Monday, August 31, 2015

National Triathlon Relays.

How to write about a day that involved so many other people?  Well, in truth I daren't and don't have the time.  There were 6 teams at the Sheffield Tri club camp - each with 4 members.  I was teamed up with H (the organiser of the teams), Matt and Andrew - all competent athletes in their own right but everyone was out to have fun and get some exercise.

Of all of us, two didn't know what was going on - neither did some of the other team mates so that made it awkward sometimes and a few mistakes were made but not important ones as we discovered that the day went slower than one might have expected.

Having set some stuff down in camp, I foolishly went to rack in transition and was told that I was not welcome until the 1st and 2nd athletes in my team had gone out to ride.  As someone who usually has transition tidily set up in good time for the start of the race, I was disgruntled and headed back to my club base to moan about how hard this all was for someone with ODC (obsessive disordered compulsion!).

I was scolded by Nancy who reminded me it was supposed to be fun and had to continue reminding me all day that my normal ways were wrong.  I had images of having to run down wet steps in my wetsuit to rack my bike but Nancy reminded me I had over an hour to get out of the wetsuit and rack my bike.  It all began to make sense but I still spent a lot of the day checking that I had everything and feeling that it could be better.

The time came for me and all the other "C" athletes to head over to the swim or at least, we went down to the hill beside the lake to see what it was all about, see how it played out.  Of course, we were watching the front-runner athletes handing over to their team mates so they were all fast and competent people.  They ran into the water and dived lithely into their stroke, cutting through the water...

and we all thought, that's me, that's what I'll be like, that's what I'll do.

Down at the water front, I struggled into my wetsuit, hopping over the crossing point as I got one leg into my wetsuit and then the other.

My team mate zipped me in and I jiggled around uncomfortably.  I have never gotten dressed so quickly in a race before.  The two other people from Sheffield teams - John and Nicola, stood with me and waved frantically as our people came out.  I took my elastic band off Matt and barged my way through the sea of athletes behind, all waiting for their person to approach.

I ran headlong onto the slipway and down into the water but rather than dive lithely in, I tripped over a rock and did a belly flop, getting water up my nose in the process.  After a few strokes of doggy paddle and then breast stroke, I found enough rhythm to start crawl and enjoyed passing a lot of people.  This is the one discipline where I actually went faster than Matt - the reason: he can run a sub-20 minute 5k and I can't.

I rolled around both buoys on the inside of around 6 people each and, avoiding the swimming washing machine (a man who threatened to drown, punch or kick all who got too close), made short shift of the final straight.  My person, Andrew Marsden was front-centre, waiting to take my elastic band.

It was a pleasant walk back to Camp Sheffield Tri.  Now I was starting to understand the "fun" part and relieved it wasn't a normal race as, for the first time ever, my team mate managed to zip my tri suit into my wetsuit zip so it took me about 10 minutes to get it off.  In a real race I would've been spitting feathers.

In the hour I had to kill before my bike ride I finally got out of my wetsuit, chatted, ate something and then decided I was too paranoid to wait for the first person to come back before I went down to transition, in case they decided to stay down there and watch the racing. All the c-team members got together and we joined the queue of people waiting to get in. The team numbers were called out as people left and we were allowed one-in-one-out. Things got a bit heated but generally everyone was calm.  If I had any regrets with this event it's that it was difficult to watch the racing and encourage team mates. Once you were in transition the atmosphere was electric but away from there I felt a bit cheated. The security on transition seemed pointless since poor Red Dragon bike spent most of the day unsupervised by the tri club camp, with only one rack spot per team in the transition area.

I removed my helmet as part of the deal seemed to be only putting on the lid after you had your band (batton) but gloves and shoes and socks were already on.

I had the opportunity to see Nancy and Matt (my guy) go through then Nancy passed a second time as I watched for Matt coming in on his final lap.

I managed to elbow my way to the front and catch his eye.

I had a fast jump on the bike but then struggled to get my feet clipped in. Once I had got going I realised I should have warmed up a little, at least moved my legs a bit before starting to ride and I felt the ligaments over my left knee start to tighten before I got into my pedal stroke.  At least the tail wind on the downhill helped and I started to move easier.

I didn't notice any progress on the bike because I was concentrating on blitzing it. As I came down the hill the second time I was passed by the lead team and the associated motorbike.

Not wishing to get 'done' for drafting I pulled out to pass behind with the leader and the motorbike who slowed down. I didn't want to draft the motorcycle either so pulled back in and got a bit stuck really. At which point the motorcycle pulled up alongside for a word. Fortunately it was, 'go on love, give it some stick!' and he dropped back to let me past the slower riders before resuming his cover for the leader.

On lap 3 I was just getting into it and rather than switch it down a gear for the short shallow climb I just dug a little deeper and popped out of the top in oxygen debt. I quickly recovered though and rocketed through the last lap, weaving my way around all the people taking their shoes off on the bike (why?). I did a running dismount before temporarily racking my bike and passing the band to Andrew Marsden to go go go!  All of the people who had removed their feet from their shoes wondered why they had done so as they were now waiting for their bikes, barefoot.

My bike was returned to me by a friendly marshal and I set off back to camp base to try and recover some sense of legs for the final run in an hours time.

There was definitely more stretching and recovery in this transition. A certain amount of lying under trees or in the sun with my legs in the air but I soon got used to the idea that I had dried out and I was ready for a run.
Matt was very calm in transition, waiting for his turn. Me, I had lost all sense of time so when Andrew Marsden came in off his bike ride I was chomping at the bit to get down to the run, forgetting we still had half hour of Helen running next before it was Matt and then me.

Matt eventually admitted he was waiting for Helen to run by and then realised that because her run started at the bike transition she wouldn't actually run past us at all.

Once Matt set off, I couldn't resist. TSK had arrived so we set off to sit in the shade of a tree and wait for him to pass us on his lap. After 20 minutes I stood with 30 others waiting for my man to come in.

This was a good place as we all had a great view of runners coming in. I took my place and legged it like the proverbial bat. The first hillock slowed me a bit but I recovered and picked up speed again along the boathouse. The rise up the footpath was hard but I dug fell-deep and let go on the little descent to the lake side although I could hear someone haring up alongside me. Just to put them off I stayed on the off camber grass slope as long as I could, preferring the grass to tarmac. She was stuck on my left where it was steeper. She was there for some time before I relented and then the flat struck me in the face like a frying pan and I let her pass me. To my surprise, I stuck with her and to my greater surprise when I checked my watch we were doing 8 mph. My usual fast pace is 7.4.

I stuck with her around 3/4 of the way along the long straight, constantly checking my watch to see if she dropped below 7.5mph. As she faded through my "max speed" I attacked and ran the direct headwind along the top of the lake on my own. She couldn't go with me.

The tail wind down the 2km finishing straight was imperceptible compared to the roasting, blazing heat of the 11am sun and after 750m of it I had, myself slowed down to 7mph then I saw TSK. I think I slowed down more but then gave myself a talking to and by the time I could see the finish I was back up at 8mph.  I had done the equivalent of a 48 minute 10km pace and my fastest 5k run ever.

Andrew grabbed the batton with strict instructions from me not to let the team from Cambridge pass him back.  He didn't and in the end, my lovely Rivelin team number 80 were 115th of 195 finishers.
My results were:

Swim 500m - 09:57 - 120/792
Bike - 15km - 26:00 - 460/792
Run - 5km - 24:18 - 552/792

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Last week

Last weekend I had a bit of an epic time on Saturday. It may not have seemed like it to my club mayes but the ride was hard for someone who really had too many miles in their legs... then i went swimming.

I had Sunday off but ended up gardening.

On Monday I rode to work. Did swimming and running on Tuesday and rode in on Wednesday. That caused my calf muscle to spasm in the middle of the night leaving it slightly pulled in the middle of the night. Rest day Thursday then which gave me the excuse to go to the pub with tsk.

Walking thrre i got gradually increasing pain in my left leg. Core bone pain. Surely not a stress fracture?  I hobbled to the pub like the trooper i am, limping, tben tightened my sboes up for the walk home and got back just fine.

Knowing I had a sprint race on Saturday I needed to get an endurance run done Friday. I prayed that the morning would bring good spirits.

Friday dawned without pain and as I had ambitiously packed my running bag it was easier to run to work than decide what else to do.

Once I had warmed up, running became effortless again and I plodded all the way to Brinsworth. It wasn't fast but it was effortless. Only the stopping throughout the day hurt. It made my heart sink and made me sleepy.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A good old bit of stats

Last year I wrote this about my Celtman Training:

Training since November:
Swim - 24 miles 34hours 8mins. 
Bike - 1782 miles 159 hours 41 mins 24.8km climbing
Run - 388 miles 88hours 20 mins 14.2km vertical climb.  

or a total of 281 hours training

This years 8 months of training for Olympic tri does not look too much different in some alarming ways but has been much more fun:
Swim - 21 miles 30hours 45mins. 
Bike - 1748 miles 159 hours 11 mins 24.2km climbing
Run - 224 miles 50hours 14 mins 8.3km vertical climb. 

or a total of 289 hours training

Monday, August 10, 2015

An unexpected delight

Yesterday, I went out for a walk with my mum and dad.  It was a beautiful walk but it took us rather a long time to do and so, with chatting in the garden included, we were probably in baking sunshine for the best part of 6 hours.

When they left I was feeling a combination of depression and hyperactivity.  So lovely to see them and they are doing OK but things were worrying me and I had an evening of sulking - up until about midnight.

I fell soundly asleep at midnight but woke up at 5am choking.  I felt like I'd inhaled some feathers and wet out for a drink of water.  I promptly fell fast asleep for 2 hours, waking feeling groggy and puffy eyed.

It was starting to drizzle so I drove to work, taking my running things just in case.  I was too tired to drive, really, never mind ride my bike.

The day was dull as dishwater and towards the end of it my mind turned to the targets I am setting myself for Bala.  As I got changed I agreed with myself some ambitious targets for the race which sit somewhere between unachievable and going too easy on myself.  I have surprised myself recently so I don't want to under-egg it.

In order to then go on to complete the 3 Peaks Cyclo-cross I am enhancing this plan with some endurance hill climb type training - which I decided to start today with a longer run home via two long hill climbs.  They go up Herries Road outside the Northern General Hospital and from Hillsborough up to my house in Walkley.

My colleague asked how long it would take.  I said, "usually an hour and a half but today I am taking a different route so I don't know and of course, because I am going over Herries Road, I might get abducted, raped and murdered but hey", (at least I won't have to come to work tomorrow - was the insinuation).

I have been ranting this week about people not saying "hello" on the bike path home.  It just seems rude and mainly annoys me because normally people are so nice.  It seems that the good weather has brought out all the people who don't know the rules (or have any manners?).

Tonight, as I ran through Tinsley, I said Hi to four white youths.  They called me a "Tranny" which I take as a compliment.  I am looking quite muscular now, yes thank you.  I thought of threatening to prove to him my gender but didn't want to damage his young eyesight.  I was most amused by the fact that his mate couldn't hear his jeers so as far as he was concerned, his commentary was lost on me anyway.

On the canal I said Hi to a gypsy lady.  She blessed me.  Get in!  Those targets for Bala seem all the more achievable now.

I had a horrid time leaving the canal to make my way through a shopping mall area near to Meadowhall, around the back of the SIVL adminsitration buildings and on to the road approaching Forgemasters.  Just carparks and pavement and cars and crossings.  Ugh, but no pain no gain when it comes to 3 Peaks training.  Finally I was at the aptly named Grimesthorpe crossroads and could start my hill climbing.

I said Hi to an aged Indian man with a beautifully groomed white beard and he said, "Kip joggin deah" in a quiet voice as I passed him by.  I was elated.

So much so that I didn't even notice the scary roundabout (although a pretty blonde lady waved me across in front of her car) and the scary crossing by the hospital.  The hillclimb was done with a few extra breaths and then the downhill was underway.

I ran right alongside the fence, looking down at the brook through Scraith Wood, trying to see if there was any path and, failing that, to pretend that I was in the woods.  Finally a gate presented itself and I ran gleefully along the path with the road way below me and nearly out of earshot before boof! I was prevented going any farther by a palisade fence (a good job since there was a cliff-face on the other side of the fence).

I retraced my steps to find the last turn which threaded sharply up the hill and left me with precious little choice but to scrabble up the near-vertical dusty cliff face in my skinny road shoes.  More than once I thought I would slither back to the bottom but insanity prevailed and I made my way over to the fence line to see where it would take me.

The years had been unkind to the fence up there and it lay overturned, a mess of steel cable and concrete posts.  To further prevent people from pushing cars off the edge onto the factories below, concrete bollards about 3 ft tall and 3 ft diameter lined the edge of the cliff.  A path made its way along the edge, just on the other side of them so I joined it.  Now, running to the smell of milk chocolate and liquorice - one of the factories is a Cadburys Trebor.

I looked out over the sports centre, the B&Q and the towers of Stannington beyond and tried to pick out our house.  There were buildings I didn't recognise and a track?  Oh yeah, the dog track.  I could hear the announcements drifting on the breeze like they sometimes do when we are at home.

It quickly turned into a downhill to be proud of and I stretched my legs, thinking all the time how awesome it will be to ride down... until I got to the 12 steps at the bottom.

I heard the gentle, then more ferocious tinking and clicking of the railway tracks as a bridge came into view then the gurgle of a diesel engine as a train roared underneath.  I just sneaked a glimpse of carriage after carriage of steely ingots being transported away from Sheffield.  Destination and final product undetermined.  It is one of my favourite things about living in Sheffield.  Its core history and how, despite all the odds, it is still functioning as a multicultural vibrant city that remembers its past.

As I am still reeling from the awe of tonnes of steel winding its way into the countryside at 40 miles per hour, my breath is snatched by the dead.  First one gravestone, then a pair, then rows of them - one after the other, right next to each other, spreading back far into the trees.  The moss on the names is bright green, the stones black with age and pollution but the sun shines through the trees in an orange bask.  There are a lot of people here, yet only three are walking.

I take a photo and jog on.

As I exit the grounds via the foundations of the old building and a monolithic memorial stone, I find the river Don.  I get very excited because I have tried to follow the Don home a number of times, only to end up diverted on to the main A61 and a bit miserable.  I only have time to appreciate it a little before the way home takes me onto the road and around the dog track, this time straight into Hillsborough village without even needing to concern myself with the A61.

Within 20 minutes of painful uphill blasting I am home.  This time enriched and enlivened by the lovely people (and "humorous twats") I have met along my way.

Now that's how to wash down a bad day.

Thursday, August 06, 2015


Ripped into work yesterday at high speed and then much to my amazement, managed to do the same home.  Rode up the hill in the middle ring - something I've never done - collecting a high five from a team mate running down the hill the other way.

What an evening!

Alarm went off this morning for a run to work but I couldn't get up until 1hr 40 minutes later.

Sometimes your body gives you no option but to listen.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Trep has been censored

The nasty people at FB have realised Trepid Explorer is not a normal human and wish to reinstate my account as boring old me... if they even accept that I am who i say I am.

I wish to get some of my photos and posts back so I may return for a while as boring old me. However, i am unlikely to trust them with my friendship again.

So, friends, I have not disappeared but instead you will find me here or on my Twitter feed. Any future me who appears on FB will be a shadow of my former self for sports club notifications and little else. I may lurk from time to time.

I finish on the advice to never trust the internet with your precious moments and never go through your phone deleting pictures because they are on FB. Who said information on the web lasts forever?

Off to print out 10 years of blog posts.

Monday, August 03, 2015


Headstand success and all kind of controlled and elegant except for the bit where I "dismounted" (?) onto the cat who had made herself comfortable on the mat.

Liverpool Triathlon

Overall 462/624
F40-45  12/22 (122%)
Women 70/110

Swim. 30:40 65th 12/22

Transition 1 : 6:00 (estimated between 6:30 and 6:46)

Bike 1:18:48 (estimated) between 66th and 67th. Approx 9/22. Second fastest ever bike leg.
Cp1 9:27
2 19:24
3 19:12
4 19:06
5 13:10

T2 3:00

Run 49:04 73rd 13/22.  Personal best by 4 minutes.

Lessons Learned

Take my nylon shoes in future or sort out some new ones
Take 1 full bottle split into 2 for safety.
Fuel after 30 mins running with a gel.
Recce swim line, plan my route and adapt to suit
Start at a maintainable pace or get used to sprint-relax-sprint


Replace swim timer
Raise RD's saddle a bit
Get a price from pro bike fit