Sunday, 26 February 2012

Reason for no blogging

Sorry for not blogging in over a week. It's been hectic at work and I haven't had any time to do any training until this weekend. The reason is I've transferred to a new site in central London. I went with good intentions and managed to find a hotel with a pool but leaving at 06:30 and not getting in until 19:30 made me too tired to contemplate swimming given I was really hungry when I got back.

I did a little training in walking about 4 miles on Wednesday (to and from the tubes on the way to work)

This week I'm back in my old hotel so will be aiming to do some swimming.

Still can't run though. HARUMPH!

Someone who I have grown to know during the last two years, the Great Britain C2 athlete Etienne Stott has recommended a book to me which I am thinking of downloading for my Kindle. The book in question is The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness by Dr Steven Peters. Etienne recommended this book as we were talking about the Olympic selections and I thought it would be a big deal and was therefore scared by proxy as I want them (him and Tim Baillie) to qualify for the Games as I know them. I think this book will help me in my dream of completing the triathlon in September.

Went to pick up my bike yesterday and what can I say I bloody LOVE it. See picture below.

The new bike.
It weighs in at a paltry 10.6kg which I am amazed by. Had a few teething problems with my gearing but I have managed to fix this. Also built my turbo trainer and it is deployed in the back bedroom. The wife says it sound like an airplane is taking off when I'm on it.

Did some light training on my turbo trainer as well as two bike rides this weekend. Can't wait until next weekend so I can get back out on my bike. Really enjoying it.

Definitely going to have to purchase some SPD pedals and shoes for the bike as I can't get my trainers into the pedal clips that are on the bike at present which wouldn't be good for the tri.

Think I'll stick with some pedals and shoes by Shimano as they seem to be the market leader. Going to have to do some research though as I know nothing about SPD's.

Remember you can sponsor at the following address.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

Injury update part 3 and bike is bought

Went to the physio last night and all I can say is I'm not built for running.

In summary:-

1. I have tight calves
2. I'm a supinator (basically I have very high arches)
3. I have tight hamstrings

All of which culminate in me having to run on the balls of my feet (forefoot striking) and all of which have led to me developing tendonitis in my achilles tendon.

The physio then applied some ultrasound to my achilles and advised me  to rest. He also advised me of some stretches that I should do before and after running.

He told me I am running in the right way for my body (forefoot striking) but I should do the majority of my running for training off road rather than road running which I had been doing.

He also advised me to do the majority of my training on my bike or in the pool to limit my chance of developing achilles problems.

This definitely brought forward my plans for buying a bike so I wen to Don Valley cycles in Doncaster and dropped onto a real bargain. I managed to pick up a Marsini custom aluminium racing bike with a Campagnolo groupset for the price of £250.00 as the bike had been part exchanged that day. Thanks to Martin for his help. I also bought a turbo trainer (Tacx Satori) so that I can do most of my training in the hotel when I'm away during the week.

It appears that after a few weeks down time. Operation Tri is now back on track.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, 17 February 2012

Injury update part 2

Well i've officially had enough of this achilles injury so I'm off to see a physio tonight.

Who knows what he'll say but I hope its good news and not a complete disaster to my tri.

Went swimming last night although I didn't really feel like it. Only swam 500m because I had a weird pain and clicking in my shoulder. Hope it's nothing serious.

Another blogpost after I get back from the physio will follow to give you all an update.

Thanks for reading.

Please remember you can sponsor me by clicking the link. after all it is for a good cause.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Early morning swim

Well due to the fact I couldn't run yesterday (stupid achilles tendon when will you get better?) I decided to go for a swim on Wednesday morning as on Tuesday evening the pool is closed. I smashed out 0.5km in 15 minutes with two sets of 150m and two sets of 100m. My endurance is coming slowly but it is getting better.

The downside to this early morning swim was that I felt light headed when I got back to the hotel. This means I have learnt another lesson, DON'T EXERCISE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. We'll chalk that one up to experience and I'm sure it won't be the last thing I learn on my quest to complete my first triathlon.

Please feel free to make a donation at the following address.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Swimming and the like

Firstly my achilles injury has gotten no better with rest. It doesn't hurt as much but it's still not good enough to run. Pretty annoyed about it to be honest. It still feels really tight. Another couple of days rest can't do it any harm.

Went swimming for the first time on Thursday and oh did I realise how unfit I've become. I only lasted for 500m in sets of 50-100m and felt so unfit. I'm so glad I decided to give up smoking now. Who knows what I'd be like in another 10 or so years.

I didn't have the inclination to train over the weekend due to having two hangovers on top of my injury and I had to have an early Valentine's day as I'm working away this week.

So on Monday I decided to go swimming again to further rest my injury and build up some endurance (which after Thursday I realised I didn't have). This time I managed 1km in sets of 100m which is an improvement. I did this in about 30 mins but to be honest spent a lot of time resting. With more exercise will come greater endurance so I was quite pleased at the end. Tired but pleased.

The only problem with Monday swimming is that Monday's are a very long day and I was quite happy having a nap when I woke up at 20:15 which was just in time for the 20:30 start. When you've been up since 04:30 that makes it a long day, hence the nap.

Well what else have I been up to? I've ordered some new laces (how exciting) from which should save me some time on transitions.

I've set up my Justgiving page and am still waiting for my first donation. Come on people it's for a good cause as it's Cancer Research.

Other than that there's no new update from me. More swimming planned for later in the week, I may even go for a morning swim if I can get up but I'll definitely be swimming on Thursday as I doubt whether my ankle will be good enough to run on.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Injury update

Well firstly my achilles tendon is feeling better today. I was petrified it would be a long time until I could recommence weight bearing training. Not that I mind swimming but it is my strongest element and thus I think it requires less work.

I was speaking to some people who do more exercise than me and they advised the pain could have been caused by overstretching my achilles tendon through running in the wrong way.

Apparently heel striking is better for running than forefoot striking which is how I run currently. Now for thirty years forefoot striking hasn't caused me any injury but I normally run on grass as I come from a team sport background. Whereas now I am road running.

I can understand the mechanics of how forefoot striking could be bad when running as the achilles tendon is constantly in strain whereas with heel striking the tendon goes from no strain on landing to straining on pushing off.

I had decided to try and transition to heel striking but came across this interesting article on the New York Times website and now to be honest I'm in a quandary.

Do I transition to something which I have never done in my thirty (well to be honest nearer twenty) years of running with an aim to not causing my achilles to flare up again or do I stick with what I know and just try to stretch more before exercise?

Honestly who knew that my decision to do a triathlon could cause such a headache? I thought it was only swimming, riding a bike and running. How little I knew, I now have to consider how I run and I haven't even started training for the other elements.

I decided to do some bike research yesterday and know I need to raise £650 for a decent road bike. I then have to decide whether to risk SPD pedals or just go for toe clips. Toe clips will allow me a quicker second transition but will the SPD's be more efficient for the bike element? More decisions to be made in the future.

I still haven't approached anybody about helping with purchasing equipment, need to give myself a kick up the ar*e there.

This triathlon lark is harder than I first comprehended.

Right off for my first swim, I'll let you all know how I get on tomorrow at some point.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Cold + Pain = First injury. You don't have to be Einstein to work out this is not a good combination when you have your first triathlon in 32 weeks and 5 days

Well I decided to go for a run last night even though it was minus 2 degrees (that's chuffing cold to anyone who doesn't know) when I set off.

I completed 2.67 miles in a time of 36:13 which is a further and longer run than I have completed since I decided on taking up this silly (but very worthwhile) challenge. The accompaniment for my run was Ministry of Sound Running Trax Gold CD 1 (for those that are interested)

Mostly my run passed without any excitement. Until after about 1.7 miles I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my left achilles tendon when jogging. The pain went when walking so then I proceeded to "mostly" walk back to the hotel.

Now for the bad news. This will affect training. I have no idea what I have done to my achilles tendon but it is very painful. It doesn't appear to be any different to the one on my right leg (apart from the pain on walking) but is now causing me to limp. I'll give it a few days and if there is no improvement I will go and seek medical help.

I'm sure this injury won't be the last I encounter before I complete my triathlon but I am a little disheartened it has happened so early in my training.

On the off chance that any Doctors do read this, could you advise what the injury could possible be? You can e-mail me on or send a tweet to @smoker23athlete

Running with this pain will not help matters as it is weight bearing so I have decided that swimming will be the only training I can complete until this "random" injury goes away. Swimming will be good because it is not weight bearing and if needs be I can just use my arms to power through the water.

Now I just need to find a baths that is open late near Waltham Abbey.

On a plus note, now that I have started stretching properly before running I now no longer have the aches and pains I got after the first two runs. Either that or my body is getting used to the abuse.

Today is a rest day which is good as it gives me chance to research swimming baths and will also allow me to go and buy some swimming gear (goggles and shorts) for my inevitable swim tomorrow as I don't think my achilles will be better.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Shopping friends and training

During the weekend I met up with some friends and was encouraged to hear that some are planning on coming to London to watch my do the triathlon. This was really good news as I thought it would just be my family that would make the trip.

Training hasn't been going to well. After my idea to switch my training days from Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (as it suited my transient lifestyle better). I haven't trained since last Wednesday essentially that means I've lost a week. The weather has played a massive part in this and even when I had planned on training yesterday, this proved unfruitful as I didn't get to the hotel until 8 pm.

I now have a training partner back home who will be going running and swimming with me which is a bonus.

Now my shopping list has taken shape and this triathlon lark is a lot more expensive than I first considered.

Bike - between £600 and £3000 so we'll plump for £1000 at the top end
Helmet - £50
Prescription goggles (better to be safe than sorry) - £25.00
Wetsuit - £150
Trisuit - £100
Prescription sunglasses - £150

And now for the things that have been recommended by someone who used to do this expensive sport.

Turbotrainer for bike - £200
Bike computer - £25
Heart rate monitor for use in training - £100

All in all with the £200 I have already spent on running stuff and headphones and songs to train with that totals around £2000.

Wonderful. Why couldn't I pick something cheaper?

Can't wait for training tonight. Anyone who knows me will be amazed that I am looking forward to exercising.  Bring it on. Plus I need a pick up from the endorphins as this giving up smoking lark ain't easy at all.



Sunday, 5 February 2012


Due to the fact that it decided to snow heavily yesterday. Today's running session is off. Not impressed but don't fancy an injury.

Looks like I'll have to wait until Monday or Tuesday now. Going to take some swimming stuff with me just in case I can't run down in Waltham Abbey as well.


Friday, 3 February 2012

All booked

Finally had confirmation that I can do the London Triathlon for Cancer Research so phase one of my plan is in place.

So in 33 weeks and 2 days I will be setting off on the gruelling 51.5km triathlon.

That gives me 233 days to improve my fitness, raise £600 in sponsorship and get someone to supply me with a bike and other items that I'll need.

Wish me luck everyone.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012



That is all.

Apart from if you are on twitter please follow @smoker23athlete which is my new Twitter account for all things triathlon related.



Second very chilly training

Well I set off from the Premier Inn in Waltham Abbey on what was a beautifully clear but extremely cold night. If I had my contacts in I could tell you for definite if I saw the Shard or not. I think I did but it was just a blur if I'm honest. But I could see the GMT laser. It really was that clear.

I'm glad I went for a run tonight because the little monster made an appearance for most of the afternoon and had I not had the run to take my mind off things, I fear I may have given into to the cravings. But the run completely removed the urge. This fitness thing has its uses.

I've now realised that running with painful quads isn't a lot of fun. My quads hurt a lot by the time I'd done a mile. After about 1.75 miles I also had a reoccurrence of an old niggle from my ultimate frisbee days. It's a pain behind my left shoulder blade. I don't know what it is but I battled on and put up with it. Anyone got any ideas what it is?

Anyhoo the run was 2.29 miles long and completed in 32:30 which is slightly worse than Monday but my quads were tight before I set off and the Wife rang just after I'd started so I was a little distracted.

After I got back to the hotel I had a bath to try and relax and got rid of some of the lactic build up from my quads. Spoke to my friend Brian and he advised lots of fluids and relax to ease the pain and remove the lactic acid.

Now sat in the pub about to have gammon and jacket spud for some carbs and protein to help my recovery.

No run planned until Sunday due to tomorrow being a rest day, Friday I'm going home and I need to change my running days to Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday as it suits my transient lifestyle better.

Still waiting on email from Cancer Research to confirm my entry and then I can push my corporate kit sponsorship idea.