Monday, 7 March 2016

New Website - We've Moved!

adz blog about stuff has moved to a bigger and better site at

Keep following my Road to Challenge Galway weekly blog (and all other blabbering ons) over there!

Monday, 29 February 2016

#roadtochallengegalway - week 8

It's not all swim, bike and run fun. This week was a marked shift from the norm, with a 5 day, 9am to 5pm, 2 exam, project management course. Complete with evening revision work and firefighting work issues (not real flame fires, more storm in a tea cup style fires they love in office cultures). Oh plus of course, a significant amount of swimming, biking and running thrown in for good measure...

Why is it that things always seem to go wrong at the worst possible time? Like a flat tyre the one day you have that super important appointment? Or the hot water breaking in the winter, while it heats away happily all summer long? Or how about that time you get locked inside your own flat share the morning of your new job interview? Yes that happened to me. But it's a long story I will have to tackle another time. Suffice it to say, sometimes I look around suspiciously eyeing people, wondering if in fact I am the Truman Show and someone is pushing buttons and pulling levers to see just how far I'll go until I snap.

Some may say that's a pessimistic way to look at life. To those people I simply ask "have you ever been sat on the toilet and had the ceiling light somehow magically unscrew itself from the ceiling and crash land on your head?" Yes, that has also happened to me. I was mid sigh about the inconvenience of a power cut at such a time, when sat there (now in pitch black of course) was attacked from above by a falling ceiling light! Fitting intact by the way. To this day I have no idea how (or why) it unscrewed itself to attack a lone poo-er.

When I was younger I used to have a Murphys Law poster stuck on the back of my bedroom door. Every time I closed said door I was (less than) subtly reminded that "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." This combined with growing up watching, and loving, the TV show Seinfeld, I was trained by the best and well on my way to a captious and cynical outlook on life. Thanks Jerry.

But wait, I'd actually consider myself an optimist. So this cynical outlook on life, and all it's happenings, simply adds to the comedy value of living within it. Not being a negative, pessimist. For those of you who can't possibly believe I'm an optimist, and a student of Murphy's Law, I found this random blog to agree with me:

"Many people will naturally interpret this law as a pessimistic view of life. In fact, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Murphy’s Law is built upon the solid principles of forward thinking and preparing effective contingency plans that will help ward off possible setbacks and minimize the negative impact of the challenges that lay before you." -

Either way, all I'm asking is why, on the exact week I schedule this training course, does a major system randomly go down at work, my boss wants me working on that (while on a training course), our bathroom cold water tap stops working, our digital TV reception craps itself, the light in the kitchen blows, and I stupidly forget that a Sunday afternoon trip to Ikea could more readily be used as a trigger point test in an anger management course. Pushing buttons and pulling levers people...  But hey, at least I wasn't injured right! 

Swam: 5.5km - First straight 3km swim this year, and it went pretty well.
Biked: 132km - Another 0 degree start to a Saturday morning ride. Can't wait for spring.
Ran: 43km - Including a 22km Sunday run, followed by a trip to Ikea.. What was I thinking! 

Monday, 22 February 2016

#roadtochallengegalway - week 7

"What's the distances of this Ironman thing again?" a friend of mine asked after I'd just declined after work beers as I had to run that afternoon. "A 3.8km swim, 180km bike, then a marathon" I reeled off all proud of myself, expecting the usual response of "whoa, you must have to train heaps for that!" or "I could never do that!". Instead I looked up to see my mate staring at me like I had two heads. "What?" I offered in reply, to move the conversation along, and hopefully back to how amazing I was for signing up to such things. He shook his head, "And why the hell would you want to do that?"

 That question threw me a bit at first. Why the hell did I want to do that? Why the hell would anyone want to sign themselves up for that much training, for that many months, just go out and attempt completing a full day of exercise that many dismiss as some form of torture. "Why not..?" I replied, half asking myself the same question. He shook his head again and kept walking.

I've never forgot that conversation, which actually took place in 2013 not long after I'd just signed up for my first ever triathlon, Ironman Copenhagen. That's right, I signed up for an Ironman before ever having completed a triathlon before. Why? Because I wanted to know if I could do it. And I was sick of talking about "tomorrow" or "some day."

I wanted to know if I could set a goal now, for something months in advance and actually stick to it. I'd reached a point of 'just existing' and I didn't like it. Hating Monday mornings and wishing the week away till it was the weekend again. Realizing it was winter again and wondering what I'd actually achieved that year? Trying to stay motivated on work projects only for managers to shift the goalposts every other week, to the point where trying to achieve anything seemed pointless anyway. I suppose it was easy to slip into 'just existing', a lot of us do without ever realizing it.

Maybe this is on my mind this week, as I'm having similar thoughts about this blog, "Why the hell would you want to do that?" Maybe because I want to know if I can...

Swam: 5km - Ever been evacuated out of a pool because of a fire alarm? Well I have now.
Biked: 130km - I got home before the rain on Saturday! Hallelujah.
Ran: 37km - Inc a 16km Sunday run and no tape on the knee... Back in business! 

Monday, 15 February 2016

#roadtochallengegalway - week 6

This week the sheer relentlessness of ironman training is reminding me of just what I've signed up for...  Relentless alarms. Relentless training sessions. Relentless checking of weather forecasts. Not to mention relentless blogging and a relentless full time job demanding my time and energy 9-to-5. How dare they. Don't they know I'm busy training for an ironman?

Train, eat, work, train, eat, stretch, sleep, repeat. Then repeat, and repeat again.  That's the thing with ironman training. It's not one real good swim session. Or killing it on that group ride, and smashing that parkrun on a Saturday morning. It could be all, or none of those things. But more importantly, it's getting up every day, day-after-day, consistently, swimming, biking and running... For a good 6 months. Do that, and you'll have stacked the deck in your favour for a good race day. Don't do that, or look for shortcuts along the way, and that race will bend you over it's knee and spank you like a bold child.

Don't get me wrong, I do love the training. It would be a tough old 6 months if I didn't! But with consistently swimming, biking and running 6 days out of 7, comes consistently looking at the clock, setting alarms, organising gear, setting up turbo trainers, washing dirty clothes, and consistently staring at the BBC London weather report trying to fathom just why in the hell the worst wind and rain each week coincides perfectly with my Saturday morning long bike rides. How? Why? It hasn't rained since last Saturday morning!

Needless to say, Saturday gone was no exception. 4 degrees C, and raining. Real Feel 1 degree C. Having lost the feeling in most of fingers in the first 20 minutes, I have to admit I considered turning around and calling it a day then and there. "Nahh I'll keep going, at least it's not raining yet..." Two and half hours in, soaking wet, constant drizzling rain dripping off my helmet and flicking my face like that annoying friend we all had at school (you know the one), brakes squealing and gears skipping, I was using every ounce of what little energy I had left from stopping myself jumping off and hurling the bike into a ditch never to be seen again.

But, not wanting to be spanked about like a bold child come race day, the training continues. Relentlessly and consistently. Oh, and it's forecast for rain again Saturday morning...

Swam: 4.5km - Could have added some of Saturday's ride to swim miles though.
Biked: 130km - I didn't hurl my bike into the ditch in the end. So that's a plus.
Ran: 26km - Knee is still strapped up, but no more pain! 

Monday, 8 February 2016

#roadtochallengegalway - week 5

Back out and running baby!! Well sort of...

Sundays long run could more aptly be described a 6km shuffle. But as I hadn't preconfigured a shuffle sports profile into my Polar running watch, it was logged as a run, and I'll take it!

I'll take it, as this time last week I was not in a particularly good place when it came to all things running. During week 4's training I'd cut both weekday run sessions short due to knee pain, and then on the Sunday, "ran" 12km on the elliptical trainer, thinking that would be my miracle cure and shortcut to recovery... HA! My body laughs at such arrogance. I had thought I'd gotten away with it too. But sometime in-between the elliptical trainer session and spectating other (seemingly more capable) runners at the London Winter RunSeries 10km later that morning, my knee chirped up and said "f%ck you Adam" and left me quite literally limping home that afternoon. Not good.

"No more messing around" I said to my wife, looking down at my ice packed knee sprawled across the coffee table, "Time to re-assess the situation and take this seriously now."
"Uh huh..." she replied, half confused at the possibility that maybe I hadn't been taking this Ironman thing seriously already, and half waiting to see what exactly that meant and what hare-brained idea would come out of my mouth next. (Note: you may recall the elliptical trainer idea not quite working out as planned)

"I'm taking a week off running."
"YES! Good Idea." Her excitement about the prospect of me cutting back on training a bit, was out before she could contain it. "I mean, yes you should. You need to give your body a rest"

Hmmmmm, I fixed her my best steely gaze. "This doesn't mean I've done too much", "I haven't made a mistake, I know what I'm doing!", "I'm still doing Challenge Galway!!" All perfectly good comebacks that came to mind at the time... But of course she was right. Post honeymoon I'd jumped straight back into training full steam ahead. From two-a-day drinking sessions to two-a-day training sessions in less than a week. Ego is your own worst enemy, and I wasn't giving the training volume the respect it deserved.

My steely gaze and defensive comebacks were no match for her now smiling face. I needed to accept this defeat. I lowered my eyes back down to my ice packed knee on the coffee table, "Well, I'll see how the week goes anyway..."

Swam: 5km - Feeling good! But 5:30am is still 5:30am.. And it's not easy getting out of bed!
Biked: 102km - Skipped my Tuesday bike session to give the knee a good rest
Ran: 6km - WoooHoooo! Never thought I'd be so stoked to shuffle 6km in week 5 of a training plan!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Road to Challenge Galway - Week 4

Last week's blog ended with me questioning whether I may have possibly done "Too much, too soon?" Well after some careful consideration on the matter, my body is done deliberating and responded with a resounding yes. Bugger.

I don't know where it all went wrong? I thought if anything was going to give in the first few weeks, it would be my shoulders from jumping back in the pool all gun-ho. Or the lower back, with the sudden increase in bike miles, contorting myself back into an aero position on the tri-bike, after I don't know how many months off it. But ohh no, it was the one thing I wasn't overly paranoid about. Running.

I love running. I love running long distances. I love running out the door with no specific route in mind, and just running! That was until this week. This week when even glancing at the upcoming run session on my training calendar filled me with anxiety. Should I do it? I do have a niggle in my knee... I'm sure it will be fine... I haven't been injured in ages... SH&T. Cue run session cut short, beers collected on the way home, dummy well and truly spat, and me sulking away like a proper man-baby. Dribbling beer down my shirt, such was the state of my bottom lip stuck out, and feeling all sorry for myself. I was probably only a few tears and nappy away from being a right crying baby. I hate being injured. I'm grumpy when I'm injured. I'm impatient when I'm injured. And worst of all, I can't do what I love when I'm injured. It's a vicious cycle.

So this week I've (re)learnt a valuable lesson... You HAVE TO build slowly. No matter how fit you think you are, or fit you indeed were. Getting back into training after the off season needs to be approached with caution. I threw mine to the wind, only for it to whip back around and smash into my knee. Suffice it to say I'm re-approaching with caution this week. Session lengths will be cut short. Speeds slowed down. I'm the tortoise, not the hare... And judging by the speed I was going this week, that's not far off already!

Swam: 4.1km - loving being back in the water more regularly again.
Biked: 105km - settling back into the bike miles now and feeling good.
Ran: 14km + 12km on the elliptical trainer - "wahhhhhhhhhh!" (crying like a baby again)

Monday, 25 January 2016

Road to Challenge Galway - Week 3

Back in the pool after more than enough time out of it. Thankfully swimming is like riding a bike. You never forget... You're just rusty as hell, set off way too fast, and forget to breathe. Only 200m into a 2km swim session and the reality of just how long my swimming hiatus had been suddenly dawned on me. "What month is it again?" ... "When exactly was my last swim session?" ... "Ohh boy"...

The hardest part about swim training in London is getting out of bed. London, like no place I've been, seems to be designed to make you want to stay in bed. It's cold. It's dark. And you know the moment you leave the flat the personal space violations are going to begin in earnest. So you hit snooze instead, and consider every other possible schedule change that wouldn't involve you having to get out of bed just yet. You see, when you're cycling or running, you're either jumping on the turbo trainer (stationary bike) in the nice and warm spare room, or putting on more clothes and running out the door for instant gratification of a raised heart rate and wind on your face. Much more appealing than wandering out of the flat, half asleep, to catch the bus to a public place to strip off again, followed by that half naked entrance and long walk past everyone to your lane.

Anyway, back in the water and I felt like I'd come home. I love being the water. I miss this. Why didn't I keep this up through the off season? Oh yeah, the having to get out of bed thing. The first 50m was glorious. The silence when submerged. That feeling of effortlessly gliding through the water. The next 100m felt good, but reminded me that this was training and not the back float, beer in hand "swimming" of my holidays. By 200m it was time for a rest. There must be too much chlorine in the pool or something. I can barely breathe and my shoulders are killing me. Yep.  Must be the chlorine. "You're back!? I'd thought you'd emigrated to another country!" Colin, who I regularly share a lane with, was looking generally surprised to be seeing me again. Just how long had I been out of the pool...?

Thank god there's still 22 weeks to go was the only positive thing I could muster at that point.

Week 3 training in review: Ohh, all those muscles are certainly getting woken up now!
Swam: 3.1km - Ouch. The secret (they say) is time in the water. The reality is I'd somehow managed to accidently spend 2 months out of it!
Biked: 88km - Feels so good to be back on the bike.
Ran: 32km - Too much, too soon? We'll find out next week...