Tuesday, 29 May 2012

I have officially left the reservation - four straight days training

Had a day off from training on Friday and boy does that seem a long time ago.

Since then I have been training five times in four days. What is going on?

I don't do this, I normally drink beer and relax and eat awful food but that was the old me. The one who used to smoke. It's 60 days today since I had my last cigarette, thats 1442 hours or 86520 minutes or over 5 million seconds and do you know something, it was the best decision I ever made.

I didn't realise until reading Allen Carr that the lethargy I used to feel and my general disdain for exercise including all things gym related were a side effect of the nicotine monster. I'm so glad I've decided to embark on this challenge as it changing my life.

I also had a dilemma on Friday, I received a VIP invitation (still had to pay) to complete the GE Blenheim Triathlon but after much soul searching and advice from Twitter I have decided not to as I have something else planned for that day as I have been granted media accreditation to the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Cardiff. This means a lot to me as an aspiring photographer.

The five training sessions I have completed are as follows (I apologise in advance if some of this seems boring to some but for those who know me in the non-net world, some of this may be surprising)

Saturday AM

I woke up this morning feeling good and with my usual exercise fuel of Coco Pops (what can I say I'm a big kid really) and a can of a Red Bull substitute, I got changed and loaded up the new bike for its first outing. My first bike ride outside since 1st April and my first bike ride full stop in about a month. I decided to take a picture of the new beast for posterity.

And boy what a pretty bike it is. Once the momentous photo was taken, I decided to see how comfy the bike was and after completing a 41.77km ride in 01:44:48 (route below)  I can safely say, it is very comfy. Ben at J E James Cycles was right. No back pain whatsoever although that could be due to the Cherry Active which I drank on completion. This was also the first time I had tried various High5 products and they are very tasty. The gels are really easy to eat as well.

The average speed was 14.5mph. I know I can improve on this given I have another 18 or so weeks but I am so glad I did this ride.

I was meant to brick this with my third interval run of the week but I think I had hit a brick wall on the bike around the 30k mark which is to be expected given it's my first bike ride in a month. And also it was bloody hot on Saturday, too hot for me to run in anyway.

I also learnt an important lesson on this bike ride. Even though it is 08:30, you still need suncream otherwise this happens.


Saturday PM

I felt guilty on Saturday evening about having not bricked my bike ride with a run and despite arguing with the lawn for an hour (more exercise) I decided to complete my interval run before me tea. I think I was partly spurred on having watched the coverage of the ITU Women's triathlon from Madrid (so a special thanks must go to Vicky Holland, Liz Blatchford, Jodie Stimpson, Vanessa Raw and the rest of the field for getting my up and exercising again on the same day).

Two training sessions in one day, seriously what is wrong with me. My interval run was the same as the one on Tuesday and despite having cycled over 40km, it was comparable with Tuesday's effort. The route can be seen below.

I still can't believe I managed both of these given the heat on Saturday.


I woke with no pains on Sunday so proceed to go to the gym and I completed a multitude of exercises as detailed below. None of these are going to break World Records but they were completed and thats the main thing.

  • 7 minutes on cross trainer at varying difficulties
  • 5 minutes on rowing machine
  • 3 sets of leg exercises on power plate
  • 6 sets of chest/arm exercises on the power plate
  • 7 minutes on sit down exercise bike (didn't fancy a normal bike as I was a bit tender in certain places)
  • 5 minutes @ 10km/h on the running machine
  • 150m front crawl

And my personal favourite achievement

  • 300m of front crawl completed in 5 minutes and 20 seconds at a relaxed pace.
I did this to see how easy I will find the swim during my triathlon and to be honest I wish I found running this easy. At this pace I could complete the swim in 25 or so minutes which is 7 minutes and ten behind an elite male at Olympic distance.


When I had completed all this again I drank Cherry Active.

Now a little on my new best friend. As stated previously I know Etienne Stott (the GB C2 canoeist) on a first name basis from having built the Olympic Canoe Centre at Lee Valley and he is sponsored by Cherry Active. I asked him what this was once and told me to check out the website.

I did as he suggested and could not believe what I read. This was at the start of my quest and it claimed to get rid of muscle aches so I thought what the heck. Cherry Active is 100% cherry juice concentrate and is bloody marvellous. Without it I think I would be in bits after every training session as I don't stretch (yes I know I'm stupid). The 30ml shot has relieved me of aching muscles the next day and I now have it after every training session. If any of you are suffering then please try it. I am not going to try and bore you with science or a sales pitch. It works for me and that is all I have to say but I was crippled when I started training and now can train on multiple days.


Again no aching on getting up (even though it was at 03:30 for work).

Today was not a good day and I know the reason. TIREDNESS. Not muscle tiredness but I was exhausted. I got out of bed at 03:30 (after about four hours sleep), drove to London, worked a full day and then decided to go on a run. When I set off my legs felt heavy and I felt lethargic.

I can only describe the next 32 and a half minutes as pure torture. I felt awful on every step but soldiered on. I entered a new week in my training plan and the intervals increased.

The run for this week is
  • 5 min warm up walk
  • 3 sets of 1 min run, 1 min walk, 3 min run and 2 and half min walk
  • 5 min cool down
I completed over 3km again but as usual went off at stupid pace an knackered myself out during the first and second runs. MUST LEARN CONTROL.

My route is below.

I was so despondent after the run that I contacted a triathlon coaching company via Twitter (RG Active) to see if they could help but when I woke this morning I realised I felt like this cos I was tired, so no more running following a drive to London for me. Onwards and upwards. If I need a hand I'm sure I can find a running club in London or Doncaster to assist me. But I will persevere with the training plan and hope it sorts me out.

On a plus note, no more searing pain on the outside of my shins thanks to my new trainers when I run.


Four days straight training. A new record.

I was going to try out the Virgin Active in Cricklewood but when I got there the swimming pool was shut. As tonight was a swim night this was a disaster and I had to drive to Hendon, which cost me about 45 minutes in time. Not a good start.

My session in the gym consisted of 5 minutes cross trainer, 3 sets of .legs exercises on the cross trainer followed by a 600m swim at race pace and I completed this in 10 minutes ish. I need a waterproof watch to help me time myself.

Four days in the gym done.

More importantly it's a rest day tomorrow which is a good job as I have to go and photograph the women's British Handball team in their match against Montenegro.

Sorry for the boring training update but this is as much for me as anyone as it's a record of what I've achieved.

Remember you can sponsor me via my Justgiving. So far with my contributions from colleagues I think I've nearly raised £500 which is nearly half my target.

You can follow me on Twitter also, which I update a lot more.

I'll update this blog at some point over the weekend.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Three training days on the bounce - I think I have gone mad

I think I may have a gone a little doolally or it might be something to do with the heat.

After work on Tuesday I went for a jog, which consisted of an interval run of 5min walk, followed by 7 sets of 1:30 run and 1:30 walk and a 5min walk to cool down. I covered 3.66km in the 31 minutes but didn't quite realise where I was in Regents Park so I had an extra 0.8km walk / run back to the car.

To ease the aches and pains I drank a Maximuscle Viper Active mixed with Cherry Active. What a easy combination this was but I was mortified to realise that this contained more kcal than I had expended running. Not ideal when I am trying to lose weight to make the running easier. So from now on my post exercise drink will be High5 Zero and Cherry Active.

My route can be seen below.

I awoke on Wednesday with no aches and pains so a combination of the new trainers and and the Cherry Active must have worked, which is a bonus.

On Wednesday I decided to see how Virgin Active in Hendon compared with Virgin Active at Sheffield Millhouses. Parking at Hendon proved to be an issue. But I waited for a space and went in.

I was planning to stick to my training plan set by Ben but I decided to mix things up a little. So I did 6 minutes on the cross trainer followed by 2 sets of legs exercises on the powerplate as instructed by Ben, I followed this with 2.5km on a mountain bike trainer called Xdream because I didn't see the exercise bikes, this was followed by 5km on the exercise bike (after I had found them), another set of leg exercises on the  powerplate all followed with a 500m swim in a METAL swimming pool, which was an experience. The pool at Hendon is 20m long rather than the standard 25m.

Again Cherry Active followed and I had no aches or pains on getting up. What a wonderful find this is.

Thursday (today) is a holiday so I went to the gym in the morning with the aim of completing my second interval run of the week and then going for a swim. When I got up I realised the swimming pool went ladies only at 11:30 which gave me under an hour of training (once I'd managed to park) before I had to leave the pool and I wanted a 31 minutes run before as well.

I completed a 25 minutes interval run consisting of 5 min warm up 5 sets of 1:30 run and 1:30 walk and a 5min cool down walk. This was shorter than planned due to the time constraints. I then did one set of leg exercises before jumping in the pool. I had 25 minutes in the pool before it went ladies only.

I set off with 2 by 200m warm up sets and then with what I thought was 12 minutes left I decided to go at a relatively easy pace and see how far I could go. This was cut short by two minutes as the lifeguard stopped me swimming for the ladies only session. I know I completed 20 lengths (but it could be 22) so that made 400m which totalled 800m in under 25 minutes at an easy pace mostly using my arms. Why oh why can I not find running as easy as I do swimming?

The reason I think I have gone mad is I am contemplating a run before tea tonight. What is happening to me? I am starting to enjoy this.

Over the last few days I've realised I have some amazing friends and work colleagues. My sponsorship is starting to increase finally. Remember you can sponsor me via my Justgiving page.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 21 May 2012

Weekend update

Training over the weekend mostly went to plan. My wife joined for my run on Friday which was nice and made for a change from plodding on my own. we jogged for 3.26km in 30 minutes. Similar to Wednesday in Tintagel but it was the same workout using Abvio's Cyclemeter.

Saturday was my gym induction and preparation of my training plan at Virgin Active in Sheffield.

All appeared to be going well with my trainer impressed with my warm up on the rowing machine. Then we moved onto dynamic stretching before I was meant to do some VIPR training, however my weird ankles decided that wouldn't be happening as it turns outI have no strength in my ankles and therefore no stability. My trainer Ben then had what can only be described as 30 seconds of bewilderment over what to do with me and my 16 stone frame with weak ankles.

Decision made and to my amazement he had now developed a training plan for the Powerplate to improve my ankle strength and overall stability. I stupidly thought this would be easy.


After 3 sets of 30s squats 30s one legs squats (each leg) and 15s squat hold. My legs had turned to what can only be described as a gelatinous mess.

Next followed 45s of hand walks round the plate and 2 sets of 30s press ups with a 15s hold in a deep plank and my triceps were screaming.

For a warm down I went for a swim and managed 3 sets of 100m and 1 set of 200m, I could have done more but had a drink with friends planned.

On getting out I found a spin dryer for your shorts. Virgin Active think of everything.

After this I felt ok and and drove home but forgot to take my post workout drink of Cherry Active. I then proceeded to go on the lash with my mates until 2am. Oops a 10 hour bender.

Got up on Sunday and I couldn't move through the pain ripping through my chest legs arms and shoulders. I honestly haven't felt discomfort like it. It's probably a combination of the work out and the fact I forgot my Cherry Active but the DOMS were painful. Since I have been taking Cherry Active I haven't been getting DOMS. Note to self remember to take Cherry Active post workout.

This aching then kiboshed my planned run on Sunday. Well the aching and my general tiredness. Even watching Jonny Brownlee and Helen Jenkins win in the San Diego triathlon couldn't inspire me. Thanks to the BBC for the coverage.

Back to the drawing board for Sunday so I stripped down Frankenbike to enable me to sell it. Then I went to pick up my new bike from J E James. Oh boy is it pretty and oh so light.

The only downside was I didn't get to go for a ride after I'd finished washing Frankenbike and fitting all the stuff to my new bike. Name TBC. Answers on a postcard please. It's a Trek Madone. Picture from Trek website below, my picture to follow.

That's about all I got up to this weekend.

The DOMS are still rearing their ugly head as well today. Hope it's better for my run tomorrow.

Remember you can still sponsor me via Justgiving. A special mention at this point must go to Bonnie in Canada who sponsored me £35 for putting up on Twitter and Facebook the photo of me in my Cancer Research vest and swimming cap.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, 17 May 2012

We're all going on a Summers Holiday

Well then blog readers,

What can I say has happened since my last blog?

Well for starters I have realised I'm not as sea sick as thought following a trip to the Scilly Isles.

I went there for my oldest friends wedding. It was beautiful and the wedding was perfect. The Scilly Isles are a very tranquil place. On day one I went to the bike hire shop to ask if they had any road bikes, I received a look of disdain to this question and the following response "There are only nine miles of road on this island" I was dumbfounded as to what to reply so I just said thanks and promptly left.

The fitness I did on the Scilly Isles consisted of
  1. 2 games of rounders on the beach.
  2. a game of frisbee on the beach.
  3. a circa 1 mile run on the morning of the Wedding as I was pushed for time.
  4. a game of piggy in the middle on the beach.
  5. a game of scatch on the beach
  6. a game of boules on the beach (I am now the reigning 2012 Porthcressa Beach Boules Champion after beating my oldest friend - the groom and I will never let him forget this as it was on his wedding day), in 30 years he will be reminded of my victory on his anniversary.
Not a great deal but boy running on sand is hard work, I also did quite a lot of walking over the 4 days.

Now for some news on the bike front. The bike I wanted was reserved by someone else an hour before I rang to reserve it. I then proceeded to vent about my frustration via Twitter and received the reply as below.

Woohoo. Twitter really does have its uses. My Trek Madone is now ready for collection. Can't wait for Sunday when I get to collect it.

Following my four day trip to the Scilly Isles I was relieved to get back to the mainland as there was hardly any data on Scilly which meant that I couldn't track my run on the Wedding Day. This was a tad frustrating as I felt good but have no idea how far I ran.

A two day stopover in Tintagel followed. I dragged my butt out of bed on day one to go for a run. I've decided to follow a training plan. I'm using Abvio's Cyclemeter for iPhone which has a built in 5km and 10km training plan. Hopefully this will be a little more structured than my previous efforts. My route can be seen below.

I'll admit at this pace it will take ages to complete my 10k run but following a trip to TriUK on the way home, it appears I may have a valid excuse.

I called into TriUK to pick up a trisuit and rent a wetsuit. Job done or so I thought until I asked about the various niggles in my calves when running and knees following runs.

The very helpful member of staff then asked which trainers I was using. I said Asics Gel Cumulus 13 and he looked worried. He then gave me a gait analysis wearing various trainers. It appears my overpronation has not been corrected by these trainers and my running style is causing my injuries and stiffness as I am twisting my knee when running as my arches are flattening on impact. He recommended I purchase some Asics Gel Kyano 18 trainers as they have a stiffer midsole and should prevent my collapsing arch which will stop my knee twisting. I was amazed that all this mechanics went into a pair of shoes.

So I left TriUK with a wetsuit, trisuit, wetsuit glue, bodyglide, a top tube bag, race belt, new CO2 bike pump, bottle cage and needing a new pair of trainers. This triathlon lark is expensive. I think it would be cheaper owning a horse.

I have however learned an important lesson. I will never buy something again without seeking advice. I now have an excess bike and an excess pair of trainers. I suspect an eBay session is needed to recoup some funds.

Now I have all the necessary kit, I have entered another triathlon as a warm up to the London Triathlon as I feel entering the largest triathlon blind could be a mistake.

I have entered the Hatfield Triathlon on the 29th July in Doncaster. The timing and location suit me and will allow adequate recovery time if needed. It is a Sprint Distance Triathlon which is half the distance of the one in London which is 8 weeks afterwards.

The rest of this weekend will involve exercise in varying quantities.
  • Tomorrow morning will involve session 2 of my run training plan.
  • Saturday is day one at the gym and who knows what my trainer has planned for me.
  • Sunday will undoubtedly involve a bike ride on the new steed.
I'm still not smoking and have now reached 7 weeks nicotine free. I'm really pleased with myself.

Remember you can sponsor me via Justgiving by clicking the link or by texting NSMK50 £X to 70070 where X is the amount you wish to sponsor, it will take less than 30 seconds. Please do as it is for a great cause.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

General update and a whinge

Well firstly I think I have made a decision on the bike front but I definitely need to have a final check around. At J E James they have 10% off 2012 bikes which is a good thing. I'll wait until I get back from my hols to make the final decision.

I think I have also decided to rent a wetsuit for this season as buying one seems a little excessive. I know I will continue with the biking after my first triathlon but as for another triathlon who knows. One of my friends has mentioned a half ironman next year. Like i said who knows, lets get the first one out of the way. This also has the added advantage (I hope) if that if I lose some weight I should be able to change sizes without having to buy another wetsuit. BONUS.

Right now onto the subject of weight. I was mortified today to learn how fatty the food is in my hotel and have now decided to start a diet as well as training. This is for two reasons. Both of which should be beneficial in my quest.

1. Running at over 16 stone can not be healthy for my joints or knees and probably contributed to my injury and subsequent three month lay off from running.

2. Moving over 16 stones is harder than moving 14 stones so the training will get easier the kore i lose, which will make the triathlon easier.

Right now that is off my chest.

I have set no target for weight loss but just want the training to be easier and not hurt my knees so much.

Hopefully in a month or two I will also be working at home which will make the dieting and training easier as I will be able to go cycling on an evening and the like and be in total control on the food front.

I can't wait for my gym membership to start so I can start doing less impact exercise during the evening.

Right the whole reason for this update (apart from all the above). My run today. The pace was not as good as Saturday (only 8:24/km over 3.67km) but I was struggling with motivation after a long day at work and was conscious of a niggle (from Saturday) in my knee. But the distance is increasing. At one point when keeping pace with someone I even managed a sub 2 minute 500m.

Until my lack of fitness caught up with me. Things can only get better though. Regents Park really is a nice place to run as there are so many other people doing it.

My sponsorship stuff has arrived from Cancer Research so for those people who I know personally. PREPARE TO BE HASSLED. You have been warned.

For the rest of you remember you can sponsor me by texting NSMK50 £X to 70070 where X equals how much you would like to donate or by visiting my Justgiving page (www.justgiving.smoker2trithlete)

Thanks for reading


Monday, 7 May 2012

Houston we have a problem

Well what a hectic weekend.

Friday night meant an impromptu and completely unplanned drink round at a neighbours. 5 cans later and I decided to call it a night as I knew I had some training to do in the morning.

Saturday arrived. I didn't have a hangover so I knew a run was in order.  Had my breakfast and followed it up with a can of Red Bull and decided to set off on my run. I felt ok for the 1st km or so and was impressed with my pace. I then started to feel some pain on the outside of my calves but carried on regardless. In total I ran 2.97km at an average pace of 07:35 per km which equates to another 30 second improvement. Hurray. Not bad for my third run since injury. My route and pace can be seen below. At least my achilles is still holding up.

Then me and the wife went to watch the FA Cup Final at our local and ended up having a party at our house with some friends.

Again I woke on Sunday without a hangover but knew that I wouldn't be doing any exercise as it was a rest day and also because I had a weird pain on the outside of my right calf. This proceeded to get worse throughout the day to the point where I couldn't fully straighten my leg without pain. Hmm not good but I know it will clear up with rest. I then went to Virgin Active to have a tour and sign up as a member. This means I can train when working away, which as I only have 20 weeks to go is a good thing. The 25m pool in Sheffield Millhouses is what did it for me. Can't wait to go to the gym when my membership starts on the 19th May, I even have an appointment booked with a trainer for this day.

Another day of drinking followed this. OOOPS. I'll have to work all this alcohol off over the next week or so.

Now for the disaster. After my back pain last week, I decided to book a bike fit for the Monday at J E James cycles in Chesterfield.

Fundamentally my bike does not fit me. It should but the geometry of the frame is all wrong as the headtube is too low. It would be ideally suited to someone who is looking for a TT bike due to its aggressive geometry.


Even with 4 spacers above the headtube, my stem is still set at an angle of 45 degrees. This could lead to handling problems when it comes to riding the bike. Now this leaves me with a quandary over what to do. Persevere with the bike in it's current Frankenstein state or sell it and buy a new one?

My build would be best suited with a frame similar to Trek's H2 frames due to their geometry. The downside is this means purchasing a new bike.

Thanks to for this picture

This is all very confusing and a huge distraction to my training. I have a holiday booked for a week to go to my friends wedding so I have two weeks to make a decision on what to do with my bike. At present I'm thinking of selling the bike for what I paid for it and buying a new Trek bike. Now I just need someone to pay £250 for a hand made bicycle with a Campag groupset.

I'm thinking the Trek Madone 3.1 is looking favourable due to its carbon fibre frame which should make it a comfier ride overall as the carbon fibre will absorb a lot of the bumps from the road. And it looks awesome.

Thanks to for this picture

Hmmm. What to do?

Thats all from me for now. I'll update you on any training I manage to do this week dependant on my niggly knee.

Remember you can sponsor me via my Justgiving page or by texting NSMK50 £5 to 70070

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ding ding round two

I wasn't feeling great after a hard day at work but i decided to go for another jog around Regents Park.

Like Rocky Balboa in Rocky 2 I decided that this time would be better than the last and to my relief it was.

I slightly increased the distance to just over 3km. But more importantly. My average pace increased by nearly a minute per km.

That equates to an improvement of nearly 10 minutes over the distance I have to run in the tri which I am pleased with seeing as I have over 20 weeks to go which can only mean much more improvement.

I have no new niggles on the injury front which is good.

I need to chase my bike fit so that I can fit it into a hectic weekend of alcohol training gym visits football and relaxing.

I was hoping to train on two of the three days off but this is in jeopardy with how much I have planned.

Please take time to sponsor me be texting NMSK 50 £5 to 70070 or if you're feeling generous via my justgiving page (

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

"I was runnin" - Forrest Gump

Well it's been a difficult few months on the running front since my injury on the 7th Feb.

Try as I might I have been unable to run until this week. It's not completely without pain but is still a massive improvement from just over a week ago. This lack of running has been very frustrating as this is my weakest discipline and therefore needs the most work.

After work tonight I decided to try a jog. Luckily Regents Park is round the corner from work so I have no excuse not to run twice a week. Even if the heavens had opened today I was going running as I only have just over 20 weeks until D-day.

And boy was this body of mine not built to run. I'd decided on a gentle 1.5 mile run to really see if my Achilles was better and lo and behold it is. I actually ran well plodded my way through 1.7 miles. The pace is similar to what I was managing pre injury and it is a blisteringly slow 14 minutes per mile. I really need to improve on this as at this pace it will take 90 minutes to complete the run but that is what the next twenty weeks are for.

The main thing is I am running again. I need to work on a more even pace as I seem to be able to run for a minute then have to walk for a minute (to reoover) rather than just jog constantly. Hmmm my fitness isn't great then. Again this will improve over 20 weeks.

The plan for the next couple of months or so running wise is to be able to increase endurance and lower my speed while slowly increasing distance as I don't want to injure myself again.

In the back of my mind I always knew this would be a difficult run as it followed a day at work and I was very nervous about injury. As soon as I felt a slight twinge I was panicky but thankfully my Achilles held up.

I have a few aches and pains but I think they are an accumulation of training over the weekend and today rather than anything serious.

I am waiting for an email to confirm my bike fit but this needs sorting pronto otherwise I have more back pain to look forward to this weekend.

I am also booked in to visit Virgin Active in Sheffield this weekend so that I will be able to swim on my terms rather than early mornings at the weekend.

All in all a positive couple of days from me. I still need more help with sponsorship. You can text NSMK 50 £5 to 70070 to sponsor me five whole English Pounds. It will be greatly appreciated.

That's all from me for now.

Thanks for reading.