Not Dead Yet.


About half way around the Windermere marathon, as I was picking up the pace, I had a quick chat with another runner. I think I must have said that I’d done no hill training as he asked me how I was finding it. I replied “I’m not dead yet.” He seemed impressed with the answer.

I suppose it does express what it’s all about. You go as hard as you can, if you’re still going, you’re winning. The Iron distance tri mantra “run, walk, crawl, just don’t stop” says the same in a different way.

While I was away I managed an hour or so lake swim in my wetsuit. I’m not a natural swimmer. I struggle with it, I’m weak, and I have to overcome panic when I can’t see the bottom or I’m far out. I did get into fair rhythm at one point. I calmed my panic and was swimming quite well. Then I turned around and waves were crashing into my face and kept knocking me off course so I started to panic again. Wendy says some tourist boat had passed by and I was being buffeted by it’s wake. The good points to take from that swim is I am a lot more buoyant in  my wetsuit so swimming is easier, I can overcome the initial panic and my wetsuit didn’t unzip itself this time so I must have lost a bit of weight. Last race I had to dodge the Greenpeace boat that was trying to guide me back out to sea.

I reckon I can grind out the swim without too many problems, I’ve got the run down (well, the distance. It’s a whole other kettle of fish trying to run a marathon after the swim and 112 mile bike ride!) but I still hadn’t done any real distance riding. I’ve done a 40 mile and a 60 miles (in 3 hours 33). I took my bike to ride in the lakes but the roads were tiny and busy, I really didn’t fancy it. We got back off holiday and Wendy helpfully pointed out the race in a month and bit. PANIC!

I finally tracked down a simple route (straight down the A49) that wasn’t too busy and went for it today. 112 mile round trip to Shrewsbury. Home of some beastly hills. Though it turns out the worst one is at 90 miles. When your legs are screaming and you are wishing you were dead. So that was nice.

Strangely it was all quite enjoyable.

Apart from the last 60 or so miles which were pure hell. But apart from that, all enjoyable.

I managed it in 6 hours 29. Not great, but read above: one 40 miles ride and one 60 miles. The goal was to prove to myself I could do that distance.

The positives from the ride: it was way hillier than the Outlaw course and my tri suit (with anti chafing balm liberally applied) was actually still fairly comfy at the end. The last two Outlaws, (done wrongly) the saddle soreness was mortal agony by the end. There is hope. Oh, and I did it. That was a big question.

The negatives: it really hurt my knees. I had set my bike up the “proper” way but didn’t like it, so I moved the saddle higher and further forward. I may have to reset and see if that fixes it. My knees are throbbing now, five hours later, after ibuprofen and ibuprofen gel on them. Not good.

Doctor Google says it could be my cleats (the things that clip your shoes to the pedals) being misaligned. If your foot is twisted it’s putting unnatural pressure on your knee. That would make sense.

I’ve booked 4 random days off between now and the race. I’ll do that ride each time. Next time with a run afterwards. I was slack today. I limped in, got biscuits and a shower and lay down for half an hour.

In other news, Wendy did a ton of driving in the Lakes. I said if she could drive around there she’d find Warrington a doddle. She went out for a lesson yesterday and the instructor was totally impressed with her. Said she’s test ready.  Which I said a month ago, but then, I’m not being paid £25 and hour for not passing her. When we got back I put Wendy’s Mini through the MOT, passed with an advisory for a chip in the windscreen which we already knew about. That was a relief. I was still wondering if it was wrecked in some way, but no, seems fine. 

Right, I’m going to bed, hopefully I’ll be less hurty in the morning.



PS, Day after, my right knee is still a bit sore. This would lend weight to the cleats theory. Also I’ve noticed the cycling shoes I bought, after trying different sizes on, are 42.5 about a UK 8.5, I’m only a 40.5, UK 6.5, in running shoes. And they have to be dead right size. This doesn’t help with correct cleat positioning. I’ve ordered a wide fit pair in my actual size. Weird.

I went for a run today to try to shake my legs off. The first two miles were so bad I thought I was going to have to quit. I was doing 9.15 m/m and even that was killing me. Luckily I got into a rhythm in the third mile and kept it up for another 2. Then I turned around and started getting a bit quicker, getting it into the slightly less shameful 8.40’s. The last mile I was determined not to let it drop off so I gritted my teeth and pushed on. Then I noticed I was running at 7.24 pace! I pushed on a lot harder. I managed to finish the mile in 7.04! I am made up with that given the first two miles.