Friday, 26 April 2013

A day with Inspire2Tri

A couple of weeks ago I posted that I was nowhere near ready for my upcoming triathlon, however I am pleased to report that today I feel completely ready and prepared. In a matter of days, I've gone from an awfully uncomfortable looking frontcrawl where I would tire after only a length to a technique that has enabled me to keep going and going during my swimming session this morning AND make me look a little like an actual swimmer!

Yesterday was the day of my "Prepare for your first Triathlon" with Mary at Inspire2Tri in Manton, Rutland. I had been pretty nervous about this but Mary had assured me that I would be fine and to bring lots of enthusiasm with me along with my swim gear, bike and helmet.
The day was always bound to start with a hitch, as it's me, so after borrowing a bike rack from Sharon and getting the bike on the back of the car (we looked like the Chuckle Brothers trying to follow the instructions!) I set off leaving myself plenty of time to travel the 60 or so miles to get there. Only a mile down the road I went over a speed bump and felt the bike bounce from the car, so pulled over and the bottom straps had come loose from the bumper. I had to untie the whole thing to lengthen the straps again before securing the bike so all in all this took me around 15-20 minutes, which meant a drive at break neck speed to get to Mary for 1pm, I was about 5 minutes late, so felt really embarrassed but Mary was fine about it which was reassuring.

We went straight over to Mary's endless pool where she had a look at both my breaststroke and my front crawl. The first thing Mary said was that there was potential so this was encouraging, and she wanted to work on both techniques so first we looked at my breaststroke. The most noticeable thing here was my right leg having a mind of its own as I have what Mary called a "screw kick", it really irritates me when swimming as I can feel that it twists me around as I try to correct it, with no luck. After half of the session there was real improvement, I have a video to show it, but it's not to flattering so I'll save your eyes!
Next we worked on front crawl, Mary was really enthusiastic about this and said that I had a good hand placement and catch underwater so we didn't need to worry about that, but after looking at the video I could see just how far my head was coming out of the water which Mary pointed out was the reason I was getting so tired! She asked me to try a few different things to reduce this, which as she was explaining them to me I was trying my best to understand how it could work, and every time it did! When Mary was explaining to me how I would in effect be breathing underwater my head nearly exploded, how would this be possible?! But it worked! Not only did it improve my head position but it was making me much quicker as I kept bumping into the engine! This is the result, which as a novice swimmer, who was scared of the water only 4 months ago, I am really proud of!

Once I had got changed, we went back over to the studio and fixed my bike on a turbo so Mary could do a bike fit, before taking the bikes up through the village to a long cycle path to practice the mount and dismount from the bike from and into transition. This seemed to go well and after a few goes I got it, Mary was also able to given some useful tips that I would have never thought of such as putting pedals in position before racking the bike. We then went back to the studio and worked outside practicing getting the bike in and out of transition and again Mary gave some practical tips for what I would need and how to place my kit etc. I did a couple of simulations which threw up some potential problems such as fiddling with my helmet and potentially taking out any nearby bikes whilst trying to get my bike racked after the ride, all of this information was so valuable as it was all things that I had never thought of before!

We also went for a quick run around the block as Mary wanted to see how I was getting on after the running technique course I attended a few weeks ago and she was pleased to see that I had been practicing, I think it will be a while before I have transitioned fully to forefront running as I have to look after the shins so I will carry on practicing and make it a slow transition. I have to say, that I really notice the difference in my speed and over all efficiency when forefront running so I will keep on working on it over the next few weeks.

Mary took the time to go through everything that I needed to know for the day itself, and answered all my questions so I could come away feeling really prepared for the day, she even took the time to take me through some kettle bell exercises that I can do at home that will work on my core so as my gym doesn't have kettlebells (something that I still feel is somewhat ridiculous) I have some at home that I can use.

I shall definitely visit Mary again. We talked briefly about my future plans for next year and the 70.3 and she was really encouraging that I would do it, if fact saying that at seeing my current level, when I get to where I want to be weight wise I'll "fly" so it's good to hear that I have potential to achieve what I want to! Mary said that she was impressed that I was well researched, something that I had to blame on @TheIron_Bear and his blog, and the constant numbers updates which I never really understand but pretend I do (not very convincingly though!) I'm also looking forward to getting up there to try out some open water swimming, something that only a few months ago I was petrified at the thought of!

I had a great few hours with Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and like I said, came away feeling very prepared and looking forward to a swim the following day, which I nailed by the way!!

I also got the news when I finished that I had got a place in the Olympic Park Run in July, which is great news! I had spent the morning getting increasingly frustrated after the server had crashed, and had resigned myself to not getting a place so I was chuffed that Anne had continued to try when the website was up and running and had got me a place along with a few more of the Regency Runners girls, and some of the VLMfamily from twitter so it's shaping up to be a great day! I'm really looking forward to this and it has set me up for a busy few months over the summer race wise.

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I'm a fatty trying to get to be a thinny!