Three weeks today I’m in theory racing the Auckland 70.3 half-Ironman. My training for the race has been less than ideal. First I blew myself up in Honiara running two weeks ago. Then last Sunday at the end of an 80 km ride I was knocked off my bike and smashed my shoulder. The road rash has largely healed but I’ve had a bit of a sore back and my shoulder is not very mobile. No swimming for now but managed two short runs and a 50 km ride this week.
I was feeling somewhat better today decided to do a long ride. Where we live there is an excellent 80 mile/128 km circuit over the Spooner mountain range and then along the Motueka river before returning along the coast. Managed to do it at just under race pace but my body has a bit of a way to go before I’m fully healed, or ready to race. Guess I’ll just have to recalibrate my goal for the Auckland 70.3 down even further. I never expected a stellar race, arriving from the USA 24 h before the start, but with such a sub-optimal preparation just finishing will have to be enough!
I had to spend a few days in Honiara to look at the potential for the World Bank assisting the government to improve aviation safety and security. It was my first time to the country and I found it to be quite fascinating. Very different to Kiribati and the Polynesian countries that I have been working in. And of course, very steeped in military history as it was here on Guadalcanal that the Americans managed to turn the tide of the war in the Pacific against the Japanese.
It was very very hot and so I decided to focus my training on swimming, even though the hotel’s pool was only 15 m long which made it tedious to say the least. To add insult to injury my Swim MP3 underwater MP3 player decided it was time to give up the ghost so I did not have the pleasure of music to distract me. Oh, and the water was not the cleanest either … one could not see more than 2-3 m away. So after three days of swimming I was itching at the feet to go for a run. It was quite a memorable one, as I switched off my brain and blew myself up big time …
I was talking with a prospective engineer who had mentioned on her CV that she had worked as a volunteer for the Challenge Wanaka Ironman distance race. This reminded me … I am doing a 70.3 half-Ironman in Auckland in just over two months. I’ve been keeping my running up, but time to put aside the mountain biking for a while and get back into triathlon training. So I dusted off my time trial bike for the first time in over a year and went out for a 50 km training ride.
I had to attend some meetings at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. It was a lovely early autumn day when I arrived so immediately after unpacking my bag I donned my running shoes and went out exploring. Since my hotel was at the foot of Mt. Royale that was my destination—a lovely park area in the centre of the bustling metropolis. One which affords great views of the city from the top.
I was transiting from Tonga to Kiribati and had a full day off between flights. While my colleagues looked at options like the beach, I’ve never been one for anything so sedate. A quick Google search on the internet found me ‘Stinger Bikes’ who not only assemble bicycles but also do guided mountain bike tours. So I agreed to a 40 km tour around the Nadi area and Sunday morning was raring to go.
TS Eliot wrote in his poem ‘The Wasteland’ the famous stanza: “April is the cruellest month”. As my race preparation phase month, this meant an awful lot of training. It was exacerbated by having my March training somewhat compromised by five weeks of travel, which made it necessary to increase the intensity as well as the volume (I subscribe to the Endurance Nation training philosophy that “work WORKS”).
My shortest training week in April was 16 h; my longest 20 h. But the hard work is over. After 18 weeks of training I have reached the magic point where I begin the taper to my race which is two weeks from today. I feel like crap but that is to be expected. My Endurance Nation training plan notes “… your body won’t feel so hot as it begins to cycle down and absorb all the hard work you have done”. That is an understatement.
I arrived back in Funafuti Tuvalu on the Thursday flight for a short mission trip of five days on my aviation project. With the island about 11 km long, I haven’t got my head around having a bicycle here yet, although I guess I could use the Tarawa approach of a stationary trainer with some good DVDs. Consequently, I only run while here. With the highest point in the country about 1 m above sea level it is not good for hill work, but it does have the perfect track: Funafuti International Airport.
As someone who is seriously overtravelled, it is a novelty to visit a new country for the first time. So it was that I found myself arriving late one evening on the flight from Sydney for my first visit to Vanuatu. I had two days of meetings here to discuss aviation issues/investments so it was a very short visit. I was joining my colleagues Darin and Agnieszka who had arrived earlier in the day from New Zealand so it was nice not to be on my own.
The ‘Sufferfest’ videos are by far the best training videos that one can use (www.thesufferfest.com). One challenge that I’ve found with the videos is relating the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale of 1-10 used in the videos with the power recorded on my Powertap or Computrainer. Fortunately, one Sufferlandian has created an excellent workbook which will convert your Functional Threshold Power (FTP) to the RPE scale. This is, of course, useful for anyone who needs to also use RPE.
The basis for the calculations are given here, along with other excellent advice and tools for using Sufferfest on a Computrainer. There is an Excel file where you enter your FTP, recovery FTP and max FTP. From that, you get Sufferfest RPE values as shown below.
If you like to use Computrainer in ERG mode you will even get the necessary data to create ERG files.
A great tool which makes the Sufferfest videos even more effective. Highly recommended for all Sufferlandians.
I came across the video below on a triathlon web site. Although the language is a bit too coarse for my liking, the sentiment is correct: one is mad to do an Ironman. On the flight from Nelson I was finalizing my training plan for Ironman Brazil in May. Lots of work ahead of me, with one 5 week block of 17 h or so of training a week. Mad may not be accurate, certifiably insane may be more correct. And for the record, this is number six so unlike the fellow in this video I am already an Ironman 🙂