6 Weeks to go – Countdown to Ironman Austria


3.5lb loss; 34lb total; 12lb in 2014.

Six months ago when we sat down and wrote the Ironman training programme it was easy to be blasé.  100 miles here, 100 miles there, chuck a 10k in the middle, yeah, no problem.  Easy, easy, easy.

Later on, when it all comes to the fore I look at the programme and wonder, “what the hell was I thinking”.  This week was one of those situations.  May is big mileage month in the middle of the ‘peak’ phase and this week would see a return ride to Bognor with the Bognor 10k in the middle.

Oh God!  What was I thinking.

But first of all, we had to get through a weeks worth of training.  A nice gentle run on Monday eased me back into the swing of things.  It was followed by a good session in the spin shed on Wednesday morning, where the extra couple of days rest bore fruit.  It was ‘hills’, my favourite session and (with relief) I was finally able to hit the heart rate targets set by Barrie.  Phew.

I knocked on Pete’s door on Thursday morning with trepidation.  Every week Peter asks me what I think my weight will have done.  It’s become a bit of a standing joke now.  I was really relieved to see it down 3.5lb this week.  So, the blip appears to have been water weight after all.  Phew again.

After a period of respite, Peter brought back the ladder run this week.  I love and hate this equal measures.  It really felt like I was struggling.  Occasionally my heart rate limped over 150 but most of the time languished in the bit of my feet.  So, I was really surprised when Peter e-mailed over the comparison to the last time we had done it.

ladder run may 2014

Not only was the pace quicker, it was at a much lower heart rate.  Fantastic 🙂  Back at the barbell we managed to tweak it up another 2.5k for the second and third sets.  And I got through it, but only just.  No two handed tea drinking this morning, today I needed a straw 🙂

Back in the shed of doom for double spin the temperature in the shed was creeping up.  It wasn’t quite hot enough to feel like I was inhaling fire but hot enough to feel uncomfortably sticky behind the knees.

I had a dilemma, I wasn’t sure I could beast the whole two hours.  So, welly the first session and hang on for the second or cruise the first and welly the second?  First up this time was Mel’s session.  She was repeating the session I had died a sad horrible death last week and since it’s a great play list I decided I really wanted to do it justice.  Welly the first then hang on it was.  And that’s pretty much how it panned out.

So, I had DOMS on top of DOMS come Sunday morning but I woke early in a state of excitement.  The weather forecast was excellent, prolonged sunshine and warm.  A trip to the seaside would be the perfect antidote for a busy week at work and the opportunity to ride my bike there, even better.  We had planned a 6am start.  Partly to take advantage of quieter roads and and partly to give us enough time to get down to the coast for the race and deal with any mechanicals that might happen.

Sara was standing outside our house as we left, just before 6am.   Pauline and Mel were already at the shop waiting. We had a rendezvous with another friend, Gareth at the Cock roundabout in Dorking at 6.30am so we headed off straight away.

There was a slight headwind and the early morning air was cool on the skin.  The sun was already shining and birds were singing their little hearts out.  It had the feel of a glorious summer day.

Gareth was waiting at the rendezvous on our arrival and popped onto the back of the ‘peleton’ as we heading up the hill out of Dorking.  We’d taken the first few miles at a relatively gentle pace.  Testing the legs and catching up on gossip.  Once over the hill the pace started to pick up and never really dropped again.

When we did this ride a couple of weeks ago I was really aware of the discomfort my saddle had been causing, even after just a few miles.  Pauline very kindly lent me the saddle off her spin bike for me to try out.  And oh my goodness the difference was amazing.  Never has my backside been happier.  I’d like to say it was happy enough to sing, but that comes later 🙂

The hedgerows were shining, almost effervescent with health and greenery.  Everything looked glorious and we couldn’t stop commenting on how beautiful it all was.

It felt like we were flying down the road as we ticked off the usual landmarks.  Ockley, Slinfold, a brief stop in Billingshurst then Pulborough and the looming climb of Bury Hill in the distance.

Just after Pulborough we met David cycling up from Bognor (having very recently moved there) to meet us.

This time, Bury Hill felt like a breeze in comparison.  After failing it so many times I could barely believe I had managed to get up twice in two weeks.  Yay.  And then the fast descent down the other side and into Bognor with enough time for two cups of tea before donning running shoes and a race number, ready for the 10k.  We averaged around 15.5 mph on the way out, completing the 48 miles in just over 3 hours.  Brilliant.

My now my quads were wrecked and I was certain the 10k was going to be slow.  We made our way to the start having bid farewell to Pauline and Sara who were looking after the bikes.  Mel who was not sure she would start the 10k decided to join me after I had revealed I was practising my planned Ironman strategy of running for 2 minutes then walking for a minute.

Previous 2:1 outings had me completing 10k in around 75 minutes.  I fully expected it to be the same this time so we positioned ourselves right at the back of the race.  As we crossed the start line, we had three people behind us.  We started off running, waving and smiling at the copious crowds gathering along to cheer us on.  It was clear the Bognor 10k had grown significantly since the last time we did it in 2007.

We took the first mile or so steadily and so I was amazed when the Garmin showed 10.47.  I commented to Mel that it was quick.  Little was I to know.  The walks came around frequently and were a welcome respite.  We chatted the whole way catching up on gossip and getting to know each other a bit more.  It was brilliant to have company and although Mel was definitely the faster runner I managed to keep hold of her coat tails for the most part.  We completed the run along the prom to Butlins and then headed in land for the loop around Hotham Park.  I noticed we were passing loads of people when we were running.  (We passed over 300 people during the race).

The splits were relatively consistent, 10.55, 10.16, 10.36 (with an extra stop at the water station) and still we felt great.  After completing the loop we headed on to the promenade back towards Butlins.  Here we started to pick up the pace a little but still walked every two minutes.  We saw David (who joined us a Pulborough) and his wife Sharon and stopped for a sweaty hug but still managed to clock out first sub 10 mm (9.56). Oh my goodness, this was phenomenal.

As we headed past Butlins we passed a chap who pointed at me and shouted out ‘Helmsley, I was behind you then too!’.  It turned out he had raced the Helmsley 10k up in Yorkshire and had recognised the pirate shirt (I really need to change my clothes more).

Onwards and upwards.  We decided to forgo the walk break in the last kilometre and run through to the end.  Mel is a demon motivator, and despite my legs feeling like they might fall off she would whisper ‘girl in the red top, she’s ours…yes…now man in the black top, come on we can get him…great…now two girls in white…and so it went on until the finish line’  Last mile 9.52 and the extra .2 at 8.41 pace.

Sprint finish indeed.  And PS woo flipping hoo.

No time for a tea, we had a brief sit down, change of shoes, refilled the water bottles and then we were back on the bike for the return leg.

This time my right hip was groaning, my left calf was aching and my quads were shot.  But the good news was my arse was still happy 🙂  We grunted and groaned our way out of Bognor until things started to loosen up a bit.  We made our way back to Bury and down the hill (top speed 40mph huzzah!) before stopping for coffee and cake in Pulborough.


Oh my god!  I mean I know I’ve been cake deprived of late but this was the best piece of cake ever.  We were sat outside enjoying the sunshine and the heat of the day was starting to make itself known.  We had been kind of aware of it warming up but never getting uncomfortably hot.  Now I was certain the comedy tan would be coming on a treat.

After a nice sit down we stirred ourselves to get going again.  The problem was, not only had we seized up again, we had a climb to get out of Pulborough.  Oh lordy lord.  Granny wasn’t enough as we heaved and swayed our way up the hill.  Well, when I say we, Mel and Sara whizzed up and were barely seen again!

Alan graciously waited for us at the top and off we went.  About 15 minutes later I noticed my legs start to feel a bit better.

It must have been the cake!  Definitely a nutrition strategy for the Ironman.  Actually, it was a reminder that I need to eat more on the bike (I hadn’t eaten anything after the 10k and was starting to feel really wobbly before we stopped).  And the good news was my arse still wasn’t hurting yet either.

We arrived back at Billingshurst and were someone surprised to see some bastard had dumped 50 tonnes of top dressing on the bloody road.  (Seriously, one of these days I’m going to track that guy down).  It was so thick we came skidding to a halt, literally, and then turned back to make our way around the by-pass instead.

By now we were half way back.  We stopped briefly when Pauline dropped her chain (causing a great comedy moment when Sara slow time crashed into Mel then fell off, in the most graceful way ever).  And then, again with a sense of urgency we pushed on.  Once again we were flying.  Working hard to take turns at the front until before long, we were back at Dorking and waving goodbye to Gareth.

The last six miles felt like a breeze and then we arrived home in tatters but strangely whole and still my arse wasn’t hurting.

I’m raising money for the Princess Alice Hospice.  See my just giving page here… https://www.justgiving.com/Nicky-Donbavand1


About PT Nicky

I'm a girl in the world just trying to make 1% improvements everyday. I recently qualified as a Personal Trainer. I certainly don't fit the aesthetic of a PT and I wanted to demonstrate that ordinary people can achieve their hearts desire. Clean eating advocate with paleo leanings.
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1 Response to 6 Weeks to go – Countdown to Ironman Austria

  1. lcwaller says:

    Love, love, LOVE this!!! It is just so exciting to watch your progress. I’m currently living vicariously through you Nicky 😀 Well done on another stonking week xx

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