Week 3 of the programme draws to a close, and despite the lean times in the station for time off, I still managed to get in a couple of swims. Wednesday was a bike session in the gym, and those are not terribly exciting. I took Thursday off, and then hit the pool on Friday morning. Someone had let a dolphin loose in the next-but-one lane. I am going to pretend the lady was an Irish Olympian, just to salve the wounded pride. Suffice to say, it was fascinating to marvel at all the wonderful strokes as she glided up and down the pool. At one point, I did my best front crawl and managed to keep up with her for one length, though I should probably add she was on her back and only doing leg kicks. Oh well. Back to the doggy paddle for me. I’ll never be a decent swimmer, but I don’t have to be, I guess; just good enough to get through the 3.85 kms next year.
Out past the ranger’s station and then a loop back by the dog park and down the winding hill near the ruined church. The teasels are all flowering now, and they are quite a sight. Over the bridge and down by the river. Legs vaguely curious how this whole Iron Man project is going to pan out. Too much thinking, legs, and not enough running. Musn’t dawdle. Mustn’t grumble.
Back over the bridge, and before my legs could turn for home as they would normally do, I fooled them, and went right, and by the beech tree a second time. Not fair, said my legs. Too bad, said my head. Up the hill, and managed to control my breathing all the way, as a challenge. Normally, on a jog, I have a 4 step breathing pattern. This is a general gauge I use for pace. Breathing in… four foot strokes… breathing out… four more… repeat. At a moderate pace, I can keep up this breathing pattern on a long run. Once I pick up the pace even slightly, it quickly changes to three steps. Scientific it ain’t. But I have convinced myself, with this yardstick, that at least I have some control over my breathing, and don’t end up panting like a rabid dog when I’m out training. Although that sort of panting has been known to clear the path in front of laggards. Pros and cons…
Out onto the pitches and loop around to the ranger’s station once more and on the home leg now. The weather is heavy, and the sweat is copious. Home in an hour and eighteen minutes. That’ll do for now. Today we are back in the gym on the bike. That should easy, after watching Stage 20 of the Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez yesterday, and the gargantuan efforts of Nairo Quintana to cut the deficit and grab the yellow jersey at the death. And he wasn’t far off either. But lest you think I am some seasoned pro who can rattle off these names like long, lost brothers, I will confess I am a very late convert to cycling. And for all my love of getting out on the bike, I still reckon triathlons are somewhat biased in favour of the strong cyclist. But that’s just me, and that’s just too bad. I don’t have a strong discipline per se; more like two weak ones, and an okay one. But mustn’t dawdle. Mustn’t grumble! An hour on the bike and yet another precision cycle as I clock up 30kms in 60 minutes and 25 seconds.