That Difficult Second Album

Today is one of the most important days in my training calendar, as after what seems like the longest winter in ages, the clocks have finally returned to a sensible time. It is now light enough to get in some proper training in the evening after work, and with any luck should warm up a bit too which always helps with the motivation to get outside!

Spring Forward clock

That is not to say I have not been training in the last six months or so – In fact far from it, as in an effort to improve my weakest triathlon area (well the one I can improve most anyway) I have been going spinning classes at least twice a week since October, and have even thrown in some weight sessions after so much focus on distance last year. Although I have consciously decided not to track these in as much detail as before with the spreadsheet and so on, when I checked my gym account earlier today I had been 32 times so far this year, so adding on the other outdoor training I have done I am still on for a session every other day.

I have however realised that I have not written many posts, and have self-diagnosed myself with Difficult Second Album Syndrome. For those not in the know, this is the problem faced by many bands who have a fantastic debut album, and then struggle to recapture the magic in their follow-up. Last year I completed a quite frankly insane amount of training sessions, competed in five different races, covered over 4000 km and wrote 100 blog entries. On the other hand this might by my fifth post of the year on here, but I guess it is just not that exciting to talk about the same indoor bike sessions week in week out.

In fairness it is still early doors, as I have Ironman 70.3 coming up (in just 10 weeks) as well as some other fun to look forward to, so I guess the message here is that the first quarter this year has been lots of grafting to build up a fitness platform and maintain my fitness  levels. From today onwards the real training begins…


Man Flu

In the last few days I have slowly been going crazy. It all started last Thursday evening with what I initially hoped would just be a cold, but turned out to be that dreaded illness that only the unfortunate half of us will ever know: Homo Influenza aka Man Flu.

Timing was obviously a disaster as it kicked in properly over the weekend (never a good thing, particularly during the Six Nations Rugby) but rather than the usual 48 hour variety this one has lasted nearly a week and I am still off work. Having been through various symptoms and alternating between my body being hotter than the sun or cold as ice, I also managed to lose almost all of my senses:

  • Smell – Five days wa blocked nose ensures I wouldn’t notice if I forgot to take the bins out (again) tonight. Unfortunately it is not great for sleeping either, leading to copious consumption of night nurse.
  • Taste – No sense of smell = no taste. Despite having all this time and doing a fair bit of cooking and being bought various treats to get better, I have barely been able to distinguish between salt &sugar for five days.
  • Hearing – Not my strongest field at the best of times by accounts, but unless someone is playing some sort of subliminal prank by secretly reducing the volume on my TV & radio, it is a lot worse than usual.
  • Sight – Thankfully I can still see, although I can’t read without getting a headache (perilous when most of your job involves reading). TV is safe as long as I don’t have to concentrate on the screen too much.
  • Touch – Although I can of course feel things as normal, the biggest anguish is that I have not been able to train. And due to some fairly poor planning (disgraceful that I did not know I was going to get ill) I have not done anything in around ten days now, and I am sure I can feel my muscles wasting away.

The biggest problem with being an active person who is unable to train, is that all you want to do is get back into it, and there is always a danger that this makes things worse. I am hoping for example to be able to be ready for a Friday evening gym class, but if I do I will have to resist the urge to hammer it on the bike as my body just won’t be ready. Thankfully I still have a few months until my first race of the season, so plenty of time to make up for a week or so missed training, so I just hope this will be it for the year.

As mentioned, pretty much all I have been able to do is have the TV on, so I have used this as an opportunity to catch up on all the random stuff I have Sky Plussed over the last year or so, and I think two in particular probably best explain my current mindset:

  • Rear Window – A man, unable to work for health reasons, spends his days cooped up in his lounge looking out the window and begins to wonder if he is seeing things
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest – A film about a guy cooped up in an asylum, getting increasingly crazy the longer he spends there (even by Jack’s standards)

Rear Window Cuckoo