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Deflation, sickness and panic. A week of triathlon training.

Written by Fiona June 16 2011

Three training sessions this week. Two punctures. One closure. And one almighty feeling of sickness. Hmmm. I’m not sure things are going too well as I continue to prepare for the London Olympic Distance Triathlon.

On Monday, following Sunday’s Peebles Triathlon effort, I took a well-earned rest day. Tuesday I planned to cycle to an evening work event in town, then cycle home via a dip in Maryhill Swimming Pool. Sadly a puncture just a mile from Glasgow, and then news that Maryhill Pool had to be shut because a swimmer had been sick, put pay to any evening training.

On Wednesday I felt ready to tackle my first APR of the year, and the first ever outing with the Glasgow Nightingale Cycling Club. My coach and friend, the Mighty Vickster, suggested this as a good form of training and I thought it would make a change from my usual cycle routes.

As it turns out the route is one of my usual cycle routes around “the glen” but it was certainly a great deal quicker than I have ever managed.  An APR is a team pursuit race. There were four groups on the night and broadly speaking we were in a group matching our ability. I wasn’t in the slowest group (for once) but I only just made it up a group!

The slower group sets off first helping each other to cycle as fast as possible using a chain gang technique. Three minutes later, the next slowest group sets off and tries to catch the slower group. The same with the next fastest group and the next.

After a slightly nervous start I settled into my group and held on to the wheel of the man (there was only one other woman in the APR) in front for dear life. Lose that wheel and you’re dropped off the back of the group and there’s little hope for catching up. I didn’t feel out of my depth and overall my legs were strong. (Thanks again to the Mighty Vickster for her coaching plan).

Around nine miles into the 16-mile event our group was caught by the faster group behind and we all made a valiant effort to catch on to their wheels – and their speed. I tried my hardest and I managed to hold on for a bit (thanks in part to the other girl, Iron Lady Lee). I was gritting my teeth. I was pushing my legs. I was making sure I didn’t get left behind on the hills. I was determined I would keep on at least one person’s wheel.

And then I got my second puncture of the week. The blow-out was instant and caused by a pot-hole. The pot hole had taken out another guy, Marvellous Martin, and so we set about the oh-so-tedious task of changing our inner tubes. I have to apologise to MM if he’s reading this for my outrageous use of swear words when I realised I’d punctured. I had really, really wanted to finish that APR.

And then came tonight’s Loch Lomond swim. As you will know if you read this blog, I really don’t like open water swimming. Not one bit. But I need to get to grips with my worries and fears for the London Triathlon. The evening was far calmer than my previous swim in the loch so I almost felt hopeful that this could be the breakthrough night. Not so fast, FionaOutdoors!

Although I managed two circuits, and not just one, and my hands and feet managed to keep some blood in their veins the rest of the swim was pretty rubbish. I couldn’t see properly, I felt disorientated, I panicked when I saw fish and thick seaweed in the loch, I kept swimming miles off route and always to my right, my arms and shoulders ached, my goggles steamed up, I couldn’t see where I was going – and when I finally finished the swim and tried to stand up to walk out of the edge of the water I fell over because of dizziness and felt horribly sick.

A fellow Glasgow Tri Clubber Awesome Alasdair (he’s awesome tonight because he rescued me!) had to give me a piggy back ride out of the loch and back to dry land where I still felt really sick for almost 30 minutes.

Cool as a Cucumber Cameron, who was also swimming tonight with Wonder Woman Wendy, said I complained a lot about the swimming. He’s right and I’m sorry for spoiling such a beautiful evening of calm waters at stunning Loch Lomond.

I’m going to have to keep at this training thing but it’s not easy at all. Please, if anyone can find a few spare pounds, could you sponsor my efforts. It’s for a good cause: the charity Breakthrough Cancer.

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