Month: April 2018

Giant Steps.

I did my marathon last week and found myself surprisingly fast. I really wish I’d have pushed harder from the start instead of tentatively pacing myself. Lots of 8.15- 8.30 M/Ms, with which I was both pleased and surprised.

On Wednesday I got an early dart from work so introduced myself to my tri club at the run training session.  Apparently they normally get you to run a few K (they work in French, I think in minute/ miles, so that’s a bugger) then scientifically work out your run speeds for different levels of work out. As I had a recent marathon time for them to play with they just paired me up with an ultra runner (Jim, who does 30, 50 and 100 mile runs) and used his times.

After the warm up, it was things like: Run 400m at X pace, jog 400m, repeat. Then run 1K at X pace, etc.

I’m not sure I’m at the pace of Jim, or that he was going at the pace set, supposedly roughly 8.00 m/ms. I was gasping for air after each run. Next time I’ll check my own times and pace. Anyway I went, I introduced myself. And I got beasted. Exactly what I need. Someone else to crack the whip. That’s how you get faster.

I was talking to Jim (between gasps) and said that I still hadn’t given up on my ambition to go sub 3 hours on the marathon. He said he’d be happy with a “good for age group”. I didn’t say anything. (I think I’ve grown as a person, lol.) I looked it up, good for age for 51 is 3.15 marathon. OK, that’s a good target on the way.

Today I got up early to do my long run before running Wendy for her driving theory test (she passed. YAY!) I was going to do 20 miles, but was a bit late so was going to wing it. I did the first mile slowly to warm up. I stopped to retie my shoelace. I still managed a respectable (by current standards) 8.27m/m. I decided to up the pace, thinking I’d try for the 8 m/ms of my circuit training. I checked my watch at the end of the second mile, 7.27! Bugger the 20 miles, I was on for a benchmark 10 miles! I gritted my teeth and pushed on. After the warm up mile I only dropped out of the 7.30s once (7.45) and did a 7.25. My average was 7.39 for the 10 miles. If I’d have warmed up properly and ran from the start I could have been faster.

I was going to go another fast 10 miles, try to go fast from the start and beat the 7.40 average above. Crazy rookie mistake though, after work I drank a load of orange juice and had some food, within a mile of setting off I had an awful stitch.

I was forced to stop and get my breath. I decided to try beasting myself on short sprints. I did one at a fifth of mile, then found a quarter mile course and did three of them. My pace was a revelation. OK, it’s only for quarter of a mile then I was absolutely snottered, but 5.36, 6.00 and 5.48 m/m pace! Then on the way home I did my last mile at a pushing-it pace, 6.47. An actual mile. In 6.47!

Before the marathon I was dead chuffed that I managed to slip in 2 miles at under 8 m/m.

Speedwork is now part of my plan. I’ve got the base level of fitness. I’ve got the distance. Now I need to get fast. Just looking, 6.45m/m x 26.2 gives me three minutes under three hours! I’ve got one mile. This is do-able! 

By the way, whilst I was working out my pace before, discovered that the quarter mile I set myself is 402 metres, near enough the distance my tri club works in. That’s a happy coincidence.


Spring has given up altogether this year, we’ve gone from bastard freezing to sweating with the aircon on in one day. Time to finally get out for a long ride without the fear of frostbite or polar bear attack. I’ve got my bike set up, I’m off to do some serious miles in a minute. I was going to set off early and go for the full 112 miles, but I’ve had to wait in for a parcel. I might just do Mold or a bit after. 60 to 80 miles. It’s a good test.

I’m all fired up with running. I’m regretting the tri thing now. Still, it forces me to keep active. And, just yesterday, I knocked 5 minutes off my commute time! That’s a pretty big chunk out of a 36 minute ride. I’ve found a route through the park to cut out the rush hour traffic along Cromwell Ave and through Winwick. The trouble is it’s lots of brake/ pedal, brake/ pedal, getting around dog walkers and anti-motorbike barriers. It doesn’t make getting a good time easy, but I expect it’s good for my legs. As is not being run over.

Right, crack on.



PS, I did a ride. After I’d finished fannying around. I did a fairly windy 60 mile circuit and was set to do another 10 miles, using my commute route, but it being sunny and the kids off school, I could barely move along the park path so I sacked it off. Still, I know I had at least another 10 miles in me. I’ll have to work out a different route for next time. The last 5 miles in Wales were scary. 70mph dual carriageway with two lanes going off and coming on. If you’re riding along the edge of the road that’s a lot of gauntlets to run. Bugger that. I think I’ll try North next week. I was planning to ride to Fleetwood, 110 miles round trip. Probably best that I didn’t, I don’t think I had 110 miles in me today.

My time wasn’t great, 60 miles in 3 hours 33, but it’s 50% increase on my last ride and I had more in me. The other positive I’m taking from it is although the big hills out of Frodsham took it out of me, the rolling hills of Walton Drag didn’t bother me at all. I remember lots of rides sweating and puffing up them thinking they were interminable. So that’s a real improvement.

Another good thing, lest I forget. Last time I was in training I had padded shorts. I’ve been thinking about when we were kids and nipped to Mold in an afternoon for something to do. No arse pain. In jeans and boots. So this time I’ve been riding with the padding removed. Try and toughen my arse up. Anyway, on my big rides I’ve decided to use an actual tri suit (with a top over it) to test and train my arse. Today was the first day it was warm enough to do so. 60 miles in a tri suit, the padding of which is basically a piece of cloth thinner than a flannel. I have learned one may apply a cream. So, two good things. My arse wasn’t in agony. I’ve got a different seat, with a gulley to relive pressure, (there’s some sort of nerve ending twixt your nethers) set at a rakish angle (to put the weight on your arse bones, not nethers) and let’s face it, it was only 60 miles. But that’s still ‘so far, so good’.

The other good thing is my tri suit. When I put it on it was snug, but not bulging. I’m down to 10 stone 6, and really want to get under 10. I don’t know what I was when I last completed an Outlaw, but I was a chunky monkey. My wetsuit undid itself on the swim and the pictures of my tri suit were less than flattering.

Today, not so much. I’m still struggling to get into my wetsuit. I forgot to lube up first, thinking about it. Ah. That would explain a lot. I’ll give it another go.

Still, the less I have to carry around the Outlaw the easier it will be.

That was a rambling stream of consciousness.  Lucky no-one reads this shit. It’s good for me, I have a record to which I can refer.

Condition. I haz one.

I can only apologise for my last blog. I read it back the next day and I sound like a total arsehole. It’s taken me a while to work through it but I think I have it. I have a condition, one of the aspects of which is low self esteem. Which is all well and good and you’d think it would keep me from being an dick. However, as it’s not something of which I’m consciously aware, I don’t factor it into knock-on judgements.

It bothers me people making a fuss because I don’t think anything I can achieve is that praiseworthy. I actually get angry at people for saying they couldn’t. That is the knock-on effect. I can do it, and I’m shit, so anyone who doesn’t do better is taking the piss. Which leads to me advising noobs on a triathlete forum “If you eat at every feed station, you can do it.”  Bad advice and belittling the heroic failures of some people. 

Anyway. I have to bear it in mind. I’ll have to try and accept praise without anger and big up other people’s achievements. It’s got to be better than being the arsehole who wrote that last blog.


The big ride didn’t happen last week. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I took my bike in to have the gear cables internally routed as I had no idea how to do it. It took the guy a week. I hopped on my bike, rode to the main road, went to change down gear, nothing. I rode back and tried to work out what was wrong. I finally sussed out that where the inner cable goes into the frame there should be a washer to stop the outer cable from following it, thus keeping the cable under tension. The washer had pulled into the frame, the outer cable had slipped in, their was no tension, couldn’t change gear.


The problem is the internal routing. You have to feed the cable in to the end of your tri bars and somehow have it pop out at the end of the frame on the back wheel (what would be a swinging arm on a motorbike). The shop guy, a full-on Ironman age group winner, had made done such a half arsed job that when I was looking at my bike I noticed a screw protruding at the bottom of the downtube. Apparently you unscrew that and a plate comes out, you push the cable in at your handlebars, it pops out of the panel, you then thread it through the (not) swinging arm and improvise some washers to retain the tension. Simple as that. Took me about 15 minutes of fiddling about. Bastard. Tri guy won’t be getting another penny from me.

I’m riding in to work in top gear nearly all the time now to build muscles. But my bike started creaking and the chain skipped a few times. Which worries me on a 3 month old bike. It’s got 11 gears on the back wheel, and a very skinny chain to fit that many gears. I think I’m knackering it. So I’ve bought a £30 single speed bike to commute. I’m putting the 12 tooth rear and 52 tooth front gear ratio we used to have in tenth gear on racers when I was a kid. One gear, chunky chain, £30 bike. That has to be a winner.


I’ve not had my start time officially changed but it seems to be around 08.00 now. If there’s no work for us after 7 hours they can send us home and we still get 9 hours pay. I didn’t do a full 9 hours all last week. I don’t mind if I do 9 or 10 hours, the odd longer one, but the constant 11, 12, and 13 hour shifts were useless to me for training. This is ideal. It’s harder than I thought though. When I come in I want to sit down. And get something to eat. And chill. Forcing myself back out to train is an exercise in mental toughness all by itself.


Today I did the proper (Manchester) marathon. I started off quite slowly, 8.41m/m, but after the first mile I realised I was being held up so I started working my way through the pack with 8.30’s. I thought that would be a fast pace in my condition. Then when I got to half way and I still felt great I shifted it up again, 8.17, 8.17, and an 8.15 and 8.13, then I started feeling it after 21 miles. I dropped down into the 8.50’s and 8.40’s.

My first marathon, two weeks ago, I was only under 8.50 for 3 miles, with 13 miles over 9 m/m and 3 miles over 10!  So, I’m fair pleased with that.

I had to stop for a pee which cost me a minute, but I finished in 3.46.59. Not too shabby.

Talking of, you hear apocryphal tales of marathon runners and Iron tri people losing control of their bodies and shitting themselves. Whenever the story goes around on the internet it’s always the same picture of the same poor guy. Today I witnessed it. Some older woman runner shit herself. All down her legs. It was gross. She passed me and I nearly threw up. But she soldiered on and finished 100 yards in front of me. So, swings and roundabouts for her.

I had a curry last night so I took my tri precaution of an anti-shit pill. So glad, now. Poor woman. What can you do? And how do you ever live it down?

Anywho, here’s me rocking my new T.

In other news, Wendy takes her driving theory test next Saturday, assuming she passes her instructor is booking her in for the first available practical test.

Then the Saturday after that I start a beginners course in Russian!

I’ve wanted to learn it for ages, tried on my own a few times, and even discovered a local school for former Russians to teach their kids English and Russian that does adult classes. I could never do it as it was on a Saturday and I was always working. Now though, the stars are in alignment! Yay!

That’s reminded me, I’ve got to print off, fill in, and email back the enrolment form. They only confirmed the course was running a few days ago.


laters potatoes,