Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tooting Bec Lido Aquathlon

What a day!
I had a lot of reservations about this Aquathlon. Hell, I was not even sure if I was saying 'aquathlon' right ('a qwath a lon'? 'aquacklon'?).  Then I reminded myself to shut up and stop worrying. I met a member of the Lido-- his name was Al. I met him previously the day I tested out the wetsuit. I asked if he was participating and he said, "No, I only race myself now." That should be how it always is... for everyone.

So I calmed down. I stretched. I listened to the race brief. I asked questions. I chatted with other participants. I kept telling myself 'This is not the end game. Just enjoy and learn.'  To be honest I was itching to get into the water... my wetsuit was a tad bit warm in the lovely London sun (yes it exists!).

Note to self-- if you are jumping in cold water, may be best to ensure the goggles are about the same temperature. Else, the fog up. Well. Now I know :)

The nine lengths went pretty well. The lanes were huge so people didn't have to stress about holding people up behind or getting stuck behind someone.

Such a badass :D 
Transition? Ehhh... let's just say practicing dry is NOT the same as when it's wet. Fair. Makes sense. Another lesson learned.

I was not feeling too hot in the beginning of the run. I am not sure if that was the quick (in some sense of the word) transition or maybe I drank too much water in the pool. Whatever it was, I kept it relatively slow in fear of vomiting. The sun was pretty strong at this point, so it was actually quite nice having a wet trisuit on. Oh, and I was rocking some sunnies. Priorities people!

We did three laps around the common. Some of those were along roads but there were volunteers at every corner to ensure no one got lost.

I rolled into the finish and tried to to a bit of a jump at the end. I was feeling pretty good-- huzzah I did an aquathlon! I got my medal and my flapjack. All one really needs at the end of a race.

Heck yeah!
If you are thinking about doing a tri-- or are doing a tri, or just want something different, I recommend this event. It's a great way of getting your body used to swimming in cold water, like an OWS, but without the murky water. It's also great to get your body used to working out when tired.

All that was left to do was tube home (Tooting Bec is about 20 minutes walk away) and soak up the sun. A great way to spend a Saturday. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Triathlon - Let's Get Serious Now

I have kind of been floating around exercise at the moment. I feel almost 'back' from my injury, but I have not really done any distance to speak of, my excuse being I have nothing to train for. To which NinjaBoy said "Then sign up for something!". Well played sir, well played.

I have been kinda training for my triathlon in August. A swim or two here and there, throw a run in somewhere, and sprinkle in a dreaded cycle (still don't like it). But you know...  I figured I have done this before *cough* 2013 *cough* and its not a crazy distance. Here it comes guys: HOW HARD CAN IT BE?!

Hard. As I found out on Wednesday.

I was going to have a weird work day (2pm-10pm) on Wednesday so I thought I would be proactive and go to the unheated Tooting Bec lido to scope out what I am getting myself into for the aquathlon this Saturday. I also (begrudgingly) decided to cycle down there. It was 0930, I had plenty of time...

About an hour later, I get to the Lido. It's overcast. It's cold. It's England summer. Luckily though that meant only the die hards are at the lido. I ask the nice woman at the desk a thousand questions:

Me: "Do I have to wear a wetsuit?"
Patient Woman: "No, not today"

Me: "Would you wear a wetsuit?" 
Patient Woman: "Oh heck yes... it's cold!"

Me: "Where do I change?"
Patient Woman: "You can change in any of the little huts or if you are more comfortable in the unisex changing area"

Me: "Where are the lockers?"
Patient Woman: "There are no lockers, but you can leave small valuables with me."

So I opt for a hut, and a wetsuit. The huts are like those ones you see in old time photos. Colourful and fun. Bit dark inside, but that's the way it is! I was getting a bit anxious about leaving stuff in my little hut, but one of the locals was telling me its perfectly safe.

Me: "Would you leave stuff on a busy weekend?"
Him: "No Way!"


Such colours! 

The swim was tough. I felt incredibly slow and I took breaks with every lap. I enviously glanced at people with no wetsuit. I thought swimming in a wetsuit is meant to be easier?! My lower back hurt, my arms hurt. Oh my god. What is going on.

Such bliss!
Such agony!
 I finished 800m in 40 minutes. See the stats on the right. Perspective: my last pool swim on the left said I did 1000m in 30 minutes. I am not saying I am very slow or very fast. I am simply saying I was, how do we say, displeased based on past performances. I also don't know why Strava is in yards... also why is Strava saying different than what my Garmin says?! Thats an investigation for another day-- ::in New York Accent:: I'M BLOGGIN 'ERE!!

It was a deflating swim. I had a cup of tea to reflect. Oh christ I needed to cycle home too...

I had a quick stop to pick up Tim Horton's Coffee from a fellow runner (I love this community!) then back home with 20 minutes to spare before my work day started.

I felt tired and depressed. Am I going to be the slowest person out there on Saturday? Are people going to tut loudly as they swim past me? What the hell am I doing here?!

I go to work (no shower! no time!). I drink Tim's coffee and stew in self-doubt.

I flop on the sofa at 10:30pm and I see I got some post... from the London Tri. Oh wonderful... icing on the cake I think to myself. I open the package. It's a t-shirt.

Suddenly I remember. THIS is why I am doing the aquathlon on Saturday. To prepare for August. This is part of my training, learning what to do and what not to do on the big day. How to relax in the water, how to get out of my wetsuit without faceplating on the pavement. How to get my body used to multisport days. Saturday is not the end goal, its just a pit stop on the way to the finish....

Oh my gosh, am I in  training mode? I think I am!!

Amazing what a shirt can do! :D

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Privacy Policy for the London Running App

This app does not collect personal information in any way. What it DOES do is scrape Facebook pages for London based running events for a Google Calendar that I created. That information can be found at the link below.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Race Review: The Big Half

Has it really been so long since I have done a blog post? I guess so... but to be honest my running has been pretty terrible since Bournemouth. I was diagnosed with Tendinopathy which obviously is awesome. I have cut my running wayyyy down, like maybe 6-12 miles a week.

Which of course made The Big Half a bit of an interesting conundrum. My longest run after Bournemouth (which was October 2017) had been 8 miles and I had DOMS for about four days after. How the hell was 13.1 miles going to go on me? I had been cross training like a mofo (I can now swim a mile... huzzah) but at the end of the day would that be enough to see me to the end? Also, would my tendons play nicely or would the flare up like they sometimes do and make me cut the run short? Would I have to run/walk?

I told myself that if did not come out of The Big Half relatively OK-- I was going to give up running for 2/3 months while I majorly focused on recovery. No. Running. At. All.

Needless to say I was very apprehensive at the starting line. Sick almost. There was a lot riding on the next few hours, so I wanted to ensure I gave myself every opportunity to succeed. I stretched, I would keep my pace reasonable, I didn't over/under dress.

Mother nature decided to help out too. After #BeastFromTheEast and #StormEmma wreaking havoc across the UK a few days prior, Sunday was sunny and dare I say it.... warmish?

I am so glad the race organisers held fast against the rising tide of Twitter discontent and kept the race on. It would have been ridiculous given the weather conditions in London that day. However, I also applaud them offering to make it a virtual race for those in other parts of the country who could not make it due to transport woes. That's just good form.

Living near the area, there were really no surprises for me. I have run the most of the course in some way or another in the 6 years I have lived here. The cobbles are the stuff of legend on the Marathon course, so I knew to expect them too. Mother nature also ensured there was no ice or anything that would cause an unexpected slip.

Let's talk about #tunnelgate. People were really upset about the Limehouse Link Tunnel-- which according to some went on for forever. I can assure you it didn't go on for forever (although even I muttered something about this when I was in it), it went on for about 1 mile. I checked it on MyMyRun. 1/13th of the race. I do agree they maybe should have put that there was a tunnel on the official course route but I don't think it should have ruined anyone's race. The group I was around were having fun hooting and hollering, which of course is 1000x more fun in a tunnel. Just enhance your calm people!

I am pretty sure the highlight for everyone was going across Tower Bridge. The darn thing is just so lovely and has been around for quite a long time (opened in 1894) - it served us well for motivation after we passed the Mile 7 marker. Did I tear up a little bit? Yes. I have run over that bridge more times than I can count but running it on the road is just an awesome feeling. Thank you thank you Big Half for making that possible.

Is this moosenshoes?
I had a group of friends waiting for me on Tooley Street which was also awesome, however I think I got a cramp waving my arms like a wacky inflatable flailing arms flailing tube man. So I slowed my pace and dug in for the last 10k or so of the race.

I leave it to the audience to judge. Thanks to Laurie for the video-- and of course to the SE1 crew for the support!

I will admit-- the last bit of the race is not the most exciting. Again though I knew what to expect-- so I spent the time thanking marshalls, spectators, and just trying to keep my form on some level of respectability. I also picked up a blister somewhere and I was trying to be conscious of that. I really enjoyed the music near the Printworks building, which subsequently hosts music on a regular basis.

I finished in 2:04. I got my medal. It reminds me from something from In Living Color. It is definitely unique I will give it that. 

My tendon felt pretty good, I just had the general overall ache of someone who had not really trained well for a half marathon. Fair enough. No DOMS to speak of and I had my physio appointment and he greenlighted me to start a more 'normal' running routine as long as I kept doing the exercises and didn't go crazy too soon. I can live with that. Oh yes baby-- back at it (in a safe and controlled manner!)

Oh boy that's not all! They had some nice 'environmentally friendly' aspects of the race too! I won't get into the whole plastic water bottle debacle-- an issue in almost every race I have been on. However, they did have 'green cups' for the sports drink station and they had recycling stations for the foil blankets at the end! Bonus!

< coincidence? Methinks not! >