After a few half-mentions over the past couple of years, three of us finally got our heads together and arranged to enter a triathlon relay. We headed to Dorney Lake for the Lidl Bananaman Triathlon for the first outing of Team Soggy, Coggy and Joggy!
Firstly I’d like to thank all of you who have taken the time to read, comment and re-post my recent blog about breast cancer awareness and the Facebook status “games” that purport to raise said awareness. I’ve been overwhelmed by just how many people have read it (it almost instantly became my highest read post!) and seeing how much people have appreciated and agreed with the sentiments is awesome. Unless you truly believe you are fully aware of breast cancer I urge you to read it and encourage your friends, families and colleagues to read it too – and share it with the men in your life. We all need to be more aware.
But back to the, trivial in comparison, trials and tribulations of Janathon!
My arms are just about returning to normal although reaching for anything above waist height is low down my priority list at the moment. I managed to get away form work at a reasonable time so that meant The Wife and I were able to head up the gym for a swim. I’ve decided that trying to run so frequently for Janathon was actually having a detrimental effect on my legs and my performance as a whole, so swimming was a good option.
As I’ve said before, I’m not a great swimmer but I still have my own personal bests in this area to target.
Earlier in Janathon I matched my personal best distance of 510 metres in one session and smashed the time it took – slashing it from 30 minutes down to 25. So, as I slipped into an almost deserted pool, I gritted my teeth and remembered what The Wife has said to me in my last session: if I was out running would I stop if it got hard?
Of course I wouldn’t.
So transferring that mentality to the pool I began my breaststroke session, and was encouraged to see I was covering the 17 metre lengths in well under a minute at a time. Keeping an eye on the clock I stopped at 10 lengths to stretch my arms, shoulders and back. I was one of the last kids in school to swim and as a result I’m not sure I have an effective technique. My shoulders and neck become very tense and tight which can’t help.
I seemed to reach 20 lengths with no problem but started to feel my energy draining; I was pushing towards max distance but also was pushing the pace to see what I could do. Reaching my personal best distance of 30 lengths in a quicker than ever time, I forced myself to push another 2 lengths. I ended up covering 544 metres in just 24 minutes. Two extra lengths and still a minute quicker than my previous best time for 30 lengths.
It’s great when the improvement is so visible. But my arms were so wobbly, they felt like they were going to fall off!
After a busy few days, and some achy legs yesterday, I decided that I would turn to swimming, my cross-training saviour during Juneathon. It was the first time I’ve been up to the gym since Juneathon; now that I’ve found running I’m out on the road whenever I want to exercise. It also enabled me to Janathon with The Wife, who doesn’t run but loves to swim.
It was tough going and after 4 lengths I stood up for a pause – my upper body strength has never been that great and with all my focus on running, it’s been somewhat neglected. Needless to say, The Wife was there to offer support and encouragement. Her wise words made absolute sense:
If you were out running and your legs felt a bit tired you wouldn’t stop would you?
So that was me told. Off I splashed, with my uncomfortable, unrefined breaststroke with a target of 30 lengths, which in the small pool meant 510 metres and a personal best. Or so I thought! It was only on checking my Juneathon posts that I realised I managed to clock up 510m in a session in late June so an equal personal best distance, although, I did knock 5 minutes off the time it took. A 5 minute improvement to a PB. That doesn’t happen every day!
I’m not sure what the norm is but The Wife also pointed out that I could have run 5000 metres in the time it took me to swim 500 – 10 times quicker at running than swimming. Are there any triathloners (is that what you call them?) that can advise what the normal ratio is between swimming and running speeds?
Last week saw me clock up another 25km towards my 800km running challenge for Maggies Centres. I started with a 15km on the Sunday choosing a different route; venturing out of Witney to Hailey and then back again. I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the longer distances and getting (marginally) more adventurous with the route planning as a result!
I had 2 days of work in Aberdeen straight after Bank Holiday Monday which meant a 04:30 start one day and not getting home until 22:00 the next so needless to say my running had to take a back seat for a couple of days.