Month: June 2019


Eek! 35 days until the Outlaw triathlon!

My training hasn’t really recovered from that 6 weeks of lurgy.

I’m back up to marathon distance with my runs, I’ve done a few decent rides of 60 – 70 miles but no 100 milers, and my swim is still rubbish, done about 1½ miles.

On the positives, for years I’ve been trying to find a quiet route cycling route. If you want to ride 50 miles in any direction you are going to be on main roads at some point. A while ago it occurred to me that all around Warrington are quiet country lanes. I spent a two days sorting out a loop last week, then found an app where I could plot it out and save it (as something called a GPX file) then I had to find out how to transfer the GPX to my bike PC. I took it for a test ride, the bike PC acting like a satnav on my course, and apart from one busy crossing (which I later realised I can eliminate by doing the loop in reverse) it worked like a charm. 34 miles, mostly really quiet roads, with a few hills. I did two laps, (the second by memory) it’s akin to the Outlaw course. Mostly flat, wind to contend with, a few hills that obviously get repeated.

That is the best training thing in ages. You really don’t want to get on your bike when you know you’ve got to ride around town centre or motorway roundabouts.


The other positive is my running.

A few times lately I’ve said “I think I’ll beat my Personal Best (PB) at X distance” and have.

Looking at it, I’ve battered my PB in every category, since May.

Also, which it doesn’t record as a run distance, I beat my 10 miles PB on the tenth of June. 

I was recommending my running pack to two women on Twitter who wanted to run into work carrying clothes and makeup, they said their bags were killing them. I was used to pack running in the army before I got mine. Everything bouncing up and down and rubbing. By the end you’re all bruised with loads of friction burns. I got my pack for a 50 mile (ultra) I was running. It was a revelation. It just works. No pain, no bouncing, no webbing burns. Anyway, I recommended it, then got a bit nervous. Was it as good as I remembered?

I ran to work and and back (18 miles) to time myself then did a pack run on my last day at work. Carrying a full uniform, a change of running gear (for coming home) a flask, rations and ‘phone. My first pack run in years and years, and my first ever double run day. I liked it. Good training. I’ll be doing that again. And the pack worked a treat.


I still suck at swimming.


I’m looking to get through this year’s Outlaw, eat my humble pie, then I’m concentrating on getting my sub 3 hour speed for next April’s Manchester marathon. I’m also going to apply for a place in the Berlin marathon for next year. I’ve bought a book, Advanced Marathoning”, that walks you through the science, explains why you have to do what they tell you to do, then sets out a training plan. Apparently it’s gold.


In other news, I’ve been suffering with big energy crashes and just feeling weak after work so I’ve changed my diet to wholegrain bread, muesli, eggs, and such (instead of jam on white toast with loads of butter for breakfast and dinner) to try and develop slow release, steady energy instead of spikes and crashes.

The other great news is work have let me swop to a rotating 4 days shift pattern. I have the option to work my days off to make up my hours, but if they batter me with long shifts and I can’t train, I can take 4 days off at a time! At my works, overtime, at time and a half, is paid after 45 hours and your sixth shift is time and three quarters. So rather than working 5 days a week, I can make more money working 4 days one week, then 6 days the next. Then have 4 days off. I’ll have to see how it goes but it sounds perfect.

I’ve just swapped, I finished my last last shift on Thursday, start my new rota on Wednesday, 5 days off!

That’s not going to happen again, so I’ve taken all 5 off to train. So Thursday I did my pack run commute, Friday I did the dentist, then slacked off, Saturday I did a 68 mile test of my cycle route, today, Sunday, I set a new PB for a half marathon. Monday, Tuesday, while everyone’s at work and school, I’ll catch up on my swimming (and riding and running.

In a bit of live action blogging, just had a bad turn. I’m sat here with the window open, typing this. I heard a bunch of kids outside, not doing anything, just being loud and excitable, (it’s 22.37hrs) and I started panicking. In a few seconds it had snowballed in my head to gangs of kids running riot every night, trashing stuff and making life a misery. My stomach started knotting and I felt like I was losing it again.

I turned out the light and poked my head out of the window, it’s a bunch of Asian kids playing cricket in someone’s garden. Aaaaaaannnddddd, relax. 

I’d forgotten all about that flavour of loony. The mind is a strange and fragile thing. Wendy and I are often forced to reflect on the truth of the cliché that if you’ve not got your health (physical or mental) you’ve got nothing. 

None of the above training would be worth a carrot if I was to go loony again. And life would be a misery.

One of the white neighbours has just shouted to ask them to keep the noise down, the kids apologised and are being quite. Bless ‘em.

Right, I’m off to bed.



PS I’ve forced myself back to the swimming. On Monday I did a 2.2 mile swim in 1 hour 40. Terrible time, but the race cut off is 2.4 miles in 2 hours, so at least now I know I shouldn’t fail on the swim.

Today I tried for a half triathlon but it all went a bit pear shaped. Wanted a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride, 13.1 mile run. I left it too late for the swimming, only had 40 minutes in the pool, did a mile. It was cool and raining for the ride, but I was thinking like a runner, that it would be too hot for a waterproof, so I set off in the drizzle in just a thin, long sleeved top over my tri suit. By the time I’d done the first lap of 36.74 miles I was soaked, cold and miserable, so I sacked it off. I did the run at least.

It was good training, no matter what.

Wendy’s trying to get me to drop triathlon and concentrate on getting a fast marathon. She know how much I hate swimming and how much cycling bores me. But if I was good at it, perhaps I wouldn’t. There was a spell on that big swim where I actually found a rhythm, got my stroke right, and was gliding along. I was still slow, but I wasn’t fighting the water.


Training Break

I saw a picture a while back, under “Britain’s Best Cycling Routes”, somewhere up in the wilds of Scotland.

It’s supposed to be the UK’s toughest ascent, and just look at the roads! Empty, sweeping, awesome.

Sadly it’s in the middle of nowhere, the holiday accommodation I could find was either fully booked or rich people only, and when I asked a native it seems the pictures are totally misleading, it’s famous and a mecca for caravans and such. Imagine wobbling up a couple of miles of leg burning ascent while caravans and mobile homes are trying to pass you and each other! 

Anyway, nowhere to stay, so no. But the seed had been planted. Top of Scotland, hills, great roads, sparsely populated, little traffic.

I tried a bunch of places but they were all booked, finally got a caravan in Nairn. Great. Booked it.

Where’s Nairn?


6½ hours drive away. Way, way, up in the Highlands.

That was our last stay in a caravan. We got up there and it was sunny and warm, as you could hope in June, then it started raining and turned cold.

It turns out we’ve been to that neck of the woods twice previously, so we’d already seen the tourist sites.

I feel bad for Wendy. She says it was alright, but the only thing for her to do there was walk and eat. And huddle by the fire.

I had a good training session. Killer hills, gorgeous, empty, back roads, great running and cycling.

Poor Wendy, though.

Next holiday is somewhere that’s got holiday stuff to do. And has brick walls and double glazing.

Here’s a few snaps.

And look at this, Microsoft have finally dumbed their photo editing thing down enough that I can use it!

Pole ruining snap, then gone!

Voodoo, I tell you! Still not the best of pics, but the tech impresses me greatly.


And here’s a video of Wendy down on the farm. 4 hours in Scotland and she went native.

The video of her ploughing fields in her high heeled, slingback wellies didn’t load.

That’s about it.

Great training, rubbish holiday for Wendy. *sad face*

Next time.



PS, Wendy started feeling ill on Friday afternoon, said she was going to pack her kit for the morning drive home in case she didn’t feel good enough later. If we were doing nothing, why waste all of Saturday driving back? We had the idea at 16.30, 17.02 we were packed, caravan cleaned, car loaded, bike stripped and bagged, and out of there.  And it lashed it down all the way home. Started to aquaplane twice, bit of focusing trip back. (Should mention that Wendy started to feel OK again as soon as we hit the road.) Which meant today I was free to pick up my bike panel from the spray painter, cut the hole in it and fit it, with crash bungs. My bike looks groovy again.

All the bottom red panel had snapped off below and in front of the crash bung. so all that black sideways V and the grey fins were missing. The panel I sourced was purple, so he’s done a good job of matching the colour.