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Emotions Running High.... (Part 3 of 3)

Emotions Running High.... (Part 3 of 3)

The Run

I already knew how I was going to approach the marathon; I was going to run from feed station to feed station. I would take fluids onboard while walking through the feed stations and after a lap I was also going to walk the hills as well. I had planned to take as much fluid and food on board at each feed station as I could stomach. This approach meant that I would never have to run more than 2k in one go. The marathon was already broke down into 4 laps, but I broke it down even further and just concentrated on getting to the next feed station or hill and you get a rest/walk. That method worked a treat although I had to add in a lot of unexpected toilet stops as well.

I set off on the run determined to get to the finish line, I couldn't fail after getting this close. The first interval of running was less than 1k. I started walking at the feed station and was confronted with loads of happy faces offering coke, water, energy drink, fruit, gels, soup, coke, energy drink and water. I tried too never refuse a drink, even if I only manage ¼ of a cup. I always got two cups of water with a cup and half going over my head. I couldn't really face any of the energy gels, but they did have some dorito style crisps which tasted amazing after having all that sugar. After this feed station you had to cross over the road via a subway. As I came out of the subway I saw Phil and Kim stood by the side of the road. Phil followed me for a bit offering plenty of encouragement. 

  I am not going to lie and say I didn't feel any fatigue at this point, I did, but my mind was in a very good place. I knew from this position I would reach my goal of completing the Ironman course within the 16 hour time limit. All I had to do was stick to the plan; I could only throw it away now by doing something stupid. For the first 3 laps of the run there were lots of spectators and fellow Ironman competitors.

I am not sure if there were a lot of hills on the course, but my legs were telling me that there were. I think the final lap of the bike had taken its toll on them. They gave you a band at the 2 mile mark on each lap, this was to identify how many laps you had to go. Once you had all 4 bands, you merely had to get to the finishers area and make your way down the magic carpet. I say merely, the finish line was around 4.5 miles away from where you collected your bands. 


There were plenty of feed stations and toilets on the run course, which came in handy to break up the run and to ease the panic that comes with having a dodgy stomach. The longest single stretch of running with no feed station or toilet was on the far side of the course. To get to that section you crossed over a couple of bridges. I remember early on there was a band playing and the restaurants and cafes were really busy. After all the restaurants you ran about a kilometre away from the start then looped back on yourself crossing a timing mat, then you headed back towards the start/finish area.



On my second lap I saw Steve running the opposite way, he was still looking strong. This gave me a boost, I knew from this point even he couldn't cock it up. He is far too determine to quit and would be too tired to push into the red. I still hadn't see Caroline, Jean or Doreen at this point. It wasn't until I started my 3rd lap I saw Jean and Doreen, I passed Jean my sun glasses and heart rate strap. Both were beginning to annoy me now, the glasses and strap, not Jean and Doreen. I asked where Caroline was, Jean said "she gone looking for you".

I had my customary stop at feed station 1, I took on board as much fluid as I could stomach. It was then under the subway, I thought I might see Phil and Kim as I came out the Subway, but they had moved. So I plodded on my way and head towards the petrol station, that was my next land mark. Outside the petrol station Phil, Kim and Caroline were waiting for me. I stopped briefly to chat with them. I can remember saying "I'll be fine I have less than2 laps to go" to which Phil replied "yes, but that's 14 miles". I started running again; the next feed station was only about 800m away. I stopped there and had some more coke and water. It's amazing that the same technique I use to help people start out running, I was now using to complete one of the toughest endurance events. 










The whole day was a bit of an emotional roller coaster to be honest, but one of my biggest moments came towards the end of lap 3 of the run. I had just gone past a big crowd of people and they were cheering me, high fiving me, saying things like you're going to do it, you're an ironman etc. I am not sure if it was now starting to dawn on me that it was actually going to happen and I hadn't been kidding myself for the past 9 months or if it was just because I was getting run down, but I could feel my bottom lip starting to wobble. Moments later I saw Phil, Kim and Caroline standing on the side of the pavement clapping. I had to blank them, I knew if I tired to speak that would be it I would break into floods of tears, I needed to save energy. So I carried on running, but just before I got out of sight I reminded them they needed to be at the finish as I was starting my last lap. I then rounded the corner ran under the shower and popped to the toilet. I then set off on my final loop, you had to run past the finish line on each lap, I was still feeling a bit emotional at this point. I am not sure if this is why the announcer started talking to me over the mic, but it really helped snapped me out of my emotional dip. He was telling me it was my turn next etc.

On my final lap I tried to shake as many hands of the volunteers as possible, they really were incrediable. After I had been to the first feed of the lap and shaken everyone's hands I walked down through and out of the subway and then started running again. As I was approaching the petrol station I could see Phil, Kim and Caroline standing there. This time I was able to talk to them, I was starting to feel good again. Not long after I had seen them was the second feed station of the lap. I stop and grab some fluids, water, coke, energy drink and water. My walks after the feed stations were starting to get longer, but I was still moving forward and confident I would make it to the finish. 


There are many parts of the Ironman and Ironman journey that will stick with me, one in particular came on lap 4 of the run. Just before you come to the area where you get your arm bands that identify which lap you are on, there was a descent. I was walking this descent as my quads were now well and truly shot. One of the volunteers on the band station had spotted me, they all started shouting and cheering. As it was now pitch black and there was hardly anyone around I could here them clearly, despite them being over 100m away. The lady that had spotted me was now sprinting towards me shouting "come on you can do it, we have got a band for you" I couldn't tell you what she looked like, all I can remember is the look of excited and enthusiasm on her face. As I rounded the corner I was now hand in hand with the volunteer, as we got to the group with the bands they all let out a massive cheer and one of them put on my fourth and final band.  The lift this gave me was incredible; to be honest writing about it nearly brings a tear to my eye. It was such a powerful memory and it just highlighted the incredible Ironman spirit that everyone involved with the event shared. The volunteers were absolutely incredible. On the run you would look forward to seeing certain ones each lap, it was nearly as good as seeing your friends and family, it just helped break it all up. There was an Indian guy at around the 2 mile mark, he made the effort to call everyone by their name i.e. "come on Anthony, looking strong mate" he also hi5'd everyone, he must have had sore hands the next day.  

I now had my final band, all I had to do now was to run, walk, crawl 4.5 miles and I would be an Ironman. I couldn't do that before I had my customary toilet stop. Out of the toilet it was down another subway to get to the Lake side of the road. It was now pitch black and there weren't too many people around. My walks were getting longer and my runs shorter, but this was fine, I was moving closer to the finish line. I did see the odd group of people still spectating, when I did I gave them a little clap or shared a high 5. They in turn gave me a massive cheer in return.

The run was starting to get tough now, I never at one moment thought I wouldn't complete it, but I was having to bribe myself. Just get to that post and you can walk a bit, get to the next bridge and you get to walk. It was during these times that I had an experience I haven't had before, or not to the same extent. I had said to myself get to the next banner and you can have a minute's walk, before I knew it I was long past the banner. My mind had somehow switched off completely; I felt no pain or tiredness. Unfortunately as soon as my mind became aware again, the fatigue came flooding back to my senses.

During the run I had been distracting myself with how I would go down the magic carpet, this is the final section of the run which is covered in carpet and surrounded by spectators. You had to run past this on each lap, but my turn to run down the carpet was fast approaching. I had decided I wanted to do a bit of a Hulk Hogan impersonation.  I would walk down the carpet gesturing the crowd to cheer, I would forgo the ripping off of my vest, I didn't have the strength.

As I approached the last 600m I looked around to see how many people were around me. There was one guy walking just in front and another couple of people behind. I decided to go for the line, I wanted the carpet to myself. I could hear the music and the cheering of the crowd, the closer I was getting the louder the noise of victory was. The adrenaline was really flowing through my veins now, pain fatigue had deserted me. The shower had been packed away, so no last minute cool down, I rounded the corner, I could now see the flashing lights. As I began passing cheering spectators I high fived as many as I could. 


As I passed Caroline, Kim, Dorren and Jean and could hear them screaming, I high fived Caroline and my made my way to the carpet. Its hard to describe the feeling I felt at that point. This was the moment I had been craving for years. 



So many things had inspired me to want to become an Ironman. All of which in some way or another got me through the months of training. A book called the Long Run by Matt Long. A story I read on the internet about a lady called Corrine Ellison who recovered from heart surgery to go onto become and Ironman .  Seeing an Ironman event on TV when I was a kid, I remember it being in Lanzarote, but it may have been somewhere else. I remember thinking how incredible those guys must have been to do all that in one day. There's also the Maximise Potential podcasts that have helped motivate me during numerous challenge over the past few years. If you need some inspiration, head over to the website, there's some amazing stories. Kevin Betts, Andy north and Richard Hulme are ones I listen too in the lead up to big events. There are many other things, but I think the final thing to mention is my Walk Jog Run groups. The transformations people make really does inspire me to push myself. I also thought if they can see that an average Anth can do this, what could they achieve?



The final yards

As I made my final turn I was faced with a roaring crowd and a load of flashing lights. The voice of Ironman Paul Kaye was on hand to give me a shout out. I made my way down the carpet trying to soak up the atmosphere and high 5 as many people as I could.  I felt like I was walking very slowly, but on the videos I was actually running. The whole thing is a bit of a blur and I am so glad Caroline and Kim managed to catch it on film. I can remember high fiving the second announcer; this was the one who gave me a lift on the start of my final lap. I wish I knew his name. As I crossed the finish line I had an out-pouring of emotions, but it wasn't as I imagined. I imagined I would be overcome and probably break into tears, but it was the opposite, it was more of a "have some of that I've done it" 

Immediately after crossing the finish line I had a massive rush of energy and felt a bit lost to be honest. They tried wrapping me in foil and gave me half a pint of alcohol free beer. I had to pose for a few finishers photos and ended up having a photo with two guys I'd never met before. I then made my way round to see everyone. I was greeted with lots of congratulations and a "you're never doing this again, after what you've put us through today" - haha. It was then time for a hot shower and a cheese burger which I washed down with a can of becks



There are many people I should thank as anyone who has done anything that requires an enormous amount of training will tell you, you need the support of those around you. My girlfriend Caroline has been an absolute rock, helped and supported me in anyway she could. I do feeling really lucky to have her. My daughter has inspired me to be a better person and for that I am thankful to her. I would also like to thank Jean, who has fed me after countless training sessions, her support to both Steve and I was without doubt essential in us completing our journey. Gary who joined me and Steve on countless long bikes rides, most of them where we got lost somewhere. It was a help having someone else to talk to. A  big thank you to Theresa for all her support.


Phil, Kim and Doreen deserve a thank you, having them there on race day was a massive plus. It helped break the event up further. As good as the crowds were, having people you knew physically there routing for you was a massive plus. There are many people who have offered advice and viewed our journey from afar, Julian Moorhouse and Chris Brisley to name two. Your advice, encouragement and often sarcastic abuse has been invaluable.


And finally I should possibly thank Steve for being the only one crazy enough to go on this journey with me. He has over come as many obstacles and barriers as I have over the course of our Ironman journey. He possibly deserves a medal for listening to my moaning for 9 months.





Punctures, Sticking breaks and Portaloos


On arriving in T1 I was so happy the swim was over. I grabbed my bag and made my way to a spare space within the tent. I never felt in any rush or panic to hurry along. The swim had taken over 25 minutes longer than it should have, but when I entered the Ironman 9 months ago, I would have been happy to be on the bike within 2 hours. So I just took my time, saying "as long as you leave here with 8 hours to do the bike, you have more than enough time". I had a couple of sips of coke and a blueberry cliff bar. I dried myself off and got into my cycling kit. I then ate a banana, dumped my kit bag and I was off to find my bike. On route to my bike I saw Jean, Dorren and Caroline. They seemed complexed to why I wasn't rushing. I think I was subconsciously going slow to allow my mind to recover from the swim, it had taken so much out of me mentally. Looking back now, I find it hard to work out how I got through it. I can only put it down to the mental work I had done before hand and the mental determination not to give up. I got my bike and headed out of transition. 


The Bike 

I didn't get off to a great start, I had caught my garmin in transition which had switched it from T1 to bike, so as I left T1 and press lap to move on to the bike leg, it tripped to T2. I quickly reset my watch and started a new bike workout. I felt a little reliant on my watch as the bulk of my training had been done using it, getting used to training in the correct zone. Not pushing too hard is the key with long endurance events like the Ironman.


I was feeling terrible on the first 10k, at this point I wasn't sure if it was from the illness or getting used to cycling after the long swim. I kept glancing at my watch comparing my heart rate to the speed I was going. When I had gone over the bike section in my head I thought this was the section I would be making up time without having to go into the red. Looking at the numbers I was sailing close to the red 172bpm and losing time. I felt like I was pushing hard on the pedals but wasn't getting anywhere. I was continually getting overtaken by fellow competitors and as much as I kept telling myself, this is your race ignore them, it was playing a bit on my mind. My stomach was really starting to churn and I was in desperate need of the toilet. I decided to bring my scheduled stop forward and would stop at the feed station at the 30k mark.                             

As soon as I reached the feed station I dived in the nearest portaloo. Once I returned to bike I had a problem moving it, the back break was rubbing. I wondered how long it had been doing it for, I had a similar issue at a sportive in the lead up to Ironman, but assumed a new cable had solved the issue. I gave it a little tweak, grabbed a banana and a gel and set off on my way again. I was well down on time, when I had gone through the race in my head; I had planned to gain time on the first flat section as the next 40km was going to involve a lot of hills. I didn't panic and stuck to the plan for the next section of the bike course, spin up the climbs and put it in on the descents. This plan was going well until I got my first puncture. I was going down one of the decent and heard my tyre pop. I pulled up, tip my bike upside, forgetting to close the tops on my water bottles, and set about fixing the puncture. This was not how I planned it. 


By the time I reached heart break hill I was about an hour and half down on time. Phil was waiting around halfway up the climb; this was a bit of a boost. It stopped me thinking about how badly the first half of the race had gone. I was then greeted by a wall of noise. There were crowds of people on either side of the road. This was just what I needed, I soaked up the atmosphere and left the negativity of Lap 1 behind me.


The first part of the bike had definitely not gone to plan. A dodgy stomach and various mechanicals had held me up, it had taken me nearly 4 ½ hours to do half the bike course. I said to myself "they don't just hand those medals out you know, you have to earn them". As I set off on my second lap of the bike course I now knew what was in store. I was trying to work timings out in my head, at this stage my brain wasn't working well as a calculator. My average speed including all stops etc was currently 11mph, I knew to make the cut off at the very worst I had to get that up to 14mph. So that's what I did for the second lap, I pretty much ignored my heart rate and tried to get that number up whenever I could. I planned to stop at the toilet at the 30km feed station again.

As I was riding round the lake on the flatter section of the bike course I was feeling a lot better than I had done on the first lap. I seemed to be making a bit of progress as well, I was now overtaking other riders, rather than being overtaken. I just got in my head I had to make the cut off, so needed to make up time wherever I could. The disaster of the first lap was fuelling me now, I was determined not to come all this way to be pulled out of the race early. When I got to the feed station, I dashed to the toilet, then got back on my bike, grab a banana, a bottle of coke and a bottle of energy drink. I was going to need a lot of sugar on this lap. I was struggling to eat the gels, they were making my stomach worst. I had some salted pistachio nuts with me and I kept nibbling on those where I could. But mainly the second lap was fuelled on coke and sports drink. 

I kept a levelled head on the climbs, not pushing into the red as I knew that would see me wreck my chances on making the cut off. As soon as I got to the summit of the climbs I pressed and pressed hard. I now knew the descents and knew that it was safe to attack them at speed. There was only two things going round my head "they don't give those medals out to anyone you know" and "you have to make the cut off, do whatever it takes to give yourself a chance". I kept looking at my watch the average speed was going up. I was passing riders on the climbs and few were asking me "how long have we got to make the cut off" I offered as much encouragement as I could, but had to focus on the job at hand.

When I got to the final climb before the drop back down towards the Lake, the compare on the feed station announced my arrival and the crowd gave me a little cheer. It seems a bit silly looking back, but this gave me a massive boost. I grabbed another bottle of coke, a bottle of water and half a banana. I checked my watch, it was looking possible. I knew if I kept pressing for the remainder of this lap, barring a mechanical, I was going to make the cut off.

I hammered it down the descent overtaking a large number of athletes on TT bikes, this was spurring me on in the same way it had knocked my confidence on the first lap. As I got onto the flat section heading towards heartbreak hill I was feeling really strong, I was averaging around 20mph at this point. This was faster than I would have gone normally, but the situation was desperate. I wasn't going to let a few mechanicals and dodgy stomach ruin 9 months of waiting for this day. 

As I turned up towards Heart Break Hill the first negative thought of the lap entered my head, "what if my legs crack on this climb". I soon dismissed that, I was now 4 miles away from earning the right to run the marathon, I could go into the red here if I had too. I was surprised how my legs felt on the climb, they were still going strong. I was overtaking people pushing their bikes up the climb, as much as I felt for them, I had to focus on my race. Phil was waiting about half way up again. He ran along side me telling me how much time I'd made up on the second lap and told me how well Steve was doing. It gave me a massive boost knowing Steve was ahead of me, I wouldn't have wanted him to have been sailing close to the wind like I was. The crowds had long gone, so it was worth its wait in gold having Phil there.

   As I crested the summit, I grabbed a bottle of coke and proceeded to hammer it down the decent back towards transition. The decent from the top of Heart Break hill wasn't as bad as had been made out in the race briefing. So I took the opportunity to build up some speed to carry into the flat. On the flat section I started to realise I was going to make it, it didn't stop me pressing though. I was flying, so much so that when I arrived to the transition I had to unclip a foot and use it as a secondary break to enable me to slow down before the transition line. I jumped off my bike and pushed it into transition. I racked my bike and headed off to find my run kit. 


As I arrived in T2 with my run kit bag, I felt a massive weight lifted off my shoulders, I was grinning ear to ear. Despite everything I had encountered on the swim and then the bike I had made it. Its almost felt like it was in the bag at this point. I now had 6 hours to do a marathon. I knew even with a dodgy stomach that I could do that. There were others in the transition tent looking exhausted, worn out and dejected. I couldn't understand this, we had made it, and to me it felt like a massive achievement to have earned the right to have a go at the marathon section. Although at no point did I think of it as a marathon, merely 4 laps of just over 10k. I knew if I could limit my toilet stops to 2 per lap I could walk the marathon in that time if I had to. 


Ironman Race Day - Part 1/3


The Morning of the Race

I had set numerous alarms for the morning of the Ironman, I am not sure why as I barely slept the night before. To be honest I don't think anyone did. Its not that I felt overwhelmed with nerves, my mind just would not let me sleep. As I got up I stuck on my iPod. First I listened to "If" by Rudyard Kipling, I then moved onto "Not Giving in" by Rudimental. I had this on repeat while I got ready. Unfortunately the upset stomach that had come on the day before was still plaguing me and I found it hard to stomach the omelette breakfast. I tried to not let it get to me and just put it down to another challenge to over come and told myself it would settle down.

We had booked a taxi to take us to the start line. The taxi was 40 minutes late, which caused a bit of panic. More so with Caroline and Jean than Steve and I. Once we arrived at the start we headed into transition. I unwrapped my bike, gave it a quick once over. I then checked my transition bags and went to find a toilet. I then had a quick look round for Steve, I couldn't see him anywhere. I had wanted to wish him good luck and walk to the start with him. As time was ticking I put my wetsuit on up to my waist and headed towards the start. On the way I bumped into Caroline, Jean and Doreen. They hadn't seen Steve either. They took a couple of photos and I headed off to the beach. I dropped my white bag in the kit bag area.

I was now starting to get butterflies, I can feel them now thinking about it. I was looking around and couldn't believe how many people were there. A guy asked me what time the waves started. This was a relief as I asked him to zip me up in return for the information. I then went in the water to try to get acclimatised. After a couple of minutes the call came for all the competitors to make their way to the starting pens.

As I stood on the beach waiting for the gun to go off, I realised this was the culmination of years of dreaming, 3 years of planning and 6 months of hard graft. I was surrounded by thousands of other ironman wannabes. I started to feel an overwhelming sense of panic. I had expected this and it was something I had been working on with Theresa Dawson. Theresa specialises in various therapies including mental strength training, Reiki and Hypnotherapy. I visited Theresa after my first bad experience in open water, I got that overwhelmed with panic and anxiety I ended up getting out after no more than 100 metres. At that point I thought I would never been able to over come my fears, but after a session with Theresa which included a bit of Reiki, I got over my issues. At times of panic I was to think of the colour blue and try to transfer the anxious energy from my stomach to my chest.

I had gone over this moment a million times in my head, "just get to the first buoy" I was saying to myself, that's how I got through every open water swim. The problem was, I could barely see the buoy that marked the first turn, it seemed miles away. I had done a couple of swim events leading up to the Ironman, but none of them had this many people.

The Swim

I  knew the toughest part of the Ironman would be the swim, but I didn't realise what awaited me was possibly the toughest 200 minutes I have had to endure, both physically and mentally. Even now when I look back I don't fully understand how I got through it. I was getting kicked, elbowed and completely overwhelmed with panic. I kept stopping and breast stroking trying to get my head together, I felt like quitting, but I didn't. I kept saying you can do this you can do this. I tried to think back to a 3k swim I had done in the Lake District. The problem was, this was a completely different ball game. The water was really choppy and I was sharing it with 2600 other swimmers, all trying to get the swim over and done with as quickly as possible. I completed lap 1 in 44 minutes, as I walked over the Island to start my second lap I saw Phil, we shared a quick high 5 and it was back into the mixer.

The second lap was worst than the first, I was really struggling to get my head into it and my stomach was really churning now. The thing I struggle most with swimming is switching my conscious thoughts off or at least distracting it with something else. My head gets full of what ifs, I think it's why I am not that keen on swimming. With cycling and running I am used to using distraction techniques to get through the tough times, with this swim I suffered for every single second of it. The second lap took an age, well an hour. I think I drank most of the lake on the second lap. The water was incredibly choppy for a lake. I got out the water after 1:40. I was so happy to be back on dry land. I felt physically and mentally drained at this point, but quitting never entered my mind. I tried to put the swim behind me and concentrate on the next task at hand.




Well, I completed my Ironman Journey.....

I completed my Ironman journey, I am just putting the final touches to my blog, sorry but its a very long one. I have attached video which includes some of the highlights from the day.


Time to Make a Proper Plan


Time to Make a Proper Plan

Proper training is well and truly underway for the Ironman now; I am currently at the end of week 3 of 30. The severity of the task/challenge that awaits me on 27th July 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland, is slowly starting to sink in. A 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and then the race of truth, a marathon (26.2 miles). Funnily enough the run section up to now hasn't given me any anxious thoughts. My main issue has been around the swim, and possibly with good reason. Up and until just over a year ago I could hardly swim. I could do a bit of keep your hair dry breast stroke, but front crawl was a non starter.

I think the biggest lesson or piece of advice I have learnt so far is, "if there is something you want to do, just commit to it before breaking it down. As long as you have enough time, you will figure out how to get where you need to be". Once I had signed up for the Ironman I was committed to doing it, yes I felt sick with anxiety for a few days, but once that passed it was time to start making a plan. If I had thought too long about it before signing up, I would have put too many barriers in my way i.e. I'm not fit enough, I can't swim properly, I've not done enough cycling, I bonked during my last marathon, I can't afford it, I've not enough time to train etc. Once you are committed these things no longer become barriers, they are just little challenges to over come.


I read a book by Don Fink called "Be Ironfit", this gave me a bit of a boost and a lot of useful training advice. I listen to "A life without limits" by Chrissie Wellington, a very inspiring story which proves its never too late to chase your dreams. I also went back to my trusty Maximise Potential Podcasts, these are a main stay for me when ever I am training for a specific event or having moments of self doubt or a down day. Each and every one of the podcasts has some very unique and useful pieces of advice that can be used for both training and in every day life situations. I have posted links to the current three I am listening to at the minute; some of the messages may appear again in this blog:

If Richard Hume can become a Triple Ironman, surely I can become an Ironman?

Andy North proves age is no barrier and its never tool late to achieve your goals. My favourite piece of advice is about making it real; write your goal down some where you can see it every day!

The power of the mind is going to be key if I am to complete the Ironman challenge I have set myself.


The main part of my plan was how to fit in all the training I need to do. Lets be honest, you can't kid your body, you have to do the training, it doesn't matter how strong your mind is. This is where I had to spend some time making lists, consulting calendars etc. It was at this point I realised how busy I actually am. I work full time, run two running groups, I have my daughter 3 days one week and 4 the next. Where do I find the time to fit in 10-15 hours of training I thought? I'll not lie; I did start to have moments of doubt and negativity. What I ended up doing, which seems so simple now, I had got a free 12 month wall planner with a Triathlon magazine. Firstly I wrote on every day I have my daughter, I then marked on all my day that I had the running groups. The next step was to mark on the training; I am using the plan as set out in Don Finks book, although I am changing some of the cycling sessions. Once I started doing this it started to seem a lot easier to fit the training in. I had to make sacrifices i.e. I have my daughter every other weekend, so this means no long bike ride or long run that weekend. I also found that there was no reason not to include my running groups within my running hours for the week. Once I had my runs and bike sessions marked on my wall planner, it was time to try to fit in 3 swim sessions. Again this is where having it all written down help. As the running I do with my groups is low intensity for me (zone 2), I decided I could fit a swim session in after each one, which only left me with one more swim session to fit in.

My plans not perfect, I only get a rest day every other week and I haven't managed to schedule in any time for core work as of yet, but from where I was before I wrote it all down is incrediable really. I actually feel like I know what I am doing now. I know I will still have to be a little bit flexible with the training, but I have a good guide to stick to now. I have bought a Triathlon specific training diary, where I am recording all my sessions, resting heart and weight once a week and any other useful pieces of information I feel is relevant. It is really good as it asks you to set 3 small goals each week i.e. Last week mine were cycling 56 miles, swim 3 times this week and get a long run of at least one hour in on Saturday.

This week I managed to complete my longest swim session to date 2200m. It wasn't made up of non-stop swimming; it looked like this 100m warm up, 8x50m drills, 4x400m 60-90seconds recovery, 100m cool down. It was a big breakthrough for me and has left me feeling a lot more confident about the swim. I have instilled the help of a local swim coach to help with my technique, and so far it seems to be making a big difference. I do get a fair bit of pain in my right shoulder, I am hoping this is my body getting used to the increased training.

I also got my longest non-stop bike ride in this week, 56 miles. It was mainly a flat route, but did if only taking in two gels on route. We normally stop off for at the very least a coffee and cake, not this time. Despite buying a new bike on the Saturday, I didn't use it. It was hammering it down with rain first off and I decided to wait for better conditions for the maiden voyage. I bought a Planet X RT58 and fitted out with Ultegra pedals. It weighs 8.1kg with the pedals on, over 2kg lighter than my current beast and I am hoping a whole lot more reliable.


SWIM SMART                        RIDE STRONG                         RUN TOUGH


What Have I let Myself in for?

On Thursday 12th September 2013 at 20:40 I decided to enter my first Ironman Triathlon. I picked Ironman Zurich for the location of my first attempt at the distance. It's only been a week sine I entered the Ironman and yet, I still have no idea why I decided to take the plunge. The idea of doing an Ironman has been in my head ever since I watched Ironman Lanzarote on TV as a kid. I don't think I ever really imagined it was possible for the average person. The past couple of years I have been subjected to countless stories of normal every day people doing extraordinary things. A lot of these stories have been on the Maximise Potential Podcast  ( ).

I will go into some of things that have inspired me in later blogs. This first blog is just a reflection over the past week. As soon as I had clicked to entered the Ironman and the confirmation came up that I had been successful. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of panic and anxiety. I have learnt over the past few years that this is just the minds way of checking that you are ready to take on the task at hand. I knew the only way to deal with the feeling was to come up with a plan, and break it all down into smaller challenges or goals.

So I started on my first challenge, lose 5kg. To do this I join the Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge. I have stated my goals for the 90 days are to lose 5kg and run a 45 minute 10k. Both won't be easy to achieve, but are more than within my capabilities. I have replaced one of my meals with the Body By Vi shake, and I have also started taking a shake after heavy training sessions, to aid my recovery.








Sunday 15th September

I started on the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge. On of my Walk Jog Run runners completed the Great North Run, this gave me a boost. It was a fantastic achievement as he only started running in January.  I went for a 10 mile run with Judith, another member of my group Walk Jog Run. The weather was fairly blustery, which made the first 3 miles tough. 

My Garmin stats for the run were:  

Time: 1:42:08         Distance: 10.01 miles    Ave Pace: 10:12     

AVEHR 154             MAXHR 176                   Calories: 1200


Monday 16th September 2013

I started the morning with a shake. This consisted of 300ml of Full Fat Milk, 3 scoops of Body By Vi Shake mix and the Strawberry Flavour mix in.

I normal run a Beginners Running Group on a Monday Evening, but this had to be rearranged this week. So I decided to get equated with my turbo trainer, seeing as we are going to spend many hours together this winter.

I did 3 minutes warm up and then did 3 x 10 minute efforts with 3 minutes recovery and ended with a 3 minute cool down.  Stats for the Session:

Time: 42 minutes      Average Watts: 160        Max Watts:220

AVEHR: 159              MAXHR: 186                                        

Tuesday 17th September 2013

I had a shake for breakfast. In the evening I did a tempo run session, consisting of 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at tempo and 0.67 miles cool down. 

Here are the stats for the run:

Time: 1:42:08                       Distance: 4.67 miles                        Average Pace: 8:16        

AVEHR 171                           MAXHR 188                                     Calories: 556

After my run I had a shake, made up of 300ml of full fat milk and 3 scoops of shake mix. After I had a bath, I then had my dinner. Two slices of wholemeal bread (toasted and buttered), 3 slices of German Salami, Small tin of bakes beans (cooked) and grated cheese.


Wednesday 18th September 2013

For Breakfast I had a Body by Vi shake, it was made up of 1 spoon of coffee, 3 scoops of shake mix and 300ml of full fat milk. In the evening, I took my Wednesday running group on a trail run across Walcott top. It's on the bank of the river Trent between Burton upon Stather and Alkborough. It was a total of 4.12 miles and they all loved it.

I had made Bolognese before I went running, so I had that with some penne pasta and grated cheese. I started listening to "A Life Without Limits" by Chrissie Wellington, on Audiobook. 

Thursday  19th September 2013

In the Evening I had my Running Group that I would normally lead on a Monday. This is aimed at complete beginners and we build up to running a 5k over the course of 8 weeks. This week's session was 5x 6 minutes of running with a minute of walking in between runs.


Friday 20th September 2013

Today was a rest day. I had two shakes, one for breakfast and one for lunch.

Saturday 21st September 2013

I collected my Daughter at 7:30am, we spent the day playing and walking the dogs etc. As I was busy looking after her most the day, I had a shake for breakfast and lunch. For dinner I have mince burritos. Today's session was possibly the toughest of the week. Once Sofia had gone to bed I did the following workout on my turbo trainer, with no recovery between efforts:

Time: 25 minutes                             Average Watts: 140                         HR: 135-140

Time: 20 minutes                             Average Watts: 160                         HR: 155-160

Time: 15 minutes                             Average Watts: 180                         HR: 170-180

During the session I had a High5 carb based powder mix in my water, this had come free with 220 Triathlon magazine.

Current Strengths and Weaknesses

I feel my current strengths are my enthusiasm, determination and willingness to train and learn. I have built up a reasonable running base over the past few years and started to add a bit of a cycling base this summer.  I have a good network of friends I can rely on for good information and advice, this could be crucial in the coming months.

If I had to put each activity in order, with my stronger first and weakest last, it would be Running, cycling and Swimming. My swimming technique is an area I really need to work on this winter as well as continuing to build a cycling base. I had never been on a road bike 12 months ago and haven't done a massive amount of cycling this year. My furthest ride to date is around 84 miles, it was in the Mountains of Wales, I will go into that in a later blog.  Have a recurring glute injury, which I need to get on top of with strengthening exercises and treatment by Andrew Coulson. As well as working on my swimming and biking, I am also going to try to add a bit more core stability this winter. I hope to do this with the help of Emma's Pilates. 


Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge 

After a week of being on the Body By Vi shakes, I can honestly say I do feel leaner, especially around my stomach area. I have lost nearly a 700g in weight, which was a shock, didn't expect to lose that much in the first week. If I can lose around 500g per week, that would equate to 2 seconds per mile faster per week.

As well as training and making changes to my diet, I have also started reading a book by Don Fink, it's called Be Iron Fit. So far I am finding it very interesting and incredibly easy to read. I will keep posting my thoughts on the book and any tips I think would be useful to share.

You can keep track of my Body By Vi 90 Day Challenge at

You can join me on the challenge at


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