Thursday, 29 January 2009

First cycle of the new year

I knew the swimming pool would be closed at lunchtime today and after the exertions of yesterday's running, figured I'd have a go on the bike for the first time this year (really since October). One of my workmates was on for going out with me as well, so made me commit to actually going.

Despite the cold, it felt quite comfortable as we got into it. I was keen to take it easy initially and it was a nice calm day. Got into the cycle a bit after a few km's as my legs loosened out a bit and seemed to be making decent pace and really was enjoying the ride. It was tough in bits (workmate seemed to be struggling a little - he killed me a few times last summer) but kept going strong for the most part.

I was happy to see when I got back that I'd done a time very comparable to my best times last year - I eased off a bit the last few km's, so we'll see how it goes next time around. As I've mentioned previously, not going to focus on the bike until April, but will hopefully get out for the odd cycle like this again.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Weight update

Well, guess I may as write a quick update on what the scale showed the last two days....

I'm pleased to say it was good news. I was expecting to come in over 110kg after my week of slacking, but I came in at 108.3kg and 107.9kg over the last two days. That's had the effect of bringing my moving average down from it's pre-break level, but I'm not over the Christmas\New Year feasting.

I've finally done it

10.13km in 1hr 0m 3s.

Well that was tough...9 weeks out from the Reading Half Marathon, the JD running formula called for 10E + 2 x (20T + 10E) - read that as 10 mins Easy followed by two sets of twenty minutes hard (Threshold) with 10 mins easy recovery.

Recoveries included about 2 mins walking, but was almost heaving after those hard runs :) Had to dig deep towards the end of them, using all sort of psychological tricks to keep going.

Probably resting tomorrow, though I've said to a work mate I'll go for a cycle at lunch.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

I'm back

Well after a nice ten days or so in Spain, in which all I done was either eat or smile politely and nod, it's time to get serious. I've less than two weeks to my first half marathon of the year, which I'm now absolutely dreading. It's damage limitation at this stage, so I'm just aiming to get out for a run most nights between now and next Tuesday or Wednesday at which point I'll taper down for the half marathon.

I'm absolutely dreading hopping on the weighing scales in the's going to be a serious wake up call I think...I'd say that it's a safe bet that I'll have put on weight in January!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Here's a tip for you...

Don't go shopping when you're always leads to disaster.

(I'm not sure what the alternative is...always ensure you've an emergency stash in case you get caught out ... suggestions?)

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

So what have I been up to since New Years

Not a whole lot really. I've just completed my second run of 2009, and feel lucky enough to have made it around in one piece. I'm putting it down to the fact that I've started having soup for lunch, so will probably try something different when my soup reserves run out.

I've been getting down to the pool at lunch a few times a week which is good, but feel I've regressed a bit since before Christmas. It hasn't really helped that the pool has been absolutely jammers either, but I guess that's January for you.

I had planned on doing a 10km last weekend, but laziness overcame me...I was just hoping to turn up on the day and race, so didn't have the excuse of already being registered and payed up to get me out of bed. Guess my assault on the hour mark will have to wait.

I'm off to Spain for 10 days on Friday...hopefully get some training in, but that's probably being too optimistic. Might get some skiing in though which would be good.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

What I've been up to since new years

I did go for a walk the day after new years, 15km along the River Thames from Reading to Goring. Bit of a slog in parts, where the trail was quite muddy. Had planned on getting some food in Goring, but there wasn't much selection, so just caught the train back tired and hungry.

It's been absolutely freezing around here for the last week or so, which has meant that I've not been getting out for a run in the evenings. I've been trying to arrange a staggered 10km run with a few of the football lads and there seems to be a bit of interest. The idea is that people set off at intervals, with the slowest first. If it's timed right, then everyone should reach the end at more or less the same time (and add a bit of a push for that final stretch).

Arranged it yesterday at short notice and only two of the lads showed. There's definitely interest there, so we'll see how it goes next week. Last nights run was a disaster...the two boys were fliers and we all set off at the same time. 2.5 km in I gave up and just done my own thing :)

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Goals for 2009

Following my review for 2008, I guess the next logical step is to define a set of goals for 2009. Where there are multiple goals, I've listed them in order of expectation.

Continue to keep a comparable level of weight loss as seen in 2008. I've got a new scales, which is weighing me in at around 109kg (based on an average over December 2008), which is unfortunate, but I'm going to use this going forward.
  • Goal: Break 100kg

Running (10k)
As mentioned previously, I failed to break the 1 hour mark for a 10km in 2008.
  • Goal: Break 1hr (short term)
  • Goal: Break 55mins (at some stage over the year)
Running (Half Marathon)
I'm doing two half marathons between now and the end of March. I've never run the distance non-stop and best time is around 2hrs 30m.
  • Goal: Run both non-stop
  • Goal: Break the 2hr mark in one of these races
Plan is to focus on the running until just after the second half marathon at the end of April and then I'm going to focus on cycling. The main reason for this is that I believe I can make up a considerable amount of time in this discipline at Gael Force next year.
  • Goal: Do at least ten 40km cycles per month from May to August
  • Goal: Do at least two 100km cycles in the same period
  • Goal: Break 30 mins in a 10 mile Time Trial
Gael Force
Plain and simple this one...knock an hour of my 6hrs 15m time. I expect most of this to be on the biking parts, but running and the mountain climbing could do with a lot of improvement. Weight loss and cycling training will be key for this.
  • Goal: Completion time for the event of better than 5hrs 15m
Odds and ends here really. Not too fussed but nice to have
  • Goal: Beat my previous best at the F3 duathlons and Rowers Revenge
  • Goal: Break 12 mins for 400m swimming and 30mins for 1km

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Review of 2008

Well it absolutely flew by. Overall, I'd say a successful year, despite missing most of my goals (that I can remember). That said, I still done things I could only dream off the previous year and I'm certainly getting closer to where I want to be (don't really know where that is, but I know I'm going in the right direction).

The following is a brief summary what I think are the important aspects of my quest for fitness in 2008. I'll post over the next few days about goals for 2009 and longer term.

I entered 2008 weighing 116.01kg and after some ups and downs, left it at 102.39kg. So, that's a 13.6kg loss over the year, which is a little over a kilo a month, which I'm happy with. I'm pretty sure that the goal at the beginning of the year was to break the 100kg mark, but cest la vie.

Looking at the graph below, the main results seemed to happen around July, when I would have been in full training for Gael Force and also gaelic football. As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit dubious about my scales, but these scales have been used for all the readings and so the error should be at least constant.

Another goal for 2008 was to break the 1 hour mark for a 10km run. Truth be told, I think I only actually done two 10km races in 2008, neither of which I achieved my goal. I did however achieve a PB at one of them, coming in at 63 mins in May. That same race I also ran the distance non-stop which was goal at the start of the year. The other race was a complete disaster, which I'm not going to mention any further.

In my defence of the above, I've ran more than I've ever run before in the last year. Distances I'd never imagined I'd be able to do. Some of my training runs have approached the required pace to break the 1 hour mark and I'd like to have a crack at this in the near future. If I'm to do a 2hr half marathon in the next 2 months, it's a milestone that needs reaching.

Gael Force
Another acheivement of 2008 was the completion of Gael Force, just outside my target time of 6 hrs. I'm hoping to be back in 2009 and to ideally knock 1 hour of that time.

Training Totals
Overall in 2008, I covered the following distances which I hope to better in 2009.

Cycling: 940km
Running: 820km
Swimming: At least 33 sessions, 14+hrs, 8.85+km
Other Sessions: No end of gaelic football training sessions over the course of the summer + some gym work earlier in the year.

The Christmas break

Not much at all really. Last post was over two weeks ago, where I was pretty sure I'd be doing nothing over the Christmas. It didn't quite work out like that as it turns out, but I still didn't do that much besides stuff my gob!

One of the days I went out for a quick run around the block, worked out at just over 6km. I was a bit nervous of doing this, as I live in quite a rural place, where I know the neighbours would have been talking! Still, I bit the bullet and was pretty happy with the run. Pity I didn't keep the routine up.

Then on St. Stephen's day (or Boxing Day if you're not Irish) I attempted something I'd been meaning to do for's called the Tochar Walk and it's a 20 (odd) mile walk from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick (a.k.a. The Reek), probably Irelands best known "mountain" (a bit over 7oom). This was the "mountain" that I had to climb during Gael Force last August, so this walk was to double as some training for next years event.

So I set off from home (about 1km from the Abbey) at 9am on the trek. Day was a pretty cold, but fresh morning and a little bit foggy. The terrain was pretty boggy \ marshy in parts and I generally found it tough going.

A couple of hours into the walk I made it to the traditional half way point, the Church in the village of Aughagower. I'd never actually been to the village before and it certainly looked quite quaint and pituresque (it's church has a Round Tower which is not something you see everyday). However, this is the place it all started to go wrong. I lost the track and ended up walking along the a road "aiming" for Croagh Patrick. I was quickly discovering that most of the roads seemed to go perpendicuar to the mountain instead of towards it, which was becoming increasingly frustrating as the km's clocked up.

I managed to get to a main road and proceeded to follow what I assumed would be the shortest route only to find myself at a dead end, 2-3 km from the mountain, with dogs barking wildly at me from a nearby house. At that point, cold, annoyed and dejected, I decided to cut my losses and call my sister for a lift home. A decent effort by all accounts, in which I clocked up 30km in 5hrs 30m.

I subsequently bought an ordinance survey map of the route and it's pretty obvious where I went wrong...I'll probably give it another go the next time I'm home.