Archive for June, 2011

I got all of Summer off!

That’s right, this was my long weekend! Yay!

On Friday I went for a 1½ mile swim, 112 mile ride, followed by a 13 mile run.

Obviously a lot short of the actual distances. I need a 2.4 mile swim to start, but I’m slow and only had 90 minutes of pool time, 14 of which I wasted by turning up late.I did it in 1 hour 16. I did the same distance in 1 hour 11 minutes two days before, so it was a slow one even by my poor standards. I think my arms were still tired.

The ride was full distance, into a headwind on the way out. By the time I’d reached Wigan my calves were cramping. Not a pleasant ride. It took me until reaching Lancaster and turning back (when I thought to try stretching exercises) before they stopped hurting. By which time everything that comes into contact with the saddle was ablaze and my shoulders were painfully knotted. Joy.

I had spent all day dreading the transition to the run (and, indeed had a bad night’s sleep through dreaming about it!) but even though the transition from swim to bike had taken a lot out of my legs, the bike to run wasn’t any worse than usual.

I set off and kept going at a steady (read: ‘slow’) pace. I’m not saying it was easy or pleasant, but no worse than a usual bike to run. I had planned on doing the whole 26.2 miles at the start of the day but it was too hard to motivate myself by the end. I’d already been at it 8 hours 46 minutes before I started the run, I was keeping it moving but realistically if I make it to the run section I will have at least 6½ hours left. They reckon very few first timers actually run the whole distance, more run-walk-run-walk. Which is fine. The permissible modes of conveyance for the final section are “Run, walk or crawl”

The fact that I managed to run, slowly, the first half of the distance means I would have about 5 hours to finish the second half.


It’s all down to the swim. Again. Just reading through the literature (and having a minor panic attack!) and the swim cut off is 2 hours 15. On your bike. Not out of the water, on your bike. Shit. There’s a good 5 minutes out of my time. Apparently they have two transition tents, the first has your bag (with your bike shoes, helmet, glasses, socks) and a toilet, the second has your bike. So it’s out of the lake, throw your stuff off, empty your transition bag, get changed, wedge your wetsuit and such into your transition bag, have a pee, on to the next tent pick up your bike, get out on to the road. By 2 hours 15 minutes. Bugger. That’s just eaten any safety buffer I thought I might have had. At the slower time I put in on Friday, I would have finished the 2.4 miles in 2 hours 1 minute. If I didn’t tire/slow any further. Shit. Shitty shit shit.  Things to do: get a 2 hour swim session under my belt, see how I hold up. The trouble is, the baths are usually only open for an hour or hour and a half. Just checked, Fordton Leisure have a 8-10 (adult only) slot on Friday. On it. Watch this space.


I did a sea swim last week as well. Went to Liverpool. I checked on the webcam, the tide was going out. Got there, and strode manfully in. The shock and panic when you immerse yourself and start to swim! I’d forgotten. Nasty. That was a memory boost and a useful reminder; make sure I’m in the water and acclimatised before the race starts. When I’d got over the panic I got into a rhythm. I was swimming parallel to the shore when I got water in my goggles so I went to stand up to get it out. I couldn’t, I’d been pulled out by the tide. Oops. I turned to shore and started swimming. Several breaths later I popped my head up and saw I hadn’t moved. Bit scared. Several breaths further and still seemed stationary. That was when I started to get really scared. I could see how this could go, getting pulled further out, no-one there to see me, until I ran out of energy and drowned. I’ve thought I was going to die on many occasions, but that really scared me. To put the storm back into it’s teacup, I didn’t die. When I got home Wendy said there used to be a public information thing with the motto “Only swim when the tide’s coming in!” Thanks for that.


As it stands then, assuming I can put in my better time (as I’ll be rested and will have built up a little bit more muscle) I could do the swim in 1.53, that would give me a ‘comfortable’ transition time. Assuming I make the next stage it will have to have been within 2.15, this gives me 8.15 to complete the ride section. I have done it in 7.10 (ish) but on Friday it took me 7.28, still well within the time. That leaves me with 7.15 to finish the run. Easy-peasy.

If I can crack the swim I can do the rest.


In other news, my diet is failing miserably. I had thought that 10 hours 36 minutes of pure exertion would have shifted a few pounds but I reckoned without the energy gels. These are not optional. After about 90 minutes of exertion you run out of reserve energy and flop. This is ‘the wall’ that marathon runners hit. Pussies. Anyway, after the first hour you neck a gopping snotty energy gel every half an hour and that keeps you going. These are not to be confused with energy drinks, which are basically just caffeine, the gels have 274 calories of carbs per sachet. Therefore, whilst exercising on Friday I consumed 5206 calories in gels alone. I only wanted to lose a stone so I’d have less to carry around the run section. Not happening.


Also, I’ve just perfected making flapjacks. They are so nice it’s hard not to trough them all at one sitting. Not helping my diet any. I have been getting them at work. We go for breakfast at 9, then have to work (graft) through until 2 (though we usually knock off earlier). I keep running out of energy (damn that ‘wall’) so have been getting a flapjack for our 12 o’clock brew. They are really nice. Suddenly it struck me; if our works canteen (who can burn water) can make nice flapjacks then they must be really, really easy. Had a go and, as long as you remember to take them out of the oven, they are.  Win!


I’ve made the most of this unseasonably seasonal weather with a 10 mile run yesterday to try and acclimatise. If it’s like that on race day I may well die. Just give up the will to live and keel over. Gawd it was awful.

Today I went down to my allotment for the first time in weeks. It’s looking the business in certain parts. Spuds, onions, mange-tout to be specific. Some of the other crops are putting in a half hearted showing. The other (French and dwarf) beans are coming on slowly. Some of the carrots and a few spring onions are growing. The fruit bushes are settling in as is the braeburn apple tree and the asparagus.

My biggest hassle was weed re-growth. Bloody tons of the stuff. It doesn’t help with the plot next door being virtually untouched. I was going to say vacant, but a couple of feet of it have been dug over. That’s it. 6’ tall weeds at the back.

Anyway, I dug up a few first early potatoes, gathered a shed load of mange-tout, and ate the two (raspberries?) on one of the fruit bushes.


It’s been a productive Summer,both days of it. Now the clouds have rolled back in and we are heading back into the perpetual non-season that is becoming the English norm.


I don’t think I mentioned it before, but here’s some good news; Wendy is OK. She went to the doctors a few weeks ago for a blood test. It came back showing a massive shortage of white blood cells. This, the doctor implied, was not a good thing. She told Wendy that if she caught any form of cold she had to get back in for an emergency appointment and she (the doctor) would put her on antibiotics. All sorts of wild speculation followed this announcement. For all of us who follow (Dr) House on the telly it was fertile ground for speculation. The only thing we knew for sure was; it wasn’t Lupus (it’s never Lupus!) After a bit of a worry she went back for the results of a hastily arranged second blood test. Oddly, she was fine again. Mustn’t grumble.

She’s now doing her Mrs Doyle thing (from Father Ted, by the way). Where that young TV star was visiting the island and all the middle aged women were doting over him and wanting to knit him cardigans. She’s doing that to Rafa Nadal (however you spell it, the tennis player).



My final bit of news; it looks like they may have agreed to our plan to change the rota! Huzzah! If we get it it will mean every other weekend off. Yeah, baby!

That’s me all caught up.



War! What the hell’s it good for…?


Just stumbled across this;


How cool it that?

On the footage of the gun with the fecking great Union Flag, I’m the one stood on the back right of the gun. (If you take the business end of the barrel to be the front.) I’m seen from the back with a red shamal (that was how it was pronounced, don’t know if that’s how you spell it. The head scarf they wear.) worn as a scarf, and seen pushing a rod into the breach to test the shell had been rammed in correctly. It was also my job to clean, prime and maintain the breach. Hence the slang job name ‘breach creature’. There are two guns shown on the clip, ours it the one with feck off flag.

A few corrections though, it was 74 Battery, the Battleaxe Company, 32 Heavy Regiment. Geordie Walsh was a Bombadier (equivalent to a Corporal in the Infantry) not a Brigadier (equivalent to god incarnate to a lowly gunner).

At about 39 seconds you see the view from behind my side of the gun as it fires. Watch how it bounces a 28 tonne gun in the air twice before settling. As demonstrated by me standing to attention,”FIRE!”, bounce twice then crack open the breach.

Happy days. So not!

I’d never seen that footage before, so it was a nice surprise. Looks more fun than it was.


The other stuff.

Last night I was trying to catch up on all my happenings but was too tired and had to go to bed after updating my training. There is other stuff; for instance I found out that the race results for the Marazion Middle Distance triathlon, although displayed as ****** in the results boxes, tell you your time if you hover your cursor over them. Joy! So I now know that even given the very hilly and windy course, with no motivation and not really trying (just finishing with my head in that state was an achievement) I did the fifty six mile ride in 3.19:56 and the run in 1.48:37. To put that in perspective; for a flat race I was only expecting a time of about 3.40 and my time for the Warrington half marathon (same distance, but flat and  without the ride before it) was 1.43.38. That was a very pleasant surprise.


Today I got a nasty surprise though; six weeks until the Outlaw! Aaaaarrgggghhhhh! Panic!


In other news, we went out for a quiet meal for Wendy’s fiftieth. It was godawful! Shellie’s in town. The food was mediocre served with pretentions of adequacy (though the pudding was nice) but the worst thing was the owner. She felt the need to come and talk, loudly, about how the pizza place had stolen her idea of making someone stand around in a sandwich board to advertise her cafe. “And I said this to the mayor, and the mayor said ‘her family’s been here for generations and done this and done that for this town’.”

There is never a Kalashnikov to hand when you most need one, is there? Grrrrr.


Wendy did apparently have a wonderful meal with her chums from work though. Some really fancy Indian restaurant in Manchester. One of her work mates hails from Pakistan or has roots their or some such. Speaks the lingo, anywho. It was she who knew the best place to eat, set it all up, picked Wendy up, made sure Wendy didn’t pay for her meal, etc. Seems like a really good egg. For her troubles she got abused in Urdu for sitting with English people and for not covering her head. She was in ethnic kit when she picked Wendy up. Funny old world.


I have seen a (n agency) job advertised that said ‘new drivers considered’. Observe me not holding my breath.


At work we are having a bit of a to-do. The rota for de-kit is pretty shit. When I went back in full time I was told I would be on permanent 6-2, but only get every fourth weekend off (although it is a long one, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) the other three weeks you just get days off in the week or a Saturday or a Sunday. Within the short time I’ve been back in there it has changed to one weekend off every six weeks. Which is even shitter.

The lads were getting so pissed off with it there was talk of asking for a transfer into the main warehouse as pickers, where at least you are guaranteed every other weekend off. Hearing of the mutiny in the ranks Karl, the supervisor told us to arrange a rota whereby we get every other weekend off. He’d put it in to the management. We did, he did, the management are looking like they are going to refuse it.

Pooh is hitting the fan.

The job is not getting done. Everything is a mess. They had to call a manager in on his day off today, all day, just to try and clear some of the crap. Hopefully this will force their hand. If not it’s going to get bad in de-kit!


I have decided that after my last triathlon this year I am going to change my plans. I think for next year I’m just going to do a few middle distance (half Ironman) triathlons. 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride, 13 mile run. It’s short enough that you can enjoy it a bit. The full Ironman is never going to be fun. Do the Outlaw (Iron distance) this year to get it out of my system, then concentrate on speeding up my times for some middle distance events. Sort of a fun run, ride and swim. The other thing is to go back to Kung Fu. And do my sax.

Oh, and win the lottery.


Well, that’s this year planned out then.



Just catching up.

First off, let me chronicle the heroic nature of my training, and the heroic fails therein.

Swim; I’ve been for one swim since I came back of holiday! One. Count it. I have a lot of reasons why I didn’t swim, but only one actual swim. I’ve had everything from getting lost (obviously) the tide being in, going out for a meal, to today’s emergency ‘phone call off  our Robyn (my niece) as soon as I walked through the door from work. Today I was going to go to a coached swim session at Lymn with Warrington Triathlon Club (of which I am now a member) at 4.30. As I say, I walked through the door to hear that our Bryn (my nephew) needed picking up from our Lisa’s (his mum’s/ my sister’s) to do an emergency bit of dog taxi-ing.

Apparently Bryn’s big-arse German Shepherd dog had playful bitten the arse out of someone’s tracksuit bottoms, invalidating the dog-sitters offer to look after him while all of the above went on holiday to Bulgaria. This news broke at about 2pm, they had the taxi to the airport booked for 4.30. So I was drafted in as no-one else has a car license.

Go it sorted with twenty minutes to spare! No stress there for our Lisa, then.

My point being; I have been trying to swim but shit keeps happening.


Ride; I’ve had mixed fortunes with the bike as well. I managed to crack my old speed on short (32 miles) hilly rides. A quick nip up to Helsby, with a detour up Frodsham hill was only marginally slower than the previous time to Helsby without the ascent. I need to work on endurance as well as speed so on my last day off I went for a ride to Morecombe. This should have been fifty eight miles there then just turn around and come home. It took me just under three and a half hours to get there. I pulled over for (literally) two minutes to show some malt loaf down my throat and have a drink of water (and rest my aching arse!) only to find the pocket on the back of my cycling top had malt loaf but was without my waterproof jacket.It had fallen out on route. Bugger. It was raining on and off all day. The last thing I wanted was to get soaked with three and a half hours of riding ahead of me. Having no option I set off back, hoping for the best.

As I was approaching the seven hour point I suddenly noticed I was nowhere near where I thought I was supposed to be. I should have been practically home. As it was I had to just pick up a road sign for Wigan then follow signs for Warrington from there. An extra hour and a quarter ride! When I’d already given my all. Seriously gutted. I reckon I did well over one hundred and thirty miles.

At least I didn’t get soaked. And I put in lots of endurance miles.


Run; again mixed news. I went for that quick ride to Helsby I mentioned above, then went straight out for a ten mile run. And broke my Personal Best for a ten mile run! On numb feet and leaden legs!

Seeing as I was obviously a super athlete I decided a few days later to run to the far side of Frodsham for a marathon distance there-and-back run. It was hilly, painful, not path-ed for long stretches, and slow. On the way back I stopped loads of times. I think it was because I hadn’t given my legs time to rest after the quick ride/run above. However, back to good news, after a few days rest I went out for a ten miler again yesterday. Thought if I was going to run a short one I might as well make it a fast one. I was running at eight minute miles for my standard pace, then for short distances I got it down to seven and a half minute miles. As I’d set a new PB (after a ride!) I thought I go for seven minute miles. At five miles I missed it by twenty two seconds (four and a gnat’s tadger seconds per mile too slow) and on the return five miles I was out by forty four seconds. However, over ten miles, I managed to knock just under four minutes off my seven and a half minute mile time!

Pleased with that. Seven minute miles are definitely within sight (at least over shorter –ten miles- distances).


I have other stuff to relate, but it’s getting late and I’m shagged. Up at five again tomorrow. I’ll resume shortly.

For now, goodnight.