Well that’s it! All ready for Paris! Well, not exactly quite yet, but this is the end of the period of very long runs, ending with a 22.6 miler last Sunday in just over 3 hours. I’m pretty glad this section is done as there are only so many routes to run and it was kind of getting a little “boring” I suppose! I’m really looking forward to the marathon now, it feels like that will be the real start of this year’s activities, and is only five months (sounds a lot, but isn’t!) before the Ironman!
It’s quite strange to read updates from most other Ironman participants talking about how they are beginning to increase their own workloads, yet here am I already at full marathon distance and in fact tapering down! If it wasn’t for Paris, I would certainly have peaked way too early! That said, there is no way I am going to be able to maintain the same level of consistency for six months in total, so after the marathon, I will ease back slightly, concentrating on the brick and pool sessions and preparing for the Y-Fenni triathlon on May 10th. I should have the aerobic fitness in the bank, it is going to be all about getting back in the pool and getting my legs used to riding the bike again. Sadly Bérengère’s injury has stopped her training for the triathlon and she has had to relinquish her place, although she’ll still be coming along to support me, and maybe even marshaling on the day! She’ll also be a lot fresher than I when we sit down to our second anniversary meal the next day!
Speaking of the bike, it seems that I wasn’t quite so lucky with the mechanical issues and now as well as the new chain and hanger, I have also had to purchase a complete new rear mech! This needs to be fitted over the next few weeks, but should solve the problems once and for all…. What was happening when Mave tried to service the bike was that when in it’s lowest gear, the mech was rubbing slightly on the wheel spokes, as a part of the derailleur was too loose (I don’t proclaim to know exactly what, or by how much!). This is probably what caused the hanger to break in the first place, and I am making an assumption that the “bent mech” probably stems from my fall on Hay Bluff in the snow a few months back! (Cornock you owe me a few quid 🙂 !) In any case, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this really is now the solution to my bike woes and I will be back in the saddle, quite literally, upon my return from Paris (the second time!).
Indeed, I will be heading to Paris this Sunday (29th March) as well. Not to recce the course in the city centre before the “big day”, but as part of my work with Paul Turner Sport. Sunday 29th March marks the start of the Disney Junior Rugby Festival which lasts for 5 days. I’ll be residing with the Sport Experiences Events Team at Davy Crockett Ranch, while the coaches enjoy the Sequoia Park Hotel. The matches and training day are being played at Meaux Rugby, ironically a ground I visited when I represented U.S.O. Nevers all those years ago in Fédérale 2 in 2003! I won’t get to see Mickey Mouse, or indeed any Disney rides at all as I will be responsible for organisation and administration for both Paul and Sport Experiences. My main concern though is my training! I’m already swapping this Friday’s rest day to take on Sunday instead when we travel (so two rest days in a row…no other realistic option available…) as it is too inconvenient otherwise, and I don’t want to miss my two sessions when I am away. Early mornings beckon as I hit the trails around the ranch to make sure I stay on track for my return to Paris just one week later!
The #StayStrongForOws fund-raising has been up and down to say the least! Paul did a fantastic job asking many on Twitter to donate and there was a big influx, topped up by some kindly friends and colleagues on our side, but this has now tailed off a little. Dad has been asking around and pursuing a few leads that will hopefully turn out positive and I am grateful to him for all of these efforts as usual. We’ve made it to about half of our first £2000 target for the Cardiff Blues cycle ride and there are still several weeks to go to raise the money. Hopefully as I collect the prizes, and get a few PR photos done, for example with the Racing Metro players, this will help the word spread on Twitter as to date there have not been many retweets other than from a few faithful supporters (who have also donated). I am grateful for any support and you may see me tweeting my thanks to them for their help too.
Thoughts now turn to what to pack for Paris, twice over! The second trip will require some proper planning, with running kit for all weathers plus beetroot shots and protein powders to boot! I’ve also just ordered some new trainers to break in and use for the race, hopefully leaving nothing to chance. With just a few more runs (including one in an hour or so!) and some of Bérengère’s magic sports massage, I hope to be fighting fit for the race. Well, we all know what they say…. “proper preparation prevents p**s poor performance”!!!