Well, that’s it. Most of the training is done and Andy and I are on the start line of the ÖTILLÖ Isles of Scilly Swimrun World Series race this coming Sunday.
One small problem...
We haven’t actually managed any specific Swim/Run training together yet.
We were hoping to fit some in on our recent California business trip. In all honesty, we probably could have managed a little Swimrun training but instead, we opted for two surfing sessions. We ran together —because when we saw the waves we sprinted down the beach, and when we were in the water we got dumped quite a few times so there was quite a bit of swimming — so 'technically' I'm going to call that some swimrun training!
We did manage to get a dedicated swim session in on the morning we were filming with the latest athlete to join Team PH, Ben Kanute. It was a 6 AM hard-core session in the fabulous open-air pool in Alga Norte in Carlsbad, in beautiful sunny Southern California. If you're ever out that way and looking for a great training pool - look no further.
I should point out that young JP (the person you most likely speak to when you e-mail 'firstname.lastname@example.org') was with us on this trip. He was coming straight to the US from a training camp in Majorca. When I picked him up at LA Airport he told me of his horror story going down on his bike and fracturing some ribs.
So he's got jet-lag and some severely damaged ribs and mucho simpatico from me. The next morning he decides to join Andy and me for our swim session. He left me like I was standing still! The older athletes reading this will appreciate that he also had a sore leg after the swim from the good kicking I gave him ;-)
We did better on the running front. We managed to slot in some fantastic daily run training all the way up the coast from Carlsbad to our final destination in Mill Valley. The highlight of the trip was probably our early morning run across the Golden Gate Bridge. It's doesn't get more iconic than that.
One of the great things about working at Precision Hydration is that we're all athletes of some sort. On a business road trip, it's rare that there isn't a 6AM swim or run session followed by a hunt for the best local, independent coffee shop.
As I write this Andy and the rest of the PH crew are already out on the Scilly Isles and I'll join them on Thursday. I think we might avoid 'winging it' and actually do some specific swimrun training together in the few days before the race.
I'm a complete novice at this swimrun thing but I've done some specific training in Vancouver - as in running in my suit followed by jumping in the ocean and swimming, then repeating.
One thing I learnt very quickly is the suit you choose better be right. Swimming in a wetsuit is one thing, but running in it, well that's a whole different bucket of crabs! The suit I had was just too tight around my groin when running. I did 4 x 2km repeats in it and by the end of the session I was singing like a choirboy (I'm not going to mention the brand as it's a good suit, it just didn't work for me).
So I went off looking for a better suit for running and eventually found the Swedish guys over at ARK SwimRun. They come from a very rich swimrun pedigree, so I think they've got it nailed with their design. They're bringing a suit out to the Isles of Scilly for me. Failing that, Andy is also bringing a couple of his suits for me to try — apparently, he has a special Swimrun wetsuit wardrobe...who knew.
You might remember in my last post I was nursing a strained Quadratus Lumborum (QL). I'm happy to say that cleared up. But as soon as it did, I picked up another small injury. I tweaked a tendon in my right ankle on a trail run. It seems like that too is clearing up so I think I'll be injury-free on the start line on Sunday.
That's it for now. The next time you'll hear from me — and I sincerely hope you will hear from me again — I'll share the story of what actually happened in my first swimrun race. I think it'll be more Enid Blyton than Greek Odyssey, but in my blissful ignorance, I'm really excited and very much looking forward to it, especially the bit in the pub after...