Thursday, 16 April 2009

Distance makes things seem smaller...

As Ive mentioned before, there are a lot of great benefits in being a total rookie.
Its so easier to go longer or faster than you've ever done before.

Cycling is something I'm very new to. Sure I had a bike as kid... but Ive never done a lot of cycling. Deciding to get into triathlons, of course, makes this a bit of a priority.

Over the last while, and particularly since finishing the half marathon, Ive been just focused on base raining.. ie trying to get the miles / time in with the running and the biking (and swimming but that is still lagging furthest behind).

Every time I go out on the bike, I cycle 12 miles. This is how far I need to cycle in the bike leg of a sprint triathlon, so its important to know I can do this. At the moment i am FAR slower than I need to be, but there is plenty of time to worry about that, for now I am just concerned with being able to do the distances.

However, I recently decided that I am going to enter an Olympic length triathlon in August... So I know i need to cycle further. This week I am off on a weeks vacation from work, and despite a bad start to the week (one scheduled rest day followed by a TOTALLY unscheduled rest day), I picked it up a bit last night with a 10k run and today planned a longer bike ride.

I headed out on the road for a 2 hour ride with no real route in mind at all and by doing so, discovered that travelling longer distances by cycling really does give you a different perspective on distance. I know belfast isnt a huge city, but i really did a fairly big loop today, which included going from the highest point in Belfast to the lowest... and back to the highest again.. It was an amazing feeling to know you have travelled so far. The GPS route below (click for large image) is where I cycled, 24.11 miles in total...

MY average speed for the whole ride was 11.6mph. I know this is pretty slow, but there was a lot of climbing. Here is the GPS profile...

You gotta admit, thats pretty impressive for a total rookie!

The hardest part was undoubtedle the 10% climb right up to the top of the mountain, right at the end of the ride. This was TOUGH. but, whatever doesnt kill us etc etc...

This was how it looked and belive me it was a lot harder than it looked

Beautiful view from up there though,

Came home feeling great and spend the afternoon hanging out, playing and eating ice-cream with my son. Now just finishing this off and about to settle down to a nice glass of red wine.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Techno dependancy

Tonight I headed out to do a 10 miler.
The family were away for the night, so rather than my usual run where I just go out the front door and run, I decided to drive to somewhere a little more picturesque,
and a LOT more flat.
I'm kinda sick of hills. My house is quite high up, and the first mile is downhill. Which means the last mile is uphill.
Anyway, so I drove the few miles down to the shore. Parked the car and just before heading off, took out the phone to snap a quick photo.
As I was putting on my camelback and sending the pic to twitter, a guy on his bike stopped by to ask if I was a runner, and handed me a flyer for a 10k a few miles up the road.

We had a little chat, with him asking me about any races I had done and inviting me to come along and join his running club if I felt like it. Very nice guy.

Anyway, after this brief and pleasant interlude I donned my earphones, hit play on the ipod, pushed start on my Garmin and off I went.

One mile into my run, I glanced down at my wrist to check my pace and lo and behold. The garmin was dead!

I knew the battery was a bit low, but this is the first time the battery died on me during a run.
I felt a bit lost! I was running a route which I had never run before, so had very little way of gauging distance. If it was my normal route, I would have known exactly where to go for my 10 miles.. but on this occasion I really had no idea.

So, I took out my Blackberry and, while still running, tried to use google maps to calculate how far I should be running. Which is, incidentally, not easy to do.

Which brings me to the point of this Blog... Technological dependency.
Going for a normal run, I carry with me an iPod, Garmin and often my blackberry. So.. a music player, a GPS system, a heart monitor, a phone, Internet device, camera and full access to my email.


Its a bit nuts really.
I mean, I can run without any of these things, but I find them useful. I enjoy listening to music or podcasts while I run. I like snapping the occasional photo and I am pretty OCD about my pace and distance.
It is amazing how all pervasive technology has become in our lives.

Training has been going well the last few weeks. I haven't posted since the half marathon, but Ive been feeling good since. I took it pretty easy for a week after the marathon with just a few short runs and after that Ive been base training.

I don't start my marathon training till July, and I will be doing a few triathlons before the marathon, but I haven't decided which ones yet for sure. So, I'm just trying to get into a rhythm of multisport training.

Ive cut my running down from 5 days a week to 4, and have upped the mileage to compensate for this (hence the midweek 10 mile runs). In addition to this I am now swimming and cycling more. Yesterday I actually managed to get in 750m in the pool, a 20km cycle and a 10km run. Most exercise I've ever done in a single day! That is, of course, far form the norm. I just had a few spare hours.

I will post again soon with some more detail on my current training, once I get into a better routine. In the meantime, all the best from the sunny beaches of Belfast ;-)