Sunday, 30 June 2013

7 days to go

So in 7 days I will be attempting to push my body further than I have pushed it before.

The goal is to travel 140.6 miles under my own steam in an iron distance triathlon and in doing so raise some money for HHHO, if you're feeling generous please visit my Justgiving page to donate and help fund much needed research into cancer.

I have hinted before into what is driving me to complete an iron distance triathlon in this blogpost. In that post I left out one important fact which I will divulge now.

When I was growing up aged 14 I suffered from a chronic slipped upper femoral epiphysis.

A chronic slipped upper femoral epiphysis occurs when the femur moves away from the ball joint along the growth plate. This can be seen in the diagram below.

To prevent this condition getting worse the femur is pinned to the ball joint through the growth plate.

The diagnosis of this took approximately nine months to transpire and during this time I walked with a limp despite numerous trips to the hospital. According to the Consultant at the time I had put a lot of pressure and wear on my ball joint and had a 90% chance of developing arthritis of the hip by the time I was 30.

So here I sit aged 31 and 11 months and there is no sign of arthritis yet but I don't know how much longer I can say this for and this is the reason I have decided to go long so early into my triathlon journey. This could be my only chance to complete an iron distance triathlon, I hope it isn't but unfortunately I do not have a crystal ball.

Training recap

Have I done as much training as I should have done?

  • Erm in a word no. I have been unlucky with numerous illnesses during the previous 20 weeks, I've suffered from laryngitis, a pulled muscle in my neck and a severe case of diarrhoea. I have made the best of what I have been dealt and trained as much as I think was possible.
Am I ready for the Outlaw?
  • You bet I am. I can't bloody wait to push my body to the limit. I know I will complete the swim, I know I will complete the bike (it will be a struggle but I'll get there) (unless I suffer from a mechanical problem or a crash) and I know I will have enough time to rulk (run/walk) the run. BRING IT ON.
  • I've swum over the distance by completing a pool swim of 4km.
  • I've biked over 1000 miles in the last 20 weeks with the furthest single ride being 85 miles. I should have completed the 100 mile ride to prepare better but I am where I am now.
  • I've run the longest scheduled run from my training plan which was 18 miles so think I have done as much preparation as possible. The run won't be pretty but I will get the job done. I am sure the support form the crowd and my family will play a big part in getting me to the finish line.
My race number is 288 so if you see me make sure you say hello. I will be wearing these so you have no excuse for missing me. 

See you all when I am an Outlaw.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 24 June 2013

#stupidfeet3 and 13 days to go

Well where does the time go?

It doesn't seem two seconds ago the I booked my place at Outlaw and I sit here writing with 13 days to go. 13!!!!!!

I booked my place at the Outlaw when they went on sale on the 13th September. That gave me 298 days of grace. Well where have the last 285 days gone? It's a good job I'm not panicking as it would be quite easy to get caught up in the moment.

After all I am about to undertake the biggest challenge I have ever attempted. A 2.4 mile swim to be completed in two hours followed by a 112 mile bike ride to be completed in 8 hours followed by a 26.2 mile run to be completed in 7 hours. The events starts at 6am and you have to have completed by 11pm the same day, a full 17 hours later.

This potentially means I will be racing for 1020 minutes. The race will be only against myself as my mantra is #CompleteNotCompete.

For those of you who are new to my blog, the swim and bike do not faze me. I used to swim for my hometown and will be aiming to complete the swim in as close to 60 minutes as I possibly can.

The bike doesn't really bother me. Although I am by no means an excellent cyclist I have been putting the miles in and my average speed has been slowly improving but is in excess of the 13.7 mph needed to complete the bike leg before cut off.

The run however has had me petrified since I booked my place in this race. I started this quest having not run since I was forced to at Secondary School. I struggle with running the most but I am improving.

Last year was a disaster as I was injured from February until May. I really struggled to complete the 10km run of the London Triathlon because of this. It is only really since December 2012 that I have started to notice any improvement in my running.

I have been detailing my problems and successes with running and it has had more ups and down than the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The positive posts can be seen here: -

The negative posts can be seen here: -

In the last month there have been a lot more negatives than positives with my running. I thought I had found some trainers which had cured my blister problem, however on an 8 mile run the familiar rub appeared in my new trainers and it was a case of back to the drawing board.

I then went on another 8 mile run wearing Compeed before I set off this time and managed to suffer a total of five blisters. I was so frustrated by this I nearly gave up in my quest to complete the Outlaw. My wife knew something was seriously wrong and off we went to Meadowhall to see what could be done. Here I was 21 days away from my A race of 2013 and the furthest I had run was 8 miles, I only had to find another 18 come race day.

Following a trip to Meadowhall I came up with a plan to hopefully get more miles out of my sensitive feet. I purchased some Strutz Pro and thought these may be able to be placed as an extra layer between my feet and trainers.

This wasn't what they are designed for but I was really struggling for ideas and desperate. In 21 days I had to run a marathon and the furthest I could run was 30% of this distance

One of my friends recommended the following product to act as a lubricant for my feet. Trislide by SBR sports.

Fast forward one week and there was an 18 mile run scheduled on my plan. This would be my last big run before Outlaw and was some 225% further than I had been running. It is said you should never increase distance by more than 10% per week. What I was about to attempt was nothing short of running suicide. This was do or die time. If I failed to complete this run, the thing I had been ignoring would come to fruition. I would have to drop out of the Outlaw.

I used Trislide and coated the bottom of both my feet with it. I wore my new trainers and as an extra measure used the Strutz Pro coated in Chamois Butr. The Strutz lasted a full two miles before they started irritating me. I quickly removed them, coated the bottom of my feet in more Chamois Butr and set off running again. I managed to maintain 11 min/mile pace through the next 11 miles. This meant I had now completed a half marathon in a time of 02:27 which was a new PB (well it had to be as it was the first time I had ever run this far), I was thrilled. I managed another 5 miles but my pace dropped to over 12 min/mile and I really started to struggle. Whereas I had mostly managed to run the last 13 miles, now I was rulking (the art of run walking that I have perfected on this quest)

I completed the 18 mile distance and was blister free, I was also injury free, which was a relief. I was overjoyed. It wasn't easy or pretty but I bloody did it. I would still be able to enter the Outlaw. As I have stated previously I would not turn up at the Outlaw if I didn't believe I could get to the finish line.

I'm half nervous and half excited. I can't believe it is just round the corner. I'm relishing the challenge. BRING IT ON. If you're racing the Outlaw, don't panic. Believe in your training and you will smash it.

I'm competitor 288 so if you pass me on the bike or run as I'm sure many of you will, remember to say hello.

Good luck in your tapers. Don't overdo it.

If you're new to this blog, I am not doing this just for personal achievement I am also raising money for charity. My chosen charity for this year is HHHO. If you would like to sponsor me you can via my Justgiving page at the following address  

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Rother Valley Sprint

I know it's taken a week but thought it rude not to detail my foray back into a sprint triathlon last weekend.

I picked the Rother Valley Sprint triathlon as it was close to home and would not involve staying away.

The race took place on Sunday 9th June and it was recommended by the organiser OneStepBeyond that you register on Saturday. I decided to drive over to Rother Valley on the Saturday so that I could drive the bike course and register. I had heard some bad things about the road quality on the bike course so thought it prudent to check it out before the race got underway.

Oh how glad I was I went on a reconnaissance mission pre race. For the first half of the two lap loop the road surface was fine but for the second half it was atrocious. Thankfully the organiser had marked all the potholes and dangerous sections with neon spraypaint. Due to the amount of potholes I decided against using my race wheels as I didn't want to damage them. Instead I decided on using my standard wheels. This left me with a dilemma as the tyres on these wheels aren't in the best of nick. Cue a trip to Planet X to purchase some Vittoria tyres. An unplanned expense. Never mind. Better to be safe than sorry.

Another thing I noticed about the bike course was how hilly it was. I really should look more closely at course profiles when I pick races. Hills and me don't really get along as I am not very good at climbing. It isn't easy lugging 15 stone of idiot up a hill along with 1.5 stones of bike and an extra 0.5 stone of liquid in bike bottles. That makes a total of 17 stones being ridden albeit slowly up a hill. Its not really any wonder I say I climb like an elephant on rollerskates. This meant that for the third triathlon on the bounce I had a lot of hills to contend with. Oh joys.

I'm glad I recced the course as I knew what I had to contend with.

I got up on Sunday and didn't have any nerves to speak of. I know I could complete this distance as I had been training for the Outlaw. The only downside was my start time of 08:34. I set off for Rother Valley and immediately made my way to transition to rack my bike. While in transition I met a fellow twitteree (@aboutwild) who I knew was racing. It was his first triathlon and he looked nervous. He is also doing the Outlaw so it was good to put a face to the name. We had some general banter which seemed to relax him. I'd put on Compeed before the race as a trial to see if they could survive the swim and then be in place for the run. This was to hopefully cure my blister problem.

Once my bike was racked, it was time to don my wetsuit in advance of the start.


I was expecting the water to be colder than it actually was. It was stated as being 15 degrees but this was comfortable in my Huub Aerious wetsuit. I manoeuvred my way to the front of my wave rather than having to swim past people like I did in Mallorca. The start gun went off and we were underway. I couldn't get clear water on the first straight but after the first turn I noticed a gap to my right. I swam into this and proceeded to swim in my own space. I much prefer this to being in a group. I can't stand locking arms with people. Once in my own space I proceeded to overtake some swimmers who were on my left. At the second turn I think I overtook a couple more. Then we were on the home straight and it was plain sailing for the last leg. There were no other swimmers round me. I exited the water in 13 minutes and 12 seconds. I can live with that. I even smiled on exiting the water and the Mrs caught it on film. One of my Compeed blister plasters came off during the swim. Not a lot I can do about that.

Exiting the swim

My jog to T1 didn't go as planned. I struggled getting my wetsuit off. I forgot it had two bits to undo before you can break the zip. In T1 I dried my feet and put on my socks. I then put on my helmet, glasses, gilet and number belt. I jogged to the mount line.


Leaving on the bike
My watch had stopped working at some point in T1 so I have no idea how fast I was going. After I had mounted my bike I set off on the 15 mile route. I cycled out of Rother Valley at an easy pace as I knew there was a hill to contend with as soon as we left the park. I slogged my way up the first hill. This was the steepest part over and done with. The course contained two loops and these were hilly and the second half was riddled with potholes and road damage. I took my time on the first loop to acclimatise with the hills and the damage and decided to push the second loop as I knew what to contend with. I even managed to overtake some people on the second loop. I saw some amazing sights during the bike ride which I thought I would share with you all.

  • One cyclist wearing a TT helmet on a mountain bike although with skinny tyres, seriously what is the point?
  • One cyclist with aerobars on a mountain bike again with skinny tyres but I have to ask why?

After completing the second loop it was downhill back to Rother Valley. When I got back to the park there were so many people applauding it was very enjoyable. Sometimes (well most of the time) I love the triathlon community as they are so supportive. My time for the bike including the 400m of climbing was one hour and nineteen seconds. It was outside the 55 minutes I had hoped to complete it in but I hadn't comprehended how difficult the road conditions were.

I approached the mount/dismount line and managed to lose a shoe as I dismounted. Cue stopping to retrieve it. I then jogged into T2 at some speed. Running on gravel in socks is not very comfortable.

Entering T2

In T2 I quickly racked my bike and put on my trainers. Given the short run I had decided to run in my Skechers trainers as I do run better in them than any other shoe. As I was exiting T2 I had to use the facilities. Given I stopped for a pee I am amazed by my T2 time of 2 minutes and three.


Starting the run
I decided before I started that I wanted to run the 5km in under 30 minutes as I had not managed this before in a triathlon. I pushed through the pain barrier and averaged over 11km/h for the just under 5km. I was thrilled that the race organisers had two water stops on the run. It was starting to heat up and I don't think I could have maintained my speed without water. I came home with a run time of 27 minutes and 44 seconds and was elated by this. I had gone sub 30 for 5km in a triathlon. I even managed to overtake two people on the run. What's that about? I offered encouragement to these runners as I passed continuing what I started in Mallorca.

Crossing the line. Note both my feet are off the floor
My total time for the triathlon was 01:44:37 which I was really pleased with. I wonder what I could achieve on a flat course with a 20km bike route rather than a 25km route with 400m of climbing? Could I go under 01:30? I think I could.

My times from Rother Valley 2013
Now its time for some retrospective comparison. In 2012 I completed a similar distance triathlon in a time of 01:51:03, that triathlon had a shorter bike with no climbing.
In comparison my swim time was over a minute quicker, although the bike was slower it had 7 times as much climbing but the run was a full TEN MINUTES QUICKER. This getting fitter lark is good fun.

How I have improved in under a year.

That means I have now completed two of the five different triathlon distances in 2013. Next up is the iron distance on the 7th July and this will be the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken.

Rother Valley Sprint triathlon review


  • Excellent organisation
  • Superb marshalling
  • Good crowd support
  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Nice T-shirt
  • Poor road condition on the bike leg
  • No medal
Will I race this again. At some point.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, 2 June 2013


So it's long run day and I've completed my run. I was feeling strong until my old friend pain made an appearance. The pain arrived in the form of rubbing to the sole of my left foot behind the ball of my foot. I had completed half of my planned 16 mile run and was back at home.

I'd gone on a 4 mile out and back course and decided to stop at home to apply some Compeed to my rub spots so that I could continue my run. The pacing was good and I managed to run at 11 minutes / mile for the whole run.

When I sat down to apply the Compeed they wouldn't stick to my sweaty feet. I thought I had managed to get them to stick and put my socks and trainers back on and set off running again but alas they hadn't stuck and were soon mobile. I decided to head for home. When I took my trainers and socks off, the Compeed were in the middle of my arch rather than behind my ball. They hadn't stuck. This presents a slight problem. I have to run just over 3 times what I ran today in 5 weeks.

There are a number of solutions that I will endeavour to try over the next 5 weeks.

Putting Compeed onto dry feet like I did in Mallorca. This seemed to limit any further damage. I could either put them on in T1 or T2 come race day but will need to ensure a towel is packed to thoroughly dry my feet. I will try a training run with Compeed to see how they perform.

Putting KT tape onto my feet. Like Compeed this will have to happen in T1 or T2. I don't think this will work as I don't think the tape is sticky enough to last 26 miles but it is worth a try.

Putting Vaseline onto my feet to attempt to limit the rubbing effect. Again I don't think this will work but I will try it for one run.

I will restart the daily application of surgical spirit in an attempt to toughen the soles of my feet.

Finally the last solution is to #MTFU and deal with the pain. I'll freely admit to being not good with pain so this will be the last resort.

Some of my twitfriends have suggested that I try Chamois But'r on the soles of my feet. This seems like a good idea as it removes friction from saddles.



Saturday, 1 June 2013

Triathlon and mathematics.

This week I went for a run and as it was my first longer run since Mallorca. I decided to take it easier than I had bene doing previously.

I usually aim to run at a pace of 10 min / mile and this is how I have completed my sub 30 minute 5km and sub 1 hour 10km targets this year.

On this particular run in my new trainers I set off at a pace of 11 min / mile and felt really strong. There was no gasping for breath or overheating so I think this is the pace my body likes to run at. I completed my 7 mile run at a fairly regular pace in 76:12. There were no blisters and I genuinely enjoyed the run.

I hope to use the same pace during my long run of 16 miles this week and hope there are no complications.

During my run I had an epiphany of sorts. It has been nice chasing my run targets this year but they have hurt and I know that is the point but in 5 weeks I have a marathon to run off the back of a 112 mile bike and a 2.4 mile swim. If I was to aim to run the marathon at 11 min / mile instead of 10 min / mile (which I don't think is sustainable for my body) then it would costs me 26 minutes in total. Now 26 minutes would be a disaster for the likes of Jodie Swallow, Leeanda Cave or Tom Lowe but I am me and my aim is to complete the course and not compete. My competition is getting to that finishing line and when I do I can't put into words how much it will mean to me.

I just need to tell me legs to slow down now because when I run off the bike I go at a quicker pace than 10 min / mile. My legs just go into overdrive. Must remeber to go slow in 5 weeks. Be more like the tortoise and less lik the hare

Random maths

While out on my longish ride this week I also did some rudimentary mathematics. Isn't it amazing what your brain does when you are exerting yourself?

I worked out that I swim at just over 2 miles per hour and I run at roughly 6 miles per hour and cycle at roughly 18 miles per hour.

Given 2 times 3 = 6 and that 6 times 3 = 18. Triathlon really is the sport of threes.

Illness update

My illness is gone and I am back to training and making headway on the bike. I am cycling quicker than I have before. I just hope I can maintain these new speeds for the 112 miles of the Outlaw course.

I am also getting used to my new ISM Prologue saddle and find that I have a lot more manouvrability with position on longer rides. I think this will have been a good investment.

Injury update

My tendinitis hasn't bothered me and I aim to complete my long run tomorrow so expect an update next time. If I complete this run with my injury, I am going to own the Outlaw.

#stupidfeet update

Shhhhhh. Keep it quiet but I have done a 7 mile run in my new trainers without any burning hot spots or blisters forming. If my long run has the same outcome I will be buying more pairs of New Balance 1080 as they appear to be suited to my #stupidfeet.

Thats all from me for now,

If you're racing this weekend good luck and remember #CompleteNotCompete