Monday, 24 June 2013


13 days until Outlaw and I am having my first full on proper actual panic! It’s irrational as, at this stage, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. My brain needs to switch into ‘you’re as ready as you can be mode’ and I just need to relax into the day. It’s strange really because on Friday I had my best ride probably ever with a 74 miler in 4hrs 40 mins including 3 food breaks. I stopped to eat to replicate the fact that unlike last year where I ate constantly during the ride, this year I will have to stop, de hood and eat and then get going again. I felt really strong throughout and busted the final 2 mile stretch of my ride without dipping below 22mph (on a stretch I’ve struggled in the past to get above 20mph!). My fuel was marmalade sarnies and bananas, water, gel/water combo and a sneaky Coke!
I was confident after Friday that I was bike ready and would not suffer the same problems I faced on the ride last year. All I had to do was get a 15-18 mile run in on Saturday and a good swim on Sunday and I would have no worries to juggle in the final 2 weeks. Of course I let myself down again! I didn’t run on Saturday but levelled it with myself that I would do it Sunday. I didn’t! For that I am a Twat! (as my training plan is littered with Twat reminders!)
Weird how such a high has become such a low! Weird too because I was buzzing having received my printed Morphsuit. The feedback from everyone has been brilliant.

The Outlaw symbol on the face and the Pirate arms are spot on, all the bits and bobs I wanted on it are there. I wanted a nod to the Pirates for last years finish support. I also wanted to mention @Ironholgs & @Bungleduck both of whom have recently announced their retirement on medical grounds from Ironman!

I added a bit of Blackadder Goes Forth humour with a General Melchett quote which I find particularly apt with my poor preparation. It's something for the masses to read as they lap me!

The doer of deeds speech is on my right thigh deliberately upside down so I can read it while riding (even though I probably can't see that clearly to read it of course but it is still a comfort to have it there!)

I have some personal stuff on my left. 26 refers to the 26th anniversary of the death of my mom being 27th June 1987. It is not lost on me the close proximity of Outlaw to this date. The Latin phrase means Pride Confidence Heart and Happiness in reference to Mrs B and she and the rugrats are of course my main source of strength! 13 is just my lucky number (although I couldn’t convince Outlaw to assign that number to me - I am 605 btw). No Morphsuit is complete of course without a quote from Bono!

I tried the suit on and in my humble opinion I reckon it looks pretty good if a little scary (some have said!). I did have a brief panic re visability but that was resolved with a Poppyfields Zumbathon Morphsuit warm up on Saturday. Vision OK just might need a cap under my cycle helmet to shade the sun.

Another positive was receiving loads of encouragement from everyone about tackling the event in the Morphsuit until a message from Outlaw themselves on FB suggested that despite me having cleared it with Outlaw before entering the event I may be stopped by a course referee. I specifically got permission from Outlaw and the BTF before entering and then training for the purpose of tackling Outlaw in the suit. That means my training is tailored to completion through determination rather than balls out speed to complete as fast as I can. I have asked Outlaw to let me know if there are any problems but I think this potential spanner in the works at this late stage has thrown me. I hope it comes to nothing!
Another problem is I didn’t swim last week! I know I know I’ve only myself to blame. I’ve not got Suit 1 (Morphswimsuit) into OW yet! This week was supposed to focus on OW swim having sorted the bike and run demons but with me having failed on the run front I now find myself concentrating on both swim and run with issues I should have resolved weeks ago at a time when I should be just ticking over. It’s fair to say I haven’t learnt from last year at all and I have nothing but admiration (tinged with jealousy) for all of you preparing properly, sticking to plans and making the necessary sacrifices to get to Outlaw and be the best you can possibly be!
It’s been pointed out to me recently that I have become a bore in general since giving up booze! Looking at my blog I am beginning to bore myself with the ups and downs, the repetition, the insecurity, the self loathing, the momentary highs, the self inflicted lows! The only saving grace will be if I can walk away from this years Outlaw as proud and humbled as I was last year and that will ultimately rely on whether I achieve my goal of raising £10,000 for Birmingham Childrens Hospital.
I should probably keep most of these thoughts to myself but sometimes the only way to face and overcome my deficiencies is to write them down and have them stare back at me! It then becomes a challenge to overcome them. I am now waiting patiently for the next up which will probably come when the run and swim butterflies are dispelled and the switch in my brain has switched!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Best Week!

Something clicked last week (about time eh?). Not a physical clicking (my knees already crack, so does my back. My neck clicks too oh and my shoulder) although these do occur briefly. Sometimes on a training run, or ride or swim everything clicks together and for however brief a period I feel I am running like Mo, cycling like Cav or swimming like.....a really good swimmer! For me these moments are fleeting but they often occur and when they do I feel strong, my breathing is perfect, my timing is spot on and for that second I feel like it will last forever. I also think that for that brief moment if someone saw me they would be more inclined to applaud me rather than the usual glance of concern and dialling of 999 for ambulance services!
No, this was a mental click - its like an acceptance of fate. I can run and ride faster than I could this time last year. I have trained more regularly over the last 6 months than I did during the same period of 2012 and I have avoided injury (smacks head on wooden desk top!) so it follows that I am in better shape to take on Outlaw! Granted my swim training had been non existent until last week but it is was it is.
The click occurred last Sunday when I followed my regular weekend fail to get out of bed for my 'long' ride with two short rides on a journey I would normally do by car. It was a springboard to my best week of training ever! A 4.5 mile Monday run was followed by a mile in the pool. Tue saw a pre breakfast 25 on the Merida. Wednesday an 8 mile lunchtime run and Thursday another pre breakfast Merida jaunt of 24. The nice thing was not only had I hit all aspects of triathlon for the first time in a long time I felt strong doing it! I enjoyed doing it! It built me up nicely to 76 Merida miles on Friday which included some good hills, good heat coping training, good fuel practice but most importantly I didnt wilt at any stage. I never felt it was too much. I could have cycled on at the end had time restraints not caught up with me. I eased down on Saturday with a slow/steady 5 mile run and completed the week (week 5 in the countdown to Outlaw) with a mile swim and a 4 mins improvement on the previous Monday.
A bit more of the same this week and next and then a little taper to the big day will see me at the start, Morphed up and in better shape than last year. The suit is off to the printers this week and whilst a sponsor would have been a financial help in funding this challenge I am secretly pleased I couldnt attract one. This means the suit design will be all about Outlaw, BCH, Poppy, Mrs B and the rugs, some general inspiration and one or two suprise acknowledgements for last years race and the last years prep. Pics to follow.
With 4 weeks to go (3 weeks 6 days to be precise) many people believe that what I do now wont make a difference to my Outlaw experience. I cant get a lot fitter or stronger during this time but I am not worried I need to. I dont normally do predictions and for this my second triathlon the target remains completion/survival but 2 + 7 + 6 = 15......just a thought!
I accept I am unlikely to win, I may even miss out on a PB but I am damn confident I will do it and I will be the first Ironmorph to cross the line on July 7th!