Bike and Blossoms

It was a real struggle getting out on the bike today. I knew it would be warm, I knew this was my last chance before heading back to Europe, but my inner wimp was telling me to do the ride indoors. I never enjoy the journey through Tokyo traffic to the river but this time of year the “Hanami” crowds (the traditional cherry blossom viewing parties under the trees) would be spread all over, blocking the paths and slowing everything down.

Hanami in Tokyo
Hanami time in Tokyo, as the cherry blossoms appear

So after an hour of prevarication and internal argument, I turned off my brain and started to get ready via “auto pilot”, a technique I learned for swimming lessons that I used to hate, when I just pointed myself in the direction of the pool and walked, blocking all thoughts of where I’m going out of my head. The trick worked for todays bike too, and just past 8am I headed out the door.

Tokyo is a very busy city, but I had forgotten how bloody crowded the roads can be. There isn’t the aggressive driving that you see in similarly busy cities elsewhere in the world, but it’s tight and full of parked cars blocking the inside lane and Sunday drivers not aware of what’s around them, so it’s a case of full alert at all times. However, other than a couple of “too close for comfort” encounters and several long delays, I arrived at the river safely.

As soon as I turned onto the path I remember again why I had been reticent to come out – it was packed – a real eclectic mix including groups of runners, walkers with their dogs on those long extension leads, parents with buggies, parents with kids all over the place, old people with walking frames, couples in love.. and worst of all cyclists who were doing anything apart from concentrating on where they are going (I saw one guy holding a dog on a lead with the hand that was also holding the handlebar, while his other hand was holding his mobile, head down as he focused on the phone, all the while keep pedalling along).

Well, deciding there was no point to stress, I just settled down to some good bike handling practice and a “however it comes” 60k ride. The Japanese are way too polite to risk causing a scene by complaining, and I amused myself thinking how this would play out in the UK, with all the frayed tempers and “mind where you’re bloody going” shouts and fracas. Maybe I’m getting soft as I get older but I actually really enjoyed the ride, happily slowing down when necessary, and smiling at people just because it was a joy to be out on such a beautiful day.

Surprisingly enough I had a good ride at a decent pace, and I realised afterwards I had not been passed by a single cyclist. Maybe my early season training around the hills of Spain and structured indoor sessions on my Kickr are paying off!

I have had positives across the board this week, swimming is coming up well (more on that in a later post), bike was decent plus I did my longest run for many months. Not sure I’m ready to challenge for a Championship spot this year, but still making progress.

So here are the stats for the week, the coming two weeks will have reduced training as I will be moving around a cold grey UK before heading back to sunny Spain.

Training Log 19-25th March

Monday – Swim –  2200m, 60 mins. Still tired after pushing hard last week. Start with 1km, still a bit slow, then mix of 50,100 and 200 m intervals.
Gym –  60 min strength and condition.

Tuesday – Bike – 60mins on Kickr with TrainerRoad.

Wednesday – Run – 6km, 29mins. Jumped on the treadmill and just enjoyed pushing myself. All went well
Swim – 2200m, 60 min. My comment on Strava was “Yay”, so beginning to improve. HAd fun breathing on my left hand side for a change, noticed seems faster
Gym –  60 min strength and condition.

Thursday –  Run –  10.3km 56mins @ 5:26. Good run at decent pace, kept focused the whole way around.
Friday –  Swim 2000m 55 mins. I really wanted to test out left-sided breathing, so after an initial warm up focused on intervals alternating between left and right. Using my left, I regularly cutting at least 5 seconds of 25m, which continued up to 20 seconds at 100m. Only problem is I tire quickly swimming on that side, but would seem worth trying to build it up as my “main” side.

Bike – 45mins. Trainer Road. I was too tired to do much, but was still a decent session
Gym – 60 minutes. Arms, shoulders, back. Still issues with my shoulder but better than week before.

Saturday –  Run – 20.1km 1:52mins. This was much better than previous week, felt good until last 1-2km. Something to build on!.

Sunday – Bike – 65.5km, 2:56mins. Described in detail above, a good relaxed ride which also reminded me how damn good my Ceepo TT bike is.

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