Friday, 15 March 2013

Hacked off

Last week I discovered that one of my email accounts had been hacked for the second time in a month. As I'd been enjoying a few beers with some friends when I discovered the misdemeanour, I thought the most sensible course of action was to delete the offending account. I reasoned that anyone who wanted to get hold of me could do so through various other means and anyone who couldn't wasn't worth speaking to anyway. After deleting the nefarious account I felt quite a sense of freedom, wishing I'd taken this course of action years earlier. I wouldn't miss the marketing emails from hundreds of companies I'd dealt with on one single occasion several years ago. And how hard could it be to update my details for online banking and other accounts?

When I woke the next morning my feelings of emancipation had susbsided somewhat. Perhaps it hadn't been such a sensible course of action after all. I checked to see if this was something I could reverse. It wasn't. I re-read the information on the "deleting your account" page, this time paying a bit more attention to the part that stated to only take this course of action if you are extremely certain you want to do it and have backed up all the information you require from your email because you can never, ever get it back. I recalled reading this the night before and feeling certain that I did want to take this course of action at the time. Now I didn't feel so sure, but it was too late.

Throughout this week I have been coming across various accounts, such as Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, which I use regularly, and use my old email address to log in to but never remember the password. It's quite simple to reset it they just send either a reminder or new password to your email account. The one that I no longer have access to because I have deleted it. I have more or less got there in getting it all sorted out, however I realised yesterday that all the triathlons I have signed up to this year have been with the offending email address.

This has been further complicated by the fact that I am not quite sure which events I have signed up to. Through sending out several sheepish emails (from an existing account) to event organisers it turns out I have entered one or two more than I thought. Probably after having a few beers. Luckily there haven't been any surprise Ironman events.

I guess the bright side to this is that I now know exactly what races I am competeing in and when. However, like an extended turbo training session, this whole ordeal has been a major pain in the arse.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Trojan horse

You may have seen in the news that hundreds of drivers were stranded in their cars last night on the M23. My sincere apologies to them, I think it might have been my fault. But wasn't it the snow and lack of gritting that caused all these problems, I hear you ask? Well let me explain.

Several hours, and inches of snow, later myself and Mrs Trihard were helping push cars up this hill
On Friday I commenced with operation Trojan Horse. As I have previously mentioned the weather has been a lot milder recently and as a result I have spent a lot more time out on my bike. Having owned my bike for almost two years, and it being bought second hand anyway, it has been in need of an upgrade for a while. However Mrs Trihard has this old fashioned notion that a man should provide for his family before providing for himself. So explaining a new bike while Baby Trihard and Toddler Trihard survive by squeezing out the sticky dregs of energy gel wrappers is rather tricky.

But I had a cunning plan - operation Trojan Horse. Phase one of operation Trojan Horse involved paying the lion's share of a rather bountiful payday into the joint account to help sweeten the deal in case difficult questions were asked following phase two. Phase two of Operation Trojan Horse involved taking the bike to Evans for a "routine service" but sneakily having lots of parts not only replaced, but upgraded. Voila, effectively a brand new bike without having to explain why I have a brand new bike.

Obviously one or two of my sharper readers will have spotted a slight flaw in my plan - namely that I have made this entire Machiavellian scheme public knowledge. Well, true to form I accidentally let slip to Mrs Trihard on the day that I didn't want her coming to the bike shop as she'd find out how much I'd spent.

Realising I was digging myself a hole I quickly launched a three pronged attack. First of all I subtly asked if she'd noticed that I'd paid a sizeable amount of money into the joint account. Secondly I countered that we shouldn't be getting bogged down in the finances but should focus on how much my cycling performance was going to improve, surely something that would benefit the whole family. Thirdly, and most importantly for all cyclists, I mentioned how I'd managed to reduce the cost substantially. As I've mentioned before, it always pays to shop around when buying new triathlon gear.

However in this case, I wanted the expert mechanics at Evans to carry out the work for me. Luckily Evans offer a price matching service where they will match the price of certain competitors, including Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles. While Evans mention this in their stores and on their website they obviously don't shout it from the rooftops but true to their word will match cheaper prices, obviously with certain terms and conditions. I therefore spent an hour or so checking the prices of the components I wanted with other websites the day before and saved myself a good 20% overall.

If I was a proficient mechanic and was happy to wait for the goods to arrive, I probably would have spread my purchases around as I don't agree with any company having a monopoly on a sector. However, if I'm in immediate need of an item, or in circumstances like this, it's a very useful service.

So what has this got to do with people sleeping in their cars on the M23? Well as it was Mother's Day I had to be parted from my pseudo new bike and visit mummy at the weekend. I get back, aching to see how the bike performs with its brand spanking new components and we get a massive dumping of snow. So surely I've got to take some responsibility?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Return of the King

Whilst I know you enjoy hearing about my training misadventures I think you'll have noticed that there is been an absence of reference to someone else who regularly on this blog. That's right, I'm talking about the Robin to my Batman, the Hale to my Pace, the Cannon to my Ball - Smug Running Guy. The last time we heard from SRG he'd suffered a foot injury and had been advised to rest up for a few weeks, probably aiding recovery by keeping it in some cold water.

I know you've seen it before, but any excuse to show it again

Well I'm glad to announce that he's fully recovered and back to his best. During my slight hiatus from blogging in February he completed the Great Bentley Half Marathon in 1hr 28 mins - 82nd overall, 36 seconds shy off his personal best and the second finisher for his running club.

Last Sunday he competed in the Essex 20, a cleverly named race that has a distance of, you guessed it, 20 miles. Finishing in a very respectable 2hrs 21 mins he says, rather smugly of course, that he is well on target for finishing in under 3hrs 10 mins when he runs the Halstead and Essex Marathon in May.

However it's not been all sweetness and light for SRG. During a training run this week he was viciously assaulted when the passenger of a moving car hurled a sandwich at him. He hasn't revealed to me what flavour it is. I'm not sure I would consider being presented with savoury snacks during a run necessarily a bad thing, but he has definitely become a bit of a food dodger in recent years. I guess this incident has you asking what hive of scum and villainy does SRG live in. Well, despite spending a number of years in Liverpool and Shropshire he has returned to Colchester, the town where we were both born and bred.

But while the streets are lined with culinary flinging assailants, as you can see from this paper cutting, it does have its positive aspects.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A bad case of the runs

While the sun is always shining in the Trihard household, much like the 21st Century, UK equivalent of the Cunningham household, warmer weather has certainly raised my spirits. With a good couple of weeks of rude health behind me, the longest sustained period of avoiding man flu since the turn of the year, and milder conditions has meant my training has got more or less got back on track.

Happy Days

That's right, more or less back on track. In the last couple of weeks I have been out on my bike several times, with some shorter speeedy rides mixed in with some longer harder efforts on top of Tuesday night turbo training.

As well as the club swim sessions I've spent more time in the pool than I've previously managed this year. So what's the problem? That's right my lack of motivation for running has once again reared its ugly head. Other than the Swim/Run of the Winter GP (which I did in 32 mins 44 secs, since you ask. That's right more than a minute and a half quicker than last year) I had only been out for one run in five weeks.

I therefore begrudgingly went along to the run session with EGTC on Saturday which was a horrendous hill set. This involved running up a short, steep hill for 45 seconds, getting the heart rate up to 90 per cent, returning to the bottom of the hill and repeating 12 times. I'm not sure how many times I managed it but it certainly wasn't the required dozen and I have felt rather shattered since.
Artist's impression of me striding up a hill with ease

But this morning I finally summoned up the motivation to get out for a run on my own. Still feeling the effects of Saturday (and a long, hard ride on Monday) I wasn't sure how I would fare. However I was amazed to find that I actually enjoyed it and even found some of the hills slightly easier than normal. Well in the fact that I only had to stop once and got slightly further up the one ascent that is my nemesis. On this form I could might even make it round the route without stopping by the end of the season. With Easter just round the corner could a Trihard resurrection be in the offing?