going to use the last climb as a springboard and drop me like a bad smell.
Sure enough, the final climb came, and off he went. I’ll get the excuses in early; he was on a road bike (much lighter), he’d had the lead at the bottom of the climb, blah blah blah. But I gave it nearly everything and still lost his wheel. I tried to slowly reel him back in the last few minutes of flat section, but he ended up about 2 seconds ahead at the end.
I got a cracking workout out of it; 330w for an hour, probably the highest numbers I’ve ever seen. I also absolutely loved it, in a sadistic kind of way. I’m not sure I’ve ever given so much effort in an individual training session and I rolled home, exhausted but satisfied. Paul and I have decided on a team name; if anyone would like to join ‘Burton’s Bellends’, send your applications through the post or e-mail.
A well deserved day off followed before the final big weekend. With Katie swanning off to Jersey with a brood of Clapham Chaser hens, I had the flat to myself and the schedule clear to train and then recover (consisting of collapsing on the sofa and being unable to move).
Saturday consisted of a 4km swim first thing, straight into a 2 hour 15 minute run, wrapped up in plenty of layers in prep for the sauna that will be Kona. Thankfully, for the run, I had the company of Dr. Dave Mantle (of Valencia marathon fame), and the time flew by as we chatted all things triathlon and life in general. The guy is a legend. When you grow up, you wanna be like Dave.
Another early start on Sunday for a 5 hour ride. Summer is well and truly over in the UK, and it was absolutely freezing. For the first half, despite wearing gloves, I lost all functionality in my hands and dropped my drink bottle 3 times, having to turn around a go back for it each time. I found myself dreaming of the heat and humidity and Kona; I’m sure in 2 weeks time I’ll be dreaming of the freezing cold roads of Maidenhead!
I kept ticking off the hours, reminding myself how lucky I am to be able to do stupid long rides like this – it is a real privilege to be able to be so active and do what I love. I pulled in back at home, just over 100 miles later, hopping off the bike for a quick 10km run. Kona training done – someone pass me a bloody bacon sandwich.
I got through around 22 hours of training last week, with a fair amount of quality included in there. I don’t really think I could’ve done much more in the weeks since Ironman UK, so I’m heading to Kona satisfied and ready to have the trip of a lifetime.
We’re flying to Chicago on Thursday afternoon; I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a race I’m not even doing. I entered Katie into the marathon as a Christmas present last year, and I’m so glad she’s made it to the start line in great shape and injury free. She deserves to have an amazing race and experience, and I’ll be going mad from the sidelines.
Most of you will be horrified to learn that I’ll be blogging fairly regularly whilst we’re away, with updates and lots of photos from our experiences. If you want to get an e-mail every time there’s a post, just click on the link at the top of the page on the right hand side. The next update will most likely be from Chicago!