I started this blog in 2010 when there were 11 weeks to go before my next Ironman triathlon. People have found it interesting (mainly my Mum!) so I continue to write.
The Ironman is a long distance triathlon; Swim 2.4miles, Cycle 112miles, Run 26.2 miles (marathon). I have competed in one every year since 2004. I hope this blog can help others see what is involved. I find the process of writing it makes me more accountable and motivates me to do the harder sessions when i'm not feeling like it!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Brick (Bike/Run)

Big day today - I was down to do 80-90km cycle with 4 x 4km at race pace, followed by a 10km run at race pace.
I decided to ride up to Hawi which is the northern turn around part of the course. It's also the steepest and most wind exposed. The round trip was 120km but I thought it would be worth it to see what was in store.

1. Very hot. I think the overall advantage of an aero helmet is small as it may be faster but there's less cooling.

2. Hills - the profile looks steep but it's all fairly gradual. No really steep parts like Bolton.

3. Wind - Yes this is a major factor. It seems to be cross winds that can knock you sideways. I wanted to see if i'd be ok with my only pair of race wheels. These act like discs when going fast but apart from a couple of occasions they were ok The main problem is going from a sheltered to an exposed part.

4. Hydration - It's easy to get behind with this. I took all the water in a camelbak and I tired to spread it out for the duration. This led to me being very thirsty by the end. There are aid stations every 10km on race day so a bottle from each should be OK

5. Drivers - Hopefully this wont be a factor on race day but it seems that 18-30year old males think you shouldn't be cycling on the road. The youngest ones think it's cool to shout out the windows. The motorcyclist think it's fun to get close and then rev. It was the same in Australia for my 12mile commute to work. In both places I wrongly assumed everyone was into fitness etc, when actually only a small percentage are.

6. Road surface - there are a few surprises but overall it's much better than the UK.

It was definitely worth doing. The goal inflation I had been experiencing is now well and truly silenced. I think now I would be delighted with 6hours for the 180km. I probably averaged about 27km/hr but with better hydration, more adrenaline, a steady stream of carbohydrate and no lunatic drivers I could be lucky enough to get 30km/hr.
There was also the constant position issues - I lowered the saddle a bit. That made a world of difference compared to earlier in the week. Far from what i'd like but good enough to get round.

I then ran off the bike for 40mins with the last 2miles at race pace on the treadmill. This felt really good. I've been training to run 3hour marathon pace but think i'll start at 3h20min pace and see how it plays out.

I've also got to admit defeat with the bike gears - they just aren't shifting well. Do the cables stretch in the heat???

The P20 sunblock seems to do the trick - don't think i've caught too much sun. I've also been eating loads of tomato puree for the last few months as this has been shown to stop sun burn (honest!)

The boys had a good day and came up to Hawi (pronounced Ha-vee) to meet me at the turn around. They have taken to moving anything I might need and moving it somewhere else - it is time to get a lot more organised.
Ella's mum and dad have gone snorkelling tonight to see manta rays.

Friday, 30 September 2011


75min/14km easy pace no heart rate monitor.

Today was George's birthday 4 years old - we had a lovely morning opening presents. Photos to follow. Most of George's presents were "lightening McQueen" orientated. When George was born I thought at least he wont want the latest trainers etc, it seems that might have been a little premature!

I had to fight temptation with a massive Oreo cake. Just a small slice!

We then went to Hapuna beach for the afternoon - Which is meant to be one of the World's best beaches. It was really nice, we were not sure what makes it one to the best but are not complaining. What I would like to know is why our children like to eat sand so much. It will be good to get some photographic evidence up soon. I'm sure I didn't have a taste for it when I was little.

Training wise I decided to really go for it with the stretching and see if I could improve my running stride. Lots of rolling up and down and some yoga. I then ran back from the beach and got picked up 75min in. This was so much better than my last run. A tiny bit of Achilles soreness but that would be manageable on race day. This is great news, it looks like i'll have to repeat what I did today.

We went out to the local cheap restaurant for George's birthday dinner - unfortunately he slept all the way through it.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Rest day

The plan was to swim today. We went for a drive around the island with the main purpose of seeing the volcanos in the south of the Island. I can't put pictures on the blog whilst out here but i'll put some on when I get home.

I thought we would see some actual lava as that's in all the leaflets - It is still very impressive, with lots of steam.

By the time we got back after 12hours out I decided to forgo the swim.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


2km on Ironman course


12km easy pace with 10 x 60sec 10km pace efforts

Apologies for not writing for a while. I have also just worked out how to put breaks in!

This was a really tough day. I was very asymmetrical, the right leg crossing over the midline and groin pain! I'm not sure what the origin of this is but I was feeling pretty bad about it. The thought having this going on race day is very anxiety provoking - it's OK for 10km but I think something would painfully protest during 42.2km. I will have a think about what to do.

The swim on the other hand was fantastic. I tried the swim skin on for the first time - this was good. I'm not sure whether it made me any faster, Ella still zoomed off. I hope the conditions are like this on race day, flat and calm. The water temperature couldn't be any better either.

The biggest shock was seeing a massive ball of fish below us. The size of a double decker bus. My first reaction was that must mean there could be a shark around - ridiculous I know.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Bike 2hours with 4 x 5km at race/olympic pace on 3min easy spinning
Run 40min easy aerobic pace

We spent the morning on the famous Ali drive in Kona (everyone was up at 4am). This is the road where the swim start is. We had breakfast at Lava Java - apparently next week the queue will be down the street. It was hard not to get psyched out by the steady stream of people running with their tops off (leaner than me!) or riding their bikes (faster than mine!) I made it over to a bike shop later on to buy all the things I had forgotten.

Also got the swim skin - these are worn over your tri kit and claim to make you more slippery in the water. I was pleasantly surprised that it was 30% cheaper than getting it in the UK. George and Will found it hard - it was hot and humid.

The cycle in the afternoon was better than yesterday, on part of the course. It got dark quicker than expected. It was nerve wracking with the huge American cars - I got the feeling they wern't that bike aware or friendly. It seems like i'm back to square one with the bike position. The tape measure will have to come out tomorrow and i'll make sure i've got all the dimensions right.

Hope to get over to the Volcano tomorrow with everyone as well.

Monday, 26 September 2011


50mins cycle
1hour run with 4x3min at 10km pace on 90sec recovery.

The cycle was a shock;
1. It took all day to reassemble the bike. Threading gear and break cables into the frame and hoping the come out of a tiny hole tested the patience.
2. The stem I put on was too long. every time I turned right the back brake would be applied. This took a lot of messing around.
3. The cycle itself - meant to incorporate 12x30secx110rpm on 2min. However the wind was so strong I couldn't get out of the easiest gear (60rpm). So just for the time really.

Did the run on the treadmill as don't know my way around where we are staying yet. - this was good, except sitting on the plane for 20hours has taken its toll.

I'm having trouble staying awake so i'm going to bed. Night, night.... (it's 8pm)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Travelling all day.

It was hard work. Ella's mum (Jane) Myself and Will drove to the airport. Ella, Ella's Dad (David) and George went by tube. It's was always going to be difficult with the number of people and the bike box. In the back of my mind I can see the inevitable people carrier becoming our next car!
About 12 hours to LA. I don't know who was worse George or Will but lets just say they were very active. I ended up going with the tactic of putting them back in their seats and ignoring them continuously for about an hour until they gave up. I don't mind admitting I got that from Supernanny on channel 4.
I had some proper ear plugs made back when Will was very young and we were all getting zero sleep - I can't recommend them enough.
I remembered to put the compression tights on. Under trousers before you ask.
The connection in LA was very tight. For once when offered a porter and wheelchair for George we jumped at it. This meant we beat the lines (they don't say queue in the US). Normally 2hours for immigration and 2hours to clear customs.
The fligt to Kona was American Airlines and took 5 hours. This time after a little settling in George and Will slept. This was more easy jet style - pay for your food etc, Luckily I had a load of nuts and dried fruit that just tided us over.

Kona airport was a refreshing change - 8pm, really mild and an open air baggage reclaim!
The first stress was the bike box. They hadn't opened it coming into the US (I had cable tied it) but did open it for the LA - Kona leg. Two of the straps were also just hanging in the breeze. So it was a case of say a little prayer before opening it. It's like schrodenger's cat.

Then the car hire. Our receipt didn't have the hire company's name! We spent half an hour trying all maner of persuasion to get the shuttle bus drivers to help us out.

We finally discovered it was budget. My Dad lived in the states for about 10 years so all the memories came back. Mainly of sales tactics. To start with they thought our car we had booked would be too small and we really needed what can only be described as a multi-personnel tank. It started off at an extra $85 a day (no thank you) then with existing customer discount $25/day (can we have a look at them - well the one you want it on the very far side of the car park in the dark, and the other one is right out front. "i'll take a look anyway" - 5mins later "I think we'll be OK with the original one. "are you doing the ironman?" - we can give you a special ironman discount which takes it to $15/day (no thank you). Then there was the option of GPS, a multitude of insurances and car seats on offer. We went for the GPS and a car seat for Will ($65, i'd been told we could buy one from Walmart for less but by this time nerves were getting frayed!) So total extra to pay $200 - what?!!! GPS + Car seat + TAX (tax apparently wasn't included in the original bill. This was why it looked the cheapest on on't tin-ternet.
To my surprise not only did the cases fit in with more than enough room, the bike box went in the aisle!

We arrived at the accomodation which is lovely. Then off to find a 24hr supermarket at 1am! This was 30-40miles away back near the airport. Now for another shock - I had remembered groceries being cheap when visiting my Dad in North Carolina. I don't know if its the economy or that flying it out into the middle of the Pacific attracts a big extra cost but everything was expensive. What would cost £50 in ASDA at home cost $200 in Safeway here, and it wasn't the equivalent of waitrose.

........to bed.

I'll try and work out how to get photos loaded using this mini computer.