Back training and what is next?

It is a month since ITERA now and the main question I am asked is, What is next? My answer up until now was, I’m not really sure, but today I decided that I’m on the way back to full fitness and racing. It is time to pick a few events for the winter to lead into The Race in March. My basic plan for now is to train hard, work on my speed again, do some endurance session and keep healthy. I plan on plenty of strength and flexibility work along with physio and yoga throughout the winter. There is only one way to bounce back from disappointment and thats by continuing to improve from it. One thing I definately wasn’t going to do was stop training and feel sorry for myself while in recovery. This article gives you a feel for why. A well written piece explaining simply what happens to us when we stop or alter our training for whatever reason may be.

http://io9.gizmodo.com/this-is-what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-stop-exercis-1724581507

I decided to go back playing soccer for the season, being the old man in the team will be interesting but I reckon I can still keep up with the majority of the young bucks! The football training makes me recruit different muscles and is a nice outlet over the winter to mix things up training wise. I played three matches so far and have enjoyed them all. The gym and the watt bike will no doubt be a good friend during the wet months with some goals to improve on the bike coming into 2017.

I also hope to take part in some shorter AR races with Shaun in the next few months and statt to build more knowledge and skills in preparation for events in the future. I hope to take part in the NUI Galway 8km run next Saturday and on Sunday the Pieta House 100km charity cycle. A nice active weekend and I can test my speed on Saturday. Anyone around Galway should look at these two events.

The plan for this week will be to do a few good gym sessions with some football thrown in. I will try fit in a long run midweek but will save myself as best I can for Saturday. The 8km will give me a good indication as to how much training I have ahead of me this winter. No dount it will be a full packed schedual. There is the added question of my beloved Sea to Summit race in November. I have yet to make a decision, depending mostly on my downhill running which I will test over the next few weeks. If I can go pain free on the downhills I might give it a bash but I’m not fully confident I am where I was in terms of speed. If I decide to race I want to be at full tilt. So that is basically where I am for now and for the winter I hope to have more time to write and learn from reading other blogs. A great blog, always worth a read is Running on Healthy. It has some great articles and tips.

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Pre ITERA

It has been mostly a logistical few weeks for Irish Kiwi Adventure Team Thermatech. I find it difficult to decide on where to start in explaining the logistics and the time that is needed to prepare for a race like this. For those of you that have asked me over the last few weeks what this race involves, I apologise if I had a short answer or didn’t go into too much detail. The main reason is that unless you intend taking on this madness in the future or are already involved you will get bored quickly.

In one way it has been an amazing journey just getting to the weekend before the race and hopefully, now the starting line. The long weekends of training, the non stop training since last february when we made a decision to give this a go and the fantastic support from family and friends is the only reason this is still a possibility. As of next Tuesday my mission will be to make the finish no matter what it takes and to make sure all four of us give it our best shot. There may of course be times when we have to make massive decisions whether to keep going or not, but my hope is that our preparation and experience will guide us all the way. My three teammates have been unreal and I have the complete faith in them.

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Packing this week.

So the time has come to pack and prepare. Anyone out there ever prepared to go on a world back packing trip? Well this was way harder. Instead of just tickets and a bag of clothes to survive, you now have to sort food for 5 days and nights as well as equipment for hiking, running, kayaking and mountain biking. In deciding on gear you must take all weather conditions into account, making the West of Ireland a total world of pain. Bike bags, map boards, trekking poles, paddles, helmets, shoes, wetsuit and medical kits are just a few of the things on the list of specialized equipment for such an event. I am hoping my gear will be up to scratch and we are lucky to have ThermaTech New Zealand as our clothing sponsor going into our first big event.

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Some of the Food!

The gear was never going to fit in a car either so I am expanding!

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4 bike boxes ready for the journey.

So the main questions that crop up before one of these events.

Where is it on? Well we don’t really know! We received a distance breakdown and can begin to guess the route but all in all we really don’t know! It finishes in Killarney so follow the tracker and you will see where we are.

Where do you sleep? Well we don’t really sleep! We may sleep at planned times or locations for a few hours but don’t expect more than 10-12 hours for the full course.

Are you mad? Yes.

Yes we are mad in our own way and are spending alot of money to endure alot of pain and suffering. The most important thing , however,  is that there will be more fun than pain. This is a chance to test the body, the mind and endure something that we have never attempted before. We are going somewhat into the unknown. I know myself that I am tough enough, fit enough and stubborn enough to try this, but I have no idea whether my body will allow me to do it. Give me until next Sunday week and I will let you know. For now all I can say is good luck to all 36 teams in ITERA Ireland 2016, fingers crossed the conditions hold up well and lets hope the West of Ireland is good to all the international teams taking part. As a well known comedian from D’unbelievables once said “get out there and Enjoy yereselves”.

Just in case you need some links to the race.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/iterarace/

You can check out our own progress, with some help from friends at,

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011329301734&fref=ts

And for those looking for some race info the Itera page is probably handiest.

http://www.itera.ie/

Of course I will have a 5 day blog to write on the entire event and entertain you all for at least ten minutes when I’m finished next week, or is it the week after?!

 

 

 

Itera Beckons

The last two weekends have been made up of mini training sessions after the long one in Wales. Some difficult terrain, lots of hill work, kayaking and a bit on the bike have me feeling ready to believe this race is very possible and I’m glad it’s getting closer. 

The view from Diamond Hill last weekend. 

Last week we tackled diamond hill and after the third ascent realised my knee still isn’t liking the descents. No problem going up but the loading coming down is the issue. This led to lots of strength work, well some strength work this week. A focus on my glutes with eccentric loading exercises, plyometrics and resistant band work.   I felt better today on our hike out in gleann, I’m hoping with more rehab the leg will hold up fine. The mixture of bike and kayak on top of the hikes will give the leg it’s rest time so should be no problem. 

Emma’s first kayak in a while. Not a bother. 

There is just over two weeks to the race. This means a focus on staying healthy and rested and spending some time, well alot of time figuring out logistics. I won’t get into this yet, however, in time I will fill ye in on what it takes to make the start of an expedition race of this magnitude! 

Hating selfies and looking tired at the top of the hill today. 


The Silly Season

With less than 40 days to the ITERA race, I must have total focus on this event. So how do I focus? Well at the moment I can pretty much admit that I am struggling. I am working 50 plus hours a week, mostly at unsocial hours and in between these hours I need to sleep. I haven’t been able to train alot therefore I have to train well when I can. A mixture of long runs, short fast runs and today even some speed work are the best ways I can see of staying at a good level. I managed one watt bike session this week and hope to get out on the mountain bikeĀ  over the weekend as well as out for a paddle. Last weekend we fitted in a 5 hour hike in Connemara which was tough and enjoyable. The most impresive part of my training over the last two weeks, outside of the recent cycle events, has been my sleep deprivation training. Going to bed at 10pm, up at 1.30am and working until 2pm has been a regular occurence in recent weeks. Five sleepless days will be a stroll come August the 16th!

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A recent dawn boat patrol, this is on the way home!

The next two weeks I plan on fitting in as much time kayaking and mountain biking as I can, with some hiking thrown in for good measure. We have planned a Team IKAT Thermatech training weekend in the UK to get the team together pre itera. This will be a big boost to our preparations. I would be lying if I said I was confident going into my first multi day race. At the same time I know I will have the right mentality to finish and my fitness is good. It is, however, a totally new experience and one both my mind and body has yet to endure. Can you ever fully prepare for a race this long? Maybe not, after all there are so many things that can go wrong. The one thing we intend to have right is a positive team attitude and maintain a strong team unit throughout. If we do this I reckon we might even do pretty well.

Here are some people, some locals from the west that are achieving their goals and kicking bloody ass this summer. They will be taking part in ITERA and I wish them luck as well.

http://rachelsirishadventures.com/part-2-cycling-irelands-wild-atlantic-way/

https://thegalwaycow.com/2016/07/07/wild-men-wild-salmon-trailheads-ultra-part-deux/

Yoga week and ITERA

After a gruelling session with my physio on Monday we concluded that I may have an isssue with the tendon at the top of my calf. This meant a week of rest with some yoga and stretching thrown in to stay active, as long as there was no pain. Today is Thursday and you won’t believe it, I have listened to my orders and am just finished my thrid yoga session of the week with absolutely no other training. I think this was due, not to mention I had free time this week, very weird I must say. Check out Ali Kamenovas classes below for some top class yoga/core sessions. I swear by her sessions for anyone that runs or bikes in particular, as there are loads of poses specific to glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors and of course balance throughout.

https://www.youtube.com/user/YogaIntervals19

I have referred to these yoga classes in posts in the past and feel they are well worth another mention.

Tomorrow I return to the gym, a light session on the bike and maybe a tiny bit of running to test things out. I expect all to be good but now is not the time to rush back either. A little bit of swimming may be the way to go.

The big news this week is that we are nearing entry to the ITERA expedition race 2016, part of the world series adventure racing calender. We have put together an international team, with two Kiwi’s coming on board to add experience and endurance to us Irish speed merchants. Exciting times ahead and a serious goal is now set for 2016. My first multi day race and boy am I going to have to dig deep to train and learn how to get myself through this one. As I see it I love team sports and I love adventure racing, so why not compete in an adventure race on a team! I will go into more detail for what is involved once the final decisions are made on entry. Until then it is time to get moving again and try sort out these winter niggles.

 

 

Looks like rain Ted

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Corrib River, Galway.

I managed to gather up the courage to head to Knockma for some hill running yesterday. The weather has been crazy all week. Wind, rain and more wind and rain. I had great fun in the end though. I know I have mentioned this place many times before on the blog but it really is one hell of a spot for training. From the car park, straight up the hill through mud, water, leaves and even in one place on my hands and knees is just about 1.4km. I managed to do hill repeats on the last 600 metres four times and then a few laps of the forest to make up 11.5km in total in 58 minutes. I cannot stress enough how this hill running, and it has to be steep hills, really seems to work. It never gets any easier though and if it seems easier you just have to speed up. My general plan is to get out to Knockma once a week for the winter. It takes that little bit of effort but well worth it every time. It is 20 miles drive each way and in the winter it might mean some night running to fit it in.

I have started to think of new challenges for next year. I reckon I will give it a push to do well in another big adventure race but for now we are looking into a possible adventure racing team in the ITERA race next summer. I won’t get into too much detail but for those interested here is their site.

http://www.itera.ie/

A 600km adventure race over 5 days and nights does seem quite a step up, but sure why not, we only live once and no better way to go out than doing one of these !

The most important thing I have learnt from winning a race is that it is all about training and hard work. Once you realise there is some talent in you, and once you see progression, you can always get better. Gain the experience and use the brain a bit and you never know where it might take you. This encourages me to challenge myself more and hopefully the likes of ITERA will be the way to go in the future.

I spent some time of late following the Adventure Racing World Series in Brazil. These men and women are unbelievably tough. The things they went through during this race were phenomenal. Encounters with sting ray, alligators, thousands of bug bites, terrain such as swamp and mountain, not to mention the excruciating kayak sections. It puts our shorter races to shame. This race report below is a good reflection of the event and the site has some cool links worth checking out.

http://www.sleepmonsters.com/v2_races.php?article_id=9216

I have included a section on my training pre Sea to Summit in the Training heading on Blog page also. This might be interesting to anyone doing similar training to my own.

Oh and for anyone wishing to stay inside during these winter storms, here is another short yoga session I tried this week. There is no doubt most of us feel like weak kittens in comparison to Ali Kamenova but her classes are excellent. You will come out of the class feeling energized and strong.