Sunday, June 22

Graph from the race in Switzerland

Figure i may as well put up the graph of my heart rate and the altitude from the race!

You can plainly see the 3 climbs on the race for each lap. First Little climb on the bike is Witches Hill, then the big long one, then the last quick one before you head back onto the straight away to the turn. You can also see the little blip on the run that was the Stairway to Heaven!

Power graph above gives a decent view on my speed and power output on the climbs. Average power was definitely down on the climbs on the second lap but average power for the first lap wias a nice easy 204W and a 196W for the second lap so pretty consistent for the whole thing. Happy enough with that! Nothing amazing but i stayed damn close to the aim of 200W for both laps

Friday, June 20

Last week of rest and recovery

Bit of a disaster this week in many ways but in other ways not so bad.

Shoulder was wrecked after the crash in the NPS. Great race, but stupid injury. Cycled into work on Monday and could barley hold my arm straight when i got to work. Forgot about it until i went to cycle home from work then about half way home i just had to slow down and cycle with one arm, my left shoulder was in bits!

Tuesday i took off totally, decided not to play tag, and went to do some work instead. Work went well and i hit the bed early. Wed morning i was still in bits, very tired and grumpy as frick. Nearly turned for home half way into work but decided against it. Felt terrible all day so tired and just depressed as hell. Rain didn't help and i had the worst cycle home ever. Decided not to go racing in Bray, or train with Belpark, or do anything. I curled up in a ball in front of the telly and played Mass Effect for a few hours and thought about not going into work the next day. Hit the bed early again and slept like a Greg shaped log.

Felt allot better on Thurs, still stayed off the legs and drove in. Then the shit hit the fan in work. Mixture of rain and refs being made of sugar meant that we had to cancell some games in venues. Ahh well, it happens but it meant that i was here until 6:45 and not at home eating. Rushed home, ate and was out the door again to meet the lads from my class for a few drinks and a bit of banter. Good night, and spent it drinking Erdinger non alcoholic. My new drink of choice, and the sponsor of the race in Switzerland! Marketing works kids!

In the office today, ppl are all pannicked cause of the beach tag festival today. Me i'm just chilling out and enjoying the interweb :)

Wicklow 200 Part 2

Well after some much needed food we rolled on from Donard towards Sliemh Mann. For some reason at this point i thought we were over half way. Oh how wrong i was.

Now i have to say the climb at Sliehm Mann ain't quite all its hyped up to be. On an average day, straight out of the box it ain't worth shit. With 150+km behind you it's still a big hill but its only actually hard for the first kilometer. The hill that comes before it is actually worse! Meandered up the climb, passing out bodies strewn on either side of the road beside bikes and people clip clopping there way up the road on foot. PUNY MORTALS!!! But still i can see why it takes it out of people, it is a long 6km climb, but not that bad.

Rested at the top for 30 min's and chatted to Louis and a few other randomers. Got told off for trying to take water rather than the crappy Power Bar drink. Worst orginised food stops mid race, i was not impressed at that at all!! But sure its Ireland, not that its an excuse.

Eventually got going again and the legs took a while to get back into gear, pretty much into auto pilot for the rest of the way too Rathdrum. Chatting away not actually worrying about working just getting there. A nice rest stop again and some non liquid/bar shaped food was very well accepted. Rode off after another 30 min's now fully aware Peter made the right decision to go finish the 100 instead of the 200. Was getting tired at this stage. Spent the rest of the day chatting to randoms and just enjoying the final leg over Ballinstoe and Djouce before we hit UCD again. 8 and a bit hours of riding later, and 10 hours overall we rolled back to the start at UCD. Picked up more Nazi gold, and some nice little certs and ate our free chippy food (bleugh). However i would have ate shit on a stick if they offered it too me. So so tired. The cycle home literally was a hour long epic of trying not to fall asleep at the wheel of my bike.

Home, Rego, Compression tights, sleeeeeeeeep.

I will do it next year, i don't think i could be bothered training to do it though its not that hard to be honest. Just long!!

On another note, i decided not to go for a short run after the 240km like i had planned, that would have been a major brick session, and yes i know perfect IM training, but simply put i was borked with tiredness. Now that i will train for!

Wicklow 200 Part 1

Simply put, a very very long day in the saddle.

Sign on and roll out was set for 7am out in UCD, a nice easy 20km away from my house, so we decided to turn it into the Wicklow 240 and a bit. Left the house at 6am and picked up the lads on the coast road (Waggers and Peter). Noticed at this point that i hadn't pee'd that morning and realised i was probably dehydrated. D'oh! Drinky drinky time.

Rolled into UCD at about 6.30 and joined the short que to regiester. Argued with some stupid old man about my race card and finally rolled under the start finish line at 7:02 am. Roll on out and start the long climb to the Sally Gap. Nice bit of banter with the lads until the gradient started to jack up again. 20km later and the top of the Sally Gap. Felt quite good, was drinking away and eating. What a nice little social ride. However about this point Peter decided the 200 was not for him and he would turn to finish the 100 at Laragh. At this point i was still trying to persuade peter he would be able to this point we were about 55km in.

Nice rolly decent that saw me get airborne at one stage, then into Laragh for some nice coke and nutrigrain break. Then parted company and started up the Wicklow gap. This was a little longer than i remembered and i burned out just before the end of the last climb. Finished grand but just couldn't power along like i had been on the Sally Gap. Long decent clocking over 70kph, and just rolling along, recover recover recover. Bit more rolly roads and then finally drop into Hollywood. It was about here we met Sean Kelly and his entourage. God i hate when roadies get cocky because someone better than them are around them. Got away from the bunch as soon as we could and rode on our own. About this time i started to get very very tired. But low and behold the first pit stop for tea coffee and sambos!

Sunday, June 15

Recovery week and a bit....of sorts

So normally when people talk of recovery weeks they dont do too much.... Well i get angst when i don't do much. But i decided that no structured training, and just keeping active is the way forward for the next two weeks. But what have i done in the weeks to recover? Well....

Tueday, rugby time:
First game of our new Tag rugby team. This will be a factor for all tuesdays for the next 8 weeks. Nice sprint sessioins and a bit of brain action!

Protein and Compression tights:
Every night for 4 nights i slept in my tights until my legs felt good to run on again, during the day i feasted on protein in all its forms. Made sure i took a shake every day just to help my muscles recover. Worked quite well! By Friday i was back on the bike cycling in to work again trying out my legs.

Coaching at the track. Good session, did some sprint work with the under-agers and some evil sessions with the older ones! Was quite happy at the session, was quite nice to have people happy with a session! Great weather too. Popped out to Wheelworx and picked up a new wetsuit off Rob. I had decided after the big race that the suit i have just plain don't fit. So i was going to pick up a nice one for about €300, but ended up going up a model to the €425 one. Rob did it for €370 so that helped a bit!

Wicklow 200..... I reckon this deserves a separate post

Monday - Friday:
Stopped the compression tights, and backed off on the protein intake. Felt good all week, legs were tired but not sore. Played on Tues night and unfortunately we lost 11-7. Damn girl try our downfall, mine and Mikes fault. Ahh well.

Aquathon - Wed Night:
It rained, oh dear god did it rain, arrived to the race soaking, thankfully Pauline had brought me some hot drinks and a hoodie to keep me warm. What she hadn't brought was her as she got ready i cycled back to her house (getting wet again) and got them for her. USELESS!!! :)

Race went well, felt great in the swim. Took out the new suit for its first run out and buy god is it different. Much much easier to swim in. Takes longer to get into it but its deffo faster. Less on the arms, much more on the chest and back of the legs. It feels very different in the water balance wise, but it works! Stayed up with the big boys for the swim until i got a clatter in the head from LOUIS and had to drop back a bit. Lost about 20 secs on him and out of the water for 750m in 9:22. Got confused in transition due to the new suit, but i wasn't there to race as such, more to just get out! Run felt good. HR was ok, legs felt good, but man am i slow compared to other people at the moment. I've done no speed work so no speed. Took about 4km until i could actually get it into top gear. Saying that i still went under 20mins for the 5km run so happy!

Work work work:
I owe moneys for i must work. Needs to be done, no matter if it takes away from my time. Saying that, because there is no training i can do it! Its good to get money :) Even though Visa get it all at the moment!

Sunday, MTB XC NPS:
Woo racing! Wasn't pushed on going racing but when we got there i was in the mood! Pre rode the course and was shocked. I thought the K-Capital course was i was wrong. XC racing has gone to a different level that what i used to race. Great trail though, fully ride-able, but race-able....i don't know. I had two HUGE crashes, the first one knocked me for 7 and i had to stand back for 1min and just assess myself and if i'd broken anything. Thought i had done my wrist, and my thumb was borked for the rest of the race. Long story short, i was taking a racing line to quick while trying to overtake and i fluffed it. Massive highspeed crash into a tree, and flung like a ragdol down the trail. Not nice. Lost all the back brake and bent the shit out of my lever. Had to bash it back into shape with a large rock :)

Second crash was cause i fluffed up my line cause i had been gunning it to try and make up time and then lost all concentration on a drop-in and just froze. Slid on my ass for a while and although i didn't shred my pants i have cuts on my ass. Nice.

Next Week:
No idea! Aquathon on Wed, might race that, not sure. See what happens! Still not back too full time training yet.

Saturday, June 7

6 Days on, i've been avoiding the breakdown

Ok so its nearly a week since the race. I haven't really thought about the race much to be honest. Anyone who i've been talking too knows that im a little unhappy about my performance on some levels, but on others quite happy. I may as well rabbit on for a bit.

So the race prep went great, evening before we went to the race briefing and the athletes pasta party enjoyed the food and the dancing courtesy of the Rose of Rapperswil and her Krew.(snigger) Got a bit of a shock when they mentioned the gearing they recommended, 30 ring at the back...i had a 24. Fuck it not much i could do then. Ate my food, then went back and got my bike sorted to go into transition. All the prep worked, got my stuff in then went for a walk before bed just to get out of the Hotel for a bit. May have had some ice cream. Got to bed nice and early and got ready for the not so early start at 6am.

6am alarm call, insert food, insert water, insert coffee. Music on, mental prep go now. All good. Last race check and down for more food at 7am. Don't eat too much, get some more coffee in. More water. More trips to bathroom than you need to know about. Off to the race venue at 7.30 and drop the last of the bottles and so on into transition. Last bit of time on my own to listen to my pre-race music, last toilet break and then time to don the wetsuit for the swim.

Got in the water and the nerves that i had managed to keep under control hit, HR up to 150 and all i was doing was threading water waiting for the start! Look at the mountains, breath, just relax. HR came back down to a reasonable 110 before the start. Minute to go call and i moved into my slot in the middle of the pack. GO!! Not so hectic start, but about 100m in where it narrowed from 30m too 10m the fighting started. Held my nerve and kept my water. However i managed to miss the faster feet and ended up on my own for the first 700m of the swim. No biggie, just chill and keep a steady pace. 800m or so in it hit me. I was doing the race! I started lauging and felt so good in my head, hit the turn around and caught some nice fast swimmers and dragged off them for the next 500m. Left them for dead 200m from the end and started to up my legs and arms to get the blood moving for the transition run.

Out of the water, up the stairs, grab some water, insert water, strip and run. Got to my bike without even thinking it, socks on for my first time ever in a triathlon! Lid, shades, eat a gel, water in mouth again, run out. Mount the bike and start to settle in.

First 10km had to resists the urge to push. Power less than 200W and nice and easy, just chill and ignore the urge to push. HR nice and low, maintain a nice little tuck. Started to enjoy the bike just as we hit the first hill of the day. 1km Witches Hill 18% average gradient. No problem. Add the music and crowds and there is no way you can't gun it to the top. Felt great the first time, just knew that i had to hold form and i'd be ok. All worries of the 30 rear went out the window and i perked up a bit more! The next 90km passed like a dream. All the hills and the sweet descents. 74km/hr on your tri-bars while eating on a corner with one hand makes me smile even typing this. I love descending. Nearly as much as i love eating :) Second lap felt stronger than the first even though i mentally had to hold back so much in the last 10km. my brain wanted to race but my legs knew that they needed to be able to run!!

Cyclo-cross dismount. Quick in, ditch the bike, change into runners, out. Simple as.

Wow, my legs worked out of T2. What a feeling not going fast but still going. Scoffed a gel at about 1km in and started to try and push a bit. Legs said no. Simple as, ok keep the pace up. Ohh need to pee, find a tree, piss, hmm that's quite orange. Grab water at the next station and keep it up for every station. Starting to notice that the heat is actually quite intense. 4km in, WTF cramps! Arrgh pain pain pain, walk a bit. So begins the next 19km of hell. Couldn't push, knee on the right leg kept at me when my quads started to cramp, then my left calf starts to cramp. Bugger it, could run at a decent pace for 600m or so but then had to walk for 100m. Fuck it. Simply put i was loosing time and my race was FUBARed. I got more and more angry until about 10 km when i came back into the main gantry, i've loved to have gone straight and finished now. But no no, i had 11.5km to go. However i did get a major mental boost and pushed for about 2km before i had to start walking again. Lashed out at Wags with about 4km to go when he cheered me on going to other way, was pissed off for about 500m then instantly felt bad about it. Had to apologise to him the second i crossed the line. When i knew i had 3km to go i started to pick it up again, i knew i was not going to finish under 5:30 but i had sworn that if i didn't finish under 6hrs i was giving up this damn sport. Last km was the easiest one of the race. I felt like i was a god, run run run Greg!! Hit the chute again, and went straight instead of turning left.

Last .5km are the best feeling. Ran into the finishing gantry and i felt like crying, i have no idea why, i felt fantastic yet so depressed. Then boom, noise, cheering, slap hands with the event organiser. Cross the line and nearly broke down. Big cheer from the lads and the best feeling in the world. I'd done it. I'd actually done a Half Ironman. The start to the goal. Got my medal, saw the girls, quaffed some water and Red bull, and went to get my race shirt. Still hadn't fully set in until about two days later but i'd done it!! WOO me. Shower and a massage, oh yes massage, i actually want to marry the large Swiss man who gave me a massage! i don't care, he is a god.

Went to the race after party, ate my food, drank my free Erdinger and looked at all the happy fuckers with their blue shirts. Yeah i had one but i didn't feel like i deserved it. I know i'd just achieved something i had never thought i would do, but i still felt disappointed with it. Over the next few hours my mood uplifted and i started to feel happier...this may have been to due with the beer and food :) Next day pains weren't as bad as i reckoned, actually felt pretty good. Not too tired, but hungry, very hungry. Ate for most of the day, and sat a lot, then walked, then ate, then sat, then walked, then drank a little more coffee.

Ohh, compression tights are the best thing on the planet. I love them. Pretty much lived in them for the 3 days after the race! Oh at some point we flew home.