The Ful on Duathlon

My preparation for this race was less than ideal.

Friday – the theory

Leave work on time, chill out in the evening, have an early night.

Friday – the reality

Leave work on time, spend 90 mins cutting the grass. The first cut of the year so very long and almost three bags of cuttings. No early night.

Saturday – the theory

Easy session as per Mark’s plan (short run and little spin on the turbo) early in the day and then relax, relax and relax some more.

Saturday – the reality

Up early to sort out the garage, two trips to the dump to get rid of all the rubbish, scrub the trampoline and the climbing frame, tidy the garage after the clear out, build garden furniture the wife bought and shop for tools and a trip to B&Q to get a new lawn mower. Because of being on the go all day I made the decision to not do the 60 mins exercise as set by Mark.

Now this isn’t ideal as the actions the day before a race, but I am not a professional athlete (yet!) and well, life has a nasty habit of not stopping just because I have a race the next day.

So on to today – and the race.

The usual, tried and tested breakfast: bowl of porridge, jam on toast, decaf tea x 2 and a banana.

Off to the event in plenty of time, with the Sat Nav and the instructions to get there printed out courtesy of AA Route Master. Good job to as Gloria (the Sat Nav) plonked me in the middle of nowhere with the words ‘you have reached your destination’. So Plan B (no not the rapper) but to the old days of manual directions.

Got there in time to register, racked the bike, sorted my stuff and had a 10 mins warm up. The first wave – the young and the fit – set off 30 mins before us, the Vets. And it reminded me of how fast this event is. Not the course, which was (I later found out) pancake flat, but the participants. They are just really fast and it’s a really competitive race. Three or four years ago Tim Don raced at this event!

So off went the klaxon after the shortest race briefing ever of ‘ have a good race guys’. The plan was in my head – run the run at my pace, don’t get sucked into going off too fast and pay for it later. Let them go and do your own race. Aim for an OK first run, a comfortable bike and then go for it on the second run especially the second and last lap of the final run.

So off went the klaxon and off everyone went. There was I at the back, second to last in fact. The pace was brutal. I ignored it, I settled in at 11.5 kmph (just under my 10K pace of 12 kmph) and tried to keep that pace.

I felt good, very comfortable as I turned the first corner (I reckon 1 K) and hit a head wind, after the next corner (another 1K) I had caught and past one person and this bought me back to the start of the second lap – a time of 13.52. I was feeling good and there was a small group up ahead so I pushed the pace a bit. by the end of the second lap I had passed another 4 people as I hit T1. I did not catch the guy in the red top who I was aiming for on the second lap.

T1 was a fast one for me in and out in 52 seconds (and out before the guy in the red top!)

Out on the bike, and I must admit I have missed out by doing loads of turbo rides over the winter and less ‘on the road’ rides. The bike was OK and just OK. The positives were I was consistent lapping the five laps as: 10.08, 9.48, 9.44, 10.12 and 9.53. The guy in the red top over took me on lap one and I had him in my sights every lap but I just wasn’t at his pace. I passed some, some passed me. It went real quick, the 5 laps were over before I knew it.

T2 was a bit slower at 1.20 but I did come out before red top guy!

The final run – two laps – same as before. I was feeling the ride, not badly but it took 500 metres for me to get my running legs. I was going fast (ish) a bit too fast so I slowed a bit and found a good pace at 11 – 11.5 kmph. I passed a few and the wind was starting to pick up or was I just tired?

The first lap was good, I felt strong, very comfortable so I pushed in the second lap and targeted a guy quite a way ahead as my target man to catch and pass before the finish. As I turned the last corner (still 1K to go) I upped the pace some more and ended strong, passing the guy way before the finish and crossing the line on my own.

A total time of 1 hour 49 mins 40 secs.

The tale of the tape is as follows:

The run (6K) – total time of 27 mins 57 secs as:

Lap 1 – 13.52 (ave speed of 12.9 kmph)

Lap 2 – 14.05 (ave speed of 12.7 kmph)

T1 – 52 secs

The Bike – Total time of 49 mins 48 secs as:

Lap 1 – 10.08, lap 2 – 9.48, lap 3 – 9.44, Lap 4 – 10.12, lap 5 9.53

T2 – 1 mins 20 secs

The run (6K) – total time of 29 mins 40 secs as:

Lap 1 – 15.16 (ave speed of 11.7 kmph)

Lap 2 – 14.24 (ave speed of 12.5 kmph)

What this means is, the first 5K of the run was an unofficial PB of 24 mins 02 secs and the final run was very strong, especially the final lap, where I was running a pace just shy of the pace in the first run.

I am very pleased. Where I came in the race I don’t know nor do I care. I achieved all that I set out to achieve. Run strong before and after the bike but more importantly run my own race and not be caught up in the atmosphere and out pace myself. The Darren of old would have spent the first lap trying (and failing) to keep up with the main pack in the first run and had a torrid time for the rest of the event. This is a massive leap forwards. To be able to run at above 10K pace for the bulk of both runs is also evidence of how much my running is progressing.

I need to focus on the bike, mainly getting out on the road. The summer finally being here and the Tri Topia boot camp only two weeks away and with Mark there too, I am sure the cobwebs will be well and truly blown away.

My reward for doing so well in the race this morning ….. a 2 hour turbo session this afternoon – thanks Mark!

Thanks for reading.

Back to school

No post last weekend as I was back at school!

I booked myself on to a 2 day cycle maintenance course which taught me how to strip down a bike to almost the bare frame, clean all of the group set etc and rebuild it and also adjust the gears and brakes.

It was good, very detailed and very easy to follow and now the dreaded gear adjusting makes perfect sense. I stripped down my turbo bike and gave it a thorough clean and it looks like new. Just my training bike, race bike and my wife’s bike to do and I will be an expert!

My fun and games the weekend didn’t mean I skipped training. It did mean I had to reschedule the week slightly and be a bit adaptable.

Last Sunday I did the Pump class and a 45 mins run straight after, Monday was another 45 minute run, Turbo Tuesday, Pump (am) and a run (pm) on Wednesday and a big swim Thursday. Friday, instead of the usual rest day, I did a 1 hr 45 mins turbo and a 10 min run off the bike. I drove to Canterbury for the cycle course Saturday and stayed there overnight so had my rest day Saturday. Sunday I was home by early evening so could fit in another 1 hour run.

Makes last week a total of 8 hours and 30 mins training including 3 hours running, just over 1 hr swimming, 1 hours core (pump) and the rest on the turbo.

So a good course the weekend and it didn’t impact on the week’s training volume – which is good.

This weekend I need to get my racing head on as it’s the Ful on Duathlon. A relatively short race (for a wannabe endurance athlete!) 6K run – 25K bike – 6K run. In the olden days I would be working out an impossible time to complete the race and then would over pace myself trying to achieve that time.

So the plan for the race is:

a) to enjoy it!

b) have a good solid first run at around or slightly under my current 10K pace, so 30 – 35 mins finish time for this leg of the race.

c) bike – I don’t care! I have only ridden twice this year on the road having spent most of my time on the turbo due to the weather. So there is going to be nothing massive happening for me on the bike. It’s 5 laps for the 25K bike ride so it’s a small course and therefore my priority is to be safe and have a good ride and get used to riding on the road or on a ‘technical’ course.

d) my race ‘starts’ on the final run. I want to do the final 6K of the race at a solid 10K pace for 4K – 5K and then push for the final 1K – 2K. This may end up us a full race at 10K pace (bringing in a finish time for this leg of the race of 30 mins) or I may have something in my legs to push on and break 30 mins. The key for this, having enough stored in the final 6K, is to not go too hard in the first 6K. So pacing is, as ever, top of mind.

Really looking forward to the event as well. It will be good to prepare for it, have a few butterflies, take in the atmosphere of an event again etc. And this time at least I know the bike will be in good shape – unless I have just jinxed it!!!!

Full race report to follow ….

Thanks for reading.

RP plus 2

Trying to be true to my word and do more regular posts. Two within a week – not a bad start eh.

This work has been good. Got home late from the airport Sunday night/early hours of Monday morning – landed at gone 1am and didn’t get to bed until 3am, so no training Monday evening. In fact the Wife and I were in bed by 9pm Monday night. And not for that reason!

Tuesday was a swim session and as expected it was hard work. I haven’t done much swimming lately so a few lengths would have been hard yet alone the 2,400 metres (96 lengths) I actually did.

Wednesday was pump in the morning and a run after work. The run was hard, very hard, in fact I only did 50 mins of the 1 hour set. I think a few after effects from the travelling and not enough food at lunchtime/in the afternoon. So going to ramp up the calorie intake for the ‘double day sessions’.

Another swim on Thursday and this session was a lot easier. It was also a very good session so it went real quick and didn’t seem like 1 hour and 10 mins in the pool. Covered 2,800 metres this time (112 lengths).

Friday rest day. So chilled out in the evening and in bed at 10pm.

Which leaves today and really pleased to say I swapped my pump and run day today with tomorrows bike ride so I could go on the road and ride. I rode to Richmond Park and did two and a bit laps of the park and rode back. Had a bit of trouble with the maths and ended up riding for 2 hours and 4o mins instead of 2 hrs and 20 mins (sorry Mark, genuine mistake) and then a little 10 mins run off the bike.

It was really good to get out on the bike rather than sitting in the shed on that damn turbo trainer. Also, with the Ful on Tri Duathlon only two weeks away I wanted to shake the bike down and make sure all was OK. The battery had gone on the bike computer so replaced that, but the big finding was how ‘wobbly’ I was to start off with on the bike. Solely the fact I have been on the turbo trainer so much where the bike is fixed so you ‘throw yourself around’ a lot more on the bike on that then you do on the road. But it didn’t take long to get in the flow of it.

Was a good ride, left at 8.40am and home before the rain hit so a dry ride. Total of 66K. So it just leaves pump (they do a Sunday class at the gym now) and a 45 mins run tomorrow to end the week.

The Tuesday weigh in showed the effects of the holiday in Egypt – 5 star all inclusive – an increase of 2 and 3/4 lbs up to 11st 7 3/4 lbs. But the diet has gone well this week so hopefully back to 11st 5lb before too long. Maybe even Tuesday’s weigh in?

Thanks for reading.


You do sport Sir?

Yesterday was the most perfect day.

Alarm went off at 6.30 am – up and out the hotel room by 7am. 1 hr and 5 mins run – all nice and easy but turned out to be half marathon pace and covered just over 11K.

One of those runs where you can just keep going and have to stop yourself from doing too much. Had plenty of water on my so no problems there.

Showered, washed my kit, breakfast and then twisting by the pool for the day. No chores, no business just chillaxing. Then 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm I did one hours weights in the hotel gym. Weights and core.

Then a one hour Egyptian massage, and what a great massage it was. The masseuse pulled back the towel, looked at my legs and says ‘oh you do Sport Sir’. I said to the wife after ‘I suppose it was because my legs were shaved’ and she said ‘no it’s cos they are so defined’. Nice! She also gave a really good massage. Noticed tightness in my calves and worked on them more and also in my shoulders and avoided my bruised leg and arm from the desert crash.

Then a meal of Nanchos to start, Beef fajitas (the wife had chicken so we did swopsis) and Chocolate brownies and ice cream for dessert. A stroll around Naama Bay to work off the food and then an early night!

What a day.

I set the alarm for 6.30am again today, but decided against the run as was a bit tired and we fly back today getting into Gatwick at gone 1am – so it would have been a long day.

So a total of 6 hours training this week. Not good as I wanted to do more, but not bad as I had no access to a bike as I thought and there was a lot of chores to do while here.

Onwards to next week.

Thanks for reading.


Mountain Bike Virgin

It’s been another three weeks since my last post, which is beginning to be a bad habit. However, I am in the middle of reading an excellent book – ‘Can’t swim Can’t bike Can’t run” by Andy Holgate. The story of Andy’s initiation into Triathlon and his first Ironman. It has inspired me to be a better blogger and try to report in more regularly. So first let’s me play catch up.

The week of the 18th March – I did 7 hours and 25 mins of training – a real good full on week: 3 Turbos sessions, 2 long runs, a pump class at the gym for body conditioning and a good swim. So all good that week.

The following week (last week) wasn’t so good, in fact it was crap!

A Turbo on Monday was followed by no training Tuesday as I had a work event to attend in the evening, Wednesday was good I did both pump and a long(ish) run, but Thursday I rested. The reason being I was in holiday mode. Friday was Good Friday and I was going to Egypt on the Saturday and I just felt like enjoying the first evening of my holiday chilling and not going to the pool as the schedule suggested. I think this is the first time this year where I have just not done a session, rather than having to miss it due to work or other commitments. Friday I did an easy Turbo and Saturday I was up at 5.30 am for the flight to Sharm el Sheikh.

The Tuesday weight in also showed I had hit 11st 5lb, which I was well pleased with. That’s almost a stone lost since the New Year.

Finally this week. Whilst visiting Sharm is technically a holiday, as we own property here there is always a mix of ‘business’ and chores to do while here. So my holiday so far has been:

Sunday – No training as the day was non stop chores – here there and everywhere.

Monday – early to rise, up at 7am for an early morning run (45 mins) before the sun came up. I was wrong, the sun was well and truly up and it was bloody hot when I left the hotel room at 7.30 am. I spent the rest of the day drinking water and mango juice non-stop to rehydrate.

Tuesday – I chose to try the air conditioned gym at the hotel. A 5 minute warm up on the stepper followed by 25 mins on the treadmill, 15 mins on the stationary bike, and another 10 mins on the treadmill, 5 mins warm down – 1 hour in total. Air conditioning was on full blast and I looked like I had just been in the pool by the time I had finished.

Wednesday – after two days of running back to back I wanted to hold off on running for a third day, with a long bike ride planned for Thursday I decided on a weights and a core session in the gym. So an hour of weights, mainly lowish weight and more reps – like doing my own pump class.

Thursday – I did a 3 hour mountain bike sportive in the dessert. I did it through a company called Black Jack Bikes, which is effectively an excellent guy called Claus who arranged for a taxi to pick me and another Brit (David) up and took us to the Nabq National Park (which is a dessert), he sorted us out with mountain bikes, water (lots of), cake, Claus as our tour guide and a support vehicle.

My beautiful picture









The ride was very easy, as in easy on the legs, the technique was not quite so easy. It was like riding on an unmade road, that suddenly had deep sand on it and the¬†bike dug in and you thought you were going over. Claus obviously took it in his stride, he has been the running the company and doing the tours for 4 years. David was also fine being an experienced mountain biker. The ‘roady’ (me) found the technique hard to master and it was only a matter of time, after a few close calls, that I hit the deck. Nothing serious, a cut on my elbow and a few marks to show the wife on my leg and arm.

But a really nice experience, some great views and a work out.

Also driving back to the hotel with Claus he gave me a really good heads up on roads I could ride, where was good, where was not and he even offered to show me the good rides and roads next time I was over. Which by the way is looking like the middle of June (more chores to do then) and I will be bringing a bike with me!

Friday (today) is my usual rest day. So I thought ‘what the hell, I will rest’ so no training today.

But the alarm is set for 6.30 am tomorrow morning for a 45 min run and ideally it won’t be as hot 30 mins earlier then last time (yeah right!) but more water with me this time.

Sunday we fly home but not until late so I may try and fit in another weights/core session Sunday morning. Or maybe an early morning sea swim or maybe I will just rest as it’s the day I fly.

Next week I am hoping to get back to a normal week and get back on track. I am sure I have put on weight while I have been here even though I tried not to!

Thanks for reading and here’s to more regular (and shorter) posts.