a short sunrise run around the perimeter fence of LAX preceded an almighty (but healthy) buffet breakfast in the hotel where we are layed-over. we have an hour or so to digest that before embarking on another round of baggage hauling to check-in for teh onward flight to honunlulu. Packing 'light' for 5 month trip in to include 4 races in three different climates still weighs in at about 50kg exc. hand luggage. Still, its been a good journey so far and having a night's break 2/3 through really helps with adjusting to the time difference, and gives the opportunity for a proper sleep, a short run, some stretching, shower and decent meal so we'll arrive in Kona this evening late but in a much fitter state than having done the journey nonstop.
i'm feeling both excited and nervous about our arrival there. this year there will be so many of our triathlete friends there with us - many of them staying in the brilliantly located but lower budget Kona Seaside hotel that we've used each time we have been and recommended to all. but on the other hand its kind of scary to know how great shape everyone is in...when i feel kinda doubtful about myself. i guess everyone feels a little like this once they get to the point where they're on the plane and there really is little that can be actively done now to improve form - one starts recalling those bad training days. and since budapest, there have been a few. i did find it fairly hard to get myself going again after that trip, where i let my hair down a little and at the same time hurt my foot. for the days of that this break provided i think that the foot flare-up reminded my body that she's done a lot already this year and the poor carcass is feeling weary. this is most notable on the bike - all of my riding since Budapest has been on the QR, mostly flat ( as far as you can in somerset) and mostly race specific sessions. For the last year i've been basing my efforts on HR (all change post Kona now that I have a new PowerTap!!) which works fine for me - until i get a bit training weary. and find that i'm just having to operate at HR 5-10 beats off the bottom of my target range. Of course this can be very tough mentally - to keep trying to push the effort for 90 min when it hurts but the little voice is saying 'look, you cant even get close to race HR, you should go home and back to bed...' to which my usual reaction is ' look, little voice, i'll just do the 90 in then we'll have a coffee, see how we feel about the next rep?" it usually works, especially when accompanied by a gob-full of caffeine infused carbs ( chocolate PowerbarGel!) and although not really a tactic that i can use on race-day, it gets me through it. That, my techno sound tracks and the absolutely beautiful september weather that we had doen in teh Southwest.
Strangely, despite this flatness on the bike, my swimming is feeling strong and my running also. I've leaned down a bit and i can feel the difference whenever i run. Sunday i did a local 10k race - the end of a 30hr training week, 5hr bike/run session the day before, i had all my excuses made. But i don't think i have ever run 10k in under 38 min so 38:11 with a sprint finish (HR reached 195bpm, close to my max) was quiet a pleasing time. 25 M&S voucher prize too. hope that keeps till next march :o)
this week will be a bit of fun catching up with people and settling into a routine in Kona - i'll ride the course later in the week, and swim the 3.8km at some point ...I think i may have to be careful about going out training with otehr people too much, just try to stay relaxed and not get caught up in too much of that pre race speculation and anxiety that can spread so easily through a group of competitive people!
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