Monthly Archives: April 2016

Beginning to Tri – Epp 5 – Light at the end of the tunnel, but with a few dark patches!

It’s really tough when its marathon season and all your friends are talking running and you are not allowed to!  Don’t get me wrong I am making progress with my injury, the limp is almost gone and I can now bend over to do my laces up (Tri Elastic laces have been my saviour for the last 6 weeks!)  I never realised how long 6 weeks without running or riding was but it feels like ages.  At least I have been able to swim.

I have tried the odd session out of the pool but after 5 – 10 minutes (I lasted 2 minutes on the Watt Bike!!) my leg feels like it’s on fire and I know that I have upset my back once again so sadly but sensibly I have realised this is a great time to build on my swimming.

So I have hit the pool on average 5 times a week, taken loads of advice on what training to do and tried to use the time to work on Speed, Endurance and technique!  I’m still loving the MP XCeed Goggles and found these to be a revelation to my longer training as they are comfy and don’t steam up.  Since upping my training It was suggested about getting some swim training gear, I already had a kick Float but bought myself a set of AquaSphere Hand paddles and a cheap waterproof MP3 to reduce the boredom of long endurance sessions.

Even though the MP3 was around £3 from China on ebay it works well, sounds ok and it reduces the boredom.  I love my hand paddles, I have taken swim session from a few places: 220, friends and articles of the web.  I already feel faster and stronger and hope that this is a real positive from not being able to ride or run.  I’m feeling confident to tackle phase 2 of my plan!

Phase 2 – Get out & Work hard!

I’m a member of my local David Lloyd and as well as 2 pools (It felt odd as I had to share a lane yesterday!!) The also have their own Tri Club with session lead by Rob Moore (Level 3 BTF Coach, BTF coach of the Year 2009!) I know him through work and he’s been a great help with my swimming and I feel it’s now time to hit the pool in one of his Tri sessions!  Also I have been invited along by a member of the Exeter Tri Club to their first open Water Swims on bank Holiday Monday.  I’m really looking forward to this as it gives me a great chance to try out the Zone3 Aspire wetsuit I currently have on test. (Review to follow)

I’m highly competitive and I know that going to his swim club will push me to train harder and I have several little bad habits with my stroke so I hope he will sort me out!  The chance to get into the sea and swim is one of the reasons I wanted to do Tri.  I love outdoor swimming but hardly do it without a leash on my ankle or kids in tow!

The Dark Patch’s!

So by reading all of this you would be led to believe recovery is going well and I’m coping, I’m not!   My physio has been great and has been understanding on the fact I want to get moving.  It doesn’t stop me getting frustrated with not being able to run or ride.  I can see the progress that I’m making but I’m not keen on taking drugs but I know I need to help with recovery! (Ibuprofen every 4 hours, 10mg Amitriptyline each night)  I have been better than ever on doing my stretch’s and trying to keep my back mobile, but every now and again I get really frustrated!

This week’s frustration came from visiting an NHS Physio!  I booked an appointment 6 weeks ago when I first became injured but as expected the waiting list is long.  I want to recover quickly so I had to bite the bullet and see someone privately.  Jenni from Quay Kinetics is great but my plan was to do that until I was seen by the NHS to reduce overall costs.  The physio wasn’t overly interested, once I had said I had been to see Jenni, his advice was to keep seeing her, follow her instructions and take my time to return to full on mode.

I came out of the consultation angry, why I had wasted my time!  Jenni is great and always at the end of a phone for advice and can see me after school so I don’t miss work.  I’m happy to continue to see her but it does cost!  I will have to plan for this now but the underlying annoyance was that the NHS physio felt I was too knowledgeable and motivated for their service and that I was better doing what I was!  With time I can see his point but it is frustrating that it was no help.  I will continue to see Jenni, She’s great and I know I will come back stronger and fitter.  I rang her and had a rant as she had asked me to ring her to say how it had gone and was very supportive, the rant helped and I hope seeing her on Wednesday will help further.

So my upcoming targets on my Begging to Tri journey is to hit Rob’s Swim session and get out in the sea.  At the moment the Dart Duo seems ages away but we are nearly in May, I can’t run more than 10 steps without pain but I’m happy how my swimming is coming on!  6 weeks of rehab done and I’m still not fully fit but I do see a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, let’s hope I’m blinded by the daylight soon!

Happy Training

MP Xceed Aquasphere Goggles Review

In my injured state of being banned from running or cycling for 6 weeks the parcel from @AquaSphereUk really lifted my mood and frustration as they have sent me a pair of MP Xceed goggles to test.  I’m a keen swimmer and aim to swim twice a week and with my injuries this has become 4 times.  I try and do a mix of speed, interval and long swims and due to a decision to take on a few Triathlons and Aquathons this season I have upped my swim training.

I have never bought cheap goggles but would not normal go as far as the £24.99 that the MP Xceed goggles retail at but after trying them for a month and completely agree with the saying “you get what you pay for!”.  Just getting them out of the packaging you noticed how low profile they are.  I know from the blurb they have been developed with Michael Phelps’s input and are designed for the competitive swimmer.

The packaging is designed to be a storage box which I love because it keeps them safe with all my other stuff in my kit bag.  Also in the box are three other sizes of nose bridges.  This really allows for easy fitting and was easy to swap if needed.  Lucky for me they fit first time with no need to change them (I did try the other bridges just to check though!)

When I put them on I noticed how easy they were to adjust as they had a central toggle adjustment on the strap.  They were very comfy on the eyes and were tight but I didn’t feel like my eyes were bulging!  Looking at them in the mirror I couldn’t believe how low profile they were.  I knew they had been designed with hydrodynamic properties but I never thought they would be this low profile.  The curved lenses made 180 degree vision easy, the boast of seeing the lanes either side clearly are very true.

So the real proof was in the swimming.  I decided my first session would be a straight forward 2km swim.  I decided to see how they fared without taking them off at all in the session.  I noticed straight away the clarity under the water.  I was amazed on how clear the vision was with these on.  The gasket around the goggles are very soft and never let 1 bit of water in!  Unlike the other goggles I wear they did not fog up at all through the session and never felt or needed removing.

Since this session I have done further sessions including a very tough pyramid sprint session and still find these goggles impeccable.  The MP Xceed come in clear, mirror and titanium mirror lenses which would make them perfect for competitive swimmers as well as triathletes as the mirror and titanium options would be perfect for both high glare pools and outdoor swims.

So do you get what you pay for? With these goggles, no you get a bargain! These are great low profile, good fitting goggles that would suit a keen regular swimmer and/or Triathlete.

Fancy taking part in a 26.2 mile trail event in Brighton?

In my injured state of being banned from running or cycling for 6 weeks the parcel from @AquaSphereUk really lifted my mood and frustration as they have sent me a pair of MP Xceed goggles to test.  I’m a keen swimmer and aim to swim twice a week and with my injuries this has become 4 times.  I try and do a mix of speed, interval and long swims and due to a decision to take on a few Triathlons and Aquathons this season I have upped my swim training.

I have never bought cheap goggles but would not normal go as far as the £24.99 that the MP Xceed goggles retail at but after trying them for a month and completely agree with the saying “you get what you pay for!”.  Just getting them out of the packaging you noticed how low profile they are.  I know from the blurb they have been developed with Michael Phelps’s input and are designed for the competitive swimmer.

The packaging is designed to be a storage box which I love because it keeps them safe with all my other stuff in my kit bag.  Also in the box are three other sizes of nose bridges.  This really allows for easy fitting and was easy to swap if needed.  Lucky for me they fit first time with no need to change them (I did try the other bridges just to check though!)

When I put them on I noticed how easy they were to adjust as they had a central toggle adjustment on the strap.  They were very comfy on the eyes and were tight but I didn’t feel like my eyes were bulging!  Looking at them in the mirror I couldn’t believe how low profile they were.  I knew they had been designed with hydrodynamic properties but I never thought they would be this low profile.  The curved lenses made 180 degree vision easy, the boast of seeing the lanes either side clearly are very true.

So the real proof was in the swimming.  I decided my first session would be a straight forward 2km swim.  I decided to see how they fared without taking them off at all in the session.  I noticed straight away the clarity under the water.  I was amazed on how clear the vision was with these on.  The gasket around the goggles are very soft and never let 1 bit of water in!  Unlike the other goggles I wear they did not fog up at all through the session and never felt or needed removing.

Since this session I have done further sessions including a very tough pyramid sprint session and still find these goggles impeccable.  The MP Xceed come in clear, mirror and titanium mirror lenses which would make them perfect for competitive swimmers as well as triathletes as the mirror and titanium options would be perfect for both high glare pools and outdoor swims.

So do you get what you pay for? With these goggles, no you get a bargain! These are great low profile, good fitting goggles that would suit a keen regular swimmer and/or Triathlete.

Trainer Review: On running Cloudsurfer

When I first received my On Running Cloud surfers I was amazed by lightness and feel when I first put them on.  Yes they do look odd to begin with but they do feel comfy and fast.  I had heard via twitter that they take a bit of time to get used to but as a forefoot runner I found that this was not such an issue for me and started using them straight out the box on a 10km training run.  There is a large step at the back which, if you were a heal striker would take some getting used to.  I think this is where the comment about needing to get used to them comes from.

Their style and looks make them not look out of place in the fashion shoe market but with all the practicality of a good proper running shoe.  I’ve used it for several speed sessions on the dreadmill in my local gym with lots of my friends asking what they were and showing a real interest.

cloudsurfer-neon-grey-400x400

Since I started using them I cannot get over how comfy they feel, they are very lightweight (240g) and very soft to the touch.  Because of this I was worried that they may not last.  I decided to put them through their paces and wore them to work (I’m a PE Teacher) for 2 weeks.  They look a lot dirtier than they were but show very little wear on the underside and tops.

The only downside I have found to them personally is due to their unique cushioning system.  The idea of the loops (for a better word) dissipating the shock and reducing the force of the ground strike works very well but It does squeak if you use them in the wet, it is however more noticeable walking than running.

Some reviews have mentioned that they are not good in the mud.  I have used them in muddy conditions and found the loops still worked and they were fairly grippy.  I would love to see if they could create a trail shoe as I think it would be great to try!

I can currently deciding if I want to keep them as my main shoes for the Triathlons I have coming up as the pull tab on the heal, big tongue and weight would lend nicely to a quick transition shoe.  I was not surprised to hear the director of On Running was a triathlete.

Are they worth trying, YES will they suit everyone NO but I think you should try them on a treadmill in your local shop before you count them out, you may be pleasantly surprised.  My biggest issues is as I’m currently injured I cannot get out and run in them!

Begining to Tri. Episode 4 – All the Gear but Broken!

So 3 weeks on from Bath Half I sit on a wet Sunday afternoon wanting to train but following Jenny’s orders I’m taking it easy.  The ruptured L5 disc is on the mend from trying to take it easy, simple stretch’s and filling myself with Ibuprofen and amitriptyline (a drug used for depression but in low doses it’s great to suppress nerve pain and help speed up recovery!).  Now taking it easy in my head is possibly different from my physio.  I don’t like sitting around and don’t like being in the house (Don’t get me wrong it is a nice house!) Normally I would be in the pool at the moment doing laps/ playing with the kids or be out doing something but I’m trying to be good and rest.

So since my last episode I have begun to build my racing kit, well what else is there to do when your broken!  The Guys at www.madison.co.uk have been great and after realising very quickly I’m not the normal triathlete shape they have sent me a Pearl Izumi 2 piece.  They have sent me a top and shorts from the elite Tri range  & First impression were how smart it was and trying it on, it fitted really well and felt great. Sadly I have not ha chance to test it out in anger but I hope to get the nod next week to get back in the pool and go for a ‘light’ jog.

I have managed to do a few swim sessions making sure I have listened to my body and not pushed too hard.  I have done a mix of sessions including an outright 2km swim, Interval sessions and pyramid sessions.  These sessions were not made any easier by losing my best goggles to the goggle monster (If you have never heard of him, he lives next to the Sock Monster and likes to take peoples goggles so they can’t find them!) training in a bad pair of goggles is like running in daps! So this is my next investment!

I have booked 2 races so far and was ready to book more until this slight blip and I’m keen to get a pool super sprint Tri in early as soon as I’m given the all clear as stepping up to a Tri in open water as your first is not the best way forward.  My first event of my Tri season is the www.mudandsweat.com Dart duo  a wild swim Aquathon.   It wasn’t until I began this journey I realised how many local events there are in the South West.  A friend/bully/Strength & Conditioning coach Beef (@itsbeef) keeps sending me links to local events with: ‘perfect build up’ alongside each one.  To be fair I haven’t looked as I know I will boo a few of them!

So with a week of the Easter holidays left and a physio appointment later this week, what are my plans?  I hope to continue to hit the pool and keep my swimming up, I want to work on distance and speed so will be doing several different sessions.  I hope that I will get the nod to start light running and a bit of commuting on the bit and start some easy turbo.  Depending on how that all goes I hope to get a wetsuit and maybe even brave the outdoor swim! Or maybe the outdoor pool at first!

Happy Tri-ing