Another week down, another week closer. This week I was able to start my proper open water swimming for the year as I managed to get to Salford Quays on both Tuesday and Wednesday (if you’re interested, Wednesday with the Uswim folks is way more fun!). The water was a balmy 11 C, which in case you were wondering is cold! My wetsuit only arrived on Tuesday lunchtime so I gave it a good test this week and I’m pretty happy with it. I’m usually ok with cold water but the first swim of the year was freezing so by the time I did 1km I couldn’t really feel my feet. Already by Wednesday I felt much better in the water and managed to complete about a mile before the cold got to me. I felt pretty strong afterwards which bodes well for the Half Ironman at the weekend.

The places I swim are right on either side of my office in Salford Quays and when colleagues ask what I’m doing in the evening and I mention going for a dip in the Quays, the reaction is almost always ‘are you are mad?’, closely followed by ‘is it clean enough?’ to which I always say I think it’s cleaner than a swimming pool just because it doesn’t have the same number of people swimming in it. Well this week my belief in that was tested – almost straight away after getting out on Wednesday I started to feel a bit dodgy¬† and by the time I’d got home I started getting a pretty dodgy (and very itchy) rash. This was followed on Thursday morning by feeling pretty ropey all over on the way to work, where I was then sent home by my boss for looking very pale and generally unwell. I’ve been very lucky on this training so far I’ve only had one cold and stayed pretty healthy. I’m fairly sure I picked something up from the water but I guess I’ll never know for sure. It caused me to take a day off work and miss Thursday’s training completely and only do half of Friday’s.

I really had to get out on Friday. I’d agreed to do some pace setting in the Great Manchester 10km on Sunday for @russww, @angiedorrington and @NicolaClareFox (two twitter friends, one real life friend – all lovely and fun to run with too) to get round just under 50 minutes. I didn’t really know if I could still run that fast as all my running for months had been so slow. I ran a 10km on Friday just to be sure in about 46:30. The fun thing is that I wasn’t really tired at the finish and that pace is only a little slower than my PB last year. Can wait to run one in anger again!

I did a 5hr ride on Saturday, the first 3.5 hours with Nic which made the training go much faster so much so it really wasn’t like training at all. It was basically a 3.5 hour ride around some lovely scenery chatting with a good friend. It almost felt like cheating! The plan for Sunday was to complete one loop of the Manc 10km with the others and then walk back to the start, jump a fence and join one of the later waves for a second loop around. In practice this really couldn’t have worked any better as we arrived back at the start just as a wave was about to start which we were then really near the front of. I ran the first 1km with Nic before deciding I really wanted to push for a quicker 2nd 10km and so set about making up the lost time and pushing on. It was pretty warm on Sunday here and that 10km was tough. It’s really the only time I’ve had to push my running for ages and I was clinging on towards the end. I got round in about 47:30 which I’m pretty pleased with. After pushing so hard I really didn’t feel the need to slowly jog the rest of Sundays running plan, so my weekend training came up about 40 minutes short. At this stage of my training, I’m really ok with that!

It’s now very apparent to me that I’m doing a half ironman at the weekend. This event has really crept up on me, as most of my thoughts have been on the big one in 6 weeks (5 weeks 6 days, argh!). I’ve only just realised I don’t think I have all the kit, or really know what to do in transitions (or triathlons in general). In the full one it’s easy because they have proper changing tents, I’m just going to have separate, comfy swim, ride and run kit. In the half it’s regular triathlon transition, which means keeping kit on from one event to the next – something I haven’t planned for at all!

Ah well, let’s see what the next week brings! This is what I did this week:

Tuesday,Running,1:15:00,”Z2 (at 0:10, insert 3 x 6 min Z4 @ 2 min Jog)”
Wednesday,Cycling,1:00:00,Z2 (QC)
Friday,Running,0:45:00,”Z2 (at 1:10, insert 10 min Z4)”
Saturday,Cycling,5:00:00,”Z2 (at 4:45, insert 7.5 min Z4) (QC)”
Sunday,Running,1:40:00,Z1 to Z22[/table]