Hever Castle Tri 25/09/2010

As is expected with me I had a couple of beers the night before the race, why break the habit of a lifetime? Saturday morning started at 5.45am because I wanted to get solid food inside me as early as possible as I get awful cramp if I’ve eaten anything too close to exercising.

I had to change the tyre on the wife’s bike before we left, she was borrowing our brother-in-law’s bike. That complete we packed 2 bikes, plus all our gear into our 1995 fiat Cinquecento and headed off to Hever.

Registration was a fairly simple affair, body marked and timing chip received. We headed over to transition. My first ever transition! We racked our bikes and set about working out what we should put where, in the end I decided that on the floor in the vicinity of the bike would probably do. Wetsuits on and over to the swim start.

The race briefing was utterly surreal, we walked out onto the edge of the lake to be greeted by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, after the race director’s information we were then wished good luck by Anne Boleyn and we go in the water. It wasn’t too bad in the water, I was expecting it to be much colder, we swam over to the start and waited for the cannon to go off. A few seconds later and BANG! we were off. I’ll just pause there for a moment to recount what went through my mind at that second.

“oi.. oi…Matthew, you know when they say you should never try something new at a race, well, did you ever consider that they might mean, oh, I don’t know, Open Water Swimming?”

“Nah, it’ll be alright, what’s the worst that could happen”


“Oh yeah, utter terrifying panic”

So my triathlon career started swimming on my back having my wife drag me round the swim course. Interspersed with me turning onto my front trying to crawl, but my face was having other ideas refused to go in the water. Managed to breast stroke the last little bit. Out of the water and I smacked my shin on the side of the lake.
Transition was, in comparison a breeze. Wesuit off, top and bike shoes on. Off we go

Time for Swim +T1 18:17:00

They had promised us a “cheeky” hill, so I was expecting the worst, it turned out not to be too bad. We weren’t getting passed too much and were catching a few people, so we were pretty happy. Then Catheryne’s chain fell off. that wasn’t too bad, cost about a minute or so. I am much better at descending, and Catheryne much better ascending than me so I was hammering it downhill for her to catch me on the ascents. This was fine until around the 15k mark, when I turned around and couldn’t see her. I dawdled for a bit, then assumed she was just behind somewhere and carried on. Came into T2 to find Bella, Marc and the children pointing me in the right direction as the Marshalls weren’t too bothered. Hung about for a bit in T2 hoping Catheryne would turn up, but she didn’t so I got out on the run.

Bike +T2 56:56:10

Saw Mum and Dad and Claire and Baz on the way out, and then saw Pen and Rog shortly after. The first thing the organisers did was put a stupid hill in the way, then it was just a case of continuing round the lake and getting to the finish line. I was quite fresh coming off the bike and I probably could have given it more on the run, but I’m not very good at pacing yet. The last k was a bit tough, just wanted to get to the finish. Turned the last corner and saw the whole family all waiting there for me which was absolutely brilliant.

Run 24:53:45

Total 01:40:06:55

A long way under the 2 hours I had set myself as a target, so I was very happy.

As I collected my medal and went to talk to the family, I enquired as to my dear wife’s whereabouts and instantly wished I hadn’t. Turns out, that tyre I changed. Went flat at 15k. Conveniently by a marshall point, and the marshalls suggestion was? Run the rest, so she did! 5k out plus the run itself = 1 angry wife! There were cries of sabotage all over the place! Personally. I agree, although not for everyone elses reasons. Mine are thus.. Catheryne sabotaged her own bike in order to take away my glory at having completed my fist tri. By sabotaging her own bike and “courageously” running the last 5k of the bike, her race was better than mine.

An amzing day, so happy I have completed a tri, gave me a massive hunger to do more, just a shame it’s the end of the season, but I’m so glad we did one before next year though. Going to complete another couple of sprints at the start of next year and an oly in mid may before Wimbleball. Eeeeeek!


My First Race!

A race!

Wow! Completed my first ever race! Was really shitting hard and everything hurts, but what an addictive feeling. The feeling standing on the start line waiting for the off. The elation of finishing. I cannot wait for the next one!

Up at 6.30 am to get breakfast in so I didn’t get a stitch. Made up a few bottles of carb drink and set off. We picked Rob up about 8am and headed over to Bedgebury, we had a bit of a panic when we were told that the numbers we were sent were for the 2k race, not the 10k race. After a bit of frantic running around trying to locate new numbers we were told to just wear what we had on and do the 10k.

I had decided to wear a short sleeved compression top underneath my running vest and I’m glad I did as it was pretty cold and raining. We walked up to the start line and took our position amongst the 1hr10min finishers, thinking this would be about right, I was hoping it would be less, but we were pretty close in the end. I had planned a 6m/k strategy which would have us finishing in an hour dead. Unfortunatley the excitement of my first race and the adrenaline got the better of me and we set off at a pretty quick pace. There were no Km markers for the first 3k, so when we saw the first marker at 3k we were well ahead of schedule at 14:11, at this point I should have slowed down. We hit 5k at 25:34 and we were feeling fantastic. Looking at a 50m 10k at this pace. Silly, silly me. It appears the first part of the course was the easy part, there were some lovely flat bits and some downhill sections. After 5k things took a turn for the worse.

The Uphills outnumbered the downs by a quite considerable margin. The pace started dropping of and at around 7km I had to slow down to a walk up a particularly horrible hill. By 7k the time was showing at around 38 mins, so our sub 5m/k had turned into 5.4m/k. After that it was all downhill, metaphorically rather than literally. It was really hard to keep running. As we approached 8k the marshall shouted out “Well done, it’s downhill now!” The downhill lasted for about 100m, then back uphill. Lying bastards! As we got past 9k I tried to pick up the pace, trying to dig as deep as possible, to get it over with if nothing else! thankfully it was actually downhill, the track was really twisty and around every corner I hoped to see the finish line. Eventually the crowds started to thicken and the finish line appeared into view.

I sprinted as fast as I could across the line, Stu’s alway’s saying finish strong and that’s what I tried to do. I’m not sure it was strong exactly, but I hit the finish as quickly as I could, crossing over in 1h3mins (I think) I’m hoping the results will be posted up somewhere. 1h3mins gives me 6.6m/k and I’m pretty happy with that. First ever race. Really hilly. Didn’t stick to my own plan. I really want to do another 10k on a flat course. I think 5m/k is achievable quite easily.

Got Hever Castle Tri on the 25th, then Maidstone Half Marathon on the 17th October. I’m hoping I can drop a stone by the 17th October, I know that dropping weight is the quickest way to speed up, so that’s my target.

Lots of training this week. Serpentine for some OW swimming practice.


Training W/C 1st November

Hmmm, my training didn’t start in the best circumstances, in fact, it didn’t start at all on Monday as I had a massive hangover from my birthday which prevented me from smiling for a few days. However I managed to get out for a run on Tuesday and so it begins!


A Run around the isle of dogs. Not too bad. bit slower than I’d have liked, but there was a residual tiredness from the weekend I think.


My first turbo session. It hurts. It’s boring and it’s sweaty indoors. And my garmin went a bit mental:


I was out on Thursday night, so couldn’t go swimming, instead I went for a lunchtime run down the canal..


Day off! Woooo!


Brick Session – this couldn’t have gone worse. Only managed 17k on the bike as my rear wheel kept falling off because the turbo skewer doesn’t fit and then my wife’s crank arm fell off. Run was ok after finding my legs.


Supposed to be an “easy” run, didn’t end up quite like that. Challenging I think is a better description. Really enjoyed it (Afterwards)

Capped off the week with a nice walk in the Country. Ahhhhhh.

Kept a food and drink diary this week which was a bit of an eye opener. Having a couple of beers on the sofa every night and one night out led to over 50 units of alcohol and 4000+ calories. That’s nearly 2 days food! Knocked that on the head. no booze during the week and I will try to keep it a bit sensible at the weekends too. Although that’s easier said than done in the run up to Christmas.




Hello, been a mighty long time since my last entry, and quite a long time since my last proper training session. In my defence I have had a wedding and honeymoon in that time.

Swimming Lesson:

What a difference a bit of coaching makes! Started out the session pretty badly. Not getting the rotation right at all, but after 45 minutes I had reduced my stroke count to 24 on a 23 metre pool and I was swimming so much better!

Basic Extension drill: This is the first of the drills to develop full upper body rotation. The swimmer practices the fully rotated position whilst only using their legs. The position is one arm in front of them and the other is held at the side. The shoulder of the leading arm is fully rotated under the chin, which gives a fully extended position. The legs should be kicking in a downwards plane at all times. No scissoring should be occurring. The swimmer breathes every 6 kicks.

Shark Fin drill: Swum as 1L left arm sharking, 1L right arm sharking. Assume the basic extension position. Trace your thumb along the side of your body recovering the elbow to point straight up to the ceiling. Take a breath in between each shark fin recovery.

Extension Switch drill: This drill promotes good body rotation and head alignment. This looks like regular freestyle in very slow motion. One arm is extended forward, pointing towards your destination (front-hand). The other is pointing backwards (back-hand) with the arm resting against the side of your body. You should be rotated on your side with the backhand side of your body shoulder rotated out of the water. Take 6 kicks then breath quickly to the side, then another 6 kicks and then pull through with the extended arm and recover and extend forward with the other arm so your hands switch places. The front hand takes a stroke underwater and finishes against your side, becoming the backhand. The backhand recovers over the surface of the water becoming the front hand. You will now be rotated to the other side. Repeat drill.

Catch-up with a float: To isolate one arm, to practice a long stroke and develop timing. Just like regular catch-up, only your front hand is holding a pullbuoy or float for added balance. Start with both arms extended in front of you holding onto the float. You will be flat in the water at this point. Perform one full arm cycle with your right arm and meet back at the float. Then perform one full arm cycle with the left arm. Repeat. Breathe every arm cycle to one side only if you find bi-lateral breathing a struggle to begin with due to the extra hold time. It is best to attempt to practice one length breathing to your right and then one length to your left to encourage the symmetry of your stroke. You can substitute a pencil or anything else that will keep your focus to touch the hands.

Catch-up +1 second and 0 (touch and go): Practice this drill to isolate one arm, to practice a long stroke and a long body position. Swum like regular freestyle, except one arm is stationary, always extended forward (front arm) pointing towards the destination, while the other arm performs the stroke (working arm). When the working arm moves forward and “catches-up” with the stationary arm, they change places.