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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ironman Wales 2012 - Race Report

Pre Race

I got to Tenby on mid morning on Saturday which allowed meant I did not had to rush around. I leisurely walked to the Ironman Expo, had a look round the stands and got my registration bags. I then went back to the car and packed the bags and got my bike ready. To save time I had already packed my kit into separate bags so it was a matter of transferring them in to the official kit bags with my race number on and put the number on my kit belt and bike.
The only thing I would need to do in the morning is add my race nutrition to the bags and gps devices. I then headed back with my race kit packed and checked it all in, we even got a bike cover not sure if that is a good sign in terms of the weather.

Ironman Wales 2012

I noted where my bike was compared to the transition in/outs and any surface issues as there were a lot loose stones on the car park surface.

Ironman Wales 2012 Ironman Wales 2012 Ironman Wales 2012

Also noted were my bags were, luckily they were near the end of the racks.

Ironman Wales 2012

I then headed round the town taking some photos of key areas of the Ironman (used in the race report), the only difference was the sea was at low tide but would be at high tide for the race.
Ironman Wales 2012 Ironman Wales 2012

I then went the few miles to the hotel to just relax for a few hours before going back to the expo for the race briefing. The key points I noted was only 350,000 ironmen on the planet out 7 billion (0.005%), this one of the toughest Ironman and T1 and T2 bags cannot be accessed until the race!!

The last comment meant I would have to change my plans even before the race started, which give me a bit a minor pre race panic!!

Race Morning

As the race start was 7am on a Sunday I had a nice lay in till 4am for breakfast!!

This gave me an hour to eat, wake up and get ready for the day. When I went outside it was still quite dark, when I got to the race car park I could have done with a torch to get to transition it was still that dark.

I got to my bike took the cover off and put on my gps device and drinks bottles. I then put as much of my nutrition in my bento box and even some in my repair kit. The rest I left in a carrier bag and put on my aerobars with handles going round the aerobars so it should not full off. This would mean I would have take a few seconds to put the nutrition in the cycle shirt pockets. As long as they did not think I was leaving that to identify my bike, which is not allowed, I took the risk.

To the Swim

At 6:15am we had to leave transition and then there was a procession though the town to the swim start. I had put on the bottom part of my wet suit leaving torso and arms exposed to the elements, this would ease getting in the sea. I also had my trainers on loosely for the run to transition of the swim. While walking along I recognised another Ironman who runs a local parkrun 5km run, I thought what a small world. There were a lot of people at the top of the cliff to watch the swim and the fast part of transition.

I then racked my yellow bag (run to T1) to on my race number which was only a few away from a turn in the zig zag path up from the beach to the promenade on the cliff above.

Ironman Wales 2012

Then I fully put on my wetsuit after some acclimatising and my 3 swim hats and goggles. I decided against using my swim watch as I did not think the sea water or the potentially getting knocked about in the swim would be good for it.

By the time I got to the beach there was only a few minute to go so I got a brief dip in the sea, just enough to check the kit was ok and so it was not a shock when we started the swim. Was a bit concerned by seeing the biggest lifeboat I have ever seen and at least 30 people on surfboards and/or kayaks.

I lined up on the right side of the starting line up of 1,500 people as I thought it would be less agro in the swim and better swim currents. They played the Welsh national anthem which was sung with strong feeling by a few near me, I thought we are really here. With that the start gun went off.


If you have not seen a mass swim start it is quite an awesome sight. Included is a video from youtube of the start.

For the swim we headed straight up for about 200m before turning to the left diagonal the turn buoy. All this time I was getting hit, kicked and punched more than normal and swallowing a bit of sea water, it was great. I thought I must be going faster than normal as there is a lot more people around me. I got to the turn buoy which is about a 135 degree turn to the right, the waves were really small if noticeable but people decided to stop before turning which created a pile up. This was a bit interesting trying to find some gaps and get swimming again.

The next 700m was straight along to the fair turn buoy, there were boats out to see and people in kayaks along the route to ensure that people did not get massively off course. I was using a house in the distance which was painted white, as the rest were other colours. Again at this turn buoy the same bottleneck occurred, I could also smell the cooked breakfast that the cafe’s nearby must have been cooking for all the spectators. It was then a 400m swim to the swim exit for the first loop. This was just to the left off the big rock (Goscar Rock). This bit was less busy until the shore line when I was getting hit more. I swam until the water was about knee height as I can then easy stand up and run out of the water. This was 1900m (1.2 miles) swum only another 1900m to go and I was feeling really great.

There were a lot of people at this point so I could not run the 20m as fast as I would like so I checked my goggles and swim hats were ok. I then ran in to the sea and then dived in and swam off on the same route. This lap there was a lot less swimmers around the first lap so I could get into my natural swim rhythm better.

I completed the swim in 1:16:23. This is 3:50 minutes faster than my previous 2.4 mile best (in a lake) just a few months earlier and 9:49 minutes than my quickest 2.4 mile swim in a sea.


The T1 transition was a split area, which was officially 1km but felt like 1 mile from the swim exit to the transition tent. This included a run up the beach then up a zig zag path to the top of the cliff then a run through the town to transition.

Ironman Wales 2012

The first part of the transition I got the top part of my wetsuit off easy and then ran up the beach and the first slope. I saw somebody seat down on a seat to get the wet suit off I thought that was a good idea, somebody got up from there just before I goto there so I thought I might as well. Although sitting down it still took me as long as normal to get the wet suit off. Then I ran up the next path and just around the corner to my bag. I had put in the bag a flannel to get most of the sand of my feet so less likely to cause any blisters as I would not being wearing any socks for the run in. I got my trainers on, wetsuit around my neck and my swim hats and goggles and started running. When I got to the top of the path I drank the small can (150ml) can of coca-cola I had also put in the bag to get all the taste of the sea water out of my mouth.

I was running fairly fast through the town and even overtaking some people. There was a lot of people cheering us along the route in to the town.

I then got to the change tent and got my bag was close to the end and went to the change area as I would putting on cycling specific kit different to the swim. This was a small space they had section off with only 3 seats in their, I timed it well and got a seat as somebody left.

On the swim and then the run in to transition I decide what I would be wearing for the cycle and some kit I would take with me. I decided on 3 layers with winter gloves but taking fingerless gloves and a light waterproof jacket with me. This took me as long as normal, although I was not thinking straight as I was trying to put on my right cycle shoe on my left foot, in my defence it did have an shoe cover on but it took me a while to work this out!!

With that I headed out to my bike which I easily found, I did not run that fast as there was a lot of loose stones in the bike area. When I got to my bike I my nutrition bag was still there so I put the nutrition in my cycle shirt back pockets.


I then started the 112 mile cycle ride, it was one larger loop of about 70 miles then a small loop of about 42 miles on the same part as the bigger loop. Based on the Ironman distance triathlon I did 2 months previous to this race I went off a bit slower than normal, just one gear easier. This also took in to account the big hills were at the end of the loops.

I was also eating solid food on a regular basis, on the half hour a brioche and on the hour half a sausage roll, with drinks in between and when needed. I only skipped one rep of this as this was too close to one of the aid stations which I got extra food (bar and banana) at. With the plan being the last 60-90 minutes switch off solid food to liquids and gels, to nutritionally transition for the run.

The first 15 miles were in to the wind and a bit more exposed to the elements but were relatively flat with moderate up and down sections. We then got to the furthest west point which had a sharp 180 turn, it made me laugh it was at a place called Angle. This then had a bit of climb next to the beach which you had to be careful of the sand on the road for tyre traction and gaps in the hedges for the wind.

I was keeping as much as possible on the aerobars to be more aerodynamically efficient.

At the 25 mile point we got to the first bike aid station which I changed the drinks and got the food I needed. This was the second out of three times I would go past my hotel. This point it got more undulating and hilly in places with some narrow lanes. Going through these narrow lanes the leader went past with a motor cycle following, as the lead car/van could not get past all the cyclists.

It also started to drizzle and wind to pick up a bit, this made bike handling skills even more important when getting fatigued. I remembered the pro who fell (slide off) at a corner last year on the tv review of the event so I knew when there was a big warning signs for the event and road signs take a bit more care. Based on the marshals and first aid it looked like a few people already had come off their bike.

At about 50 miles I put on my water proof jacket as it was getting a bit wet and colder which is not a good combination on an endurance event in particular a cycle. Then within 5 miles I got too warm and had to take it off.

A couple of miles before the the big hills at about 56 miles and 97 miles (more about this later) there was a few decent warm up slopes in Narbeth, below is a video from there.

Then at 60 miles the first big hill came it was a 16% incline which was in shade and about quarter a mile long. I had to get out of the saddle up this hill but was overtaking a few people, with the last quarter of the hill I had to use my 3D trigonometry skills to get up the hill (zig sagging, this was a closed road and there was no event vehicles around), it reduces the angle cycling but slightly increases the distances cycled.

With less than a mile recovery came the next bill hill of a similar steepness but about 2 or 3 times longer through Saundersfoot. This was also through a town so there was a lot of support in this section. I made it all the way to the top without stopping. However at the top it was starting to rain again a bit harder so I put my waterproof jacket back on.

The next few miles were the cycle back to the Tenby to start the second smaller loop. I was starting to feel no energy in my legs and a bit cold but I carried on round. The second lap I was going significantly slower than the first lap and normal at least 4 mph slower but there was a stronger wind and rain. I was noticing the road closure signs and the time that the road reopens, they were getting closer. I went passed the hotel for the third time and I could have easily stopped there but I carried on. This next section was the hilly and more technical handling part of the course which was now wet, this was not a good place to be when mentally and physically fatigued.

For the previous 2 hours each time I got to marshal point I was thinking about stopping, so I was glad in a way when the pulled me out at 97 miles as I missed the cut off time, to the point. At that point was just less than 8 hours of cycling which averages at 12.2mph which was 2 to 3 mph slower than average at an Ironman event.

Ironman Wales 2012 - Cycle

The above graph shows my split time from my gps per 5 miles, the red line is the overall average and the green line is the start of the second lap. From this the first 50 miles were significantly faster than the rest, the big hills started 10 miles after this. Also the start of the second lap was done a lot on the first lap (same part of the first lap course for 10 miles then missing the next 30 miles) and down a lot of normal rides and Ironman triathlons.


Included is an overview video of the event to give an impression of the whole event on the day.

The swim went better than planned and is still improving and the extra T1 went well, the day just went downhill from there on. The cycle was significantly slower, although I was performing well on the steep hills it was just the rest of it.

The support and marshals were great around the bike course, with more people in certain hotspots, such as the steep hills even in the poorer conditions.

I should not have bought anything from the expo as that jinxed the race. The event support was great all weekend, I will be back at some point.

This was my first DNF which I was more annoyed with myself for not training specifically for this event.

From the official results there was 1317 people registered at the weekend, so I think this was already down on the number who entered. Then on the race day 112 people DNF or DQ’d which is 8.5% of the participants. I think this is a lot more than normal.

In the end stuff happens on Any Given Sunday.

Lessons Learned

There was a lot lessons learnt the hard way from this event, most I already knew but had ignored them.

The main one is to practice/train on the course or similar to the course and likely weather. I did this for the swim and extra T1 and cycle nutrition which went well but did not for the cycle which went wrong big style.

Next thing is train and then train some more.

Next is read the race instructions, the bit about the T1 and T2 bags was at the top of a page in bold and red font, I must have skipped over this information to the maps section.

Check course maps, verify on race day for the swim or last minute changes. The swim had a straight bit fast and not just a triangular route.

Mentally on the bike I lost it on all parts apart from the big hills where I was overtaking people. I need to cycle more and in different weather conditions other than sunny and calm day.

Significant changes need to be made to my training, including planning training which I did not do this year and more weight loss.

Bring on the next Ironman race, only 8 months to go.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Outlaw Triathlon 2012 - Race Report

Outlaw 2012 – Race Report

Pre race

The race day started with an early breakfast at 3am on a Sunday!! Luckily we did need to leave to much early as were fairly close but there is not much traffic on at 5am on a Sunday, until we got to the venue.

When I got there I put my drinks bottles on my bike and also checked the tyre pressures and other mechanics. I also made one last check where my bike was compared to the T1 entrance and exit, as you can be disoriented after the swim.

To Bike from entrance

From Bike to exit

I then went to the transition tents and put my nutrition in bags for cycle and run. Then I visualised my bags from different t1 and t2 entry points with everybody’s kit bags in place. My bag position reminded me of a double length bendy bus, as there was two tents with the connecting section covered but narrower.

I also made a mental note where there was some hidden metal drain covers underneath carpet.

I then headed out to get my wetsuit on for the swim and the nice 6am start.


The swim is 2.4 miles (3.8km) in a rowing lake and navigationally is simple, swim 1.2 miles up on the left side then swim the 100m across the lake and then swim the 1.2 miles back. The only issues were the buoys in the lake for the rowing lanes which were all the way up the lake and the yellow turn buoys in the sunrise. You could not see the turn around buoys from the start.

For the start there are 4 start bays, so I decided start at back of 2nd instead of 3rd bays as previous years. This pace should be 3 minutes faster than my PB so should have plenty of swim space, plus they mentioned in the race briefing a lot people last year went to the back of the 1st group as the fast people swam off leaving a lot of space.

As the start siren went off the fun of the swim started, with 1,000 people in 100m width that narrowed to about 20m after 250m.

Its quite an impressive sight seeing that many swim off at the start of a race.

For the first half a mile I was being hit and kicked a lot and could not get in to a good swim rhythm. After this I was being hit a lot less but still more frequent than normal. When I did get in to a good rhythm I swam a few meters past the turn buoy and then got hit a lot more when crossing the lake and then hit again for the next 1/4 mile. I was glad I did not put on my GPS swim watch as it might have got knocked off in the “fun” of the open water swim.

At this point I was mostly on my own and not able to draft of anybody at my pace or slightly faster. This meant I put in a bit more effort than I could have got away with by drafting.

When I got out the swim I could see the race clock which I completed the swim in 3 minutes quicker than my PB and 2 minutes ahead of my brothers previous best time but I was not sure of his time today.This added an extra spring to my step and I ran in to T1.

I felt good with technique improvements even with only 1 lake swim of 1.5km just 5 days before.


I decided to change in to cycle specific kit and not tri kit as this is a long ride. I took my time (as much as normal) but then I was prepared for the cycle ride ahead. I easy found my bike thanks to pre race checks plus the lack of bikes left helped. When I was going to my bike I noticed my brother’s bike had already gone, I was a bit gutted as I thought I would beat him out this year.


The cycle is 112 miles (180km) which started with a loop on the path around the lake (not hitting any geese), then cycle out to a north loop (done once) and then cycle to a south loop (done twice) before heading back to the race venue, simple.

Unlike last year’s race I had done up the handlebars tight on to the headset and did not fall down like last year, so that was a good start.

At about 15 miles I caught up to my brother, I found out I beat him out of the swim and overtook me in T1. So that meant I had the fastest Long Distance swim time in the family, I just needed to complete the event for the time to count.

For the first 30 miles I going fast and staying mostly on my aerobars. Then when we got to the one big hill on the course a 11% incline I was overtaking a lot of people going up it and nobody overtook me.

For cycle nutrition I was trying to stick to the new nutrition that I was trying out on the race day (not a good tip normally). This was jam sandwiches (was interesting getting them out of the bag while cycling), then in my sports drink I had added some green tea powder to give some extra kick and caffeine. From the race aid stations apart from swapping out bottles as needed I had bananas until they run out and I had to switch to gels to get some more calories.

The south loop was meant to be fast but in the wind it felt a lot harder, at least I saw the leaders as they lapped me on this section. There was plenty of support in the villages along this loop. The second loop in addition to the wind it started to rain. At this point I was starting to feel fatigued mentally and physically which was not helped by being overtaking by people every mile.

My knee had been feeling sore after about 50 miles and the last 10 miles the sole of feet felt sore. At this point I would have gladly swapped my bike for left back in the warmth of a car.

More people kept overtaking me and I was not a happy triathlete and was considering not doing the run.

Then with a few miles left to go a person fell a few 100m ahead others there to help, not sure if it was due to the wet or fatigue.

I finally made it back and I was glad to get of my bike not sure if I would even start the run.


At this point I was seriously thinking about stopping as knee and my soles of me feet were sore. I took my time (again) just going through the motions of getting ready for the run I put on 3 pairs of socks with talcum powder as my feet were sore.

While getting ready I saw another competitor eating a small pork pie, I like that style I may have to use that on another race.

I thought I could not quit just because of some discomfort on a bit of a swim, cycle and run, thinking about the charity I was raising money for others go through a lot more pain.

At this point I mentally and physically zipped up my Ironman tri-suit, I was back in the race.


My plan was to start at a comfortable pace for the marathon and maintain for as long as possible with walking through aid stations I got stuff from. The route was effectively 3 loops of lake and out to the city centre and back along the riverside path and then 3/4 of the lake to the finish.

For the first half of the race I was overtaking a few people and slightly less were overtaking me but they could have been on the same or 8 or 16 miles ahead of me but I felt good. There was good support around the lake and at the other end of course near the city centre (past the Nottingham forest football ground).

As the was aid stations about every 1.25 miles I was planning to have something every 2 aid stations and not an endurance picnic like I did in previous years having a few things at each aid station.

I was trying to alternate between sports drink and cola and then water if I was feeling thirsty, then a jaffa cake or some crisps with a gel about every 5 miles. I felt ok until 16 miles when I had to start to walk due to fatigue and stomach issues.

As there was three out and back loops could see where my brother was, so I was mentally working out could I beat him if I walked the rest and he ran the rest based on my calculations in my fatigued state I thought I could.When I got to any slight downhill section (only 2 from memory) I jogged that and I also walked faster when there was more support. In my last hour there was more people walking with every passing minute.

Then for the last few miles (from the last turn around) I jogged 100m walked 100m all the way back, as I thought I could make it under the next hour mark. When I could hear the finish line crowd in the last 1/4 mile I started to jog all the way to the finish.

I finished it and ahead of my brother!!

My times were.

Overall = 14:57:01

Swim =1:20:13 (2.9 kmph)

T1 = 13:52

Cycle = 7:18:27 (average 15.3 mph)

T2 = 13:12

Run = 5:51:13 (average 13:17/mile pace)

You can see on a map of the route with my average pace for each section, I quite like this feature.

From my GPS data the average speed per 5 miles.  The red line is my average speed for the cycle, which I got to about 65 miles before the pace started to drop of a lot.

From my GPS data the pace per mile. The red line is my average pace for the run, which I was doing ok to 16 miles and then I hit the wall big time until the last mile and a bit.


I was glad I got the quickest swim time in the family and did not need to visit the first aid tent this year.

This year apart from the swim time I was not aiming for a particular time, this was mainly due to the
lack of training. This was apparent on the cycle which I felt the worst from any race that I have done.

There is still more things for me to learn about long distance triathlons.

My official photos and videos can be seen here.

The race highlights will be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday 12th August nice and early at 6:30am.

There was plenty of support for Pirates (triathlon group) from the spectators and follow triathletes, there was no place to hide in the yellow black kit, aargh!!

Lessons Learnt

Some of the additional things I learnt from this Long distance triathlon, some of them the hard way.

Train for more than half race distance would be a good idea. The cycle course was no worse than where I train although the new section was more undulating than expected. The run was virtually flat and I have done this course 3 times and parts on a marathon. For other races that I have not done before I may need to simulate the course as best I can before race day.

The swim technique changed helped me be more efficient on the swim, there would have been more effect if I had done some long swims.

My core muscles helped a lot with being on the aerobars a long time and in the swim and run, in addition to the core workouts I think the pilates sessions helped a lot with this.

The jam sandwiches worked on the bike as was something different than a pure sugar of a gel or sports drinks. Perhaps I should have practice eating them from a sandwich bag while still cycling before race day. I need more race nutrition practice which ties in with doing more training.

For the cycling I should have managed my effort/pace more evenly instead of going out to fast for the first 2 hours and really struggling in the last 2 hours.

For the marathon instead of running to fatigue, I may consider a run/walk approach which I have used in an ultra marathon (39.3 miles).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Taper Weeks

Despite the lack of intended training volume I have started to taper the last few weeks.

In the last 2 weeks I have gained 1/2 lb but I am 8lb (3.5 Kg) lighter than the same race last year which should help.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekly Update

This week my training was down to 8 1/2 hours, this was due to tapering for an event over the weekend which I did not do or even travel to due to the very poor weather conditions. However below is my training percentages by time.

Bike 75%
Run 21%
Swim 3%
Cross 1%

The bike included a long (100km) hilly group bike ride. The runs were just 3 of the 4 parkruns done over the extended weekend which were fast paced which 2 of this weeks runs were course pb's. Then I did a regular parkrun this weekend.

The swim and cross training were after the double parkrun's on Tuesday.

So after an early taper week I will up my training this week (subject to weather).

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Four Parkruns over the Jubilee Weekend

Over this Jubilee weekend I did 4 Parkrun 5km's with two being today with the start times 90 minutes apart and about 20 miles away. I decided to do them all away from my local parkrun and all different events.

The first started at Reading on the regular time. However there was a lot more people (370) their than the last time I ran this event, which explained why I had to park over half a mile away but allowed a warm up. The route is out along the river and then do two loops near a woods and then run backand is virtual all flat. During the race there was a lot of children still ahead of me even at 4km, so I gave it a lot more effort than normal. This meant I got a PB by 17 seconds, that's a good start to the weekend, only 3 more to do.

Sunday was parkrun rest day.

On Monday I headed down to Eastleigh on their new course on a disused golf course which I had previously done. It is 3 laps of a W shape course that loops back on its self. At this event they had the Parkrun founder there as well plus a lot of other clubs and 250 t-shirts, mainly due to this being the only parkrun on the Bank Holiday Monday.
I decided to go of fast and see how long I could last for. I was ok until each time I got to the slope which got a bit harder with each lap. At the end I out sprinted a child that was ahead of me all the way round go a fast pace but luckily he did not have enough for a sprint finish so I edged ahead of him. I ended up with a new course PB by over 100 seconds.

At this point I was half way through with 2 new course pb's :-)

I then went off with my local tri club and did a hilly 64 mile (103km) bike ride, my legs were aching by the end of it.

On Tuesday as my legs were still aching I decided to go to Andover, as is flat and on grass and used it as a recover run. This is 2 laps with 2 short inclines which I took it easy pace and walked up two of the inclines. To test my legs I gave a bit of a sprint for the last 100m which was ok but not 100%, so th e last run would be interesting. This run was 5 minutes over my course PB.

I then drove to Newbury to take part in the last parkrun of the weekend. This race was one that I was aiming for a PB but was not sure now on tired legs. This course is a single lap on gravel pathway with a short section of tarmac across a disused runway, with the finishing straight being over a mile long which has a steady incline for a part of it. For this I positioned myself near the front and to the left, as I know the start was along a narrow path and turns left. I went of fast and was starting to struggle about 1 mile in as their was a bit more wind in the exposed elements but I managed to keep the pace only slowing down by 15 seconds per mile. Then once I turned on to the finishing straight I picked up the pace slightly to quicker than my average pace and even managed to out sprint somebody in the last 100m's. The records show I managed to beat my course PB by 62 seconds, however they don't show that run was in -11c and in snow!!

To celebrate the completing the 4 Parkruns, 3 course PB's and 2 parkruns in a morning I had 1 cake to celebrate :-)

Weigh in

Over the last 2 weeks I have lost 2 1/2 lb (1.1Kg) :-)

This is due to a high volume of training 2 weeks ago and some more intense training this week. In addition I was more careful about my nutrition and on my portion sizes.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Last Weeks Training

Last week I done just under 10 hours and under 60 miles, this was a big drop from the previous week but allows me time to recover before I step up the training again. Below is the breakdown by time.

Bike 30%
Cross 22%
Swim 21%
Walk 15%
Run 13%

This week I was pleased my swim time increased. The run although less time was more intense with sprints training and a new parkrun 5km course PB. Subject to weather this week may be higher training again.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Big Training Week

Last week I made the most of the good warm weather and did a bigger volume of training doing over 200 miles and 18 hours. Below is a breakdown by time.

Bike 74%
Walk 11%
Cross 8%
Swim 4%
Run 3%

I was glad to finally be doing a few more longer cycle rides outside (100km) with the rest being  at minimum level. The swim was less but was one long swim at the end of the a tough training week.

Next week will be slightly less but hopefully focussing on the quality/speed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Weigh in

Over the last two weeks my weight increased by 1/2 lb (0.2Kg) and my % body fat decreased. However the body fat percentage may be affected by just doing some cycling beforehand.

With bigger races entered I need to another push to lose more weight while distance training, it will be interesting.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekly Update

This week I did nearly 15 hours of training, tis was mainly just 2 days of the week. With the breakdown in % by time as.

Bike 47%
Run 17%
Swim 14%
Cross 12%
Walk 10%

I was pleased with the increase in total time again this week. The cycle % of time is good although it is mostly indoors at the gym, hopefully I will be able to do more cycling outdoors.
The run was only a few short runs and a 10 mile race. The swim's were in pool and a aqua jog session.

This week it is about the right mixture of areas just need to increase the distances and time do some more long outdoor cycle rides and open water swims.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Hook 10 Mile Race Report

Today I did the Hook 10 mile race, there are also 2.5 and 6 mile races as well as a children's fun run. It is always a nice friendly atmosphere there with a small fete and stalls on the grass.

Instead of the warm up of a couple of hours of cycling like I did last year this year I decided on a short swim (pool) followed by 1 hour of gym workout before heading of to the race. I did a few weights but kept the cardio light resistance and did a few more stretches than normal, as I left the gym I felt the best before any race.

After the short drive I meet up with some work colleagues who were doing the shorter distances as their first race, they were a bit anxious but also excited. I gave them a few last minute tips before I went to the 10 mile start which was leaving minutes before their races. It was a cool 13c with slight chill in the breeze.

As I stood in the starting area for the race I tried to relax and focus on the next 90 minutes or so. The gun went of and I felt I went off a bit too fast in the first 100m's so I slowed down a bit as did not want to get carried away with my pace this early and settled in to a nice rhythm.

Luckily we had done a practice run of the loop around the town so I had recently done most of the route leaving the rest to my memory from previous races. After about 1 miles there was along steady slope which luckily I knew was there and that we would do it again in the last mile and a bit, so I went at my steady pace but not too much more effort.

Then we crossed the main road (A30) and headed towards Reading along a nice down hill. I remembered the sting in the tail, as there biggest hill on the course was next it even had a few S bends. It then went on to some country roads which still seem to have some inclines with occasional down hill section but I don't think there was equal amount of ups and downs.

After about another mile we reached the furtherest north part of the course which was along the main street in a village which was all up a steady incline with 2 pubs along it, one of them had an official water station point but I had my own stuff with me.

The next mile seemed to have all the down hill sections maybe due to being next to a golf course?

As we went a bit past the 6 mile marker we then joined the same route as those who were doing the 6 mile race. The was along the main road which was straight and a slight incline which also had a pub and a water stop half mile up the road at the turning point. This was a long steady pace section which I was starting to overtake more people. This was the furtherest west so you were no heading back to the finish!!

We then turned left along another road were you could see the next turn in the distance but this felt it was slightly downhill. At this point 7 miles in I was felling strong and was still overtaking people, at which point I decided to slightly step up the pace a bit.

At 8 miles we joined the loop that we did at the start missing about 1/5th of the loop out. Time for another push around the business park as the runners were starting to thin out more now. The last slope at 9 miles felt tougher but I was able to keep pace with another runner and went past him near the top.

There was just under a mile to go, time for another injection of pace and a last few sips of my sports drink. I gave myself a few seconds to recover from the hill before increasing the effort. At this point you could here the finish line announcer which was about a few 100m's behind the trees but we had to run the half mile on the roads to get there.

With about half mile to go the Turbo Booster button was pressed and I kicked for the finish and was overtaking more people even in the finish straight. I just had enough energy maintain my form and speed to the finish line, luckily it was slightly down hill.

In the end I finished under 82 minutes (from my watch) which I think was 20-30 seconds quicker than last year.

Nutrition Analysis
For the race I had decided to take one sports drink with me and 2 isotonic gels this was about right for me on the colder day which I did not need any of the supplied water. I stuck with my timed gels and drinks method which was a loop timer and not based on distance or water stations. Plus I tried a new pre race caffeinated drink which luckily was ok for me and my digestion.

Data Analysis
From my GPS data I have doen the following analysis.

My average pace was 8:13/mile which only mile 5 (downhill section) was faster apart from the last 3 miles. With the last mile split being 1:15/mile quicker than average. The last half mile pace was 2 minutes/mile pace quicker than the average, not a bad kick. Excluding the last few miles the average pace was around 8:25/mile but the last few miles help lower this average down.

I even achieved a negative split by 1:30.

If you discount my kick at the end I think this would came about on target for each mile so my pacing for this distance and race was spot on.

Race Summary
This is always a great local race and a some community support around parts of the course. I was pleased with my time but more importantly that I felt in control at the pace all the way round. Also that my nutritional planing worked out, I love it when a plan comes together!!

Hook 10 Mile Medal

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Update

This week I did over 13 hours and over 100 miles of training which is good effort but still needs to be more, with most of it at the weekend. Below is a breakdown of percentage by time.

Cross 28%
Run 12%
Walk 12%
Swim 6%

On the plus side my cycling time has increased a lot which included fast and longer rides outside as well as some gym based sessions. The longer rides still need to increase though.
The cross training had increased to a reasonable amount with the walk reduced as well.

The only issue was the amount of time swimming which was all pool based.

The target this week is more training but with tired legs at the start and a race at the end it will be tough to get this amount of training in this week but I am up for a challenge.

Busy Weekend Training

This weekend I had a busy weekend training.

On Saturday I cycled to the local swimming pool and done a short swim, then cycled to the local parkrun with a slightly longer cycle home as it was a nice day.

Then Sunday I cycled 2 hours before doing an hour run around a race route that I will be doing next week with a few people from work. I then had a nice faster 30 minutes cycle home.

After some food and watching the last football games of the season I went to the gym for a 2 1/2 hour set of weights and the last 2 hours as cardio. To cool down I then did a 30 minute swim which was tough with tired muscles.

So Sunday was just the 6 hours of exercise.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Weigh in

In this 2 week section my weight stayed the same with my % body fat increased.

The weight is better than expected due to the lack of training volume but was high intensity and the last few days of eating more. My nutrition should be back to normal and hopefully I will increase my training volume without impacting on the quality of the training sessions.

Weekly Update

This week I only did 10 hours of exercise, this was limited by the weather and not feeing that well for the first part of the bank holiday weekend after doing a Parkrun. Below is a breakdown of the time.

Cycling 33%
Cross Training 29%
Running 22%
Walking 10%
Swimming 7%

The time was boosted by the 6 hours of training I did on one day with a massive 3 1/4 hour spin.

In addition to the amount of time that needs to be increased the Swimming also needs to be increased with the Cross Training and Walking reduced. At least this week I got some of each training done, just need to work on the volume.

Fritton Lake Parkrun

On Saturday I took part in the inaugural Fritton Lake Parkrun.

For some reason I put on a short sleeve top and not hat, despite the maximum temperature being 8c not taking in to account the wind-chill which I think made it 4c. Normally I would have had multiple layers on.

So at the start I decided to go of fast to keep warm. The course was two laps and was a multi-terrain course which had been made a lot muddy by the recent rain and a horse that appeared to have recently been though the course.

The start was on some gravel path until going over some grass to the edge of the lake that followed the path back for 1.5km before joining a the gravel path for a few 100m's back to the start and then repeat it.
However the route was now a bit more muddy in places and the section near the end was also slippery so I did not have enough traction for a sprint finish. However I was pleased with my time and position.

I enjoyed this parkrun despite it having more mud than our XC races this year.

It was too cold for me to do a lake swim but other times it will be a good option to add to the training. Also did not go on the swings and slides :-(

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Busy Training Day

Today I was using some of the ideas from the training camp I went on a couple of months ago.

The day started with a nice 1km pool swim followed by a 3 1/4 hour spin session in the gym. Being a far weather cyclist I did not fancy going for a ride today it was a bit murky and I thought there would be a lot more debris on the countryside roads and therefore my likely to get a puncture. On the plus side it was good mental training to be able to do that length of time in the gym and some good speed work. Luckily I am not going to any spin classes at the gym this week.

Then for a late lunch I had a large meat pizza :-) It hard plenty of carbs, protein, fats and sodium, although unlike on "holiday" I did not have any beer with it or eating it out in the sunshine.

Then this evening I ran over 11 miles with the first 6 miles being at a steady pace and the last 5 miles being a group fartlek session. Surprisingly I felt ok at the end and even had a sprint finish.

It was a good 6 hours of training today :-)

Then for evening meal I had less than normal as I had a bigger lunch, normally that would have not stopped me and I would have the regular (large) size.

I also doubled up my iron(ing)man training by ironing 8 shirts as well.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Sponsorship for The Meningitis Trust

For the 3 Ironman distance events I am doing this year you can now sponsor me at for The Meningitis Trust.

Weekly exercise

This week I did over 12 hours of exercise. Below is the breakdown by percentage of time.

Run 10%
Swim 4%
Cycle 42%
Walk 18%
Cross Train 26%

From this my run was lower than normal but had made up with a lot more cycling including a fast loop and more cross training. This included some brick sessions with my only swim at the end of the week.

So along with increasing the total time I also need to increase my number of swims.

Weekend's Training

Last weekend it was a tale of two halves.

Saturday I woke up and was suprised that is was raining. That did not stop me cycling to my local parkrun 5km and completing that which was muddy in places. The cycle back was slow, cold and wet.

Then Sunday evening I did a 3 hour brick session followed by a 30 minute swim. The swim was a bit interesting with tired legs but I made it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back Cycling!!

I am back cycling again!!

As part of my tri club I joined in on the cycle part of a brick session but I also cycled their and back. So when I did the loop I put in a big effort and managed to complete it in an average speed of 19.4 mph.

I was pleased of that speed as I had not been on my bike further this year yet. It was relatively short route but I felt comfortable on the aerobars. Plus I got my cadence sensor to work, although only with one of the two devices.

I might try a brick session another time, subject to weather conditions and amount of light.

Weigh In - lost weight

I have switched to weighing myself every 2 weeks as not react to fluctuations but able to spot the general trends in my weight loss.

With that I have lost 2lb since my last weigh in :-)

Weekly Exercise

Last week I did over 12 hours of exercise with a good mixture of training.

It included a few swims which had one lake swim. Although the cycle was indoors at a gym but were high intensity and were included as part of a 4 hour gym session. The run I did a good long slow run of 14 miles in 2 1/2 hours with the last hour being in rain which I enjoyed.

The areas needing more work is long cycle rides and more swims. Although the cycling has been affected by the amount of rain that we have had recently.

Parkrun at Eastleigh's New Location

After doing my lake swim I headed of to the new location for the Eastleigh Parkrun which was previously at the same venue.

This was on a former golf course which due to the recent rain got fairly muddy especially on a 3 lap course. The route was effectively a W shape with the two end looping round. There was only one slope which did not look that step but due to the muddy conditions and on grass was a lot harder than expected.

I ended up with a time of just over 23 minutes which I was happy with after recovering from the cold swim and the muddy conditions in places on the run.

I enjoyed this run as you saw a lot more people as it was a 3 lap but luckily I did not get lapped.

Lake Swim in April

At the weekend I did my first lake swim of the year :-)

I was thinking about turning back as my car temperature sensor displayed 1C (33F) on the drive down to the lake. However I carried on down to the lake. When I was getting in to my wetsuit the people who had already been for a swim were coming back saying it was cold and they only did 2 laps.

As the grass by lake was already cold I think that helped the transition in to the lake. Surprising my hands and feet were not that cold after the initial shock, the problem was getting my face in the water for more than 5 strokes!! The water soo cold on my face it was taking my breathe away and I was reverting to breaststroke or doggy paddle, I think that affect my GPS data.

The lake is a small lake so I thought it would have warmed up more, they had the lap as 250m. I somehow managed 3 laps in under 30 minutes, not concerned about the speed but I made it. My stroke felt good for the few strokes I managed with my head in the water.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Training Camp

I need to get back in to posting here now I back from a week's training camp in Lanzarote at the start of the month.

I did over 30 hours of training in the week with multiple sessions per day. The swim was mostly drills early morning but was in a nice outdoor 50m pool. The cycling I did not do massive distance per ride but was hillier and windy than expected so was good resistance and bike handling training. The runs were a mixture of trail runs and coached track sessions. I also did a couple of 1 hour kayak sessions as well which the only practice for this in the last 20 years was on the wii.

This has gave my a lot more motivation and kick start to this years training.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Training

This week my training was over 10 hours which was good considering the cold temperatures.

The cycling (in gym) and cross training was about a third of this time each. With running being next with a long run in the cold and a new parkrun.Then with a bit of walking when possible due to the weather and ground conditions.

However there was no cycling outside, still waiting to use my racing bike this year. Also there was no swims. Both of these need to be corrected soon. As part of my cross training I have been doing more different sets of weights which hopefully will help me out in a triathlon.

Parkrun Newbury

On Saturday I took part in the first Newbury Parkrun 5km.

It was a cold and frosty drive there in -11c in places with snow on the countryside, glad I decided not to cycle their.

When I got their the main car park was already full so I used the additional car park which happened to be across from the post race cafe and also gave me a 1km warm up and down run from the start :-)

The snow was all around and looked picturesque at the race location at a former airfield covered in snow. See the events photos at , I did not have my phone or camera with me as I thought the cold temperatures would not be good for it.

There was a lot of people there for a first event and the conditions, looking at the results there was 317 finishers which I think is the most at a new event by over 100.

It was a good course which would be all on gravel apart from crossing the runway twice, from what I could tell under all the snow. The course is a single lap in a q shape which is unusual to have a single lap and made judging the distance/pace difficult especially with the snow.

I had a number of layers of clothes on, including multiple hats,gloves and watches with the a Ipswich Town top on to keep me warm.

From the start I went of at a fast but controllable pace. The clear gravel soon turned into snow covered and the path narrowed down a bit, so I took the snowier route to get some space. When we turned left I noticed that there was some cattle on this common land and we were getting some strange looks from them in the cold.

The route then continued round on the path which you had to watch out for ice and any pot holes which was a but more difficult in the snow with the sun reflecting on it. As we turned at the top end of teh course we knew we were on the finishing straight which must be about 1 mile long, and even had a slight incline which was interesting in the snow. Near the end I could see the top of the registration marque so I know we where not far from the finish and gave it a bit more of a push.

I finished with a fast time for me of just over 23 minutes, which I think is my fastest time for me in snow.

I did a recovery jog back to the car and changed in to warm dry clothes before trying some food and drink in the cafe before the drive home. It is a good event to do and I will be back when it is slightly warmer.

Pie Sandwich

Somebody at work sent me an article about a person losing 16 stone by giving up pie sandwiches!!

It sounds so wrong but I had to try it. Which tasted great!!

Pie Sandwich

It is about 600 calories, so I can understand giving those up would lose a bit of weight. I went for the slightly healthier options of wholemeal bread and olive oil spread instead of thick white bread and butter.

Therefore it was quite a good post exercise recovery food as had carbs, protein and some fat with a bit of fibre and other micro nutriments. Any type of pie could be used including vegetable pies!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Big Training Day

Today was a big training day with 3 1/2 hours at the gym which was 3 gym classes, weights and cardio.

Then tonight when 0c (lower with the wind chill factor) I ran 10 miles. The last few miles of the run were tough due to muscle fatigue from today's exercise plus the route had a steep hill on each loop.

This would a good training day, nutrition wise I was ok pre and post gym until I got to work were I carb loaded on cakes that somebody had brought in. Then tonight I was taking regular sips of isotonic drink despite it being cold which helped on the run. Strangely I did not finish the bottle like I would have normally done and over-hydrated.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Hawaiian Loco Moco

I saw this Hawaiian Loco Moco mentioned on the new series of Hawaii five-o last night, after a quick google I thought I would give a try today.

It is rice in the middle, with a burger on top of that, then a fried egg at the top. The gravy is poured on the egg and around the edge of the rice. It tasted really great and will definitely make it again.

Nutritionally it is fairly good for me as has carbs, some fat, with protein from two sources including omega 3 and the amino acids from the egg. To make it more nutritious the rice could be brown rice, there could be some vegetables in with the rice and/or the burger could be a meat free type.
Hawaiian Loco Moco

What would Optimus Prime do?

 I like this article about Optimus Prime (from Transformers) and how to transform your life (diet and exercise). I already use some of the ideas and use the transform metaphor (and the sound effect) when on my bike transforming in to the aero position.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Training this week

Training this week has been effect by the cold spell and snow this week. However I have still managed about 9 hours which is about the same as the previous week.

Still no cycling outside on my main bike.

My amount of time swimming was lower but I did a longer swim.

My runs were more intense speed work, which include mile reps and my fastest home parkrun in over a year.

My cross training time increased and included a couple of weights sessions when in the gym.

Due to the weather condition this was a good amount of training with a good mixture of sessions. Hopefully I will be able to get on my main bike soon.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 2012 Totals

I need to get back in posting regularly again, it seemed to correlate with increased training.

Below are my mileage totals for January 2012 totals, which has been affected by the recent cold weather and yet to go out on my main bike.

Run 64.2
Swim 3.3
Bike 54.0
Walk 42.3
Cross Train 9.8

A total of 173.6 miles exercised this month. Plus this does not include a distance when spinning.

Monday, January 09, 2012

2011 Stats Review

This is a review of my training stats from 2011 which was the main events were a long distance triathlon and two marathons plus associated build up races and training.

Below is my overall totals fro the year.

Distance (Miles)
Time (Hours)
Cross Train

The cross training includes gym kit with distance apart from cycle and run on treadmill , e.g. row, elliptical also football (refereeing)

The cycle distance does not include spin class session but the time does include it. A rough estimated this would include about 300 miles to the cycle based on effort and time but as it is not measurable, so they have not been included in the data.

From this data I need to increase my cycling a lot more and a my swim a bit more, although my running could be reduced slightly to accommodate this.

Comparing 2011 to 2010

In 2010 I did two long distance triathlons, so the race miles may be higher, below is the comparison.

100% = Same, More is an increase, Less is a decrease.

Number of Sessions
Cross Train

All 5 areas I have increased the number of sessions done between the two years.


Both the distance and time increased by about the same amount 23% but the distance was slightly more which also indicates the average speed was slightly higher.


The distance, time and number of sessions all increased by reasonable amount (24%, 44%, 55%). This means the average speed was slightly lower but there was a lot more sessions.

The cycle distance decreased by 6% and the time increased by 8% with the number of sessions increased by 80%. This means there was a lot more shorter sessions but also includes more spin classes in these values (apart from the distance, see above).

The walk distance increased by 31%, the time by 17% and the number of sessions by 19%. This means the walks were getting quicker and more of them.

Cross Train

Distance decreased by 69%, time decreased by 19%, number of sessions increased by 12%. The decreases are likely caused by the reduced refereeing and referee fitness training this year.