Light streamed into the room from the crack in my curtains. Damn I should’ve closed them better. But I was so tired I just didn’t care last night.
Looked at my watch – 5.30… Hello British summer, if only the temperature was cooperating, you sure are here when it comes to sunshine… Head back on the pillow…
7.00… Definitely time to get up. Enough of enjoying the comfort of my bed. Time to start the work week.
Ever so gingerly I stretched my legs. No obvious knee pains. Grabbed my feet and stretched them out. Dorsiflexed. The familiar crack of my ankle joints. No pain from stretching. Sat up, legs over the side of the bed, gingerly stepped onto my right foot. Not full weight – just the usual foot on the ground, flat, stretching it out. To see how it felt. No obvious pain – tightness but no pain…
Stood up… Again. Tight but no pain. And tight where I wasn’t expecting it! Neck, shoulders, all around my shoulder blades, triceps. Muscle aches. Tired, oh so tired quads. A little tight on the hips and glutes.
Completely not what I expected after a two-event week. I had expected sharp foot pain. I had expected patella tendons to be screaming. Maybe I expected to feel like this finisher medal implied…
By the way, I think this medal is lame – it doesn’t even say 100 on it!
I didn’t feel as if I had suffered. Maybe, just maybe, I am getting to the point where I am being greeted on Mondays by muscle aches but not pains.
Last week saw me complete two firsts – a continuous run of 3.6km, and a continuous cycle of 100km. Both, it would seem, validated that my training and work with Coach T are paying off. Sure, I’m a bit tight and achy but that is heaps better than last year. I have a long way to go to get to where I would like to be in terms of performance, but last week’s aim was to participate in and to complete both events. To do a check on where I am, how I feel, and to use the learning to prepare for the rest of triathlon season.
I survived. You can see it in my smile. Survived… and then some…
Me and @LilMsSweets at the finish of the Tower Jog
Me @HawksmoorLondon enjoying a post 100km fresh bloody mary… Recovery never tasted as good!
See the smile on my face? It isn’t just a cheesy grin. It’s my “job done” smile.
Two events – done. Smile – real. Muscles – tired. Joints – no pain. Job done.
Enough of my rundown of this morning. How were the events – the Suffolk Sunrise 100km ride and the Tower Jog in the moat of the Tower of London?
First, the Tower Jog is run by the British Heart Foundation. I learned about the event from @LilMsSweets on Twitter. Sheryne is using the BHF series of events for training. She is doing a whopping 10 half marathons as well as the London Triathlon this year for Scope, the charity promoting equal rights for disabled people. You can read more about Sheryne and her story on her blog .
I was in two minds about the Tower Jog. I wanted to do it, but on the Saturday before, DH and I had come down with streaming springtime colds. Sore throats, stuffed heads, and I still wasn’t feeling right by Wednesday. DH was completely unwell so decided not to run. I talked about training while feeling unwell with Coach T, and knew that as long as the cold wasn’t below my neck I’d be ok, so I decided to do it. I asked Coach T how to approach the run. The advice was to do 3 continuous loops (3km expected but the loops were short so that would be 2.7km) and then to add in loops depending on how I felt. Also no walking until after the third loop, and if at any time walking exceeded 40% of the loop then I was to stop. I started off the run and my heartrate was just crazy. A constant 172. That is about 25 beats per minute higher than normal, I guess because I wasn’t feeling 100% healthy. So I decided to do 3 laps, see how my heartrate was, and then take it from there. As the laps measured short, when I hit three laps I decided to do 4 continuous to make sure I would get at least 3km continuous under my belt. And by the time I finished lap 4, I decided that was it. My heart rate never settled down and I just knew that doing more wouldn’t be great. I took my continuous 3.6km, had a wonderful time meeting Sheryne, and got a few photos and finisher medal. A good evening!
It was pretty cool running in the Tower moat. It makes you realise that living in London offers so many interesting things – not just culture but also for sports venues. I had a lot of fun with the run, and will definitely look into doing it again next year.
Now, onto the 100km Suffolk Sunrise ride. Thanks to @Brix2tri on Twitter, about 3 weeks ago I learned about the Suffolk Sunrise 100 ride. Riders had the choice to do a century ride – either metric or mile – starting in Woodbridge Suffolk as a loop around the Suffolk countryside . Brian and his wife Abby were doing the ride, and seeing as DH and I go to Suffolk as often as we can, I thought it would be a great chance to get on our bikes and feel what 100km feels like.
The ride itself was listed as a Category 4 ride – so on the easy side of the scale from 1 to 10. But one thing I always forget is how deceptive Suffolk is. It is stereotypical English countryside. Rolling land, river banks, close to the sea…
Suffolk is the land of Gainsborough…
It is land that gives a course designer plenty of opportunity to play with a rider’s mind. Especially riders expecting easy. Constantly undulating land. A lot different than a flat ride along the Thames in London!
We started off the morning at 6am, greeted by dark grey skies, cold temperatures, and a warm house that was hard to leave. We layered on our winter riding gear (thank goodness for my Altura tights and warm jacket, and Gore Windstopper gloves) and headed off to the start. We checked in at about 7.15 – I always get a bit nervous at check ins. My nerves make me do silly things. This event was no exception – I left my Nuun tabs in my pack in the car, and I managed to drop a glove in the loo… Sigh… But DH helped me to calm down, and told me that he would he stick with me on the course, which put my mind at ease (a bit). We filled our tires with air, I got my front brake adjusted, and then we were off.
The first 25km of the course was great fun – except for my feet. They got so cold I lost feeling in them. I wished I had shoe covers for the ride, but so much for preparation, who knew you would need them in May? We stopped and I had a tea and grabbed a cereal bar at the 25km mark. And let my toes defrost a bit.
Between 25 and 50km it pelted rain, with cold wind. Nothing like an English springtime ride, right?
By 50km I thought to myself – ok, now I am riding further than I have ever ridden before. When we hit 60km I though “just an Olympic distance ride left”. At 80km I thought “just a sprint distance ride left”. At 90km I though “holy cow I’ve just ridden a half ironman distance cycle!” And at 90km I also decided that the course designers were just plain old mean, as the undulation never ceased, including an honest climb at about 95km in… And they stuck a photographer at the top of the hill. Can’t wait to see that photo!
I went pretty slow – and DH stuck with me. It took about 5 hours for us to finish. At times I hit 35kph, but in general I hovered around the 23kph mark, slowing up considerably on the uphills. I have some work to do on leg strength, but I think my ability to hang in and finish is doing ok. My legs felt tired, my shoulder a bit sore, and my triceps ache… Who knew I would feel a long ride in my triceps? Another plus – my reconstructed elbow hung in there just fine (tight muscles around the scar but no pain, no instability!).
We finished and in truly spectacular idiot fashion I forgot I was on my good bike and jumped a curb into sand – and toppled right over. In front of the event photographer. What an idiot move. Thankfully me and the bike were fine. Ninja Face is definitely not Bertha the commuter bike who can handle all surfaces, that is for sure.
At this point I was dying for real food, but settled for a bacon roll and tea before the drive back into town (a two hour drive). We arrived at home, jumped into the shower (ah – warmth!), and then the bonk hit. An honest to goodness bonk. Shaking hands, cold body, and horrid low energy feeling. We were going to a late lunch just around the corner, at our favourite local restaurant (and London’s best place for all things meat). Thank goodness it is literally around the corner – I think I used up all of my energy getting there. We staggered into Hawksmoor and had a quick fresh bloody mary (nothing like fresh juice to stabilise the blood sugar – oh yeah and a little vodka too, although I’m not sure how good that is for recovery!). Our Sunday roast was just about as great of a meal as I have ever had. I didn’t get a picture – when it arrived I was just too hungry to bother about photos. Funny enough – I didn’t get a single photo of the ride either. Guess I was too focused on the work at hand!
And thus, Sunday ended. It was a good week – a full week. A week without true pain. Without undo suffering. A week full of memories (without many photos and without a medal that says 100).
I so wished for it to be Sunday again when I woke up to sunlight streaming through my curtains this morning. I still had so much to do… I really wanted to sleep for just a little longer. And I felt like a swim to stretch out… Just a little one…
Alas, it was Monday – the morning after a fantastic week before…