Running around with iron depletion makes you tired, miserable and emotional…. who knew? I do now (as do those around me ha!)
After the sombre tone of my last blog it’s great to be feeling more upbeat. A two week training break to fully recharge my body and soul has worked it’s magic. I’ve come to terms with withdrawing from the bucket list race Challenge Roth and restructured my season to peak later. My revised race plan is looking like this:
26/07 Challenge Poznan (half)
01/08 National 25mile TT
23/08 Ironman Copenhagen
05/09 National 10mile TT
13/09 National closed circuit champs TT
04/10 Ironman Barcelona
Back with a bang….
At the end of my first full week back training I decided to ride the National 100 mile time trial champs. Maybe I was a little optimistic when I initially entered it 3 weeks ago but by the time race day rolled around I was really glad I had. I’d been feeling buoyant all week leading into the race and started to get the sense of my “old self” back. Even so I was aware that so early into the rebuilding process I had to manage my expectations and keep my effort levels in check so I didn’t put myself back to square one. My sole goal for the race was simple – to enjoy riding my bike. However being an analytical person I had a benchmark time in mind, around 4hrs20min depending on the course and race day conditions.
Race day dawned with a little lull in the temperatures we’d become accustomed to over the past couple of weeks and riding down to the start I was actually a bit chilly. I didn’t have time for a course recce but as it was a lapped course I figured I’d use the first lap to do that and then readjust my pacing if need be. The course was pretty straight-forward, mostly straight dual carriageway and some rolling B roads to break the monotony and engage different muscles. I set out strong but controlled then settled into a rhythm for the first half. Watching my garmin I was amused to ride the first 10miles faster than a standalone 10mile TT I raced just a few weeks ago in the depths of my fatigue. I couldn’t believe it, I was hardly breathing, my legs felt great and was really enjoying the ride. Feeding every 15mins alternating Powerbar hydrogel and sips of isomax drink kept me busy and before I knew it I’d passed halfway in 2:08, comfortably inside my initial goal time of 4hr 20min. I started asking myself some questions…
Are you pushing hard enough?
Do your legs have more to give?
Are you holding optimal aero position?
Are you pedaling as efficiently as possible?
And so on….
I raised the effort level a notch while trying to concentrate on the tips gleaned from my drag2zero windtunnel session during the off-season to make myself as aero as possible. The combination of the two meant I closed the second 50miles in 2:03 to ride a totally untroubled 4hrs11min for the 100.5 mile course hitting it totally out of the ballpark. And yes, after riding 100 miles that extra half mile IS significant because it almost screwed with my 24mph average. Not obsessive at all… Another bonus is that my time was good enough to place me 6th overall, another top 10 finish at National time trial champs under my belt.
What’s funny is that 6 weeks ago, just before I tested for iron depletion, I rode a totally exhausted 25mile TT after which I crawled home and slept for a week. On Sunday I beat that 25mile seasons best 4 times in a row and happily pulled on my running shoes for a brick run off the bike.
Massive lesson to me about the importance of keeping your engine topped up with the right fuel. And a timely reminder to keep on top of my InDurance blood profiling tests going forward.
Feeling fit and healthy is so much more fun.
In other news I’ve been excitedly working on my new website www.vickstertri.com to be launched soon. Watch this space!