Pi$$ed off!

Cannot believe I am ill again. I had a long day at work on Monday and didn’t leave until gone 9pm. I woke up Tuesday feeling rough and slowly got worse though out the day and through out the week.

I crawled into work Friday and have been in bed most of the weekend. Have pretty much lost my voice through coughing, constant head ache and sore throat.

So no training this week and I didn’t think there will be any next week.

The wife blames the diet, not eating enough while doing long training sessions leaving me run down.  And as usual she might be right.

Thanks for reading.

The SRS Events Springtime Classic

The 6.15 am alarm call, on a Sunday morning, made me wonder, long and hard, why I do events like this. I laid in bed until 6.30 before getting up and pulling myself together. I loaded up on coffee, porridge, toast and a banana. This is the tried and tested breakfast for a long bike ride. Too much if it was for a run event (unless there is over 2 hours for it to be digested before the run starts). But for a long bike ride event that would be fine.

My bag was all packed the night before and with varying weather predictions (the forecast was rain and wind but I woke to a nice sunny day, albeit cold) I had every item of cycling clothing I owned in my bag; normal shorts, bib shorts, running tights to wear under the bib shorts, or my extra thick and extra padded cycling tights, favourite long sleeve top, back up long sleeve top, tee shirt x 2 for extra layers, cycling top with pockets in the back, cycling jacket – oh boy I had it all. Good job it was just me going – the wife opted for a lay in and a 60 minute spin session at the gym – it was mother’s day after all.

I left late, I always do, and got to the venue at 8.15. I intended to start at 8 so I was running behind schedule. You can start at any time between 7.30 and 9.00 (I think) but the earlier you start the less traffic. Signing on was its usual easy process, got my map, my timing chip etc. I had decided driving there in the warmth of the car and with my thick jumper on that I would ride with the bib shorts but everyone there had opted for long tights, so I followed suit. CHICKEN

I quickly got changed, got my energy bars, clif shot blocks, my mobile phone and the emergency £20 note and made my way to the start.

I hadn’t really followed the route. It is always perfectly sign posted and easy to follow so I hadn’t studied it. It was a 90K ride (in fact 87K) which is my usual Saturday morning distance which I do in circa  3 hrs 15 mins. So I was assuming a similar time. This was also a ‘training ride’ so I had trained all week (see previous blog) and the day before I had done a 40 minute easy run and a 45 minute swim.

As I started it was apparent I was doing this on achy legs. The first 30 – 40 mins was a mental battle ‘it’s cold’, ‘my legs ache’, ‘why didn’t I stay in bed’. The SRS Event have a good mixture of riders with some over taking me and me over taking others. It’s always good to see a group in front and catch them and pass them – it’s better than just riding on your own as I normally do.

I did a bit of drafting to have a breather, I was drafted by others, had a bit of chit-chat as I rode along. All good.

I hit the first hill, It was hard, I went past some other cyclists going up it, some went past me, it was OK. Same on the next hill and the next – all was good.

I got to circa 20K and was on pace for a 3 hour ‘ish’ finish.

It was hard, but fun hard. I went past the first feed station at about 30K , far too soon to stop and carried on past it.

Then the hills really hit and for the next 3oK they didn’t feel like they stopped. There was hundreds of them, short sharp ones, long twisty ones, never-ending ones, they were everywhere.

You have to stop at the feed station at circa 50K to get your timing chip swiped. I was going OK when I got to this station, I didn’t want to stop, I had a full water bottle left of Lucozade drink, and one of my energy bars left (Torq) and all my clif shots. I was anxious my handle bars needed tightening as they were creaking on the hard climbs, when I was out of the seat and really pushing hard so I thought a ‘quick stop, tighten them up and on I go’. I got swiped, I looked at the loose bars (they weren’t loose) and thought I will just stop for a few minutes and top up my empty bottle – just in case. Then someone shouted ‘coffee anyone’ and the next thing I know 10 minutes had passed, I was drinking coffee and chatting like some old dear at a coffee morning!

10 minutes at a feed stop – what you doing Webb! You are in training for a half iron man – you don’t get to stop for coffee. But hang on, yes I am in training and this is a training ride. It is important to decide in advance what the event is. Is it a race, so taper down, no experimenting on nutrition, balls out all the way or is it a training event so try new stuff/products and drinks, don’t taper down so the time won’t be great and have fun.

Anyway the stop was a bad idea, mentally I just wanted it to end so I could have more coffee. My feet were cold, I was real hot in my 20 layers and the clothing was wet and that made me chilly etc, the hills kept coming and coming and coming, even at 80K when I thought it should be the nice ride to home there was another short sharp energy sapping hill.

The last 5K was hard too, I normally try and finish ‘at pace’ and really go for it but the legs were empty, the proverbial – crawling over the line.

Hard my celebratory cup of coffee and my free tuna roll and packet of crisps (you don’t get that at all sportives you know!), got changed and packed the car and headed home.

I checked the website and read the text describing the ride, it sure did warn the rider about how hilly it was and what a good pre season test it would be, it had text such as:

‘it passes through some tough terrain and some tough climbs such as Pillow Mounds Hill and Kidds Hill which is known locally amongst the cycling fraternity as “The Wall”, there is also the infamous short but steep Cobb Lane Hill’.

So I felt glad I had done it, glad I got out of bed and did this event rather than a usual training ride. Also, my first long outside ride for a while due to the past few weekends being the half marathon, holiday, illness etc so all in all a good days work.

I finished in a time of 4 hrs and 1 min. Results put that time as finishing 65th out of 138 finishers. Annoying I was over the 4 hr mark for the sake of 1 minute, someone beat me by a second and also if I had stopped for 5 mins and not 10 mins I would have come 55th.

In the blog above I have tied to be positive about the ride, but I do have a very big question rattling around in my head – ‘if at the end of that ride I was so knackered – how the hell am I going to do a similar distance ride and then do a half marathon straight afterwards? And that my friends is a big question……..

Thanks for reading.




A good week

Been a hard working week this week. Lots of early morning meetings and stressy days. It’s wierd sometimes a nice long run is good to relax after a stressy day, other times the stress gets in the way of training.

Monday evening I did a 1 hour turbo session, mainly easy but with 20 ‘up and overs’. An up and over is 1 minute at speed, a high gear with a high cadence (110 rpm) followed by 1 minute easier (not easy, just easier). So a 1 hour turbo with 20 mins of efforts.

Tuesday evening I did a swim – yes a swim – bring out the banners – a good session, quite easy as I haven’t swum for ages. I wanted to swim in the morning pre work but I had an early meeting (8.30) so I could not fit the swim in pre work. Anyway back to the swim – I did the session as blocks of 10 lengths with a 30 second rest in between. The sets were 2 x swim, 2 x swim with pull bouy and paddles, 2 x pull bouy and 1 x swim as a warm down. So 70 lengths at 25 metres per length is a total of 1,750 metres. Need to get to 3 swims a week asap.

Wednesday evening (yes another early morning meeting so no training pre work) was a long run. 85 mins in total. A run to the park (25 mins), 2 laps of the park one at 10K race pace taking 17 mins being the fastest circuit of the park by me, the other lap taking 20 mins, then an easy run home circa 22 mins. There are a couple of hills on the way home which I tackled at pace. So a good long run after a stressy day.

Thursday evening I did a long easy turbo, set netflix up in the gym and did an 80 mins easy turbo including 2 x 10 mins efforts with a 10 mins easy in between the 2 sets.

Rest day yesterday (Friday), after 7 days of back to back training. Later today I will do an easy 40 mins run at the gym on the tread mill and follow that with a 40 minute swim. All will be easy as 1) I am breaking in my new trainers and 2) I have a bike ride sportive tomorrow. It’s an SRS Events sportive, which I highly recommend, they are very well organised, well sign posted, excellent feed stops including hot sausage rolls one time when the weather was particularly bad! The sportive is a 90K which is a usual weekend ride for me so it is just a training riding. But I haven’t done a long ride for several weeks so it will be good to get some open air miles under my belt. It’s another early one (I hate getting up early) starting at 8am from Burgess Hill which is circa an hours drive away so it will be a 6.30 start.

I will aim to give a full report on the ride tomorrow including my time.

The weather forecast is for rain as it was today and it is pouring down now so looks like a wet ride tomorrow. Bugger!

Thanks for reading.

Getting back into it with some presents!

I have managed to get some training done this weekend, but not as much as I would have hoped. I think the ‘man flu’ I had is not fully out of my system yet. I also have a sty in my eye so it’s a bit swollen and means I don’t really fancy wearing goggles. So the scheduled swim this weekend didn’t happen.

Having said ‘never train within 24 hours of flying’, on Friday afternoon, having landed Thursday evening, I decided not to follow my own advice. I went to the gym and did a real easy (9.5 kmph at an incline of 1%) 45 min run. I followed this with some stretching and 10 mins of ab work. The run was OK, not brilliant, just OK. I felt I could (and should) go faster and then had waves of tiredness and thought about knocking off some speed or stopping. I put it own to the first bit of exercise for over a week, but now I am not sure.   

I was then out ‘with the wife’ Friday evening and we didn’t get home until gone midnight, a late one for a wannabe triathlete, but I was good and didn’t drink.

 Saturday I didn’t wake up until gone 10 am, the second tell tale sign that all was not good. I don’t normally sleep this late in unless I have trained hard the day before or I am unwell.

Having missed my usual slot for my long 3 hour ride (I normally leave the house by 8 am at the latest to try to miss as much traffic as I can) I decided a turbo would be best. That way if I did feel unwell I could stop easily, not an option if I am 10 plus miles away from home.

I set Netflix up and set about watching a film whilst doing an easy 90 – 100 cadence spin. I did 90 mins, all good and comfortable and decided to call it a day. It was lunch time, and I had ‘stuff’ to do in the afternoon and thought ‘90 mins is enough’ and that was tell tale sign number 3. Usually having done a 3 hour turbo session I decide 4 hours would be better and I end up doing longer than I scheduled, in this instance I had ‘had enough’ after 50% of the session.

I decided to cheer myself by spending money… I bought a bike stand so I can work on my bikes without having to bend down and rest on my knees. A bargain at £59 (or I would not have got one). Even at that price it was still a complete extravagence, as the only work I do on my bikes is cleaning them as I don’t know one end of a bike from the other. Memo to self ‘look up bike maintenance courses on the web so I can start to service my bikes myself and crucially learn to adjust the gears myself’.


I also bought another pair of 2XU Calf compression err things, I have one pair which I use every time I run so I got a white pair too.

I also bought a new pair of trainers. Now this is a big decision. I am a creature of habit so I tend to just buy the same trainers every time. But having had 2 pairs of Asics Gel Nimbus 11’s, followed by 3 pairs of Nimbus 12’s I was thinking about being adventurous and not just getting a pair of Nimbus 13’s. So I went ‘mental’ and bought a pair of New Balance 1080’s. I have worn New Balance before and got on OK with them, they are a neutral trainer (which is what I wear), they got a good right up, they are very light weight for a neutral trainer, they were bright orange and they were on sale and were only £69. I also couldn’t find a pair of Nimbus 13’s in my size for under £100. I get new trainers every three months. If I start paying £100 per pair I would stretch it to 4 months so my preference (and recommendation) is buy cheap and buy more often. Now I am not saying buy a pair for £30 every month! But if you shop about on the web there are always deals around somewhere.

Sunday I woke up feeling tired (set the alarm this time for 8.30). I had some porridge and a banana and a pot of coffee and watched a bit of TV while this all went down. I then decided to move my turbo back down to the gym, clean up my turbo bike using my new stand and then spring clean the gym. The results of my handiwork are below:


 Bit of a luxury having all this kit at home and out of the way of the house at the end of the garden (well in the summer its handy, in the winter it’s unused and full of cobwebs – hence the spring clean).

After all this hard work I did an 80 mins easy run – circa 13.5K on what turned out to be a nice sunny day. I was thinking of how hard the past few sessions had been so I bulked up on 2 cliff shots before I left and I took two with me along with 500 ml of Lucozade sport (2 thirds drink and 1 third water) and had about 150 ml before I left. The purpose two-fold: give me an energy boost incase I flagged, as this was an easy run why not use it to experiment by drinking whilst running and taking more shots than I would usually take.

The run was real good. Nice and easy and comfortable but when I looked my pace wasn’t that slow. The shots gave me the boost I needed and it was good to practise running and taking on fluids as I run. When I got back I had 20 mins of weights in the newly cleaned gym/shed and then did 10 mins of abs (conscious of any weight I might have put on whilst on holiday).

The weekly weight in says …. 72.1KG – gt in there, The Sunday before I went on hols I was 72.3KG, so a week of all inclusive, on holiday and no training and still losing weight. The 70KG target is not too far off now.

I have a full program designed for next week and the next three weeks to get a good block under my belt. I haven’t signed up for the SRS Events 90K sportive for next Sunday yet, but I intend to. This will just be a training event so no tampering down or fast time, I will just swap my long Saturday ride to Sunday.

So bring on next week and I WILL swim at least 3 sessions next week, swollen eye or no swollen eye!

Thanks for reading.

It was a holiday after all

Hi there

I am now officially back in the ‘land of the living’. No headache, no running nose, no sore throat etc I am ready to start training again. Problem is the holiday is over and we fly back tomorrow. So it has been a week of no training at all. All the gym kit, the whey protein and the energy drinks etc all need to be packed up again and bought home.

I am gutted I couldn’t train, but when you are ill, you are ill. I think the gum infection was the start of it all, as soon as the antibiotics wore off the cold hit me. And it was a severe one.

I have just looked at my training program since the week before Christmas and I have done the following training per week: 8.5 hrs, 9.5 hrs, 8 hrs, 7 hrs, 1.5 hrs (recovery week), 8.5 hrs,  9 hrs, 5 hrs including first half marathon (with the gum infection), 9 hrs before this holiday. So I might have been due a recovery week anyway.

Important lesson folks – THIS HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF A TRAINING DIARY if nothing else but for reference purposes!! But there are many more reasons than that to keep a training diary. 

So I have to just take it on the chin and this week is a recovery / ill week. Meant I ate what I wanted and had a few Sakara’s as well as more than a few Red C Lions (Vodka, Gin, Orange juice and Grenache), which if training I would not have done. Almost like I was on holiday!

Spent this afternoon designing the next three weeks training – and some times a break is just what is needed to get motivated for another block session of three weeks of 10 plus hours training.

This will include a SRS Events sportive being a hilly 90K bike ride next weekend and end in three weeks time with the Croydon half marathon. This weekend I will train as I land Thursday evening, but it will be a gentle build up to full on training to make sure of no relapse. Plenty of Strepsils will be munched on the flight and Vitamin C before and after.

Remember – if flying short haul (less than 5 hours) never train the day before or the day after the flight, take plenty of Vitamin C and have Strepsils during the flight. You are always run down while flying, early start, lack of sleep, stress of packing etc and with the air con on flights you are open to catching stuff. If a longer flight then it’s two days before and after with no training.      

I did manage to squeeze in a couple of 1 hour massages though, and there is a chance I might get the third one in tomorrow!

Thanks for reading


Worse than Man flu – it’s Webb flu

For those of you that don’t know Webb flu is a very bad strain of man flu that can only be survived by those with the surname Webb!

And I have Webb flu. Feel like complete crap – morning, noon and night.

Sore throat, headache, hacking cough, runny nose, aches and pains etc – it’s not nice. Not going to get any training done this week at this rate. One of those situations where training takes second place to getting well.

The younger, less wise Darren would have tried to ‘just do a little run’ to sweat it out or a little work out to ‘stay fit’ but one advantage of feeling this bad, is that isn’t even a possibility. In writing this blog I have had to blow my nose twice and have coughed three times.

Not pleasant.

On the plus side, if there is a plus side, whilst laying around feeling sorry for myself I have been working on the Begin2tri logo and have thought of some other pages to add and interesting info to put on the site.

Apologies this blog isn’t an update on how nice it is running in Egypt or how good the pool or the hotel gym is and instead it is me moaning. But I don’t feel well and want to moan cos I want to be running and swimming and gyming!!

As always, thanks for reading but especially in this case.

PS If I did those smiley face things I would put a sad face on but I don’t like them so I won’t.



The dreaded man flu!

Not a good start to boot camp Egypt. I woke up this morning, no actually I woke up in the middle of the night and again this morning, with a sore throat, headache and generally aches and pains.

So dosed up with strepsils and Paracetamol and drinking hot chocolate and coffee and not beer and cocktails.

I will give it a couple of days and hopefully can get some traning done then when feeling better. Hopefully an early night tonight will do the trick.

Moral of the story ‘never fly when tired and run down’ and if you do take plenty of vitamin C and eat strepsils during the flight. Neither of which I did!

Thanks for reading (achoo)





Yesterday’s Flight

I am writing this blog on the Easyjet flight to Sharm El Sheikh.

I had to work very late yesterday, not leaving the office until 9.30pm, so packing was a bit manic at 11pm last night. But I think I got everything in: running trainers, swimming gear, goggles, paddles, stopwatch, energy drink (powder form), Whey Protein, running glasses, Garmin sat nav watch and charger, training diary, the list is endless… oh and a few Tshirts and jeans for when I am not training.

The two women sitting next to my wife must be in the English team for talking and they are training for the Olympics. They are going at it full pelt. They can average 4 and a half minutes before needing to take a breath. We are sure to get the Gold in this one.

Training so far this week has been good. An easy one hour turbo Monday evening after a heavy weekend of training, Tuesday was going to be a long overdue swim, but due to a fire the gym was closed. Instead I did a 35 minute run of 10 mins warm up, then 5 hill reps. Run up a big ole hill in 1.30 – 1.40 and then an easy recovery jog down, repeated for 5 reps. Hit times of 1.31, 1.36, 1.31, 1.32 and 1.42. The last one was hard! Then an easy jog home. A short session, but very rewarding and a nice change from knocking out long miles every run.

I couldn’t train last night due to working late and I won’t train today as I never train the same day I fly. But this week could end up being a ‘boot camp situation’. It will be like living as a pro athlete. Training hard and relaxing, training hard and relaxing. Swimming session are easy when you can recover from the session laying in the sun with a good book and your ipod on rather than rushing back to the office!

Key aims for this week, in order of priority are: have at least three massages (spa at the hotel), don’t put on too much weight (it’s all inclusive which is never good) and do some training – mainly swims, runs and some core (gym at the spa). No cycling as it’s so hard to hire a bike in Sharm, so will focus on the other events.     

I will fill you in on the week as I go, but for the moment I need to find these earphones before I commit murder on two ladies. However, judging by the expression on those around me there may be a queue! They can even talk while eating…..   

Thanks for reading