End of week 18 – Post marathon

Strangely enough the week started out for me with me having pretty heavy legs, possibly something to do with the Marathon on Sunday.  I wanted to get things moving though so I cycled 30km on Monday evening.  Pretty much everything hurt, I couldn't hold aero position, my legs wouldn't really push the pedals, and slight inclines were like mountains, but I did my 30km and it probably helped the recovery a bit too.

On Tuesday I went swimming in Mombach.  There was only me and one other in the lane, so it was pretty clear water to swim in.  I did my 2000m, with more 200m intervals than normal.  I actually quite enjoyed the longer intervals, I have pretty much been doing 100m intervals all the time this year, I need to get into a rhythm more and improve endurance too.  I cycled there and back too, so chalk on another 22km cycling.

Wednesday I cycled again.  This time my legs were in much better shape and I did just over 60km at about 31km/h.  The wind was a bit weird, I guess it was a cross wind most of the time, but I felt like it was a head wind both south and north!  That's usually a bad sign, but it was still a decent speed for me, so no complaints.

On Thursday I wanted to try my first run after the marathon.  I went out with Katja to run, but she had picked up an injury running in Bonn, so had to turn back after less than 1km.  I ran off feel, but that feel was probably too fast, so I was at 4:45 pace.  My quads weren't feeling too happy, but the 10.7km run was still nice, and my 3km loop near Marienborn now has 3 portaloos on the route, perfect, even though they weren't needed.

I was feeling tired on Friday.  I hadn't slept too well and was a bit worn out, so I took it as a rest day.  I had planned to swim, but couldn't be bothered to go to the pool!

On Saturday I had to get to Köln for Sunday's Bike and Run.  I decided to cycle to Koblenz, which is 100km away, then get the train the other 100km or so.  The weather forecast had said that the northerly head wind would flip and become a friendly southerly blowing me towards Koblenz.  I thought that if that was the case, I might go further than Koblenz, but it wasn't so 100km was enough for me, especially with a rucksack on.  Again my average was 31km/h, but along the flat Rhein without  much wind, I was nearer 33km/h, which is good for me.

Sunday was the Bike and Run.  I did't do any run warm up, but I did cycle for 20 mins, so I will give myself 50km cycling and 10km running.
I was feeling pretty good in the evening, so I cycled to Nieder-Olm on the mountain bike and swam 2km.  It started off pretty badly, but ended well.  I noticed the pool was closing soon, so started doing longer intervals, and ended with a 5:30 300m.  It's not really fast or anything, but as my last 300m from 1700-2000m, it is fast enough.  That would give me a 35min split in a half iron-distance race, which would be awesome!  The cycle to and from the pool counts as another 20km, so 70km for the day.

Running: 20.7km (873.6km YTD)
Cycling: 283km (1922km YTD)
Swimming: 4km (34.25km YTD)

Pretty good week all-round.

Race Report – Bike and Run Köln – Team Sprint

This isn't going to be a long race report, but it was a race, so there is a report!

This was my second year of doing Bike and Run Köln in the team event.  We cycle 42km then run 10km, there are four in a team and the clock stops after the 3rd person crosses the line.  Last year we were pretty good, but I struggled to keep up on the bike, and was the 3rd fastest runner, making it a hard day for me!  This year I fancied that I would be able to run much faster and hopefully ride better too, though that was less certain.

Dimi doesn't run too much and has been actively telling us that he won't be able to keep up on the run for a while now.  He is a strong cyclist though, so we were dropping hints that he could put in more work on the bike so that we are fresher on the run!  Christian was our best cyclist and best runner last year, but he told me that he hasn't run at all since January, so he wouldn't be strong on the run.  Jochen is an all-rounder, if he was our weak link, we would be doing ok!

Last year we went out of the blocks like a bunch of idiots, only to have to slow down gradually over the 42km, this year in slightly damp, but not wet weather, we started off quite controlled, much better.  We were pushing about 40km/h which was the same as last year, with the speed gradually increasing.  Last year my pulls were short and I was really struggling to stay on the back of our train, this year it felt 100 times easier, I could push the pace and get back on a really rest.  After 3 loops surprisingly Dimi started to struggle, he wasn't coming through to take his pulls very strongly, then he would fall of the back after the corners, I shouted for him to take shorter pulls, and he skipped a few too, and we continued on at about the same pace.  After 4.5 of the 5 loops, he couldn't keep up anymore, and me, Jochen and Christian pushed on for the last 4km or so.  We didn't want to break up on the ride, but as Dimi had said he wouldn't run fast, it seemed a waste to wait for him on the bike.

We got into transition and I was incredibly slow.  I don't know why exactly but the others were ready before I had my first shoe on!  I was shouting for them to run as I felt confident that I could catch up, but they waited not sure if we had to leave transition together or not.  After about 500m, it was clear that Christian's lack of run training was going to make him our number 3 for the day.  He wasn't slow, but in comparison to last year, he didn't have his edge.  One team had passed us on the bike (we had passed 2) and after about 3km another team came past us.  There was nothing we could do about it, it was more a matter of getting to the end now!  I noticed that the team that overtook us was pushing one of their runners, I offered to do the same with Christian, which I then did for 6km.  It was new experience for me and quite hard work!  It means you have to work harder and you can't swing one arm, quite a strange feeling.  The next 2 loops of 3.3km went by and we ran in a respectable 44min or so 10km.  That was about 2 mins slower than last year, but our bike was about 1 min faster, so we were 1 minute slower overall.  Unfortunately there were 3 real triathlon teams in the race this year, and they were all minutes ahead of us, so we were 4th.  I'm not sure that we could have been top 3 on our best day…

Dimi came in a few minutes later and we enjoyed our well earned alcohol free beers and cake!

I think a big difference this year was that me, Christian and Jochen all had tri-bars on our bikes, with me and Jochen having TT bikes.  Dimi is a strong rider, but without the tri-bars, he was giving himself extra work to do, which caught up with him.  I know that next time we climb a steep hill, he'll still be racing off up the road!  It was a shame that Christian hadn't trained for the run, but he has a new job and where he lives now isn't great for running.  I would have like to see what I could have done, I had the feeling I could have gone sub40, maybe even more.  It isn't too important anyway, it was a great brick workout and I'd be keen to do the solo version next year if we can't get the team back together.