On, off, on, off…..this journey to Ironman #2 is flip flopping more than an epileptic goldfish in a frying pan. Just as I get into a routine something knocks me off. Last week after building over the course of a number weeks I had to see the doctor for an increasing number of dizzy spells. Suffering what felt like a head rush every couple of hours was somewhat unnerving and it turns out that one of my ears was completely blocked which explains why I’ve managed to tune out the noise of the kids at home. Add a few heart palpitations and I figured that the scheduled sea swim was a bad idea. Rather than give up completely I decided to hit the Farnham 75 mile charity ride. I’d rather fall off a bike than fall off the sea….oh….wait a minute, logic has never been my strong point.
I really should write these in the 3rd person so there’s a bit more suspense about whether I made it, but in short, I made it. No real dramas, Butser Hill isn’t a hill, it’s an uncategorised beast which exposes the lack of any really granny cogs on my trusty iron horse. Still, I kicked and whined my way up before thoroughly enjoying the route back down. A long day in the saddle, but felt comfortable and as a first run out for a new hydration strategy it felt good. It was the first real run with Precision Hydration and I can only say it felt pretty good, no nausea or bloating and felt comfortable post race. You’ll have no doubt read the post on hydration multiple times but to summarise, I had a sweat test and Jonny over at Precision Hydration recommended a particular strength of fluid to take in. It’s the first time post any distance that I’ve not really needed a kip or had to inhale the entire content of the fridge on return, so it must have been about right.
I’ve been testing the salt tablets for the run, and they seem to work just as well, so that’s half the nutrition plan ticked off! I’m sure Jonny would love for me to pass on his details so I will, head over to here and give it a try.
The second test of my nutrition came this week with my first outing accompanied by Wonderfuel’s energy balls. I’d stumbled across a link whilst taking the internet intravenously. I may have mentioned before I’ve read and ingested every bit of advice I can find, but the story and pitch of the Wonderfuel stuff hit a chord so I thought I’d try it. No sooner had I thrown a couple of emails Mel’s way (the owner and chef), I suddenly found a box full of balls on my doorstep. There’s something about dealing with smaller enterprises. Mel couldn’t have been more helpful, responsive or engaging so it made the whole process so much more, dare I say it, fun.
The arrival of the package coincided with my knee caving in, so I stuck them in the freezer just in case this time was terminal, but as fast as the knee collapses it rebuilds itself. I’m like the UK Six Million Dollar Man, Jimmy Five Quid. I pulled my balls out the freezer in advance of a 75 miler and once they’d defrosted (no sniggering at the back) I popped them in the bag and onto the bike. Scheduling 1 per hour combined with the PH drink I set out for the longest ride of the year yet.
I don’t swear much but …..they were Fookin’ marvellous. The 3 I took with me, Ironball, Medicine Ball and Halva Ball were in equal measure, delicious. Having something with flavour that didn’t feel like sucking on either a goopy gel or a handful of massively compressed carbs in a leaden lump was an absolute revelation. Energy wise I didn’t flag which should tell it’s own story. They absolutely delivered on every level. Plenty of energy, tasted great and were a convenient size. Froze and defrosted with zero impact and frankly, I’ve found something I’ve been looking for over the course of the last 2 years.
Now nutrition is dialled in, legs are beginning to work and time is fast disappearing the question becomes, have I got the heart to get around a windswept Tenby Ironman….I think we all know the answer to that. Pig headed isn’t the word, if you’re there, come and pat me on the back during hero hour.