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Gus's Rather Modest Training Log................
 
Week 11 - 20th March
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run 11.5m 2:42:00

Week 10 - 13th March
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 09 - 6th March
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 33:00 157bpm
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 08 - 27th February
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 38:19 Z4 Intervals
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Bike - turbo 1:07 Z2
Sun:Run - Camp 4 2:17:44 141bpm

Week 08 - 20th February
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Run - 42:41 138bpm
Sat: Bike - turbo 1hr Z2
Sun: Run - Camp 3 2:00:04 140bpm


Week 07 - 13th February
Mon: Bike - turbo 30 mins Z2
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 41:11 139bpm
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 06 - 6th February
Mon: Bike - turbo 50 mins Z2 (new!)
Tues:
Wed: Run - Camp 2 1:26:59 138bpm
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - Camp 2 1:28:26 139bpm
Sun:

Week 05 - 30th January
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: medical test - bike
Thurs: Run - 5.4m 1:13:18 (new LT)
Fri:
Sat: Run - 5.4m approx 1:13 (new LT)
Sun

Week 04 - 23rd January
Mon:
Tues: Bike - turbo 30 mins Z2
Wed: Run - 4.45m 51:30 mins Z2
Thurs: Bike - turbo 30 mins Z2
Fri: Run - 5.4m 1:03:18 Z2
Sat:
Sun

Week 03 - 16th January
Mon:Bike - turbo 30 mins Z2
Tues: Run - 40 mins Z2
Wed: Bike - turbo 30mins Z2
Thurs: Run - 40 mins Z2
Fri: Bike - turbo 30 mins Z2
Sat:
Sun:Run - 4.45m 52 mins Z2

Week 02 - 9th January 2017
Mon: Run - 22 mins
Tues: Bike - turbo 20mins Z2
Wed: Run - 22 mins
Thurs: Bike - turbo 20mins Z2
Fri:
Sat: Run - 22 mins
Sun:

-------------------------------------------



Week 46 - 14th November 2016
Thurs: Run - 22 mins

Week 45 - 7th November 2016
Thurs: Run - 22 mins

Week 44 - 31st October 2016
Sun: Run - 22 mins

-------------------------------------------

Week 9 - 23rd February
Mon: Swim - 2000m - 52:30
Tues: Bike - Turbo - Tallac - 01:00
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 8 - 16th February
Mon: Bike - Turbo - Warlow - 01:00
Tues: Run - 4.95 miles 0:54:15
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - Turbo - Carillon - 01:00
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 7 - 9th February
Mon:
Tues: Bike - turbo - Tunnabora - 01:00
Wed: Swim - 2000m - 53m
Thurs: Run - 4.95 miles 1:00:05
Fri: Bike - Turbo - Geiger - 01:00
Sat:
Sun:

Week 6 - 2nd February
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 5 - 26th January 2015
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 4 - 19th January 2015
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 3 - 12th January 2015
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 2 - 5th January 2015
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 48 - 29th December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 47 - 22nd December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 47 - 15th December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 46 - 8th December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 45 - 1st December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: CHALLENGE BAHRAIN
Sun:

Week 44 - 24th November
Mon: Swim - 2000m 0:50:20
Tues: Bike - Turbo - Ericsson 1:00
Wed: Bike - Turbo - Carsson 1:00
Thurs: Run - 4.96m 53:20 151bpm
Fri: Bike - Turbo - Eclipse 1:30
Sat:
Sun:

Week 43 - 17th November
Mon: Bike - Turbo - Goddard 1:00
Tues: Swim - 2000m 0:47:20 (?)
Wed: Bike - Turbo - Monitor 1:00
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - Turbo - Antelope 1:30
Sat:
Sun: Run - 13.2m 2:30:00

Week 43 - 10th November
Mon: Gym - Tread 50m
Tues: Gym - Brick 20/25m
Wed: Gym - Weights
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 42 - 3rd November
Mon: Run - 4.95 miles 0:53:05
Tues: Bike - Turbo - FTP Test=69W
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:51:40
Thurs: Bike - Turbo - Morrison 0:30h
Fri: Bike - Turbo - Mount Field 1:00
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.02m 01:51:08 (hot/flat)

Week 41 - 27th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:49:20
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 40 - 20th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 39 - 13th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 38 - 6th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 37 - 29th September
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 36 - 22nd September
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 2 hill reps
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Wasdale Half Ironman

Week 35 - 15th September
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:16.45
Wed: Run - 8.1m 01:25:25
Thurs: Bike - 27.45m 01:
Fri: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Sat:
Sun:

Week 34 - 8th September
Mon: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:18.07
Wed: Run - 8.1m 01:27:20
Thurs: Bike - 4 hill reps: 32:45
Fri:
Sat: Hill walk
Sun:

Week 33 - 1st September
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:17.45
Wed: Run - 8.1m 01:37
Thurs: Bike - 4 hill reps: 32:20
Fri:
Sat: Run - 11.5m 02:17:45h
Sun:

Week 32 - 25th August
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 31 - 18th August
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 4 hill reps: 34:05
Wed: Run - 4.95 miles 0:51
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 30 - 11th August
Mon: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:19.05
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 4.95 miles 0:50:35
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 29 - 4th August
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:18.05
Wed: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Thurs: Run - 4.95 miles 0:51:25
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 28 - 28th July
Mon: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:17.45
Wed: Run - 4.95 miles 0:53:30
Thurs: Bike - 4 hill reps 0:34:05
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Bike - 27.45m 01:58:55

Week 27 - 21st July
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:22.00
Wed: Run - 4.95 miles 0:54:00
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 26 - 14th July
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 11.5m 02:25:45h 155bpm
Sun:

Week 25 - 7th July
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 24 - 30th June
Mon: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 23 - 23rd June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 1hr
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 22 - 16th June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Swim - Loch 3 laps
Sat: Run - 10 miles
Sun:

Week 21 - 9th June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 20 - 2nd June
Mon: Swim - Loch 2 laps 1500m
Tues: Bike - 4 x Hill reps 35:39
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 19 - 26th May
Mon: Swim - 2500m 01:05:45
Tues: Run - 4.95 miles 0:51:07 163bpm
Wed: Bike - 4 x Hill reps 35:56
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - 20.8m 1:24.00
Sat: Core - gardening!
Sun:

Week 19 - 19th May
Mon: Swim - Drills
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 19 - 12th May
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 1:28.13 150bpm
Wed: Swim - 2500m 01:09:10
Thurs: Run - 4.95 miles 0:53:56 158bpm
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 18 - 5th May
Mon: Swim - 2500m 01:08:10
Tues: Bike - 3 x Hill reps
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 6m approx. 1hr
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 6m 01:08:37 152bpm

Week 17 - 28th April
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 2000m 0:50:20
Wed: Run - 4.95 miles 0:54:12 151bpm
Thurs: Bike - 20.8m 01:27:24
Fri:
Sat: Core - gardening!
Sun:

Week 16 - 21st April
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 15 - 14th April
Mon: Swim - 2000m 0:53:00
Tues: Bike - 20.8m 01:30:22 145bpm
Wed: Run - 4.95 miles 0:56:37 148bpm
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - 20.8m 01:27:58 145bpm
Sat:
Sun:

Week 14 - 7th April
Mon: Swim - 2000m 0:54:00
Tues: Bike - 12 miles 55mins
Wed: Run - 4.92 miles 0:55:39 148bpm
Thurs: Bike - 12 miles 0:53:45 144bpm
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 13 - 30th March
Mon: Bike - 30 mins turbo (4m Z3)
Tues: Swim - 2000m 0:51:00
Wed: Trans: 25m Bike (6mZ3)+ 15m run
Thurs: Run - 5.08m 0:54:22 150bpm
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 11.5m 02:20:06h 148bpm

Week 12 - 24th March
Mon: Bike - 45 mins turbo
Tues: Trans: 25m Bike + 15m run
Wed: Swim - CSS Test (400/100-9:38/1:54)
Thurs: Run - 4.42m 00:53:25h 150bpm
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:51:00h
Sat: Run - 11.5m 02:21:12h 150bpm
Sun:

Week 11 - 17th March
Mon: Swim - 2000m 0:52:00h
Tues: Bike - 40 mins turbo
Wed: Run - 4.42m 00:58:01h
Thurs: Bike - 40 mins turbo
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:50:30h
Sat:
Sun: Run - 11.5m 02:24:58h 150bpm

Week 10 - 10th March
Mon: Swim - 2000m 0:50:30h
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - 35 mins turbo
Sat: Bike - 50 mins turbo
Sun: Run - 11.5 miles 2.5hrs

Week 09 - 3rd March
Mon: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Tues: Run - 4.42m 01:01:00h
Wed: Swim - 2000m 52m
Thurs: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Fri:
Sat: Run - 10 miles 2:08
Sun: Bike - 45 mins turbo

Week 08 - 24th February
Mon: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Tues: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Run - 45 mins tread
Sat:
Sun:

Week 07 - 17th February
Mon: Swim - 1500m 39m
Tues: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 6 miles
Fri:
Sat: Bike - 50 mins turbo
Sun: Run - 8 miles

Week 06 - 10th February
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 2 miles

Week 05 - 3rd February
Mon: Run - 3 miles 35mins
Tues: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Wed: Swim - 1500m 42 mins
Thurs:
Fri: Run - 3 miles
Sat:
Sun:

Week 05 - 27th January
Mon: Run - Tread 45 mins
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Gym - tread 15 bike 15
Fri:
Sat: Bike - 45 mins turbo
Sun: Bike - 45 mins turbo

Week 04 - 20th January
Mon: Swim - 1500m 40 mins
Tues: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Wed: Run - 3 miles
Thurs: Bike - 30 mins turbo
Fri: Swim - drills
Sat: Run - 7.5 miles 01:39h
Sun:

Week 03 - 13th January
Mon:
Tues: Bike - 15mins turbo
Wed: Bike - 20 mins turbo
Thurs: Swim - 1500m 40 mins
Fri:
Sat: Run - 6.3 miles 1:22:00
Sun: Bike - 30 mins turbo

Week 02 - 6th January 2014
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 3 miles
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 5 miles

---------------------------------------------

Week 07 - 11th February 2013
Mon: Run - 3.3m - 35:05
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 06 - 4th February 2013
Mon: Run - 3.3m
Tues:
Wed: Run - Tread 20 mins
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 05 - 28th January 2013
Mon: Run - 3.3m
Tues: Bike - 20m turbo
Wed: Swim - 1500m
Thurs: Run - 3.3m
Fri: Bike - 30m turbo
Sat:
Sun:

------------------------------------------------
Week 07 - 13th February 2012
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 4.4m 00:53:27
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:


Week 06 - 6th February 2012
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 4.4m 00:53:27 (159bpm)
Fri: Swim - 2000m
Sat: Bike - 35m Turbo
Sun: Run - 5.8m


Week 05 - 30th January 2012
Mon: Run - 3.2 miles
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:51:30
Thurs: Run - 4.4m 00:54:11 (157) 656'
Fri:
Sat: Bike - turbo 30m
Sun: Run - 5.8m

Week 04 - 23rd January 2012
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 1500m 0:38:40
Thurs: Run - 3.2 miles
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 03 - 16th January 2012
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 1500m 0:38:00
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:


Another bloody gap of laziness.....
-----------------------------------------

Week 48 - 28th November 2011
Mon: Swim - 1500m 0:39:00
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m
Fri:
Sat: Bike - Turbo 40m
Sun:

Week 47 - 28th November 2011
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 6m 01:13:00


Week - 12th September
Mon:
Tues: Run - 10.6km 01:38:28 (157bpm) 1440'
Wed:
Thurs:Run - 10.6km 01:33:15 (155bpm) 1440'
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.6km 01:28:11 (158bpm) 1440'

Week - 5th September
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 6.9km 00:57:42 (740ft)
Thurs:
Fri: Run - 6.9km 00:54:03 (740ft)
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.6km 01:43:24 (155bpm) 1440'

Week - 29th August
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 10km 01:14:22
Sun:


================

Week - 30th May
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 13km 01:23:02

Week - 14th February
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Hash

Week - 7th February
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 1500m 39:38m
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m
Fri:
Sat: Bike - Turbo 45m
Sun: Hash

Week - 31st January
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Bike - Turbo 30m
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Hash

Week - 24th January
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Swim - 1500m 39m
Sat:
Sun: Hash

Week 51 - 20th December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10km 59m


Hash every Sunday

Week 42 - 25th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Hash

Week 42 - 18th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Hash House Harriers


Week 42 - 11th October
Mon:
Tues: Run - 36mins FFS
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run 10.5m 01:47:36 (156bpm) 840'
Sun: Hash House Harriers

Week 41 - 4th October
Mon: Swim - 1500m 0:38:18
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 40 - 27th September
Mon:
Tues: Run - 27mins FFS
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 25mins FFS
Sun:

Week 39 - 20th September
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 25mins FFS
Sun: Bike - 19.4m 01:16:20

Week 38 - 13th September
Mon: Loch Swim - 2 laps
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 20mins FFS

Week 37 - 6th September
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 20mins FFS
Sun: Bike - 38.5miles 02:20:00

Week 36 - 30th August
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run 10.5m 01:42:33 (157bpm) 840'
Sun:

Week 35 - 23rd August
Mon: Swim - Loch 2 laps
Tues: Run - 45 mins Hill
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run 13km 01:21:02(154bpm) 700'
Sun: Bike - 19.4m 01:18:30

Week 34 - 16th August
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run 13km 01:21:54(150bpm) 700'
Sun: Bike - 5 miles

Week 33 - 9th August
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 32 - 2nd August
Mon: Swim - Loch 1.5 laps
Tues: Run - 3 miles
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: 30 mins bike
Sat: THE NORSEMAN!
Sun:

Week 31 - 26th July
Mon: Swim - Loch 5 laps
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:16:15
Fri:
Sat: Run - 13km
Sun: Bike - 20 miles

Week 30 - 19th July
Mon: Swim - Loch 4 laps
Tues: Run - xxm 0:40:10
Wed: Bike - 41 miles 03:00hrs
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:13:34
Fri:
Sat: Run - 14.8 miles 02:25:07 (149bpm)
Sun: Bike - 44.3m 2:59:30 3940'

Week 29 - 12th July
Mon: Swim - Loch 4 laps
Tues: Run 13km 01:13:46(157bpm) 700'
Wed: Bike - 41 miles 03:08hrs
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 14.7m 02:16:48 (154bpm)
Sun: Bike - 44.3m 3:15:15 3940'

Week 28 - 5th July
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Bike - 30m 01:27 hrs

Week 27 - 28th June
Mon: Swim - Loch 4 laps
Tues: Bike - 19.4m 01:11:15
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10km 00:58:18 (157bpm)

Week 26 - 21st June
Mon: Swim - Loch 4 laps
Tues:
Wed: Bike - 19.4m 01:14:15
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:14:08
Fri: Swim 2000m 50mins
Sat: Run - 12m 01:53:20
Sun: Bike - 44.3m 3:02:28 3940'

Week 25 - 14th June
Mon:
Tues: Run 13km 01:08:09(163bpm) 700'
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:15:00
Fri: Swim - 3000m 01:17:59
Sat: Run - 10.9m 01:40:38 (154bpm)
Sun: Bike - 44.3m 3:08:18 3940'

Week 24 - 7th June
Mon:
Tues: Run - 6.6m 0:58:03 (158bpm)
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:14:08
Fri:
Sat: 3500m swim/57m bike/11m run
Sun:

Week 23 - 31st May
Mon: Swim - Loch
Tues:
Wed: Bike - 45m Run - 21m
Thurs: Bike - 44.3m 3:10? 3620'
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 22 - 24th May
Mon: Swim - Drills
Tues: Run - 6.6m 0:57:40 (155bpm)
Wed: Bike - turbo 30mins
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:13
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 21 - 17th May
Mon: Swim - Loch o/w
Tues: Run - 6.6m 0:56:28h
Wed: Bike - 45m Run - 21m
Thurs: Bike - 19.4m 01:18?
Fri: Swim - 3000m 01:16:31hrs
Sat: Run-15.4m 2:36:26 (153bpm) 1140'
Sun: Bike - 44.3m 3:10:10 3620'

Week 20 - 10th May
Mon: Swim - 2500m 1:04:00
Tues: Bike - 40m Run - 21m
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr
Fri: Swim - 300/(25->175->25m)/300
Sat: Run 10.5m 01:38:55 (152bpm) 840'
Sun: Bike - 43 miles 03:38hrs

Week 19 - 3rd May
Mon:
Tues: Run - Tread 45m Z2 (5/4/3/2/1 Z4)
Wed: Bike - 30m Run - 21m
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr
Fri:
Sat: Run 10.5m 01:52:06 (145bpm) 840'
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2hrs (Grossglockner)

Week 18 - 26th April
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run 10.5 miles 01:37:30
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2hrs

Week 17 - 19th April
Mon: Swim - 400/400drill/7x100/200
Tues: Run - 4.8m 0:42:04 (159bpm) 400'
Wed: Bike - 40m Run - 15m (gym)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 45 mins
Fri: Swim - 2500m 1:06:00(?)
Sat: Run 13km 01:15:18(155bpm) 700'
Sun:

Week 16 - 12th April
Mon: Swim - 2500m 1:04:36
Tues: Run - 4.8m 0:41:00 400'
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr (spd pyramid)
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2:12:00 (Mt Ventoux)

Week 15 - 5th April
Mon: Swim - 2500m 1:01:36
Tues: Run - 45m Tread (5,4,3,2 Z4)
Wed: Bike - Turbo 30m Run - 15m
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 45m
Fri:
Sat: Run 13km 01:18:56(152bpm) 700'
Sun: Bike - Turbo 01:48m (Grossglock)

Week 14 - 29th March
Mon: Bike - Turbo 45m (10m Z3/4)
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - Turbo 45m (Z2 +2x5m pyrmd)
Sat: Run 13km 01:16:39(155bpm) 700'
Sun: Bike - Turbo 01:20 (Z1)

Week 13 - 22nd March
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - Turbo 60m (Z2)
Sat: Run - 1:08 940'
Sun:

Week 12 - 15th March
Mon: Bike - Turbo 45m (Z2)
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:47:12
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 11 - 8th March
Mon: Bike - gym 40m Run 10m
Tues: Run - 45m Tread (5+3+1.5 Z4)
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - gym 40m Run 10m
Fri: Run - 45m Tread (5 3 2 1.5 Z4)
Sat:
Sun: Bike - gym 40m Run 10m

Week 10 - 1st March
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m (Z2)
Fri: Bike - Turbo 45m (Z2)
Sat:
Sun: Run - 45m Tread (5m Z4)

Week 9 - 22nd February
Mon:
Tues: Bike - Turbo 30m (Z2)
Wed: Bike - Turbo 30m (Z2)
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 8 - 15th February
Mon: Run 16.8km 02:13:25(155bpm) 2340'
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 7 - 7th February
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 300/400d/10x100(2:30)/300
Wed:
Thurs: Run 7.1km 00:46:28(159bpm) 700'
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 6 - 1st February
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Run 7.1km 00:47:15(159bpm) 700'
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:48:00
Sat:
Sun: Run 16.8km 02:22:05(157bpm) 2340'

Week 05 - 25th January
Mon:
Tues: SKIING
Wed: SKIING
Thurs: SKIING
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run 16.8km 02:12:45(155bpm) 2340'

Week 04 - 18th January
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 500/200drill/500pace/500
Wed:
Thurs: Run 7.1km 00:48:34(160bpm) 700'
Fri:
Sat: Run 16.8km 02:16:41(156bpm) 2340'
Sun:

Week 03 - 11th January
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run 7.1km 00:49:37 (160bpm) 700'
Thurs: Swim - 2000m 0:46:26
Fri:
Sat: Run 15.4km 02:04:16 (161bpm) 2100'
Sun:

Week 02 - 4th January 2010
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run 10.6km 01:28:27 (160bpm) 1560'
Thurs: Swim - 2000m 0:46:34
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 01 - 28th December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 52 - 21st December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run 7.1km 00:50:50 (156bpm) 700'
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 51 - 14th December
Mon: Run 10.4km 01:27:14 (160bpm) 1540'
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Swim - 2000m 0:48:27
Fri:
Sat: Run 13.6km 01:45:35 (159bpm) 1880'
Sun:

Week 50 - 7th December
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run 7km 0:51:28 (159bpm)
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 49 - 30th November
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run 9.3km 1:19:40 (162bpm)

Week 48 - 23rd November
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 2000m 0:50:39
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 47 - 16th November
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 2000m 0:51:15
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 10km 1:01:13 (?bpm)
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10km 1:01:04 (?bpm)

Week 46 - 9th November
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 10km 1:05:56 (156bpm)
Thurs: Swim - 2000m 0:56:40
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10km 1:02:29 (158?bpm)

Week 45 - 2nd November
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 44 - 26th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 10km 1:05:45 (156bpm)
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 43 - 19th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 10km 1:08:08 (157bpm)
Sun:

Week 42 - 12th October
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10km 1:07:33 (158bpm)


September
Nothing

August
Nothing


Week 31 - 27th July
Mon:
Tues: 10.1 miles 1hr 53m 32s (157bpm)
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 30 - 20th July
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 29 - 13th July
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 29m 54s (159bpm)
Sun:

Week 28 - 6th July
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 27m 33s (160bpm)
Sat:
Sun:

Week 27 - 29th June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Bike - 42miles (hilly): 4:20hrs
Sun:

Week 26 - 22nd June
Mon:
Tues: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 29m 57s (160bpm)
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 25 - 15th June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 24 - 8th June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 23 - 1st June
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 22 - 25th May
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 21 - 18th May
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 20 - 11th May
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 37m 49s (157bpm)
Sun:

Week 19 - 4th May
Mon:
Tues: Tread - 45m Z2 (5/3/3/4m Z4)
Wed: Trans: 30m Bike (gym) + 15m run (Z2)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr (Z2/3)
Fri:
Sat:Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 40m 10s (155bpm)
Sun:

Week 18 - 27th April
Mon: Swim - 300/50>200>50(in 25m)/200
Tues: Run - 6.1 miles 55m 59s (157bpm)
Wed: Trans: 45m Bike (speed) + 15m run (Z2)
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 17 - 20th April
Mon: Swim - 300/15x100 interv/200
Tues: Tread - 45m Z2 (5/3/3/3m Z4)
Wed: Trans: 45m Bike (speed) + 15m run (Z2)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr (power)
Fri: Swim - 3000m 1:12:29
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 39m 29s (154bpm)
(dog bite incident!)
Sun: Bike - 32.6m 2:10:54

Week 16 - 13th April
Mon:
Tues: Run - 6.1 miles 56m 29s (160bpm)
Wed: Trans: 45m Bike (speed) + 15m run (Z2)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr (power)
Fri: Bike - Turbo 30m (gentle Z1/2)
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 39m 49s (152bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2:15hrs (Z2)

Week 15 - 6th April
Mon: Bike - Turbo 30m 15-21mph speedwork
Tues: Trans: 45m Bike (speed) + 15m run (Z2)
Wed: Tread - 45m Z2 (5/3/3/3m Z4)
Thurs:
Fri: Bike - Turbo 1hr (Z2-Z4)
......Swim - 3500m 1:28:29
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 41m 36s (155bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2hrs (Z2)

Week 14 - 30th March
Mon: Swim - 2500m 1:01:08
Tues: Run - 5.6 miles 53m 21s (156bpm)
Wed: Bike - Turbo 1hr 15/17/19/21/19/17mph
Thurs: Trans: 45m Bike + 15m run (Z2)
Fri: Swim - 2500m 1:01:21
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 40m 23s (155bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2hrs (Z2)

Week 13 - 23rd March
Mon:
Tues: Swim - 400/12x100 interv@45s/400
Wed: Trans: 35m Bike + 25m run (Z2 + 5m Z4)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 1hr (Z2 + 5m Z4)
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2hrs (Z2)

=========================
======BUILD PHASE START=====
=========================

Week 12 - 16th March
Mon: Swim - 200/12x100 interv@45s/200
Tues: Trans: 30m Bike + 15m run (Z2)
Wed: Run - 4 miles 36m 23s (161bpm)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 35m (Z2)
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:48:20
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 47m 36s (149bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 2hrs (Z2)


Week 11 - 9th March
Mon: Swim - 200/13x100 interv@40s/100
Tues: Trans: 30m Bike + 15m run (Z2)
Wed: Tread - 40m Z2 (5/3/3/3m Z4)
Thurs:
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:48:03
Sat: Run - 10.1 miles 1hr 52m 45s (154bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 1hr 45m (Z2)

Week 10 - 2nd March
Mon: Swim - Workout #21
Tues: Run - 4 miles 37m 18s (164bpm)
Wed: Bike - Turbo 45m Z2
Thurs:
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:50:33
Sat: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 24m 49s (160bpm)
Sun: Exercise Bike - 1hr 30m (Z2)

Week 09 - 23rd Feb
Mon: Swim - Workout #20
Tues: Tread - 40m Z2 (5/3/3/2m Z4)
Wed: Trans: 30m Bike + 15m Tread (Z2)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 45m Z2
Fri:
Sat: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 23m 47s (156bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 1:45:00 Z2

Week 08 - 16th Feb
Mon: Swim - Workout #18
Tues: Run - 4 miles 37m 29s (NK bpm)
Wed: Trans: 30m Bike + 15m Tread (Z2)
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2
Fri: Swim - Workout #19
Sat: Bike - Turbo 1:15:00 Z2
Sun: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 30m 35s (151 bpm?)

Week 07 - 9th Feb
Mon:
Tues: Tread - 40m Z2 (5/3/2/1m Z4)
Wed: Bike - Gym 30m Z2
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2
Fri: Swim - 2000m 0:50:30
Sat: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 28m 32s (NK bpm)
Sun:

Week 06 - 2nd Feb
Mon:
Tues: Run - 3.1 miles 32m 15s (165bpm)
Wed: Swim - Workout #19
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2
Fri: Swim - Workout #20
Sat: Run - 10.4km 1hr 09m 04s (161bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2

Week 05 - 26th Jan
Mon: Tread - 40m Z2 (5+2m Z4)
Tues:
Wed: Bike - Gym 30m Z2
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2
Fri:
Sat: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 31m 05s (161bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2

Week 04 - 19th Jan
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2
Thurs: Bike - Turbo 15m Z2
Fri: Swim - 1hr Analysis Session
Sat: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 31m 31s (160bpm)
Sun: Bike - Turbo 30m Z2

=========================
======BASE PHASE START======
=========================

Week 03 - 12th Jan
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:54:34
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Bike - Turbo 1hr Zone 2

Week 02 - 5th Jan
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 4 miles 39m 41s (166bpm)
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 31m 01s (160bpm)

Week 01 - 29th Dec
Mon: Run - 8.8km 52m 04s (169bpm)
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 52 - 22nd Dec
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 51 - 15th Dec
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 4 miles 49m 51s (166bpm)
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 8.1 miles 1hr 37m 59s (160bpm)

Week 50 - 8th Dec
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 49 - 1st Dec
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 48 - 24th Nov
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 47 - 17th Nov
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 10.4km 1hr 14m 51s (161bpm)
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 46 - 10th Nov
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 45 - 3rd Nov
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 44 - 27th Oct
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.4km 1hr 12m 35s

Week 43 - 20th Oct
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.4km 1hr 16m 46s

Week 42 - 13th Oct
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat: Bike - 2 miles!
Sun:

Week 41 - 6th Oct
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Run - 45mins Intervals
Thurs: Swim - 2000m 0:48:25
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.4km 1hr 13m 23s
(HR 161bpm)

Week 40 - 29th Sept
Mon:
Tues:
Wed:
Thurs: Run - 45mins Intervals
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 39 - 22nd Sept
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 45 mins Intervals
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun:

Week 38 - 15th Sept
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:48:39
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.4km 1hr 15m 30s

Week 37 - 8th Sept
Mon:
Tues:
Wed: Swim - 2000m 0:49:49
Thurs:
Fri:
Sat:
Sun: Run - 10.4km 1hr 20m
Who on earth is Gus?
 
North Yorkshire born & bred, but spent five years in the dark, wet depths of Cumbria as a teenager. Loved those fells!

Newcastly Poly for one year, but got kicked out for enjoying myself too much, then North Staffs Poly (yuk) for 3 years studying Estate Management. Ended up as a Chartered Investment Surveyor for 10 years, living in London, Leeds and finally Glasgow (lived overlooking Loch Lomond.... most beautiful place on earth).

Career-changed during my mid-life crisis at 30: Threw away a high-flying career to go to Plymouth Uni for 1 year then spent the next 5 years working offshore all round the world in the oil industry.

Back onshore in 2003: Marketing Manager in Norwich, then Geneva, then Lowestoft (wow, glamorous!). Currently VP Africa for an oil exploration company in Surrey. Talking of glamorous, these days my regular trips are to Nigeria, Eq Guinea and Angola... now I bet that's got you envious.

I have a lovely French wife with a Gallic temperament and a gorgeous 2yr old daughter who speaks better French than me.

Got into Tri's after my 53yr old boss in Geneva shamed me into doing one after he completed the Geneva. Once started, quickly hooked! My current 'mid-life crisis' as my dear wife keeps referring to it as.
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Gus
Joined: 07 Sep 2007
Location: Freezing my nads off in Aberdoom

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 Norseman done. Now its.... 
 
 
Lactate bloody Threshold woes
Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:52 pm Gus
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Aberdeen University cardiovascular research unit were looking for volunteers for a new study - they needed 'athletic' males... hmmm..

Anyway, I volunteered and had my first screening last week. This involved a 1 hour ultrasound scan of my heart from every possible angle - quite unnerving seeing the valves of your heart clicking away on screen.... some things are just not meant to be seen Shocked

Long story short, they diagnosed me with 'trace' amounts of AR (Aortic Regurgitation) - or a leaky valve. I was advised it shouldn't affect me day to day and I shouldn't back off any of my training. A little worrying though, knowing I don't have a completely ticking ticker!

Second part of the screening was having to wear an accelerometer for a week to measure my activity, and logging my food in great detail. I then went in to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for the second session where I was wired up with countless electrodes to my body, a face mask measuring my CO2 and sitting on a bike and being instructed to pedal to destruction.

It was useful as I ended up with all my stats - last measured at UEA maybe 10 years ago... including VO2 max, Lactate Threshold and max HR.

Terrible, terrible results... although I'm above average fitness for my age/size etc... my LT has dropped from 156bpm to 132bpm!!! So all my recent training keeping HR below 156 has been completely wrong...

So today I did my recent 5.4 mile run and completed it TEN MINUTES slower than just a few days ago, trying to keep to LT. I ended up walking loads of it just to keep HR down to 132 (impossible) so kept it <140.

I find it so hard to believe that my LT is so low - it didn't seem right thinking I'm comfortable running at 155bpm.... but my run today, at 132, lo and behold, I felt the aerobic/anaerobic changeover. Funny how you ignore it when your beliefs are elsewhere.

This is significant for me as I've always followed the Maffetone Method (Google it!) whereby all base training should be <LT.

It really reminds me of years way back in Norfolk, first starting Maffetone, setting out on my first IM training (Norseman) having to walk most of my 'run'... and thinking 'this is a disaster, it can't be doing anything'...

Which is what they say - 'don't give up, even though you think it's a waste of time' - many do give up on Maffetone.

Last time I didn't, and it did seem to work... but again this time I'm right back at that bottom stage of walking, walking run, walking...

Mad

and thinking should I give it up?

ahhhh damnnnnnnn, it's never easy.... Mad

I've only 3.5 months to my first HIM race....
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Mmmmmmmmmojo?
Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:37 pm Gus
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Just a quick update.

Had a really bad Xmas break - so many coughs/colds and a seriously bad chest for a couple of weeks ensured that no training could happen. The trouble with having a toddler - basically an in-house virus trap! The father of my daughter's best friend diagnosed with viral pneumonia so I've been terrified of going down with that.

Anyway, just managed to pick up the training again. Baby steps... little runs to start with. So out of shape it's shocking.

Set up the turbo again in the garage, wifi reaches there (hooray) so now setting up the pain den ready... new batteries for all the sensors (unused for TWO YEARS - shocking).

Still debating whether to re-subscribe to TrainerRoad again or just do my own thing this season - it was very good before, but cash-strapped at the moment so maybe not such a good idea.

The mojo is really getting going again after so long... now browsing toys like GPS watches, power meters, new kit etc... always a good sign! Can't buy anything but the fact I'm looking is positive!

No sign of swimming yet... still needing to work out my new routine with a potential office move in February and where I can do each discipline in my usual lunch-time training slot.

Also, was considering doing the Dukan Diet. Wife did it very successfully so I've pondered it. Instead, though I sort of fell into a version of it this last week, cutting out carbohydrates almost completely. I'm hungry often, but I've dropped from 80kg down to 77.8 in a very short period of time... I'm aiming to get down to 72/73kg. Although I also need to factor in the weight increase that will come with building muscle mass (particularly when I start swimming). But hopefully the very large fat gut I'm carrying is slowly disappearing...

Race plan has also changed. I'm not going to do Challenge Iceland, much as I would love to - going to be too expensive for this year. Instead, aiming for 3 races, all at HIM distance:

LOCH loMAN Triathlon – Sun 21st May Loch Lomond

MunroMan / River Spey Triathlon – Sun 9th July Cairngorm

St Andrews Triathlon – Sun 17th September

So this is why my training has stepped up a gear. Three really good races to look forward to, all relatively local (and cheap!) and I've always found the HIM distance the most comfortable/enjoyable. IM is just too committing for training at this stage with a toddler/family, and Oly too high tempo for an old man like me!

And I've even got an inkling of a 'dream' race for 2018...

http://kaem.co.za/

My old mate Bluepoolshark is provisionally up for it, it's a toughie but if I'm financially in the position to do it, get wifely approval (eek), this could be a 'Norseman' equivalent for my life... not done an ultra distance before but breaking it down, it does look feasible - assuming I put the training in!

So, there you go, mojo just very quietly starting to glow... Smile
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Is this a start?
Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:55 pm Gus
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Can't believe how quiet Tritalk has gone... and the blogs even worse! I haven't updated my blog in nearly 2 years and I'm still on the front page. I find this rather sad after our community was such a thriving, busy place with lots of familiar names and faces, lots of banter, biff and even the odd useful tip...

Oh well.

So it rather feels like I've just walked into an old, empty hall, with dusty cobwebs and faded, ochred notices hanging forlornly on the walls from years back... and shouted "hello?"

But no reply, so I'll talk to myself.

Anyway, to all the ghosts who may be listening...

Two years since I did anything physical. Personal issues and life just got in the way, including a new and lovely little daughter. After the Bahrain race two years ago, I returned my recently purchased Zone 3 Vanquish wetsuit to Wiggle (after the really bad seam failure during the race) and got a full refund - great service. However, I didn't then replace it, which was maybe a subconscious resignation that maybe I was hanging things up for a while.

And so it seemed. Until Wiggle, damn them, emailed a couple of weeks ago to say Vanquish were down in the end-of-season sale from £450 to £255. Arghhhhhh!!! How could I resist? Although circumstances at the moment mean I'm absolutely skint, I knew it was an opportunity I'd regret for the whole next year if I missed it - so took the plunge (so to speak).

So now I have a new wetsuit.

Two days ago I went for my first run in nearly 18 months - it hurt, my fat wobbled alarmingly and my lungs ached.

This all coincided with Challenge advertising their HIM in Iceland next July... somewhere still on my bucket list. Hmmmm..... so maybe, finance willing, that could be an A race next year? The next few months will tell depending on personal circumstances.

And maybe this is the start, again, of a training regime to get me back into racing...

I certainly hope so.

So, dear ghosts of Tritalk, here we go. Again Smile
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In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big...

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Challenge Bahrain Race Report - 6th December 2014
Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:31 pm Gus
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My Challenge Bahrain race report below.

This truly has been one of the most enjoyable, most professionally run races I've ever raced in... every race I've done has been special in its own way - whether the sheer magnificent horror of the Norseman, the intense bodyshock of the Wasdale - but Bahrain was just... special. I can't thank the Bahrain Triathlon Association enough for the race they put on, and a massive respectful thank you to Their Highnesses Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa for their participation, support and sponsorship of this race.


Race Report

Weeks leading up
It was a few weeks after the suffering of Wasdale Tri that I first encountered the race thread on TriTalk. More out of curiosity I read the thread, checked the website, but there was something really attractive about this race. Not least being able to tie it in with a work trip and thus have the bulky items (ie flights and accommodation) paid for suddenly made it attainable.

The logistics were horrendous to consider and it took a couple of weeks to resolve them; not just flights but which hotel – particularly as the finish was a long way from the start – but also getting a bike to Bahrain, combined with not having to trail it around whilst I did my business meetings around the Gulf.

In the end, I took the plunge. Once committed, it suddenly became easier; I just needed to pay an extra £104 for BA to add my bike to the flight. I was also assured there would be shuttle buses to and fro, and the hotel offered a special Challenge Bahrain rate so all fell in to place. My main worries, though, were the elite level of the field and the fact I’d never done a ‘hot, flat’ race before.

I ordered a new trisuit online (DeSoto) that had special skin-cooling properties, as well as a skin-cooling hat from the same people, all part of my temperature regulating strategy. It was a strange concept to be battling to keep cool rather than keep warm as I normally had to in all my other races.

Fitness was also suddenly a big thought. I’d taken four weeks off after Wasdale doing absolutely nothing. Suddenly there were 4 weeks to this fast race and I needed to step back into training at breakneck intensity.
All my previous years training had been hill/mountain-based to tackle the Norseman and Wasdale races. Consequently I had absolutely no idea how long it would take me to run 13.2 miles on the flat. So, my final long training run, two weeks before race day, was 13.2 miles deliberately done on relatively flat roads to give me a reference mark of which would be my fastest possible time – 2hrs 30 minutes as it turned out. I therefore budgeted around 3 hours for the race to take into account tired legs and heat.

This, though, meant some careful analysis of cut-off times; I worked out I’d need to average at least 14.5mph on the bike to give me enough time to get round the run before cut-off. Again, all my training and racing had been on hilly/mountainous routes so I had no idea whatsoever what my ‘flat’ average speed could be… but 14.5mph felt fast so I began to contemplate the awful possibility of spending a lot of money, travelling a long way to be met with a cut-off catastrophe… a lot of timing analysis, what-if’s scenarios played out in my head leading up to the departure…

Arrival Bahrain
I arrived on the previous Sunday evening into the relatively small, but elegant Bahrain Airport. I’d had the joy during the BA flight of the air stewardess approaching me to advise one of my bags wasn’t on the flight. As I transited the airport I had the sinking feeling of wondering if it was my bike bag or other bag that hadn’t made it… then wondering if I could hire a bike here in Bahrain, or a wetsuit, buy a new pair of trainers… all the panic thoughts of having to improvise a full array of race equipment from scratch, and the awful prospect of this race suddenly being unattainable thanks to a bit of fog in London that had made the connection too tight for my bag to make it…

Immigration was straightforward, with the usual welcoming smile and greeting by the Bahraini official. Then once at Baggage Reclaim I waited for at least the one bag to arrive. And waited.

And, of course, the second bag didn’t arrive either.

At the desk, they had no idea where the missing second bag was. “Probably with the first one” they ventured optimistically… They couldn’t even tell me which bag it was that was completely lost… “Don’t worry,” the friendly chap said with a big smile. “It’ll be here tomorrow night”.
“Great,” says I. But I’m in Dubai for the next four days. And I literally have the clothes on my back and nothing else.

So, I passed through customs looking forlorn and empty-handed, and grabbed a taxi in the warm, night air to the Crowne Plaza in Manama.
Bahrain is beautiful, particularly by night. Manama, its capital, is relatively small but is punctuated by stunning skyscrapers of the most originally designed, twisting towers and pointed shards of architectural imagination run riot. Each tower flashes bolts of multi-coloured LED lighting shooting shafts of light up, down, sideways like a fabulous display of electric fireworks. Yet even with the display of technological richness, it’s somehow not as vulgar as Dubai, smaller-scaled and much less intense.
Overnighted in the hotel, which was joyously comfortable, but then had to be up at the crack of dawn to get back to the airport for my early flight to Dubai and the ‘official’ reason for my presence in the Middle East – work!
What followed was several days of meetings, flights, long car journeys that had me flitting between Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Qatar in a whirl of tiredness from late nights and early mornings. Fortunately I’d managed to buy a new shirt and a couple of pairs of undies to keep me going as my one shirt and undies that had survived the journey to the Middle East had long-gone past the bio-toxic ‘safe’ stage, so the new additions to the wardrobe were well received by both myself and my poor work colleagues.

Finally, Wednesday night I flew back into Bahrain and checked the status of my bags as I passed once again through the airport. With a gush of relief, both were there – the happy chap at the desk was delighted to be the compere of the emotional reunion as I embraced the two, battered bags. I was worried about the bike and hoped I wasn’t going to open the bag and find a bucketful of carbon splinters…

The Crowne Plaza played host once again. This time, though, I had twin double beds. Sounds luxurious, but actually despite loving to stretch out in my sleep, I only need one bed. The second bad just filled valuable floor space in the room that I needed to spread out kit and rebuild the bike, so it was a squash.


Thursday
Thursday morning I also had client meetings arranged in Manama so a couple of work colleagues flew in from Dubai and joined me as we did our necessary duty. It was a relief, though, when they finally departed early afternoon – not because there’s anything wrong with them, more that I now needed to get into race mode and focus my head. And, more importantly, rebuild the bike to check if it was ok. The only official obligation today was that I needed to get down to the Formula 1 Circuit (Bahrain International Circuit – BIC) to register before 5pm.

I took the free shuttle bus from the hotel to BIC, and got my first taste of the Bahraini landscape. Manama is a typical Middle-East city, a blend of imposing, reflective-clad towers punctuating the pale-blue sky together with blocks of massive, light-stoned shopping malls, all rising from the flat sandy desert of the island. The further from the centre, the more low-level housing appeared, relatively bland-brown stone and block buildings of a million shapes and sizes, and the lower the density of humanity. Which, in turn, slowly gave way to wider expanses of sand and scrubland. As we approached BIC, the magnificent Formula 1 circuit with its white, faux-tented grandstands and dominating, multi-storey control tower rose out of the sandy landscape.


In front of the Grandstand at BIC during race registration

The triathlon exhibition was in the pit lane, around two dozen Challenge-Bahrain branded tents with various retailers exhibiting all the usual triathlon-related wares.


The Triathlon Expo behind the pit lane at BIC

The atmosphere was buzzing; hundreds of fit-looking people of every age milled around, chatting, shopping, admiring… and then enjoying the incredible facility of the BIC. We could walk out onto the track, wondering around T2 laid out on a red carpet in front of the main grandstand – so atmospheric.


T2 laid out ready - I'm number 800 - in front of the Formula 1 Grandstand!

Registration was straightforward, presented with a really nice logo-emblazoned bag containing lots of ‘goodies’ plus race numbers and my chip. Next to me, Tim Don and Jodie Stimpson were registering at the next-but-one desk… how awesome that felt! I was dying to approach and ask for a photo but bottled out.

At 6.30pm, the Pasta Party started. In the huge entertainment ‘tent’. It was like being at a really smart function – a massive, professionally lit stage with a huge LED screen as backdrop and we all took our places around the large, circular tables. Each table and chairs was covered as if we were at a wedding, beautifully presented.


The Pasta Party - and a bit of a show of Champions...

A few promotional videos, a few speeches… His Royal Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa did a quick speech, mentioning that his dad (the King!) had wished everyone luck on the phone to him on the way over this evening. The Sheikh and his brother were both racing tomorrow – having such Royal patronage was not just invaluable to the success of this race, it really was instrumental in lifting it from being a ‘good’ event to something very special.

The food was good – a buffet containing…. Pasta. And, pasta.
God I hate pasta.

I sat next to a couple of guys and a girl who worked for Disney in Dubai so we compared notes and wished each other luck. The race briefing followed but there was nothing significantly new from the race manual, so I caught the next free shuttle bus back to the hotel.

It took me an hour or so to rebuild the bike in the confined space of the hotel room – again slightly surreal having to do this in such unusual surroundings. With relief, it did seem to be ok so I fell asleep feeling much better with life.

Friday
A decent lie-in, a massive breakfast, then a full morning of preparing kit, nutrition and clothes ready for the race tomorrow. It took a while to sort the bike as my marking tapes had slipped so I needed to spend half an hour outside the hotel riding up and down adjusting until I was happy.
Bike check-in started at 1300h at T1 so around 3pm I couldn’t hold off any longer. We’d had to put run kit into a ‘blue’ bag, and cycle kit into a ‘red’ bag, so with these and the bike, I followed the long line of people on foot with bikes and bags that snaked across the 4-lane highway to the other side of the road and the entrance to T1, adjacent to the Bay.

The atmosphere was awesome. Hundreds of people, guided by swathes of officials in fluorescent jackets, blue ‘referee’ shirts and red/white race officials milled around the vast area in front of the bay. T1 was basically an enormous, fenced-in red carpet, with numbered kit bags in rows on one side, long, multitudinous bike racks on the other, and separated by the large, white ‘change tent’.


Bike registration and racking - my 'expensive' bike suddenly looking rather poor...

The bikes that were there were stunning. Anyone into bike porn had just found Nirvana. I thought my bike was nice. Hell, I suddenly felt like the kid just turning up for his first Sprint on a borrowed milk-maid three-wheeler when I saw the lines of draw-dropping carbon creations.


2014 Ironman World Championship winner, Sebastian Kienle's mean machine.... I beat him, as he was to later drop out after a puncture

The male & female Pro’s were racked near the exit to T1 – couldn’t resist photos of these incredible machines.


The Female Professionals' bikes racked and ready....


The Male Professionals' bikes racked and ready...

Our bikes were quickly checked on the way in – simple stuff like brakes, helmet, then I dropped my bags in the appropriate places and racked the bike. I felt reluctant to leave it…. Knowing the next time I saw it would be in race anger. As I dropped my red bag off, Tim Don was doing the same, so I wondered over and wished him luck tomorrow. He reciprocated with a smile.


Their Royal Highness' the Sheikh's rather smart bikes, racked and ready... I beat one of them (sorry, Your Highness Wink )

I knew I should head back to the hotel, but was also reluctant to leave the comforting buzz of so many like-minded people all fizzing with pre-race excitement. Over the PA, the American-accented commentator was revving up the atmosphere further, reading out the role of amazing professional athletes who had turned up for the race, as well as a myriad of instructions for race-day.


Twilight falls on the Formula 1 track, race registration day

I couldn’t stay there all evening, so sauntered slowly back to the hotel.
Alone in my room, I felt just that. Very alone. I watched telly, read my book; normally the night before a race I’m rushing with last-minute packing and adjustments. As we’d had to complete this early in the day, I was suddenly left with nothing to do but wait…

Dinner should have been pasta. Instead I couldn’t resist a tenderloin steak. I couldn’t face another ounce of bloody pasta so ordered a ‘rare’ steak. The girl looked at me aghast and said are you sure? When it arrived, I could see why. It’s always a gamble to see different culture’s interpretations of ‘rare’. In the UK, it usually means fried to a crisp. In Bahrain, the closest it gets to the frying pan is flashing swiftly by the kitchen door on its way from the cow’s still-mooing rump to my plate.
It was, however, delicious.

10pm, lights out.


Saturday – Race Day
A typical pre-race night’s sleep: nil.
I was supposed to rise at 6.30am, instead it was 5.45am as there was no point lying there staring at the ceiling any longer. Quick shower, breakfast of two bananas and a cup of tea, then on with the tri-suit. What a gamble – never before worn a tri-suit, either in training or in a race. Here I was on race day putting one on for the first time, and a brand-new one as well… oh I love life on the edge.

Arriving at T1, it was awesome. The atmosphere of the day before was ramped up several notches. Nerves? No, not really… this was different. The whole professionalism of the lay-out, the loud, thumping music, the manically excited commentator, the early-morning warmth of the air all lent itself to a really positive buzz that just buoyed me along.


Race-Day: psyching up for the start, looking distinctly nervous

Everyone consolidated into little groups here and there, laughing, chattering, applying sun-cream, donning wetsuits… the Pro males were due off at 7.30am so we all filed to the side of the Bay and winced as the massive cannon shook the morning air with its starting blast. So quick they were off, up towards the distant bridge of the bay, overshadowed by the few skyscrapers looming over like watchful sentinels.

Ten minutes later, the Pro girls were off, then age group waves.
I was around 8.30am so I joined the pre-start group in the waiting area, pulling up my wetsuit. When suddenly as I pulled up my left hip a huge tearing sound rent the morning air. 6 inches of horizontal slice smiled back at me from my left hip. “Oh. #@?#.” I stared back at it. Only a few months old this wetsuit… I had no choice, but hauled the rest of it on, but cursed the seam that had given way.

It was only a few minutes later the gathered throng of white-capped 45-49yr olds shuffled forward, up and over the small walkway, clad in red carpet and rubber matting, and down into the clear-blue water of the bay.

No time for stopping or hesitation, like lemmings we surged into the water.
The tear immediately gushed in water – I ignored it. Behind me I heard someone exclaim “God it’s freezing”, which left me chuckling – 19 degrees was a tropical bath for me after the UK.

I swam to the start-line and with the 80 or so others we floated, fiddling with last-minute adjustments, waiting. I was on the very-near right, the inside line and realised I was going to get trampled, but before I could react, “booom”, the cannon thudded the air, head went down, and we were off!

The first few hundred metres were hard. Really hard. My mind kept screaming at me “stop!” and “just give up…” I have no idea why, but it felt really negative and it took a real force of will to keep going. Around me there were few people, the pack actually having taken a slightly different route. I was tight-in to the buoys, the pack were over to my left, which left no drafting chances, which was annoying.

It seemed to take ages for the first turn-buoy, but it came, followed quickly by the second, and the long home-run. Again I took an inside line, and felt much better as my body eased into its natural rhythm, rolling and breathing much more naturally now. I got a shot of excitement as I overtook someone from an earlier wave, then another and before I knew it I’d overtaken quite a few people which was always a strong psychological boost.

Reaching the final turn buoy just before the end, I looked around and noticed I was in my usual end-of-the-pack position with many people still in the water. I hauled myself up the matting onto the stair-bridge, pulling down my wetsuit top. “From Great Britain,” the commentator’s voice echoed around the side of the Bay, as I ran down the red carpet towards T1. “Angus Scott! Forty One minutes…”


Emerging from the water, way ahead of my PB

“Wow!” I laughed, as I pulled down my top and ran through the line of freshwater showers along the corridor into T1. What a great time! Suddenly I knew I had 10 minutes in credit from my budgeted time to make all the cut-offs.

I grabbed my red bag, and ran into the change tent. From nowhere, a volunteer appeared and tipped it upside down at my feet, and hands launched at my wetsuit to rip it off my legs. Suddenly I had a whole coterie of personal assistants – what class this race was!

The joy of a tri-suit became quickly apparent as my transition went in the flash of an eye, a squirt of juice and a liberal plastering of sun-cream. Grabbing my bike, it was a bit of a run to the mounting area. Once on board, a hundred yards out of the Bay area and out onto the road.
When I say ‘road’, I mean three-lane highway. All to ourselves. Literally, all to ourselves! This was like nothing I had ever experienced… every race I’d ever done had always been with an eye out for the traffic. Here, the long snake of riders weaved in and out of the cats-eyes, choosing our lane as we saw fit. The surface was like silk – not just no potholes, but not even a dent or a dink. It was the smoothest surface I’d ever ridden on, so I was down on the bars straight away.

As we left the Bay area and crossed the bridge towards the airport, I noticed how flat it was, too. I knew I had to average 14.5 mph to make cut-off. Glancing down, I was doing 21 mph – which evoked a double-take to make sure – but it was right, I was flying!


Early stages in Manama...

I was overtaken by a few astoundingly gorgeous bikes, but I, in turn, managed to overtake several people as well which was a major boost. The small crowds were out, lining the side of the highways, cameras clicking, faces smiling and cheers loud. For the first time I felt what it was like to be a professional athlete.

I noticed the lines of traffic snarled up on the other side of the highway with a few seconds of guilt, but thought, hell, this was our day, they could wait. Today, I’m racing in an international championship field!

The first aid station was at 20km, so I grabbed water and refilled my aero bottle with powder. We turned into the wind shortly after – that was a shock. Suddenly I was down to 13mph which scared me so I pumped my legs harder, damned if I was going to fail this race.

The road wound its wide, magnificent way around Manama, across the overpass overlooking my hotel at one stage, and around the Bay again before after an hour or more, we finally left Manama.

Now, it was head down, and push hard time. There were strict drafting rules on this race, and some rather large lady on a scooter kept haring by blowing her whistle at anyone daring to get within half a mile of anyone else – a little unnerving.


Over one of the over-passes past the Bay

At the 40km aid station I grabbed water again from the outstretched arms of a volunteer as I flashed through, but this time the heat of the day was rising so my first squirt was over my head and down my back. It felt good - cold! As I opened my aero bottle to top it up with the same bottle, a bright orange stream of juice appeared. Oh hell, I’d just poured half a bottle of sticky, icky juice over my head and back… now I could feel it congealing stickily over my neck, arms, back, handlebars… I considered briefly turning around to try to get water to wash it off, but it was too late. What an idiot! I admonished myself… not least now that my precious water bottle had to be filled with this Aqualyte stuff – something I’d never tried or drunk before.

I had no choice, I needed hydrating and this was all there was for another 20km.

In fact it was ok, and as we approached the first ‘loop’ 2/3 into the race, I was going a decent pace. I checked my average and it read 18.9mph – again I couldn’t believe my eyes! The night before on my laptop I had, like a good tri-geek, created a spreadsheet of speeds/times on the bike, and how much time it would leave for my weakest discipline, the run. 14.5mph gave me enough time to do the run – just. My spreadsheet had stopped at a ridiculously high 18mph, thinking I’d need an engine to be going that fast… well here I was, engine in top gear and red-lining beautifully!
I was on a high, and steamed past several people as they struggled in the late-morning heat.

I didn’t see an awful lot of scenery, I had to confess. I knew I should be taking it all in, enjoying this beautiful landscape. Actually, I was in major race-mode, I don’t think I’d ever felt this fast and competitive so I was so focussed, that it was just the patch of smooth tarmac before me, or the backside of my next target that mattered. What was interesting was that in the small undulations, where the road inclined to climb up onto an overpass or bridge, most of the competitors were struggling. Fresh from the UK where you can’t go five yards without climbing a mountain, I tore past people spinning in low gears up these little slopes, my legs happily grinding out a high gear with no change in cadence. I made up many places that way with unaccustomed glee.

A couple of times I kept telling myself to back off. I was going fast, really fast and hard, and I knew I should try to leave something for the run. But each time I just said to myself ‘to hell with it! Hurt yourself!’ All my race career, particularly on the endurance events, it had been taking it steady, backing off, saving myself. This time, the moment was with me, I just didn’t care. I was loving this race, I was flying and nothing was going to stop me.


Feeling strong, looking good!

But the final 10km were hard, though. My knees had started to hurt – my ‘distance’ tendons, as I call them, were stating loudly “that’s it, you’ve done your distance, now I’m going to hurt”. As I turned in to the familiar lane leading to BIC, I felt damn good, but tired. I’d pushed very hard on the bike this time – it certainly was a fast, flat course and I had felt obliged to treat it accordingly.

As we were channelled through the pit lane, suddenly I was out onto the F1 track… the real highlight of the day! I took the racing line as if I was doing 150mph, giggling like a little boy as I mounted the curbs on the hairpins at 15mph… I was also surprised at how steep the circuit was in parts, climbing up to the East side before dropping equally steeply down back towards the grandstand. I overtook someone and we exchanged laughing comments at the surrealism of our situation….

But it was over all too soon and I stormed in to T2 ready for the bit I had been dreading most of all…. The run.

As I arrived at T2, arms reached out to take my bike from me, and as I ran up the red-carpeted corridor towards the change tent, hands reached out to pass me my bag as I approached.

Inside the tent, another flurry of butlers appeared as I threw on my cap, re-applied sun cream and put on my smelly trainers.

I stopped for the world’s smallest pee in the small Portaloo, really not worth the effort, then turned for T2 exit. There was an aid station immediately there, so I threw a cup of water over myself to start the run cool and to charge my ‘cooling’ hat.

I had expected to walk for the first mile or so in my usual race-exhaustion. However this time, as we ran up the F1 track for several hundred yards, then out of the stadium, I continued running, urged on by the clapping crowds and buoyant atmosphere.

And I continued… I glanced at my GPS watch which told me I was doing 9.5min/miles – preposterous, so I cursed the watch for not working properly. I should, by rights, be doing 12 min/miles at this stage. I overtook a ‘Fat-Bottomed Girl’ (FBG) a mile in, which boosted me. As a bottom-of-the-field runner, I had always relied on FBG’s throughout my whole race career to ensure I was never quite last. I had also spent my life being overtaken by FBG’s as well which had always been such an incentive for me in my later years to get fit enough to one day beat all the FBG’s…. today I felt confident!

As it subsequently turned out, my watch had been right… I averaged 9:50 min/miles for the first few miles – an awesome speed! As we left the stadium, we joined the main road, then a couple of miles further in, entered the Wildlife Park.

We ran past the entrance booths and the small cages filled with strange, exotic birds. I noticed owls and majestic birds of prey… before we came out into the park ‘proper’, the winding, concrete lane meandering past sandy expanses punctuated with tall scrub and low trees. Periodically, Oryx, Gazelle and other strange deer-like creatures appeared timidly, to take the mind off the mounting heat and pain.

The aid stations were every 2km. Just amazing. Each aid station was 50 yards long, a row of tables and a crowd of volunteers excitedly proffering aid with arms outstretched; hands brimming with goodies – water, coke, orange slices, bars, gels, sponges, ice, bananas… it was like running through a stately home’s pantry!

I grabbed three sponges; one went down my front, sitting on my belly button. The other two went under my shoulders of the tri-suit (who said shoulder pads were out?) so, laden with cold water, they regulated my core temperature fantastically. Just a gentle press and a flood of cool water disseminated through my suit. Cups of cold water thrown over my hat and dishcloth, slung over my neck to protect it, and temperature never became an issue.

Amazingly I kept going without stopping once to walk. My times for the middle of the race, though, started to ebb badly as the heat did start to get to me a little, combined with exhaustion from a hard-pushed bike section. I rose to 12 minute miles for several miles, at which time the FBG from earlier caught me up and overtook me. Try as I did, I just couldn’t catch her back and get back in front. As we passed under a large baboon with her baby, staring nonchalantly down on me as I grimaced back at it on its lofty perch, I decided I would resort to Coca Cola 4km from the end, but no sooner.

As we exited the wildlife park after about 10 miles, I cheered on some poor guy who was only just entering the park for the run – he must’ve been hours behind. I gave him a cheer and told him to keep going. Shortly after, the aid station arrived and I swilled down a large cup of Coke. I immediately regretted it, as it was still fizzy and my stomach laughed at me at my stupidity.

However, a minute later, I have no idea what happened.

Whether it was good Karma from cheering the back-marker on, the Coke kicking in, or just the realisation I was going to make cut-off, I suddenly felt GREAT. My legs strode out, my cadence increased, a silly rictus grin streaked across my face and I was off!

I shot past FBG with a laugh, in fact shot past several bewildered people as BIC once again came into view. I didn’t even look at my watch – subsequently I noted my average had dropped from 12.5min/miles to sub 10 min/miles – the sort of pace I do with fresh legs on a short run… I was on such a high!


The approach into BIC


The final approach...

The final kilometre meanders through the stadium, through the pit lane, then the final red-carpet run-in to the finish. The cheering crowds urged me onwards, children held out their hands as I slapped them, feeling like a finishing Professional. The Commentator announced my name, a roar erupted at the finishing line and suddenly…. It was over.


How happy?


This happy

I fell over the line in a delirium of joy, happiness…


The Finish Line - 6 hours 16 minutes

I was presented with my medal, which meant I had to sit down immediately it was so heavy, but I sat back on the finishing-line chair and the silly grin just wouldn’t leave my face.

The atmosphere at the end was like the beginning; buzzing, full of people with the same goal now having achieved it and sharing in collective joy.
I collected my ‘finishers present’ – a very nice, down jacket then filed off to the recovery area.


A very happy chappy!



Post-Race
I managed to catch the bus back to the hotel at 5pm, joining the several others struggling to get three bags, a bike and myself onto a crowded bus – one of the very few criticisms I had of these amazing few days.

Back at the hotel I spent an hour in the shower, still smiling to myself all the way through, before treating myself to another tenderloin steak – this time ‘medium rare’. I didn’t bother with the Prize-Winners presentations, maybe I should, but honestly, this was ‘my’ time now, time to treat myself to a bit of selfish pampering. However I didn’t want to miss the after-race party, so I caught the bus back to BIC where Dire Straits had just started playing on the huge stage. No Mark Knopfler, but the stand-in was actually amazing and they played out all their hits to the visibly tired audience. (Never going to be the wildest gig, playing to post-race triathletes!).


Dire Straits at the after-race party

After Dire Straits, some rapper called Masari came on – he must’ve been famous because his appearance came with a surge of screaming from all the girls in the audience. I knew he was to be followed by Akom – again someone supposedly ‘big’ amongst the teeny-bopper fraternity… but the age-groupers clearly felt their ‘age’ and many quietly left the youngsters to their rapping.


Somebody called Maswari - who are apparently famous! I am old.

I caught the bus and sank gratefully into my bed by midnight.


Sunday
It was a rush to pack down the bike, but in the afternoon, with so much time to spare before my 2am flight back to the UK I couldn’t resist wondering back down to T1.

Seeing T1 empty of race people, but a hundred workers dismantling it, was eye-opening. I suddenly realised the scale of the event I had just completed. In fact, T1 was on a massive, open area of sand in front of the bay. This had been transformed by acres of wooden boarding and red carpet into a professional stage upon which we had played our parts. Every area had been covered, whether by carpet or wood chippings, huge potted plants or palm trees. A barren stretch of sandy acres had become something a Hollywood set-designer would have been proud of. Seeing it slowly being pulled apart was rather sad.


Beautiful Bahrain

I felt the strange sensation as if I had just spent a week with a bunch of great mates and now we were all fragmenting off in different directions to carry on with our separate lives… that empty feeling of strange loneliness after a race I always seemed to feel as the mutual camaraderie of fellow competitors slowly disseminated…

I wondered down to the water’s edge, looking out over the Bay, our swim course. The air was warm, thick and heavy, the fiery sun slowly falling to the horizon. In the distance, the deep ululations of the call to prayer echoed in and around the stunning skyscrapers and buildings as the evening approached.

The long line of international flags fluttered noisily in the evening breeze, each coloured rag the proud emblem of a competitor in our race. The Union Jack stood next to the red & white of Bahrain, I felt proud and honoured to see it accorded such a position, standing sentinel over the start line.

The sun slowly crept over the horizon, the falling light leaving the whole scene twinkling in quietening twilight. I wanted to clutch onto that atmosphere for as long as I could…

But it was over.

I reluctantly turned my back and headed for home.


It's all over, as evening envelopes the Bay





Race Times

Swim: 40:56 509th

Bike 1 – 30km – 57:53 – 31.1km/h average - 507th
Bike 2 – 60km – 01:01:42 – 29.17km/h average – 482nd
Bike 4 – 90km – 00:56:03 – 32.11km/h average – 462nd
Bike Total: 02:55:38 – 30.75km/h average – 462nd

Run 1 – 3.5km – 00:21:45 – 6:12/km – 499th
Run 2 – 8.7km – 00:37:07 – 7:09/km – 506th
Run 3 – 11.8km – 00:23:21 – 7:26/km – 526th
Run 4 – 17.5km – 00:41:58 – 7.24/km – 531st
Run 5 – 21.1km – 00:23:25 – 6:28/km – 538th
Run Total: 21.1km – 02:27:36 – 6:59/km – 538th

Total Time: 06:16:03 – 538th / 806

Position Males: 438th / 622
Position Age Group: 53rd / 76
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My 15 minutes of fame

Wasdale Triathlon Race Report
Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:02 pm Gus
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[First and foremost, I didn't have a camera with me for the race. Therefore, a huge thank you to those whose photos I've used including: Mick Lowther, Mark Eddy, Paul Davies, Paul Marshland and the official Wasdale Tri photographer- thanks guys, hope you don't mind.]


Wasdale: The World's Hardest Half-Ironman

It’s been a frighteningly long time firstly, since I updated my blog and, secondly, since I set foot into a competitive tri situation.

In fact for personal reasons I haven’t updated my blog as it became apparent it was being read (unsurprisingly) by someone I’d rather didn’t. For those who kept abreast of my horrible personal situation a few years ago will understand the dreadful circumstances that blighted my life. Anyway, all horribleness aside, my personal life almost overnight shone a bright light into a very dark place that my life had drifted into. Instead, I met a wonderful woman, had a gorgeous baby daughter to add to my two other lovely girls… and like the sun rising in a wintry dawn, warmth and joy began to fill my life again.

And with it, triathlon reappeared!

A Celtman entry came and went; new relationships, new daughter, new job, new home, (hell, new life!) took over. But one day as I lay in the bath and looked down at the unfamiliar tyres around my gut, I realised something had to happen.

It had to be tough, it had to be something worthwhile, something to at least rival the Norseman. Then Wasdale Triathlon appeared…. Perfect! “The world’s hardest half-Ironman”.

Months of training, badly interrupted by work travel, baby commitments, bad weather did manage to reduce my paunch by around 7kg. Never quite got it back to my fighting weight of 73kg, but 75-76kg under the circumstances was acceptable.

The Day Before

My wife, Helen, & I decided to drive the bike course on Saturday, the day before the race. The narrow, twisty lanes, the endless blind-bends and the rutted surfaces quickly became apparent. My wife was driving, to get used to my car, so she could drive me to the start-line on Sunday. However, after a few miles she basically said ‘sod this, I’ve had enough, you drive’. That was at the foot of Hardknott Pass. And boy, was I glad she handed over.

First gear, no exaggeration I was wheel-spinning on some of the tight corners it was so steep. The descent towards Wrynose was equally frightening. After we climbed, then descended Wrynose in equal tense silence, she ordered me to turn round and go back to the hotel.

According to her the following day, I barely spoke for the rest of Saturday. She was right. What I had seen in the car genuinely scared me. I spent the rest of Saturday debating with myself whether to pull out of the race. For the first time in my life I considered a DNS. I was absolutely horrified at what I’d seen; the steepness, the dangerous descents, the road surface…
She nearly talked me out of the race. My age, my responsibilities to my daughters, she tried everything and I don’t blame her. I was literally on the edge myself of giving up.

When I went to bed that night, I lay there staring at the ceiling, in turmoil. Should I drop out? After all this training could I face myself in the mirror, or my colleagues at work?

Race Day

I didn’t sleep. I clock-watched all the way to 4.30am, half an hour before my alarm. With a knot in my stomach, I kissed my wife and sleeping daughter, and with a last attempt to persuade me to stay in the warm, safe bed she wished me luck.

We’d agreed after the nature of the awful roads to Wasdale Head that I would drive myself to the start, leaving them at the hotel for the day. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could’ve happened.

Alone in the silent cocoon of the car, driving through the Stygian darkness of the Wasdale pre-dawn, I began to focus. My mind dropped the negativity, the cloying drain of fear that had weighed me down for the last 24 hours and instead my head cleared itself. I was in race mode; focussed, positive, angry, passionate, determined. “I’ve done the ~#*$ Norseman, for Christ’s sake” I shouted at myself as I peered through the windscreen. “You can do this!”.


A very nervous 'selfie', wolfing down nutrition as I psyched up for the start


T1 was buzzing. The atmosphere was like it always is at these events: electric, excited, tense, nervous laughter, hushed voices, wives and girlfriends quietly assisting nervous partners… I set up quickly and sat in the car for a short while, psyching myself up. I managed a bit of nutrition, felt obviously nervous, but ready. Really ready for this. The Passes were still there in my mind, but this was ‘one step at a time’ mentality. Do the swim, then worry.


Pre-race briefing. I'm off-camera on the right. Quietly pooing myself.

The start was delayed 15 minutes but it was good to get in the water early. I’d been expecting a freezing shock but when I got in I was actually angry. Cold? Seriously? My training loch up here in Aberdeenshire is cold. This was warm! I didn’t need my hood or wetsuit boots, but it was too late now.


The start. I'm one of the pink hats on the far left

I loved the start – relaxed, leisurely, loads of space to spill out and avoid the usual mad, frantic melee. It was a simple out & return. The water was crystal clear – just beautiful. As we swam, I found myself (unusually) in the pack. Navigation was easy – I didn’t even need to look up as I just kept people around me. As I rocked side to side, the visibility was so clear I could see people ten to twenty yards away from underwater!

The buoy at the far side of the Lake arrived quickly. It was shallow which allowed me to stand up, touch it, and walk five yards back into the water, a real bonus just to catch my breath and rest my arms. But then it was back in and racing. I heard afterwards the swim course was short – it felt it as the end came up quickly and I felt really good. Looking back there was probably a third of the course still in the water which was comforting. I knew though, that most of them would be shortly overtaking me on the bike, so I ran in my wetsuit boots the 300 yards to T1.

I had intended to eat and drink, but race-fever overtook me and as soon as I’d changed I was on the bike and away. The blast down the lake side was incredible. I overtook a lot of people, which for me is unheard of. I began thinking “am I fitter than I realised?” as I leaned on the tri-bars and powered past them.



That's me on the left, going great guns. Easy when you're only a couple of miles in.

In fact as I subsequently noticed, I think it was my aero position that did it. I was one of the very few people with bars – I had considered removing them, but was glad I hadn’t. Apart from giving me a restful position at various stages of the race, for the few downhills and flat sections it definitely gave me an advantage as I gained ground and places.
However, that was to come. Before that… the Passes.

I joined a group for the run to Hardknott which was helpful in pacing. We leapfrogged around each other for miles, enjoying the undulations but not the hard road-surface. Blind bends were taken far too dangerously with race mind-set. I quaffed a gel and suddenly the monstrous Hardknott came into sight. This was it. I felt my stomach tighten.

I gave myself 100 yards to ride. Just do 100 yards. I think I managed 70 before I saw the first person walking. Thank God, I muttered to myself, and as my thighs and calves screamed at me for surcease from the climb, I finally relented.

And quickly realised how hard it is to push a bike up a steep hill with road-bike shoes. No grip at all – it was achingly frustrating, like trying to walk on ice, doubling the effort. But I continued as many around me gave in the struggle as well.

The first section past surprisingly quickly; looking ahead I could see the long snake of people winding their way upwards, most on foot I noticed with relief. I manage to re-mount for a small section before hitting the final climb again.


Me on the left, grinding up the middle section of Hardknott. A rare moment still in the saddle!

God it was hard, even pushing. So, incredibly, steep. One guy passed me still in the saddle. His breathing was worse than an asthmatic having an attack. He was rightly proud as we approached the summit, but hell, I realised it was just not worth the effort for the few minutes it would’ve saved…

Top up with fuel at the top, then descent. Holy Lord Almighty. Anyone pondering this race had better make sure their brakes are up to scratch. 5-10mph maximum. Fingers clamped on the levers, leaning as far back as I could physically go, I edged downwards, round the tight, technical bends. It was genuinely scary as we all made our slow, careful way down. At the bottom we managed to open up a bit more, but the stretch to Wrynose was a bit of a long grind, slightly uphill all the way. When Wrynose did eventually arrive, it brought with it no surprise. It was a hundred yards of outright pain and screaming legs followed by a complete capitulation. Off and pushing again… more slipping and sliding, walking on the grass and rocks at the edge just to gain traction.

It was brutal but the summit came surprisingly quickly. The descent was as bad as Hardknott, more white-knuckled braking. But the hairpins soon gave way to the long contouring descent towards the Langdales. It was there that the leaders passed us on the way back. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I tried to work out the speeds in my head for them to be so far ahead, it just didn’t seem physically possible. I even then thought perhaps the loop through Langdale wasn’t as long as I thought…

But, of course, it was. I leapfrogged with a couple of people the long miles through the valley. Beautiful scenery, perfect weather conditions with no wind. Even a short section of smooth road surface – I overtook a girl at this point and we both laughed at how unusual it was – before the next climb came into view. I realised I’d taken no nutrition on at all so dug out a Mars Bar. It went down well. I also had to stop for ten minutes as my handlebars had worked loose. I was loathe to stop, but the bouncy surface meant every time I was down on the bars the angle dropped lower and lower and I could literally move them with my hands. Perhaps not the best way to grind up an ascent and, worse, safely descend. Fortunately I had the right Allan Key in my pack and rectified the problem. Of course I lost a few places but there were bigger things on my mind… like the looming Leviathon of Wrynose ahead.

The climb out of the Langdales was a bit of a shock. I was off and pushing again! Dear God, is there nothing in this race that didn’t involve pushing up?! I hadn’t even hit Wrynose yet. A lot of the course, in my own private hell, has memories of calves. A strange thing to focus on, but all that filled my vision ahead was people’s calves. Every shape, size, all united in bulging, clenched, muscle-distorting pain. As I stared ahead, driving my own aching legs, I just remember seeing so many calves… a strange distraction.


Looking up towards Wrynose Pass on the return leg. The far ridge is our destination... pain. pain and more pain.

I joined a group of Irish in their pink jerseys for the blast towards the foot of Wrynose and as that monstrous climb came into view, they slowly pulled ahead of me until most of them, too, were off and pushing. It’s a very, very long ascent. The worst of the whole route. It didn’t help that a vintage motorbike rally was enjoying the mountain at the same time as we all ground out our slow, painful ascents around the wretched, steep hairpins. Someone told me, as he passed (pushing) “Don’t worry, last year I pushed all the climbs and still did 4:40hrs” which gave me confidence.

The summit arrived after a few false rises, then the descent. The blast to the base of Hardknott was wonderful, the first time I could really get on the bars and give it some welly. But of course joy was quickly extinguished as the final climb appeared. “Come on!” I screamed at myself. “Last climb of the day!” But, of course, it’s one thing shouting at yourself and another getting your legs to work. Relentless it was. Steep. Painful. Thighs and calves burning.


A great 'bum' shot of me racing down Wrynose. Hanging on for dear life.

But the summit did arrive, and with it, the wonderful realisation that the worst was over. The descent I noticed a lot more people walking. Yes, walking the descents. I can only assume lack of confidence in their brakes – and I totally sympathise. It was that scary.

I joined a group of about 6 for the long miles towards Santon Bridge and we all enjoyed leapfrogging each other and the moral comfort of having others around. Out of the blue I was suddenly hit with terrible cramp in my right thigh. I had to get off and walk around, suddenly scared this could end my race. After a few minutes it subsided and I continued. I caught the group up and surprisingly, overtook them, particularly on the descents. (Another grateful nod to the tri-bars).

One final hill as we approached Wasdale Head… 3 girls beside their car cheering me on, shouting and dancing like it was party-time, proclaiming the last hill of the bike. What a boost!

T2 – wow, what a welcome sight! A great crowd had gathered and cheered and clapped me in.

As I changed and munched a very welcome Marmite sandwich, I peered up at the colossal heights of Sca Fell looming over the valley. The top was shrouded in cloud, making the upper slopes invisible. It looked intimidating.
I had thought about running the first mile to the base of the mountain, but that quickly dissipated as my legs just enjoyed the simple motion of walking after so long on the bike. The climb started, and it soon started sapping the strength as we approached Sty Head.


An hour into the climb, looking back down into Wasdale

A young lass overtook me with bounding, long legs early on, but after a while I caught up again and we leapfrogged for a while. She said she’d missed cut-off last year by half an hour so I realised, rather selfishly, I had to keep ahead of her if I was to make it myself. I spent some of the early ascent with Prasoom, as we exchanged tales of AXTRI and Norseman with breathless exertion. The legs hurt.

Past Sty Head, we curled up towards Sca Fell Pike. A tricky bit as we traversed the valley involved a small descent by rope over a small buttress, then upwards, always upwards.


The tricky bit where the Marshall had helpfully rigged a rope

The path was good, rocky and technical in parts. The cloud came and went, but the summit never managed to appear from its foggy shroud. Probably just as well as the interminable climb seemed endless.


Two guys descend the 'tricky bit'

I was tired, really tired now. Even though I managed to leave behind the lass and Prasoom, I was overtaken myself by a couple of people. My legs ached, and I found it an effort to lift each leg to the next rock. I was panting like I was on the upper slopes of Everest, each step becoming a huge effort.


Up into the cloud...towards the summit

As we entered the cloud, the summit arrived surprisingly quickly. It was surreal. A party of about 30 Muslim school children – 12yrs old? - appeared, with their bearded-teachers. Chattering excitedly they cheered me on, the teachers casually telling the kids to move aside as if we were just in the local park, not on the summit slopes of England’s highest mountain.

Navigation after the summit was tough. Fortunately I had my Garmin with the course plugged in – a God-send when visibility was less than 50 yards.


A rare break in the cloud. The route sign-pointers - it became an art peering for these in the murk...

As we descended, I caught up with another group who were lost. The Garmin got us back on track and we skidded and slid downwards towards Foxes Ghyll.


A sting in the tail - Foxes Ghyll

Peering up the ghyll was shocking. I knew we’d descended a long way – more than I expected from the map – but to see the vertiginous ghyll sliced into the mountainside that we had to ascend was soul-destroying.


The brutal ascent of the Ghyll towards Sca Fell

In fact, I found this steep, technical section not too bad, hands assisting, it passed relatively quickly. The group, though, had pulled ahead and as I panted my desperately slow way up the last upper slope to Sca Fell, I realised that if this race was longer (like the ‘X’) there was no way in hell I would have enough in me to go that extra 13 miles after these brutal ascents.

I could hear the voices in the fog ahead of me, so I knew the group couldn’t be far ahead. Even with my watch, though, I still managed to go off-track several times. Once, I came to the head of a deep ghyll dropping into the grey abyss below me. A bit of bad language and frantic watch-checking got me back on track, but I’m experienced enough in the mountains for that mistake to scare me.

The ground was mixed grass and rock, technical, difficult and treacherous, particularly in bad visibility. When I finally broke below the cloud, it was a wonderful sight. The sky in the distance was a mixed palate of light grey cumulus, dark grey overcast and a backdrop of golden glow from the sun as it tried so hard to break through, silhouetting the rolling peaks of the Lakes in the distance. Breathtaking.

One thing I’m good at is technical descents, so I quickly caught up the group and overtook them, feeling good. So good, in fact, that when we hit the boggy moorland that marked the final 8 or so miles, I was running. I thought I’d put some distance ahead of them but after a mile I looked back and saw they were running too and weren’t far behind. Damn, I thought, even my one, rare moment of glory wasn’t to be! They soon caught up and we all bog-trotted together, mainly walking now.

Two of the younger lads managed to maintain a run and went ahead, but I soon caught up with them as they’d stopped to help Norman Brown who’d slipped and ruptured his quad in the boggy section. After a quarter of an hour or so, there were about 8 of us milling around, assisting where we could. We obviously couldn’t leave him, but everyone was clearly itching to get on as cut-off times were entering our consciousness. One of the lads helped strap Norman’s leg, but he couldn’t even stand so we knew someone had to stay with him. Two lads had set off to get help earlier, so I gave him a swig of my energy juice to wash down a Paracetemol, then left to make sure that they’d found a marshall. Two of the others joined me and three hundred yards further down the track we met a Marshall making his way up to poor Norman. Happy that he would be safe, we put our heads down and marched onwards.


Poor Norman - here being attended to by Mountain Rescue several hours after we left him (make a donation please!)

Four of us became two as the interminable miles passed and we dropped Chris & Andrew from Peterborough. A young lad called Oliver strode a few hundred yards ahead of me for a couple of miles until I started to get nervous about making cut-off and ran to catch him up. We calculated and worked out we should be ok.

The last few miles to Eel Tarn were tough, physically and mentally. It wasn’t steep or hard going, just long, with very, very tired legs. My legs were in ‘just get me home’ mode now. I couldn’t run.

But as we breached the final ridge with the blessed view of Wasdale and the finish in the distance, we rejoiced. We were ok – just -for cut-off but Oliver & I didn’t want to take any chances so we bounded down the rocky path into the valley.

Half a mile from home and we heard a sound behind us. The Peterborough lads were running and catching us up. I shouted at them to stop, “it wasn’t fair to overtake us so close to the line” I said with a rather sardonic grin, so I think to their huge annoyance (sorry guys) Oliver & I started to run again. Those last few hundred yards, strangely, were the hardest of the whole race. We’d debated about running to the line, as it seemed appropriate, but we’d agreed that maybe with a hundred yards to go. Not with half a mile and I wasn’t sure I had that in my poor legs.

I gritted my teeth, refusing to let myself drop back. As we came up the lane in the fast-falling twilight, the long line of cheering, clapping supporters was like an injection of energy, bless them.

I crossed the line together with Oliver in 11:29:57, 149th place.

So, very, very tired.

We all quickly dispersed to pack up our kit and it suddenly felt very lonely.
On the course, I’d spent much of it with others. Even if not talking, we were either riding, running or walking amongst others focussed on the same goal. Together we had all shared that immense dream of reaching that finishing line.

Now that I’d made it, I sat for a moment alone in T2 with my bike and transition box and looked back up that bastard of a mountain. I was filled with a mixture of elation, exhaustion and sadness.

I’d made it. I’d beaten the world’s hardest half-Ironman. The dream, the goal that had driven me for over a year.

But now it was over.

For those long, hard hours I had felt special. A competitor in one of the world’s hardest races. A brief flash of extraordinariness above the average man.

It was going to be hard to go back to normal life again.


Very, very tired. But very, very happy!
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My 15 minutes of fame

Norseman 2010 Race Report
Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:11 pm Gus
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The Build Up

Two years ago I started this blog, tapping away into this same laptop.

For those of you that have kept with me through the last two years will know firstly, the depth of emotion that that moment 2 years ago evoked, and secondly, what life threw at me in the intervening period.

The Norseman stood as a beacon in my life, symbolic of achievement beyond expectation, an all-consuming passion that took one year of my life up to that August day in 2008. To become a Norseman was not just to be an Ironman, it was to show the world that ‘ordinary’ me was not ‘ordinary’ – that from inside myself I could prove to the world I could, albeit briefly, raise my head above the average and be just that little bit special.

Those of you that have read my race report from that day will understand the bitter disappointment at being robbed of that achievement so close to realisation. To recall the pain of my knotted stomach as I watched my friends collect their t-shirts and the decision, based upon pure bitterness at being denied so close from the finish, to never return to this damned race.

Which after 24 hours turned into a cold determination ‘not to be beaten by that bastard’. The Norseman was unfinished business.

And so began the longest, hardest period of my life.

In October 2008, entries for the 2009 race opened and my friend Kevin & I managed to get our names on the start list. We were elated! I bought Don Fink’s Ironman book and printed off his ‘Just Finish’ training program. I found a new, well paid job down in Godalming – my employers were really understanding about my tri training, I was surrounded by the South Downs which promised lots of hill training, so things really started looking up. I determined to follow the training program properly – no more of this ‘winging it’ attitude that brought me to the failure of last time. This time I was going to do it properly!

My second daughter was born in November, such a happy and glorious event, a gorgeous little girl to join her elder sister. Then in January I began the 30-week training program. Every day, almost without a break, I trained. Monday, swim, Tuesday run, Wednesday brick, Thursday Bike, Friday Swim, Saturday run, Sunday bike. It became a mantra for me. Week after week, month after month. I graphed the improvement of my speed and fitness here on the blog with delighted satisfaction, I was flying! By April my performance was leagues ahead of the year before. I was even beginning to dare to dream about a Black T-shirt finish – it was becoming possible!

Then life threw its bombshells at me.

On May 5th 2009, I was called into the board-room and told I was being made redundant. The very next day, my wife announced she was divorcing me and taking my children back to Paris. Overnight, my life had fallen apart. 3 days later, something that I couldn’t even have ever imagined in my worst nightmare happened. I won’t elaborate here because it is that bloody awful, but enough to say it was the product of a bitter, twisted and nasty female mind that put me through an experience that, at the time, I put on par with being buried alive; I genuinely wished to die to escape what I was experiencing.

My divorce turned into an awful, acrimonious mess during which my wife determined to financially ruin me, which she did successfully (to date, my legal fees are close to £100,000 and still rising), and life became unbearable as, still under the same roof for 5 months, we fought each other bitterly in the courts. It became clear that the Norseman dream was becoming just that. A dream.

So, in June2009, It was with a painful heart that I typed out the email to Rolf, the race director, asking him to withdraw me from the race.

However, despite the hell that life was throwing at me at the time, a small ember still burned inside and instead of asking for the refund of my entry fee, I requested that he delay my entry to 2010. Bless him, he did.

In September 2009 my wife and children departed forever. In October, the Norseman entry opened. This time, however, it was to be a lottery – most people’s worst nightmare. However, Rolf confirmed my entry for 2010, so my place was safe.

So, as a newly single man, but still out of work, I blew the dust off Don Fink’s training program. I bought a new pair of trainers and tried to rebuild my life with the Norseman as the one, single focus to keep me going. As the wife divorced me, I treated myself to a seriously good new bike (primarily because she took all my money, she couldn't take my bike - although she tried).



Winter training was intermittent. At the grand old age of 43 I moved back in with the parents and juggled job hunting with forcing myself out in all weathers. The 30 week program start-date passed but I still couldn’t get organised with the training properly. Finally I found a new job in March, and moved up to Aberdeen. Scotland meant hills!

And so, despite a lot of travelling, I managed to piece together a relatively regular training program. I tried to follow the old mantra from the year before, but it was clear a Black T-shirt remained a dream as I had to concentrate on the new job and all its commitments.

August approached. The training was going reasonably well, open water swimming in the loch with Kevin, regularly climbs on the bike up the brutal Cairn o’Mount built up my legs, and 15 mile runs over the hills and through the forests became comfortable.

5 weeks before the race, life once again turned nasty. Again without elaborating too much, the ex started playing her old tricks, refused me any access to the children, amongst other awful allegations and suddenly my life was staring horror once again in its face. One day I’ll hopefully be able to relate to you all that I actually went through (still currently a legal case, so I can’t give you the nitty gritty).... and I had to start thinking the unthinkable – cancelling the Norseman yet again.

Several people told me I should. Even I nearly buckled. But something within wasn’t going to give up; this was one thing I couldn’t let my ex take away from me. So I persevered. Training obviously suffered, but I went ahead and booked the flights and damned the consequences.

One final blow was Pete (Bluepoolshark) having to drop out as my support. Poor chap had been through some rough times himself recently and for personal reasons he had no choice but to pull out. Some quick phone calls via Kevin and I did manage to find a substitute – but by which time my legal fees for the new ex-wife onslaught had just hit £5,000 for just the previous week’s fun in Court, with the promise of another £30k’s worth to come.... I had no choice but to share Kevin’s support, Kenny. I knew this would be tough for all of us, but I had no choice and Kevin and Kenny just did what good friends do – being there when they were most needed.

The final week before the race was horrendous, in terms of pre-race nerves. Kevin seemed pretty chilled, but with the pressure of my DNF from 2 years earlier I felt the weight of expectation on me, so really suffered. I was quiet, pensive, a permanent knot in my stomach.

Preparations however this time were 200% better than last time; no late-nights, no missed meals. Instead, I slept as much as I could, forced plate after bloody plate of pasta down my throat for a week. Kevin’s girlfriend, Kim, even gave me the most wonderful massage in preparation. So, by the time Thursday 5th August came round, although I was a bag of nerves, I was ready.

Norway
7am, Thursday 5th August, and Kevin and Kenny appeared at the doorstep; nervous laughs, a bit of banter, and the car was loaded. The flight to Bergen was straightforward, but as always the worry of whether the bikes would turn up or not weighed heavily. It was with relief that our bike boxes were the first things off the carousel. We met another Scottish chap who brightly told us he’d done IMCH 2 weeks earlier; he didn’t look too worried about things, but me and Kevin exchanged glances that spoke volumes. Mad as a hatter!

We passed the Endurance life crowd in arrivals, picked up our VW Passatt estate and with Krypton-factor dexterity managed to squeeze the kit in the back. GPS loaded with Eidfjord as our destination and our Norwegian journey began.

Driving towards Eidfjord, and as that almost legendary town came into view, we watched in a pensive, nervous silence as the cold, green waters of the fjord passed us by and the towering, rocky cliffs leaned over towards us, channelling us towards the town we had last seen 2 years ago.



The memories it evoked were mixed; excitement and adrenaline, but fear and nervousness at what lay ahead. My pre-race nerves were almost overwhelming seeing Eidfjord again, exacerbated as we began the long climb in the car up Dyranut. Seeing that long, steep ascent once more reminded us just how big this hill was.

We were delighted to end up in the same cabin as before, at Liseth – as we entered it was exactly as the moment we’d last seen it.... 2am as we set off for the 2008 race. Strange emotions.

We cooked up the inevitable supper of pasta, and were later joined by Dave (Mrchopsaloty) and his support, Natalie who’d driven from Oslo, before retiring for our first night back in Norway.

Friday was taken up with the preparations; we built our bikes, and gazed in wonderment at Dave’s brand-new Trek Concept TT bike with electronic gear-shifting. A beautiful bike to look at. Kevin & I went for a quick half-hour bike ride up the hill to shake the muscles out – repeating exactly the same experience I’d done with Pete and Phil 2 years earlier. Like two years earlier, I was also left behind as Kevin climbed rapidly ahead... not unexpected.



3pm was the race-briefing, in the big hall down in Eidfjord. Like 2 years ago, it began with a local Norwegian folk singer singing and playing her violin. The lights went down, the spots focussed on her pretty face and she sang a profoundly emotive song that held us all spellbound. The lyrics translated along the lines of Mother Earth giving birth to us, nurturing us through the trials of our lives, then welcoming us back into her embrace as we died; strangely fitting and as her seductive, pure voice reverberated around the stunned hall, it was hard not to let the eyes well up and feel the forearms prickle.

Once she finished, one of the chief organisers, Harek, brought us heavily back to earth with a clear briefing about the severity of the task ahead of us tomorrow. Safety was a key issue, but the news on the weather was good, and especially with the tide. The race was looking good!

Friday evening was another inevitable vast pot of pasta back in the cabin that Kenny concocted. Kevin & I forced a massive plateful down but watched in awe as Dave swiftly consumed 3 large platefuls. He may be shaped like a beanstalk but he was clearly a carb-loading machine.

2 years earlier, we had gone to bed at 11pm, this time it was 8.30pm, determined to get at least some sleep before the race... so with nerves rattling and a painful knot in my stomach, I made my final preparations and went to bed.

RACE DAY

2am, the alarms sounded. I’d managed one hour’s sleep – one hour more than I’d expected so I was pleased. Two bananas for breakfast, and in silence we all picked up our final bits and pieces and went to the car for the descent back down into Dyranut.

Like the last time, the atmosphere in Eijdford was electric. 3am T1 opened and we filed in to be marked with numbers and set our bikes up in the racks. The ferry appeared at the dock, and Kevin & I half-changed into wetsuits to prepare. Strangely, nerves were not as bad this morning – I think I was so glad to finally be on the way. As we boarded at 3.30am, we leaned on the side and watched the bustle of hundreds of triathletes and their support milling around the quayside, nervous banter, many standing, staring into space lost in their own world of mental preparations. A few sharp words here and there as the stress got the better of one or two, but the atmosphere remained that special, heady mix of fear, exhilaration, excitement and tension.



When the ferry finally left the dockside at 4am, the applause from those left standing on the side was quite moving and strangely appropriate; we felt like gladiators about to enter the arena, being applauded by a respectful audience appreciative of warriors about to face their final, ultimate challenge.

The ferry glided silently up the fjord, the tall, black cliffs either side overbearing, yet unlike last time where the sky had been black and menacing, this time the pre-dawn light warmed the sky with a glowing light-blue and the crescent moon barely above those vertiginous cliff-faces shone like a reassuring beacon.



It didn’t take long for us to reach the start-point and the bow-thrusters thundered as the ferry manouvered into position. At 4.45am everyone was on deck, wetsuits on, heads clad in the green, Norseman caps and eyes and faces hidden with a variety of multi-coloured goggles. The ten minute warning was given, and the triathletes were ushered towards the ramp, the supporters who were allowed on the ferry, moving back to see us off.




At the ramp, Kevin was eager. We were both quiet, in our own worlds, yet unlike last time I think we were both fizzing with adrenaline, anxious to be off the ramp and away. We shook hands, “I’ll see you at the other end” I smiled at Kevin, and he was off without a backward look. I followed suit. Standing at the edge, I waited for a space to appear as, like lemmings, we jumped into the green water one after each other.

I braced myself for the cold... and was pleasantly surprised! It was almost warm... for some strange reason the sky was almost light now, the visibility was clear and distant and the whole atmosphere so different from two years ago. Where before it had been black, forbidding, like jumping into the River Styx, this time it was bright, warmer and so much more welcoming; I felt really good.

I swam to the start, the line of a dozen yellow kayaks and joined the rows of bobbing, green heads. Barely a moment to prepare, and the horn sounded. 5am, 7th August 2010. Norseman. This was it.



The Swim
I started fast, drafting a few people and getting jostled a little, but after ten minutes things calmed and I hung on to the toes of someone. I felt comfortable, the pace was good. As I breathed, I watched the cliffs pass by on either side, saw lots of green caps near-abouts and knew I was in the ‘pack’ – better than expected.

The tide was good – a strong tail-current, so the distance passed quickly. I was overtaken by someone, so as they passed, I left the toes of my current trail-blazer and tried to catch up with them... it took me 10 minutes of hard breathing but I just couldn’t latch on to their tail, so gave up and naturally drifted back towards my original lead. This time, however, I ended up side-by-side with him and we matched our swim stroke for stroke.

We swam like that for a long time, side by side, our pace exactly the same. We were so close that our arms periodically clashed. I felt like stopping and saying “for heaven’s sake, we have the whole fjord between us – let’s space out!” but as 1000m passed, then 2000m, it became quite reassuring having him beside me, our eyes catching every now and again through the goggles. I felt like smiling – I was beginning to enjoy this! Stroke for stroke we matched, my brain kept telling me to get on his feet instead and let him do the work, but my heart constantly over-rid the urge; this was a challenge we were both facing as equals and it would just seem unsporting to do that. I did feel someone on my toes for a while and bristled that someone was getting a very easy ride from me and my companion making a large bow-wave between us, but hell, my mood was good so I didn’t care.

As we passed the main promontory, the tidal surge became obvious as we felt the deep swell rocking us forward. This boosted my confidence as I psychologically felt the assistance from the current, and as we hit the 3000m mark, my companion and I stopped to navigate. He was Norwegian, we had a quick debate about where the turn-point was, then once again it was heads-down and driving forward again side-by-side.

The turn-point buoy came quickly, we passed it and it was there that I lost my Norwegian partner. I strangely felt the loss of the companionship, I have no idea where he went to, but by now the exit was visible and we all drove ourselves fast past the dockside in front of the big, white hotel building. The crowds were quiet, as I watched them, watching us, swim past in the brief flashes as I drew breath and all too quickly the small beach appeared ahead. I couldn’t believe it, but I actually was disappointed. I had enjoyed the swim so much and I was so relaxed, I really didn’t want it to end.

But weighing on my mind was the time. I had spent so many hours over the previous days going through the connotations of times I needed to do in each event not to miss the final cut-off....it had become an obsession... I had to do less than 2hours on the swim, less than 10 hours on the bike... they were numbers burning in my mind as I finished the swim.



Had I broken two hours? I knew I would’ve been gutted if I hadn’t, so I dared hope for 1:45... I felt strong as I burst from the water, even running up the beach amongst the cheering crowd, and into T1. Kenny was there to welcome me and guide me to my place. I stripped quickly, and asked him what my time was.
“I haven’t got a watch,” he replied. I felt like screaming! God, didn’t he know how important it was to me? Every minute mattered! “Ah, I’ve got your watch, he eventually said, producing it. I checked it: 1:31! I’d smashed my last time by 35 minutes! I had to suppress the elation as I knew the main task still lay ahead: the torture on the bike.

I rushed through transition, swigged a mug of tea and a couple of Marmite sandwiches, then climbed onto the saddle... and turned towards the mountains.

The Bike
This was the key discipline for me. The Norseman would be made or broken on the bike; 2 years ago I had done 10hrs, this time I had to do sub-10 if I was to have any chance of making that final cut-off at 32km. I felt good I’d got half an hour ‘in the bank’ from the swim, but that still left me a hard task to even make the bike cut-off at 5pm in T2... with Dyranut and the 4 monster hills between me and that point.

As I left Eidfjord, I had a bunch of people ahead of me, and determined to keep them in my sight. The bike was my weakest discipline, my speed traditionally very slow, so this small goal in itself was a challenge. However, as we approached the foothills, there they remained, not pulling away. I was overtaken by some clearly serious cyclists, but I just let them go and concentrated on not losing those ahead of me.

As we entered the imposing canyon that leads up to Dyranut, the sharp cliffs and deep ravines were breathtaking, majestic in the way they had been carved from the dark grey slabs of mountain sides bearing down on us. Our road this year took us through the 4 tunnels rather than the old track; a real unknown quantity. As I entered each tunnel, the air became warmer, sticky and the echoing sounds of cars and the intermittent shouts of supporters in their passing cars reverberated around.

The slope was actually easier this route and I was able to spin fairly comfortably, unlike last time when I had been panting and wishing for ever lower gears that didn’t exist. I kept my speed over 5mph, a massive improvement on the 3mph from 2 years earlier...perceived effort seemed ok but my heart rate stubbornly remained high in the 170’s. I didn’t give a damn.... I was really motoring up that hill, even overtaking a few people which boosted my morale no-end. I thanked Cairn o’Mount in Scotland for her leg-sapping steepness during my months of training - it was really now paying dividends.

The end of the steep section came surprisingly quickly as the stunning position of Varingfoss Hotel came into view, the red building standing sentry over the plunging ravine we had just climbed. Andreas then caught me up, had a quick chat, and slowly pulled away – he was looking in good form despite his weeks of flu during his build-up. Still no sign of Kevin and I was excited... could I beat him up Dyranut? That really would be a coup! (and one I’m sure he would never live down).

The long haul of the second half of Dyranut turned into a pretty monstrous, endless slog. I’d forgotten just how long it was as each false horizon lead on to the next, interminably climbing upwards. As the final summit came into view, I heard the cheery voice of Kevin... I laughed out loud in both happiness to see him and frustration at him denying me my little bit of excitement of possibly beating him up the hill.... we had a quick chat then off he went, pulling quickly ahead.

Finally at the summit, 2.5 hours were down on the clock. That worried me, as it was exactly the same time that I’d done 2 years previously. I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked after all that effort and perceived speed up the damned hill...could I still be on for another 10 hour bike? If that was the case, I could see the race slipping away from me yet again... I was frantic and as Kenny fed me just past the summit, I put on the warmer kit and resolved to blast down to Geilo as fast as I could.

I pushed it; every descent I didn’t free-wheel, I just let my legs spin as fast as I could. I was down on the bars at every opportunity, the head-wind making it hard but grim determination driving me onwards cutting through it obliviously. I caught Andreas up after an hour or so and we leapfrogged past each other for miles.... Geilo (90km) came and went... quicker than last time, and this time I clearly wasn’t last at this point (as a Marshall had taken delight in informing me last time) so I felt I was back in with a chance. Even seeing lots of support cars passing regularly was a real boost- knowing this time I wasn’t being left behind by the rest of the field. But tempering that excitement was the sobering fact that I knew what was ahead of me this time...and it was making me nervous.



My legs were feeling the exertion by now, and as I hit the first of the four big hills, it started to become a battle of determination. The ascent went reasonably well, even overtaking a couple of people. The descent to the bottom of Hill 2 was disappointing with the head-wind preventing me from going much over 40mph. Hill 2 I’d remembered as being pretty tough, and it didn’t disappoint. I took a gel during each descent to try to get the energy in time for the following ascent, and my legs appreciated the fillip as Hill 2, then Hill 3 were eaten up surprisingly painlessly. However, as I again joined with Andreas at Hill 3, we cycled side-by-side as the hill reached what we thought was the summit... only to plateau on to yet another climb... another endless hill... Andreas was starting to show signs of suffering now. He admitted he couldn’t get any nutrition down, so it was then I realised he was in trouble.

We shared the long, fast descent towards Immingfjell, my legs pumping hard to try to eke out any extra speed as I clung on to the ‘drops’ for dear life, only for Andreas to shoot past me on his bars. A brave man.... so I thought, sod it, and did the same, clinging desperately to the bars in the more aero-position praying I wasn’t going to get bounced off on the bad surface. 44mph was all I could attain as we stormed into the right-hand junction that took us to the base of Immingfjell.



“Always leave something in your legs for Immingfjell” the age-old Norseman mantra kept echoing around my head... and not without good reason. As Andreas and I climbed together side by side again, conversation quickly dropped as we both became lost in our own worlds of pain and concentration. The steep, strength-sapping climb was endless, winding upwards, forever upwards... but I still overtook someone and as the summit finally came into view... I was elated! As I drew to the side of the road as the road peaked, I wanted to turn and look back down at that hill and scream “I beat you, you bastard!”... last time it had pretty much broken me. This time, I broke that bastard back. All that hill-training in Scotland really had made such a massive difference.

This time I was ready for the long, inclined plateau of 10km so I just went down on the bars, my whole universe became the small patch of tarmac in front of me, and let my legs pound out those final, painful uphill miles. As the final descent appeared, I looked at my watch and realised I was going to break the 10 hours... I was on a high! Suddenly the thought of a white t-shirt was realistic! With barely controlled excitement I stormed down the descent, careful around the 3 dangerous hairpins but otherwise so low on the bike my backside was almost on the back wheel and my chin on the bars. The head-wind was frustratingly strong and limited me to 43mph – denying me my target of 50mph, but I didn’t care so much by then... it was all downhill to T2.

The descent was fast and furious, the road surface awful. It was pounding me and the bike brutally. Shoulders and arms were aching, but I bore on relentlessly, legs pedalling non-stop, eyes blinking in soreness from the concentration... a Norwegian girl drew level with me and we both leap-frogged the rest of the descent, laughing like children at the speed, the painful bouncing of the road surface and the excitement as each mile brought us closer to our goal.

T2 finally came into view... my backside was raw, my shoulders aching, legs tired and back sore... but as I looked at my watch when Kenny took the bike from me... 8hrs 48mins! I couldn’t believe it! I had knocked 1hr 12m off my last time – this was beyond my wildest dreams.... and now I could finally believe I could become a Norseman!

I threw on my running kit with oblivious abandon to my exhaustion, took a gel and bade farewell to Kenny leaving him to put the bikes back in the car. Kevin apparently was only 25 minutes ahead of me, which was astonishing, so I left T2 on a real high...


The Run

Then very quickly came crashing back to earth. Within a few hundred yards I realised the truth of my position. I had, indeed, pushed hard on the bike. Too hard. My legs were in pieces, thighs and calves achingly tired and I could barely put one foot in front of another.

The first couple of miles were awful. It was taking a real effort of will just to co-ordinate my muscles to comply into a simple, shuffling run. I ended up walking more than running and in my head I suddenly started going over and over the time/distance calculations that had become an obsession like last time as the cut-off loomed dangerously out of reach... what if I walked the whole marathon? Could I still make it? No. The answer was the same, whichever way I calculated it.

6km in, I began to really suffer. I regretted the decision not to carry water or juice with me as I started do dehydrate; I had gels and ‘shotbloks’, but I daredn’t down them without having water handy. My mouth began to dry, lips flaking and I felt my body starting to descend a dangerous slope. As each car passed by, I prayed it was Kenny...

I played a perilous balance of trying to keep running, but feeling the energy levels sap lower and lower, knowing a serious shut down was impending if I couldn’t feed myself soon. I decided to try a shotblok... it went down but immediately felt the craving for liquid to wash it down...

After 1hr 10 minutes, like a guardian angel Kenny shot past and pulled in... I gulped down mouthfuls of weak-mixture Infinit, and took food onboard. Refreshed, I was off again.



The run is beautiful... picturesque beside the flat-calm lake and overseen by the ever-present forest-clad mountains filling every horizon. But the view became irrelevant as I concentrated on trying to keep one leg in front of the other. It became a battle. I tried every psychological tactic to persuade my body to comply; it was just like doing a 15 miler at home like I’d done half a dozen times in the preceeding weeks... it was just doing a little 5 miler three times... whichever way I presented it to my legs, they weren’t interested.

At 12km, I felt a twinge in my ankle. “Uh oh” I murmered to myself, that didn’t feel good. That was shortly joined by the ligaments in both knees starting to really ache – a return of my IT band syndrome I hadn’t felt for nearly 2 years. I was clearly starting to get into trouble, and my dream of finishing the Norseman began to seriously be in question...

Onwards I strode, shuffling into a walk regularly, bawling at myself in my head to keep running...”come on, at that tree, you’ll start running again...” I’d incentivise myself. “Just run to that bend, and you can walk,”... over and over again I played those games, mile after mile. The calculations kept recurring... 14 minute miles were the pace, way off my 9.5min/miles in training... I couldn’t believe how slow I was going. “Just run to Zombie Hill, that’s all you have to do” I begged myself. I was overtaken by several people, who themselves seemed to be shuffling, yet I was going even slower.

16km down, and Kenny appeared again. He could sense I was really suffering, and made me eat some pasta, which went down gratefully. Kevin was only 4km ahead, which meant it looked like his dream of a Black T-shirt was gone...

Kenny disappeared to go help Kevin again, and I was left back to sink into my own, solitary world of pain and the lonely stretch of tarmac before me... As I left the lake road and started up the valley of Gaustatoppen, the first views of the mountain came out of the high clouds far ahead. Suddenly I began to be relieved that I wouldn’t be going up that damned mountain- in my state I was going to be lucky to make it to Zombie Hill.

Onwards, ever onwards, my legs just shuffling forward, brain tired, it was becoming a battle of attrition. The dull ache in my knees and ankles was now becoming real pain and I was finding it hard to maintain any co-ordinated running pattern. My heart rate was low – in the 130’s – but I was dog tired. 20km passed...”come on, just 5km to go” I pleaded with myself, enticing myself with the point at the base of the mountain where I could justifiably walk... I forced a gel down each half an hour, and a shotblok every other, even though my stomach didn’t want them, and kept swigging on the Infinit...

And the first sight of Zombie Hill came into view.

The steep, climbing hairpins of that monster loomed high on the mountainside, zig-zagging upwards through the thick, green forest towards the grey, tumbling rocks of Gaustatoppen. The realisation that I had to climb that long, steep ascent began to sap the will from my legs once more, and it took a surge of mental discipline to keep them shuffling forward, still in the semblance of a run.

Finally, after 25km, at 7:06pm, the turn for the mountain arrived, with the welcoming stand of nutrition. I downed three cups of water, and asked them for salt tablets. Unlike 2 years ago, they didn’t have any... which was worrying because I knew my electrolytes were low. They instead gave me some strange black liquorice-type sweet which tasted foul yet palatable in my sorry state, promising me it was ‘salty’...

With that tainting my mouth, I turned towards Zombie Hill...

It’s called Zombie Hill for a very good reason, as all those who have endured its horror can testify. As the incline began to rise, my head went down and once again I was left to forcing my legs to work up the steep winding tarmac. No pretence at running this time, just a painful, slow walk, the walk of the ‘zombie’. I knew my eyes were glazed over, as I began to zone out and my world once again became the small space of tarmac before me.

My nutrition was running low, gels were running out, but there was still no sign of Kenny; I hadn’t seen him now for nearly 2 hours, back at 16km, and I was climbing my painful way up Zombie with energy waning fast and depleting supplies. I still saw the odd support car drive past, which meant I was still ‘in the game’ – unlike two years ago when I had been alone in the darkness. This time, at least the sun was still up.

Over and over again I worked out the timings... 3km in half an hour... 6km to go... I kept looking at the watch and each time it told me I was ok for the cut-off, but I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t fall into the same trap as last time when I cut it too fine, so on and on I drove myself.

An hour into Zombie, Kenny appeared. I was so relieved. He told me Kevin was on for his white t-shirt, rather than black – I was disappointed for him but still in my own world of hurt and concentration at keeping the legs going I couldn’t spare much thought.

Every now and again I had to step off the tarmac to let a car pass. That’s when I realised how much trouble I was in, as each time it elicited a barrage of shooting pains from my ankles and knees at the unusual movement. They were now hardwired into the one, single forward motion of walking and anything outside that left me screaming in agony.

The plateau seemed never to get closer, each time I raised my head. But finally, after an hour and a half of ascending that brutal climb, I rounded the bend, came over the final rise... and there was the 32.5km cut-off. I was elated.... I looked at my watch. 20:34h. I had knocked almost exactly two hours off my time from 2 years ago. I was suffering, but hell, I’d done it! I knew all I had to do now was crawl the final 10km to the finish line and they couldn’t deny me a Norseman finish, no matter what.


The view back down the valley from Zombie Hill

I managed to hold a conversation together at the cut-off, until Kenny and I then set off for the final, undulating shuffle towards the finish line at the hotel.

Where Zombie Hill had been a battle of pain, this final section was a war of attrition, with my mind driving my exhausted body beyond its limits, demanding more from my battered, sore frame than I could believe was there. I was deep into my reserves now; the end-game was close. The question was could I keep myself going to that finish line before my body gave in.

The 3.5km to the Hotel was slow, we passed several people on the ‘return’ leg, Kenny cheerfully clapping them on. I could barely grunt, but at least managed to raise a smile at each of them. This, truly, was the walk of the zombies. I could see it in the eyes of all the others as we passed – the lost stare in their eyes, the painful, slow shuffle of their feet, their bodies looking equally as drained as mine... yet grim determination fired each of us to our limits as we all shared that common goal.

When I saw the finish line for the first time, I felt myself welling up. Three years of my life had been consumed by this race, three years that had seen my life fall apart in every way. The only single, consistent thing that had kept me going through all that was seeing the one sight I was now looking at: the Norseman finish line.

I held back the tears, because this still only marked the turn-point. I had to double back 3km. I closed my mind and once again it was head down and the shuffle continued. Darkness was falling at the second turn-point, and Kenny disappeared to get the car, leaving me alone once again to face my inner demons. It was then I suddenly knew I was once again in deep trouble; I hadn’t taken any nutrition at all in the final 10km, thinking I was nearly there. That was proving suddenly to be a big mistake.

It came over me very quickly. Weakness, my body shutting down, my inner core just seeming to dissolve. My legs were stumbling more now and I was losing that co-ordination that kept them going in their monotonous, single forward movement. With only 2km to the finish line, Kenny appeared. I told him I needed food urgently. There was still some tea left, which I gulped down, with a banana. A couple of elderly Norwegians appeared, chatting to me; I could barely make sense as I tried to converse... I was feeling dizzy and I suddenly had to hold on to the car to stop collapsing. Oh God, I heard myself scream in my head...don’t lose it now, not so close....



“I have to keep going,” I stopped the Norwegian mid-sentence, dropping my banana to the floor, and just pointed my head up the road and painfully shuffled my way forward. I didn’t even have the strength to apologise for my abruptness, I just knew I only had 2km to go and was close to collapse... I had to get there before my body gave in.... I couldn’t be denied now...

Those final 2km were a blur. I can barely remember them. I was alone, shrouded in darkness, just the sound of my shuffling feet on the bad road, the hoarse, laboured panting of my breath.... my limping frame hauling itself on through those final yards...

When I saw the finish line, I was numb. I didn’t want to cry, I didn’t want to rejoice. All I knew was that it was over. I could stop. I could finally let my body give in.

Kenny was ahead with the camera, and he snapped away as I crossed the line at 22:42h, a time of 17:42hrs... I always thought I was going to burst into tears at that moment, but I think my utter, utter exhaustion, both mental and physical, meant I couldn’t even raise the energy to feel any emotion at all... I went through the motions of crossing the line, arms raised... but inside, the fire that had burned deep down for 3 years to drive me to this very moment, I could finally, at last, let die.



Harek was there, and handed me a cup of hot soup. It didn’t really register properly then that I was a Norseman, all I knew was that my mind could finally stop screaming at my legs to keep going. We chatted briefly before Kenny helped me towards the car. He checked which cabin we were in, then took me in the car up the track. I had to turn the heating on to maximum as my body began to shut down, shivering uncontrollably. My mind was still completely numb, my knees and ankles throbbing with pain.

Back at the cabin, I found Andreas and his wife, and Kevin who had finished a couple of hours earlier. Kevin was in pieces – like me after the race his body had shut down but he didn’t have the benefit of Kenny ushering him to the cabin. One after another we both sat in the sauna to try to warm up our core temperatures, sat in a scalding shower, but it was bed that beckoned.

All I remember is crawling under a duvet barely half an hour after crossing the finish line.... and my Norseman was over.


The Aftermath
Waking up the next day was a mixture of joy and pain. It was then that I finally realised my dream had become reality. I awoke, and immediately a huge smile lit my face. The price, though, was the aching pain from all my ligaments in my knees and ankles. My right foot had ballooned and I couldn’t walk at all. Later that morning I hobbled to the finisher’s ceremony, basked in the shared delight of all those who had reached the goal, but inside was an almost indescribable feeling.

So many years of my life had been consumed by this passion of Norseman, month after month of dragging myself out to train, year after year of life that had seemed to conspire to try to rob me off this single goal. Yet I’d finally achieved it. I had achieved something so extraordinary in my life that nobody could take away from me now.

All those cold winter nights running, the freezing loch in the open water swims, the driving, torrential rain as I climbed Cairn o’ Mount on the bike.... the hell and misery that life had thrown at me, losing my wife, my children, my job...

But now, finally, I could stare it back in the face and scream “F*ck you”.

I made it.

I am a Norseman.






Kevin, Andreas, Minttu, Kenny, me


My swollen leg, foot and ankle
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~   Last edited by Gus on Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:57 am; edited 1 time in total
The Hour Approaches
Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:20 pm Gus
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I didn't post this up at the time, but I wrote this the day before I left for Norseman. It was a blog entry to myself... seems appropriate to post it up now.

[Thanks everyone for your kind notes below - will respond personally when my race report will be up in the next day or so.]


The hour approaches.

Years in the training, years in the preparation. A goal so large it seemed overwhelming at the start of the journey. Yet each small step has led inevitably to this final moment; the moment when you face the final mountain – the final test.

Remember the cold, winter mornings. Hauling on the running shoes, the clinging windproofs and heading out into the dark, winter skies. Remember the harsh sting of the driving snow and rain on your cheek, the wind screaming at you to give up, to go home to warmth and comfort. Yet you drove yourself on.

Remember the countless miles on the bike. Remember the driving rain sapping your will, the endless hills leaching the strength from your legs, your thighs screaming to give up. The countless miles passing beneath the wheels, each one hauled out with brute strength and will. Each hill dared you to give up. Yet you drove yourself on.

Remember the long days in the pool, the commitment on each of those cold mornings to throw yourself into the long, lonely swims, lap after interminable lap. The mind-numbing boredom. The freezing, open-water swims, the dark, grey waters, achingly cold. The weather, the wind, the waves slapping your face in taunting misery seducing you to give in. Yet you drove yourself on.

Day after day. Month after month.

Why did you do this? Because you have a goal. Don’t let this goal slip away now.

The final challenge now awaits. Not just any challenge, but the greatest of all, the challenge that will lift you above others, or destroy your dreams.

It’s up to you.

Those who achieve greatness do it not by dreaming. They are not the ones sitting in the arm-chairs passing judgement. They are the ones who have committed their lives to their goal. For you, the cold mornings, the late, dark nights, the thankless hours pounding the roads, the lakes, the pool. The angry words, the incomprehension of those who don’t understand, the relationships torn asunder by this all-consuming commitment.

Only those who climb mountains, who trek the deserts, who pioneer the barriers of human endurance in all its forms can understand the true effort that leads just to the start-line. It’s a journey of a thousand miles to reach this single point. So, line up with the others, cast your proud gaze across their faces and count yourself worthy to be amongst them.

But realise the final test has arrived. This is the moment that will search your soul, that will bare your mettle and ask you, unflinchingly, if you truly deserve your place on that line.

This is the time to reach inside yourself, to scour the foundations of your mind to see if you stand strong. To question the very limits of your body and beyond.

From the moment the final encounter begins, as each mile passes, remind yourself of failure. Remind yourself the bitter, painful tears of failure that await if your mind or body surrenders. Can you honestly face that? The finish line is your universe, nothing else exists; pain and temptation to give in are diversions played by your mind. Scream at yourself, rage at your demons. The finish line is all that matters. Failure cannot be an option.

As each test arrives, scream into the wind, cry if you need to, but drive your body on. Keep your damned legs turning. Give in and face the rest of your life aching with failure when the moment of truth arrived. You are an athlete and you deserve to be there.

The finish line is yours. It’s up to you.

The only way you will leave that course is in a f*king ambulance.

Now go do it.

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Norseman 2010
Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:27 pm Gus
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Norseman 2008
Unfinished business.

Norseman 2010
Finished business.


Smile
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My 15 minutes of fame

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Gus' Triathlon History & Race Plan
 
2017
May - Loch Loman HIM?
July - Cairngorm HIM?
Sept - St Andrews HIM?

2016
Nowt!

2015
Nowt!

2014
Dec: Challenge Bahrain HIM
Sept: Wasdale HIM

2013
Oh dear Lord, this is getting embarrassing.
Fatter. Just Fatter.

2012
Write-off again! Got even fatter & lazier...
Another wasted year.

2011
Write-off! Got fat & lazy...
Wasted year.

2010
Norseman Xtreme (Norway)
HIM self-supported (UK)


2009
Norseman CANCELLED
Self-supported HIM CANCELLED
Wetherby Tri CANCELLED


2008
Norseman Xtreme (Norway)
Self-supported HIM (UK)
Norwich Olympic (UK)
Fritton Lake Olympic (UK)

2007
Cambridge Olympic (UK)
Norwich Olympic (UK)
Fritton Lake Sprint (UK)

2006
Got fat & lazy

2005
Geneva Sprint (Switzerland)
Nyon Sprint (Switzerland)

Who on earth is this Gus anyway ?
 
North Yorkshire born & bred, but spent five years in the dark, wet depths of Cumbria as a teenager. Loved those fells!

Newcastly Poly for one year, but got kicked out for enjoying myself too much, then North Staffs Poly (yuk) for 3 years studying Estate Management. Ended up as a Chartered Investment Surveyor for 10 years, living in London, Leeds and finally Glasgow (lived overlooking Loch Lomond.... most beautiful place on earth).

Career-changed during my mid-life crisis at 30: Threw away a high-flying career to go to Plymouth Uni for 1 year then spent the next 5 years working offshore all round the world in the oil industry.

Back onshore in 2003: Marketing Manager in Norwich, then Geneva, then Lowestoft (wow, glamorous!). After being VP Africa for an oil exploration company in Surrey the recession kicked me out and sitting twiddling my thumbs!

I had an awful French, gold-digging wife who developed mad cow disease, divorced me after just 5 years and walked away with my two baby daughters a very wealthy woman, leaving me facing bankruptcy. Sadly we learn by our mistakes.

Got into Tri's after my 53yr old boss in Geneva shamed me into doing one after he completed the Geneva. Once started, quickly hooked!
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crapus maximus
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Last Visit: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:42 pm
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Lactate bloody Threshold woes
Mmmmmmmmmojo?
Is this a start?
Challenge Bahrain Race Report - 6th December 2014
Wasdale Triathlon Race Report
Norseman 2010 Race Report

Total topics: 71
Total posts: 387





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