Friday, 28 August 2015

Of Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

I think an adviser to Tony Blair once said "It aint strategy until its written down" I've been going through my race strategy for tomorrow. So here it is written down for all to see.

SWIM


Keep well away from the serious contenders. Start off at the back and avoid congestion spots. What I don't want is to end up in a medley of elbows, knees and feet and risk getting my head bashed. When half way and feeling comfortable start to gather some speed. In training I did the full distance a full 30 minutes inside the disqualification time so I should be okay here.

I need to keep reminding myself to swim intelligently. I need to glide through the water as much as power my way through. I will time my watch to sound every thirty minutes so I'll know roughly whether I'm where I should be a regular intervals.

Transition to bike - gargle and drink lots of water to get rid of the sea salt in my mouth and throat. Load up with energy gels and drinks and head off at a steady pace

CYCLE

Drink before I feel thirsty and take in energy gels - at least 3 each hour. Keep pace steady and conserve as much energy as possible for the run. During the last hour on the bike I need to eat as much as a can before the run. I've realised I can't hold down any food to speak of whilst running so all my eating for the run needs to be done on the bike.

With two miles to go I drop my gears to have my legs rotating around as much as possible to get them ready for walking/running again.

Transition to run -walk  really slowly as the legs get used to forward motion rather than just turning around and around.

RUN

This is when the whole event starts getting really serious. I'm expecting that at this point whether or not I conquer the race is down to what's in my head. I've been practicing the mind over matter bit extensively. See here 

My plan is to go for the fist 13 miles by running them without stopping. If I can take out half the marathon running I should be able to do the rest on foot.

I'm just hoping the weather is not too hot because  Mr. BP has never functioned well in heat. Ask any of my friends who have had to put up with an irritable Barry Phillips when the thermometer has hit more than 25 degrees.

Oh and to donate please click  here 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Of Reasons Why I WILL do This


Okay so here we are at T-Minus 3 and I'm beginning to doubt myself. I need to start thinking positively only. Let me try.

I will do this on Sunday because :

# I have trained for it (bar the last two weeks of injury)
# I have done all the prep and the gear is where it should be - with me!
# I've practiced the mental stuff and this will really help this wise old head get round on Sunday
# The diet has been excellent. No rubbish, loads of great vegetables and healthy fluids  - most of it organic.

I will do this. Repeat. I will do this.

To donate please click here

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Guest Blogger Barry the Younger

Hello Folks 

My name is Barry Corscaden.
I’m guest blogging for Barry because he's busy today flying out to France to get himself "in situ" for his own little "grand prix" (note the timely and clever use of French words there please..) on Sunday

– I don’t know the collective word for a pair of Barrys but I do know never to trust a Barrie !!

Barry the barrister (as we refer to him in our house) and I have been chums for best part 12-13 years now. We used to jog the walls of the maiden city (often deftly and cheerfully chatting whilst  dodging stones thrown playfully by japing youths !!) I remember when the kernel of the of what would become his company occurred  to him and true to his character – once interested in a thing – Barry decided to master it and promptly took on an online MBA while setting up a very demanding and complex business – years of 80 hour weeks passed and Barry built his biz into what its become now – proof,  if it was needed – of the old maxim of the formula of success being 1% inspiration and 99 % perspiration.

Barry didn’t think twice when I invited him hill walking in Austria a few years ago and likewise when he invited me to paddle a canoe form Antrim to Castlerock one May day weekend – I agreed without hesitation. When Barry told me he was going in for an Ironman competition – I didn’t doubt for a moment that he would achieve this – that’s what Barry does – he sets his mind and body to a task and he finishes it. He told me recently of his exhausting morning swimming regime he needed to do to prepare for the three mile swim he faces next weekend.  I was staggered when he told me that he and his fellow competitors are then going to saddle up and cycle a farther 112 miles and then , oh yes , the small matter of a marathon to run!

I can’t imagine the dedication and sacrifice of family time needed to make this possible but I do know that if anyone can Barry can. Cancer is a cruel blight on the lives of our selves and our loved ones – I was glad to see they were to be the beneficiaries of his noble endeavors. Good on you Bazza and may god speed go with you .

To donate and please donate he'll be so chuffed if you do I dare say he'll write and thank you personally as soon as he's recovered click here :


Barry Corscaden  


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Of Ironman and T-Minus 5 days to go..

Okay so we're at T-Minus 5 today before the Ironman on Sunday and I have to confess to a few butterflies already. However, I'm trying to work in some positives wherever I can.
I read a book on public speaking once and it gave me some very good advice I'm trying to apply here. It recommended that before a speech you should visualise any butterflies inside you lining up side by side. It said you should see this flotilla of beautiful creatures as your friends and on your side. Visualise them moving forward with you in harmony.The author pointed out that butterflies are also a sign that you are paying sufficient respect to the event you are about to face.
Butterflies it is then. All side-by-side, lining up nicely each and every single one of them!

To donate to my chosen charity please no butterflies just click here  Thank you!

Of Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

I learnt one really important thing when in Majorca earlier this year doing the Half Ironman and it was this. Many people don't finish events such as this because they didn't have a Plan B or, if they did, it just wasn't good enough to get them over the finish line.
If your goggles break in the swim, if you get a puncture on the bike or your muscles cramp in the run you have to have a well practiced Plan B ready to deploy right away. If you do have a Plan B and it is well practiced the transition from what was going well over the humped back bridge to your new path should be smooth enough.

Last night whilst preparing all the gear I worked out I have 8 Plan Bs in place only four of which have been practiced thus far so the remainder must be covered off before the big day on Sunday. I've realised too that I have a few Plan Cs just in case disaster strikes on Sunday and I end up really having to fight off a whole load of bad luck.

Happily donations are beginning to come in to the sponsorship fund so thank you to all who have generously contributed so far :

Just Giving


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Of No Chance Second Chance


It was all going so well and then... disaster struck. I strained my knee whilst on the gym bike doing a 2 hour sprint. I hopped off and across the gym and gingerly got myself home wondering what to do now.


The dilemma is this.

I need to do more training on the bike. Without it I could struggle to cycle the full 112 miles on the big day.The farthest I've ever cycled to date is 60 miles in one go and this is just not enough to allow my mind or legs to feel that they've conquered that sort of distance in the past.
If I get back training too quickly I could aggravate the injury and make even starting the race impossible. And yes that is a disaster for I know Vichy, France on 30th August is my one and only chance of bagging an Ironman. Yes there will be other events in the future but I'll have neither the will nor the time to train for them. It's bon voyage boom or bust.There is no second chance.

Oh and to donate please click  here 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Of Ironman Training - Now for the Mental Stuff

You might say I started training for my first and last Ironman, some eighteen months ago.
This week, for the first time I believed I'm actually capable of doing the Ironman next month in France after something quite extraordinary happened.
For almost six months I have tried to run 6.5  miles in under 60 minutes. For a good part of this I was clocking 70+ minutes and until yesterday my personal best (PB) was 63 minutes and so many seconds. Yesterday, I developed a new mindfulness technique and came in in 57 minutes 30 seconds on the nose. That's a 10% improvement in just 1 attempt. I did so by employing what may be considered to be a rather curious cocktail of mental activities combining goal setting with yoga earth and mindfulness together with some Pac-Man nostalgia and mantras, laced in with a dose of fun from my favourite war film, 633 Squadron. Here's what it looked like.

En route I chose landmarks ahead of me on which to focus with me looking directly ahead to help maintain good running posture and breathing. The landmarks included such things as big oak trees, railway bridges and farmers’ gates. It didn’t really matter. When I got to each landmark I thanked it for its help and, commensurate with the respect I showed it for it's role in the countryside, its longevity or both, I imagined it recharging me with whatever spare energy it had to share.

I wasn’t running alone but as part of a team. Also in the team were Legs, Arms, Head and Mouth.

For the first landmark it was the duty of Legs to give a little bit extra to get me there. For the second it was Arms and the third Head and Mouth. For the fourth it was a whole team effort which always felt great. This cycle was simply repeated as I went round the course from landmark to landmark.

Good communication between each team member was treated as vital just as it was in any wartime flying squadron.  Head and Mouth as Leader would call on each when its special contribution was required reminding the next team member to stand by and be ready to take over. Communication back and forth was not only permitted but encouraged. Legs would report in to "Blue Leader" that all was well and remind Arms (Yellow Section) that they should be grateful that they didn’t have the hilly bit to do which was now over at least until another lap. Occasionally, Head and Mouth would repeat for all team members “Keep Going Lads” if it suspected a team player was slacking or even contemplating stopping.

If at any point I lapsed into thinking about challenges at work or any other unhelpful distractions Blue Leader in the lead Spitfire would be called in to blast them from the sky (da da da da da da da da da da da). My God they were good.

As I neared the end of the run, Legs were reporting that the props were now full out but they could cope. Arms were announcing they now had kettle bells out for forward drive and feathers for backward motion whilst Head and Mouth promised to remain up straight and blow out only air, not spittle and certainly no false teeth.

Altogether, a very strange but strangely effective piece of training....