Thursday, 27 January 2011

To try or not to try?

Well, feeling a bit tired this week as not getting good quality sleep at the moment. Seem to be awake until 1am tossing and turning, then wake up at 7:10am when the kids get ready for school. I'm dreaming about triathlon, which is me stressing about it all. When I've actually done an event, I'll be able to plan in my head how and when things should happen. One particularly bad dream had me hit by a truck-needless to say, there were not many intact bits of me left as I ride inches from the ground...I have bought some mini red LED's. I hope they help.
Training this week was meant to be a bit more intense but I can't fit the three sessions for each sport in without major muscle soreness and fatigue. On the plus side I joined Meridian as a member and don't have to sneak into the sauna anymore when I am blue from swimming...
The 'run' training (if only...) is long intervals this week, which means a mile at a time, with one minute rest between two sets. I'm really pleased that I have already dropped ten minutes from my estimated race time for 5km. That's after two weeks of training and three weeks with a different chair.
The disappointing moment in my brief euphoria is that BTF have organised a talent ID date on 12/13th February in Loughborough which consists of a 400m swim (I'm already a minute faster than the world champ and haven't started speed training or improved my turns yet, so no worries there) and a 3km run. Agh! The timing is awful with me only being back to training for 3.5 weeks. I know that I need to beat a time of 34:58 for 5km to place third in the world (standards aren't that high yet) and my estimated race time is currently 40:28. I know I can do it with enough training and a well fitting chair, but this is what puts me off:

In 2011, unless there are exceptional circumstances, no athlete who was unsuccessful will be allowed to compete for team GB at a major championship, this includes all world and European triathlon and duathlon competitions

Do I try and possibly fail as I only have two weeks to train? Or should I just relax, enjoy my new found fitness and friends and see what the future holds?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Swim+bike, Run, Massage, Run, Swim, Swim, Bike

Only my second week back training since being given the go-ahead and I'm struggling to fit it all in. I have altered the Excel spreadsheet Judith gave all the novices at Yarborough on Saturday, as lane swimming at Meridian is at set lunch times and I go with my son to Cleethorpes A.C. every Tuesday and Thursday night. Not sure where or how to fit in strength and conditioning!! I had an 'extra' day off on Wednesday as my birthday treat from my children was a lovely aromatherapy massage.
Total training time this week was 6hrs 20 mins; 3500m in the pool, 21.65km on the bike and 5.24km in the racing chair. Doug's training session at Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth was particularly punishing as we covered nearly 2000m in an hour. That's 80 lengths of a 25m pool and the furthest I have ever swum. Maybe I should aim for a channel swim? Aspire are actually organising one for this summer if you fancy giving it a go.
Went for a great ride this morning with Mick jogging/running alongside. Top speed of 24.7km, average about 12km which would mean two hours for my bike section in the triathlon, but I have to remember it's only my fourth ride out on a hand bike!! I'm sure I will improve as the weeks go on.
I've worked out how to get the hand bike back into the car-a Zafira-using my wheelchair hoist (good for 40kg and bike is approximately 22.7kg) and a good shove, but not how to get it out as it gets wedged between the two front seats. Sadly it has to live in the car at the moment as I do not have room in my house and don't want it in my leaking, mouse infested garage. Said mouse has already chewed one pannier, a cycling glove, a bag of corn, some plastic bags and made a lovely nest in a cupboard with some extra straw which we keep for our three hens. Certainly don't want it nesting in the seat of my bike...
I've yet to work out how to get my feet strapped into and then out of the foot rests on the bike independently. So frustrating. I defy anyone to be stretchy enough to do it. Answers on a postcard please...

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Mr Fixit!

I've had problems with the lowest 'granny cog' on my bike, so popped into James Cycle in Alford on the way to pick my daughter up from school on Wednesday. I drew a small crowd of bike enthusiasts and blocked the pavement as my hand cycle was 'oh-ed' and 'ah-ed' over. Glen did a lovely job of fixing it at no charge and didn't try and sell me anything! I think I have found my bike nirvana. I also found out about Alford Wheelers CC.
After a spin round Manby airfield in the racing chair on Thursday-thank you Manby Motorplex for allowing me access to the airfield for safe off road practice- Parent's evening loomed. We got out in record time, grabbed some chips (first time in months-honest! and I was starving!) and bumped into Mike, a customer from the cycle store, who we followed to the Wheeler's Club house hidden behind the Market Square.
Lots more 'oh's' and 'ah's' and a bit of lateral thinking showed me how my bike would fit on a turbo trainer placed back to front. Unfortunately it requires a spacer which they are hunting down for me. I might then be able to join in a turbo session one Wednesday evening. In the mean time, I need to put in some hours on the bike to be able to join their twenty mile 'social' rides-eek!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Funding from Aspire!

Fantastic news!! I have received funding from Aspire, a charity that supports people with a spinal injury, towards the cost of a brand new custom built racing wheelchair. I have already put in my order as I was measured in November. I've actually lost some inches round my hips as a result of my op plus training. The chair has to be a snug fit so that I don't pull myself out of it when pushing. Just got to chose a colour...a friend has already suggested red with flames as I'm going to be 'smoking fast'. (Thanks for your unending positivity Steph!)
Track training last night, 3200m at a constant pace of 3.45 mins in 400m intervals with 1 min rest. Since I have only been able to manage four laps in total since I started training again two weeks ago, I'm pleased, if a little sore this morning. I know I have a long way to go, but feel confident my times and speed will improve when I have my own chair.
I've realised that I am having to learn new skills and develop new muscles while battling long standing muscle disfunction five years post sci injury. But I've had such fantastic encouragement from the coaches at Lincoln Tri Club, Leeds Wheelchair Racing, England Athletics and UKA. My hope is that in the near future younger disabled people will take up and succeed in Paratriathlon, ready for Rio in 2016.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


The meccano set is now all put together but still needs tweaking. I've changed the long hand pedals for a short set, lifted the seat and crank arm but can't get my legs bent in the right position. I may try a bar across the foot rests to shorten them, as being 5' 1.5" this bike was not made to fit my size!
The first time I took it out on the road was a bit scary and hard work with the first set-up. Typically, it was raining. A friend, Mick, got his bike out to accompany me thank God.
I tried a 'brick' session with Layla yesterday, 30 lengths, timed swim (8.50 for 400m but only second week back since op for me) then off for 12km ride along pot holed roads-ouch! The sun even came out! Got lots of surprised looks from motorists...
Rebecca and I did a V-Dot test for run with Lincoln Tri Club at Yarborough on Saturday which gives us a base for our training schedules. I'm not sure how I will have to adapt it for handcycling and wheelchair racing plus my bike doesn't fit on the turbo trainers because of the foot rests. I also can't get the bike out of the boot of my car independently nor can I get in or out of the chair without help, because my feet need strapping in. Just a few things to sort out.