Walk, turbo, swim, gym, mechanic, turbo – but what’s the next challenge?

I should have got out on the bike while the weather permits
but I’m not sure the turbo is really an easy option.

Monday came with no aches or pains from the triathlon – I’ll take that as another small win. I really enjoyed the event, faced up to my open water nerves, and an age group 6/34 is no disgrace.

My swim was faster than I’ve done before (but still slow), T1 was a bit slow, the bike ride was pretty good, T2 was fast (thanks to the good advice to cycle in the running shoes) and the run was OK. Lots to work on, but a decent effort.

The question now arises, as it always does after an event, ‘What next by way of sporting challenge?’

I appreciate that the more sensible question might be ‘Should there be any more sporting challenges?’ but rarely have I been accused of being sensible in such matters.

I think the focus has to be on next year as we head towards the UK’s winter. I’ll carry on running and cycling on a ‘tick-over’ basis and try to get to the gym and pool regularly. I’m not hardy enough for open water swimming through the winter but I do need to try to maintain the (low) level I’ve got to this year. The pool will be the hardest bit.

Of course, lessons would help me improve but I’m stubborn and would prefer to try to improve through practice rather than tuition (what an idiot).

Assuming I stay fit and healthy, three new challenges for next year are probably the Blenheim Palace Triathlon again, this time at the end of May (I guess it was September this year because of Covid disruption), the 100km version of the 50km ultra marathon I did this year in July, and an olympic distance triathlon (twice the length of Sunday’s effort) later in the summer. Couple those with the regular sportives in the form of the White Horse Challenge and my own club’s event, it looks like a good start.

All of them should be helped by the fact that the good friend I have done the triathlon training with is retiring and is looking for challenges to train for while his wife continues to work for another year or two in a job she enjoys.

For triathlons, he’s a better runner than I am and we are pretty well matched on the bike. Currently, I have the edge in the water, ironically because he is a good at breast-stroke. That means he can swap strokes if the crawl is getting hard, whereas the breast-stroke kick tends to annoy the knee ligament I tweaked last year, so I have no viable choice other than to tough out the front crawl.

I took this week gently. No exercise on Monday but Tuesday afternoon I drove my wife up to London to see Snow Patrol. I’ve seen them 4 times with her but still not one of them has bothered to come and watch me run, cycle or swim so I decided to boycott the show to teach them a lesson. I walked quite a bit of the way back to the flat after escorting her to the theatre – a very pleasant 2 mile (3km) stroll.

Turbo on a very hot Wednesday for 30 minutes @ 29.6kph (18.4mph) and on Thursday, I visited the swimming lake for one last(?) time this year, with my triathlon partner. The fact that I agreed when he suggested it must say something about my attitude to the open water. I’m still not in love with it but the year’s lake swimming has now at least brought some familiarity – I swam for about a kilometre and enjoyed it.

I reserve the right to call rivers and the sea ‘scary’ – but lakes of a ‘domestic’ size are, officially, no longer ‘scary open water’.

On Friday, I did the usual session in the gym, followed by the charity cycle shop and, in the evening, a very enjoyable visit to a pop-up pub in the village. Saturday was largely taken up with preparations for a dinner party in the evening but I did get on the turbo again on Sunday. I eased off from the usual pace but went a little longer and included some sprints and it was a hard 45 minutes @ 26.8kph (16.6mph).

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: Only a stupid cat challenges a lion because they look alike

I like cats but a cat that thinks it looks like a lion probably deserves all it gets

2. BBC News Website: Cows toilet trained to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Researchers in Germany attempted to teach 16 cows to use the toilet by being rewarded with food for urinating in the ‘MooLoo’. After this, they were then placed in an area next to the MooLoo and rewarded for walking into the pen and urinating. Those who urinated outside of the MooLoo were sprayed with water for three seconds.

By the end of the 10 training sessions, researchers found that 11 of the animals were successfully toilet trained so that the urine could be collected and treated, to stop it mixing with soil and turning into the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide.

Getting them to wash their hooves afterwards is probably harder

3. BBC News Website: The place where it is 2014 and a year has 13 months

The Ethiopian calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western calendar, making Saturday the start of 2014. This is because the Catholic Church amended its calculation of the birth of Christ in 500 AD, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Church did not. The Ethiopian new year falls on 11 September in the Western calendar (12 September in leap years).

There is no need for Ethiopian children to learn rhymes to remember how many days each month has because 12 of their months each has 30 days and the 13th – the last of the year – has five or six days, depending on whether it’s a leap year.

4. BBC News Website: President and top officials negligent in tackling air pollution

Jakarta’s particulate pollution levels are six times the WHO’s guideline level and air pollution is said to be reducing residents’ life expectancy by 5.5 years. In a landmark decision in a lawsuit filed by residents in 2019, an Indonesian court has ordered monitoring stations and other measures to improve the capital’s air.

Meanwhile, the President is pressing ahead with plans to move the capital out of Jakarta to the island of Borneo, nearly 1,300km (800 miles) away. He has been quoted as saying that officials would benefit from the fresh air and the green environment there. 

10 thoughts on “Walk, turbo, swim, gym, mechanic, turbo – but what’s the next challenge?

  1. bgddyjim

    I’d stick with the tri and a couple of cycling events and maybe a marathon. I’d nix the 100k run on those knees. Why poke a tiger when she’s already angry? I think that’s more African wise words. Whatever you choose, good riding, running and swimming to you.

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    1. The Omil Post author

      That’s perfectly good sense but, if I can add some stupidity, I feel that the 100km ultra is an itch that needs scratching. My thinking (if it deserves to be called that) is that if I go for a marathon, I’ll want to go sub 4 hours and that’s going to need a lot of training. Ironically, my experience of the 50km was that it was easier on the day and in the training because I had no time target. Ah, yes, the 100km ultra is twice the distance … this is where my reasoning falls to the ground …

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  2. unironedman

    100k is fun, and of course, there’s always 100 miles after that… but as regards swimming, you can compromise on the ‘no training/get a coach’ dilemma with a middle option. There are some good books around on swim technique, and some good videos too. Best bet is to break it down into the various techniques (breathing, hand position, stroke length, etc.), and spend one or more sessions in the pool until you are happy, then work on the next one, and then finally start stringing them all together. I think I may have already pitched this, but it’s still a good plan. As with, say, driving, we can reach a point where we say ‘cool, I can drive now’ and then we stay the same for the rest of our lives. Before you get too many bad habits, take some time to work on technique. Because there is always a reason why that 12 year old girl goes whizzing past you in the other lane. And that’s always technique.

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    Reply
    1. The Omil Post author

      I’ve watched many (conflicting) YouTube tutorials. I suspect the real skill is to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff but the plan is to use the winter in the pool exactly as you suggest. If I don’t speed up I may have to bite the bullet and get some lessons before I bake in the bad habits. I can accept the 12 year old girl going past – what gets me is the way that her great-great-grandparents are doing the same while using breast stroke.

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      Reply
  3. unironedman

    You’re absolutely right; the skill is the sifting. That’s why a good-old fashioned book can be worth a punt. Also, if you can get in with a group of triathletes in the pool, you’ll find they are generally free and easy with their knowledge. But again, worth repeating that tri is all about the bike. If you’re all about times. That’s why I do them for fun 😉

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    1. The Omil Post author

      I’ve found the triathlon equivalent of the Global Cycling Network on YouTube so I might go with them as the main source of advice. First things I’m going to practice are leg kick (if I try the leg kick alone I suspect I’ll go backwards), head position (normal and when breathing), hand entry and strength of arm pull in the water.

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      Reply
      1. unironedman

        Sounds good. And all of the exercises you suggest sound good too. I was always loathe to ‘waste’ time in a pool session by doing just that: the equivalent of speed and tempo runs, but as I knew them to be of benefit for running, why could I not admit they would work for swimming too? I guess we’re stubborn creatures…

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