The water is lovely

Actually it isn’t. The weather we’ve had tis year means it’s still freezing and I can’t quite face heading off to the lake yet. I did at least get to swim in the sea in Spain which whilst not hot was warm enough. Ideally though I’d be swimming in the lake below.

Gold Coast Lake

The local lake where I was staying on the Gold Coast last year. The temperatures were a bit too high for a wetsuit, first time I tried it I pealed it off after 1 lap, you could see the sweat evaporating off me. The only time I managed to do a long swim there in a wetsuit was starting out at 5am! Importantly the lake was also free of these…


Didn’t stop me getting a fright when an eel darted away from me. Of course if I was bored of a lake there was always places like this to swim in…

Burleigh Heads Inlet

Diving through schools of bait fish and fighting the currents to cross the inlet was a lot of fun. Of course sharks could technically get there (and assuming there are Bulls in the creek they must have passed through there), but I was assured they weren’t there. Didn’t stop the Jaws theme lurking in the back of my head.

Ultimately that was all just an excuse to look at some pictures from my time in Oz and remind myself why I’m heading back there to train. At some point the need to swim in my wetsuit will overcome my dislike of the cold and I’ll be swimming here. I know that I’m going to go to a swimming session and a trip to the secret lake (can’t tell you where it is) will be proposed. Obviously I’ll have to go if others are swimming, but until then I’ll hope nobody mentions it.

The week’s been a bit mixed when it comes to training, started out lacking in energy and motivation. Hopefully I’ve dealt with one of those now, and my energy is only low from the training I’m doing. May has started and this month for me is all about building on what I’ve been doing up till now. Time to really focus, to put aside the distractions, to get the training and the recovery right. On the training side, I want to keep the volume going and get a bit more intensity in there. Hence the importance of recovering. All being well when June comes around I’ll be ready to take on Epic Camp and in looking to add the finishing touches prior to Switzerland.

I have finally set-up all the training software on my Mac and can properly download and analyse power data. I am fully converted to tracking my training electronically now (well to a fair extent) and all the benefits of the stats it gives me. Of course they’re only worth my ability to interpret them and act upon them. I’ll admit I am still learning in many areas here and generally keep a fairly simple approach to training structure (and have a strong bias to favouring big volume for better or worse). So it’s in part a work in progress and another aim for May. I won’t master these things in a month, but I can improve them.

No reading recommendations this week, I’ve been reading a couple of mountaineering magazines on my commute – Vertical and Alpinist. Both are very well produced and very entertaining. Interesting stories of climbing, typically at the sharper end of the wedge, fantastic photography – it’s all very inspiring even if I’m a long way short of being capable of them. One of the things that I am most impressed with in these accounts is the ability to push yourself right at the limits of endurance. Necessity pushes you outside your comfort zone and you come through the other side better than before. It’s something that seems missing from the world of training and racing, I have pushed at my own limits, but have I ever really been pushed that hard? From my limited climbing experience I remember how the fear of a fall, safe as I was on ropes, pushed me to work harder, endure a bit more and get past problems that in a safer environment I don’t think I would. Even at that easy level a sense of necessity could push me slightly beyond my boundaries.

Perhaps missing this in training and racing is just me. I push hard and try to perform at my limit (when it’s appropriate too), but you always wonder if there’s just that little bit more. I think some of the appeal of bigger endurance events or going off into mountains is the hope that they will really test my limits in a way I’ve yet to achieve. So to finish off before I ramble on forever, two more events (courtesy of the Ran Fiennes biography) that have caught my interest – the Swiss Alpine Marathon and the Transalpine-Run. So many events and so little time…