Another month, another new location - out of london again and a pretty outstanding set -up for a pair of broke triathletes! We were asked/invited to house sit for a friend of Steven's; Roger is a relatively new convert to ironman, but after a a few pretty solid performances and then, i suspect slightly to his own surprise, qualifiying easily for his Kona slot at IMNZ 2009, which is where the two off them met, really gave him some focus. He is now gunning for a podium at Kona this year. Based on his personality type, clear ability and how he approaches training (and his busy , high-acheiving life in general), i have no doubts that he will be on that start line with an excellent chance of doing so.
On tuesday he and i went together for a long run - for me that's anything over 2hrs, though for Roger, who runs a 26 mile route each week, I'm not sure that it would quite qualify. But he had a busy day arranged and so 2 hrs was good for him too. we set off, at about 4:45/km pace, chatting. After a mile or so , there was no slowing in either his conversation or the pace. I had to bring it up - Roger, this is a tad fast. When I head out for a long run, i just don't worry about the pace...but with the help of my Garmin i know that it'll be around 6-6:20min/km, my heartrate rarely exceeding 130BPM, which is comfortably within my 'easy aerobic' range. Now, Roger tells me that all of his running is at race pace, or at least AeT Hr - which equates to sub 5/km, over 3hrs! Admittedly Roger is a lot more time - limted than me, and does fewer run workouts each week, but it really is quite a diffrent training approach. We've had similar race results and aspirations for the marathon, and having come to a compriminse which resulted in a pace of around 5:10/km and my average Hr at 140 - closer to the top of my aerobic zone, i am now wondering about pacing up my long runs. it' s clearly not a great stretch for me - i was still able to maintain converstaion at this pace and trained well the following day....so i am seeing yet another area where i could really be putting in a bit more effort!
After this run, Roger ate, did a few things in the office then set off for a ride with Steven whilst i rested, settled into the house that we'd be staying in and got to know his wife and the house keeping staff. Yes, the house keeping staff. As it turns out, our house-sitting duties are minimal; the deal being far more of a generous offer of temporary accommodation than a requirement for pet care. That is luxury temporary accommodation by the way -it is a beautiful old country manor house with extensive grounds, very close to Rutland water which is were the Vitruvian take place. There are more rooms than i have yet had time t to explore, and am sure that many of them are never used, but when all of the 4 kids are around the place is a madhouse - the life centre being the large kitchen complete with Aga and bleached wooden work surfaces.
What i am enjoying most about this is the wonderful vegetable garden and fruit orchards. Currently producing carrots, courgette, beetroot, cabbage, onion, beens, leek, tomatoes, rhubarb, spuds, and cooking apples. Apricots, plums, nectarines apples and pears are about to come ripe too. It's wonderful being able to wander around the gardens and collect dinner - and makes me realise that this is the sort of lifestyle that would make me feel very content. Not the huge house, in fact that freaks me a bit, but i mean the self sufficient, or at least partially so, way of living. its about having an understanding of the environment, where we fit in and how to make use of what is freely available to us, with a little effort. Admittedly its easy to say this when someone else has done all the hard work and i'm just pulling it out the ground, washing and cooking it! Anyway, i'm feeling good because i 'm feeling very healthy (also quite flatulent) for all this fresh, organic food. As we speak i have a carrot and beetroot cake in the oven.
Today i raced the BigCow Olympic distance tri at Milton Keynes. Always been my favourite oly race and fro the years that i was captain of tri London tried to arrange for our club champs to be held there. aside from being a super quick (it's almost certainly short in all 3 parts!) the organization is great and remains totally approachable and human , unlike many of the other 'big' races on the calendar. Since i had some vouchers for a free entry to use up, i entered it as a means to kick start my racing form and a bit of fun with my sister and a few club mates. Lotte's running is really coming on well - i was half and half pleased that she ran 7 seconds faster than me today. in fact i was a little depressed that having come off the bike in 3rd place 45 seconds behind the leaders, i was loosing ground to them during the run. but steven pointed out that these were seriously fast girls and i'm just not in that league anymore over this distance. it was a painful 39 min for this old diesel engine! however i was pleased with my swim, which i really pushed from the start and found myself pushing between single swimmers trailing the lead 3 or 4 exiting teh water in 21 1/2 min ( gotta be short!) . the bike was a bit frustrating as, like teh run i felt i was lacking that top-end mentality. There were spells of agonizing, leg burning lung busting effort, which is what gets you teh bike splits you want in an Oly, but these were interspersed with spells where i found myself tapping along in auto singing Nina Simone tunes - maybe a jazz soundtrack works for Ironman but its hardly appropriate level of effort for 40k TT! but with a finish time of 2:12 ( 3min off my Course PB) and 3rd place awarded with very generous prizes and home in time for a cool down ride and teh tour aint bad.
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