May has been without a shadow of a doubt my worse month for training, this on going knee problem has been playing havoc with any consistency, however looking back at the month I have still managed to get some good sessions in.
Having never swam the Ironman distance before (2.4 miles or 3800metres) I set myself the target of going to the pool and seeing if I could hit this target, more for a mental thing to prove I could do it and give me the confidence going forward. I managed to do it , I did use a pull buoy as this mimics wearing a wetsuit and managed it nonstop in a time of 1:25 so a nice shot in the arm when running and cycling were not going to plan.
On the 13th May me and my mate Steve decided to drive up to Bolton to recce the Ironman bike course, the course itself is 2 x 56 mile laps, we were planning on doing about 70-80 miles. On the morning of the ride it was wet and windy so probably similar to what Bolton would be like in the summer anyway!
I could tell that not long after setting off that my knee was not going to play ball so annoyingly we had to abandon after about 56 miles, we still managed to get the 2 big hills in that are infamous for Ironman UK, Sheephouse Lane and Hunters Hill, if I’m honest Sheephouse Lane is not much to get excited about but Hunters Hill is a challenge and I’m sure even more so the second time around.
We headed back that afternoon, the drive back a lot quicker due to traffic behaving itself but still painful due to Steve demanding we played Shania Twain most of the way home.
After this the middle of May saw lots of abandoned rides and short runs, I started seeing my Osteopath who believed all my knee problems were hip related, possible prolapsed disc and sciatica and a very tight hip so he set to work on making me better.
One of the most important things about Ironman is getting your Nutrition right, in fact they say it is the 4th discipline, I decided I would try a product called Tailwind which is a drink that supplies you with about 50g of Carbohydrates and 200 kcals with no real need to take on food. The plan is to drink one bottle every hour with this in and a cheeky little snack here and there to top up if need be. I have a flat 30 mile loop that I cycle so I thought if I did this 3 times I could come home after each loop and fill up with water and go out again, I managed 91 miles with minimal knee pain so it looked like things were going in the right direction and the Tailwind worked well so I will be using it for Ironman.
I started to get a few smaller runs under my belt by the end of May, then signed up for my first swim race at Tri20 swim centre in Reading, this was good fun, an early start on a Sunday morning I finished about mid pack but a decent time for me. The highlight though this day was my wife swimming a distance PB and my son having a swim in the lake for the first time, at 8 years old we may have a mini triathlete in the making, not to be outdone by her big brother my daughter decided she wanted to have a go so we may have enough members now to make our own tri squad!
If one good thing comes out of this experience it’s the fact that the kids may get inspired to keep active, it’s great to see them having a go at new stuff.
So that was May, I must admit there were times when I thought that this whole thing is a big ask for me, but I am strong willed and persistent and will keep going and get as much training under my belt as possible.
At the time of writing this Ironman is only 5 weeks away, I can’t believe how quickly it has crept up. Next months blog post will include the Cotswolds 113, which is a half ironman distance which I have as part of my training and build up to Ironman, stay tuned for this to see how I did, I’ll give you a clue, I finished it.
I am still someway off my target I set myself for raising money for Sporting Footprints so if you have enjoyed reading this and following me on my journey, please chuck a fiver (or more of course) into my justgiving page for this worthy cause.