Quiet As A Docile Cat.

I started to write this yesterday, but it turned into a long and boring (to everyone who’s not me) post about triathlon.

The main reason I set to writing was to take my new keyboard for a test ride. The old one, after years of faithful service, decided it couldn’t endure one more blog post so took the easy way out. I was looking at what possible differences there were between an £18 keyboard and a £40 one. Coloured back lighting and such. Huh. That’s exactly what I look for in a keyboard, disco lighting. Then I saw this for one of the cheaper ones:

Come on, what’s not to love? So I got it. To be honest, the docile cat in question was probably playing with a stiff Rubik’s cube when they made the comparison. It’s a bit clicky. But it really suits my typing for some reason, so all good.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Partly because of trying to get comfy with an awkward shoulder, I expect, but also I just can’t get my temperature right. With the window open on a -5C night, the very lightest tog summer duvet I could find (about 2.5 tog, I think) still bakes me. And if I use blankets instead they leave my knees cold. I think it’s the man-opause. Yesterday I had less than 4 hours sleep, then I was up until midnight, up again today at 05.40. I was sick with tiredness. I stayed up until Wendy went to work then managed to get 3 hours on the couch, so I’m feeling good now. I hope when I get back to work, and can lay on my side, this will quickly sort itself out.

My shoulder is progressing apace. I’m still pretty confident I’ll get signed fit for work on the 10th. After Wendy saying to make a claim I’m now getting ESA (Employment Support Allowance, I think) so that’s £74 per week. It’s been so long since I was out of work I’d forgotten you can claim.

I’ve been burning through a whole bunch of books. That’s one good thing about the enforced downtime, getting lost in a good read. That will stop when I get back to work, sadly. I won’t have the hours to dedicate to it once I’m working and training.

Which brings me to my musings of last night. I’ll sum it up. I’ve had time to research some stuff. I found some lists of individual discipline times for a (benchmark) sub 10 hour triathlon.

Swim 1.05 (mine is about 1.42), bike 5.15 (I’m 6.45) run 3.30 (I’m 4.18).

I know I’ve said I wanted to go sub 10 before, but then I thought if I kept training it would just happen. Now I know that’s not the case, you have to make it happen. And Trainer Road have shown me how. Specifically the bike. For years I was commuting 22 miles a day. Always trying to push a little bit every ride. And every race I was getting roughly the same times. It’s obvious, in retrospect. You put the same effort in, you get the same results out. Trainer Road haven’t been doing that. They tested me, set the training to my feeble abilities, then pushed me. First to build a base, then to raise my power and stamina. Today, after about 10 weeks they’ve finally decided I’m ready to improve my VO2 max. Volume of Oxygen you can use. Which is the limit to how hard you can possibly work without running out of oxygen. Their algorithm is a work of evil genius. It was 3 minute blocks of 120% of my max power. Anyone can do that for 3 minutes, right? By the second or third go I was having to fight panic for 40 seconds after each block as my body was sure I couldn’t breathe. I had run out of oxygen and no matter how hard or fast I breathed I couldn’t get enough. Horrible feeling. I’m guessing that must be what asthma and waterboarding feels like. My point is, they know *exactly* how much you can manage in 3 minutes and they demand every single bit of it. This is how you improve.

Anyway, I said I was trying to keep this brief and I’ve digressed into detail. My point was: if I can apply the same principle to running and swimming (get a plan, be disciplined and consistent, accept it’s going to be hard) I reckon I can do this. I’ve only got to raise my bike speed from an average of 17mph to an 22mph for a 5 hours 15 race. OK, that’s a third, but I’ve already improved by 12% in 6 weeks. I’ve got 18 months. So if I can smash the bike leg in relative comfort, that will leave my legs fresh for my strength which is the marathon.

As ever, it’s the swim that seems insurmountable. But apply the method. Go long. Short sprints. Get my form right. I’ll still have over a year when my shoulder is healed and the pools re-open. With consistency it’s possible.

Obviously when I’m working it will make it more of a challenge.

That was where I was up to last night. Buzzing about the possibilities and committed to the challenge. Then I got up at 0540 and I was feeling sick and I’d lost all my mojo. Even after the nap I was thinking about skipping my training for today. I got a grip and did that beasting I said about above. Wow. Then, while I was warmed up and the snow and ice has cleared I went out for a test run. I’ve got a new sling. It fastens your arm in the sling and around your waist to stop any movement. The great news is I managed it without hurting my shoulder or injuring my recovery foot. I’m really hoping I can gently ease back into running now.

My sister wasn’t understanding.

The Twitter runners understood.

I feel great. It was a horrible day, my mojo was gone, I was feeling tired and sad and defeated. Then I turned it around and it’s the best day in ages.

Now to rest my foot and make sure it’s all good before I venture out again.

A bit of Twitter and I’m out of here.

Laurence Fox was being a reactionary troll. Again. So I photoshopped his picture. This only works if you’re familiar with The Princess Bride film, but it’s an internet staple, so many people got it.

A clever idea from a French bookshop:

People got involved. Some more convincing than others.

The North West had weather.

Warrington as taken by Wendy’s cousin.

Flooded engine down the road from us.

Chorley. Look at the building on the right.

Possibly Wigan.

America said goodbye to the orange Hitler.

And Bernie Sanders turned up to the inauguration of Biden in some sensible mittens he’d been given, sparking an internet meme.

Someone actually crotched this.

The new lad didn’t waste any time. Day one:

Of course we still have Boris the Butcher. Over a thousand people a day dying from Covid in the UK now. The worst in the world.

And then there’s random twitter.