Well – here I am – I apologise that I have not found the time to update my journey since the beginning of June. As the title suggests I have found training time difficult as I have been exceptionally busy with work and with a holiday on the beautiful Black Isle in Scotland.
My plan had always been to focus on cycling after the London to Brighton while maintaining running fitness for the Staffordshire Ironman 70.6. Although I have found time for some long rides on Sundays I have not been able to do shorter harder rides.
I also had to take time off from running following the Staffordshire event. My blisters had started to heal until a few days before the event when I ran in Shrewsbury on a very hot day. Then on the Saturday there was a great deal of walking including 3 miles back and forth to rack the bike in the transition area at Chasewater reservoir. By the end of the day, the blisters on my right foot had re-emerged. They were bad enough that we called at a supermarket to get pads and tape.
The actual event was a real trial. We had to drive to Shugborough Hall (where the race would finish) and then catch a bus to Chasewater. A walk to the swim start. It was a very very hot day. The actual start was very well organised with us entering in waves but we old folk were at the back. Indeed I was last into the water. I swam breaststroke and “aimed off” to the left of the buoys to allow for my right-way drift. I overtook several people and left the water after 51 mins. There was then a long-run to the transition area – not good for my blisters. I had an OK transition and a reasonable start to the bike. However the heat proved very difficult and although I was consuming vast amounts of water I just couldn’t push hard. The last section up to Cannock Chase was very hard. The feed stations were excellent with all the volunteers being very positive and supportive. The ride took me just over 4 hours (average just below 14mph). The worrying part of the ride was the last mile as I came alongside people who were already on the run. Many were walking which was really surprising.
My second transition was slow as I spent time bandaging my feet. The tent was really really hot – it must have been awful for the volunteers. It wasn’t much cooler outside as I started on the run. It was oppressive. I managed to start with about a mile of running (very slowly) but my feet were very painful. I was drinking vast quantities of water and flat coke and evne pouring water over my head but I had to start walking. The crowds were amazing and people had hosepipes and buckets of water and cheered everyone on. The run became a constant calculation to ensure that I beat the time-cut off for the last lap. I managed to jog the sections in the shade, the downhill sections and the bits on the grass which eased my feet. I completed the second lap with 10 minutes to spare before the cut off. By this time there were very few competitors out on the course. But the spectators were still willing us on – I was still calculating and walking more than running. I managed to jog mile 11- 12 which helped with the time and finally arrived at 13 miles and ran to the finish. 8 hours 18 minutes – just inside the time cut-off. The hardest event of my life.
You can find some images of me here – I can’t bring myself to actually buy the images as they remind me of my suffering!!
After drinking even more water I had to go to the medical tent to have the blisters dressed again. I am so so grateful to all the volunteers who give up their time to look after all the competitors. An example was the lady who was supervising the transition area. She allowed Susan to collect the bike and all my gear and allowed me to wait there while Susan collected the car. A long, long day but ultimately successful.
It took me the best part of a week to recover and then I had to try and get into cycling in preparation for the Prudential Ride. I had a good ride with Angus who sadly hadn’t been in the best of health. We went out around by Melverley and I had great fun sitting on his wheel for two miles – luxury.
I avoided running for two weeks to allow my feet to recover only starting again when we went on holiday to the Black Isle. We stayed at the cabin in the woods arriving on the Saturday that the Tour de France started with Geraint Thomas’ great win in the prologue.
A week relaxing, drinking too much Black Isle beer with a couple of runs of 6 miles along the Beauly Firth and 10 miles through the woods. We visited the Nairn Coast which was beautiful and also had a train trip to Aberdeen.
Back home for my birthday. I tried to explore footpaths down to Minsterley but found them overgrown. A good curry and cider for the evening but then woke up in the night itching all over – in my wanderings I had been very badly bitten by something(s). Three days of discomfort.
Have been busy at work too with several adjournments and virtually a whole week working in Stoke – the least enjoyable journey of all those I do. The impact has been virtually no weekday training. I have also spent quite a lot of time watching the Tour which has been the most entertaining since I started watching it in 1986. Sad moments – Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte’s crashes on a hugely entertaining day. Chris Froome losing the journey and then regaining it and despite some scary moments he remains in yellow as I write – on the final stage in Paris. He is such a great sportsman and never gives up yet doesn’t attract the credit he deserves – very strange.
So that’s it nearly up to date. Completed a half-marathon yesterday and a steady bike ride today in preparation for the Prudential Ride – my last treble event. Then it will be 7 weeks until the Sandman legend half-iron distance triathlon.
I am already planning my events for next year with a few different events so hopefully I can keep training for the winter. I am hoping for a London Marathon place and will perhaps continue to fundraise for Best Beginnings.
Onwards until next week and hopefully another update – keep pedalling – high gear and low cadence – plodding on the bike!!