Race Report – Köln226 – my first long distance Tri

Finally it was time for the big race of the year, my first Iron distance race, Köln226.  Me and Katja arrived in Köln on Saturday afternoon with the weather wet, cool and windy.  I had to meet up with Christian Hafner pretty quickly, so we could check in our bikes at fühlinger see.  I cycled over and met him outside his hotel next to T2 and we went to the start.  After picking up my start numbers and chip, I checked my bike it in the absolutely torrential rain, not good for the bike, or the roads the morning after.

On the morning of the race I had a breakfast of croissants and bread after getting up at 4:20am. I slept surprisingly well!  There was a shuttle bus from town to the start (it wasn't very full when I got on – see below), I got the 05:20 bus and was at the start in good time.

The mass start time was 7:05 and at about 6:50 I was in my wetsuit and ready to go, the water temperature was pretty nice and comfortable.  The countdown started, and we were off!  The swim is in a rowing lake, with lane markers that are one metre underwater, perfect for staying on course!  I found the line after about 200m and stuck to it like glue!   I was pretty tentative in the swim, as I have never swum 3.8km before, so I kept it steady and ticked off the 250m markers as they came and went.  I had a peeing plan, which was to do breaststroke near the end to allow me to pee, then start to crawl again.  In Hannover I wasn't able to pee whilst crawling, so this seemed like a way to save a toilet stop early on the bike.  I was surprised after 1k that I could crawl and pee at the same time!  Soon enough I was at the turn, I looked at my watch and it showed 37:11, not bad, not great.  There were no lane markers on the way back, so I stayed near a group and pretty uneventfully got to the end, with an empty bladder too!  My end time was 1:16:xx, about what I expected, but not a dream time.

I ran through T1 and found my bike.  Everything went smoothly until I realised that my cycling glasses weren't there.  It isn't too important, but not ideal either.  I started cycling, hoping to hold about 220w for the ride, except that my fxxking piece of sh!t power meter from 4iiii decided not to work, today of all days.  It is the ONLY reason I bought the power meter, so they will be getting a nice email from me.  I quickly decided that 140bpm heart rate would have to suffice, so I set off.  The first 15km are into Köln, then there are 3 loops of just over 55km.  The start was a bit chilly, but I settled into a rhythm, with a slight tail wind.  The turn around in Köln was quite technical and cost a bit of time, then on the way out the head wind was more noticeable.  I was riding behind someone who had passed me, a comfortable 12m behind him when a motorbike ref came to me and said I needed to watch out as I was borderline drafting… I really don't think I was!  The next 60km or so went well, but after 100km my ass, that I had forgotten to butter up, was hurting quite a lot.  Even worse were my triceps, they were agony every time I moved in aero-position.  The road surface wasn't very good either, so every bump hurt 2 body parts a lot!  With my average speed dropping, the last loop out of Köln against a strong wind was pretty bad, I had to sit up due to my arms, so survival was the name of the game.  I was behind someone again a bit later having caught them, I sat in again well back, when a ref came again and gave the guy in front of me a black card i.e. a 5 minute penalty.  He was at least 6 metres behind, not exactly on the wheel of the guy in front.  The ref then came to me and said I was borderline, I said I would be careful.  The ref came past again 5 mins later, when I was well clear of everyone, and again 5 mins later, giving me the thumbs up!

The last part of the ride after T1 was filled with middle distance riders.  I was trying to be careful to stay well away from slipstreams, but the roads were now very full.  I had to brake a few times, and had no more issues getting to the end, though I saw some real packs of riders in the other direction.

Now I hadn't peed since the swim, so knew that I had to go in T2.  I got in after riding 186.5km according to my garmin, and after nearly 7 hours total time, well behind goal schedule.  After a quick change, I went straight to the portaloo, sorted out everything, and set off on the run.  I knew that it was going to be bad, but after 1km I looked any my purposely slow pace was 4:30/km, far too fast.  I tried to slow, but failed!  I decided that I should make hay whilst the sun was shining, so carried on.  Soon enough my pace drifted to 4:45, 5:00, 5:15 and slower.  After 10km I was slowing and getting worried, there was still 32km to go, and who knows how low my pace would fall, maybe I would have to walk the rest! That'd take 6 hours!  I kept on plodding, walking to get drinks at almost everyone of the very frequent drink stations.  My pace was still slowing, but the rate of slowing was falling, I seemed able to hold faster than 6m/km even though I was feeling awful.  The 2nd loop was like purgatory, the 1st loop took 1:12, the 2nd 1:25, pretty much 1 min per km slower.  On the last lap at least I knew that I was on the home straight, after getting over the bridge I looked and saw that a 60 minute 10km would get me an 11h finish time, but I also knew that it wouldn't happen.  I kept plodding, not really feeling any worse than after 20km.  I started to think that my pace was near irrelevant, as with 7km to go, even running at 7mins/km instead of 6 would cost me pretty much nothing.  I won't lie, beating Jochen's time from last year was a goal, but with 5km to go, I knew that was a shoe-in.  With 3.5km to go, I saw Katja making the turn for the half marathon, I shouted for her to come back for a kiss, then sent her on her way, I knew I couldn't even nearly keep pace.

After the spiral staircase and slight uphill over the bridge, I knew it was all over bar the shouting.  I enjoyed the last 500m, fist pumping and just so happy that it was over!  I got over the line in just under 11:07.

After the race I felt a bit sore, my knees were hurting, my triceps were incredibly painful and I was very tired, but generally I felt better than I had feared I would!  Even though I didn't break 11h, as was my goal, I am putting it down as goal achieved, especially as I would have broken 11h if the bike hadn't been extended by 6.5km!

I am not sure that I will be rushing to do my next ironman.  Something that I thought about during the run was that I struggle to run well off the bike.  That obviously is made worse after longer bikes, with longer runs to follow. Until that problem is solved, I don't think Ironmans should be my main concern!  I will definitely (quote me on that) NOT do a long distance in 2016, who knows what 2017 and onwards will bring, but it isn't a dream of mine to do a second ironman!

So that's that. Project 2015 is over.  It has been a long hard year. I really think that a not extremely hot ironman in late July would have been about perfect for me.  I think I over-cooked it a little at the end, and stated to lose fitness and the will to train, just as I should have been ready to go.  That also corresponded to me not doing my weekly updates, that was partially due to work getting really busy, but also due to constant tiredness and the stress of needing to get out to train all the time.  I think my need to hit my weekly goals might actually have been a bad thing, I would cycle an extra few hours when I was exhausted, instead of resting and getting in more quality.  The next updates will be my next races, let's see how I feel after a bit of rest and recuperation time..

Weeks 31 and 32

Sup y'all, so I was really busy last week so didn't get a chance to write my weeks review.  It was an easier week anyway, ending in the Erich Fill Triathlon, so I will cover it in a few sentences. I swam a 3.5km on Tuesday evening along with 2.5km on Saturday and 1.1km on Sunday, so 7.1km for the week, not bad. I had monday as my rest day and ran 11.5km on Wednesday and Thursday. On friday I rode 59km, my legs felt great having not ridden for 5 days, so I was ready for the Tri on Sunday.

Running 33km (1344.1km YTD)
Cycling 96km (5420km YTD)
Swimming 7.1km (109,45km YTD)

So on to last week. On Monday I ran 11.5km again, I wanted to run quite slow after my fast '10k' the day before, but it ended up at 4:53/km so not dead slow.. On Tuesday I went to the gym and did my old school 7x1km intervals on the treadmill.  I did the intervals at 15km/h with the last one being 1.5km with increasing speed up to 16km/h.  It felt pretty good to be honest, it made me feel like I haven't lost too much run fitness since spring. I did some strength work too, mainly legs but abs, triceps and chest too.
On Wednesday I couldn't really be bothered to do anything, and just about binned training, but finally got out for 34km on my road bike.  On Thursday I swam 2.7km before going to the pub quiz, I wish I had time to do more, but I didn't 🙁

Friday I cycled 58km to wörrstadt and around to Wallertheim and back.  When I was in Stadecken Elsheim I looked to my left and saw Jochen, then quickly noticed that he was bandaged, and next to a car with a broken window!  Apparently he had crashed into the back on the car after a downhill, but wasn't badly injured, just a few cuts.  I hung around until he left in an ambulance, made me think though.

On Saturday I set off early to cycle to Heidelberg.  Its about 100km away, so I found 2 GPSs and started following the line! It was pretty good with only a few slightly gravelly parts.  Last time I cycled to mannheim it was a nightmare getting through Ludwigshafen, this time was a piece of cake!  Speaking of cake, when I got to Heidelberg, I stopped to get a coffee only to find they didn't have any cake, or anything to eat at all actually 🙁  I only stayed for about 20 mins, before heading back on the Hessen side of the Rhein.  The wind was a bit all over the place, but I the Ks clicked away quickly and even after 180km I felt fine.  By the time I got home, I had 195km on the clock at just over 31km/h, I could have gone faster if the track had been smoother, but that's not the point anyway, it was a good long training ride.

On Sunday it was hot, so I decided to run my long run late in the day.  I went out at about 19:30, but had so many problems with my stomach that it was pretty pointless.  I had to stop for "comfort breaks" so often that it was becoming a joke.  I ended up doing a hilly 14km and calling it a day, and a week.

It ended up not being a stellar week, but I did hit 2 of my 3 key workouts, i.e. running intervals and long cycle.  If my stomach had let me I would have done the long run to hit the trifecta, but it wasn't meant to be.  Next week is just another training week, I will try to step it up a level, but the weather looks hot, hot, hot, so swimming and running will be bad. Let's see what I manage.

Running 36.1km (1380,2km YTD)
Cycling 288.1km (5708,1km YTD)
Swimming 2.7km (112,15km YTD)

I need to get 2 long swims in next week, I want 7km+

Week 30 – Long rides

Week 30 was a good one. I have been struggling to get in my miles, but this week I hit 2 of my 3 targets and did 18h of training, so I can’t complain!

Monday was a complete rest day, I was feeling tired and it was deserved! On Tuesday I went for a 10.5km run, just 5m/km, nothing special.
I took Wednesday off work so that I could do a long ride. I left the house at 10am and rode to Bingen. That was the easy bit, then came the hills! It was up and down for the next 80km or so, with the wind against me whenever it was a bit flatter. I felt strong on the climbs (on my road bike) and put some effort into some of them. Near the end of the day I was getting really tired, but still could keep an ok tempo going. It ended up being 184km at 27km/h with 2700m of climbing. My TSS was 365, which is much more than the bike leg of the ironman will be (270TSS is my plan), though I definitely didn’t feel like running a marathon afterwards, so that was good news!

strava of long cycle

On Thursday I had to go to Wiesbaden after work, so took it as a leg stretch totalling 33.6km, including getting lost a few times!
On Friday I was worried that I hadn’t run much so I ran before work, 10.5km again at about 5m/km.. standard.

On Saturday I went for a swim at TBB. It wasn’t a good one at all really, with my 100m times near 1:50-2:00 all the time. I got in 2500m before having to head into town, I thought I might manage another swim on Sunday, but it didn’t happen. Later I went for a longer run. I had planned to do a bit more than 20km, but my stomach wasn’t having any of it! I did 17.8km officially before deciding to call it off, but I ended up jogging home as I was still 1km from my flat, but I haven’t counted that. The pace wasn’t great at 5:08/km HR of 145 is ok, but my guts were just hurting by the end, I will have to get a proper longer run in next week.

On Sunday I met up with Jochen to do a recce of the Erich Fill triathlon that we are doing next weekend. We went on the Wiesbaden 70.3 bike course for a while, then went up the Platter. For some reason Jochen likes this climb, even though it is quite long, quite steep and on a main road, not the sort I like at all. I was on the front and setting a decent pace, like 310w or so. About half way up he came past me and decided to push it as hard as he could, I was hanging on as he really gave it all! If it was a mountain top finish in the tour that would have been a decent amount of effort, but with plenty left to ride, I think he went a bit hard! We rolled down to Taunusstein and found that start point of the triathlon route. It goes straight uphill, pretty steep at times. We managed to take the wrong turn at every opportunity but eventually found the right way. Just after the 2nd loop of the 8 shaped course starts there is a nasty incline, maybe 15% for 500m, that will be interesting next week. That is followed by a long 300m vertical climb, all at a reasonable gradient, but a leg sapper, before a roll down to the end. It’s a good course, but dangerous as it will be easy to destroy the legs before the run. We cycled back to Mainz and ended the ride after 127.4km easily getting me past the 300km weekly target. It was also 273TSS, making it as hard as my Ironman bike leg, twice in a week, nice!

Later in the evening I went out for a run to get me to 50km for the week. I had planned an interval session, but my legs weren’t good and it was humid and windy, so I just jogged around until I got in my 11.1km to get to my 50km goal.

It was a good weeks training, it’s a shame about the swimming, but as I plan next week to be a bit easier, I will be able to get in more swimming then (maybe twice and the 1k triathlon swim). I feel like my cycling is coming together but my run isn’t so good. I will start increasing the runs a bit in the next (and last) cycle before Köln.

Running – 50km (1311,1km YTD)
Cycling – 344.7km (5324km YTD)
Swimming – 2.5km (102,35km YTD)

Week 29 – Punctures aplenty

As last week was a really bad one for running, I decided to get going on some intervals early this week, so did a late evening 6x1km interval session.  I was running 1km slightly uphill at about 4:05 then 1km slight downhill at about 3:35 pace.  It wasn't too bad really, the weather was much cooler and I felt like I could go on.  It was 14km total at about 4:40/km average.

Tuesday I ended up doing nothing, I forget now why, I guess I was tired, but who knows!

On Wednesday I got up at 6am and ran my 10,5km route at 4:57/km pace.  In the evening I cycled to Nieder-Olm and it wasn't crazily full for once, so I got 3000m in before heading home.  It was a good session with the pool gradually getting emptier as time passed as I got there about 90 mins before it closed.

Thursday I stupidly went for a run in the evening after eating quite late after work.  That meant that my stomach was all over the place, but I got through it anyway, even if it was very slow at 5:17/km for 10.5km.

Friday: I knew that I had a lot of cycling left to do if I would do my 300km for the week, so I cycled 75km on my road bike in the evening.  It was really nice and at a decent clip too.  I attacked the Muy de Dittlesheim which was fun too, 1min at full power.  I got back feeling good and ready for my real long ride on Saturday.

So as prep on Saturday, I found a GPS online and downloaded it.  I wanted to go to Odenwald so found a 80km route from Mainz into the Odenwald.  Apparently I didn't check that it was for Road bikes, and I spend a lot of time on quite questionable paths, but usually it was ok.  It was slow going though, so my average was just over 25km/h.  I got to Zell and the road I was supposed to take was closed, and I had 85km+ on the clock already, so I turned for home.  I didn't want to mess around too much, so headed straight for Darmstadt, from where it would be an easy 40-45km home.  I saw a sign saying it was 7km to Darmstadt, then a left turn saying 10km to darmstadt, so I continued on the shorter route.  After about 1km the road ended at a motorway, with a bike route going on through a forest.  I took the bike route, but it was a bad one, very bumpy and lots of sharp stones everywhere.  Sure enough, I got a puncture after 1 or 2km.  I stopped and changed the tyre, but that went again a few hundred jaw breaking metres later, leaving me in the middle of no where.  I decided I had to push my bike to the nearest town, Roßdorf, and hope there was a train station there.  It turned out there wasn't one, but I could take a bus to Darmstradt, then a train to Mainz and Tram home 🙁  I had at least cycled 120km, so it wasn't a dead loss, though it was a lot of effort and 2 inner tubes and my cleats ruined.

On Sunday I had to ride again to get 300km in, so I rode 54km early on.  My planned run was chucked and I cycled to the pool later for another 3km swim.  I needed another 20km to get to 300km, so in the rain, I cycled an extended route home, ending with 302km for the week!

Running: 35.1km (1261,1km YTD)
Cycling 302km (4979,3km YTD)
Swimming 6km (99,85km YTD)

(The nearly forgotten heatwave of) Week 28

I didn't get around to writing last weekend, as work has been busy.  So here is a quick update of the last 2 weeks as best as I can remember them.

So the day after the Worms triathlon was boiling hot, the start of a heat wave.  I decided I would go swimming in Nieder-Olm in the evening, except that is was a) too warm water and b) jammed with people swimming anywhere but straight ahead.  I only swam 2k before chucking it as I was getting too annoyed by people swimming across me and not being able to swim at a proper pace.  I cycled to and from the pool (extended ride through Sörgenloch on the way home) for 30km extra riding.

On Tuesday it was too hot to run, so I cycled after work.  It was just a 90min ride but I got through my 2 bottles and was thirsty at the end! Usually they are pretty much untouched for rides under 2h.  Average speed was a tick over 30km/h on the road bike for 45km, I couldn't be bothered to switch the power meter over, but I planned to soon. Though it was hot, I blasted up Harxheim for my best time ever, when the wind is friendly I will set a real time up there and get higher on the KOM list.

On Wednesday it was another 35degree day, so I planed to get up at 6am to run, but when the alarm went, I was too tired and slept another hour.  I went to the pool in my lunch break (as I had to stay at work until 10pm) it was so full that I went to the indoor pool and did 2100m before heading back to work.  On Thursday I dragged myself out of bed at 6am, but it was still 26 degrees when I ran!  It was fairly standard at 4:59/km for 10.5km, I did that again on Friday, when it was just as hot again.

On Saturday I was behind the 8ball and wanted to go for a long long ride, but it was 40 degrees and sunny all day.  I finally went out for a ride in the evening, but only did 75km at a slow 26km/h.  I was getting through bottles like it was going out of fashion, stopping to fill up at a questionable well in Partenheim!  It really wasn't a good one for me, but better than nothing I guess.

Sunday was Frankfurt Ironman day, so I met Jochen and cycled to watch how the pros do it!  The ride wasn't hard, but the temperature was still crazy.  It was about 45km there and a bit less back.  I also cycled to the Nieder-Olm pool for another short swim in the evening, even though it was too full again, and the normally crystal clear water was milky white, apparently due to sun cream not dissolving in the water!.

Not a good training week, but with the weather as it was, I couldn't do much more 🙁

Running 21,2km (1226km YTD)
Cycling 262km (4677,3km YTD)
Swimming 6.1km (93,85km YTD)

End of week 27 – easier week

So I hadn't planned an easier week, but that's how it ended up, so I will just have to live with it!

Things started well on Monday with a 10.7km run at 4:48/km. Average HR was 138 which is great, my aerobic base seems to be good.  On Tuesday I cycled to the pool in Nieder Olm, swam 2.7km before cycling into town to meet friends for a few beers.  It totalled 25km cycling, again pretty decent.

I had Wednesday off work so wanted to do a long ride.  There was a wasps nest in my window shutters, so an exterminator had to come around, so i had to wait until that was done.  I also had arranged to meet Katja at 2pm and I was tired, so I lounged around and napped instead of riding!  I finally got myself out to ride in the late afternoon, though only for 91km at 32km/h on my road bike.  It was actually good fun, I really attacked the hills, setting some Strava PBs.

On Thursday I ran late with Katja.  It was a pretty relaxed pace.  I was in work until late and the weather was hot, so we ran at about 7pm for about an hour.
On Friday I went straight from work to the pool and swam 2.7km again.  On Tuesday I had been fast, with my 200m repeats being at 3:25 or so.  On Friday I was slow!  Repeats were more like 3:50.  I guess the water temp (26 vs 20) and clothing (trisuit vs loose shorts) played a part, but I didn't feel so good on Friday either, whereas I was flying on Tuesday!

I should have cycled on Friday evening, but didn't.  That left me needing a big ride on Saturday to catch up.  I woke up to heavy rain…  It dried up by about 11am and I was good to go by 1pm, when an almighty flash storm hit, so I decided that this week could be my easier week instead of next week.  So I did nothing on Saturday except nap and generally be lazy!

Sunday was Worms Tri day.  I cycled 18km to the start then did the event, see the race report.

Running 26.2km (1204,8km YTD)
Cycling 154.1km (4415,3km YTD)
Swimming 6.2km (87.75km YTD)

End of week 26 – JPMCC DNS and Swim Sets

Ok week 26! Half the year is over, it's gone by fast!
I started off the week on Monday with run before work.  It was 10.7km (poop runde) at just under 5m/km pace.  Nice and easy and a good start to the week.
I went swimming straight after work, and this time the pool was warm enough and not full, which hasn't happened so often recently.  I took my fins with me and tried mixing together a full work out using the pull, paddles and fins, not all at once!  I ended up swimming 3200m, my longest swim ever.  I feel like my swimming is coming on nicely, and I am quite enjoying it too, who'd have thunk it?

Tuesday I decided to try my first cycling intervals for ages.  I just cycled to Wahlheimerhof and did 3 mins at 360w 3 times, then did an easy loop up to Sörgenloch, then another 3x3mins.  I should probably do either more intervals, or longer intervals, but it was a start.  I will try to fit in some intervals every week from now on.

Wednesday was the JP morgen corporate challenge in Frankfurt.  It is a big 5.6km race.  I left work just after 5pm and set off to cycle to Frankfurt.  GoogleMaps told me that it was about 40km, so I would have plenty of time, even on the route next to the Rhein.  Soon enough I got lost in Raunheim and ended up cycling round lost for quite a while.  Eventually I just went to the river and hugged it all the way to the sign in point.  Unfortunately it was already 7:20 when I arrived after 55km, so I signed in and jogged to the start.  I got there 3 minutes late, but found 30k people at the start line waiting.  After 30 mins I had hardly moved forward, then after 1h I decided it wasn't worth it, so left without running – DNS.  I tried to cycle as far as I could back to Mainz, but apparently took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up back in Frankfurt after 16km, so just got the train.  Not a hugely successful day, but 71km cycled and 2 T shirts and a pari of running shorts for the collection so I won't cry too much.

Thursday was another swim day.  I went straight after work again and did a planned set.  It goes like this.
200m crawl easy warm up
50m Breast – 50m crawl, 50m back, 50m crawl, 50m breast, 50m crawl. 500m warm up total.
5x200m crawl, no training aids
3x(200m paddles and pull, 200m fins, 200m pull)

for a total of 3300m.  It felt quite interesting all the time, with each different 200m testing something a bit different.  I felt quite fast too, I think the seconds are starting to fall off.

Friday I ran after work.  I wanted to run a bit longer than normal, but I was pretty hungry and went too fast really.  I only did 13km, but at 4:42/km and 143bpm HR, it was pretty good overall.
On Saturday I was feeling very tired and lazy.  I knew I had the Wiesbaden Duathlon on Sunday, so didn't want to burn out my legs.  I had decided to go to Mombach for the TCEC swim, usually that is from 2-4pm, but in Summer apparently it is 10-12 instead, too early for me on that day.  So I had a nap, and watched rubbish online, before final dragging my ass out for a 91km ride.  It was actually pretty good, with some hard efforts and a 32.1km/h average speed.  I felt like I should have gone on for another hour, but I turned back for Mainz mainly as I had started out with the wind, and feared that after the turn I would be in a world of hurt (it wasn't as bad as I had feared.)

On Sunday I enjoyed my sleep in until 6:30am, when I had to get up to eat before the Duathlon.  I cycled to town to meet Jochen, then we went to the start.  Though the weather forecast was quite cold, but dry, it was wet.  About 30 mins from the start it really started raining hard, which on a hilly and technical course is a nightmare.  I will write a race report, but it didn't go well for me.

Again when I got home I was feeling tired, I wrote off swimming and cycling and had a nap.  That was until 7:30pm when I decided finally that I wanted to do something, so I cycled to Nieder-Olm and swam.  I only got into the water at about 8:10pm and it closed at 9pm, so I was time limited.  I did a fast 2k swim, with 2 times the sets I described on Thursday after my warm up, then did 300m to finish.  The entire 2000m took 39mins or so, then I rode home.  I was happy with my decision as I enjoyed the swim and added 21km to my cycling week.

I think I have to be careful with over-reaching at the moment.  I am feeling tired, maybe because of the races at the weekends.  I am going to do this week normal, then next week take an easier week to recover.  I have Wednesday off work this week, so I will try to get a long ride in then, that should reduce the stress next weekend of getting in my 300km for the week.  I have realised that my base mileage I want to do per week is actually 17+h of training, so on a 'bad week' like this one, where I only manage 14.5h of training, I think I can cut myself a bit of slack!

Running 33.6 (1178.6km YTD)

Cycling 255.7 (4261.2km YTD)
Swimming 8.5 (81.55km YTD) biggest swimming week ever

End of week 25 – Tired

After Wasserstadt on Sunday, I decided to have Monday off, so no training.  I have felt like that was a good choice, but that I wanted to get my full week of training into 6 days hasn't been such good thinking, especially with a race on Saturday meaning more intensity and less long stuff.

On Tuesday I went for an easy run with Katja, 10.7km at 5:26/km.  Wednesday was swim/bike day.  I went to Taubertsbergbad and swam 3km.  I did my fairly normal set, with 500m of hand paddles too.  I had the feeling that my pace is slowly increasing, normal pace seems to be more like 1:48/100m instead of 1:50+ of a few weeks ago. I got home and though I couldn't really be bothered to cycle, I managed to get out for a 30km ride at about 32km/h.  It was actually quite nice, low effort but decent pace – 222w AP 239w NP.

Thursday was a longer post work cycle.  I went out to do my 72km loop that I have done a couple of times, but somehow I managed to get lost in Alzey.  After getting back on track I got through the ride pretty comfortably and with a nice 33km/h final speed 236w AP 255w NP.  It was 74km too, which is a long evening ride for me!

On Friday I got up early and ran.  There were 2 reasons for that, I am starting to fall behind on my running, I am fitting in 3 runs a week but with little to no intensity and nothing long.  That means that I am ticking through 30-45km per week, which isn't a nightmare, but it isn't ideal either.  I might have to do more pre-breakfast runs to get some extra km in.  It was also going to be HOT on friday, so I didn't want to run in 30+ degree heat in the evening.  I did the run anyway, 10.7km at 4:56/km, felt easy but already quite warm, crazy.  I went for a swim on Friday straight after work, even though I knew that the pool would be rammed.  It wasn't as full as last week, but still pretty damn full.  I had decided to swim 1500m, but ended up doing 2000m.  I actually had planned to go further, but a few idiots were blocking the lane, and as I passed someone I accidentally hit a swimmer going in the other direction.  As that was after 1990m or so, I just called it a day.

Saturday was Wallertheim 10k race day.  That is covered in the race report, but I cycled on my road bike to the race.  It was just over 27km.  I cleverly avoided getting on the podium so I could leave early and do an extended loop to Mainz.  I did about 45k back to Mainz, feeling pretty dreadful.  I had bet with myself that my average speed was 23km/h or so, but checked it and saw it was 30km/h, so I guess I was just feeling down.  I cycled straight to the charity event 'Run for Children'.  This team event is held at a running track, loads of company teams run laps for 10 hours, with each lap completed resulting in a 1€ donation to charity.  Me and Katja were running for a Schott team as Jochen had invited us.  I knew that running 400m intervals probably wasn't the best idea after a fairly long day, but I did it anyway!  I pushed the pace for the first few, but soon decided to settle into a comfortable pace for the rest.  I would guess I was running 1:30/400m, so not crazy fast with long breaks between runs.  I think I did about 14 loops, but it could be more or less.  Our team did our 2 hour stint and I was finally done for the day at 9pm.

Today I could feel yesterday's exploits, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared.  i wanted to ride the Kloppenheim duathlon cycling route to see what to expect next week.  To get to 300km for the week I would need to cycle 125km today, which seemed doable.  Jochen messaged me early to ask about riding together, so I met him to ride the loop.  I wasn't really up for a fast ride, so did lots more sat up riding instead of in aero.  We arrived at the start and went for the loop.  It is quite hilly, but not crazy really.  I didn't time it as I wasn't pushing the pace, but apparently we did 47 mins or so.  I reckon there is plenty to come off that time, but we will see next week.  We cycled 94km at a slow 27.6km/h average 188w AP 221 NP.  With the weather being so warm again, I decided about 30 mins ago to bin cycling to the pool for a swim.  That means I won't have met any of my goals for the week, but I am feeling pretty flat at the moment, so I don't think it is worth pushing through to hit some made up goals, better to recover and start afresh tomorrow.

Running: 37.3km (1145km YTD)
Cycling: 270.8km (4205.5km YTD)
Swimming: 5km (73.05km YTD)

End of week 24 – Easier week before Wasserstadt

This can be a shorter post, as I finally managed to fit in an easier week of training!  I had done a big month for me in May, so this was a perfect chance to rest up before my half distance on Sunday.

Monday – I did nothing!  My first full rest day in a long while!
Tuesday – I went for a 2.5km swim.  I wore my wetsuit and noticed a 12 second per 100m improvement over non-wetsuit swimming!  It was crazy fast, but I didn't want to overdo it and my shoulders were tiring so I only did 2.5km.  The water was so cold I was glad of having the wetsuit!

Wednesday I ran after work and managed to lose my spare key that i take with me for running.  The run itself was good at 4:37/km, but I wasn't too happy to have lost my key 🙁  I went out to find it on my mountain bike, but couldn't.  It was 13km run increasing speed as I went.

Thursday – I ran most of the same loop as on Wednesday and managed to find my key!  The run was pretty average, plenty of stomach problems, but I was happy to get the key back!  10.7km at 4:54/km.

Friday I swam after work.  It was really hot, and the day after a bank holiday, so the pool was jammed, so I did 1.7km.  I just wanted to keep my feel for the water, job done.

Saturday I just rode my TT bike to the bank to get cash out.  I hadn't ridden it all week and wanted to make sure everything was ok.  It seemed to be fine!  No training though.
Sunday – Wasserstadt Triathlon!

Running: 44.8km (1107.7m YTD)
Cycling: 118.6km (3934.7 YTD)
Swimming: 6.1km (68.05km YTD)

This week I will get back on it.  I had Monday as a rest day, but want to get back to 300km+ cycling weeks, but with intervals included.  Running is still on the back burner, so 40km+ per week is enough and swimming at least 3 days a week, I want to start increasing the amount per session too, to over 3km and soon to 3.5km or more on occasion.

Next up is part 2 of the Wingertscup series on Saturday in Wallertheim, a flat 10k race, lets see how much run fitness I have lost!  I predict about a 38min run, slower than 39 would be bad, faster than 38 good.

End of week 23 – Training week and end of 1800k in May

I had this week off work and wanted to get some big training in.  To finish my 1800k in May challenge, I needed to ride 500km+, I had also thought 10km swimming and 60km of running would be nice too.

The week started off slowly on Monday with a 13km steady run, increasing to near marathon pace at the end.  I have been running slowly a lot recently but soon got my stride back and started to knock out sub 4:30 kms without too much distress.  I cycled a loop to Bingen and back, getting lost in some industrial area in bingen where all of the roads were for cars only and I couldn't find a way out!  Anyway, I cycled 88km at an easy 30km/h NP 230.

On Tuesday I cycled to nieder olm for a swim in the morning.  I did 2.5km in the nice warm pool, I thought I would be there 4-5 times this week so I didn't want to do too much. I could still feel my 3km swim from Sunday in my arms.  In the afternoon I went for another shortish ride, this time 50km also at 30km/h NP 243w.  It was windy (as always) so I gave it some up Schwabsburg südtisch, but I was a little disappointed to see I couldn't beat my 2013 time (yet).

Wednesday I went for a bit longer bit faster run.  It was only my 15.5km loop through Ebersheim but the average of 4:39/km was decent especially when my HR was only 140bpm average.  To keep chipping away at my 500km week goal, I cycled 58km at 32.3km/h.  My 4iiii battery seemed to be dead, so I didn't have any power data for the ride.  I swapped over the battery after the ride and it seemed like it would be fine.  I was however getting a bit of neck ache , so I decided that I wanted to ride my road bike on Thursday.  I swapped over the left crank arm ready for a longer ride without destroying my neck!

So on my road bike I went for a loop south to worms, then back north in Hessen to Mainz.  I knew it would be about 115km, the wind was pretty strong from the south west, so the first half of the ride was hard.  For some reason my 4iiii wasn't being read by my garmin. It might have just been a simple – turn it off and back on – problem, but I rode without power again :(.  I felt good all day, I rode easy and ended with a 118.8km ride at 29km/h. My HR was only 123bpm average, so it was pretty chilled!

On Friday I belatedly got back to the pool. My swimming week wasn't quite working out as planned!  I did another 2.5km, felt good, but called it a day there.  The pool was actually quite busy for the first time this year. I was lucky that someone left the far left lane just as I arrived though, so I got my own lane and swam uninterrupted.  I ran with Katja, and found that I was having pretty severe stomach problems!  After having to stop after about 4km, I ran to just under 10km and decided I would just walk home as my stomach was cramping and things wanted to leave my body in a hurry!  I took the day off cycling as a rest before my TT on Sunday.  I still had to ride about 140km to reach my 1800k in May goal, but I knew that I wanted to do a little test ride on Saturday and that Sunday would be 100km with the ride to and from the start line.

So on Saturday I put on my Dyma aerodisc cover and went for a test ride.  The cover didn't feel very tight and whenever I hit a bump of any kind it would make a horrible clank and start to click.  I decided to go for the Caravan wobble tactic of accelerating to stop the clicking, which worked all the time until I was nearly home.  I hit a bump in the road and the clicking was really loud and didn't immediately stop.  I pulled to the side of the road to see that the cover had jumped the brake caliper and was stuck outside of it.  The joining area of the disc was also pretty cut up, I guess from previous bumps.  I put the disc back on and cycled carefully home.  A quick read of slowtwitch showed that lots of people tape the covers to their spokes, so I did that and it felt much more secure.
I went for another easy run with Katja in the evening, taking me to 50km for the week.

I will write a quite race report for my TT, but my disc held firm and the ride to and from the start were about 47km total.  That with the 44km TT and 12km to and from the pool in the evening took me over my 1800k in May goal.  As I say, I swam in the afternoon, but made the mistake of going to Taubertsbergbad.  It was blood freezing!  I swam 2km but at that point I was shivering in the water and my hands and feet were cold, so I called it a day, and a week!

Running: 49.8km (1063km YTD)
Cycling: 511.5km (3816.1 YTD)
Swimming: 7km (61.95km YTD)

So my 1800k in May self made challenge was completed.  I think the point of the challenge was to get me to do a lot of base miles before getting into harder riding later in the season.  In that sense it has been very successful.  I have found it quite stressful to get in the long rides and follow them up with other shorter rides, that's why I have been doing more 50-80km rides day after day, chipping away at the target.  The one exception was obviously my 200km ride, which was a real confidence boost, as I know that I can ride all day in aero and control my effort, sounds like an iron distance race to me!  Following on from this challenge, I want to increase the quality of my rides, getting in intervals at least once a week to get my FTP up.  I still want to aim for 300km a week or so, but without stress!  If I set my self a challenge again in the near future, I am sure it will be a swimming one, maybe something like 50km in a month.