Sitting here in our hotel room at 5am two days out from the Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Pretty cool just to write that down! Still in a bit of disbelief that we’ve made it here in such short time, but you have to take these opportunities. Plus it gives us another adventure, somethings don’t change though and true to form we have Mickey mouse clubhouse blasting out from the iPad keep H entertained!!
Getting here since our last blog has taken a lot of effort on all fronts. I’ve just came off an 8 week training block in the build up to this weekend. It has been my first experience working with a coach for Swim, Bike and Run. I will admit that its been challenging to fit all the workouts around all our family, work and university stuff going on. To be able to commit to this ironman stuff it becomes a lifestyle of choice rather than just a hobby, i’d alway read online and in magazines people assaying that but it is so true. There are certain things you just can’t do anymore if you want to commit to begin at your best come race day. With this it definitely takes a committed from your family to support you’re craziness as you get home from a 5 hour bike ride only to throw on the trainers and head out for an hours run. I definitely have that.
It even got to the stage a couple weeks back when i was struggling to get my ass off the sofa after a tough day at work and fatigue kicking in from the training plan. I had an evening run scheduled in training peak and Julie pretty much kicked my ass out the door at 8pm to get the work out done (I think getting peace to watch Game of Thrones was the motivator) but after getting the warm up done the workout ended up being pretty good.
For the preparation for IM Florida in November i had commtited I had an 16 week training block post Edinburgh 70.3 from total endurance It just so happened that the timing of Chattanooga allowed for two 8 week splits, with the main aim begin IM Florida 8 weeks later.
The training has went really well, and I’ve enjoyed the process of following a plan. Too often before i’d go out for a run and do 30 mins of plodding along then go home, same goes for in the pool. As for bike rides, well they have always been focused on just getting to a coffee shop with a few hills added. Having specific metrics to follow has been a great distraction for long runs and rides. I even did a 3 hour turbo session in the garage just so i could accurately hit the numbers prescribed, remembering to take stacks of water bottles and towels out there with me, Its damn hot in there.
Swims hang been getting done at 5:30am at our local sports club, getting the session done before Julie arrives with H at 6:45am for her spin class while i get Harrison changed and ready for nursery. This works vice versa also if Julie has an earlier class or if i need to get to work early. It may seem mad to some folk but it works for us and people now ask where Harrison is if one of us is there without him.
With the training load begin any where between 11 and 17 hours each week i’ve been really starting to feel the impact of the workouts. Stretching is something i’ve always done, a habit from my football days. I’m a sporadic foam roller at best, here is currently one in Harrison’s play room and i’ll sometimes pop on it. The best remedy however is sports massage, i can’t emphasise enough how important it is if you are regularly training. Our friend Hannah is one of the intructors at our sports club and is a qualified sports therapist, and has worked hard on getting me to Chattanooga in one peace. Coming out to the house in the evenings after long cycles, even the night before we flew out as to tape up my calves for the flight in order to reduce the swelling from flying long haul.
Harrison trying to get involved on Hannah’s treatment table
So Chattanooga. First impression over is here wow! So many tanned fit people walking about, and their all in compression gear!! The standard of athlete here is on a different level to what i’ve seen anywhere else.
We got in around midnight on Wed after flying from Heathrow to Atlanta. We booked through Nirvana, we’ve used them twice already this season and can’t fault them. Of course with a time zone change of -5 hours we were all wide awake at 3:30am after only a few hours sleep. Eventually with hunger getting the better of us at 5am we headed out to find a 24hr dinner, didn’t take long and it didn’t disappoint. A stack of pancakes that i could barley see over the top of were fantastic! So much so we were back there today, and probably tomorrow…Its Carb loading you know!
After breakfast had settled i went out for a run to get rid of the heaviness after the flight, checking out the river front area where transition etc is located and also part of the run course. It was much cooler than i had expected, but you could feel the air quickly heating up as the sun came up. Not much to report on the course as i about turned when i got to the foot of the first hill, it did look steep though. Once back at the hotel we all set off down to the riverside so as i could get a practice swim in. I have been quite nervous about this swim for a while for a few reasons;
- I’ve never swam in a river
- Never swam open water without a wet suit
- Being new to this swimming game, 950m against the current of the Tennessee River just sounds horrible
Well i got in with my swim skin on, having only used it in the pool, and the river was like a warm bath. A really weird sensation, open water and its 26degC!! it just does comprehend when you are used to Scottish lochs and the North Sea. The 750m loop swim Ironman had set up for practice went better than expected and really defused a lot of apprehension. One key thing i did pick up on was that the further into the middle of the river i went the stronger the current got.
Meanwhile on the riverbank while i was trying to calm my nerves in the rolling Tennessee river, the rest of Team Brems were stalking former F1 world champion and pretty impressive triathlete Jenson Button. Competing in my age group (35-39) i’m expecting he’ll be out to win it going by his performances this year. He is here with some of his own triathlon team; Team Ichiban, I do like their team kit.
Team Brems meets Team Ichiban
Julie did actually admit that she was proper starstruck, and also that he was really lean?! At least Harrison didn’t seem to impressed with the multi-millionaire, formula 1 champion, elite athlete!!
I managed to get out onto bike course for a bit today
as well. Did the majority of the climb up Lookout mountain. Nothing silly steep, but winding the whole way never below 6%, with some double digit % thrown in along the way. Its about 5K from the bike start and spikes straight away up from the city, completely tree lined until you com rout on top.
It will definitely split the strong rider apart. but in saying that the strong swimmer and runner will all have advantages in the respective areas. This is a brute of a course, tough swim, tough bike and a really tough run to finish. Add in the heat and humidity and its going to be a day of attrition.