Sunday, July 3, 2011

Whats next?

The Forestman iron-distance was always going to be a one-off for me but even so I was surprised at how much I wanted to do another one in the days post race, its a similiar feeling to coming back from holiday - you build up to it, have a great time then when it's over you want to go and do it again! However I am going to stick to my guns for the foreseeable future mainly because -

  • I don't want to commit that fully to another IM now
  • It was such an awesome, amazing day that another one so soon would likely erode that feeling and maybe belittle that acheivement
  • There is always an element of been there, done that
However in ten years I will be 40 (Unless something changes of course) and it could be a fun thing to do when I hit that and to ensure I am in shape then! I would go for an European M-dot race, purely to experience the flipside - I don't believe that the Forestman can be beaten for experience (and pain). So it is done for a decade at least!

So what is next...

Well I have a list of challenges I would like to do anyway: -
  • Lands End to John O'Groats
  • Dart 10k Swim
  • An Ultra-run (well a 50k if that counts)
but they don't need to be done just yet so...

....I am fit right now and I don't want to lose all that fitness just yet, I am also carrying some 5 kgs of fat that could do with shifting - so in essence I want to get fitter, stronger and more powerful! I am going back to playing rugby for a few more years but this will be alongside swim, bike and running - so hopefully I can become really fit and at the same time much stronger and leaner! Lighter doesn't bother me now I don't need to drag myself around 140.6 miles!

So how do I go about that...well for the summer...alongside the rugby training, I will be swimming 1-2 times per week at varying intensities, I will try to cycle a couple of times, including at least one longer ride as and when I can fit it in, running will be a different matter. I would like to keep my long slow runs (10-12 miles) as they are enjoyable and Kel wants to build back up to these distances so we can go together. During the week if I have time I will do shorter, faster running including spring sessions (unfortunately track sessions fall the same days as rugby).

On top of this will come quite a few gym sessions (4-5) will be all about power and strength - lots of squats, bench, legs etc!

So all in all it will be tiring, hard and a higher intensity but under no pressure so rest won't be an issue! In terms of goals well they are slightly harder to nail down because of their nature!

  • A faster 10k - my pb is 46.22 set on a hilly course May 2010, I am confident I could see that off now but I would like to get close to pushing the 40-42 area
  • Seeing as I have done super sprint tris and Ironman I think an Olympic and half Iron are on the cards at some point if they come up suitably just to round out the set! 
  • Get my confidence back in my shoulders for rugby - should come back pretty quickly! 
  • Knock out a reasonalbe mile time - only one I ever timed was 6.47 but that was in a set of 4 so should be easily brought down
  • My two marathon times are 4.25 & 5.40 which don't really do me justice as I have done an easy 2.55 20 mile - a sub 4 needs to be done too.

So all in all I have a lot on my hands but not till I am recovered - this week since FM has been a tough learning curve - Monday was okay, just stiff and tired, Tuesday was really bad as I ended up in a meeting and therefore didn't eat till 3 pm and started to suffer a bit! Wednesday I felt loads better and the blisters were better so could walk properly so that evening I went to help referee at a rugby touch tournament......I ended up playing instead which was great and freed up my legs no end - I wore my compression tights which saved my tight muscles without a doubt, it was only a gentle hit out though! However once I got home, ate and showered I started to get cold and once in bed I was shivering quite bad......horrible night ensued of sweats, shivering, headaches etc etc and then come morning I felt awful so it was a day in bed, I'm not one for being off work but I then intermittantly slept till 4pm but with a nasty temperature still....since then I've been getting better and nearly 100% - my body has no desire to start anything yet though and so I have allowed at least two weeks of total chillout before doing anything focussed - I may have a few gentle swims and stuff though!

Anyway...will keep you updated!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Forestman 2011 - THE big day!

For my own records I wanted to write up the whole weekend so I have split it in to two parts so you don't all have to read everything unless you want! Also because there are so many different groups of people that I have met/spoken to etc across various networks that I have just used their names and you either recognise them or you don't!

So Saturday is here: -

And the race starts here: - the alarm went off at 3.20am and I got straight up and got straight on with my breakfast of porridge and muller rice mixture which went down fine, I then got lubed up and put on as much as my kit as needed, checked all my stuff over and headed to the lake at about 4.20 ish! Once at the lake (about ten minutes later) I set-up my bike, filled my bottles, put all my gels and flapjacks on, pumped up the tyres etc etc, once done I stuck the bike bag in transition, went to the loo and then headed down to the shore to slip on the wetsuit! As we waited I had a chat with some of the other racers with everyone getting more and more excited! More of my friends turned up which was cool and as became a theme throughout the day I already had the biggest and loudest support of anyone!

After a gel, mini briefing and a blessing from a local priest (last rites??) we all entered the water...

Swim - Chip time 1.02 including transition, about 55 minutes for the actual swim

The mist was pretty heavy on the lake so they delayed the start by ten minutes and checked you could see from one buoy to the other which was fine so we all got in and lined up - the water was a relatively warm 17 degrees which is perfect for long swimming!

I sat in the middle near the front and got ready for the hooter to go....a count down and a cheeky wave to the supporters and off we went...there was some bumping for positions and a few close shaves but nothing bad that I imagine you get on the big IM swims! I tried to find some feet to draft behind but they all seemed to be pulling away from me so I just headed for the next buoy each time and settled in to my rhythm! I could still feel people passing me on either side and felt as though I was going slow, but concentrated on a catch and pull all the way to the thigh, high elbow and drive forward using the body rotation, this totally took my mind of things and after a lap I was in some space with a few about 20m behind and then a gap of 20m or so in front of me! On both the 1st and 2nd lap I was sick a bit about 3/4 of the way round, but not badly, just a bit of breakfast saying hello! The first thoughts I was going quite quick was when I started to feel a bit burpy which usually means I am pushing harder and not breathing correctly so focused on this and carried on.

After the first lap I thought we were supposed to head back to the start buoy (in fact I know we were) so headed that way before getting re-directed by the canoes - turns out the leaders had got it wrong and not been corrected so everyone now went that way, lost about 50m but so did a load of others so no dramas! On the third lap I caught up with someone feeling very slow and it was only when I caught a few breaststrokers that I realised I was doing okay!

Lost a place in the last 300m and felt good coming out the water, with a hand from a marshall! it was cool running through the tunnel of supporters and through the crew though the sandy ground was not good!

In to transition and Jen mentioned that she thought there were only 7 or so in front of me (turns out I was 11th out of the water) so immediate panic that I had gone to fast (actually I was chuffed to bits)! I had sandy feet but stuck my socks, shoes and t-shirt on and cracked on! Out to the bike and put the rest on before heading to the road and getting started

Bike - 6.34 chip time (17mph ave. inc stops) HR 134 bpm ave

Out on to the bike and I felt amazingly good and the temptation was there to smash it but I'm well aware of the ironman graveyeard after big bikes so I stuck in the gear I knew would keep me fresh and set off on the first lap, at around the 18 mph mark, the weather was perfect for long cycling with the mist keeping everything fresh while it was warm and no wind at all.

The trouble with being a good swimmer, average cyclist and poor runner is that you get overtaken alllllll day but I soon got used to it and it just made catching people more entertaining for me! Fuzzy overtook me at about 6 miles and zoomed off like a rocket and then a pee stop after 10 miles saw a raft of people go flying past but this was fine.

Someone came past me a 15 miles and we had a brief chat about the swim - he commented he was out the water bang on 59.59 so I reckon 55 mins was about right - I was pretty chuffed with that!

On to the A35 which was the bit I was dreading but actually was great, the hills weren't bad and the long fast downhills were great for some free speed - so this went well on all three laps even when it got busier! Up the Ornamental drive was all fine and the first aid station at Ocknell came at the right time, I filled up my aero bottle at every station and forced myself to drink the while lot in between them which worked really well in the end, plus highly concentrated salt tabs in my bottle which I sipped when it got hot.

Nomansland hill was fine as well and I still felt really fresh which was great! It was definitely tough reining it in across the top of the forest which is fast and very slightly downhill to Sandy Balls (SB), I stayed rigidly in my gear here but span pretty fast, by the time I hit 38 miles I had averaged 20 over the last 8 and overall my average was 17.7 inc stops so I eased back on the run to Frogham and up to the Forresters where it was nice to see Martin and Jane G! The rest of the lap went fine and as I came in to Poulner I sat up eating a gel whilst riding no-handed...just at the time I happened to past beefy outside his house with a sign! Guess he may have though I was taking it quite easily!! It was great to see him though and I got a massive boost every time I saw my supporters!

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, it dragged a bit as I approached the 56 mile mark but only psychologically and the bike was performing fantastically so counting down the miles in my head was great! Knowing you've only got 30,20,10 to go etc is a good feeling! I saw a few accidents which was less cool and I hope they were all okay.

The final stop at Ocknell aid station was great to know that there was only 7-8 miles to go, it was very hot by this time and my overall speed had dropped to about 17 average which was great, I had planned for 17.5 exc stops so 17 inc stops was about the same. Back towards SB and some annoying guy on one of the relay teams overtook me on one of the hills and then slowed right down....grrr...couldn't be bothered to overtake him and wasn't slowing down so I was right behind him for about 50 yards before he got going again....if you read this...don't be a  plank!

Across the top and I took it steady to try and freshen the legs, they were tired but when I stood up there was plenty of power still there so all good, I wasn't sure about the run though and was feeling apprehensive...however I normally run well off the bike so tried to remember that. Coming over the rise before the Fighting Cocks was great and to see such a big crowd of all my supporters was a phenomenal boost! It was amazing!

In to T2 and I handed my bike over before getting in to the tent to see Bungleduck who brought me some much needed water! My feet were burning and I could still feel the sand in there, I had a dilemma about whether to change socks etc but couldn't be bothered so stuck my trainers on, more suncream and my hat and set off! Louberforce and overtaken me a few more miles before on the bike and left T2 as I entered looking fresh - big shame about the DNF, no accounting for Bee's!!

Breakdown of the ride per garmin

Run - 5.45 chip time, 5.43 per Garmin

Out of T2 and the tannoy gave a big shout to all the runners, as I passed them I heard him say I was a local hero (that was very cool).

After about 500m I was running about 8mm pace which is way too fast so backed right off, by the time I reached the pub and my support (about 1k) I was really suffering and was super hot but again amazing to see so many people out there! As I turned off the road on to the Forest tracks I grabbed some water and scooted down the first hill, at the bottom I began the walk up the first long hill, this was THE big low point of the day, I was really hot and didn't know how I would get through 26.2 I walked up the hill and began to cool slightly and by the time I hit the top at 2 miles, I realised it was only 24 to go so I ran on across the top and down to the stream which marks the steep hill up to the main aid station in the middle of the race course, I stopped for a pee here as was feeling a bit full! At the top, I ran on to the next aid station and then down in to the Forest feeling a bit better minute by minute, at the Fritham turn around I had my gel, water and coke and set back along the course, my stomach was feeling pretty dodgy and eventually I just found a big bush and hid behind it, a few minutes later and I was feeling a whole heap better (turns out I was far from the only one disappearing behind various bushes and trees on the course) I also dropped my tri suit arms and ran in my white t-shirt only which was much cooler! Back on the top of the course and its a flat run toward the hill down to the aid station at Abbotswell, although in the sun there was a nice wind blowing and I always felt best running back along this bit!

When I hit 8 miles just before getting my red band marking the first lap I knew I would be finishing the race...I calculate how long I have got etc all the time while racing to take my mind of things and even if I walked all the way I had it in the bag within 16 hours! This was an amazing feeling to took the pressure off and I relaxed in to it! Running down the hill to the cheers of my support was fantastic and back to Fritham I headed....

I had more support out in the middle of the course which broke things up nicely and it was always a boost to see a friendly face! I was also being recognised as 'Donkey' from a guy who had seen the support crew and 'Twitterman' by another lady! It was a really friendly place to be with all the competitors willing each other on, high-fiving and rooting for each other! I was running next to someone about 9 miles in when the leader or 2nd place (blue shorts, black top or vica versa?) came past on his way home and HE wished US good luck....! Amazing! We both commented that he couldn't do the ironman shuffle like us though (tri-joke...I apologise)!

Anyway it seemed to take a while to get back round to my white band (2nd lap) at I had a wee bit of cramp at the top of my calf from the hills, I was still running all the flats but had slowed down a fair bit elsewhere by the time the white band came! One more more lap! Off again and round with slightly more walking and my time was dropping slightly and at the last Fritham stop I was significantly tiring, however I felt really positive and was genuinely excited about getting the blue band....although by this point the sand in my shoes had caused blisters which burst...quite nicely!!

My original plan had been to get as far as possible before I hit a really bad patch and then just drag myself the rest of the way, but it never really came after the first two miles, when I realised that I would complete it I relaxed and enjoyed it in an odd way! Yes, it hurt and yes I felt really bad at times but just moving forward was always possible, especially as 9, then 14, then 18 miles came and went seemingly quickly! As I got the final blue band at 21.5 miles I said good bye to my support crew, picked up my charity t-shirt and headed for home!

My legs were really tired now and that cramp was pretty bad in my calves so that I was running with straight legs where I could and walking everywhere else! The turn for home was very welcome and the steep downhill to the stream was an odd experience, I caught up two others here and we had a good chat as we walked up the other side, we then ran off down the next hill and walked up the other side, annoyingly we walked around the loop of the path where as two people cut the corner off and over took us...I didn't mind losing places but it felt a bit like cheating!

Back on the road and I put my trisuit on properly and the charity t-shirt, then it was a downhill 1.5 miles to the finish, which was nice and easy even with my funny shuffle I had going on! I saw Soobeedoo and another lady at the gate who also referred to me as Twittertim due to Mat's updates from the day that had been keeping everyone amused!

As I came towards the finish it was great to turn in to SB on my own and see all my friends and family there with big cheers and what an amazing day all round!  the breakdown of the run as per garmin!

Finished in 13 hours 22 minutes!

I can't thank my support enough for everything during the day - its been incredible! Especially Kel who was in tears as I came in!

Thanks to Clare - who put loads of photos on here

Its been an amazing 18 months and worth it, yes on one of the easier European courses I would have gone faster but nothing could ever beat the atmosphere and experience that a small event can put on!

As at today with most of the sponsorship the total raised for both charities stands at £4,165.22 inc gift aid ....I am absolutely blown away by everyone's generosity and can't thank you all enough!

I am now feeling better as Tuesday was a tough day with the blisters but I'm getting there!!

Now that the race is done I shan't be bothering you all with my e-mails (I'm sure you are all desolate) but it has been incredible! I won't do another in the near future, partly because Kel would kill me and also because nothing would ever live up to that experience!

I do have other plans though!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The day before....

Split the race report and preparation in to two parts so that you all don't get too bored!

So up early Saturday morning to get to the lake for a swim, there were plenty of people down there and it was a perfect morning with no mist...a sign of things to come? I met up with a super fast swimmer from Salisbury and we se off to do a lap, I wanted a gentle lap but Seb is fast so I hung around near/behind him and we had a quality lap around the bigger waterski buoys which are roughly the same as the course for Sunday - we went round in 19 minutes 20 seconds and I felt good so was confident that I could hit the one hour mark for Saturday!

Caught up with Fuzzy and met Slacko (fellow racers) on the lake side which was cool and had a chat with them which was great - everyone seemed excited but relaxed for the race start tomorrow!

Headed home and had some breakfast or porridge/protein and muller rice mixed in then slept for an hour or so, two more muller rice (I was hungry and they were handy)! Then it was time to register so I headed up to race registration and signed in, picked up my numbers, goody bag etc and spoke to a few of the racers. A little while later we all sat down for a big lunch and the race briefing (lunch was superb, loads of potatoes, pasta, salads etc)! Then we had the race briefing for about an hour or so that went fine and as expected!

Back home and I was stil hungry so ate another bowl of pasta before Steve, Gina and Chris turned up for a drink (non-alcoholic obviously)! Chris and I later wandered in to town and picked up supper (yup more pasta and rice pudding) and then watched a film before I retired about 10pm with the alarm set for 3.20!

Lay there for about an hour getting hot and couldn't get the thinking out of my head! Eventually must have fallen asleep before the alarm got me going.....the rest is under race report...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nearly there....

So this is probably my last blog pre-race and I am feeling good!

My exercise this week has been easy and last nights spin on the bike felt really good....bit of goal creep maybe?!? (only joking)!

My shoulder and back were seen to by the osteo (more later) but just feel amazing generally and a real release of tension there, still a bit tender on the tri bars but with some rest over next couple of days they'll be fine!

I have struggled to eat as much as I probably should have done...just feeling a bit rubbish on the carbs, however I have eaten little and often as opposed to big meals - I'll make up for it over the next 24 hours! So what do my final figures look like for this entire journey well here you go:-

Swim - 160 miles, 104 hours
Bike - 3409 miles, 207 hours
Run - 1090 miles, 179 hours
Cross Train - 135 miles, 32 hours

The swimming I have really enjoyed and its something I haven't found too bad (despite some early morning wobbles) definitely some thing to keep working on.

Cycling has been good and bad, when the weather is nice and with company its great....cold and miserable and on your own...not a nice place to be in! But since I always have and always will cycle then this will carry on anyway!

Running - definitely not a natural runner by any stretch and far to heavy for it, but there is an enourmous sense of satisfaction gained from long steady runs out in the middle of nowhere enjoying the fresh air! I aim to carry on with long runs though more around the 10-12 mile mark!

So thats where we are...confident and excited!

Right then...the race strategy itself: -

Swim: - this I plan to go in to with a steady head and not get carried away, try and find some feet to draft on and get in to the groove, not get out of breath, if it was a pool I would be aiming for about 6.30-6.40 per 400m so I will try and replicate this feel in the lake which should be pretty easy! I may go slightly harder in the last lap.

Bike: - for the first hour I will be just riding along, letting the legs get into it and get some food on, not worrying about any positions or anything just controlled gentle riding, after this I will hit some hills which I plan to cruise around before upping a bit for the last ten miles of the first lap, lap to will be similiar though consolidating my average around the 17.5 mph mark and then the last lap making sure that I feel good and am on time!

Run: - only strategy is walk the hills and run the flats and keep pushing the line away from me! I figure I am going to hit a line where I just have to 'giterdun' and the further that line is away from me the happier I will be! Once at 21.5 miles we turn for home and this I will be looking forward to - yes its hilly after that but...its hometime!

For a finish time I reckon if it starts with a 12 is been beyond my dreams for the day...begins with 13 and its gone well, 14-15.59 and it didn't go to plan but all good as its all about the finish!
One thing that has struck me in the last week is the amount of support that I have had from friends, family and people I don't even know! I won't lie to you, there were a few times during training that you do wonder 'why?' and feel like giving up....getting whinged at for being muddy and wet and generally feeling sorry for myself! However the level of support in donations has been amazing and the total with more to come stands at..............£3,306.47 inc gift aid which is genuinely breathtaking for me...I never imagined it would get near that and I am so humbled and grateful to everyone for their support!

I have also been promised lots of support from people coming on the day which is amazing so thank you in advance! I also want to thank all the training buddies from the pool, running (ed) and on the bike (bonnie, lunty, p o'c, dymo etc) its been a great experience!

There are two people that I couldn't have done it without though: -

Gully - big thanks for all the long bike rides and the mental support, back in January I had nearly quit but he talked me round and kept me on the straight and narrow - I can't thank you enough! He also is the greatest Osteopath in the world and if you have any problems he has magic fact make some thing up just to go and see him at the Arch Clinic in F'bridge!

Finally a massive thanks to Kel, for putting up with me feeling sorry for myself, being muddy, sweaty, wet, cold, hot, tired, early mornings, going to bed when it is light etc etc - I would never have been able to get this far without you!

See you on the otherside

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

3 days to go...

Well 3.5 including the rest of today....

I wasn't sure how I would feel at this point 18 months was so long ago and I never though it would happen so here I am....not the super athlete I expected to be but fit and ready to go! I'm in that mental state where I am not worried about the race which is good!

Before some of the big bricks I would be in this frame of mind where it just needed to be done, no thoughts of not getting it done, it had to be done and it was, all good! Some others including London Marathon I was worried about and they never went quite so well so I am happy and feeling good!

The other thing is that I have promised myself that whether I finish in 12 hours or 15 hours 55 minutes it is all the same - there is no bad day as long as I finish - all will be gooood!

Today (Wednesday) is my last day of fibrous food, i.e. wholewheat pasta, fruit and fibre etc and will move towards more white food and less solid protein (i.e meat) and avoiding bread big time!

Weather is changeable this week at best, but Sunday is looking better, warm, little bit of SSE wind and cloud/sun so won't be too hot and Sunday or pouring with rain! However who knows on the day!

My worries about getting a cold seem to have passed - just had a bad nights sleep and got a thick head which made me feel rubbish! My back has not been good though, a very tight hotspot on the lower left - I've been stretching, rubbing and off to osteopath tonight so hopefully will ease - it's only an issue on the bike but will hopefully hold out as long as possible!

Monday, June 20, 2011

6 days to go...

So the day is nearly here, in 6 days time I will be hitting the start line and preparing for my biggest challenge yet - the ironman! Just a reminder its a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run - total is 140.6 miles or 226 kilometres, my made-up target for fundraising was £2,260 which is £10 for every kilometre travelled and as at this minute the total stands at £2,220 which is incredible! I have been genuinely humbled by the donations from people, from £5 up to £200 everyone has been so kind and I really can't thank you all enough - it is incredible! I have tried to thank everyone individually (even those I don't know) but if I have missed you for whatever reason - THANK YOU!

I should also add that all this money (plus gift aid) goes to the charities, I have borne all the costs myself so the kids will benefit from all of it! It is however a made up target so please keep donating...!

So the last 2.5 weeks since my last post has been an odd experience, the first week was still a reasonable training week rounded off with a 60 mile ride/ 4mile run brick which was fine! This past week has been a little more subdued, almost entirely becuase with the rubbish weather I've not really fancied doing a cycling, but I've stuck to swimming and running as prescribed and still got a few hours in on the bike!

This coming week is also very quiet as expected and goes something like this: -

Monday - gentle 25 min run
Tuesday  - 45 min swim
Wednesday - gentle run and swim totalling 1 hour
Thursday - bike for an hour, very sedate
Friday - rest
Saturday - early morning lake swim, 1 lap which will take about 20 minutes

And then it's Sunday...Race Day!

The weekend will be all about preparation for Sunday (surprise, surprise)!

After the lake on saturday I will go and get my bike and kit for the run, then its registration and race briefing at lunchtime followed by bike racking down at the lake, then it will be back home to check over my stuff and chill out before trying to get to sleep!

Sunday: - Up at 3.30am to eat my porridge and golden syrup! Then get my kit on, drink fluids and head to the lake at about 4.30

The lake is at Ellingham Water Ski Lake and there is a BBQ etc for spectators...details to follow!

At the lake I'll check all my stuff, pump up tyres and get wetsuit on....

Then the race starts at 5.30 all being well, now in the pool this takes me about 65 minutes, with a wetsuit on and hopefully some drafting (following someone else really close) this should be about the same, possibly faster!

So out at 6.35 - then its get changed, if its a nice day this won't take long, if its raining and horrible I will put more clothes on so a little bit longer - so hopefully out on the bike at 6.45!

I am aiming to averag 17.5 mph for the 112 miles, this is not particuarly hard for me so I am reasonably confident that I will hit this, so thats 6.5 hours give or take, including stops I would add 15 minutes to this so would aim to finish at Sandy Balls at 1.30 ish, then I will be heading out for the run....and that is anyones guess! All being well I would hope to finish about 6-7pm!

The above estimates are based on everything going swimmingly and of course it may (almost certainly) not go to plan! For those spectating the details of the swim, bike and run and here: -

Although slightly out of date and timings being get the idea this has more up to date timings

Quite a few people have asked where to watch and I would reccomend being at the Fighting Cocks at about 1 where I'll ride past and then run back about 15-20 mins later, then drive to Abbotswell and walk along the ridge where I will be running back and forth, back and forth and then back and forth again! Kel will have her & my phone so she can keep you updated...she'll also be attempting twitter updates....

Lots of people have also asked similiar questions so.....

What will you eat?

During the bike I have energy gels, flapjacks and a drink which has everything I need in it - if its hot I will also use Salt tablets in the drinks! On the run I will continue with the gels, drink and anything I fancy from the aid stations along the route. Basically its little and often!

This week is all about carb-loading - I reckon I'll burn aroun 10,000-13,000 calories on the day so it pays to stock up first!

What are you scared of?

Nothing.... he he! Actually the only thing that worries me is something I can't control (which is silly to worry about) i.e. if my bike completely fails or the medics pull me out for whatever reason! I can fix a lot of things on the bike with the little toolkit I carry around but anything major and its game over! I do have my puncture fixing time down to 8 minutes back on the bike! Be assured that if its just down to me then I will finish!

Are you nervous?

No oddly I am not, I am really excited (odd for me) - its going to hurt, I already know that, the thing I am looking forward to is the hurt - because that is where the test is!

Which bit will be the worst?

The run...its a marathon!

Which bit is your worst?

Again the run, I'm not a great runner so this will be tough anyway! But I am actually more concerned about the bike....the swim should be fine, I like swimming and its early doors when I should have energy and once you get to the just got to do it! The bike on the other hand is a loooooong time and you have to get it right!

Whats your finishline song?

Yeah you get to choose! I've gone for Monster by the Automatic as I always listen to it when running, just exchange the word Monster for Timmy!

Won't you get bored?

No...its a race

I'll blog again during the week with a final round-up but until then its carb-loading time!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things I remember....

In years to come when I am old (er) and wrinkly (er) I want to remember the training for the Forestman...because one thing I have discovered is that it is definitely about the training not about the day! Anyway just wanted to remember a few things from my training that have stuck with me....
  • Getting dropped 10 miles in to a minus 2 degree ride in January and drafting an e-mail in my head quitting the whole thing
  • 25 miles in having something to eat and feeling better, 65 miles and 4 hours done turned the whole thing around for me
  • Doing my long run to Fordingbridge and just feeling plain good, finished on 14.5 miles but it was the best run ever and the fastest at that time
  • Finishing a 20 mile race averaging 8.45 min/miles thinking "so what"....given I'd never ran more than 14.5 before....this was an acheivement
  • Running my first sub nine minute mile accidently, when we started running I tried to average 10 m/m and one day it turned out I could run faster
  • During the London Marathon, in pain, nausea and suffering - passing people collapsed and having medical treatment thinking that it wouldn't be me even though I couldn't keep running all the time
  • Running my first (and only 1/2 marathon) going out too fast and rather than slowing down....just carrying on and holding on for as long as possible despite the hills
  • Ride home from work in Chilworth averaging over 20 mph the whole way...what a change training makes
  • Conquering Dartmoor Classic feeling good (for most of it)
  • Walking 350metres halfway to swimming and being so tired I turned around
  • The first time I ran slowly and long (7 miles at the time but the point was pacing)
  • Getting in to swim 3*1k and ending up swimming 3k straight up, I just couldn't be bothered to stop...that's a good feeling!
  • Riding the rattler and getting to 64 miles averaging 19.9mph and remembering how tired I was...
  • Running London Marathon......the whole thing, painful and amazing!
And thats some bits and pieces that I remember.........

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Final brick....

So today was my final brick session, supposedly to be 95 mile ride and 4 mile run as I did two weeks ago, I've had a crazy busy week and have been knackered the whole week so approached this with come trepidation - on the flip side if I am not tired now then when will I be??!!

4 of us met at 8 and set out to the coast, it was still chilly so I scooted up the first hill in order to warm up and then that was me done, even with a tailwind I could barely keep up with the others for the first 16 odd miles, it wasn't until we hit the hills that they slowed up and my legs kicked was lovely weather though with the temperature sneaking up in to the 20's and onwards....

Down to wareham and out to the spit of Arne where we fill up our water bottles was tough going for three of us, but one of group was on fire today so I tagged along with him for this bit! Coming back from Arne, through Wareham and out the other side was in to a headwind but its a fast road so we go some good time in here before hitting more hills, lucky I was feeling good at this point, through Corfe Mullen and Wimborne before the final climb though Holt to Three Cross - we split in to two groups here as a couple of the others had to get home at about 58 miles.

Myself and Gully then scooted (with tail wind) down to West Moors, Ferndown and towards Hurn airport before turning smack in to the wind and.....bang I was close to being sick, it was up around at least 25 now and I was feeling it! We kept a good work rate up in to the Forest and to Ringwood, the 6 miles back to Fordingbridge were very windy and tough going for both of us feeling the heat and my round trip to Alderholt to drop Gully off just about finished me off completely, I was riding on empty and although still maintaining speed had no real power or will to keep going!

So I finished it on 87 point something, soon as I was off the bike I freshened up immediately popped on the trainers on and set off - as always I go to fast but reigned it in within 1/2 mile and plodded up to Sandleheath in the shade, a quick pee stop and enjoyed the jog back down through some woods in the shade, about 3 miles in I got a chest pain (don't panic) so walked for a bit before running again, a short while later and it was back with a vengeance so stopped and walked the last bit home having managed 3.5 miles!

I think the chest pain was just an intercostal muscle on the right hand side having a bit of a spasm so no dramas, it went the moment I stopped running!

I was absolutely knackered, totally spent! Collapsed in to the pool at my folks and nicely cooled off! I don't like to think I struggle with sickness in the heat but after today and the marathon in April I definitely think that I should take on more water if its this hot!

So coupled with the last three weeks of big, big bricks and a crazy week at work it's no surprise I pushed it right to the limit - taper starts now and I am really looking forward to the big day...I know I'm good for it once I am fully rested!

Its been a long 17 months but I am ready!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Update......

Ironman Update…..3.5 weeks

Shhhhh….don’t tell anyone but I’ve only got 24 days, 13 hours, 36 minutes and 40 seconds till this all gets laid on the line…..what happens for 16 hours after that is…well…anyone’s guess! It seems odd that it’s taken well over a year to get to this point…could you do it in less? Yes you could…I couldn’t what with various things so that’s just the way it is!
Anyway unsurprisingly May has been my biggest month ever: -

Swim – 14.1 miles, 9.1 hours
Bike – 406 miles, 23.6 hours
Run – 70.8 miles, 10.7 hours
X – train – 2 miles, 0.7 hours

Total – 492.89 miles, 44.03 hours
For the year I have done: -
Swim – 58 miles, 38.7 hours
Bike – 1488 miles, 87.2 hours
Run – 355 miles, 55 hours
X – train – 34 miles, 12.3 hours

Total – 1935 miles, 193.14 hours
Swim: - I picked the swimming back up after a quiet (er) April and have had some really good sessions, on my own in the mornings I have had some really good swims concentrating on the longer stuff including a good 3k straight up swim which went easily – 1 hour 10 minutes would be easy for me but I would like to go a bit quicker so we’ll see how it goes! I’ve been back in the lake once so far which was cold to say the least! Thunder, lightning and rain also added to the experience I’ll get another OW swim beforehand but fitting it all in is easier said than done! Coached sessions in the evening concetrate more on drills and technique with some good timed efforts in as well so really enjoying swimming! Though the other day in the pool we were chatting about how we didn't want to go to work and would rather swim all day until a lady in there with us mentioned she once did a 12 hour swim in a 25 metre pool....and did 32k...1280 lengths.....she said work was much better! 

Bike: -
Lots and lots of cycling, I think I mentioned that a few big rides would make me feel more confident and so it has proved with 60, 70 and 95 mile rides interspersed with plenty of 20, 30 & 40 milers thrown in for a bit more speed work – my confidence is really high on the bike at the moment and I am finding strength and stamina even when very tired so all is good! I reckon I could do post a reasonable bike split if all went well on the day, averaging up around the late 18 or 19 mph average but I think for pacing I’ll stick with my planned 17.5 average and hope I am still fit to run afterwards! Big thanks to my cycling buddies for accompanying me on the long rides – 5+ hours in the saddle is just too much on my own when training!

Run: -
Errr….ummm I am actually running really well (for me) but I am not running very much, basically a couple of 8-10 mile runs each week, which are ticking by just fine. I did do 13.1 the other day after the lake swim on the forestman course with tired legs and it went okay even with purposefully slow running so I am confident I can beat the 16 hour cut-off though in what state I do not know! Most pleasing has been my run form off the bike, I have done two big bricks (back to back sessions), with a 95 mile bike ride in to a 4 mile run and then a 70 mile ride in to a 9 mile run – both very pleasing! The 4 miles after the 95 were a piece of cake and I had to slow myself down, the 9 after the 70 went mostly fine, I walked on one hill just to refresh the legs but otherwise plodded along okay – biggest problem was not drinking enough on the ride – I only used two bottles for the whole day – the combined effect was much more tiring than the 95+4 the weekend before!

So this weekend is my last monster session with a 95 mile ride and 4 mile run again, which will hopefully go just fine, I then move in to a taper period where I slowly reduce the time down before race day with a 10 hour week, 7.5 hour week and then just 2.5 hours in the final few days before the race on June 26th ! During this period I will try and lose some more weight to help with the final day!

Diet: -
This has been interesting, on a day to day basis I pretty much live for sugar…no joke if it has sugar I will eat it! I am still losing weight but not much, I tend to shed it pretty quickly when I stop training – hence the taper will have an effect! As for the big rides I haven’t been carb loading at all, just a usual diet, maybe with a slice of bread with evening meal and then a big bowl of porridge beforehand – during the rides I eat flapjack (tesco do the best and cheapest) and my GU gels (1 per hour) plus my infinit drink and water – I’ve not had any issues yet so fingers crossed this will work for the big day!

A really big thank you to some big big donations that have come in recently the totals are looking really good now

With SeeSaw at £1,175 (exc giftaid) and EduKaid at £660 exc giftaid we’re now only £425 away from breaking the total barrier! Thank you so much….(p.s. there is always room for more)

Thank you so much everyone…

24 days, 13 hours, 9 minutes and 37 seconds to go!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last week snapshot....

Been out of the blogging loop recently, new job and lots of training have led me to neglect the site so apologies for that!

Just a quick one post with a snapshot of my last 7 days training...I'd just come off 17 days of straight training and was pretty knackered so took off the Sunday & Monday leading up to this....

Tuesday: -

Morning Swim 2.4k in an hour - 300,400,500,400,300 - felt really good!
Evening Run 9 miles in 75 minutes, this was pretty fast for me and I felt really good! Pretty much ran on feel and was pleased!

Wednesday: -

Had picked up a snotty cold overnight but was reasonably okay - did 31 miles in 1 hour 50 with a group, which went really well - lots of racing up hills and stuff which was cool!

Took Thursday and Friday off as was full of snot and wanted to be fit for Saturday

Saturday: -

95 mile ride in to a 4 mile run - this went really well and was really pleased at how good I felt! There were 3 of us doing the ride and it wasn't particuarly hilly but most of it a new route which was good! The first 35 miles were the hilliest and had what little wind there was in our faces but after this we mostly had the wind behind us and it flattened out - still slower than planned IM pace but I think we averaged about 17.4 so still close enough - it was nice to be off the bike and start running and th 4 miles (2 out and back) were fine - I slowed myself down and found 9 min/miles to be easy so knocked those out quite happily! Felt fine for the rest of the day so all good!

Sunday: -

Went out for a 21 mile loop - it was crazy windy, when the wind was behind me I was easily cruising at 27/28 mph but for the 7 mile run home in to the wind it was a struggle (on the drops, low gear) to maintain 15 mph and stopping pedalling stopped me within 10ft! Urgh not cool - I was totally wiped out for the rest of the day!

Monday - day off

Tuesday: - Knocked out a 3k swim non-stop in about 53 minutes (forgot my watch, so guessing by pool clock)! Woke up and was not interested in swimming but went along anyway - once I got in and started swimming I decided to do 3 * 1k but at 1k I decided to add a bit more on to cut down on the other two intervals and then I just kept going and going and decided just to do the full 120 lengths - with no watch I just cruised it and felt fine the whole time, slightly sore neck for a bit but otherwise fine!

Thats were I am now....I'm not losing weight and I am always hungry but otherwise all good!

Tonight is a 1 hour 7 minute run (make up the 7 mins I lost this morning), tomorrow night is gym then swim, its my birthday on Thursday and we're going out for a meal so I doubt I'll get any training in...maybe an early morning run! Friday is an evening coached swim and Saturday is a 90 mile ride into 9 mile run! Then round things off with another 2 hours cycling on Sunday.......superb!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ironman Update 2 months to go....

The year seems to be flying by and its crazy to be in May already but I guess that when you spend most of your time training, working or sleeping there is little time to remember all the other fun & games that go on! April was a solid month of training and although I didn't hit 40 hours, there was a small matter of the London Marathon which snuck in the middle and the recovery etc left me slightly short!

Swim: - 7.6 miles, 5.6 hours
Bike: - 319.6 miles, 18.8 hours
Run: - 61.4 miles, 9.6 hours
Cross train: - 10 miles, 4.7 hours

Total: - 398.59 miles, 38.73 hours

Swim: - less than usual in the pool this month, but some good sessions - I've been concentrating on the other two disciplines while maintaining my swimming quite nicely!

Bike: - lots of cycling, lots of hills, faster stuff and laps of the Forestman course! Its going pretty well and I've no complaints, put in some 100 mile plus weekends and there will be plenty more come May...

I feel in pretty good shape for the ride, a few more 100 mile rides will give me the peace of mind (I hope) in order to relax on the actual day, I also need to relax my shoulders a bit more in order to aid the comfort side of things, which will tell after 6-7 hours in the saddle.

Run: - pretty much totally dominated by the London Marathon...short story is that it didn't go to plan but was amazing, long story is here...

I had very tight legs for the whole of April and never really settled in to my rhythm on any of my long runs, I have now ran twice since the marathon, first run was not good and I struggled but the second, along the Devon coastal path felt more like my old self which was a good feeling....there is no doubt it takes sometime to shake 26.2 miles out of the body....especially for a first timer!

So overall I am happy, as of today (3rd May) I have 7.5 weeks to go, which with a 3 week taper (gradual decrease till game day) leaves me 4.5 weeks of quality hard training...that's a month...just one normal little month...gulp! I've introduced a lot more protein into my diet and with this and a lot of will power has got my weight too a slightly more reasonable level, but a bit more weight loss will be very beneficial indeed! When taper time comes around I'll be able to drop a kilo or two more.

Soooo not much more time for all you lovely people to donate if you can.... or

It really makes a difference!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Virgin London Marathon 2011

Well that hurt!

What a day...painful, hot, incredible, painful, amazing and tiring!

In short the day didn't go to plan (the plan I re-made at 1 o'clock on Saturday) but it was one of the most amazing things I have done! I finished in 4.25.07 which I am pleased with in hindisght because the state I was in made just finishing pretty special! I'll start right back in the build up to the race to see if it throws up any ideas as to why I went wrong!

So Friday I had my first major carb session of the weekend with a pizza for lunch and pasta in the evening I also had a 1.5 mile run to the pool in the evening, a 2,150m swim and then a 1.5 mile run back after but felt okay and didn't go crazy in the swimming! In fact I felt pretty good about everything!

Saturday I popped in to town and did a few things before getting on the train to London, I eventually made it to the Excel centre where I wandered around the Expo, registered etc and checked everything out for a few hours! I'm guessing carrying my heavy rucksack around didn't do the resting much good and once I had made it to my cousins flat about 3 ish I was feeling pretty tired from travelling! I had my pasta on the train and porridge in the morning, I also drank a 2 litre bottle of water with 2 nuun (salt) tablets in it! I also decided that instead of run/walking I would just run at 9 min/miles as this hadn't been difficult in my 20 mile race in March!

We spent the afternoon in the pub watching the football where I had a diet coke and then another couple of pints of water before heading back for a pasta bake and more water! I felt full but not too badly bloated and was very hydrated so figured I was okay! I got to sleep about 11 and then from 4.30 I dozed before waking up at 6 properly - stuffed down a big bowl of porridge and golden syrup, another pint of water with nuun in it! Got myself kitted out and then headed to the tube about 7.30, sipping my zipvit energy drink on the way!

Milling about the trains was all fine and then it was about 15 minutes walk up through Greenwich park to the start, I ate my energy bar then and waited till it was time to get going! My legs didn't feel particularly fresh but then they never really do!

So I made it through the start about 8 minutes after the start time and got going quite nicely, though it looks all jammed up there is actually plenty of room and I only occasionally got bunched in! Someone knocked my Garmin off about a mile in which was a pain - you try running against the tide after 1 a mile in big city marathon! Anyway I retrieved it and carried on...I let myself settle down before checking my pace....8.54 for the first mile...well it was on pace but man it was legs just felt tight and I didn't have the easy crusing feeling I expected!

A quick wee stop in mile 2 slowed me down there, before I let my body just go on the downhills through Woolwich and in to Greenwich...the atmosphere was already amazing here, with house parties, music and bands lining the roads, the drummers under an early roundabout where amazing and made chills run down the back! The sun started to break out about mile 2-3 and it started getting warm but was no real issue - I made sure I took on water at least every 2 miles, however I just couldn't get in to a comfortable body just had no interest in running smoothly!

Greenwich high street was exceptional and just had the most amazing buzz going with loads of cheering and shouting going on - the people getting behind you is pretty awesome! Hanging out of pubs, shops, houses etc!

Saw my girlfriend at mile 12 which was a big lift before heading over tower bridge which was as moving as I expected it to be with the most incredible amounts of noise! It was really hot now heading down to embankment but I didn't mind that and kept taking water on - annoyingly my Garmin was reading about 100m out per mile which meant that even 9mm per wasn't fast enough - I also missed a few mile markers down this long straight so felt pretty lost...seeing the elite guys coming the other way was cool - they looked like they were hurting big time!

Through halfway in 1.57 and I was still on target give or take but I was hurting badly and reaching a tunnel into canary wharf at 15 miles and I had a brief walk and got some lucozade in me...running back out the otherside was when the heat was at its worst and there were lots of walkers and people dropping out but my speed was still hangin in there and although I was pretty sure I'd miss 4 hours I kept 18 I was in a world of pain but again the crowds were pumping big time and about 3-4 people deep, I also met up with Corinne (@bungleduck on twitter) which was cool - we ran to mile 20 and whilst I had no difficulty talking and my HR was about 140, the pain in my legs was horrendous and so I left her and took my first walk here, taking the opportunity for a gel (I had them at 5, 10, 15 and 20 miles) this was the signal that my body had been waiting for and I came off the rails a bit here...I ran/walk to mile 21 in 11.39 and I felt awful, I was faint and felt pretty dizzy but I knew I had been taking on water and continued to do wasn't lack of energy because I had just taken a gel and had done all race - I felt pretty sick too, in fact if I had been sick I perhaps would have felt better but

a) I don't like being sick
b) I was worried they would pull me out the race
c) I was worried if I was sick I would have nothing left in me to keep me going!

I phoned my girlfriend (Kelly) to say I was off target and so I'd be late to the finish line, she gave me lots of encouragement and so I stumbled on!

I decided to try a 4 min run/1 min walk technique and I think this got me through the next 2 miles or so, there were loads of people here and the noise and cheering was amazing - I had 'Timmy' written on my number and everytime I got a shout I tried to run a bit more and acknowledge the 'shouter'! Surprising what else sounds like Timmy when you're very tired...even 'Chicken' sounds similiar! It was overcast now which was nice, although the heat hadn't bothered me the shade was very welcome!

The good thing was that when I did run, I actually ran reasonably quickly and so my 11-12 minute miles weren't as bad as they could have been! Mile 24 was a beaut though....15.30 - there was a long tunnel through to Embankment and I walked the whole was carnage though and littered with people stretching, collapsing, resting and just holding this stage the St John's ambulance where stretchering people off left, right and centre and there was some tough looking scenes....I was hanging in there but determined not to join them on the floor...I couldn't go all this way and not get my medal!

My walk/run/shuffle got me through mile 25 quite nicely and I'll say it again....what a crowd...just amazing - 3-4 people deep everywhere and the noise and cheering was so incredible! Turning left past Big Ben was cool with a nice little down hill to the 600m to go banner...some more walking and then with 400m to go I got back up to speed and in past the grandstands...put a big smile on my face and soaked it up...nearly got emotional but I'm English so obviously I showed nothing more than a slight up turn at the corner of the mouth!

Just about walked to get my medal, photo taken and goody bag (best thing in there was an apple) I then picked up my stuff, the walk round to my meeting point was probably the hardest bit and I was close to passing out....I did speak to Jonathan Edwards though which was cool....for me...probably less so for him!

Found a spot on the ground and just a nut bar down me and the free lucozade and started to very slowly feel a bit more took about an hour for Kel to find me which actually suited me fine as I could steadily recover - slipped on my compression tights which caused a bit of cramp but was worth it when they were on!

We then slowly made out way through various train stations and home....I had a cheese toastie on the train but didn't feel to hungry till someone mentioned McDonalds...I still reckon this is the food of choice after a hot endurance event - all that salt and fat always feels good!

A big mac, double cheese burger, chips and mcflurry later and I was feeling a bit better.....I then went for my first pee since mile 2 excuse the graphics but I was obviously very dehydrated.....I had taken water on all day and although it was 20 odd degrees it wasn't crazy hot but I guess it was still enough to send me over the edge!

I think that combined with the 105 miles on the bike last weekend left me tight legs and I just couldn't flow like usual! Ah well lesson learned!

Positives: -
  • The crowds...I tried to high 5 as many of the little kids as possible!
  • I can get through a marathon
  • My shuffle is still good for 11 minute miles
  • I learnt loads about the last 6 miles!
  • I am sore but okay today! 
Negatives: -
  • I need to learn about my water usage!
  • Its gonna hurt like hell after 2.4 miles swim and 112 mile bike!
  • In mile 20 mile race, I held 8.45 min/miles for the first 10 before easing in to 8.30 which was more comfortable so the fact I could only just hold 9 means something wasn't right - I know I am capable of so much more!

This is my Garmin data below and medal above! 

So pleased to have done it!! Any ideas why I messed up gratefully received!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nearly at the race...

2 days, 18 hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds to go to the start of the 2011 London Marathon and I am surprisingly excited about it. I only found out I was doing this a couple of months ago and its only really started to sink in over the last couple of days that I am actually going to be doing this race...I mean me...the London Marathon...crazy!

Its not an A race and is just some more training but it has been taking over my thoughts for the last couple of days and I've been reading up and generally researching as much as possible and now I am really looking forward to it - first time I ever met someone who I had just run it I remeber thinking how unbelievably far running that far sounded...well its not the most exciting thing in the world hence why run volume isn't huge but I can run that far and I can't wait to do it in front of the amazing crowd! I also remember thinking that it must take someone amazing to do that...well if I can do it...

I am well aware that it will hurt and that I will hit the 'wall' at some point but I am confident that I will finish in my hopeful time and that with the correct nutrition I will be able to feel fine most the way round! The only tough bits on my last 20 were the long lonely lanes and my over-carbing so I am learning from that! I am also hoping that I am not bright enough to realise that I am tired!

As for the over-carbing, well this week I have been really strict on my diet and kept it light and fresh, tomorrow (Friday) I will start upping the carbs and the come Saturday it will be pasta for lunch and supper, with some rice pudding to follow then porridge and honey will be seen off safely on Sunday morning! I'll avoid eating the wraps, ice cream and Guinness on top of this ala the 20 miler...?!

As for clothing, the charity have given me a vest and t-shirt...I wasn't sure about the vest as I've not ran in one before and the t-shirt is a wearing rather than running t-shirt...however I summed up some courage and wore the vest for my 10k on Thursday night and actually it is great, comfortable and cool so I'll be wearing that...see below...

...though I appreciate I may look like a plank! However its a great charity and the least I can do!

I have really struggled with my last few runs, they've hurt and I have struggled but I am told this is normal during taper week (I am only doing a weeks taper) so am not too worried I know I'll turn up just fine on Sunday (gulp)!

I am still hoping to stick with my 9/1 run/walk race plan in a bid to keep my legs fresh as possible and should be able to pace this to about 9 minute miles which is more than comfortable, I'll get help up at the start as I am in a slower start pen but will hopefully make this up later in the race...not too quickly mind or I will burn out! I steadily paced the 20 miler to 2 hours 55 minutes so assuming I can do almost the same then that leaves 1 hour to do 10k which is more than acheivable (on a normal day)....hey even if I fail it doesn't matter, its all about the experience, but I will fail big time, no 4 hours 3 seconds or anything like that, I will back right off and soak up the finishing straight!

We've had some more bad news in our area (not related to me) so I am also aware of the fact that I am very very lucky just to be able to do it so that is always great motivation!

I guess this means a lot because I don't really view the ironman marathon as a marathon...I am aware that it is but I see it more of a 15 mile run then an 11 mile survival run/walk/crawl where just keeping going will be an acheivement! In a way the stand alone marathon seems harder....can't wait!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Life in training....

I've taken the following extract from - his is slightly more extreme than where I'm at but I know how he feels.....

"When you knock out the amount of training I’ve been doing you tend to go into solitary mode , you have to train mostly on your own , there is no one else out there doing the sheer volume and distance   .. normal recreational runners cannot even get close to appreciate just what its like, running two times a day 130+ miles a week .. the mornings , evening and weekends are taken up , I’ve been fortunate enough to run with 2 or 3 different groups of people , everyone doing their own thing and everybody great company but still I spend most of my long runs and morning runs on my own ….. I often feel that I put all this work in and no one even notices , no-one really cares or gives me a little slack because of it  , my mother moans because I am five minutes late getting to hers after a run , does she know how much effort I put in just to get up and out the door to do that run, just how important it is that I do not miss it !!! , one of my friends just blanks me off when I start to tell him of a beautiful route I just ran over the hills , people really are ignorant to how much work I am putting in , and this blog , you’ve no idea of the amount of my friends who can’t even be bothered to have a read of my blog , yet I listen to their stories of Saturday night benders patiently ,bloody hell !!! don’t they realise how important this is !!!!!  I write this tongue in cheek because of course I know that its only of great importance to me , I am not so self-absorbed as to realise that in the grand scheme of life this is not important at all , and everything I do is ultimately for myself and not for self recognition , haha amongst my friends you are never going to get to carried away before being dragged back to earth,  but I do want people to be aware of what I do and hopefully this awareness raises money"

Struck me enough to add a post...

Second week of April Training...

Awesome weeks training, in fact my highest 7 day total total to date which is good, I also feel good so that if it wasn't for the London Marathon on Sunday I would be good to carry on with a similiar weeks worth of training!

Monday : - as I had rested (hangover) on Sunday I used Monday as a training day, and knocked out a a good 1 hour, 19.5 mile ride from the house, good route with only one nasty hill and lots of good riding in it so will use this more often

Tuesday : - Morning swim, various 400's, i.e 400m warm up, 4*100 drills, 4 * 100 sprints, then more 400's for a 2.4 k swim.
In the evening I knocked out a good 7.2 mile run practicing my 9 min run/1 min walk routine which I plan to employ in the Marathon next week - I averaged 8.5 minutes per mile on this quite easily but will back it off on marathon day - my two runs this coming week will be at this pace to check I am comfortable with it.

Wednesday : - Into the gym for a small brick (20 min cycle, 5 min run) not sure what benefit these have but I guess they must do something and its all a good workout - I then went and did some weights and core work, all building a base and keeping shoulders strong!

Then it was in to the pool for swimwise (coaching session) this was a total failure as I kept getting loads of cramp in my feet! I'd been working a tennis ball into my feet most the afternoon and as they tightened back up it was causing me issues! Still managed 1.2k of drills and other swimming, so not all lost!

Thursday : - I went and jonied in rugby training as the weather was good, 2 hours of running around and sprinting meant my legs were pretty shot afterwards - I didn't fancy going out for an interval session or fast run and would definitely have got more from this session anyway!

Friday : - 2k morning swim, 5*400 but I was tired and my speed was down with legs being very tight from the nights running before! Still got it done and its all good! I know my swim is fine for the time being and will increase as per the schedule so I am not in anyway worried about this!

Saturday : - Great cycle, 70 miles in 3hours 54 minutes, went out with a friend at 8.30 and whilst a slight nip in the air the sun was out in full force and it soon got hot! The first 2.5 hours were pretty speedy and we both some reasonable efforts in to get round averaging 18.9 mph which is much faster than planned and I could feel some tiredness creeping in to the legs although it had taken an hour for me to click in to gear anyway!

After 50 odd miles we backed it off a bit and spun through some leafy lanes enjoying the fantastic weather before my friend left me at 55 miles and I carried on spinning around over some rolling hills to round out for 70 miles feeling pretty fresh, I then slipped on my trainers for the prescribed 15 minute run, went straight on to a track and run for 7.5 minutes before turning around and coming back for a whole 1.81 miles! I noticed that I was running at 8.11 min/miles which is a good pace for me, I expected to be slower but it seemed to be the natural pace for me, slowing down (or even speeding up) would have caused a lot more difficulty! Something to address for the future as my IM marathon will be a lot slower!

Sunday: - Due out for 2 hours with the local group, I was expecting (hoping) for a nice sociable ride....and yet we ended up knocking out a fast and flat 1.45 hours/35 miles of riding (with obligatory cake stop by the sea), it was a great ride actually and we averaged 20.4 for the outward journey and slightly less on the way home - I put in a few good stints at the front including a good 2 miles at 25 mph+ however I was hanging on towards the end and grateful for the slightly slower pace for the last 3-4 miles!      

Felt fine afterwards though and was tempted by swimming in the evening but I was already over my suggested timetable by 2 hours so with an eye on the marathon we knocked up a superb BBQ and sat in the sun!

All in all feeling good, am slightly stiff today but seeing the osteopath (also my riding partner) tonight to work some tension outof them!

The rest of the week is mostly spend slowing down and getting prepared for Sunday - I am swimming Tuesday morning, nothing hard, probably one of my usual routines, a 4-5 mile run on tuesday night trying the 9/1 method again, Wednesday is busy with the vicar (wedding stuff), Thursday was going to be a morning swim but I think I'll do an evening gentle ride instead followed by a short jog and swim on Friday night...then its go time!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Summer Sun...Somethings Begun.....

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....what beautiful weather, I reckon 22-24 degrees C is my perfect temperature for everyday so the last few days has been very nearly ideal! Obviously on holiday I like it hotter but for day to day you can beat it....and England bathed in golden sunshine is about as good as it gets!

Training has been really good too, got a 4 hour bike ride tomorrow into a 15 min run and then a further two hours on the bike on Sunday which should also be really nice....I'll be toasty brown (red) by the end of this weekend! I also have sore muscles and am tired anyway from this last week so by Sunday I shall be nicely cooked! Then next week is a very quiet gentle week leading in to the London Marathon, the week after has some prescribed sessions but again is pretty easy to recover and no running! Then it picks right back up for the final 9 weeks of intense hard training! I am really looking forward to the race now and feel I am on the right path, knowing it is only 11 weeks to go is a great feeling as it has been a long journey and the end is looming large!

In other news I finish my current job in less than two weeks (21st April) and then have till the 3rd May off due to bank holidays and accrued holiday so 11 days of time off will be awesome during which I plan to do loads and loads and loads of pedalling including a crack at the Ironman course under race conditions which will be pretty good I think! I then start my new job on the 3rd which I am very much looking forward to...unfortunately no shower so no cycling to work....though with hills out that way thats no bad thing!

Back in the gym I have been getting back in to doing some weight lifting and core work, only light stuff to help strenghten the general body areas rather than for packing on muscle but its all good and will give some base to when I start putting more muscle back on after the ironman!

Other than that its time to enjoy some sun...woohoo!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ironman Update #13 (from a round robin e-mail)

Unlucky 13...well no, not really, in fact March has been a very good month really and a step up in training as provided a few breakthrough sessions too - as with everything, training goes in peaks, troughs and plateaus and it is always nice to break through off a plateau and notice some real what has this month looked like: -

Swim - 14.4 miles, 10 hours
Bike - 325.8 miles, 18.2 hours
Run - 68.8 miles, 10.2 hours
X-train - 5.5 miles, 2.1 hours

Total - 414.56 miles, 40.61 hours

Swimming -

I won't lie, I can barely remember the swimming I have done this month, despite it being a large quantity, its mostly been steady state swimming, I have been working hard on the efficiency of my stroke and keeping my body high in the water. I am far less concerned with speed now and happier to swim efficiently whilst maintaining a reasonable pace.....14.4 miles is still a very long way to swim! I am confident that in a lake with a wetsuit I can comfortably do 1 hour 5 mins for the swim which is pretty reasonable and won't compromise the rest of the race!

Bike -

ahhh thats what this month has been all about, the nice weather and the clocks going back turn cycling from a necessarily evil in to the more interesting hobby that I vaguely remember from last summer! Up to the beginning of March I was only averaging 40miles per week, that has now been over 100 per week for the last 3 weeks! Being able to commute on a 45 mile round trip also has its advantages!

My previous best commute was to average 18.4 mph and be very tired, now I can do it quite happily averaging nearly 20 mph without overexerting myself - that is a big improvement and provided one of the breakthroughs that I mentioned - I won't be averaging that in the race but its good to get that reasonably easily!

Having said that I have been working on my pacing a lot and calculating how fast I go for how long etc which at the very least keeps my brain occupied on the long rides!

Run -

I had a 20 mile race at the beginning of March which seems an age ago now, it went fine and wasn't too bad! I say this slightly matter of factly but 20 miles is still a bloody long way and really hurts your legs! However I hit my target and it was only the boring scenery that really got to me in the end! I followed this up with a really tough 14.5 mile run down the Avon Valley Path before picking up an injury to my Achilles which I think was caused by a tight calf muscle!

However it seems to have cleared up now so back in the mixer as far as running is concerned...we hope! The London Marathon is in two weeks so fingers crossed I'll be okay for that, with the last 1.5 weeks off running I will continue to train right up to and through the marathon itself. For the marathon I will be doing a run/walk strategy - roughtly 9 mins running, 1 min walking - all of my longest runs have been done using run/walk (apart from the 20 mile race where I ran the whole way!) and not only do I run faster this way, I also recover a lot quicker afterwards which will be important after London as I can't afford to miss a few weeks through recovery.......oh and if anyone in London has some floor space I can adopt for the night of Saturday 16th I would be most grateful???

So where does that leave me right now...well I am 49 hours up on this point last year so I am progressing very nicely, I am starting to feel a bit of confidence that I can at least finish the race....I guess it all depends on what state I will finish in!

Its 12 weeks to go from Sunday just gone and I am now in to a more regimented schedule which I picked up from the internet - this lists out all the key sessions to help me focus on what I need to do and gives me more confidence that I will be in good shape for the day!

So 12 weeks to go and I have a fair bit more to raise so please donate....I really need the motivation now!


Thanks everyone!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Lion, the Witch and March...

Is it still March....I mean really - considering how time flies these days it seems like February was an awful long time ago and April still lurks over the distant horizon that is this Friday! I am however of course not complaining, one does not mind that March still has plenty to play for and that with this beautiful weather we've been having the 'here and now' is a quite lovely place to be!

So as for last week - it was always going to be a struggle as I was away for the weekend and had lots of other stuff booked in so...

Monday - nafffink (rest day)

Tuesday - Swam in the morning, Achilles was back to square one so all pulling

Wednesday - this was supposed to be a cycle to work day but as the girlfriend was sick I checked she was all okay rather than shooting off early doors, I then felt rough in the evening and couldn't face swimming! It may have been sympathy sickness but she had a bug that was going around her office and stopped her dead for 36 hours so any sign and I was relaxing!

Thursday - still not great but went for kill or cure cycle to work, it was pretty steady and I couldn't quite get going even with a push in the middle, looking at last year I was faster then with the same heart rate (17.6mph ave, 135 bpm ave) which left me a bit confused! However I guess it showed that I wasn't 100%, but it cleared out the bug, on the way home which is net up hill I easily smashed it averaging 19.6 mph with HR at 137 - who knows what was lurking in my system!

Friday - had the day off so after sorting some stuff out I went for a 52 mile, 3 hour ride - not very fast but lots of good climbing and superb weather - I'm getting used to riding on my own for longer distances now without getting too bored - its all about the weather (cold and rain = can't be arsed = get bored quickly), that and concentrating on Ironman pacing!

Basically over the last week I have been doing a lot of research on pacing for the bike, how it should feel etc - whilst everyone is different, a successful amateur triathlete that I follow always keeps his bike HR around the 130 mark, which is about 70% - so I have been concentrating on keeping it within this range but also making sure that my perceived power (i.e. how hard am I pushing the pedals) remains even and not too aggressive. The general outcome seems to be that I average around the 17.5 mph mark, obviously that is hill dependent and it may be a bit faster on the Forestman course as whilst there are plenty of hills only one will really hit the speed hard - however we will see, I'd rather err on the side of caution! That would give me a 6.5 hour bike split (plus a few minutes here and there for aid stations, cups of tea, passing out) - that is more than reasonable! So I will continue to concentrate on that pace/HR and see where that brings me in a month or so's time - if by the time of the race I can bump that closer to 18mph thats all good - however its only 20 minutes faster over 112 miles so may not be worth it at the expense of surviving the run!

As I keep reminding myself - its purely about finshing the race, so all this research is to enable me to finish not to hit any specific time (other than 15.59 hours) - so a 1.25 hour swim (inc T1) and a 6.5 hour bike puts me nicely at 7 hours 45 minutes up tot T2, so say 8 hours coming out of T2 and I have 7 hours and 59 minutes to complete the marathon....lovely stuff!

Anyway a bigger week this week beckons so all good stuff - lets hope I can start running again this week, its the London Marathon in 20 days!

Monday, March 21, 2011

3 Weeks of March...

Been a really good week of training for the 3rd week of March! I was worried about my achilles last Monday and how it would affect my training - in the end it was fine up until the very end and provided one of my biggest weeks of training this year!

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - a 2.2k swim in the morning with the pull buoy the whole way and pushing off one footed so as not to aggravate the Achilles - it was noticeably sore afterwards however!

I rested again in the evening with some frustration as I knew I needed to rest the Achilles!

Wednesday - went to the gym for the first time in 18 months before swim coaching - sat on the bike for 30 mins spinning hard, then did a load of rowing and core work to total an hours work - which was really good, I then went in to the pool for a coached session for an hour and 2.3k of drills and sustained speed work - so a good quality two hours on a Wednesday evening!

Thursday - Cycled to and from work, which is 22.5 miles each way so makes for a good days training by the end of it - I'm also carrying my work clothes too so have a hefty back pack on! Averaged 17.5 both ways which isn't my fastest but I felt fine both ways and could have pushed it some more! Great to be back on the bike again - even better when the clocks change at the weekend!

Friday - alarm didn't go off in the morning so missed swimming, went back to the gym in the evening for a quick brick session and some weights/core

Saturday - up early for a 55 mile loop including the first lap of the Forestman course - stunning day so cycling was no trouble! Slightly more hills than I thought there were but nothing too drastic and I felt fine after - could have carried on with no trouble really - averaged a moderate 17.3mph - which was easy really - no problems going a bit faster for double that!

Sunday - again up early and ran to coached swimming for 4.8 miles, just over 2k in the pool and then ran 1.5 miles home - I had planned to make it more like 5 or 6 miles home but my achilles was in all sorts of trouble again - back to square one! I think its my tight calves and hamstrings so lots of massaging them over this week!

The week ahead depends a lot on other things - I am away at the weekend so not training will happen, but I do have Friday off work so will get a good ride in then!

See you then!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The end is nigh...

99 days to go...we are out of double figures now! Though the title of this post I hope will relate to something else I am cooking up next week!

Anyway back to the challenge, 99 days to go and I need to do lots more cycling, a very lot more cycling! I rode to work and back yesterday which was great - not the fastest I have ever done it but then my HR stuck firmly to the 68/69% average so I wasn't pushing very hard - I also felt fine both on the outward leg and the return leg - which I would hope being as they were only 22.5 miles each, I did however get very tired last night which shouldn't be right after only 45 miles during the day......having said that I suppose its a week day and I have to factor in the 9 hour day in the middle as a contributor!

Revisiting my target times for Forestman made me realise that the 18.7 mph average is my top goal - the bottom is a 16 mph average! I have averaged a fair bit faster over 80 miles before so I am confident that I can sit quite happily in the upper range of that over 112 miles - since yesterday was an easy 17.5 mph average with a loaded backpack I am pretty happy - a nice little reminder - for some reason I had it in my head that 18.7 was my lowest!!

Anyway so tonight will be either swimming or I may go to the gym and do a 1 hour brick - 15min bike, 15 min run, 15 min bike, 15 min run...I'll see how I feel on the way home! Tomorrow is a scheduled 3 hours on the bike - I have planned a 56 mile route which should see me near enough 3 hours - I have plans at 12 so hopefully I'll be able to get it all in by then!

Saturday afternoon is all about rugby (for a change) first watching the mighty 'bridge play...then all the 6 nations games, once again ensuring I am driving therefore not drinking! Sunday will see me in the pool at 8.45 - a new class has started so I'll be up early for a 45 min run then an hours swim, then a further hour or so running! I then have a christening and celebrations after - during which I will be drinking! Though work on Monday may not be so fun so it'll only be gentle!

Unfortunately I am unable to get a long run this weekend however it probably won't do any harm with the achilles issue I had earlier in the week - this seems to be fine though we'll see how it goes tonight! Two smaller runs on Sunday morning should provide a decent tick over anyway!

I also can't get a long run in next weekend either so April 2nd will be my final long run before the London Marathon which isn't ideal but anyhooo I'm only doing it to tick along to the finish anyway so no dramas! I'll hopefully get a few medium runs in next week in the 7/8 mile range!

So that is where I am at right now! Enjoy your weekend...

Monday, March 14, 2011


March Week 2 Training - a quiet start to the week, ramping it up towards the end!

Monday - usual rest day, felt okay after the 20mile race the day before though!

Tuesday - a steady 1.95k swim of various drills and floating, although I wasn't really aching there was a definite tiredness in the body!

Wednesday - a nice steady 3 mile run at lunch to break the legs back in - they felt tight but fine, no real niggles and was okay, the did an hours (2.5k) coached swim session in the evening which went well - not a fan of swimming in the evening as I tend to get cramp in my feet!

Thursday - no swim in the morning as had an early start at work, in the evening it was a run - 5.76 miles in 48.36 which was more than pleasing as I felt pretty strong on stiff legs!

Friday - back in the pool for 7*250m, mostly with the pull buoy, which was fine

Saturday - was supposed to be 4 hours on the bike and we were lucky to have some lovely sunshine so it was no overshoes, no gloves and no extra jacket which was sooooo nice! It made such a difference to be warm and out enjoying the sunshine! We kept it mostly flat/rolling and enjoyed some new roads which made a nice change! We did 46 miles in 2.5 hours with an average of 18 mph which was a good ride with some really top quality intervals in the middle hitting it pretty hard! I faded towards the end, hence the reduced time out there - I put this down to 3 weeks of no cycling and the intensity of the last two races still residing slightly in my legs!

Sunday - up and about and met with a friend to run the Avon Valley Path from Salisbury to Fordingbridge which should have been about 15 miles! The weather was not great to begin with so I kept my blue gilet on but as we set off the sun broke out so it was boil in a bag time for a little while! I had underestimated some of the terrain and it was tough going - the overnight rain making the trail pretty slippery in places - it was great to do new paths and trails though taking me through places I didn't know existed! The friend I was with is just getting in to the longer stuff and did brilliantly, turning off at 10 miles to head home, we did get lost as I took us down the wrong path but we made our way over some hills on the road to come out at the right place - in hindsight it would have been a lot easier not to have gone wrong as the correct path sticks to the nice and flat valley floor! We did walk the hills though as they were very steep!

At Downton we rejoined the path and headed up out of town - walking half the long climb but the views back over the preceeding 8.5 miles were pretty cool and we could see all the way back to Salisbury Cathedral which we had ran past not an hour or so earlier! The pics above are of my friend and said view behind him though I don't think the iPhone camera picks out the cathedral well enough!

From there I expected a steady downhill to Hale park - how wrong I was and two nasty steep valleys had to be negotiated first, which required walking to get out the otherside - I was tiring pretty quickly by now and the hills had taken their toll despite the bigger ones being walked - a long but steep downhill allowed me to drop the average pace a bit which was good, and then a mile or so of road section kept it steady - the final hill was again walked and going through 13.1 miles in 2.12 tells its own story! From here it was a drop down to a farm and through some more meadows into Fordingbridge - I was running late for lunch so had the otherhalf pick me up about a mile or so short of the finishline as she was on her way through! I was very tired by this point and although I was still running quite well, this was the hardest run I have ever done - I should have taken on more than the one gel that I used which would have perked up the last few miles I am sure! so it was 14.38 miles in 2.23 hours which was exactly 10 min/miles - not what I would usually expect but it was fine! I really enjoy this kind of running and although slower it is much more fun than tarmac pounding! Looking forward to doing it all again with some more food and not getting lost!

Anyway finished the week with 9.5 hours training, not a large amount but I think the sessions were all beneficial - the only downside being that I now have a very sore achilles tendon on my left foot - after the run I showered and then drove off down to lunch in a full car so legs were quite cramped - think the clutch movement just twinged it a bit - rest and ice for this! Not ideal as I wanted to ramp up the training this week - swimming should be fine and hopefully cycling so I will just take this week off running - hopefully all okay for the weekend though!

See you then! 

Friday, March 11, 2011

The return of middle March...

Still feeling tired from last weeks race...well actually I am not..well I am...well....put this way I think I am tired but not in a way that is making training difficult or a drag! Yes my legs were sore in yesterdays 5.8 mile run and yes my swimming isn't quite as fast as it has been but I am still putting in a good pace in the running and have swam 6.75k this week so actually it ain't all bad! I actually quite like the sore leg feeling when running - makes me feel like I am acheiving something! Like the day after a game of rugby...if you can still stand up and sit down properly then you ain't been working hard enough! I have been sleeping well though...twice a day at some points!

Hopefully this solid training will continue through the weekend with 4 ish hours on the bike tomorrow and Sundays long run! Unfortunately the weather is supposed to turn towards rain tomorrow but as I haven't cycled for three weeks (stupid broken bits) I have no choice but to get out there! Hopefully I have some residual cycling ability left in my legs!

Really looking forward to Sunday's run - I have a feeling I will be running on very tired legs by this point and so I am going to run the Avon Valley Path from Salisbury to Fordingbridge which is about 15/16 miles but as there is lots of stiles, dog walkers and things like that I'll be reduced to a slow pace which will do me some good! 

Other than that it is a nice quiet weekend for me, got some big plans hopefully happening the week after next so gearing up for that (more later)!

Having heard all about the Japanese Tsunami and seen the pictures, it just looks terrible and must be horrible for those involved so my thoughts go out to them - it does put my 'tough' training in its place but as I am doing it to help others its all in perspective. Having said that the amount of claptrap that has come out on twitter today re: the Mayan calender, the end of the world and respecting our planet is ridiculous, idiots like this should pipe down! The Mayans could not have predicted it...period! Its not the end of the world...period! And yes, of course we should respect the planet, that goes without saying more these days that ever...however there is no way that anything we have done could possibly have caused that earthquake! Its a horrible natural disaster!

Enough of that now...

Hopefully this weekend will see a great cycle, the mighty 'Bridge squash the Saffers, a solid run on Sunday and then England to stuff right up the Scots (I am in a partisan mood)

Enjoy your weekend....I will!