“I’m having fun!”

I’m on the grass, soaking up some sun as the birds are tweeting and the bees humming in the background. Besides early mornings, this wonderful silence is quite rare at Tri-topia. Splashing in the pool, kids playing, parents chatting, plates crashing and bread crunching. The daily chaos at Tri-topia doesn’t always allow for much time to sit down. The guests headed off to a river after this mornings track session, leaving us behind with some quiet time! This isn’t to say we don’t love our guests of course… 😉

I’ve calmed down from my runner’s high but still feel that lovely sense of satisfaction. My track session went well, one of the best ones yet even with the progression of decreasing rest time in between efforts. Even after having done my last BIG session just the day before yesterday. There have been ups and downs, good and bad sessions, but in preparation for my upcoming race I’m going to focus mainly on the positives, to remind myself we’ve done the work and I’ve come a long way. No need for doubts, time to build confidence and excitement to get me a new 70.3 PB!

My running has come along really well, with one seemingly break-through week where it all came together. The first run session that week was 17x 1km reps at 3:45 pace. It was a progression from the previous week, where we did 16 of them with 60 sec rest. This time we added another and decreased the rest to 45 seconds. Whereas last time I suffered to keep the pace towards the end (okay, also due to the heat, which affected even this camel that day), my effort was steady all the way and my legs felt like they could carry on forever! What a nice feeling that is… It was a relief to get in a good session that afternoon, as the pre-breakfast 20x200m wasn’t as big of a success. We’d done this session before and I knew what times I should be able to hit, but nothing seemed to work. I left the pool angry and frustrated, doubting myself and my abilities. Luckily Lee knows how to calm me down and I was ready to smash out a good run session.

Two days later was our track session, which is focused on 5k dream pace. Again, my legs are lungs were working well together and I flew my way through the session, ending with a 1k straight in a pb time. It was great to see some of our guests join in, with some speedy youngsters whom I will be looking out for in the future!

This day was followed by a hectic change over as well as a rest day. For those who know me, I’m hard to be around on rest days! Luckily I was able to head off to do some mega shopping with Lee, keeping my mind occupied for the time being. We welcomed the new guests and prepared ourselves for another busy week!

On Monday Lee had a TT planned for us around the Angles-sur-Anglin loop, which added up to about 33km. After this effort we got to do a quick 4x 1km run to try out the legs, which were turning over faster than I could control. A new Tri-topia Angles TT record and a good session! The next day included an absolute smash fest on the turbo trainer, where I had trouble keeping the watts up. Luckily our swim was just a recovery, as the day after was going to be a biggy!
Wednesday was a training day I’d really been looking forward to. I finally got to do the “yellow-pink half marathon loop” again. Aim for a 4:10 pace if it feels doable.
Coach, “If you feel really good, push a bit harder but don’t dig in. I don’t want you to have a suffer fest.” Okay. The first 5k took just over 20min, and I could tell it was going to be a good run. Lee surprised me on the way and had driven to roughly the 10k mark, where I was well into my runner’s high, with a big grin on my face as I updated him on my pace so far. I shouted out my now famous words of “I’m having fun!” and carried on. I got a bit excited in the last km as I could see the end, and sped up a little but remembered not to dig in. I stopped my watch as the distance read 21.1 and was pleased with a sub 1.25 and a new training pb of a 4:01min/k pace. This pace on a course which is anything but flat, without having to dig in is a big improvement for me! Happy days! On top of that the well-known 20x200m swim arrived the same afternoon, and I was surprised to be coming in before target times all the way through. Probably one of my most successful training days if you ask me.

Many people would probably look forward to rest and recovery the following day, but when I saw that the only thing on my plan was a 30min easy swim, I had a near panic and consulted coach. He allowed me to go ‘play’ with Lucy on a long ride as long as I didn’t push it. OKAY!! ☺

13932311_998200810278874_978439715_oThe following day we took our guests to the 10 mile TT. I was nervous, but pumped up to get a pb, trying out our new 3Peaks Coaching kit and at least looking the part. And yes, I managed to take 2 whole seconds off my pb. I’ll take that!

The following day it was not much of a surprise that the track session didn’t come too easy. I knew I hadn’t fueled properly for it as the timing had been a bit off that day. I was out of energy and tired from the previous days of training. I managed to hit the times but not with the usual enthousiasm. Fingers crossed I would be flying around the track again next week.

This brings us to this week’s training, where Tuesday was my last biggy as mentioned earlier. Lee had set Lucy, Porridge and I off to do the Angles 33km TT again, but three times. He’d set us all target times to aim for, and mine was to get it 3x under the hour. This is one session Lee had attempted a couple of times when he was training for 70.3 and full, but admitted to never having succeeded on the third one. Although we weren’t too keen on doing this loop three times due to the difficulty of keeping up a good pace through some of the towns and ‘hills’, we were ready to give it our best shot. Coming in over 2min early on both the first and second loop, I was determined to ‘beat Lee’ and hit the last one too. I came in a good 90 seconds faster than target time once more where Lee was waiting for me.
Coach: “Okay give me your bike, here are your running shoes.”
Me: “Uhm, okay. Where am I running and how fast?”
Coach: “Just start running pink route at race pace. Gel every 20min.”

Lee sometimes likes to surprise us with sessions like these, though I’m getting better at reading him and predicting the unknown! Hence I wasn’t surprised that he’d brought my running shoes. I’d actually considered putting my running shows on the table for him as a joke. He also wasn’t going to tell me how far I was having to go, but once he’d said “Gel every 20min” I figured that would mean at least two gels, so at least an hours’ run. Okay just go. The first 3km were a suffer fest as I struggled with my breathing thanks to the pollen in the air. Doubts, frustration, worry. I nearly stopped at one point, but thankfully my legs kept going. I considered stopping again, but I knew Lee was meeting me after 20min, which meant it would be forever until someone had found me and I was at least 5km from home. Nope, logistically not even a good option. Just carry on. I calmed myself down and got into a decent pace. I saw Lee again and managed a smile. The mind is such an interesting thing. Lee passed me again to get to the next ‘aid station’ and shouted some words of encouragement, “Even though you might be feeling terrible on the inside, you’re looking amazing from the outside!” Nice one, Lee. He drove up beside me again a few kilomters later with his camera in hand, “You havin’ fun yet? Tell you’re parents how much fun you’re having!”. Two thumbs up, a smile, and a “Mom and Dad, I’m having fun!”. Lee finally opened up his arms to catch me after an hour of running, with a face of pride and satisfaction. Even though the pace was slightly off, he was happy that I managed to pull myself together after my looks of doubt in the first few kilometers. With the difficulty for me to be pleased with a session like that, it was nice to hear his enthusiasm about how the session went.

13950584_999321063500182_1199214940_oThe next day was a hard swim, which all went okay until the last quarter of it, where the accumulated fatigue really kicked in. The rest of the day was easy, and it was our night off. Lucy and I decided to go on a picnic adventure, combining our optional easy recovery cycle with a yummy dinner and a ‘wild night out’. The legs felt extremely heavy on every hill and we were glad to make it to our picnic stop. On the way back we heard some music in Concremiers, which is extremely rare in these ghost towns. “Let’s go see!” We ended up listening to a mini band consisting of woodwinds and a set of drums and dressed in… well, white robes and zebra-striped under skirts. Oh the adventures of evening cycles with Lucy..!

We jumped out of the caravan this morning both heavy legged and a bit worried what this may mean for the planned track session. Our worries were unnecessary though, as we all smashed out some good times in our individual sessions. For me this meant same splits, even less rest, strong form and a good feeling! I’m off to change into my swimming costume now, with a super hard speed set waiting for us. Good thing Porridge and Prancer will be in the pool for the same session.

Team 3Peaks AKA Lee's Angels

Team 3Peaks AKA Lee’s Angels