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.