Escape to Snowdonia

Last week I decided I needed a change of scenery for day, and after having a quick look at the forecast it looked like Wednesday was going to be a reasonably mild and dry day in Llanberis. I needed to start increasing the distance of my longer runs, so I hatched a plan to run a couple of laps of the lake loop from the Brutal Triathlons run, which would also give me an opportunity to test out some of the kit that I plan to use later this year at Jurassicman and later at the Brutal when I take on the Double run in a team. I’ve written a bit about the run over on the blog that I’m writing for Brutal Events on my build up to Jurassicman, which will appear here when it gets uploaded, so here I’m going to focus more on the kit that I used and how I got on with. Continue reading “Escape to Snowdonia”

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Another Year Done

I’m sat on a National Express coach in traffic trying to get out of London, making my way back home after the trip to Lanzarote was cut short. So rather than sit here bored, cursing the several screaming children, I though I’d have a look back at 2017.

The year hasn’t really worked out as initially planned, but I’ve achieved some big goals, made some new friends, and found some new opportunities for next year. I didn’t get as fit as I wanted, or lose as much weight as I wanted (infact I’m ending the year heavier) but neither of those things take away from the fact that 2017 was the year I first completed both half and full iron distance triathlons. There was also a DNF in my first attempt at an ultramarathon, but that has just left me hungry to get one done in the future. The most frustrating part of this year for me though has been breaking my collarbone and the subsequent withdrawal from several races whilst I recovered and tried to find my mojo again.

Other than taking part in races as a competitor, it’s been a busy year for volunteering and crewing. A month or so ago I hit my 25 volunteer milestone at parkrun and have continued to add to the total. I also volunteered at the Ullswater Triathlon for the second time, with much nicer weather this year than last. And I’ve crewed at almost all of the Brutal Events races this year, with the Night Swim being the only one I’ve not been to. It started with The Oner, then The Pig Duathlon (that wasn’t, called off due to the weather), The Midnight Mountain Marathon, The Big Brutal Swim, The Brutal Extreme Triathlons and last but not least the exhausting Deca UK. These events have been some of my favourite times during the year, meeting lots of inspiring athletes and getting to spend time with the rest of the Brutal crew.

2017 was also the year I became part of a triathlon club, having joined the wonderful Rochdale Triathlon Club. Over the year I’ve become more involved, and am now on the committee to oversee the club grand prix series and organise club events.

And lastly the trip to Lanzarote that I am currently on my way home from. The plan was to support Claire, boss lady of Brutal Events, as she attempted a solo attempt at a 1 per day Deca. During the bike on day 1 she realised her head and heart just weren’t in it and so she made the tough call to end it. Hopefully next year I’ll get to support her again in other challenges. The new plan then was to relax a bit, do some recces of possible routes for a possible future Brutal event on tour and just enjoy ourselves, but illness put an end to that and we came home early.

Looking forward to next year there are some exciting opportunities ahead, for competing, supporting and working within endurance sports events. More on those in a future post, so for now I’ll leave you with a selection of photos from this year that sum it all up for me.

Country To Capital
Crewing at The Oner, watching runners descending towards our checkpoint at Lulworth Cove
View across Thirlmere during the Lakeland Loop sportive
The Pirate DIY Half, a change of venue this year but a great social get together
Bought a new wetsuit in the Lake District, so went and joined Dave Bottoms for a dip in Derwentwater to test it out
After a few days touring the Lakes by bike, never has a pub been such a welcome sight as when I reached the top of Kirkstone Pass
Half Iron done! Shame the swim was halved…
The Pig That Wasn’t…
The Pig That Wasn’t…
Full distance done at the excellent Lakesman. Booked in again for next year!
Giant squirrels and Mountain Rescue, pretty much sums up Brutal Events

Volunteering at the Ullswater Triathlon in nicer weather
parkrun volunteering whilst broken

Mark Bebbington at the Big Brutal Swim having done the 10k. This is here purely to post his goggle face again and annoy him

As well as crewing at the Brutal Extreme Triathlons, I had the pleasure of joining Matt Morten for a couple of laps of the lake

Race directing the Rochdale Triathlon Club duathlon

Fellow teammates of Threesypeasy at the Nottingham Christmas Marathon. I was supposed to run in the half but wasn’t feeling it, so had a great day supporting instead

Claire swimming on the first (and in the end, last) day of her solo Deca in Lanzarote

And go again.

I’m off to Lanza on Sunday for THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER! (possible sarcasm alert)

Brutal Claire

This time next week we will be in Lanzarote for my next attempt at a one-a-day Deca (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26 mile run, every day). This will be the forth time I have tried to do this and there is a good chance it won’t be the last… Why? Because it’s really fucking hard, that’s why.

I’m at my most experienced regarding Decas at this moment. I’ve been there, messed it up, messed it up again, done it, got the t-shirt etc. But this means there’s no bullshit, no ‘gonna smash this’ and no bravado. I’m just going to give it everything I have. And hope it’s enough this time.

I’m scared of failing again, of course. But when I started 2017, I told myself to get real comfortable with failure. Because when you’re putting yourself out there, trying to do really hard stuff, you’re gonna…

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Another Season Over…

…Or nearly, at least. Next month I’ve got my final race of the year, the half marathon at the Nottingham Christmas Marathon, running laps of the lake at Holme Pierrepoint (that’ll be fun…). A few weeks ago I managed an open water swim, completing the Fireworks 500 swim at Capernwray dive centre, a 500ish metre night swim. I was worried initially about my shoulder, but it seemed the combination of wearing a wetsuit for support, and the cold water actually helped. So with races for this year more or less out of the way, it’s time to look forward to 2018. My big events are all booked now, so I just need to find a few sportives earlier in the year, and a few shorter triathlons so that I can take part in my tri club’s Grand Prix series (I feel I should, as I’m in charge of putting it together). Continue reading “Another Season Over…”

Deca UK – A Crew Perspective

It’s taken a bit longer than I had planned to get this particular update written. This time last month we were well into Deca UK down at Dorney Lake, Windsor. I wasn’t racing (obviously…) but I was there as part of the race crew for Brutal Events, putting in long days with very little sleep to allow the athletes to see how far they could push themselves over the 10 days. For those of you who aren’t aware of what a Deca is, it’s 10 iron distance triathlons. There are 2 different formats for the Deca, being the continuous (where you do all of each discipline before moving onto the next, so a 24 mile swim, followed by 1120 miles of cycling, and finishing with a 262 mile run) or the one-a-day or cumulative Deca (where every day for 10 days at a set time, you start another iron distance triathlon of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run). Deca UK was using the one-a-day format, so each day at 7.30am the athletes would get back in the lake ready to start all over again.

Continue reading “Deca UK – A Crew Perspective”

Ready To Start Again

I know it’s been a while since my last update, but there’s not really been much to write considering I’ve not been able to do much! I went to the fracture clinic hoping that the consultant would give me the green light to do some gentle exercise on the treadmill and or/turbo trainer, but sadly that wasn’t the case. I was told in no uncertain terms to avoid anything other than walking until 6 weeks from the accident, which takes me to the middle of this week. So, as much as it has frustrated me, I’ve done nothing other than go out for walks. Yesterday I made the decision to remove my sling full time, as it’s reached the point now where my arm is more comfortable out of it than with it on, and I can feel that the bone has knitted back together. The area is still generally quite sore most of the time, which I’m putting down to muscles and all the soft fleshy bits still healing and getting used to the large lump of bone sticking out where it shouldn’t, but the arm is becoming slightly more usable now than it was. What did surprise me at the fracture clinic was that I was actually given the choice as to whether to leave it to heal naturally, or to have surgery. Considering it was already a couple of weeks on from the crash, and that the consultant thought it would heal without any problems, I opted to not be cut open and exposed to the risks of infection, nerve damage and so on. Surgery would have done away with the lump which I’ll now have for life, but I’ll take that over the extra risks. Plus I’d also have been left waiting for an appointment for surgery, which could then be cancelled and delayed, so the time frame wouldn’t have been any better. At least now, despite the annoyance and frustration, I can look forward to easing back into doing some training from later on this week. The sling has come off just in time to allow me to drive over to Llanberis to crew at the Brutal Triathlons this coming weekend as well, which I suspect will be the topic of my next blog. I get over there on Friday and will be working some crazy hours until some point in the early hours of Tuesday. For some strange reason I’m really quite looking forward to it… Continue reading “Ready To Start Again”