Well the London Triathlon has come and gone. My wave was the Male Open heat which got started at 07h00 without any rain! A couple of days ago, rain was forecast but this changed yesterday – phew! Upon arrival I was a little startled by the scale of the transition area. In a word: HUGE. I was expecting it to be big but seeing it in person was a sight! 

The swim went reasonably smoothly. I would like to request that swimmers atleast have an attempt at seeding themselves correctly. Why-oh-why did breast stroke swimmers think that front row starting positions were appropriate? After less than a minute I was having to navigate around them- LESS THAN A MINUTE! Anyway, after that there was a bit of bashin’ and bumpin’ on the first half of the swim while we all fought for some space in the water and tried to get the pacing right. After the turn around the swimmers were spread out better and hence there was less bashing!

The start of T1 was bad – I couldn’t get my feet out the wetsuit. It’s not happened to me before but maybe I didn’t put enough body-glide on my ankles. With the wetsuit off and in the bag and the cycling shoes put on the bike leg started.

The bike went well. No major drama apart from a slight shortage of drinks on the bike. This was in part due to a fair amount of drink sloshing out of my aero-bottle – damn those bumpy London roads. I did see a fair few riders with punctures though.  Touch wood, I escaped that fate! I was cautious on the bends and corners and avoided painted lines and metal covers as there was still some moisture on the road. I was desperately trying to avoid skidding off unnecessarily in the wet. (I later saw someone who must have come off. He was covered in big plasters, 5×3 inches, down his back, on his right arm and left leg).

T2 was fairly smooth. I slipped off the cycle shoes and socks and slipped (OK, tugged and pulled) the running socks and then shoes on.

The run consisted of two laps out and back around the dock. It was fairly flat apart from the entrance and exit climbs to the ExCeL first floor. There were some cobbles on the run leg which were a little annoying.

All in all I was a happy camper! The race director’s offical distances were 1500m/38km/9.8km. My chip times for the swim, bike and run were: 29:40 / 1h15:54 / 49:43. Overall time, including transitions, was 2h44:07. I am very happy with my sub-30minute swim and ecstatic to be well below my 3 hour target.

I did some analysis of my times in each discipline. I calculated my position in the Men’s Open Olympic category for each of my times.

  • 289th for swim time of 29:40
  • 845th for T1 time of 5:25
  • 391st for bike time of 1h15:54
  • 902nd for T2 time of 3:27
  • 644th for run time of 49:43
  • Overall 465 out of 1083 for time of 2h44:07

I am surprised that I am now relatively strong in the swim. I thought my bike would have been slightly better positioned. To maintain 289th on the bike I would have had to knock off 1:24 or go 2% faster (less caution in the wet?). I’m not surprised by my run time as I was not pushing my hardest in an effort to protect my knees. I did run a negative split however (25:58 vs 23:45). So, based on this, I need to maintain my swim and work my bike training smarter and hopefully a bit harder. I need to strengthen my knees and associated muscles for the run in order to have confidence that my knees won’t let me down.

Transitions times were too slow. To maintain 289th after swim my T1 would need to be 3:42 (I did have problems with my wetsuit and did have to put a cycle sock on twice as it was not comfortable) which is saving almost 2 minutes. T2 289th time is 2:11 – again I was 1:20 slower. Thinking about it, maybe my slowness is due to wanting to get things perfect (no wrinkly socks, dry feet, HRM in place, etc) rather than suffer with socks that rub or missing glasses.

Getting away from the analysis (HR data to follow soon), I must re-iterate that I am chuffed with my time and performance. There is always next year to improve 🙂 I must remember to keep focused on the “fun” and “enjoyment” factor and not get bogged down on how to improve!

Well Saturday saw the National Club Relays take place up at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham. I woke up to find that there was raining pouring down and the sky was very grey. I did not like the thought of competing, especially cycling, in the rain. Had it not been a team event I would have gone back to bed and laughed the event off. However, it was a team event so off I set. When I arrived the rain had pretty much stopped so things were looking somewhat better although still very wet.

The event consists of teams of 4 people doing the three legs of an almost super-sprint distance (actually 500m swim, 15km cycle and 5km run) race consecutively. The first person sets off on the swim, completes the swim and hands the baton (rubber band) to the second person who sets off and completes the swim and hands the baton to the third person. This continues for the bike and run legs too. Watching it looks like organised chaos with the competitors all fighting for the space to hand over the baton.

My swim went OK. The time was about 10 minutes (forgot to start my stopwatch) based on the clock time. I think I could have pushed slightly more but I was trying to pace myself for the Olympic and half-Ironman races I have coming up. The bike went well – round the rowing lake 3 times which meant a flat course. The down leg was with the wind so some impressive speeds were possible but the return leg was tougher as we were going into the wind. The run was only slightly more undulating than the bike course but for the most part flat. I pushed quite hard on the run and am convinced I couldn’t have pushed much harder. In hind sight I figure I should perhaps have eased off slightly as this is realistically only a C race for me this season.

So the swim was 500m and took roughly 10 minutes. The bike was 15km but I measured it at 14.2km. I took 26:29 for the bike giving an average speed of 32.1km/h. Average cadence was 92 with average HR of 184. The run was 5km and I took 22:25 with a average HR of 188 (94% of Max HR!!).

All in all a fabulous day with the sun coming out at around 10h30 or so. The afternoon was spent watching the second wave of races and chilling in the sun.

On Sunday a group of us then went on to cycle the Vitruvian bike course as some of the group are racing in the Vitruvian (a 70.3 distance race) in a few weeks. We knocked out the 82km in a touch under 3 hours giving an average speed of 27.4km/h. I had average HR of 150 with average cadence of 87.5. We did a 20 minute run off the bike to get those legs turning over. It was a good day out too with the sun out for much of it.

All said it was a good weekend of training 🙂

As promised, here is a race report. I may add to it in coming days or weeks as I remember extra things to add.


The day we arrived (Thursday) we ended up having dinner and putting the bikes together. I got mine assembled and ready. I then assisted the others… notably with a missing magnet for a Polar speed sensor (luckily I had not removed mine after switching to Garmin) and a Profile Design aero bottle (managed to get the extension lugs to fit Claire’s aero bars…). 

The day before the race was somewhat disorganised. We seemed to do far more walking than I had intended or my coaches had suggested. We eventually had gone for a test ride, checked in the bikes, checked in T1 and T2 bags and attended the race briefing. The race briefing was meant to be at 17:00 in English according to the race literature and website. The event office advised that it was definitely at 17:30 in English. Anyway we arrived at 17:25 to hear the last few things about the race in English. Clearly there was confusion. In the end we managed to get a brief race briefing in English – good thing to as the run course and the 6 passes through the stadium was a bit confusing.

Race morning

Up and at breakfast at 06:00. Had some chocolate covered cornflake type things, a couple of bread-rolls with honey, some orange juice and a cup of not-so-great coffee. We headed over to T1 to check the bikes and put the nutrition on the bike. Then to the toilets (again). Oh to be a woman at a triathlon… no queues for the toilets, unlike the men’s…

The Swim

On with the wetsuit. Not so difficult as have had a few practise runs. Bodyglide on the underarms, neck, ankles and wrists and suncream on the back, shoulders and arms. Got it on and comfortable and got the goggles and swim-cap in place.  Oh the crisis – Chris had lost his goggles (later to be found in a compartment in his bag…) and was in a spin. Luckily I had a spare pair of goggles with me just in case… He was ever so happy as they were the same make and model that he uses.

We wandered into the water and I got the water into my wetsuit and got ready. I positioned myself near the back to avoid the scrum at the start. The gun went off and we started. My “near the back” plan was working as I had somewhat free water in front of me and no one swimming over me… until some idiot came flying over me and I felt something on my backside. Closer inspection revealed that the idiot who came flying over me actually put a nick in my wetsuit 🙁  It’s almost through the neoprene so I am going to have to try get it repaired.

Anyway apart from that the swim went well. The swim out to the first buoy was a bit cramped and I kept catching up with some people and swimming past. I took the buoy wide and found some clear water. I found my rhythm and then just enjoyed myself to the end of the first lake. We had about a 200m run/jog to the second lake for the next 1000m swimming.

Found my rhythm quite quickly in the second lake and just kept going. I managed to pass one or two yellow hats (swimmers from the wave before us!!). At the turn around buoy I took it wide again and then had the exit in my sights. I got out the water after 40mins. Excellent swim as far as I’m concerned given my swimming skill level in March… Who would have thought that I actually enjoyed the 1900m swim and could have actually gone further 🙂


What can I say.. went smoothly although I could do with a bit of fine tuning on the transition.


Headed off on the bike with the first 18km on the S33 highway. Bliss riding surface. My nutrition plan called for a gel every 20 minutes (so roughly 330kcal per hour), a bottle of sports drink every 45mins-60mins with a target of 1l fluids per hour and a salt tablet every 40 mins. My bike started off loaded with 12 gels, a bottle of slightly strong Isostar and a bottle of Nuun electrolyte drink. My thinking was to use the Nuun to make up the fluid intake while avoiding too much carbs.

The plan was working well and I reached the first aid station (25km in) with the Isostar gone which was the plan.  I picked up a bottle of Powerbar drink and a bottle of water. Powerbar drink into aero bottle and dump the bottle I picked up. Very smooth indeed.

The next few kms were downhill and fast.. a couple of corners came up sharper than expected so had to hit the breaks… Then headed out along the river/lake for a gently rolling section. The nutrition and fluid intake was going well, my legs felt strong albeit aware they had done around 45km. Around this stage there were a number of groups of cyclists flying past in blatant abuse of the no drafting rule. It was somewhat satisfying to see one of the cyclists pulled over and getting a penalty!

Just before the second big climb, roughly 60km-65km, I had a toilet stop and then dumped the remaining water I was carrying. I was pretty much out of fluids at this point to minimise the weight to lug up the hill. Not a bad plan since I dumped nearly a pound (500ml) of fluid. The hill was tougher than I figured and managed to pass a few people while being passed myself. My training in Spain definitely helped out here and I kept remembering the words “stop bobbing”, “watch the cadence”, “power over the top”. The hill ended and we hit the aid station. Again I picked up water and Powerbar bottles. Then onto the next smaller hill which I had know about. After this hill my plan was to treat myself with my usual chocolate-almond bar which I’ve always enjoyed on the bike… not today however – it just wouldn’t go down and I didn’t enjoy it so I ended up having a gel instead.

And then downhill all the way home. Had a couple of good downhill stints only to be hit with another climb which I wasn’t expecting. It really was depressing to see a third, albeit lesser, hill to climb. Manged to grind up and then back to the flats and downhills. Figured it was time for another salt tablet… alas none left. “Huh?” I thought.. then I realised I had not filled it up after my sprint race the week before… “DOH!!”. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew I had some extra tablets on my run belt.

We went though a number of towns and villages along the way and the support was amazing. It’s difficult not to push things with “oompa”, “supa”, “go go go” and “up up up” being shouted at you. It felt wonderful to have the support, especially when travelling at 40-45km/h through the towns on the downhills.  So a BIG thanks to all the supporters!

Watching the distance count down I knew I was on for close to 3h on the bike, in the last couple of km I worked out that I would have to average close to 45km/h to get sub 3h so eased off… If only I had not eased off I would have shaved off those 2 seconds…. anyway I am ecstatic with 3h00:02 for the bike leg! On the final few hundred meters into T2 I decided to have some big gulps of drink to avoid having to drink right away on the run…


Uneventful really. Off with the helmet, gloves, cycle-shoes and socks and on with the running socks and shoes and grabbed my run belt which had a couple of gels and salt tablets.


I couldn’t get my Garmin 405 to start on the run. It took nearly 800m for me to get the thing working. It got into some mode that it decided is where it wanted to be. Sigh. That silly front panel is just to fiddly when running after the swim and bike legs.

Very quickly I did start to feel off. My legs and body felt strong and up for the 21.1km run but my tummy had other ideas. The tummy pains started fairly soon and stayed there. I had thoughts of going to the loo, stopping, walking but managed to get into a rhythm of running and walking at the aid stations. The first lap (10km-ish) was painful but the second started off worse. 4km out along the river on a dirt path with almost no support and the second rate drinks station which only had water.  I then noticed my time and figured I was on for a sub-6 hour if I kept my pace up.

Once I got to the next aid station around 13km I knew I was on the home straight.. managed to get some coke into me (sloshed it around my mouth to make it flat before swallowing) which helped.

I kept the walks through the aid stations and managed to feel stronger on the run. My tummy was feeling better. When I got to the 17km-ish aid station I knew I was almost home and it was going to take me falling over to not finish. I powered on and kept going. The last 4 kms were relatively easy. I knew I was going to finish sub-6hr so long as I kept going.

The last run through the stadium and around the race track and back into the stadium was amazing. What an amazing feeling to be finishing with strong legs! I went through the finisher lane while watching some other competitors heading out on their second lap of the run. I put my arms up and ran through the finish. 5h56:46. AWESOME. Far better than I had ever imagined for this race.


Went to the loos and immediately noticed my sunburn. I had wondered why my arms and back felt so hot on the run. My shoulders were red.. bright red. I was later to peel and loose the brief brown tan I had… anyway, in the loos, I figured out why I had such a sore tummy – just full of wind and nothing really wrong. Man, if only i had let rip on the run I would have probably felt much better much quicker!

Lessons learned

  • plan for the day before and get the transition bags all ready and check everything in in one go and then take things easy 
  • practise T1 a bit more and get the order of things to do sorted
  • double check *all* nutrition items (including salt-stick)
  • take Nuun tablets on the bike to make some more electrolyte drink on the way
  • possibly take Isostar tablets on the bike to make energy drink if the race provided one doesn’t taste good – although I have been training with the Powerbar drinks on the bike and don’t mind them too much
  • Don’t gulp fluid just before T2.
  • Practise fiddling with the Garmin 405 when running
  • Maybe do a VO2max test to work out my correct HR zones as I raced above my planned race HR
  • Practise consuming gels on climbs


This has to be one of, if not, the most difficult things I have ever done. An Ironman 70.3 isn’t easy but is doable with a reasonable amount of training. Did I feel knackered after the race? Yes, but not as bad as I had expected. Will I do another one? Yes… sooner the better 🙂  Will I do a full Ironman… well I do have a place in Ironman Austria 2009 if I want by virtue of doing Ironman 70.3 Austria this year. Have I entered yet? No, but the voucher expires in mid-July…

I have completed the Austria Ironman 70.3 in 5h56:46!! Woohoo!

 Am so pleased with the performance.  My swim time was 40:12, bike time was 3h00:02 and run time was 2h10:34. You can look up full stats on www.ironmanlive.com

 I will post a more comprehensive race report soon.  Right now, off to continue celebrating!

Well, yesterday I completed the Merchant Taylor Sprint triathlon in 1h32:41, by my watch. It was a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, although my odometer only recorded just over 19km for the cycle leg.

The start of the swim was not great. I could not find a rhythm and ended up doing some breaststroke and then crawl alternations. Around half way though I found my swim stroke and finished in a time of 16:08. The cycle went ok and was completed in 43:33. Had some issues with my aero water bottle- sponge came out and I was getting drenched – I need to find a solution for this. The run of 5km was over grassy and some uneven ground but I completed it in 25:54. The mathematicians will see a missing 7 minutes – that of course is the time in transition. Mostly from T1. I made a few schoolboy errors (ie: race belt on before cycling jacket so had to take racebelt off and put it on a second time) which cost me a couple of extra minutes.  All part of the learning curve.

Overall I am happy with the performance and I am very pleased to have found my swimming rhythm in the second part of the swim. It gives me a certain amount of extra confidence that the swim can be enjoyable rather than a nightmare!

Well I completed my first triathlon on Sunday. Hurray. It was a short sprint in Hyde Park (400m/15km/5km) which I completed in 1h09:52 according to the official times.

That time was roughly what I was expecting. The bike and the run both went well. The swim was a slightly different matter. My navigation needs work… trying to go straight in the murky water was a bit of a challenge. My wetsuit wasnt fitting quite right so I wasnt breathing properly and ended up somewhat unexpectedly out of breath. I took things easy and got to the end feeling a bit deflated.  Yet more work is needed on the swim.

On that note I have a couple of swim lessons scheduled in a couple of weeks time to try and get some more swim technique pointers!

My training in general has not been totally up to scratch but it is progressing… but is it progressing fast enough? I certainly hope so!

Well Sunday saw me complete the Bedford Half marathon in a personal best chip time of 1h43:52! Yippee!

The day started off badly with me not getting up at 0645 like I had planned but only dragging myself out of bed at 0715. I had planned to leave home by 0730, but was clearly running late before I had even managed a shower.  I was very tempted not to go.  I was out the door at around 0745 only to be called by work (I was on call) about some problem that turned out to be due to planned changes.  Anyway I only left home at 0810. 40 mins late. Long story short I eventually got to the bag drop area (after missing my motorway junction- don’t ask…) about 1 min before the race start. The race had started once I got back to the start line.

Anyway I managed to make up a good number of places in the first mile and even stayed on my 8 min mile target. Race was going well for the first few miles until the wind picked up and brought some drizzle. Not too bad I thought… until the rain came. And boy did it pour down.  Combined with the wind the rain drops were stinging my face.  Anyway having had a training session in these conditions I figured I’d cope and just head onwards. Shoes squelching and shirt clinging I trundled on.

I felt quite strong going up the hill leading to the final descent from around mile 8 or 9. I was going quite well for most of the race and feeling ok even though a number of the runners I passed were puffing and panting heavily.

The last mile did me in though. Up until mile marker 12 I was feeling comfortable (albeit very cold and wet) and relatively pain free. Past mile maker 12 however, my hamstrings started to give up and my pace dropped off. The last mile was closer to a 9 min mile, compared to a steady 8 min for most of the other apart from mile 10 which I managed a 7 min mile, unfortunately. I did finish and eventually hobbled back to the car.

I was cold and my legs were sore and I was tired. Not a good combination. Anyway car heater on with dry clothes did help but my lunch at a motor way services with a coke and a coffee definitely got me on the mend.

Right now my legs are still sore. More so than from Palma and Nottingham. I do wonder if the cold weather played a part in my legs not feeling so good, or maybe it was the lack of a warm up prior to the race. Either way, I’m pleased with my time but am surprised by the pain!

Well this morning’s Jekyll and Hyde Duathlon went well. It was a chilly start with a few spots of drizzle.  142 people started and 137 finished.

The first run leg set off with a blistering pace and I was quickly relegated to the rear half of the field, finishing ranked 98th. Run1 consisted of two laps around the Serpentine for a total distance of 8km. My HR was around 90-94% max the whole way.

The bike kicked off well – it was 6 (that’s 1 2 3 4 5 6!!!) laps totalling 19.5km. I managed to keep up a good pace along the way, and overtaking more people than were overtaking me, while counting the laps. I got to lap 6 or was it only lap 5? So I wasn’t sure if I skipped lap 5. So not wanting to be disqualified I threw in another lap. Based on the splits and the fact I dropped to 120th rank in the bike section I’m convinced I did 7 laps 🙁 What an idiot!! (If I remove roughly 1/7th of the bike leg – about 6 mins I’d have ranked about 80th in the bike and then I’d have jumped to around 87th or so over all). The only really scary moment of the bike was on lap 1 went I went into the turn into North Carriage Drive slightly fast and nearly lost it… The front tyre started skidding out from under me, but somehow managed to pull it back under control- that corner got much respect after that! Again HR was up at around 90% of max.

Anyway the second run leg was painful with a couple of twinges of cramp in the calves which I managed to trundle through and was ranked 95th on the run2 time .  HR was again hovering around 90% of max, but I did see it dip down to 88%.

Overall I posted a time of 1h41:27 with an overall rank of 109.  My max HR was high, very high, and I’m surprised I could sustain it for as long as I did… Anyway, my legs are achy now and I’m feeling a lot more knackered than last weekend!

  • Run 1 (8km) : 36:01 (Ranked 98th) (4:30/km)
  • T1 + Bike + T2 (19.5km) : 47:24 (Ranked 120th)  (24.6km/h)
  • Run 2 (4.2km) : 18:02 (Ranked 95th) (4:18/km)
  • Total: 1h41:27 (Ranked 109th)

Lessons learnt:

  • learn to count and concentrate on the lap counting
  • take corners with less pace in the wet
  • practice tri-shoes and transitions
  • sort out the HRM/foot pod/bike speedo. GPS? *
  • Incorporate some anaerobic (HR at around 90% max) training for these shorter distance events

 * The foot pod pace was totally off. The bike speedo didn’t work or didn’t link with the bike. I bumped the stop watch so don’t have any HR data past the first lap

Well yesterday’s weights session before work and a 45 minute gym based bike/run brick session at lunch has left me somewhat achy today. Oh well, no pain no gain eh? Today should consist of a swim session and a spinning session of 45 mins – not sure if Ill get to do the swim at lunch time, but I hope I do – less time needed after work!

Sunday is going to be an early start – and chilly!  The race route has been changed and the longer run is now before the bike session. It’s going to be interesting as the bike course is quite technical – lots of dead turns and speed bumps along the way. Not quite sure what time to expect, but the times from last year’s race are very fast!!