Marathon des Sables 2013

Marathon des Sables 2013

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Post Ironman blues

For the last couple of weeks I been going out for some runs.  No schedule has been set yet I'm gently reintroducing my body to exercise although I'm looking forward to get back into a routine, but not yet.  I tweaked a muscle in my shoulder a few weeks back which means swimming and yoga are out just now and I'm not fit enough to go cycling with the group.  I'm setting my turbo trainer up so I can increase my fitness without the pressure of keeping up with my pals.  The good thing about the winter months is this is where the hard work is done.
Yesterday I went out for a run with my coach Genevieve and we were out for just over an hour.  But it was "a game of two halves" as they say in football.  In the first half I ran at the same pace that I had for 10km the following week - but I forgot to take into account this was hilly whereas the previous week had been flat.  The second half wasn't much fun and my heart rate monitor was saying I was at 195 bpm which isn't possible as I could still talk!  But we walked a few parts to let me recover and it showed me just how much work I need to do to get back to a reasonable level of fitness.  But as Genevieve said it was a poor good run and it would take a couple of them before I became more comfortable - certainly it put me one step closer to my goal than sitting on the couch would have done!  Everyone says I am "looking better" with my weight back to 156 lbs although I'm not so happy carrying that around with me!
To summarise I am returning to exercise slowly.  I don't feel motivated despite aiming for a half-ironman (I retired from full ironman) in May next year followed by the Grand Canyon in September.  Most people go through post Ironman blues and I've been here before so I'm not concerned about my lack of desire to be back to training 5/6 days per week.  That will happen within the next 4 weeks and that is a promise!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Green light - 382 days to go

 
Here we go again!  The button has been pushed and my registration for Grand 2 Grand Ultra has been accepted.  All I need to do is send the deposit and in 382 days I will be starting the adventure of a lifetime with one of my great MdS buddies, Steve Drake.  If you wonder why I'm putting myself through this then check the video out http://www.g2gultra.com/home . 
In my opinion, life starts outside your comfort zone (the exceptions being your family & friends) .  We spend too much of our life in a "safe" environment leaning over a laptop or pushing a pen.  My adventures to date have pushed me hard and while the last Ironman was extremely painful this was due to the effects of an infection.  6 weeks out as was so fit and looking to kill it on the day but sh1t happens.  I was still very happy to have raised £6,200 for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres and achieved a significant PB of 11 hours 50 minutes but know my time could have been so much better - I've got more in me.
Living in the Grand Canyon will be such a privilege and if it's anything like MdS it will be life changing.  Leaving aside the snakes, spiders and scorpions, running at altitude will be a real test but sleeping in the canyon will be amazing.
But before I get carried away thinking about the race, there is a lot of hard work to be done before I stand with Steve on the start line in 382 days time.  First of all I have to contend with a permanently injured foot.  I am receiving treatment to ease the pain but funnily enough the time it doesn't hurt so much is when I'm running!  Walking in business shoes is challenging and I may start to wear my training shoes with orthotics going forward.  My light unscheduled training continues but within the next 4 weeks my training plan will be sorted.  I hope you follow me on this latest adventure.  Good luck to the runners in the 2016 event which starts in 19 days time.

Green light - 382 days to go

 
Here we go again!  The button has been pushed and my registration for Grand 2 Grand Ultra has been accepted.  All I need to do is send the deposit and in 382 days I will be starting the adventure of a lifetime with one of my great MdS buddies, Steve Drake.  If you wonder why I'm putting myself through this then check the video out http://www.g2gultra.com/home . 
In my opinion, life starts outside your comfort zone (the exceptions being your family & friends) .  We spend too much of our life in a "safe" environment leaning over a laptop or pushing a pen.  My adventures to date have pushed me hard and while the last Ironman was extremely painful this was due to the effects of an infection.  6 weeks out as was so fit and looking to kill it on the day but sh1t happens.  I was still very happy to have raised £6,200 for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres and achieved a significant PB of 11 hours 50 minutes but know my time could have been so much better - I've got more in me.
Living in the Grand Canyon will be such a privilege and if it's anything like MdS it will be life changing.  Leaving aside the snakes, spiders and scorpions, running at altitude will be a real test but sleeping in the canyon will be amazing.
But before I get carried away thinking about the race, there is a lot of hard work to be done before I stand with Steve on the start line in 382 days time.  First of all I have to contend with a permanently injured foot.  I am receiving treatment to ease the pain but funnily enough the time it doesn't hurt so much is when I'm running!  Walking in business shoes is challenging and I may start to wear my training shoes with orthotics going forward.  My light unscheduled training continues but within the next 4 weeks my training plan will be sorted.  I hope you follow me on this latest adventure.  Good luck to the runners in the 2016 event which starts in 19 days time.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Run, fatboy run!

I'm feeling a bit like Simon Pegg in the film Run, fatboy run at the moment.  We've just come back from 4 days of indulgence (gold medal standard) in Budapest and when I stepped on the scales this morning I was 155 lbs!  Now I can hear some of my friends saying give me a break, that's not fat but for me it's starting to look a bit chubby.  That's 11 llbs heavier than when I lined up on the start line for IM almost 2 months ago and it means I'll be carrying this extra junk when I go out for a run later today.  But I did promise myself this 2 month rest and it's now coming to an end!
I've just registered for my 2017 "A" race www.g2gultra.com so fingers crossed I get in. I'm starting my light training now to get my body back into shape and will be doing everything possible to avoid injury including more regular yoga.
On holiday we did a 90 minute yoga class and the instructor apologised to my wife afterwards saying she hope she hadn't killed me!  Just breathe she kept telling me - believe me I was trying!  Lots of work to be done here as this will help my breathing, flexibility and strength all of which will be essential for a 6 stage 170 mile race through the Grand Canyon in a year time.
A wee trip tomorrow to my chiropractor to sort a tweak in my back and hopefully I'll be good to go.  I've enjoyed the break but can see if I don't get back to regular exercise and keep eating as though I'm training, I'll soon be a "chunky monkey" which is not the desired outcome.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Weekend warriors

The Rio Olympics are in full flow and after the negative build up over facilities not being ready, poor crowds and doping athletes the real action is getting to the medal stages.  These finely tuned career athletes have put in at least 8 years hard graft to get to this level and made an amazing sacrifice to represent GB in Rio.  They have a support team of trainers, physio's, nutritionists etc giving them the best chance of bringing home the medals.  Not everyone does but just representing your country at the Olympics is an amazing achievement in it's own right.
For us weekend warriors we can only dream what it must be like to be on the start line of the Olympics.  But when I listen to the interviews and the athlete's saying "we've worked so hard to be here today; the early morning starts in the winter, training in the snow and rain", I think to myself we're not so different in that way.  Training for an Ironman takes 9 months of hard graft 6 days a week, while holding down a fulltime job and having no support team.  Getting ready for the Grand Canyon will take a years training and during that time I have a business to run and a family to support. 
Yesterday I was at the ATHelite Triathlon Club BBQ and I was looking round at all the successful weekend warriors.  From sprint triathlons to ironman, ultra duathlons to ultra marathons we'd done them all.  It made feel very privileged to be part of this friendly, fit group of individuals who encourage and cajole each other to bigger or faster challenges.  The Olympics may be the pinnacle of an athlete's career but let us salute the weekend warriors that hold down jobs, train in every spare moment to line up on a start line that won't be featured on the BBC but the result is every bit as important to them as a gold medal.  Weekend warriors - we ROCK!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Slow road back

When you've given everything for your "A race" it's not easy to get back to training especially when you are being careful and recovering properly.  It's now 5 weeks and I've started to adventure back out.  On Wednesday last week I went for my 2nd run but I had to force myself out of the door - mentally I didn't want to go through the pain.  The good news is my heart rate fell from the previous run and I didn't suffer the DOMS in the following two days.
I was away in London the next two days but on Saturday went out on my bike.  That was a lot tougher than I thought it would be.  My heart rate was racing and I was struggling with my breath on the hills.  Fortunately I met a pal who dragged me home for the 2nd half of the ride but in total it was only 1.5 hours!
This tells me my body is still fatigued but that I also need to get back into a regular training programme.  On Sunday morning I attended a new yoga class for an hour.  It was tough but in a good way.  I think my body really appreciated the workout and this is definitely going to be part of my training to get me ready for the Grand Canyon in 2017 www.g2gultra.com .
Come September I will have a training plan scoped out as this is when I work best.  Having goals written down and monitored by a third party who I am accountable to gets the best out of me but for now I'll ease my way back into training.  And before I forget how to swim, I'll be getting back into a loch while the water is warm enough and back this up with some pool training.  It will be a slow road back but improving my strength and flexibility is a priority and will help reduce my chances of injury.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Being a sloth

Exactly 4 weeks ago today I was finishing off Ironman Frankfurt doing an impersonation of Quasimodo for the last 13 miles of the marathon.  I was in extreme pain as the muscles in my back had gone into spasm.  But I got through it with the mantra "the pain of failure would be worse than the pain I was suffering".  At the same time I was determined to finish my final ironman on a high and in the end I raised more than £6,000 for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres so a big thank you to everyone who supported me.  It really helps having a reason that drives you to give your all.
The next step in the journey is the recovery; both physical and mental.  I had a plan with my coach to do nothing for 2 weeks except some light yoga and I stuck to that.  The following week I went out on my bike but it was a windy day and my legs felt like lead weights so 30 mins was enough.  Then I headed off to Portugal for a weeks holiday with the family.  The temperature was in the mid 30s so I rested the whole week not wanting to push my body which was still fatigued.  Even been back four days I'm still tired.
On Friday I went out for a 30 minute run and loved every minute of it.  I didn't push the pace I just ran.  I had a quick look at my stats and my higher than normal heart rate showed I've lost some fitness and shouldn't be rushing back.  Yoga the following day gave my tired legs a stretch but other than that  I've been resting.  I'm really turning into a sloth!
Mentally the "ironman blues" haven't set in yet and hopefully with next year's target already set and my training plan about to start again, I can skip that stage.  I've got a focus and this "time out" is all part of the master plan.
I've put on some of the lost weight and I tried on my suit which I'll be wearing to work tomorrow and it fits better so that's a good sign.  My appetite is certainly not sloth like as I am eating as though I was training but I don't take 1 month to eat a meal which sloths sometime do.  After 10 months of training 6 days a week I think taking my time in coming back will best best for my physical and mental state.
My blog is entitled "Derek Mission Ironman" and when I stated it 7 years ago my aim was to complete an ironman which I thought almost impossible.  Despite now having completed 3 ironman events and other extreme ultra events like Marathon des Sables, I'm going to keep the blog title to remind me of where this journey started.  The next chapter is about to begin.  Bring on the Grand Canyon September 2017.