Can the big lad keep to the back please?

Last weekend my wife and I went out for a walk with our 11 month old baby.  Nothing unusual in that, except that rather than push her in a pushchair I used a Manduca to carry her on my back.

I am used to carrying the baby with the Manduca as we used it often when she was small.  During those early days she was carried on my front, only weighed around 10 lbs and I loved the experience of having her close to me whilst being able to have my hands free fore drinking beer and cooking BBQ (which is what I spend the most of summers doing).  Now she is bigger she can go on my back like a sort of baby backpack (fortunately still leaving my hands free for drinking beer and BBQ) 😉

The only challenge around this is getting the Manduca comfortable for her and for me, which requires tiny adjustments to the multitude of straps and buckles.  Eventually getting this right, we set off.  Now I am not saying that my baby is by any means overweight, but she is a fairly big 11month old and must weight about 2 stone (28lbs).  By coincidence, this is almost the exact amount that I calculate I am overweight.  “So what” I hear you say.  

Carrying her around has made me realise just how much excess weight I am carrying, particularly if I am going to compete in triathlons for any reason other than just to finish.  Bearing all that in mind, I am still not intending on doing anything drastic with my diet.  I will eat more healthily, train more and hope that the weight reduces slowly.  My first Tri is not until May, leaving me plenty of time to try and reduce my weight a bit.

Or alternatively I could just do all of my training with the baby strapped to my back, and then when I compete without her connected to me I will have the effect of being 2 stone lighter.  Not so sure my wife would agree with that though, and the baby might get bored of all the training!

Time to concentrate on what I’m good at

I have been very unsure on how to target my training, and keep switching between two different mindsets.  To put no finer point on it, out of the three triathlon events running is by far my weakest.  

I have always been a strong swimmer, and feel like I can maintain a decent front crawl pace forever.  The only things that stops me from swimming is that after an hour or so I just get a bit bored.

Likewise cycling is something that I seem to find it very easy to get better at.  As I have been riding the road bike I feel that my fitness, and average speed have both improved very quickly.  I really enjoy putting the miles in on the bike, and cannot wait for better weather so I can put in a few long rides without freezing my Jacob’s off.

Running, or more specifically long distance running has never ever been a strength.  Even when I played football twice every weekend I was never able to run long distance without getting tired very quickly.  Now I am old (er) running now causes me knee, shin and foot pain even if it is only a relatively short 5k.

So back to these two mindsets (outlined below)

1) Train on your weakest discipline, whilst maintaining the other two so they all become equal
2) Train up your strongest disciplines whilst trying to make steady progress on the weaker

Now I am more than sure that neither of these options is absolutely right, and if I engaged a coach they would probably advise something different.  This whole Ironman journey is all about discovery for me, so I am going to try and figure things out for myself.

As a result I am going for option 2 at the moment, and working on my swim and bike fitness whilst going for an occasional run (when my aches and pains allow me).  Swimming is zero impact and as such does not aggravate my legs like running, and I also find that Cycling is much easier on my aging limbs.  Also I figure that a fast swim and cycle time will stand me in decent position just to endure the run as best as I can.  Even if I am overtaken my faster runners I will be happy that I am out of the swim and the bike quicker than most, meaning that finishing even an Ironman will be just about getting through the run stage.

I am also hoping that as I lose weight and get generally fitter the running will become easier and I will slowly be able to cover greater distances with less injury.  It is also my intention to get properly fitted for some running shoes, and possibly have some run training to help me stay injury free.

So there we have it.  Concentrate on the swimming and cycling for the moment, get some properly fitted running shoes and hope for the best.



First Weigh In – 5:2 diet

Having followed the 5:2 diet for a week (essentially eating only 600 calories for 2 days of the week) I jumped on the scales this morning with high hopes of seeing a bit of weight loss.

As I waited for the digital readout to register I held my breath in anticipation, only to see 15st 7.4lbs on the display.  This is EXACTLY the same as what I weighed on  Monday last week, despite the fact that I had eaten only 600 calories on Monday and Thursday last week.  So why might this be……………….?

Well it may have something to do with the fact that the only exercise I did last week was one swim and one 5k run.  Or it may be that my weekend diet consisted of a Pizza Hut, some delicious homemade fajitas and enough booze to kill a man at a party for my wife on Saturday, and then a chinese on Sunday.

So the lesson here is that though you may fast on two days, you cannot eat like a pig on the other 5.  Must try harder this week.  That being said I am away on business for most of it, meaning my chances to exercise are limited and my choice of food is mostly what you can get in restaurants.  Excuses excuses  🙂

We may make a runner out of me yet

Having stayed away from running for a while (due to the shin splints) I decided to take part in the Southsea Park Run.  There are Park Runs organised all over the country, they are 5k, happen every Saturday, are great fun and best of all they are free to take part in and have timing so you can track your progress.

My previous PB over 5k was over 30 minutes, and as I jogged down to the start on Southsea Parade thoughts of beating that were the furthest thing from my mind.  Mostly I was just hoping I could run 5k without any shin pain.

Arriving early I spotted a guy in a Pompey Triathletes top and struck up a conversation with him about joining them, the training they do etc.  I have decided to join after hearing how much he enjoys training with the group. More on this in another post.

So bang on the stroke of 9am we set off along Southsea Esplanade, and as usual with these Park Runs a lot of people went ahead of me.  There was a strong breeze blowing directly into our backs which definitely helped, and much to my surprise when we reached the half way point I felt good.  Turning around the cone and facing into the wind was a different matter.  It genuinely felt like I was travelling at half the speed I had been on the first half of the run.  

Pushing hard for the last 500m, and even breaking into a sprint (well as much of a sprint that I can manage) for the last 50m I crossed the line, ecstatic that I had absolutely no shin pain throughout the 5k.

With the Park Runs you get your results sent to you via text once they have calculated all the results, and at about 1pm today I was delighted to receive a text with my time of 27:34 finishing in 97th place, a full 3 minutes faster than my previous PB.

Perhaps this running business is not so bad after all…………….