Writing

I’m busy writing stuff that can’t be shared, hence the lack of writing here. Hopefully it’ll be published later next year.
Back to it!

Week 112: bones of the hand and wrist

Hand X-Ray Part
On Monday we got to the end of the upper limb and looked at the forearm, wrist and hand. We will be going back up to the shoulder and the brachial plexus in particular after Christmas.
In my station we looked at the bones of the wrist and hand. Easy enough, and stuff the medical student must know. The hand is incredibly important to everyday life, and injuries occur from sharp instruments (but hopefully not in dissection labs) and falls. The bones are subject to injuries from falls and crushing.
You can review the bones of the hand in this elearning thing I made with the help of some very talented students from the Swansea Metropolitan University here: bones of the hand.
Hand and wrist bonesLooking at the carpal bones you can see 2 rows of 4 bones each. The proximal row has the scaphoid bone on the thumb side, which is commonly fractured by using the hands to break a fall. We worked across the lunate, triquetral and pisiform bones to the little finger side of the wrist. Beware that the pea-like pisiform bone appears to be fused with the triquetral bone on all the plastic models, so take a look at the real bones in the lab and notice how these bones are separate and how beautifully they fit together.
The first bone of the distal row on the little finger side is the hamate. This bone stands out and should be easily recognised by its hook on the palmar side of the hand. All these protuberances and tuberosities (like the hook of the hamate) are helping form the carpal tunnel, through which the flexor tendons (and median nerve) pass to reach the fingers. Muscles tend to attach to tuberosities, so bear this in mind when looking at the bones and at the intrinsic muscles of the hypothenar eminence and the thenar eminence. The plastic bone models coloured in blue and red are good for this.
Moving back towards the thumb we find the capitate, trapezoid and trapezium bones. I failed to mention that you can remember the location of the trapezium bone by remembering that the trapezium is at the base of the thumb. Notice also the shape of the trapezoid bone on a model of the carpal bones. It has a distinctive wide, flat base dorsally and a narrower flat top ventrally.
The carpal bones can slide over one another to give the movements of the wrist that we are familiar with. The metacarpal bones for digits 2 to 5 are tied together by connective tissues, but the metacarpal bone of the thumb is free, allowing a greater range of movement, including opposition. The articular joint between the trapezium and the metacarpal bone of the thumb allows rotation as well as flexion, extension, abduction and adduction. Remind yourself of the movements of the thumb, and that the thumb lies on a plane at right angles to the plane of the fingers (look at the directions that your nails face to emphasis this).
Each digit has 3 phalanges (proximal, middle and distal) except for the thumb that has only two. The metacarpophalangeal joints are shaped to allow flexion, extension, abduction and adduction of the fingers. The interphalangeal joints allow only flexion and extension, as hinge joints.
Very simple, very clear anatomy, but the type of anatomy that is almost guaranteed to turn up in exams from time to time. These should be very easy marks.
Links:
The movements of the hand (by me!)

Cardiff half-marathon 2010

Autumn running
So did you hear the one about the Cardiff half-marathon? It turned out that it wasn’t a half-marathon.

I’d entered as it was a nearby race of the right distance, but balked a little at the entry cost. Boys & girls from the club would be running & watching though, & I never get to see enough of those guys so I thought that was worth the entry fee. I had an inkling that the course might be quite nice too & would be a good post-season test for my run fitness. I thought it would be fun to have another run with James Nunn after our close finish (7 seconds I think) in the Tewkesbury half-marathon.

I got there nice & early with the family to avoid any potential traffic issues with possibly 15,000 people turning up to run & we had a nice walk down to the start in the bay in the cold, sunny morning. The kids had quite enjoyed the drive across from Swansea, watching the sun come up. Kitted up, warm up, pee, gel & found Nunney outside the barriers near the front of the race. After some pre-race boisterousness we clambered over together & jostled into position near the front of the queuing runners. We needn’t have hurried as the starter’s preamble took a while & we went past the 9am start time. I was looking out for a colleague, Anne-Marie, but was surprised I couldn’t see her (she’s taller than me). It turns out she had nipped into the elite’s starting space ahead of us, which is fair enough as she finished 3rd here last year!

Eventually the hooter hooted & we charged off. One of my aims was to work on my first mile race pacing & I was aiming for a steady 6:10min/mile pace with the thought that I might actually run a 6min/mile. Adrenaline is a funny thing. Another aim was to run straight 6’s (i.e. 13.1miles at 6min/mile pace to finish in 1:18:30ish) so this all fitted together nicely. It turned out to be a 5:50minute first mile, but the effort level felt good and easy so I decided to stick with it. Subsequent miles also hit 5:50 so I was doing ok. I had lost sight of James & it turned out to be a good thing that I hadn’t planned to run on his shoulder as he belted out a first mile so fast that he put himself in the first 15, Kenyans and all. (He spent the rest of the race working his way backwards but still beat me easily with a great time & effort by him).

The usual bunches formed & mildly pee’d me off so I found some space to run alone. There was no wind, lots of sun and the temperature was perfect. The route through the city & the park was pretty nice & as I have cycled most of it an awful lot (it used to be part of a commute route) I was aware of the slight inclines and potentially slower miles, so helping my pacing.

There were lots of shouts from faces I hadn’t seen in a while too. Lovely. I felt quite popular.

By mile 7 it was getting hard. Missed training from a mildly torn calf the other week was starting to show itself, and no amount of mental trickery would get my pace back up to 5:50min/mi consistently. Hold on for 7 through 10 then run the 5k hard to the end. Really, the only slow mile I had was when I took a feed station a little slow for a gel & a good few swigs and that was a smidgeon over 6min/mi pace, but the seconds were adding up. Anne-Marie had found me, overtaken me, and left me standing. She got a lot of S4C time too. I’ve no idea what they were saying though as I couldn’t find the subtitles button.

Into the bay and there was more than the suggestion of a breeze in our faces as we headed east towards and over the barrage. A short, steep, fast decline & incline had lit warning lights for my failing right hip flexors & abductors. A focus on good running form was pretending they were fine but with that plus breeze my miles were creeping above 6min/mile. Oh well. The maths suggested I had done enough for a 1:17 overall time that would be a PB of some minutes and respect and would have me jumping for joy if I could jump at the end. I focussed on chasing down lone runners and picked them off painfully, one by one.

The buildings of the bay were a welcome sight but the view of the huge loop up the wide road and back was not. I passed the finish as the 3rd lady was finishing, I think the announcer said, but I still had some way to run up to the turnaround point. Once around and facing the finishing straight I had a profound mental change of perceived effort and pushed hard enough to drop the Les Croupier runner beside me. It was a potential lesson in central governor running fatigue theory, and I thought I’d already overcome that.

1:16? Seriously? I was very chuffed with that time for a half marathon. Of course, it turned out that we’d not quite run a half marathon as some doofus had rearranged the course to avoid an obstacle to reduce it’s length by 193m. That must have been some obstacle.

I wasn’t disappointed. My racing season ended in September and I was just mucking around for the love of running. The maths say I would have run a 1:17 so I’m v impressed with my spindly legs. They’ll go even faster next year. But maybe not at the Cardiff nearly-half-marathon 2011.

We spent the rest of the day seeing club-mates, mooching round shops and recovering from the heart attack induced by the cost of parking in Cardiff city centre. Immediately after the race my nose & head felt awful, like someone had rammed ice cubes into my sinuses. I guess that’s a side effect of breathing in huge volumes of very cold air for over an hour. My legs felt ok (relatively) and recovered very quickly in following days, but the rest of me felt terrible. It may have been a rather stressful race as I was ill for the following week. Maybe I’m a little out of shape and overdone. Time for a rest.

Week 107: The kidneys

2009-03-17--KidneysI wasn’t supposed to be teaching on Monday but one of our clinical colleagues was ill so it was a good job I could remember a little bit of kidney anatomy.
I briefly introduced the location of the kidneys, found retroperitoneally on the posterior abdominal wall. The right kidney is a little lower than the left, and they have different structures anterior to each (on the left and right sides of the abdomen, that is). I must remember to answer my own twitter question about this. We noted the aorta and the inferior vena cava and and the connections to & from the kidneys (renal arteries & veins).
Looking at the models and prosected material we noted that the left renal vein lies between the aorta and the superior mesenteric artery, and that this artery arises from the aorta just superior to this point. It is worth reviewing those three anterior branches from the abdominal aorta to link this renal anatomy with your GI tract learning. We also noted on one prosection that there were two right renal arteries and two left renal arteries in this particular case. Interesting!
We also took a look at the interior structure of the kidney, relating the cortex and the medulla to the histology and function of the kidney. In the cortex we would expect to see the glomerulus, the proximal convoluted and distal convoluted tubules, and in the medullary pyramids we should find the loops of Henle and the collecting ducts. The cortex is highly vascular, whereas the medulla is primarily composed of components of the urine collection system. Urine, we supposed, must collect at the apex of each medullary pyramid, and here we found spaces called minor calyces. Although we were looking at sections of the kidney we tried to imagine the roughly pyramidal shapes of the medullary segments, and that these pyramids were also arranged off the plane of section that we happened to be looking at (coronal). The models of the kidneys helped with this.
The minor calyces joined up and drained into larger spaces called major calyces, and these in turn drained into the renal pelvis from which the ureter began. Remember this separation of “blood” parts and “urine” parts of the kidney when you look at the embryological development of this organ.
Links:
Wikipedia has a labelled diagram of the internal parts of the kidney: link.
A study in 1986 by Gattone et al. attempted to trace the innervation of the kidney: link.
The National Kidney Foundation (USA) has lots of patient-friendly kidney info: link.

Devil’s Aquathlon 2010

 


I raced in the inaugural Devil’s Aquathlon last weekend in the Lido at Sandford Parks, Cheltenham and up Leckhampton Hill. It was a 2km outdoor pool swim, wetsuits allowed, followed by a mostly cross country 10km run with a nice steep 200mish hill to climb. The aim was to run to the Devil’s Chimney, an infamous local stack, and back to the pool.

 

It was a slightly wet, cool, grey morning and the pool was nice & cool but not cold. The heating had been switched off the week before. You could see the ridge of the hill that we needed to run along from the pool, but it was slightly hidden by low cloud.

Anyhoo – pool, paced swim, sticking to 1:35/100m effort for the first 500m with bilateral breathing and upping the pace as appropriate later in the swim. Pacing was good, but maybe a tad overexcited as I really wanted to get out of the water within 4-5minutes of the proper swimmers. The effort level went up all on its own as the number of lengths increased (it’s bloody hard this swimming lark!) & I got out at the same moment as a bloke in the neighbouring lane. Kim called out that we were 2nd & 3rd in this wave with just 3:45 to the leader. “Yeah, I’m having that”, I thought.

29:20 swim. Awesome. Smashed my target. Ok, so I cheated by wearing a wetsuit in a 50m pool but I’m still chuffed.

It’s pretty horrible trying to stand up & run after swimming 2km but I dropped my shadow through transition. Neoprene off, cross country shoes on, & grab the marker with my number on to drop at the top of the hill & the turnaround point. Simple.

The first part of the run was unpleasant but as I got to the off road section it got nice & slippery & steeper & steeper. The rain was nice. Towards the top of the climb I tweaked my left calf on some of the steeper steps. It was painful but I was guessing it was more of a cramp than anything else from the long swim and cold puddles on the run.

I was catching my man by the top of the hill but he slipped on the flat section at the top & hurt himself badly enough to be unable to continue. I called to him & indicated that I’d find the marshals & let them know of his plight. It was windy up top & I imagine you’d get pretty chilly sat in a puddle wearing Lycra.

So out in front I found my way through the various paths to the chimney, startling a photographer & lobbing my coin on top of the bucket (symbolising the chimney). There weren’t a lot of arrows on the course & I wasn’t sure whether we were supposed to follow the main path or make up our own optimal route. I chose the former option just in case.

The descent was ace fun, with sweat in your eyes, darkness under the trees, water, mud, stones, branches and roots. I thought I got down well and fast, but ask me again this time next year & I’ll probably tell you how slow I was. On the tarmac and back in my native environment I hammered it down, through the park and was chuffed to recognise the buildings near the finish. I crossed the line & crashed into Kim, waiting for me on the other side of the finish line. 1:17.

I was first back in my wave but Phil Parsons in the third wave ran a hell of a lot faster than me and pushed me into second place. Good running! There was no prize for 2nd, nor for the vets. We all got a really nice hat for finishing that will definitely find it’s way into my race bag.

Lots of fun, great run course, very happy with my swim but I hobbled around the finish area with my tweaked calf. My sports therapist has treated it with ultrasound, poking, & localised NSAIDs with some hot/cold therapy from me but I was prohibited from running for a week. A week! I screwed up my preparation for the Cardiff half-marathon but it’s no biggy as my race season finished at Bala and I’m just playing now. I may still break 1:20…

Next year? Yeah, I’m hoping they’ll run it again next year. With a few more arrows on the course.

Links:

Donate money to Macmillan Cancer Support & the Lido & sponsor my 2nd place!

Official race info, video, route, results & photos.

Dale Half-marathon 2010

Racing at Dale
So that went well! I got 3rd place overall at the Dale half-marathon, organised very well by the Pembrokeshire Tri Club. I was the first back in my age group (17-39?) so was beaten by two vets and as such I was given the 2nd prize. Confusing? Winner was 1st vet but got overall 1st prize, 2nd place got 1st vet prize and in 3rd overall I got 2nd overall prize – this race has a method of making sure as many people as possible get a prize and that each gets the best prize possible.
It’s a very hilly race and I was very happy with my restrained pacing in the first half of the race and up the first hill. I felt pretty good, pulled some gaps on the descents and then stretched the gap between 3rd and 4th to something like 4 minutes. I caught sight of the runner ahead on the second main climb and chased hard to try and catch him on the descent. I didn’t quite make it but was chuffed with my strength and some decent gutsy running back to the finish. I feel the mental aspects of my running is still improving. 1:22:36 I think. I wonder if I can get a 1:21 next year.
It looks my lactate threshold has risen this year, and it was important that I ran on feel & not by numbers. If I’d run at the pace suggested by my lactate threshold heart rate of a few months ago I would have run unnecessarily slowly.

After Dale we stopped off at Wiseman’s Bridge to see family that had been staying there for the last week. We went there a few weeks ago for a week’s holiday so the kids loved going back to the beach and rockpools & getting to play with nana, uncles and aunt.
I’ve got the Devil’s Aquathlon this weekend, and although it’s a new race it sounds like there will be some quality competition so I’m hoping to recover for that, but also keeping the running up for the Cardiff half-marathon in a few weeks’ time. Tricky stuff. The Devil’s Aquathlon will include a 2km swim in the open air Lido in Cheltenham, a week after they switch the heating off (yipes!) followed by a 10km cross-country run up Leckhampton Hill to the Devil’s Chimney & back. I’m a little disadvantaged as I’ll struggle to pull back the time a good swimmer will take off me over 2km in the water in just 10km of running. It’s off road though, and has something like 250m of ascent so who know what might happen? I sounds like a lot of fun.
They’re raising money for the Lido itself and for Macmillan Cancer Support so if you can please sponsor me £1 or £2 on my JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/Samuel-Webster.
Links
Flickr – Dale Half-marathon 2010
Just Giving – Devil’s Aquathlon
Cheltenham Lido & the Devil’s Aquathlon

Week 103: Lung anatomy

Breathe!
On Monday we looked at some lungs. Plastic models, lungs in situ, lungs on their own, and lungs attached to the heart and great vessels. The main aim was to look at the differences between the left (2 lobes) and right (3 lobes!) lungs and develop a good understanding of the shapes of the lungs and their lobes. In this case 3D is quite different to 2D diagrams, however good they may be, and having a good sense of the shapes of the lungs and their positions within the thoracic cage will be very helpful in your clinical studies.
Beware that in some people the horizontal or oblique fissures may be incomplete or there may be an extra fissure, causing the arrangement of lobes to appear different, or to give an extra lobe.
We looked at the structures of the hilum of the lung: bronchus, pulmonary artery and pulmonary veins. Although tricky to identify which is which, relational anatomy is your friend here, so remember where these structures are in relation to the heart and that the airway is posterior to the heart and these blood vessels.
LungsWhat we failed to do because we were having so much fun was to talk about the lymphatic drainage of the lungs and their nervous innervation. We can rectify that a little bit here.
A superficial lymphatic plexus drains the tissue of the lung to bronchopulmonary lymph nodes in or near to the hilum of the lung. A deep lymphatic plexus drains fluid from the structures of the root of the lung, and they drain to pulmonary lymph nodes around those structures and then to bronchopulmonary nodes. Lymph then drains to superior and inferior tracheobronchial lymph nodes around the carina of the trachea (where the trachea divides to form the main bronchi) and then to bronchomediastinal lymph trunks that usually pass to the subclavian veins on either side (or the thoracic duct on the left side) to pass the lymphatic fluid back into the systemic circulation.
Lymph on the right side of the lung generally follows the path on the right side, and lymph from the left lung generally follows the route on the left side, however lymph from the lower lobe of the left lung will also pass to the right superior tracheobronchial nodes and then on up the right side.
Tumour cells will metastasise to the bronchopulmonary lymph nodes.
Sympathetic, parasympathetic and visceral afferent (sensory fibres passing to the brain) nerve fibres will pass to and from the lungs via the pulmonary plexus near the roots of the lungs. The parasympathetic fibres are from the vagus nerve and the sympathetic fibres are from the nearby sympathetic trunk. The sympathetic fibres inhibit the smooth muscle of the bronchial walls causing bronchodilation but cause the smooth muscle of blood vessels to contract causing vasoconstriction. The parasympathetic innervation has the opposite effects. Parasympathetic innervation also increases glandular secretions in the airways.
The other sensory fibres carry all that information that’s so useful to normal lung function, that I’ll leave to your physiology lectures (just remember them when you’re hearing about all those reflexes & autonomic controls).
Links:
Overview of the innervation of the lung. Belvisi, 2002.
Last year’s blog entry for week 103.

Bigger boys!

Bala triathlon
Bala (standard distance) triathlon, 2010
So that was an interesting weekend. Kim and I went to Bala for the last race of the triathlon season. It was great getting back to Snowdonia and fun to camp, although we don’t seem to be as slickly organised as I vaguely remember. Probably the best thing about Bala is that a whole bunch of Cardiff Triathletes go up to race, and it’s good to catch up with faces that I usually only recognise as email addresses or usernames.
Anyway, race day. The lake was cold! It’s nice swimming in a lake after all the sea swimming I’ve been doing. A much better taste. No sign of Teggy or Gwyniad in the black depths during the swim, but some twat did kick me hard in the chest when he switched to breaststroke to sight. What? Why? I came out of the swim in the top 25 in my wave, and yet I’m swimming next to a guy that breaststrokes? WTF? Not a good idea. We’re drafting in a tight group & kicking out hard unexpectedly isn’t nice. It’s akin to standing up quickly on the bike in a group climb and sending your bike backwards into the bloke behind you. If he’d kicked me a tad lower I’d have been winded & that would have ruined my race. I’m all for the tussle of the swim but that’s stupid.
Suited up
The swim felt a bit crap but the time was OK. I’m getting faster but the numbers were about right. I’d borrowed a wetsuit that fits and it probably didn’t make much difference to my time but it felt great. Streeeeetchy!
Cold feet, swift through T1 and out on the bike, and almost bounced off the curb (not paying attention to where I was going). I passed Mike and Mark (didn’t notice Mike at the time) and kept my HR and effort high. I swapped places on the way out but got passed time and time again on the way back. It was pretty frustrating and I was feeling a bit negative in places. I kept giving myself a positive spin and kept pushing back to T2. I certainly didn’t ease up and was wondering how I was going to run after pushing so hard on such a flat course. A skinny guy like me is much better off in the hills, especially against these guys with big legs & lots of watts. The time was disappointing.
I struggled getting my feet in my running shoes in T2. It only took a handful of extra seconds but my cold feet made it hard to feel my way in past the stretchy bits holding the tongue in place in my Sauconys. I think I’ll swap those for something else next year.
Running out was hard but my pace seemed ok. Again I was swapping places, probably picking up more than I lost. The run is also very flat and largely on the straight road by the lake. As usual I felt a bit better after a mile or so but all the work I’d put into my biomechanics wasn’t paying off as I was moving a little craply. It seems I struggle to move efficiently when I’m tired. Into the camping park, around the tree (bleep-bleep over the mat), back out and back up the road.
Chasing a guy I kept trying to up my pace but squeezing it just a little I could feel the big fade coming on and had to ease back to my previous speed. I was definitely right on the edge! I couldn’t have breathed any harder. I almost caught a group of three on the line, but it wasn’t happening. I hit my target of 37 min 10k pacing (the run was 10.25km) proving that I can bike hard and still run hard.
So, during the race it all seemed a bit crappy, but if you’d been looking at my recent training data you’d probably have predicted the times I achieved, so that’s ok. I performed well, but there was no magic. There were just a lot of really fast boys out to put me firmly in my place. By my reckonings, if I’d been trying to qualify for the European Age-Groupers’ Champs next year I’d have officially missed out by 1 place.
Rather than being a negative experience it turned out to be a motivator. When I realised how flat this race was my first thoughts were to not bother entering next year, but after my effort I started thinking that if I could shave a couple of minutes off the bike, a minute off the run and a couple of minutes off the swim I could get down to 2 hours. I’d be around the top 10 then…..
We (Cardiff Triathletes) also won the team prize, so that helps! Go fast!
P.S. Jonathan Hotchkiss won this race. I just read on his website that when he first did Bala in 2003 it was his fourth olympic distance triathlon ever and he finished 86th overall. Bala in 2010 was my fourth ever olympic distance triathlon and I finished 41st overall. You might say I’m a little old, or you might say, “Yeah, but he’s a pro”. You guys are all cup-half-empty. I say, “Hmmm, maybe if I just…”
More:
Kim’s photos.
Bala standard distance triathlon 2010 results.
Cardiff Triathletes
Bala Lake

Week 202: Circle of Willis

500Px-Circle Of Willis En.Svg
Or the circulus arteriosus cerebri.
Although it seems that the circle of Willis was covered many, many times on Monday it was also part of my session. As I discovered this I shifted the session towards other aspects of the blood supply to the brain.
We looked at the internal carotid artery and followed its route up through the carotid canal and into the cranium (with, er, pipecleaners and skulls). We noted how the internal carotid artery lies upon the foramen lacerum, and how this is not a true foramen but more of a joining of bones in the skull, filled in living head by cartilage. We also noted how the internal carotid artery passes very closely to the structures that must be passing through the superior orbital fissure. Indeed, the internal carotid artery passes through the cavernous sinus (remember that?) and is surrounded by those motor cranial nerves passing anteriorly into the orbit.
Carotid canal We saw the internal carotid artery end just superior to the middle and anterior clinoid processes (and isn’t it funny how when you put a pipecleaner in there that those processes seem to help form a circle that holds the pipecleaner/artery?) Here the internal carotid artery becomes the anterior and middle cerebral arteries, and part of the circle of Willis.
You can see from the photo of one of our plastic skulls (on the right) that they get marked up by students poking around in them with pens. Please don’t! They cost £100’s & aren’t easily cleaned.
We also talked about the other arteries that contribute to the circle of Willis: the vertebral arteries. These guys are the first branches from the subclavian arteries, and pass posteriorly to reach the cervical vertebrae and then pass superiorly, up the neck, within foramen within the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae. So that will be another way in which you can identify the upper 6 cervical vertebrae then.
The left and right vertebral arteries enter the cranium through foramen magnum and join to form a single basilar artery that runs between the pons and the clivus. This sends off smaller branches to the pons, medulla and cerebellum (worth looking at these as interesting things can happen with cerebrovascular accidents here).
A branch of the basilar artery also passes to the inner ear. The labyrinthine artery is a branch of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery, which is a branch of the basilar artery.
The basilar artery ends by dividing to form two posterior cerebral arteries. All our cerebral arteries are linked by communicating arteries, providing a key example of anastomoses that have evolved to try and ensure blood flow to the brain is uninterrupted. All these arteries combine to form the circle of Willis that you saw a dozen times or more on Monday morning, and so should be etched into (if not under) your brains.
Links
Interactive skull images.
What is Cerebral Perfusion Pressure?
Sudden Deafness and Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery Infarction. (Lee et al, 2002).
Circle of Willis. Wikimedia Commons.

Last race of the season

Wet cycling
Well, my last triathlon for 2010 anyway. I’ve still got a bunch of running races lined up (and a sneaky aquathlon).
This will be one of the few races this year that I hope to feel fresh for. I’ve spent most of the year trying to catch up my fitness (after breaking my foot) for the Windsor triathlon and this weekend’s Bala triathlon. I was knackered at Broad Haven for example, which fell part way through my highest volume week of the year. So on Sunday I’ll be very interested to see what I can do on a fast, flat course after some well organised training. If all goes well I should set myself a good benchmark for future years.
I’m also looking forward to going to Snowdonia again, as Kim and I used to visit North Wales regularly when mountain walking and climbing. We’re leaving the kids at home, driving up on winding roads and camping so it will be very much like old times! Thom has lent me a wetsuit that fits a lot better than my un-snug Snugg (the Snugg is a too-big-hand-me-down) so I’m up to set a new swim PB. The swimming in the pool this week has been the best I’ve swum all year.
As this is the last triathlon of my season my training changes radically after this weekend. For the next week there will be no plan, and I’ll allow myself to do what I like training-wise every day. After that I’ll run almost every day, dump most of the biking, and swim as I feel. I’m extending my racing season into October to make up for the lack of training in February, and will run the Dale half-marathon in Pembrokeshire and the Cardiff half-marathon, hence the run focus. I also like running, and would like to run more. Even with that much running the number of hours I spend training will drop radically, allowing me to do all the things I haven’t had time for. In late October and November I’ll probably try to swim 5 days out of 7 and dump the running and the biking, letting parts of my body and mind recover from 2010 while trying to improve a weaker area with little effort. Then, when the time comes to resume cycling I should be looking forward to it, not dreading more hours in the cold and rain. If I cut out the cycling for a bit I tend to get hungry for it again, and I’m an all-weather cyclist.
Oh, and I love the autumn.
So its a bit of an annual landmark weekend. Fun, racing and changes.