Lung-busting, heart-pounding, rib-bruising, skin-soaking…

The training weekend in Wales didn’t disappoint and I’m sitting here on Monday evening typing this with legs full of lactic acid!

Leigh and I enjoyed the weekend, having a break from jobs at home and for me training in a different environment.  It also gave us the opportunity to catch up with Ironman colleagues and partners and friends.  But the training was tough.  Austria better seem a breeze after all this or I’m not playing anymore!

The weather forecast for the weekend was patchy rain on Saturday and heaving it down all day on Sunday.  Based on this and other stuff our plan was to ride the 70ish mile loop on Saturday and then straight on to a 30 minute run with Sunday being a couple of hours running and possibly a swim.

Saturday started nicely with a lie in bed as the B&B owner wouldn’t do us breakfast before 08.00 so we couldn’t get out on the bikes until around 09.30.  Four of us started in the dry but throughout the day we did get wet and on one occasion it absolutely hammered it down on us.  Well it was in Wales.  Anyhow, the ride had plenty of incidents including a big ‘off’ from Tony who was majorly winded and probably has some really nasty bruising today.  In very brief details we road plenty of ups and downs for the first 20 miles or so and then got to a long main road descent on which we maxed out at over 50mph.  My Garmin (computer device) recorded a maximum speed of 50.5mph.  It was a bit hairy, especially for Simon as he got a bit of a tank-slapper on and thought that it could end in tears.  If any of us had come off it would have been plenty of blood and flesh all round as well tears!  Nevertheless, we made it to the bottom only to hit a few more climbs.  A few miles later we arrived at the bottom of the challenge of the day climb which is a one and a half mile 17% climb with absolutely no respite at all.  It starts from Llanymawddwy and climbs to Bwlch y Groes (no there’s nothing wrong with my PC or keyboard that’s how they spell the names).  I thought there might be a flat bit somewhere but it turns out to be just up and up.  Although I made it to the top I did hesitate three times and during one of which I noticed my left shoe cleat had broken which meant I was unable to ‘clip in’ properly for the remainder of the ride.  That’s a bummer in itself but I also have to buy new cleats now! 

A new max heart rate

The strange thing was that even at the start of the ride in Dolgellau my heart rate seemed somewhat high, but I didn’t really think too hard about it.  However, during this climb, although I can’t deny my legs were feeling it, my lungs and heart felt like they were going to burst through my chest.  I thought that anyone seeing me at that time would see a cartoonesque  heart and lungs pumping out through my shirt.  It turns out that on Saturday I found my new maximum heart rate, a gob-smacking 185bpm.  My theoretical max is 175bpm although, I know my actual is higher I didn’t think it was 185bpm.  But more on that later.  From the top of this climb we had a long descent to lake Vyrnwy in the pouring rain and stopped in the café for coffee and a toasted tea cake.  Although by the time we were ready to leave it had stopped raining all our clothes were wet so getting dressed to go back out was pretty awful, but after a few miles more on the bikes we warmed up a bit.  I can’t really tell you where we then rode but I can tell you it was just a continual route of climbs and descents for miles.  One descent left one of the guys in a heap having misjudged a corner and although he unclipped from his pedals and bailed out before he hit the only metal road sign we had come across for miles, he did land heavily and was badly winded and ultimately had to take a flatter route back to the B&B.  So I can’t really say much more about Saturday’s ride except that it was very eventful and an excellent hill circuit to build power and endurance.  I have to thank Simon for planning and navigating the route, Peter for going back with the injured Tony along the flatter return route and Tony for managing to ride back on what was a flatter but none the less hard ride as they were riding into the wind all the way. 

Ride to run transition

Once we returned to the B&B (72 miles and 5 hours 51 minutes later) I quickly slipped in to my trainers and got a 30 minute (4 miles) run in to ensure the legs can cope with the wobbly leg syndrome.  It’s strange how the legs struggle to go from cycling to running and that this transition has to be practiced quite a bit.

Another new Max Heart Rate!

I slept very well on Saturday night, as I have to admit I was knackered.  Sunday’s plans changed a bit as Tony couldn’t run due to his ‘off’ and Simon was coming down with something.  Pete and I decided that we could get up early and get the run in before breakfast allowing us to have a Full English without feeling guilty and hoping we wouldn’t see it again on the run and we would have the rest of the day to spend with our partners.  We started the run at 06.30 with the aim of getting a couple of hours in.  However, we were running from the B&B towards Barmouth along the side of the estuary on the old rail track and Pete thought it would be a good idea to run to the sea.  Unfortunately en-route we sort of decided that it would be even better to cross the toll bridge and set foot on the far bank before returning back for breakfast and so we were running pretty quickly for an Ironman marathon pace training session.  The upshot of all this is that we only just scraped in for breakfast but did run 18.5 miles in 2 hours 20 minutes averaging 7 minutes and 48 seconds per mile and I found a new maximum heart rate!  Believe it or not my heart rate maxed out at 191bpm although I didn’t feel too bad on the cardiovascular front but my legs were buggered.

Now you can see why I have a bit of lactic in my legs and have enjoyed a rest day today.  Tuesday I will do a 60 minute run or turbo session (depending on weather and work) and meet the Team Bedford guys at the lake for an hour’s swim.

So that was the weekend, I thoroughly recommend it and I now look forward to this week’s sessions.

Cheers, Nick

PS. No road rage stories from
Wales but they ought to train the sheep to get out of the bloody way!


3 responses to “Lung-busting, heart-pounding, rib-bruising, skin-soaking…

  1. Hi Nick, sounds like you had great but exhausting time. I did a half marathon round the Lake up there and it is nicxe countryside.
    The increasing max heart rate is interesting. I think its possible to go about 10% above the calculated value (192 in your case) but why it should go so high on a steady state long run is faainating. I hope this is not a sign that your coming down something, do you know what your resting resting was at the start of the weekend?
    My weekend was a dodle in comparison. A steady 9 miles in the north bedfordshire countryside on saturday and I stayed completely dry on Sunday by staying in working on material for the Sports Nutrition workshop which I have stupidly planned for the 8th of July when you are in Austria.
    I had hoped to see you tonight at the lake but Zac’s kind offer of a wet suit has come to nothing as I can’t get in it. A pretty good workout in itself trying to force yourself into a a too small wet suit. Shame.

  2. “The training weekend in Wales didn’t disappoint and I’m sitting here on Monday evening typing this with legs full of lactic acid!”

    ….I use my fingers when typing, but perhaps this is yet another Nick Mitchell training tip for Tri-athlete’s & IronMen.

    I feel knackered just reading all this, my heart rate remains a steady 45 bpm – phew!

  3. Steve

    I think it’s a sign that I am knackered but appear not to be coming down with anything.

    Maybe you could talk me through your workshop material on nutrition when it’s done. Use me as a test audience if you like. Shame I’ll not be about but I will be thinking a lot about nutrition that day, trust me!



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