Pie In The Sky

I’ve started on my next two impossible challenges.

Going sub 3 hours for a marathon, then going sub 10 hours for a triathlon.

I’m hoping to get the sub 3 in April on the Manchester marathon. I’ve made a training plan and it *just* has me running half a mile extra each week at the blisteringly fast (for me) pace of 6.45 m/m. I accidentally started at a mile instead of half a mile, so this week I did 1½ miles to keep it up.

That’s not all the running I’ve been doing, obviously.  My long run last week was 18 miles, today I’ve just run 20. This is going to have to stop. It’s a brilliant exercise in mental toughness and discipline but it is horribly painful and I’m risking overuse injury. Also it’s really discouraging to struggle so badly on a long-ish run and have your pace drop right off, when you are aiming to be going longer and faster. 

I’m thinking now that the sub 3 is going to be so hard I may have to accept just getting faster this time, then do it next time.

That’s as nothing to my second challenge. The sub 10 Iron tri.

My PB, this year, was 13.17.

My swim was 1hr 40, I need to knock 40 minutes off that.

Transition 1 (T1) was 11 minutes, need to just run through, 4 minutes max.

My bike was 7hrs 01, I need to get to 5hrs 25

T2 was 7 minutes, needs to be 4 minutes

My marathon was 4hrs 18, needs to be 3hrs 26.

Look at those figures!

Apart from the transitions (just run through) the only one I’m confident I can achieve is the run.

I’ve finally managed to enrol with a swim coach at Orford leisure centre. Wendy’s workmate goes to the same class, he says the instructor is a well respected triathlete coach. Apparently he wants to know exactly what you want to achieve, then is brutally honest about whether you can do it.

I’ve been giving it some thought, I’m arbitrarily setting the bar at 3 years. I’m thinking: I’m 52 now, I can get fitter and stronger but my body will get older and slower. It’s not a battle I can win. I reckon I can force my body to do as it’s told for another 3 years, beyond that I’ll have to wait and see.

I will be telling the coach then that I want to do a 2.4 mile swim, in an hour, within 3 years. If he says it’s not possible I’ll still train and try to prove him wrong, but at some point I’ll have to lower my sights.

I hear competitive knitting is the next big thing.

All of this may come to nothing. I may never even get a sub 3. I always have unrealistic expectations of what I can achieve. Then I achieve it anyway. It’s going to be a sad day when I am forced to accept I’m too old. I’ve already accepted that I’m never going to win a marathon race. It’s stupid to think I ever could, but a few years back I couldn’t see why not.

Against professional athletes.

In their twenties.

Unrealistic expectations.


The coach is away this week, but hopefully I’ll have some sort of answer a week Monday. If I can’t get the swim, I can’t do it. If it’s a maybe, it is ON!

I’ve got a beastly hard turbo trainer for the pushbike, put in many, many hours of that, go sub 3 on the run, It’s still possible.

One thing that did cheer me, in an odd, ‘this is going to cost a fortune’, way, was a video I saw on YouTube. Two cycle journalists comparing a standard Raleigh racer bike with an aero bike. The fancy pants one was full carbon frame, weighed 5 kilos less and had aerodynamic wheels and a sleek frame. Their question was does it really make a difference?

The answer was a resounding “Yes”. 7.5%- 10% in different areas. This was the same guys taking turns over the same courses on the bikes then comparing their personal times. If that’s right, that means I could save (say 8%) 33½ minutes on the bike just by upgrading. To, say this:

bloody hell!

A mere £8,399.



I’ve told Wendy when I’m in the top 10 in the world I’ll get one.

I’m not doing anything yet, but if I am showing any signs of being on target, this time next year (or the year after) I’ll get on eBay and get a second hand bike. Not that one, obviously. It’s the end of the season and loads of people are saying “sod that for a lark” and selling up. I feel their pain. So much so I knocked this up.

Outlaw Logo - Copy (2)

Well, I bought the bottom bit, cropped it, and added the Outlaw logo. Not exactly rocket science, but I’ve never tried to do anything like it before, so I was quite pleased with myself. I’ve bought some sticky back sheets and made it into stickers.


The only other thing is the FireBlade. The complete package of settings for the shocks worked a treat and it’s a really stable and confidence inspiring ride again. And such an awesome beast.


I’ve started doing 6th shifts again this week. The ‘Blade cleaned us out. Now it’s the end of the season I could do with going back on to long shifts and raking in huge amounts of cash, but times are changing with the buy-out, and I don’t know if they’d be so accommodating if I asked again in a few months. Plus there’s the constant messing them about. 




PS, Week later.

I should have known. I booked my swim lessons to start on Monday, knowing I’d not had a long shift in ages, ended up doing a 13 hour shift. Typical. I’ve been doing 7 to 10 hour shifts for ages, hardly any overtime. Suddenly a 14hrs15, 13hrs, 12’s..

In a way it’s what I wanted, to get a quick boost of cash, but suddenly I’m struggling to train again.

Also, I’m enjoying the FireBlade so much I don’t want to pushbike in to work.

I’ve pre-registered for next year’s Outlaw triathlon. See how much I can knock off my time. See whether it is any way feasible. I was talking to some guy on twitter who has done a 9 hours 50 Ironman and he said a big factor is flat, well surfaced roads. Apparently Hamburg and Barcelona are top of the list. Who knows, if I can get close, spend a bomb on a fancy bike/ a brand name “Ironman”/ travel/ hotel/ etc, maybe…

One downer, I was watching other videos and reading up, and the consensus is that was a bogus comparison of bikes and performance gains. They say the aerodynamics are vital, of course, but the rider is 80% of the drag, the bike is only 20%. The test bikes were a racer, which has the rider sat up, against a tri bike, where you are hunched right over. As some people pointed out, a fair test would have been a road bike fitted with clip on aero bars (like mine) vs the tri bike. Once you are in an aero tuck, then you can compare gains. Still better though. A clip on aero bars road bike is always a compromise in position, a TT/ tri bike is dedicated.

I look like this:

Outlaw 2018

compared to this:

TT position

Look at the difference. Even on my tri bars I’m at 30- 45% angle, the pro is flat. I’ve just watched a video from some Time Trial world record holder, he was saying he was churning out loads of power, then tweaked his position, put less power down and went faster. It’s basically free speed. Well, once you’ve paid a few grand for the bike it’s free. For now I’m thinking of different handlebars. Something a lot lower.